27 Jan 2014 TonyaJohnson

Willingness to Embrace Change

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Regent University - born againGood things happen when we are willing to embrace change and go with the flow. This is something I know all too well. What is this flow? God’s wonderful, awesome and powerful Holy Spirit.

A couple months ago, I did something that I never thought possible. While completing my culminating internship, I was asked by the principal of the internship site to conduct an assembly for grades 1-8.

In the past, I probably would’ve tried to wiggle my way out of it, but when asked, I accepted the challenge. No sooner than I said yes, he asked, “Do you think you could also do the Teacher’s Devotion and Assembly on Monday? Again, I decided to willingly submit by adding, “Sure. Yes I will do it.”

Afterwards, Mr. Bonifas took the time to give me some pointers about how he conducts the assembly and shared the theme for the week. The lesson I was scheduled to share was taken from John 3:3 about how to be born again.

The morning of the assembly, I was going over my notes in the auditorium when a friendly little girl with a bubbly disposition came over to ask me what I was doing. After sharing what I was about to do, she replied, “What is born again?” I took that as my cue to share a mini version of the lesson.

Being born again is a spiritual birth that we experience as we come into fellowship with God through His son Jesus Christ when we 1, accept Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, and 2. are baptized and receive His Holy Spirit.

During the presentation, the room was filled with administrators, faculty, staff, parents and students. Afterwards, one of the teachers came over and shared how excited her students were to hear the topic of being born again,(which they recently learned about in class) reiterated.

It was then that my life truly began to change. From that moment on, my apprehension about speaking before large crowds began to dwindle away; and my heart was filled with enthusiasm and so much joy.

God then used two other occasions to stretch, challenge me to grow, and change my perception about myself: the Teacher’s Devotion and a final assembly presentation.

The central theme surrounding the Teacher’s Devotion was “love” (1 John 4:8). Key points included the importance of “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15), and using our mouths as light bearers, leaders and educators to speak words of life to build others up rather than words of death to tear others down (Proverbs 18:21).

I also shared some of the teachings I received here at Regent in Dr. Cox’s class concerning the sin nature while emphasizing the importance of us consistently serving those within our care from a position of love as Christ did. Love diminishes the sin nature and inspires one to emulate desirable behaviors.

For the final presentation, I was given the opportunity to select two biblical stories which highlighted Jesus’ miracles.

The first story dealt with three men of God in Daniel 3: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. God came through for His faithful servants when it seemed impossible. I focused on Scriptures like, “Trust in the LORD with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6), and “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37). As long as we keep our eyes on Jesus, in Him, we can overcome impossible things.

This was certainly the case with the second story about Peter walking on water. As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he too was able to overcome impossible circumstances (Matthew 14:29). We must look at Peter’s victories and failures and learn from them. In our own strength apart from God, we “can do nothing” (John 15:5).

The goal of the presentation was to challenge listeners to  obey God and encourage them to 1, stand on God’s words, and 2, uphold and stand on their Christian convictions no matter what.

God was certainly in the midst of the teachings. I had a great time delivering the message and was amazed at how calm I felt in the process. As an intern, I was challenged to carry out assignments that allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and caused me to grow in ways that I would’ve never previously thought possible.

In the process, I allowed God to use me to be a blessing to others and watched Him change my perceptions about myself. Prior to this experience, I saw glimpses of my speaking abilities when teaching, praying and sharing Scripture with others.

Now God has shown me that through Him, I have the ability to confidently speak to large groups of people without buckling or falling apart. My future looks brighter and now I know that God has a calling on my life to impact others.

Some of you may be going through a similar situation right now and may wonder whether to accept the challenge or pass it by. What will you decide? Allow God to use you in new and different ways. He will take you places you never thought possible.

We are conduits that God uses to positively impact the lives of others. So the next time you are faced with a life-altering challenge from the Lord, simply go with the flow and embrace it. You won’t be sorry.

Tonya Johnson

M.Ed. in Christian School Program

Online Student

New York, NY

I am blessed with a wonderful family and believe that nothing is accidential, but carefully orchestrated and presented by an all-wise, all knowing, all powerful and mighty God. Praying daily to be a willing instrument in His divine plan.
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