Dear Transformable,

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable.” Romans 12:2.

That was Paul’s message to the first generation of followers of Jesus in Rome. That is Paul’s message to the twenty first century followers of Jesus in the world. Don’t be “conformed" to the world but be “transformed” by the power of the gospel to transform the world. “Transformation” is not an act of pride, but an act of humble service.

Followers of Jesus are the original “Transformers.” Faith in Christ “transforms” us, not  "conforms” us. Face it, if you claim to be a Christian, you are claiming to be something more that you are. You are claiming to be more than the sum of your parts. You are claiming to manifest Jesus and be a “transforming" presence in the world. As a “transformed" member of the transformational “Body of Christ,” you have something more to offer than yourself. You have giftedness, special “charism,” that was given to you the moment you were baptized and started following Christ in The Way. This giftedness is not something that leads to pride, but to humility and service.

The problem is the church as the “body of Christ” is extremely bad at recognizing and celebrating the special gifts of its members. We tend to see problem children, outcasts, outsiders and weirdos where there are just special gifts.

Martin Luther was a “problem child.”

John Wesley was a “weird dude.”

Nelson Mandela was an “outcast" and “prisoner.”

Martin Luther King Jr was one “crazy guy.”

All together they are joined in the pantheon of those who are “members of one another”—who have “gifts that differ according to the grace given us.”

We are accepted, we are chosen, we are designated, we are destined. All in the same instant. Repentance, forgiveness, grace, redemption and a uniquely gifted mission are all part of the “Jesus package” which we receive in baptism.

The “Jesus package” also includes the change from “conforming" to “transforming”—a recreation of ourselves in the light of the processes and powers of our resurrected Lord. We are different after encountering and embracing Jesus in baptism. After confessing our faith, we no longer “fit into” the world or “conform" to the world.

Here is one way we are called to “transform,” not “conform”: the world works according to hierarchies. To be a follower of Jesus does not guarantee you will reach the top of any human hierarchy. What transformation promises is that regardless of your earthly status you will have unspeakable joy and experience everlasting glory.

And Happy 29th birthday to my dear daughter, Amanda! May the grace of Christ which claimed you in baptism transform you anew this day and every day!

Still in one peace,

Pastor David J. Jensen

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