Meeting Times at 4th United Presbyterian Church

Cafe' Worship: 9:15 a.m. each Sunday in Gathering Hall (activities provided for children; coffee; snacks)
Adult Sunday School: 10 a.m.

Sunday Worship: 11 a.m.


Bible Study: each Thursday at 6 p.m.


Community Forum: last Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. with meal (no community forum in November, 2011)


About the 4th United Presbyterian Bible Blog

Posts on this blog are from me, Rev. George H. Waters, one of the two organizing co-pastors of 4th United Presbyterian Church. Our other organizing pastor was Rev. Sonya McAuley-Allen, who is now pastor of a church in Charlotte, N.C. Since June of 2011, Rev. Elizabeth Peterson has been our parish associate pastor for new church development. The earliest posts are sermon notes from the few I have typed the last two years. Then, there is a series of notes posted on the book of Romans. After that, it varies from week to week, sometimes church news, sometimes reflections on a happening, a passage of scripture, or even some pictures. This blog is meant to open the conversation we have going on in our church to others in our community.



The picture below is of our church's sanctuary, built in 1913.




Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Can human beings really change?

This question haunts history and often haunts our personal lives as well. "Can he, can she, can I really change?" It was this question, I believe, that haunted Nicodemas, and why the old respected teacher came by night to seek wisdom from the young, country prophet. And, this prophet, who was more than a prophet said to Nicodemas: "You must be born again . . . of the Spirit of God."

I like the language "born again." It conveys the radical starting over, giving up, and newness of life from God that comes among us and to us in Jesus.

But, we, like Nicodemas, think and feel: "But, how can a man really start over (or, as Nicodemas literally said: "Can a man go back into his mother's womb?")? Or, as Jackson Browne sings: "The future's there for anyone to change, still you know it seems, it would be easier sometimes to change the past."

"Can he ever change? Can she ever change? Can I change?"

In a British novel I was reading yesterday, one of the characters gives an opinion on this question saying: "No, but people can learn to manage themselves a bit better."

From the human side, maybe that is a pretty good answer. Maybe it is when we learn to manage ourselves a little bit better that the soil is prepared for change. Maybe that is all we can do. Learn to manage ourselves a little bit better and hope for the change that comes from beyond, the Spirit that blows where it wills, and nobody knows where it starts and where it ends. It takes faith to believe we can learn to manage ourselves better, and faith to believe that that prepares the ground for a transformation that we can't manage but only accept with thanksgiving and wonder.

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