Transaction or Transformation

Inspirational Message by Pastor John Shamblin on May 15, 2013

Time has a way of changing your perspective. It seems like only yesterday I was turning 16 and excited to drive my first car – a 1983 two-tone green Chevy Cavalier. No one would ever mistake it for cool, but I was thrilled with the ability to exercise a measure of freedom. I drove that car through all sorts of adventures for the next four years.

Within the last month I have seen the other side of that experience as my oldest son turned 16. I wanted him to know the fun and responsibility of his own car, so we set out on a search for the best ride for him. The search led me through car lots, websites, and social media in search of a car he would like, I could afford, and my wife thought was safe. After weeks of searching we found the right fit strictly by word of mouth. The transaction was easy, and he is excited about his new found freedom (which is actually somewhat freeing for us as well – getting to practice, picking up his brother, running errands).

The whole experience reminded me of what so many dislike about car shopping – the transaction. Dealing with pushy salespeople, negotiating the price, and coming away feeling good about the experience can be challenging. As I thought about it, it occurred to me that many people are uncomfortable with the thought of living for Christ because of similar fears and concerns. There are believers that come across pushy and unconcerned about you, and we always want to negotiate the best deal possible. But, here is the key difference – living for Christ is not merely a transaction, but a transformation. Jesus has evaluated the need, paid the price, graciously offered us life, hope, and meaning, and invited us into a relationship with Himself. Even the best salesperson cannot offer all that. When the circumstances of life seem too much for your own wisdom, abilities, and resources you don’t need a new transaction. Nothing you can buy will ever supply a lasting version of those things. When we realize that we are ready to change perspective – from transaction to transformation.

Beyond Our “Comfort Zone”

Inspirational Message by Pastor John Shamblin on February 11, 2013

The easiest thing you can do today is stay right where you are. It requires little, if any, effort, not much thought, and certainly no prayer or planning. As I evaluate my life, as well as the lives of those around me, it seems that our “comfort zones” have gotten a little crowded. Let’s be honest, comfort isn’t all bad. We like comfortable clothes, comfortable furniture, comfortable relationships, even comfort food! But if we settle in there for too long life can pass us right by.

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What I learned from a bowtie

Inspirational Message by Pastor John Shamblin on January 18, 2013

bowtieIn my ongoing quest to be a “cool dad” (a phrase which probably proves I’m not), I bought my boys bowties for Christmas.  I had seen numerous celebrity-types sporting them, so I purchased them despite having never tied one before.  The sales associate assured me he could teach both them and me that fine art.

As the first Sunday of 2013 rolled around they decided the time was right to show them off.  So, on Saturday evening – just hours before the scheduled unveiling – I took to YouTube to find an instructional video (the store wasn’t open at that hour).  My first encounter was a video with more steps than I could follow in 2 minutes.  Confused, I went to a second video only to discover terminology that wasn’t explained and was impossible for a non-bowtie guy to follow.  The third video was at a much better speed, but was narrated by the bowtie and seemed to require more hands than God gave me.  After several more searches I finally found one that seemed to get the fact that this was a unique skill for a beginner.  It used clear terms, moved slowly enough for me to keep up, and reassured me that even I could do this.  Finally, success!  If only I had started there I would never have had to sigh, grunt, yell at my smart phone, or make things tense in my home.

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