Leaving But Staying; Changing But Staying the Same

by Matt Parra  |  December 1, 2011

Matt, David, and Sherise surfing just South of Brisbaine, Australia

Moving can be dramatic. Yet change is a normal part of the human experience. Accordingly, the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus (535-475 BC) said, “all things move and nothing stays still,” indicating his belief that the only constant in our universe was change.

Interestingly, Heraclitus was the first to make philosophical use of the Greek word logos which John the apostle used to describe Christ in the opening of his gospel. “In the beginning was the Word (logos), and the Word (logos) was with God, and the Word (logos) was God” (John 1:1). For Heraclitus, logos was the principle of order and knowledge that bound the universe together. Paul agreed! He said that, “in Christ we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28) and wrote that, “in Him (Jesus Christ) all things consist” (Col. 1:17).

If Jesus Christ is the logos that binds the universe together—which I believe!—then no matter how much things change, there is always a constant. No matter how much our lives change, there is something, or better, Someone, that doesn’t. “Jesus Christ,” said the author of Hebrews, “is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).

British philosopher Alan Watts (1915-1973) once wrote that, “the greater part of human activity is designed to make permanent those experiences and joys which are only lovable because they are changing.” In a way, I agree. The changing nature of our world is designed to heighten our love for life, but does Mr. Watts actually intend to convince me that I only enjoy my mother’s company because she’s aging? Or that I only enjoyed the vigor of youth because it has passed?

Perhaps what Watts is on to is that we humans have an intrinsic need for constancy. Furthermore, if that need can actually be met, we might be able to genuinely enjoy this life without the nagging fear of loss.

The Logos can meet that need. In fact, He created that need!

Christ said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27). For most people having peace depends on what happens but the peace of Christ transcends what happens. And it is this that enables us to really enjoy, or at least appreciate, the transient pleasures this world affords.

On September 11, 2011 I was voted into the position of Director of Evangelism for the North New South Wales Conference in Australia. Sherise and I are right now in the process of applying for visas, and hope to be in Australia by the end of January.

Matt Parra Teaching

Matt teaching the 2011 ARISE Cornerstone class in Jasper, OR

Talk about change!

Although we are thrilled and humbled by the opportunity this call presents, and although the presence of Christ is constantly with us, our hearts are still heavy. Our eyes are still filled with tears. The constant companionship the Word of God provides does insulate us from despair, yet it doesn’t take all of the pain out of moving. It is unbelievably difficult to leave a ministry that you really believe in, and that you’ve been a part of for six years, for a new one in a foreign land, far away.

We will always love our ARISE / Light Bearers family. We have high hopes for collaboration and are already making plans in that direction. I’m trying not to see this as a call to “another” ministry but rather to another place in the same ministry. Paul said to the church at Corinth, “since we have this ministry… we do not loose heart” (2Cor. 4:1). Paul and the local church in Corinth were not always in the same geographical location, yet he considered them to be a part of the same ministry as he was.

I’m choosing to see this move in the same way.

By the grace of God, we—ARISE, Light Bearers, and myself—will always be a part of the same ministry; maybe not part of the same 501c3 non-profit organization, but nevertheless a part of God’s worldwide remnant movement that proclaims the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ.

I still want to be known as a staff member, as a part of ARISE / Light Bearers, as a part of the team.

Ty, Sue, David, Violeta, Stephanie, Brent, Randy, Shandra, Oliver, Jeffrey, Marianna, Yamil, Jessica, James, Risë, Cindi, Brandon, Meranda, Jamie, Jason, Robert, from my perspective you are and will always be a part of my team. Thank you all for your unbelievable grace and affection. I don’t deserve it, but am humbled by it. May God continue to work in my heart so that I can become more like the Christ I’ve seen in you. I won’t forget your kindness and love. I am always at your service. The same goes for all my former students. Through the grace of Christ we are still on the same team.

Call anytime. I may not answer, but I will call you back.

“Who is my mother and who are my brothers?… For whosoever does the will of My Father in heaven, is my brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:48, 50).

Matt Parra at the skate park in Michigan

Matt skating on his lunch break at ARISE

Matt Parra Speaker
Light Bearers
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