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Friday, April 14 Devotional from Pastor John Hartman

“The Transforming Moment”  

Think for a moment about all of the great turn arounds in history.  The ugly duckling becomes a beautiful swan.  With a simple kiss, the frog becomes a handsome prince.  The Grinch returns Christmas back to the citizens of Whoville.  Even Zacchaeus, who tried to squeeze every last nickel from the people, invites Jesus into his house one night, and comes away from that encounter a “changed” person.  

Closer to home is the story of Dr. James E. Loder.  Dr. Loder was a professor of the Philosophy of Christian Education, at Princeton Seminary, and was also a Presbyterian minister.  Years ago he was headed with his wife and two daughters to Quebec, Canada for vacation.  On their long drive Dr. Loder stopped the car on the side of the road for a distressed woman whose car had a flat tire.  He was not one to stop in these situations, but the woman seemed to be putting herself in harm’s way, trying to wave down someone for help, so Dr. Loder pulled over.

He soon found himself underneath the woman’s Oldsmobile trying to get a jack in a secure place when all of a sudden, he heard a violent screeching of tires.  It turns out a 64 year old man had fallen asleep at the wheel and crashed into the Oldsmobile.  The Oldsmobile fell off the jack and on top of Dr. Loder.  He describes in his book The Transforming Moment that his wife, all alone, literally lifted the car up long enough so Dr. Loder could pull himself out from under it.  Amazingly, he lived from this accident.  He lost the top of his thumb, had five broken ribs, one of his lungs was bleeding, and a he had a full body of scrapes and cuts.  He describes having two profound emotions immediately after the accident.  One, an incredibly deep love for those around him, namely his family.  And second, the disaster had an incredible purpose.

Dr. Loder described what happened as a result of the accident, saying, “This episode, in fact, raised countless new questions, disturbed several personal relationships, and forced me to re-envision the spiritual center of my vocation.”  In other words, it transformed his life!  Over my 3 years at Princeton, professors and colleagues of Dr. Loder spoke how much he had changed after that accident, how he was a different person, and a different kind of professor.  My friends, God longs to be a part of your story and use you and the things in your life, (good and bad) to transform you each day into a person who will live life in the fullest possible way for Jesus Christ.

This Sunday, April 16, we will continue our celebration of Christ’s resurrection, as we look at how Saul of Tarsus, and how his lived was transformed.  So, please come and join us at 8:00 am, and at 10:30 am.  The 10:30 am service will also broadcast on Zoom, Facebook Live, and YouTube.

Pastor John Hartman

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