Proverbs 1:32
Proverbs 2:4

New Book Excerpt Part 1

I recently put out a four-page excerpt from my new book that was distributed to my local church. I thought I would put it out to you in four parts, so you can get a taste of what is to come when the book is released. 

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THE DYNAMICS OF CHANGE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
Dr. John Stanko

An excerpt from John’s new book,
Changing the Way We Do Church: Seven Steps to Purposeful Reformation

When I speak, I often ask for a show of hands of how many people would like to see God “move.”  Usually almost all hands go up.  Yet if I were to ask those same people, including the church leaders, when was the last time they went through a major change or transition, most would probably indicate that it has been a while. They would probably even recount the way that change was “forced” on them by a job loss, death of someone close or other “act of God.”
    Often when people want God to “move,” they want it restricted to the public service on Sunday morning.  They want four hours of church squeezed into a one- or two-hour meeting.  They want that time to be unscripted and filled with the unexpected.  Yet then they want to go home and have life pretty much as it has been – working in the same place, living in the same house, following the same daily schedule until they come back again in one week’s time to hopefully see God “move” again. . 
    I gave a Christmas message not too long ago and used that time as an example of God “moving.”  Consider how these people moved and were affected when God “moved.”  When God shows up, things are put into motion, especially His people:

1.    Elizabeth became pregnant late in life after the angel visited her.
2.    Her unbelieving husband, Zechariah, could not speak for nine months until the baby was born.
3.    When the baby was born, they surprised everyone by naming the boy John.
4.    While Elizabeth was pregnant, her cousin Mary also had an angelic visitor announcing that Mary was pregnant with the Holy Child Jesus.
5.    Mary immediately went off to pay a visit to see Elizabeth.
6.    After Mary went back home, she and Joseph had to go to Bethlehem to register for the Roman census.
7.    While they were there, the baby “moved” and was born.
8.    Angels came to unsuspecting shepherds at work, who stopped what they were doing to go and see the child.
9.    Meanwhile men from the East were following a moving star that led them to the house where Jesus was so they could worship Him.
10.    Herod was disturbed by the Magi’s visit and sent soldiers to Bethlehem to destroy any male babies who could be a rival to his throne.
11.    An angel had warned Mary and Joseph that Herod was coming, so they had already left for Egypt.
12.    Eventually, an angel would come back to Joseph to tell him that the “coast was clear.” Herod was dead and they could return home. 
13.    They did return to Judea but did not feel safe, so they left and went to Nazareth.

    Do you get the idea?  When God “moves,” angels, governments, shepherds, families, wise men, ordinary men, women and children move, too.  Why is this important to mention at this time?  It is because we must learn to be productive in our purpose as we function in what I call Holy Spirit chaos when God “moves.”

    Feel free to write your comments to this entry on the site where it is posted.

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Changing the Way We Do Church: Seven Steps to Reformation is due to be released July, 2009 by Evergreen Press. To order your copy, please send an email to johnstanko@gmail.com.

Comments

Linda Chambers

So good, so true. God seems to do what we consider drastic in order to achieve in us what He considers normal. Why are we so fearful?

James Ohayo

Our Pastor has announced that there is going to be a "move" of God in our four year old Church with a congregation of 70, as we begin a new church season in July(this will most likely include a change of name for the church!). He has gone as far as to indicate to us that some will leave, and others will come. Many are apprehensive, particularly after last Sunday's message in which he preached on the need to have our hearts circumcised if we expect to move into the fullness God's purpose for us individually and corporately, or even survive the shaking. While many of us (including myself) know that God has a purpose for our lives, we are more confortable doing church as we have always done.Moving out of our comfort zone is no less painful in Church that is is in any other areas of our lives. Which would seem to indicate that we are not quite sure we want to know God's purpose for our lives!

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