20 Lessons/20 Years: Lesson #11: God’s Word Transforms

God’s Word is powerful. I know this sounds like a Christian cliche, but I’ve seen its power too many times. The power of God’s Word to transform lives and communities animates the very core of my ministry conviction.

Over the month of May, I’m reflecting on 20 lessons I’ve gleaned from 20 years in vocational ministry.  Lesson 1-10 can be read below.

Lesson #11: God’s Word Transforms

I’m thankful for the communities I’ve been part of and the way they shaped my love for the Scriptures. I wouldn’t be who I am without them. My hometown church was passionate about God’s Word, raising me to receive the Bible as food. The teachers at Peace River Bible Institute during my era there, especially Ian McPhee, Reuben Kvill and Waldie Neufeld, drove us back to the text again and again, leading us to live under its authority. At the Grande Prairie Church of Christ, Alan Jones preached (and still does) the power of God through his Word and led me to apply that to my life and ministry. Regent College drove me deeper still, letting the Scriptures re-frame my whole perspective on life.

Lindsey Olesburg prepping a group of leaders for IVCF's 2009 Urbana Missions Conference. In IVCF, God's Word permeates everything.
Lindsay Olesberg prepping a group of leaders for IVCF’s 2009 Urbana Missions Conference. In IVCF, God’s Word permeates everything.

At Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, we couldn’t gather without Scripture at the centre; even when I’d travel to Toronto for nation-wide leadership meetings we’d spend significant time in God’s Word. And now, within the Evangelical Covenant Church, God’s Word forms the very headwaters of our community life.

And what I’ve seen has convinced me that God’s Word truly is sharper than any double-edged swordGod-breathed and useful to change us and equip us for what we need. When we let God’s Word in, we are changed. I’ve seen marriages restored, addictions defeated, love accepted, and forgiveness received and offered. I’ve witnessed people called into mission, healed, challenged and released into new life. I’ve seen good change come to both individuals and organizations, churches and families. Sometimes there’s no telling what’ll happen!

Where is it written-Pure and simple: God’s Word has power. Early in my Grande Prairie days, we gathered with a group of young adults, made up mostly of retail and service staff, many of whom had little connection to Jesus and the church.  Seeing them engage with the story of Jesus in the Gospel of John, watching as they realized that this story was true–that Jesus was real!–witnessing the change that came as they started to believe and trust Jesus and then follow him along the Way–what an amazing experience! And I’ve seen it done many times since.

This is why God’s Word is central to everything I do. It’s why I study hard and preach relentlessly, why I rigorously promote Scripture study, why I compel Christians to read and reflect, why I work hard to see our church rooted deep in God’s Word. It’s God’s Word that transforms–not my words, not my ideas, not my clever thoughts or my persuasive arguments. The good news of Jesus is the power of God to save people. Only through the word of God can we know God’s will. Only through the word of God will we see the Spirit of God transform lives. Only through the written Word will we encounter the living Word, Jesus Christ. Only as we hear God’s Word will we follow Jesus with integrity, faithfulness and effectiveness.

  • How has God’s Word transformed you?
  • What is one way you can make God’s Word more central in your community?

My first 10 lessons are available by scrolling down or clicking on the links below.

 

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