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Old Dog, New Tricks

Yesterday, about fifty members of my church stood around a pool in the rain. It was baptism day. As a handful of new believers entered and exited the pool, I thought about the change each had gone through in such a short time. Joy, peace, freedom, love, grace. Cleaned up lives, healed relationships, new habits. These people have been transformed radically by their encounter with God.

Yesterday, about fifty members of my church stood around a pool in the rain. It was baptism day. As a handful of new believers entered and exited the pool, I thought about the change each had gone through in such a short time. Joy, peace, freedom, love, grace. Cleaned up lives, healed relationships, new habits. These people have been transformed radically by their encounter with God.

I glanced around at all of us watching. We’ve also gone through radical change, but for most of us the big changes are memories. This one "used to be;" that one "once was." They’ve settled down into their mature Christian personalities.  But if you’ve ever watched the watchers at a baptism, you know a secret: most of them miss the transformations. Some are just nostalgic, others are downright envious, but just about everybody misses them. 

That got me thinking. While I have a wonderful church, full of amazing people, we are not actually perfect yet. There are things that could get knocked off, parts that could be polished, sins that should be addressed. Yet somehow our expectation is that the Extreme Makeover portion of our walk is over, and now we’re basically who and how we’ll always be. We’ve stopped expecting to be changed. Happily, God doesn’t agree. In Romans 12:2, Paul instructs us: "Do not be conformed  to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." There’s no time limit to this. It’s not "be transformed during the first 18 months after salvation" or "renew your mind until it’s better than it was before." It’s just "be transformed." 

While life-change might be more obvious at first because it’s all new and there’s so much that needs chaning, I’m confident that it’s available to–and expected for–all of us. Old dogs are SUPPOSED to learn new tricks.

For the secret to experiencing this transformation, even for "old dogs," we’ve got to back up to prior verse: [bible]Romans 12:1[/bible]

When you throw yourself on the altar, when you stop being an Expert Christian and just give yourself up to God (like you did as a young pup), when you renew your mind, when you dive into your Bible and worship and pray like your life depended on it (which it does), change happens. Again. 

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Laura Singleton

Laura Singleton’s passion is the transformation that happens when women get access to God’s Word and God’s Word gets access to women. She was twenty-five when her life was turned upside down by an encounter with Jesus Christ. With an insatiable thirst for scripture and theology, she soon headed to Dallas Theological Seminary to learn more about Jesus, and left with a Th.M. with an emphasis in Media Arts. She, along with two friends from DTS, travel the nation filming the independent documentary Looking for God in America. She loves speaking and teaching and is the author of Insight for Living Ministry’s Meeting God in Familiar Places and hundreds of ads, which pay the bills. Her big strong hubby Paul is a former combat medic, which is handy since Laura’s almost died twice already. She loves photography, travel and her two pugs.

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