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We all know industrious people who can take something old and in a few simple steps make it remarkably new again. I am married to one of those gifted people!  On New Year’s Day (a rare day off from her busy work schedule), Cherilyn decided it was time to recover our dining room chairs.  We have had our dining room set for fifteen years. It is the first we picked out and purchased ourselves, so it holds special meaning for us.  The fabric was a white satin with a pattern that was showing signs of age that threatened to become an eyesore in the not too distant future.  She removed the cushions and recovered them with a new fabric, more modern and appropriate for who we are now. After recovering the cushions and reattaching them, they are ready for use.  And, they are beautiful!  She didn’t touch the wood or alter the design, but they have truly been transformed! The “bones” are the same, but they look remarkably different – refreshed, renewed, revived.  The colors in the new cushion pick up the other colors in the room. They’ve taken on a new look – fresher, newer, prettier. And the interesting thing is the whole room looks different – the same features, but there is a welcome new look just from altering the chairs a bit. I’m grateful to Cherilyn for her creativity and desire to refresh our daily view.  I look forward to her next update project….

As I’ve enjoyed our “new” chairs, they’ve led me to a new understanding of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 19, it is recorded that Paul came to Ephesus where he found some disciples. He asked about their baptism and they said it was of John. Paul spoke to them of the baptism in Jesus and of the Holy Spirit. He laid his hands on them and they were filled with the Spirit. They prophesied and spoke in tongues. Basically, they were the same but they had been wrapped in a new Spirit that gave them a new look – refreshed, renewed, revived! The Holy Spirit transformed their lives and their faith grew, and in the process, they changed the surroundings. For they were new people – the same, yet different – fresher somehow….  Their lives changed those around them because they were kinder, gentler, more compassionate people. The “bones” were the same, but there was a new fire in their soul that reached out to change others. It was beautiful. It was dramatic. It was life changing. Come, Holy Spirit, baptize me – update me, renew me, refresh me, enable me to alter my surroundings by accepting a new look of love that redefines my faith, so I can help redesign the world.

Love,

Pastor John