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Posts Tagged ‘change’

Safe stories are where we hide and rest. God stories stretch and challenge us.


My biggest problem in a small church setting is to clone creativity. Finding people to join me in discovering and telling the dangerous, life-changing stories of God is difficult, but things worth doing are worth the effort. I trust God will reveal the ones called by the Spirit.

Today's post is in response to a recently launched blog, “No More Safe Stories” that is designed for church creatives. I'm starting over in a new parish with little technology, so I won't be using videos for a while. I can still tell the stories. Journey Media offers support for creative types to challenge and encourage each other. After all, creative people always face the obstacle of “But we've never done it that way before.”

Pastor Hazel Behrens
Serving 3 churches in rural North Dakota

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Turn around. What happens when you do that? Try it now. No, not just look over your shoulder, but stand up and physically turn around. If you did what I asked, what changed? I am willing to bet you noticed something; an item you would like different, a person you might want to speak to, or something that made you smile.

First, the act of standing up brought fresh oxygen into your system. Maybe you noticed muscles that were tight and you flexed them. Second, the act of turning around brought fresh perspective into that moment. This illustrates the beginning of repentance.

When I turned around, in the same way I instructed you, I noticed a poster on my office wall – Rembrandt’s painting of The Return of the Prodigal Son. The focus of the painting is on the richly dressed Father embracing his bedraggled son whose feet reveal worn-out shoes. Three observers of this touching scene are portrayed clearly, but above and behind the father is another figure, deep in shadow. Is this a servant who will soon fetch the fine clothes or kill the fatted calf for this returning son?

The story Jesus told, as recorded in Luke 15, starts with a son eager to leave home, who requests his inheritance in advance. There was no more money coming to him after he blew it all. It took courage for the son to return to his father, and admit his folly. Fear of starvation made him stop and think. Fear of his father made him ask to be a servant. But Love rejoiced at his return. Love restored his place and position. Love welcomed him home.

Before Easter arrives, may you turn around and examine your own life. Are there resources God has given you that you are wasting? Are there things in your life that you wish were different? Turn around and come home to Jesus. Be welcomed by a loving Father, and I bet that servant in the background, the Holy Spirit, will rush to clothe and feed you in ways beyond my capability to list.

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