The Tipping Point and the Church of God

Ed Stetzer hammers home a thought on change that is powerfully relevant. He shared it at Engage 21. He shared it again today in his analysis of the Southern Baptist Convention. About change and the “tipping point,” he says:

People never change until the pain of staying the same grows greater than the pain of change.

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8 Responses

  1. So…I had a bird caught in my fireplace the other day. It fluttered and chirped all day long. By the end of the day my daughters and I were pretending it was our pet. They were starting to enjoy the idea, but I knew that the bird would die in there. After the girls went to bed I proposed a plan to Emily that involved her holding a quilt and limiting the bird’s flight options, while I tried to “chase” it out the door. I was actually freaked out by the idea, knowing that my end of the strategy would surely involve many “close-calls” and lots of ducking, but I felt fairly confident that she would shoot the idea down. However, to my surprise she actually said, “Lets do it!” And I responded with, “Well, hold on now…ummm…are you sure you know what we’re getting into?” She shrugged her shoulders and said it was my call–to let her know if I wanted to do it.

    We went through that cycle a few times, and each time I chickened out. Finally, I went into the room and looked more closely at the little fellow, and remembered how the Father is mindful of even the sparrows. I felt convicted. But even that was not enough to make me want to do it. Finally, I envisioned me and the girls home all day with that bird fluttering and chirping again, and the thought of that was more than I could bare. The plan worked, and during the eventful 10 minutes or so of having the bird fly around my living room the bird and I never made direct contact (which would have given me nightmares for at least a week).

    So, I guess Stetzer is right. It wasn’t until I realized how painful staying the same for another day would be that I was finally willing to face the flight of the sparrow. 😉

  2. congratulations on taking good care of the great speckled bird. 😉

  3. God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.

    Living one day at a time;
    Enjoying one moment at a time;
    Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
    Taking, as He did, this sinful world
    as it is, not as I would have it;
    Trusting that He will make all things right
    if I surrender to His Will;
    That I may be reasonably happy in this life
    and supremely happy with Him
    Forever in the next.
    Amen.

    –Reinhold Niebuhr

  4. Great Illustration Jon

  5. Billy,

    Unpack the Serenity poem…help me out, bro.

  6. I’ve had this quote posted on my office door for a few years now. I love it!! I can’t tell you how many students tell me how it impacted them about a situation in their life. I keep thinking I’ll take it down, but then another person comments on it its impact.

    Pain and change aren’t easy, but they are necessary if we are to move forward and forge our way into the future God has for us. If we look at our early mothers and fathers in the COG, we see that they were willing to emobdy both. And our church was made better because of that level of sacrifice.

    Two weeks ago today I was confronted with my own apprehension to accept pain. (I’m going to blog about it soon, but I’m still trying to process through it). I was on a personal retreat for rest and renewal. I was sitting in the shade and enjoying a cool breeze while reading John 6. It was a great time with the Lord. Then I read a verse that jumped out at me and caused me to think about God’s glory– and entering into a deeper place with Him.

    I guess it was the spiritual atmosphere (but I was also very sincere), so I asked the Lord what I needed to do to enter into a deeper place with Him and to have a greater measure of His glory/power/presence in my life. Although not really expecting to hear anything in return, I know God impressed on me that receiving this place with Him “is through the path of suffering.” And I had to sit there… actually somewhat stunned. I had to ask myself, “Am I willing to walk down that path?” My spirit says I should be because the Lord will be with me, but my flesh does not want to endure any form of suffering. It was a moment where I came face-to-face with my own fear of the unknown. (I’m sure I’ve been there before, but this experience really impacted me). But it has left me with the question: Is the change worth the pain? Surely anything is worth being closer to the Lord, but it still isn’t easy to think about embracing pain.

  7. It is a sad day when going into deficit on the budget gets our attention faster than going into deficit on the Great Commission. But I’m afraid that is exactly where we are in the COG in 2008!

  8. Travis, there are some things we can’t change (ie. truth) and other things that we need courage to change (ie. COG Polity). I appreciate your unabashed desire (courage) to change COG Polity.

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