by Tony Nester

This content is part of a series.

A Persecutor Turned Apostle
Rediscovering Church, Part 9 of 10
Text: Acts 9:1-22
Tony R. Nester

Do believe that God can change people?

Many people don't believe it's possible. They're convinced
that people don't change. Not really.

I remember listening to a United Methodist District
Superintendent who went to lead a Church Conference at a
church he himself had pastored years before. He said that
what stood out in his mind from his visit was how little
things had changed in that congregation. The people who
were complainers when he had been their pastor were still
complaining. The same old arguments were trotted out and
used to defeat plans for moving ahead in ministry. The same
reasons were given then as they had been before as to why
the church couldn't spend more money for ministry. Nothing
had changed. All in all he said it was a most depressing
experience. All the hymns sung, all the Scripture studied,
all the sermons heard, had seemingly changed nothing in
that congregation.

We know this is wrong. It goes against everything in the
New Testament which on every page celebrates the new birth
that comes through Christ and power of the Holy Spirit. The
New Testament Church was made up of people whose lives had
been radically turned around.

If you want to you can be a cynic and say that God doesn't
change people. You can say that people use their religion
as a way of making themselves look better than they really
are. You'll have some facts on your side but you'll miss
the deeper truth. The deeper truth is that God does get
hold of people and change them. You just have to look at
the right people. There are fakes and hypocrites
everywhere. But they only serve to show us what the real
thing looks like.

A lot of our cynicism about being changed by God comes from
our own resistance to change.

A theologian looked back on his years of doubting God's
reality and recognized that much of h ...

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