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Life and Death Changes

Life causes growth. Death causes decay.
Whether you live or die, changes are taking place.

By Ken Raggio

"Like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father,
even so we also should walk in the NEWNESS of life." Romans 6:4

"That we should serve in the NEWNESS of spirit,
and not in the OLDNESS of the letter." Romans 7:6

" ye transformed by the RENEWING of your mind."
Romans 12:2

Everything living is in constant change.

Chrysalis Learn this lesson from Chrysalis

Chrysalis is the form which butterflies, moths, and most other insects assume when changing from the state of larva or caterpillar into their winged or perfect state. It is marvelous to see the amazing beauty of a butterfly as it breaks out of its cocoon.


A corresponding transformation happens to every creature that is born from an egg. From embryonic stages, a fetus undergoes a metamorphosis that radically and permanently alters its entire appearance and capabilities.

The maturing process for any living creature is dramatic and extensive.

Maturing into Adulthood

Virtually every potential for adulthood is fully programmed into the genetic code from conception. But in the earliest stages, almost none of those adult capabilities are present.

From the embryo, to fetus, to infant, child, adolescent, and adult, the sizes, shapes, capabilities and performances of living things are in constant transition.

The Process of Time

The ultimate form for any living creature requires the passing of time. Maturity only comes when the amount of time has elapsed, which God has predetermined.

Dying things change, too!

The Process goes into Reverse

In the Painted Desert of Arizona, the landscape is strewn with what appears to be fallen trees. Centuries ago, these great living towers reached their maturity, then with the inevitability of time, died and fell. In what is now called the Petrified Forest, they were slowly converted from living substance to stone or stony substance.


petrifiedforest In this unusual transformation, the rotting cells were meticulously replaced by nature by infiltrating and depositing mineral matter where the living cell had been. Without losing its shape or appearance, the rotting tree gradually became a stone monument where a tree had once been.


fossil leaf A similar phenomenon is found by archaeologists when digging for ancient remnants of life forms. Everything from amphibians, to reptiles, to mammals, including human skeletons are found in a fossilized condition. Their organic components have been replaced with mineral deposits. Even though the appearance seems to be the same as it would have been in its original form, the fossil is only a shadow or a silhouette of what once was. In most cases, silicon (sand) has impregnated the form.


Egyptians embalming Ever since the ancient Egyptians perfected the art of preserving the bodies of the dead, society has continued the practice. Originally, not only human corpses were preserved and mummified, but even cats, crocodiles and other sacred animals. Today, chemicals such as formaldehyde are put into a carcass to stymie decomposition and decay.

The Contrast

Can anyone argue that there is a vast world of difference between the living and the dead? Who could ever confuse the potentials of a vibrant, growing child at play, with a rotting, stinking dog lying dead and swollen in a ditch? Our emotional reaction alone tells the difference between life and death.

Which process is more desirable for YOU?

Are you LIVING? or DYING?

A national news item reported that a funeral director was caught by surprise when the corpse he was about to prepare was heard breathing. An elderly lady had been found in the floor at her home. The room was near freezing. She had apparently frozen to death. Her vital signs were undetectable, and the attending paramedics assumed she had expired. She was placed in a mortuary bag, and delivered to the funeral home.

Comatose, But Not Dead

The poor lady had not died, but had entered into a comatose stage due to hypothermia (a subnormal body temperature). As her body began to warm, she began to regain consciousness, and fully revived. The undertaker was purely frightened by the experience. He had nearly embalmed a living person!

The Taxidermist

In our day, it has become common practice for the sportsman hunter or fisherman to take his prey to the taxidermist to be stuffed and mounted for display. The taxidermist is considered an artist of sorts, graded for his skills at rendering a lifelike appearance to a deer, an elk, a bigmouth bass, or some other prized kill.

It is time for a painful question...

Is the Church still alive?

At the beginning of this 21st Century, an entire generation of mankind searches in vain for a religious body that bears in it the Life of God.

Inside gilded cathedrals, decked with stained glass and lavish furnishings, sits a mummy of a church. Its appearance is deceptively attractive. Its music is embalmed with pomp and splendor. Its choir lofts are filled with petrified worshippers. Its pulpits are filled with the fossils of great preachers. In its teaching podiums, the taxidermist has left a remarkably lifelike man of God.

But nowhere is there a pulse. No vital signs!

Have We Been Duped By Professing Religion?

In the days of Jesus Christ, the young disciples thrived in an environment of dynamic life. Into a world that had endured centuries of impotent religious routine, a LIFE-GIVER arrived.

And with His arrival, a dramatic metamorphosis began. Jesus made changes to the religious scene of His day that were utterly revolutionary. He healed the sick, raised the dead, delivered the oppressed, gave hope to the hopeless.

Can the so-called church of our time honestly lay claim to His legacy?

Have we been deceived?

Wax Figures Look Like Living figures.

