Chuck Foreman – Teaching Pastor
We all know there are always at least two sides to every story, sometimes more. We’ve all heard that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. (I’ve never been able to figure out why anyone would even want to skin a cat, but anyway…) When it comes to how people respond to a challenge to change their behavior or thinking in some way, there are probably as many ways of responding as there are people. What is it that causes people to change for the better, to grow and mature? Our various and complex personality types makes predicting causes of behavioral and attitude change difficult if not impossible. I believe people can change their ways—become radically better people. I’ve seen it happen. Some call this type of change conversion. But what causes real, genuine conversion in anyone?
When Jesus invited his first disciples to follow him, the language he used was not an invitation, it was a command. “Come! Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19) It required a response. Peter, Andrew, James & John had to make a decision. They could have chosen to turn down this “invitation.” Why didn’t they? Something had already happened in their experience of Jesus that made them want to accept or obey this call out to follow him. What was it? We aren’t sure, exactly.
We’re talking now at FCC about how these guys were affected at 3 levels: Head, Heart and Hands. They made a decision at some point about who Jesus was and that he was worth following. They were willing to let him change their hearts so that they could be effective at drawing others to follow him as well. And they became involved in Jesus’ mission of calling all people to become his followers—they went to work with him.
As we think about what spawns faith or causes someone to change or experience conversion, I think it’s good for us to recognize that there are different entry points for different people. For some, it begins with the Head, an intellectual conclusion about what I should believe or do. For some it begins with the Heart, an emotional experience that touches us and reveals our own need for change. For others conversion begins with an opportunity for serving alongside others who are spending themselves unselfishly for those in need. Most people get the sense, when they experience true, selfless service, that this feels right; this is what I was created to do.
Do you remember what it was for you? Or what do you think it will take to move you to change that behavior or attitude that might be keeping you from answering Jesus’ call to follow him fully, to be changed by him, and to become completely committed to his mission? What moves you most—your Head, your Heart, or your Hands? I’m interested to know.