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My dad sometimes thinks hes a financial expert so he buys the magazines, and watches programmes like the Money Programme etc. One of his favourite programs was "Troubleshooters" which was shown on BBC2. I was always made to watch it, but I didnt mind beacuse Quantum Leap was on afterwards!

It involved a number of small companies, usually family firms, inviting an experienced industrialist to take a look at their operation. Afterwards he would meet with the management and advise them on how to improve the business. The industrialist, and it was an excellent choice for the series, was the jolly and flamboyant Sir John Harvey-Jones.

One company he investigated made apple juice. Another week he toured a factory making china for the catering trade. For me, the best, was his visit to the Morgan Car Company.

Morgan cars are hand-built traditional sports cars. The employees are skilled craftsmen;- no mass production here.

The result is that they only produce about seven cars a week, and if my memory serves me right, there is a twelve year waiting list for a Morgan car. The company was hoping that Harvey-Jones would advise them how to increase production without sacrificing any of their traditional quality.

One of the most telling and wonderful exchanges of the entire series took place in the chassis shop, between Harvey-Jones and the Foreman.

"How long have you worked here?" asked Harvey-Jones. "Thirty two years," replied the Foreman. "Thirty two years? You must have seen some changes." "Nope!"

We all know churches like that don't we. Nothing changed in thirty two years. You've probably heard the old joke, "How many Deacons does it take to change a light bulb. Change? We're having no changes around here!"

So it's easy to make jokes about stick-in-the-mud churches isn't it? But what about you and me? How open are we to change? We are the church after all.

It takes courage to do what those companies did. Invite someone in to look objectively at their life and suggest changes that would improve the business. Even constructive criticism can be hard to take.

And yet, that's what God gave us the Bible for. Paul reminded Timothy, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God would be perfect, furnished onto every good work."

The Word of God and the Spirit of God work together, gently highlighting our shortcomings, gently reproving us for our bad habits, gently showing us a better way of doing things so that we may go about our Father's business in a far better way.

If we haven't seen any changes in our attitudes over the years; if we are still the same old people, with the same old ambitions, doing the same old things in the same old way, then it's time we asked ourselves the sort of questions Sir John Harvey-Jones would ask us.

"How long have you been a Christian?" "Thirty two years." "Thirty two years? You must have gone through some changes?"..............WELL?


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