Archive for the ‘transformation’ Tag

The Messenger – Converted and Called!


Audio – Part A: 25 min


Audio – Part B: 24 min


Audio – Full message:


Bible Verses:  Acts 9: 1-25


“The most meaningful changes in life are the ones that move us closer to fulfilling our God-given purpose—starting with being converted as new followers of Christ. We don’t change and grow to be better people with better lives with the goal of feeling better about who we are. We grow to become faithful Christ-followers sent by the God who sends.

Saul, later known as Paul, collided with God on the road to Damascus. More precisely, it was “the God who sends” who collided with Paul, and this Pharisee’s life was never the same. Paul’s story reminds us how God can transform even the hardest of hearts and what it looks like to become a converted, called messenger of the God who sends us on mission with His Son.”

Theological Theme:

Conversion to Christ comes with a calling to ministry with God [Father, Son and Holy Spirit]

Christ Connection:

The conversion and calling of Saul, later Paul, is a demonstration of God’s power to save. Through an encounter with the crucified and risen Jesus, this once-hardened persecutor of God’s people began his journey to becoming the greatest missionary the world has ever known. Only the gospel can transform a public opponent of Christ into a fervent witness to His salvation.

Missional Application:

God, through His Holy Spirit, calls us to pray with full confidence that God can transform even the hardest heart.

Photo Compliments YouTube


Love Really Does Win

angry bear One of my dear ones was hurt emotionally not so long ago, and like a she-bear, I would have liked nothing better than to confront the offending party.  It would be extremely satisfying to point out exactly how wrong, illogical, and hurtful the offender’s actions were, and more importantly, I would feel like I was doing something to help or to bring some justice to the situation.

I did not challenge them, more out of respect for my dear one than for the offender. And instead, I decided to grade papers.  There’s a saying that goes “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” In my case, though I was the teacher, I was taught again (probably for the hundredth time!) about how love really does win through one of my student’s writing assignments.

The writing assignment was based on a personal experience that required the student to entirely reconsider his or her attitude toward another person. My student (whom I’ll call Tammy) wrote about a work experience where her younger coworker began bullying Tammy’s daughter who was a new employee.  The daughter was a little overweight, and the bullying coworker showed no mercy or restraint in making that obvious to all.  The daughter was so miserable that she eventually quit the job.

Though Tammy would have liked to confront this coworker about her mistreatment of her daughter, she somehow refrained and instead, she decided that she was not going to let this bully’s behavior ruin her job, too.  She determined she would be her normal, happy self, and that she would ignore any negativity from the bully.  Over time, Tammy was surprised that the bully began to talk to her, and Tammy continued to treat her kindly, just as she did everyone else.  Even more surprising is that eventually the bully became a friend, both to Tammy and her daughter, the very one who had been bullied.

When I read Tammy’s account about how she handled the mistreatment of her dear one, and how it resolved by continuing to show love and kindness to the offending person, I was prompted to think of my own dear one’s situation in a different light.  Even Jesus, when he suffered on the cross, asked the Father for a little mercy on behalf his tormentors because “they know not what they do.” In our world full of hurts, maybe a little extra kindness where it is not deserved may bring about much-needed healing, and infusing a negative, hurtful situation with the love of God might provide the reconciliation that we all desire. If indeed “God is Love” (I John 4:8), then allowing that love to flow through us to those with whom we are at odds may be our way to participate as God transforms this world, one person at a time.

It would have been VERY satisfying, humanly speaking, to respond in kind to the person who hurt my loved one.  But, as I learned from my spiritual teacher Tammy, seeing transformation as the goal, rather than revenge or justice, means that love must be applied lavishly.  With transformation as the objective, love really does win.

~by Nan Kuhlman

     photo courtesy of

Babies, Love, and Transformation

mother baby hands I’m in the midst of my fall semester, and my composition students have completed their first essay.  The assignment was a narrative, and the prompt instructed them to tell me a story about a person or event that influenced the way they see the world.

