A Comfortable Scandal – Transitions

The world loves a good scandal. “You’ve gotta see this! They’re some of the funniest pictures I’ve seen. Of course you know them. That’s what makes the pics so funny! Can you believe they would do that in front of a camera!?” One ‘friend’s’ quick moves with a camera-phone turns into another friend’s most embarrassing moment captured for all time and digitally duplicated all over the internet for the world to see. What will mom think!?

Scandalous new travels fast!

There’s a comfortable scandal that takes place everyday in the hearts of Believers. There’s a subtle line of obedience we simply aren’t willing to cross. We hear what Jesus has to say. We agree in spirit and nod our heads in affirmation until we realize He’s talking about us. That’s where the scandal lies. We follow Jesus until He asks us to do something seemingly difficult, counter-cultural, or just plain inconvenient. This isn’t new. John 6:66 tells us it happened during Jesus time as well. “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with him no more.” They came to the line they simply weren’t willing to cross. Scandalous…

There are 4 reasons why we walk away. And 4 ways to take the leap of faith Jesus asks us to make when He challenges us to do the difficult, impractical or inconvenient. Most everyone has drawn a line that says, “Jesus, I’m willing to follow you this far, but no farther.” I wonder, as you consider these 4 things how you might redraw the limits of your life.

4 Scandalous Distractions that Set the Limits of Our Faith

  1. Introduction – read more >
  2. Temptation – read more >
  3. Trials – read more >
  4. Teaching – read more >
  5. Transitions

Today – let’s focus on Transitions.

TRANSITIONS – Our church is going through a time of transition. Last year our pastor moved to another church. This year three more Associate Pastors and two Support Team Leaders stepped into ministries in other places. A few short years ago we had a ministerial staff of ten. Today, it’s four.

Changes like these in a church, a business or in your personal life produce natural, on-going effects. Transitions change momentum. Transitions create questions and instigate evaluation. Transitions are God’s way of putting all the right people in all the right places to accomplish His purpose here and around the world.

But let’s be honest, transitions are tough. Of all the things that trip us up in our walk of faith, nothing is quite so difficult to navigate as transitions. With temptation, there’s a definite wrong to overcome. With trials, there’s a clear pressure to endure. With teaching, there’s a well defined principle to obey. But that’s not how transitions work. You can do everything right and still find yourself in the middle of a difficult transition.

That’s how I would characterize what’s taking place right now in the church I serve. Those who are moving on are going where God leads to fulfill the ministry He’s entrusted to them. It’s good for them and will ultimately be good for the church – but in the middle of the transition sometimes the ‘goodness’ of things can be hard to see. With all these changes in staff we’ve said, “God moves the troops around. He’s putting all the right people in all the right places to accomplish His purpose here and around the world.” It’s true, but knowing this doesn’t make facing the transition any easier.

What does Scripture say?

John 15:1-2 says God prunes every branch that doesn’t bear fruit. That makes sense – get rid of the dead wood to make room for something that can bring life – but those leaders who have left our church are certainly not dead wood. Everyone of them were friends who have had a significant influence in my life. These transitions aren’t exactly what I had in mind or part of my ‘plan’ for ministry. Then I take a closer look at John 15:1-2. It also says, “…every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” Did you catch that? Because the tree bears fruit God prunes it back so that it will be ready to bear even more fruit than ever before.

The key to following God through times of transition is FAITHFULNESS.

Like a car slowing down to turn a corner, transitions in our life or organization always change momentum. It’s a necessary change. Accelerate through the turn too much and the car flips over. Take your foot off the gas and once the turn is complete you’ll slow down even more. Faithfulness is remaining true to your calling. It’s finishing what you’ve started. It’s letting your ‘yes’, be ‘yes’, and your ‘no’ be ‘no’. It’s following God, wherever He may lead, in the integrity of your heart. It’s about applying the right amount of pressure as you keep your foot on the gas through the turn.

Momentum is an interesting thing. While on Earth you may have to slow down to turn a corner NASA has discovered that in the heavens you can use a change in direction along with the gravity from something like the moon to slingshot a satellite to it’s destination. For NASA, turning the corner of transition doesn’t always slow things down – it accelerates their plans and allows them to accomplish their mission.

Every transition you face can be just like this. It can be the transition that slows your walk to a crawl. It can be the transition that derails the direction of your plans. Or it can be the transition that accelerates you into the next exciting chapter of your life.

Don’t let transitions keep you from following God. Instead, remain faithful. Transitions are God’s way of placing you and those around you in just the right place to accomplish His mission. They are His way of preparing you for the road ahead.