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Spiritual rebirth first step in lifelong journey

GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–The concept of spiritual transformation is about a lot more than just earning a spiritual degree. Spiritual rebirth is just the first moment of a life-long path toward spiritual maturity, according to Sam House, editor-in-chief of LifeWay’s HomeLife magazine.

Speaking at Glorieta, a LifeWay Conference Center, during Sunday School Leadership Week, June 25-29, House said, “God equips us to become spiritually mature to do what He has for us to do. God often uses the least likely people to accomplish His work because of their availability.”

In becoming spiritually transformed, we have to look to Scripture, House said. “The world bombards us with messages every day. If enough people are saying something is OK, if enough people are doing something, it can be seen as acceptable. But our standard is not the world. It’s God. Spiritual transformation reminds us of what God has said in His Word.”

He said, “A spiritual life is always going to be a life in conflict. Our flesh always gets in the way of our spiritual self.”

Telling the crowd that God holds us accountable for every day we are given, House said, “We need to be accountable not only in what we do, but for all the opportunities we have and don’t take.”

Steve Ballew, pastor of Trinity Southern Baptist Church in Casa Grande, Ariz., illustrated this point with a story about a FAITH (a Sunday School evangelism strategy) experience that gave him the opportunity to be used.

Ballew said an 11th grade boy visited his church the first Sunday in June with some school friends.

“I went on Monday night visitation with our new education and youth minister, Kim Clifton, to visit this boy. We went to the young man’s home to see him. When we got there, his 19-year-old brother, 9th grade sister, 10th grade girlfriend, and his mom were all there. For a while, we just sort of goofed off, joking around, making the boy feel welcomed at the church. The older brother had been in my wife’s English class at school, so we sort of had a connection with him.

“Since none of the others had ever visited, we wanted to keep things light-hearted and non-threatening.

“Before we left, though, I just knew I needed to share the gospel with them. I needed to get on to ‘the question,’ [What, in your opinion does it take to get to Heaven?] but since everything had been so ‘fun,’ I didn’t thing they were ready.

“But the Spirit kept pushing, so I asked. The mom gave me a works answer, so I continued. They let me go through the whole presentation, and all five of them accepted Christ!”

Ballew said the church has grown from about 200 to 300 members in the past two years, primarily due to the FAITH strategy.

“When we think of how God transforms us, I think about this week. While everyone seems to like to come to Glorieta — it is a beautiful place — the bigger thing is you’ve made yourself available to God to be transformed.”

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