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Saturday, April 11, 2015


“New Beginnings Begin With Endings”
By Pastor Mark Taylor

"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.”   (John 12:24).

Life is full of changes.  Some are expected, while others are not.  Some are pleasant, while others are not.  The question I would like to help you with today, is “How do we deal with change?” in a way that will help us.  I think the Bible gives us some tried and true strategies to use to move from one point in our lives to a better point.  If you are unable or unwilling to deal with change, I hope this message will give you some strategies to start moving in a better direction.  Some of you are in a unhappy place in your life.   You were there a year ago and others are in the same unhappy place you were several years ago.  Don't you think it is time to make some changes in your life so you won't be where you are a year or five or ten years from now.  My wife and I have a sign hanging on our back porch that says "I have found my Happy Place".  My prayer for you is that one day soon you can hang that sign in your home.  It is about the goodness of God helping you make your dreams come true.

I would like to call this process “Transition” rather than just change.  Change is just moving the chairs around on the deck of a ship, while transition is getting on a different ship and moving toward a different destination.  I have read a very helpful book on this subject that has the title of “Transition” by William Bridges.  Some of the information and strategies I am going to share with you comes from that book.  These will be in quotation marks within this sermon.

Jesus has given us specific statements regarding spiritual “transition”.   Many of us have heard the invitation to come to Christ and have given our hearts to the Savior.  We have read and heard the verse Jesus said to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:3).    We know that before a child is born into the world he has eyes, but cannot see, he has ears but cannot hear. Before we are born we cannot breathe. It is only after he is born that he is now capable of hearing and seeing.  When we are “born again” we receive our spiritual eyes and ears. “The natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (I Corinthians 2:14).  When we are “born again” God breathes into our soul a spiritual life.  It is that great change which God works in the soul when he brings it into life.  When we are “born again”, our spiritual life begins. Our Lord is reminding us that if we are going to have the kingdom of God in us in this lifetime, and the kingdom of Heaven in the life to come, we must do two things:  “Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4).

The process of “Transition” in other areas of our life follow a similar pattern. “Transition isn’t some optional “if you get around to it”, add-on to the change; it not icing on the cake that can be forgotten until things ease up and you’ve finished with the important stuff…When a change happens without people going through a transition, it is just a rearrangement of the chairs.” 
I would like for you to think about the “transition” you are going through today.  Maybe you have thought if you could just change something in your life, your life would be better.  But have you considered that the change or “Transition” has to begin within you, not with someone else, or some other place.  Below are steps or stages you must go through to have a successful transition from where you are to where you want to be.

The simple three phases:

  1. “Letting go of the old ways and the old identity people had.  This first phase of transition is an ending, and the time when you need to deal with your loses.”
  2. “Going through an in-between time when the old is gone but the new isn’t fully operational.  We call this time the “neutral zone”: it is when the critical psychological realignments and new patterns take place.”
  3. “Coming out of the transition and making a new beginning.  This is when you develop the new identity, experience the new energy, and discover the new sense of purpose that make the change begin to work.”

The most difficult step is the first one and that is the ending must come before their can be a new beginning.  “..unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” (John 12:24).  It is not easy and often takes a lot of time.  But the first thing is to realize that their must be endings before God can start new things in your life.  Our Lord said: “Behold, I make all things new.” (John 21:5).  As children of God, we have this resource that God can help us through this difficult step.  

We have to let some things go in order for the Lord Jesus to make new and better things happen in our lives.  This can happen as the Holy Spirit renews our minds.  “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2).  This can be done through prayer, reading God’s Word, thinking differently, walking by faith, and surrounding ourselves with positive people who love God.

The second step requires waiting on the Lord. “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalms 27:14). We have to plant new seeds and then give them time to grow and produce the good things we have been praying and working toward.  It takes awhile for a seed to die and start its new life and produce fruit.  God can align people and situations in your life to help you make the “transition”, but it has to be in “His” timing. Use positive, spiritual, and loving people to help you.  If necessary, get professional help through books or counseling.

Finally, “…but if it dies, it produces much grain.” (John 12:24).  This is the place we want to be in our transition.  Finding that person who will love us, the job that we love to go to each day, being able to look at the death of our loved ones as temporary, or being able to retire from a lifetime of working to enjoy our family.  This can happen for you.  It is happening for many people who have learned to have “endings” and are giving God time to work.  May God bless you as you allow Him to help you in your “Transition”.