This morning we had our “Butty and a Prayer” meeting. It’s our bi-monthly men’s gathering we meet at 8am and share bacon butty’s, have a time of worship, some Bible teaching and prayer. I have grown to really enjoy these meetings – okay the bacon butty has something to do with that!
Our meeting this morning was a little special though. We were joined by a man called Simon Pinchbeck. Simon is a former Police Officer who took a career change and became a criminal. It’s when he reached rock-bottom, he met Jesus for himself and became a Christian. Simon has now dedicated his life to sharing his faith with men from all backgrounds.
His story is a fascinating one and, if you get the chance, please go and listen to him speak it’s an experience you will not regret. It would be easy to recount all of the horrors and mistakes Simon has made in his life and get caught up in them but, to do that, would actually miss the point of his story. Simon does not try to glamourize his past but faces his mistakes. You see, it’s not what Simon WAS that matters, it’s what Simon IS that matters.
I believe that within every human being there is the capacity to change and develop. It’s not what we were that matters it’s what we become that matters. The Bible is full of people whose lives changed. A fisherman by the name of Simon was repairing his nets when he heard a young teacher say “come and follow me”, he did and his name and life were changed forever (Peter). A murderer by the name of Saul encountered the same teacher (albeit different circumstances!) on a road to Damascus, he was so stunned by the experience, he changed his name from Saul to Paul and ended up writing most of what we call The New Testament. In it he writes;
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come
(2 Corinthians 5 vs. 17 ESV)
So what about my story or, your story? They may not be like Simon Pinchbeck or Simon the Fisherman or even Saul the Murderer. But, none the less our stories are important too and our lives can be changed forever and for the better.
How do we get this change? Saul the Murderer tells us that the key to change is being “in Christ”.
How can we be in Christ? We open our hearts to Him and ask Him to come into our lives and make the changes that He sees need making. Might I also encourage you to find a Church that will help you to grow into the person that you can be.
It’s not what you WERE that matters, it is who you ARE in Christ that matters and what you can become through His grace that will make all the difference.