I have vivid memories of standing in the parking lot of a Texas state prison. We had finished the day there in ministry with our incarcerated brothers. There were quite a few of us. So, our circle was big. And our voices carried as we affirmed in song, “Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.”
We knew God was there. It was evident in the changed minds. People had decided they were through with their old life. The abundant, everlasting life of Jesus was a much greater gift.
Transformation is a signpost of Spirit’s presence. When a soul turns to Christ you can be sure the Spirit has been nudging them, unstiffening the neck a bit. The Spirit inspires us to new understandings, new perspectives, new love and new life. And let’s also mention new attitudes, new joy, new purpose. Even those who have already sensed the Holy Spirit’s presence celebrate renewal. Do we presume God has finished the holy reworking of our hearts?
Of course not!
So, we anticipate and even pray for change in our lives, change in our churches and change in our communities. Lord knows we need it. The apostle Paul said, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). Isn’t freedom a change from bondage to empowerment?
As Peter testified to his change of heart, he shared what God had shown him. Luke tells us that as he spoke “the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word” (Acts 10:44). For obvious reasons, we look at what the gentiles in that story did as a result. The main idea is that God’s Spirit was pouring out on them. God’s family was expanding in that home.
But the people with Peter also experienced a change. Astonishment filled their hearts as they saw what God was doing. Before, they had been like Peter. They were sure God’s grace had limits. Now, they were seeing how far God wanted to go into all the world.
Notice something as we gather to worship or in other parts of your walk with God. Are you becoming more like Jesus? Do you see others becoming more like him? If you want to see how God’s Spirit is moving, pay attention to what is changing.