Time to Change

Can you think of a time in your life when you absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt knew you had to make a change? Perhaps it was deciding to quit smoking, leave an abusive relationship, commit to a healthy diet, lose weight, quit your job, start exercising….what was it for you? What was different that time over all the other failed attempts?

Sometimes, it just clicks. We know we can’t go another week with the old way and we finally find the courage to commit to the new way. Then it takes weeks to live into the new way. Psychologists will tell you that you need to allow six to eight weeks of disciplined repetition before an old habit can be dropped in favor of a new habit. Most of us give up before that happens.

In the third chapter of Acts, Peter has attracted a congregation and he begins to preach. He recounts the events of the crucifixion and the resurrection, reminding the crowd that they preferred a murderer to be freed over Jesus. He lays out the prophetic words that pointed to Jesus’ messiahship and then chastises the listeners for missing what had been so obvious.

Finally, he calls for change:

Acts 3 (The Message)

19-23 “Now it’s time to change your ways! Turn to face God so he can wipe away your sins, pour out showers of blessing to refresh you, and send you the Messiah he prepared for you, namely, Jesus.

This is the gospel in a nutshell. Turn to face God so that he can 1. Wipe away your sins. 2. Pour out showers of blessing on you. 3. Send you the Messiah, whose name is Jesus. There is so much goodness packed into that one sentence. Imagine hearing this right after the horrific events of the crucifixion and the miraculous events of the resurrection. Surely they must have thought, “WAIT. You mean we get a second chance??”

Peter goes on to explain what will happen next.

For the time being he must remain out of sight in heaven until everything is restored to order again just the way God, through the preaching of his holy prophets of old, said it would be. Moses, for instance, said, ‘Your God will raise up for you a prophet just like me from your family. Listen to every word he speaks to you. Every last living soul who refuses to listen to that prophet will be wiped out from the people.

Peter cleverly plays the “Moses card,” reminding them of their well-beloved and revered founder, and then finishes off with a warning: if you refuse to listen to that prophet, you’ll be wiped out.

As you meditate on this passage today, think of what changes God is calling you to make in your life. Chances are he is waiting to pour out showers of blessing on you, too.

Is it time for a change?

Showers of Blessing by Michelle Robertson

Turning the Corner

I live on an island off an island off an island. My commute to work requires me to travel over two bridges and drive on an incredibly curvy road for three miles. At one point the road curved around a small Methodist church that was large enough to block your view as you drove around it, causing several accidents. The DOT finally came along and straightened out the road after centuries of curviness. As we traverse Colington Road, we all have to be alert to what is just around the corner. It might be a political sign, a muddy rut, or even a chicken. Turning each corner is a challenge of staying alert.

As we say goodbye to an old year and welcome a new one, we have an opportunity to “turn the corner,” offering us a time to reflect on the trajectory we’ve been on and possibly change direction. It is not uncommon to see people back in the gym, (regular gym-goers hate January with its crowded classes and busy weight rooms!) starting new diets, pledging to be more thoughtful and intentional, and otherwise making changes that promise to turn the corner on some aspect of their lives that needs fixing.

You know, Jesus was all about the turning-the-corner-life. God sent him to get us out of the muddy rut humanity was in, and offers us a way out through belief in him:

Acts 3 (The Message)

19-23 “Now it’s time to change your ways! Turn to face God so he can wipe away your sins, pour out showers of blessing to refresh you, and send you the Messiah he prepared for you, namely, Jesus.

For the time being he must remain out of sight in heaven until everything is restored to order again just the way God, through the preaching of his holy prophets of old, said it would be. Moses, for instance, said, ‘Your God will raise up for you a prophet just like me from your family. Listen to every word he speaks to you. Every last living soul who refuses to listen to that prophet will be wiped out from the people.’

The act of turning toward God and having him wipe away your sins results in God pouring out showers of blessing to REFRESH you. In all the ways we will seek a refreshing this new year, this soul-refreshing is the most significant. And we need to be alert to what is just around the corner. If we meet heartache, illness, betrayal, despair, or even death there, we had better be prepared with God at our side.

Want to lose weight? Take off the heavy burden of sin. Want to get fit? Exercise your belief. Want to be more intentional and thoughtful? Immerse yourself in scripture. Ready to turn the corner? Give your new year over to God and see what HE will do with it.

The showers of blessing that come from turning toward God are peace, hope, joy, and contentment. Wouldn’t that make for a wonderful 2020?

Colington UMC on curvy Colington Road