Dear Ministry Partner,
Change. For some people, the word
makes them feel terrified and their heart stands still. For others,
the word "change" always creates excitement and their
heart beats faster! Different personality types view change in
different ways. It has been said that the one thing that is constant
in life is change. People change jobs, change cars, change clothing
styles, change houses, relationships change, the economy changes,
technology changes, and people around us change. The kids grow
up, the older relatives die of old age, the neighbors move away,
somebody you know comes down with a disease or falls away from
God — something seems to always be changing around us.
Understanding and dealing with change
properly is one of the keys to a successful life. People who don’t
understand when to change, how to deal with it, or aren't obedient
when God prompts change are destined for greater problems than
those who follow Spirit-led change. In fact, it seems like God
in the Bible was continually either creating change in the environment
around the Biblical characters, or else He was telling those characters
they needed to change. Anyone who tries to "just keep everything
the same" is in for a very uphill battle. Often, God wants
something to change.
God led the children of Israel
out of Egypt,
they camped in the wilderness for 40 years. However, they did
not camp in the same place. He led them with a pillar of cloud
by day, and a pillar of fire by night (Exo.
13:21). They were supposed to follow it in faith (Exo.
40:38), and sometimes it stayed in the same place for a year,
and sometimes only for 2 days (Num.
9:22). And the Bible does not record any pattern or reason
for it. God obviously had reasons for each "change"
but the children of Israel were vastly unaware of the reasons,
whatever they were. Numbers
chapter 33 records that God led the children of Israel to
"change" where they were camped at least 42 times. However,
the ones that were unwilling to change got left behind and died
unfulfilled in the wilderness. Others were impatient for change
and could not wait on the Lord (Num.
14:44 & 21:4), and this caused their premature death.
Basic attitudes toward change are
initially influenced from the personality of the individual involved.
There are four major human temperaments or personality types universally
recognized. Of these, two personality types are at the "extremes"
concerning willingness to change. First, the Sanguine type is
very prone to change (the "I" in the DISC model, also
known as "otters" by Gary
Smalley). Those who are very slow to change are the Phlegmatics
(the "S" in the DISC model, also known as "golden
retrievers" by Gary Smalley). Typically, the spontaneous
Sanguines need to resist the constant urge to change things so
often (nothing against the Sanguines, we need all the personality
types). As a contrast, typically the steady Phlegmatics need to
resist the constant urge to keep everything the same! Some people
have to be held back from changing so much, and others have to
be prodded to change anything! As is often the case, keeping a
balance is the key. The other two basic personality types have
a more "even" tendency in their approach to change,
but most people still don't like change.
It has also been said that there
are three kinds of people: those who make things happen, those
who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened. As
Christians, we need to make things happen — being leaders
for the Lord, and bringing about positive change for the Kingdom
of God. (And as Christians, what we make happen should be a blessings
to others, and not hurt, use, or control them.) God has not called
us just to exist for 70 or 80 years with nothing changing —
just paying utility bills every month! We were created for a higher
purpose, and society needs changing.
Others around us are competing to
create a change — to dictate the direction our society will
go. Hollywood and the unGodly media are trying to influence and
change people in an evil direction constantly. We need to simultaneously
resist this kind of incorrect change, while implementing our own
Some people try to change the things
of God into something less holy. For example, how on earth could
a historical, Godly minister in Turkey named Bishop
Nicholas be changed into a fat toy maker living on the north
pole with a bunch of elves? And how could the celebration of the
birth of the Son of God become a "winter holiday" and
be all about snowmen and commercial materialism? Some changes
need to be resisted.
Change is always somewhat risky,
but very vital. It has been said that whenever something stops
changing, it is dead. Change is not our enemy, incorrect action
is. As you contemplate this next year, what does God want you
to change? Is there something you need to start? Is there something
God wants you to stop? If you are in the wrong church, does God
want you to change churches? If you are in a dead-end job, does
God want you to change careers? Maybe you want to start reading
your Bible, or pray more? Some people have to get very uncomfortable
before they are willing to change. But God wants us to change
before we get uncomfortable. It is the still, small "voice"
that He wants us to follow — proactively changing —
rather than fleeing from a disaster and reactively changing. We
can change a little at a time and minimize the discomfort, rather
than having a massive change thrust upon us because we have not
Change is sometimes a difficult thing,
and it brings to mind a statement by a famous minister in England,
Campbell Morgan, who said "Faith sees and
dares in the day of overwhelming difficulty. Faith waits patiently
through delays caused by failure in others. Faith acts with courage
in the day of opportunity." What is God speaking to
you to change or take action on? Lives may be eternally impacted
by a "change" this year.
And when implementing change of any
kind, it is great to have as much stability as possible. And nothing
is more stable than the Word of God! We encourage you to read
through your Bible this next year, and our daily Bible
Reading Guide is a great tool for this. Invest into
God's Word, and you will have the power to change. We also invite
you to invest into our ministry as we are at the end of this fiscal
Changing things for God,
Dale & Judi Leander