I’ve used this prompt in the past, and I’ve always enjoyed reading the stories.  Some of them I’ve cried over, especially those that involved the death of a dear family pet (I’m such a softie!).  But this time, I noticed a trend in a number of them, a commonality that made me stop and think about what it really takes to change a person and where true transformation comes from.

Out of the seventy-five essays that I graded, I would guess that about fifteen percent of them told me the story of how they became a mother and the way that event influenced them.  Many, if not most, of these stories told about living a teen’s life of drinking, drugs, and promiscuity, and some mentioned the hurts that produced this type of lifestyle.

One student told how she would get drunk every night, go to high school hung over, sleep in the bathroom stalls through classes, and then do it all over again the next night.  She wondered how she ever graduated.  This was a common story throughout my reading of these essays – a life of total licentiousness with no supervision or parental guidance.  But then something happened that changed everything.

For my students, it was a positive pregnancy test.  These women (or in many cases, teenage girls) were transformed from a wild lifestyle to one of responsibility, contentment, and even happiness.  Why?

As I read the essays, I would see sentences like, “When I saw my son’s face for the first time, I fell in love,” and “I knew I wanted to take care of my daughter and make a better life for us both.”  The common point in the transformation of these women from a promiscuous, self-indulgent lifestyle to one of contentment and joy was love, and in particular, the all-consuming passion of mother-love and the helpless, reciprocal love of a newborn.

These women were not changed by a list of rules or someone telling them they needed to straighten up and live responsibly.  They were not transformed by “shoulds” or “musts” or “have-tos.”  It was just love, and it was enough.

The implications of this lesson are huge for parents, for churches, for all of us, really.  Knowing that we are loved and accepted and loving others wholeheartedly is the key to true transformation and lasting change.  Since any love we experience has its origins in the Father, Son, and Spirit, we can say that God is the source of lasting change, but practically speaking, it often takes a human application of loving and being loved to feel the unconditional love of God.

I’ve always been a rules-type of person, so the idea of allowing the unconditional love of God to flow in me (invoking healing), through me (to others), and back to me (from others) as a means of experiencing more of human life as God intended it, seems a little intangible.  But as I’ve witnessed through the lives of my students, love is all you need.

~ by Nan Kuhlman

Transformation and The Dawn Treader

I realize that they’re supposed to be children’s books, but I have a fondness for The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis.  It should be no surprise then when I report that I have seen the latest movie based on the books, The Chronicles of Narnia:  The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  Before you think that this is turning into a movie review or that I’ll spoil the plot for those of you awaiting the DVD, you can rest easy.  What I want to talk about is what is missing from the movie.

The Dawn Treader features a new character named Eustace, the sulky, sour-faced cousin of Edmund and Lucy.  As you can imagine, there is no love lost between the Pevensies and Eustace until his lack of integrity and a little magic put him in a humbling position that allows Aslan, the great Lion, to change him both inside and out.

The movie portrays this in a dramatic and entertaining fashion, and from watching the movie, one might think that Eustace changed overnight from being a pain in the neck to being the best cousin ever.  The book, however, tells a slightly different story.

C.S. Lewis says this of Eustace’s transformation:  “It would be nice, and fairly true, to say that ‘from that time forth Eustace was a different boy.’  To be strictly accurate, he began to be a different boy.  He had relapses.  There were still many days when he could be very tiresome.  But most of those I shall not notice.  The cure had begun” (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader ,  Chapter 7).

Eustace had had a life-changing encounter and transformation with Aslan, yet he still messed up sometimes.  He still sinned, just as we do even though we understand our adoption and salvation through Jesus Christ.  The important thing for us to remember is that our adoption isn’t contingent on us behaving properly or peeling the “scales” of sin off, like Eustace tried to do.  The “cure” for our sin disease was begun long before we ever knew of Jesus Christ.

As we “live and move and have our being” in Christ (Acts 17:28), we will have plenty of days when we’re “very tiresome.”  Thankfully, the Triune God doesn’t seem to notice.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit know that our cure has been started, and they are certain to bring it to fruition.

~by Nan Kuhlman

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