Hello ‘Merica! I am officially back in the States until the end of February during which time I’ll be completing a practicum at Bella Goose, a coffee shop headquartered in Wisconsin Dells. As a business-as-missions, they seek to create a place of belonging by selecting, preparing, and sharing coffee to transform communities. To learn more, watch the video below! I am SO PUMPED to continue down the path God’s called me to and hope to eventually be working full time for Bella Goose starting next summer after completing G42.
But before stepping forward, a moment of reflection. If I were to characterize the last three months of life with one word it would be transformation. That is, a dramatic change from one thing, outlook or person to another. A metamorphosis from thinking, believing, feeling and acting a certain way to thinking, believing, feeling and acting a different way. The essence of this transformation I’ve experienced is directly from Jesus’ love coming utterly alive - pulsing, beating and vibrating - in the center of the center of my being, the very substance of what makes me who God created me to be.
That said, over the years and as recently as this week, I’ve continually heard submissive grumblings regarding ‘the way the world works’ and I know you’ve heard it too. Heck, I’ve contributed to the murmurs in times past and I’m certain you have too! Whether they be uttered out loud or a whisper in our heads, we’ve all at one point or another exchanged change, hope and freedom for resignation to sameness. We’ve come alongside, backed up and agreed with the very status quo we complain about. Why? Why would we desire something to change so badly only to shrug off the possibility of anything different as easily as we shrug our shoulders? No, but seriously, WHY?!
Perhaps it’s because we don’t actually believe we, ourselves can change? I mean, how many times have you made the concerted effort to do something differently than the way you’ve done it in the past, only to step in the same pile of crap you knew was there from the last time you did the same thing you said you weren’t going to do again? Yo, that’s me for real!
But here is the thing about transformation: it must be believed in order for it to change us at all. In fact, I submit to you that believing in change is woven in the very essence of the gospel and Jesus himself.
It was Jesus who changed the perception of the Law in the beatitudes. The disciples’ expectations changed when Jesus allowed himself to be killed because they assumed he would take back Jerusalem with power and force. Jesus changed people through healing and the very nature of nature itself changed when Jesus walked out of the grave, defeating death in his wake. Change is at the very core of repentance, reconciliation and redemption - all of which were fundamental to Jesus’ message. In fact, believing in Jesus’ ability to change and transform us is essential to Christ being formed in us (Galatians 4:19) because Christ is different than us!
What if I told you the difference which your spirit hopes for can actually be a reality? What if in believing, the God of hope will fill you with all joy and peace, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope (Romans 15:13)? What if I testified that through surrendered participation, change - Christ being formed in you - isn’t farfetched or a falsehood but the very act that brings the world into alignment with the Kingdom of God that is inside you?
Well get ready because that’s exactly what I am about to do!
You were born to be loved. You were created to have Holy Spirit dwelling richly in your heart. You were designed to be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled. You were made to be free. And if those things aren’t true, don’t shrug your shoulders and succumb to the world’s mediocrity; it’s a time to be transformed from the inside out by Jesus Christ! Second by second renewal because He is faithful and can do the impossible starting in you and me! Don’t settle for slapping a cliche quote about being the change in the world on a throw pillow and instead, believe it can actually happen! And when it does, believe it all the more!
And hear me, true transformation and the cultivation of God’s Kingdom inside of you does NOT come from a concerted effort or manipulative toil but rather, from the exact opposite. The world wants you to believe you can do it on your own but the reality is, you cannot change you. You can try and try until your fingers are worked to the bone but that is control, not transformation. There is only one true source of transformation: receiving the love of Jesus Christ.
And I speak from experience because that’s who has transformed me and my heart. My greatest revolution didn’t come from altering my habits or listening to teachings or gaining more knowledge, rather God changed from the inside out through open and willing surrender. Nothing fancy and certainly no magic. Instead, day after day, I laid curled up on a yoga mat in the middle of my bedroom floor, opening my heart, humbling yielding all I ‘could do’ for the only thing He wants us to do: receive His love.
And you know what He told me?
“You could stay here for the rest of forever and I would love you just the same.”
That is what transforms: pure Love. God is who transforms.
And if your immediate response is, “There is no way that works.” or “That won’t work for me,” All I ask is, “Have you tried it?”
If not, perhaps that’s the first change you could make.
Surrender and receive His love - let Him change you.
In order to be fully funded through the end of May and complete this portion of my journey, including graduating from G42, I still need to raise $3,000! These funds will cover tuition, flights home, living expenses and local ministry efforts. Would you please consider partnering with me financially by giving a one-time or monthly contribution of $50, $100, $200+? If so, you can give here: https://www.paypal.me/LVanSomeren