Do you need to be converted?
We are about one month into a three month preaching series on the Acts of the Apostles—the story of the Church’s beginnings. Acts not only tells us the history of the Church, it presents to us images of what it looks like to be a Spirit directed people. If we pay attention, what we find is that Spirit directed people and Spirit directed churches are always open to new possibilities (and if not open, they tend to get pushed along anyway!). Acts is the story of a dynamic people striving to live out our calling to be a blessing to all creation through the love and grace of Jesus. That calling calls forth conversion.
Consider the conversions that take place in Acts as an Aramaic-speaking Jewish community becomes multi-lingual, multi-cultural, and not only opens itself to new understanding of God, but also new social realities as Jews and gentiles eat together, those marginalized are wel-comed in, and women become leaders, teachers, and preachers.
None of this could have happened had those first followers of Jesus not opened themselves to frequent conversion of thought and practice. According to the pattern of Church life in Acts, conversion is necessary to following Jesus.
So the question comes back to us. Are we open to being converted by the work of Holy Spirit? More simply put, are we willing to change our thoughts and practices for the sake of the good news of Jesus’ love for all creation?
New Testament scholar Matthew Skinner writes: “When Holy Spirit dramatically reorients expectations and causes people to reassess what’s possible, everyone needs to be converted.” Then he adds, “Our old ways of seeing people, situations, and even the gospel are too ingrai-ned in our minds to go away easily.”
That is the hard part—conversion is rarely easy. While conversion might not be easy, it is nec-essary. No church, if it is the Church of Jesus, can be faithful and always stay the same. No fol-lower of Jesus, if we are faithful, will find ourselves believing and behaving just as we did many years ago.
When was the last time Holy Spirit reoriented your expectations and caused you to reassess what’s possible?
When was the last time you experienced conversion in your ways of seeing people, situations, and even the gospel? When was the last time you experienced conversion? Do you need to be converted? I do!