Dee Vanderburg
It is our hope that each of you have or will meditate on how God has transformed you.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
Upon the decision that this would be the topic that each elder would speak to, I began to search through my memory to find that point at which I was transformed. Looking for that situation that would have equaled changing from a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly led to this quick summary of my search through my life:
  • Raised by very loving and faithful parents
  • Raised in the church • Baptized at the age of 14
  • Attended a Christian summer camp for 9 years straight
  • Attended a Christian university
  • Met a young lady while attending worship services at my first job location, Lisa, who later became my wife
  • Blessed with three children
  • Baptized each when they made the choice to obey the Gospel
  • Lived in 4 different towns since Lisa and I were married
  • Served as a deacon and ministry leader in several congregations, heavily involved in education and youth
  • Serve presently in the Fairview Road family as one of your Elders/Shepherds
Surely, somewhere through all this time there would be that moment I could point to where I was transformed! Then it dawned on me that I was looking at this all wrong. Well, at least for me. I have no doubt that there are those who know that one person or event who caused a transformation in their life.
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed
into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
My transformation has been an ongoing process. When did it start? I believe the preparation for my transformation began immediately following my birth. My parents allowed the Holy Spirit to be involved in their own transformations. Thus, regular worship attendance, attending Bible classes, serving within and outside of the local congregation, and setting the example. Were they perfect? No, but they worked at following God’s word and allowing the Holy Spirit to work with and through them. Where else did the Holy Spirit work to influence me? The next important area was through the lives and efforts of all the Bible school teachers of my youth. All this set the stage for the start of my real transformation. It began when I was baptized and received the gift of the Holy Spirit. The responsibility for MY transformation was now in my hands, but I was not alone. I had been gifted with the Holy Spirit to help me.
Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ
for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
As I said before, my transformation has been an ongoing process. The Holy Spirit is there to help, but only if I am open to His guidance. We don’t become robots who no longer think for ourselves, but have a free will to make choices. Because I obeyed the Gospel, I believe the Holy Spirit has been active in many of my life decisions. Here are some:
  • Made the decision to go to a Christian university where I could study the Bible and be around other Christian young people.
  • Chose to accept a job in a state I had never lived where I attended worship services and met a faithful Christian woman.
  • Didn’t get run off by her parents. Even though that might have been their first desire!
  • Crossed paths with many other Christians due to job transfers. Their lives influencing mine contributed to transformation.
  • Made the decision to be involved in each of the congregations where we have lived.
  • Accepted requests to serve as teacher, ministry leader, deacon, elder, etc.
My transformation path has not been a steady, straight climb. I hope that is not a surprise to you. There have been many valleys where I did not listen to the Spirit and made poor choices. I’m sure that I disappointed God in those choices, but He has always been there, waiting for me to open my eyes and get back on the right path. Your transformation path may have been similar. If you have obeyed the Gospel and put Christ on in baptism, you have the gift of the Holy Spirit within you. Open your heart, study your Bible, pray and yield to His help.
If you have not yet put Christ on in baptism, I urge you to not delay. Why struggle through the decisions of this life by yourself. Jesus promised a Helper saying:
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name,
He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you”. (John 14:26)
If you would like to put Christ on in baptism, we would love to help you with that. Contact the church office or any one of the elders or ministers. If you desire to study the Bible to help in your decision process, we can help you with that also. If you are already a Christian but have stumbled and would like to get back on the correct path, we are here to help. God loves you and is waiting to welcome you back. The choice is yours.
In His service, Dee Vanderburg
The above was written by Dee Vaderburg – originally to be shared in worship service on 3/22.  This is being published as part of a series where all of our elders are sharing their personal story of transforming faith.