Conversion

When we travel overseas we need a conversion of currency. A house can be converted from one kind of use to another, or the heating system can be converted say from oil to natural gas. There are conversions from one religion to another (as in Acts 15:3). Paul was converted from Pharisaism on the Damascus Road. I was converted from Atheism to Christian faith on October 7, 1947. A member of any religion can experience conversion when a formal faith suddenly grips the heart. In the New Testament baptism is a means of enrolling a disciple to begin learning from a new teacher (as in John 4:1). Jesus said “Unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3). Children love to laugh and play, and be cuddled and loved. They can easily learn half a dozen different languages, and many other new skills, by the age of seven. But becoming like little children can only be produced in us by the Holy Spirit. Which is why in the New Testament conversion is when the person is added to a community of the Spirit (see the contrast in Acts 8:12 and 8:15-17, as explained in 1 Corinthians 12:13). That is when real change begins to occur. ~ Robert Brow

I like Brow’s way of linking ordinary stuff like conversion of currency to what usually is a “Big” RELIGIOUS word. Brings the whole discussion down-to-earth! I was also thinking about “mini-conversions” that actually takes place in our CONVERSATIONS. So often we change our commitments to a particular topic, opinion or issue without even realizing it. And all this happens in the midst of our daily conversations or after the talk when we think about it. That’s why I believe “Conversations” are so important as the Spirit “converts” our hearts to Him. Brian McLaren reminded me that try “counting conversations rather than conversions” for a change and that helped me see the important work of God before a “CONVERSION” takes place.

Christians have been using the “harvest” image frequently when it comes to “evangelising” but before a “harvest” there’s the ploughing, the seed sowing, fertilizing, watering, sun-shining, and of course a period of time. In whatever “harvest” God is doing in our lives, there’s lots going on before than and even after the “harvest” moment!

In preparation for this week’s message, I’m caught at how this “Conversion” process (or in Brow’s words becoming like a child) continues in our lives and it doesn’t stop. I think Peter in Acts 10-11 is an Apostle & Jewish Christian that needed a “fresh conversion” when part of his mental currency was out of line with God’s kingdom currency. 🙂 i.e. God includes the Gentiles too … they too can be part of the people of God!

Daily as I allow God’s work to deepen in my life, I find my self converted more and more in line with his Aims and Agenda. Much of it is encapsuled during what I’m calling nowaday my “orchid” times (i.e. Time alone with God with the Scriptures open and a willing heart to listen). Many a times it happens during or after some “conversation” with someone, or a book, or an intensive period of reflection, .. I think there’s a kind of “ongoing” conversion we go through from one stage to another as a human, as a Christian and for me as a pastor …

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