Thursday, July 24, 2014

Trippin' and Transformed

Jesus Movement baptism at Corona Del Mar in the 1960s.
Last night, my friend and I went to The Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena to hear "Trippin' the Sixties featuring Barry McGuire and John York.

Unfortunately York, who used to play with the Byrds, had to perform solo at the last minute. Just before he was supposed to appear onstage, McGuire ended up in the ER due to heart problems.

Despite being almost 70 years old, York rocked it, but I still missed McGuire and hope he recovers quickly. Who can ever forget his mega-hit "Eve of Destruction?" But even more memorable for me is his story of transformation during the Jesus Movement

A lifestyle that led to the death of 16 of McGuire's friends through drug overdose, suicide and sexually transmitted diseases deepened his quest for truth and led him into a life-altering relationship with Jesus Christ. “Freedom is good, but freedom without rules will kill you,” McGuire said, comparing life to the vehicle code. “If you throw the rules away, you’re going to kill yourself and somebody else. There’s a road code for life, and it’s basically the 10 commandments. The two greatest commands, to love God and others, sum up all the rest.”

When I got tired of the quest for freedom without rules and all the pain and suffering that lifestyle created I, too, entered a relationship with Jesus and experienced a similar transformation. Paul's words in Roman's 12: 1 & 2 challenge me, along with every other Christian, to offer myself as:
a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Reading God's Word and growing in a personal relationship with Him is why I care about human trafficking. Without Jesus I would be too consumed with my own pleasure to bother. However, being a Christ follower doesn't leave me that option. I have no choice but to care about my neighbors, perhaps especially those at risk for being trafficked due to the underlying causes of  poverty, ideology, relationships, human rights, and orphans. It's not an option to continue seeking my own pleasure with no regard for my neighbors near and far.

Andrew Murray in his excellent commentary on Hebrews speaks about the necessity of shifting our priorities from pleasing ourselves to pleasing God.
"He learned obedience, and being perfected became to all them that obey Him the cause of eternal salvation." [Heb. 5:8-9, emphasis Murray's] Our obedience is as indispensable as His. As little as He could work out salvation without obedience, can we enjoy it. In us, as much as in Him, obedience is the very essence of salvation (p. 211).
It's obedience by Christians that makes prayer effective (see James 5:16). It's obedience that guides us into the answers we need for a world on the eve of destruction. It's obedience that can eradicate human trafficking and the misery it causes. Only as lives are transformed in every sphere of society can the body of Christ make a significant difference. How are we being transformed, and what difference does it make? That's a question worth considering.

Note: Barry posted the following on Facebook:
Well, it's finally happened. For years I've been saying that this year is my last year for public appearances, and then that year goes by, and I say, "Well next year's my last year." But last night at Bob Stane's Coffee Gallery when John York and I got into our sound check, I started feeling a heavy burning sensation in my upper esophagus and down into my respiratory system. Some dear friends drove us straight to the hospital where I spent the night being poked and prodded, squeezed and tweezed, stabbed and jabbed until they finally ruled out the possibility of a heart attack. My blood pressure is perfect 120/80, my blood sugar level is perfect, my oxygen blood level is perfect and there were no heart attack enzymes in my blood. BUT, my body is telling me it's time to stop so stopping I am. My last public appearance was at the Acoustic Music San Diego sponsored by Carey Driscoll. I didn't know it at the time but I know it now. So if you've never seen me live on stage…hahaha, you've missed your chance.
 We can be confident that God has plans to keep Barry trippin' for the Lord.

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