In a Word, Transformation

Chuck and I are dipping our toes into church life here in the sunny land of Pensacola. I know, I know. It’s been over a year. Perhaps like you, church is hard for us. We are looking for real. Real Jesus. Real Holy Spirit. Real community. Which in turn means there will be real gifts and power. Oh yeah. And real worship. And the right view of women. It doesn’t seem like such a tall order when I read the New Testament. But in today’s churchianity, real is nearly impossible to find. That said, we walked into a church a couple of weeks ago and I started crying as the worship team was only warming up. 

I thought, ‘Okay, now we are getting someplace.’ We’ve been several times since and it is close enough for now.

All this is to set up what happened yesterday. In this particular denomination, they celebrate what they call Transformation Sunday, and then they begin Lent on Ash Wednesday. I have lots of thoughts about these man-made traditions. But let’s focus on Transformation Sunday which is based on the transfiguration of Jesus found in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

In our current world, trans is a loaded word and most commonly meant to cross over, from one to another. Think transatlantic, transfer, and of course recently, transgender.

But in scripture, trans is connected to the word transform which means beyond or above… Remember Romans 12:2 says do not be conformed, think cookie cutter, but be transformed, altogether different, by the renewing of your mind.  

I notice we say transformation a lot in Greater Things. I mean. A. Lot. As I sat in church on Sunday I began to piece together why that is. Jesus took three disciples up on a mountain. Why only three? Why those three? But once there, Jesus transformed beyond His natural man to reveal His heavenly one. The three-dollar word transfiguration means to shape or fashion, above. If you look up the definition it speaks of Christ being seen in his glory. 

Peter, James and John had a BLOW YOUR MIND encounter with Jesus. Jesus trusted them and planted in them a vision of Who He truly was. Seeing Jesus unveiled in this dramatic way changed those three men forever. They could not un-see this beautiful Jesus.

All through the bible, we see transformation. People changed over time. People healed in a moment. Murderers becoming kings. Persecutors becoming apostles. Demon possessed becoming worshippers. And then Jesus ups the ante and says there is even more transformation possible. Beyond. Above. 

I was so immersed in the scripture yesterday and then they showed the classic art masterpiece by Raphael. My mind was recalling different visions I have had personally, and other’s stories of great manifestations. My spirit was soaring…until the pastor dialed it-all-back-down.

He summarized, and I paraphrase, if you have visions, great.  If you don’t, great. It doesn’t really matter as long as you love Jesus.  Wait, what?

Jesus has revealed His glorious nature to mere mortals and they didn’t die. Then Jesus went on to say He has shared this same glory with us. Then Holy Spirit shows up and shows us how to live a life that is beyond or above the common human experience in the middle of the common human experience.

And the pastor is telling me the supernatural doesn’t matter? Is that true?

I tell you it is not.

We have a supernatural, glorious, all-together-other God who is living within us, breathing His life into us, pouring heaven out on us and through us. We dare not settle for the human answers and responses and diagnoses. We dare not settle for comfortable or quitting or resignation. We dare not settle for dead, dreamless lives that have no hope of change.

I have been through too much pain, too much brokenness, too much devastation to dial down the goodness of God, the wonder of His interventions, and the power of His transformation in my life. If it wasn’t for His supernatural presence I wouldn’t be here. Hard Stop.

I have seen too many miracles and experienced His glories too many times to dial it down. I will ALWAYS expect God to move miraculously in every area of my life.

So here is what I would have said yesterday in that sermon.

  1. You have a powerful, beautiful God who longs to reveal himself to his people. Are you looking, asking and receiving from Him?
  2. Once you have encountered Him, what are you doing with the divine revelation? He shows you things for a reason. Carry it well.
  3. Your hunger for the heavenly encounters brings about change in your own life and thus the change in others. We don’t need more therapy as much as we need to connect with this glorious God.

Listen. I am all about counseling. Heck, GT is built on helping others get healthy.  But at its core, counseling and therapy and deliverance are ways to remove obstacles so people can truly see God and see themselves as God does.

It is delusional for us to say we love a supernatural God and then believe we should stay the same.  So we go for transformation. We go for dreams and visions and encounters.

We speak it. We seek it. We live it. We promise it. We promote it.