New Hope Notes
Make Us Learners
Pastor Guy Higashi
Today we are blessed to have a guest speaker with us: Pastor Guy Higashi, Executive Vice President of the
When I returned to the islands, I realized all the wonderful things that I missed while I was gone – the clean air, the beautiful weather, the warm people – but do you know what I missed most? The food! Especially poke. That reminds me of a story
Today I am here to talk about the prayer for us to become learners. Just because you go to church and read the Bible doesn’t mean you’ll change. As Christians, we should be Christ-like. We should be a reflection of Him, not in a superficial way but transformed from the inside out. In Romans it says,
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.” (Rom. 12:2 NLT)
Transformation – the Greek word is metamorphosis. Paul talks about metamorphosis; he introduces the whole idea of resurrection: to die and to be born again. The other picture he paints is one of being taken to heaven while we’re still alive.
These ideas or concepts of transformation, metamorphosis and change are all closely akin to the topic we’re discussing today about being learners…
1. LEARNING BEGINS BY RENEWING OUR
“Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” (
Learning begins by the renewing (or transforming) of our minds. When our thinking changes, we learn and are transformed: “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” (Rom. 12:2
At age 12, people told me that I should be a pastor later in life. After about 10 years in a church, I asked the senior pastor of that church about how I could get into ministry. He told me that I couldn’t in our denomination due to my past, because I had been married and divorced.
But then I came to
When we become Christians and turn our lives over to God, God can do great things with (and in) us. My daughter was four years old when my wife and I got a divorce. And about two years ago, she called me one day, told me that she was getting married to a wonderful young man and would I be willing to officiate her wedding.
I agreed but as you can imagine, it was going to be a hard and scary thing to do – coming back to the islands and facing my in-laws after all those years – so I talked to my mentor about it. He talked about how he sometimes has to visit people in the hospital and sometimes the situations are very grave. He said that when he visits patients and families in the hospital, he wears a priest’s/Father’s collar. He said when he walks into a hospital room dressed in his collar, it helps everyone there know that he is there representing God.
So I took his advice and got a collar. I wore it to officiate my daughter’s wedding. You can just imagine the surprise on my daughter’s face, of my ex-wife, and my former in-laws. I explained to my daughter that the collar would help everyone understand that I was conducting the ceremony in my pastoral capacity; however, although I looked like a Father, I was also able to speak at the wedding from a Dad’s point of view. Wearing the collar helps me to remember that everything I do represents God and my faith.
2. LEARNING IS A PROCESS.
“As God’s messenger, I give each of you this warning: Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourself by the faith God has given us” (Rom. 12:3 NLT).
We need to find a way to meter ourselves or measure where we are in the process. Similar to when we decided to move home and I had marked out a space as large as the shipping container would be to help my wife and our family figure out what we could take, what to sell, what to give away, and what to just throw away. Having a way of measuring your progress or where you are is very important. So I would like to suggest an acrostic to help us remember the key steps in the learning process:
L Look and listen. Take in information and assess your environment.
E Evaluate. This is the discernment phase when you think things through.
A Apply. This is putting hands and feet to your thinking. To act.
R Reflect. Think back on the experience, e.g., what surprised/inspired you?
N New thinking. This is where the transformation takes place.
When my wife and I were living on the mainland, there was a new girl Jennifer who moved into our neighborhood. She was new and she was afraid. Well my wife Lauren talked to her and took her, explained that it was a nice neighborhood, and took for a walk around the neighborhood. A short time later, Jennifer started going for runs around the neighborhood and soon she was walking other new people around like we did with her. Once Jennifer started to get to know the neighborhood and learn more about it, she wasn’t afraid anymore and she was comfortable.
Most people know the old cliché “practice makes perfect” but we’d like to suggest that practice makes permanent. That’s what journaling is all about. Journaling is like practice and it solidifies the scripture in our minds to make it a permanent part of us.
3. LEARNING IS A
“God has given us each the ability to do certain things well.” (Rom. 12:6 NLT)
God has given each of us certain abilities, but that’s not the end. He has also equipped us to learn more along the way.
“The renewing of your mind is the means by which this transformation takes place…This re-programming of the mind does not take place overnight but is a lifelong process by which our way of thinking is to resemble more and more the way God wants us to think.” (Douglas Moo)
Our one prayer is this week is for God to make us learners. Through learning, we can be transformed into an image closer and closer to His. The keys to learning are to realize:
1. Learning begins by renewing our mind.
2. Learning is a process.
3. Learning is a life-long process.
· What does it mean that “learning begins by renewing our mind?
· Share about a time when learning wasn’t easy. What did you do?
· What process do you use to help you to learn?
· How will you be different from after hearing this message?