Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Master of Disguise? Become another Person

Today is day two of our seventeenth week, reading the Bible through in a year.  Our scriptures today are:  1 Sam 11-13; Acts 9; Psalm 38.

Today, I want to share with you a really stupid video clip.  The movie is cute, and hilarious because it's so stupid.  It's one of my kids' favorites.  In the 2002 movie, Master of Disguise, Dana Carvey plays a buffoon who learns to be a secret agent and, well, a master of disguise.  In the following scene, his character, Pistachio Disguisey, learns from his grandfather (played by Harold Gould) that it's not enough to dress like another person or look like another person--he must become another person.  Take a look:

Yes--perhaps Dana Carvey should apologize for his stereotyping.

In yesterday's reading,  Saul also learned to become another person.  In 1 Samuel 10:5-7 (ESV), the prophet Samuel tells the young man Saul:

After that you shall come to Gibeath-elohim, at the place where the Philistine garrison is; there, as you come to the town, you will meet a band of prophets coming down from the shrine with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre playing in front of them; they will be in a prophetic frenzy. Then the spirit of the Lord will possess you, and you will be in a prophetic frenzy along with them and be turned into a different person. Now when these signs meet you, do whatever you see fit to do, for God is with you.

The Spirit of God so filled Saul that he not only behaved differently, but he was completely transformed.  In today's reading another Saul goes through a similar transformation:  Acts 9:1-22 (ESV) says:

Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
10 Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; 14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; 16 I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, 20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 All who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem among those who invoked this name? And has he not come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?” 22 Saul became increasingly more powerful and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Messiah.

 23 After some time had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, 24 but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night so that they might kill him; 25 but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.

26 When he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 So he went in and out among them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He spoke and argued with the Hellenists; but they were attempting to kill him. 30 When the believers learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
31 Meanwhile the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.

It took a long time for Saul to convince the believers that his conversion was genuine.  They were afraid that he was simply putting on an act, that he had become another "Master of Disguise," and that he hadn't really become another person.  Only time would tell whether he was genuine or not.  And the testimony of an encouraging friend who decided to take a risk on Saul's behalf.

Many who call themselves Christians are really just masters of disguise.  They know how to put on a costume, how to dress and how to look like believers--but in reality they haven't become another person.  Today, I want to ask you whether or not you have been totally transformed.  God doesn't want you to look like a Christian unless you are one.  It does no good to put on a Christian act.  You might fool people, but you won't fool God.  Like Saul--and like Saul--you've got to let a higher power take control.  And no, Pistachio, it's not called Energico.  It's called the Holy Spirit.

I hope you will begin your real transformation today, and that by God's power you will "become another person."


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