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The Process of Growth

Readiness to Change The Future

“Start walking” never looked so good.

The Process of Growth

The Gospel of John tells the story of God’s love for the changing world. The passage from John 5 (below) tells a story of “one man” healed among “hundreds” sick by the pool and conveys both the promise and the compromise of hope.

Thirty-eight (38) years could be considered a long time. Thirty-eight years ago I was a recent graduate from Parkdale High School, Class of 1972. Go Panthers! Yeah, thirty-eight years is a long time. Happily, I changed. I grew.

We all can change. We all can grow.

Sometimes getting ready to change takes time.

Thirty-eight years ago your house cost $25,000, the White House broke into the Watergate, the Dow-Jones hit 1020 while Hotel California hit #1, people landed on the moon, the HP-35 calculator landed in your hand, HBO handed you the first cable program, and IBM’s supercomputer filled a room. Amazing.

Thirty-eight years ago the Presbyterian Church (USA) counted 4,000,000 members. Newark Presbytery had 18,000 members in 52 churches with more than 900,000 neighbors within its bounds. Few knew in1972 that growth was on the slippery slope of decline, and even fewer knew that the decline of all churches, and all other volunteer associations from PTA’s to the bowling leagues could be attributed to the same cause; organizational disconnect from an increasingly fragmented community life.

This is huge.

Back to the story from John 5. What about that “one man” at the pool? The scope of change during thirty-eight years he experienced in real time would be as if that man settled down by the pool paralyzed with Nixon in office, and (thirty-eight years passing) ended up meeting Jesus when Obama was in office. He laid down by that pool expecting somehow or another to get better. (He was there for his health, right?) In the same way, the time it took The PC(USA) to go from 4M to 2M members; that man waited, and waited, and waited for something to change. We should not be surprised at the Master’s question upon learning how long the “one man” had been lying there when he asked: “Do you want to get well?”

Intelligence Break: The process of growth is a process, not an event.

  • Do you want to get “well,” change something?
  • How to you experience the process of change?
  • What is something you wish to change?
  • Why does growth matter to you?
  • Are you ready for change?

See next blog: The Readiness Factor for Growth

John 5:1-8 Soon another Feast came around and Jesus was back in Jerusalem. Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there was a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda, with five alcoves. Hundreds of sick people; blind, crippled, paralyzed—were in these alcoves. One man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, “Do you want to get well?”

The sick man said, “Sir, when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.”

Jesus said, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.” The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bedroll and walked off.