An American tourist can find a Wax Museum in many of the country's famous resort areas. We seem to have an interest in viewing the likeness of famous or infamous people, both present and past. It is sometimes eerie to look into the face of someone who has been dead for years. Yet this has been going on for many ages.

King TutAncient Archaeological Finds

In major metropolitan areas, you may find Museum exhibitions of the mummies of Ramses II or Tutankhamun of Egypt.

These kings and members of nobility have been preserved for all the ages, often in a priceless gold or silver sarcophagus. Other dignitaries of antiquity can be found on public display around the world.

Stuffed Animals vs. Stuffed Men

Lenin & Stalin Amazingly, society as a whole has not yet stooped to having its own kind mounted and displayed on the wall. We still respectfully lay our deceased away in a perpetual care cemetery or mausoleum. One notable exception was the body of Vladimir Lenin, the Russian Communist which was prepared and displayed in the Lenin Mausoleum in Moscow and latter joined by Joseph Stalin, until recently removed after the fall of the USSR.

Why Maintain a Dead Church?

It is the irony of ironies that society continues to pour billions of dollars each year into the maintenance of religious BODIES which have not shown signs of life in decades. Today's religious system, with its political action committees, physical fitness programs, social welfare operations, and staged entertainment productions more accurately resembles a joint effort of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and the Beverly Hills Country Club, than the devil-chasing, dead-raising, leper-cleansing, soul-saving, tongue-talking Church of Jesus Christ seen in the New Testament pages.

How can we stand it?

Inside the Hall of Presidents at Disney World in Florida is a spectacular performance of lifelike figures of all the former Presidents of the United States. Across the stage, each president stands and watches as a series of them walks to the microphone and delivers a historical speech. But inside the bodies of these figures are only sophisticated computerized robots that have no real mind, no heart, no soul. On rare occasions, these robots malfunction and a character displays a "meltdown."

Is it possible that our pulpits are being filled with mindless, heartless, godless men who can never lead men to God?


The Body of Jesus Christ

In His original charter, Jesus Christ guaranteed that the world would have a church filled with His life. That body would replicate Him both in Word and in Spirit.

In His day, Jesus literally effervesced with life. Like Alka-Seltzer in a glass of water, or jumper cables on a dead battery, the power of the divine life in Him made the lame walk, the dumb talk, the blind see, and the bound free. He dramatically channeled His LIFE-GIVING POWER into the dead corpses of Jairus' daughter, the widow's son, and Lazarus.

In a spectacular exhibition, He delivered Himself to His murderers, silently surrendered to their brutal slaying, suffered, and died an agonizing death. But after three whole days and nights in a grave, He miraculously stood up alive and walked out.

No one ever conquered Him. No one ever baffled Him. He never failed. And above all, He showed us the way.

He Didn't Operate Like Most Religionists

He never wrote a book, never built a tabernacle, never formed a non-profit organization. He wasn't educated, had no social status, and had no financial backing. His entourage was a motley crew. When He died, He sent His family to live with friends, and was buried in a borrowed tomb.

But While He Lived, He Changed Men

"Peter, follow me, and I will make you to become fishers of men." Fishers of Men?

Follow Peter. In less than four years, this rough and rugged outdoorsman preached ONE SERMON that produced 3,000 wild-eyed, tongue-talking zealots of Holy Ghost revival. Peter daringly lifted up the cripple man down at the church-house door and ordered him to walk in the name of Jesus. AND HE DID!

Sensational Things Happened To Them All!

It became the order of the day for the early Church to experience truly unexplainable miracles. Virtually all of them we know about were visited and ministered to by angels. Most of them experienced revelation knowledge through dreams or visions. Philip was actually transported unexplainably from a revival meeting to a roadside station miles away.

Their Metamorphosis Was Complete.

Butterfly They started out as mere men, but they were fully endued with power from God. 'Endued' means 'clothed upon', as in the cocoon of chrysalis. Once converted, Paul quickly realized that his effectiveness in the Kingdom of God was not with the enticing words of men's wisdom, but in a demonstration of Holy Ghost power - Jesus' very LIFE!


Their Lives Reflected The Changes.

Their metamorphosis meant leaving old ways behind. It meant following an altogether new course for life. No more dead, dry services down at the synagogue. Everywhere they went they had Church. When they preached, people repented and went for water baptism in Jesus' name. When the Church laid hands on people, they were immediately filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke in unknown tongues. When they anointed the sick, they were healed. The Church was ALIVE!

Nobody Needs A Stuffed Caterpillar!

Westminster Abbey The Baby Boom generation of our day went to church looking for the power of God, but all they found was a stuffed caterpillar. The church never made it through the change. It died, and became a butterfly. Someone should have carried them out and buried them, but instead they just embalmed them and sat them back on the pews!

And a generation of young people walked out and found Satan in the street, dressed up like a butterfly. He looked like the miracle they were expecting to find in church. He introduced them to "psychic" friends. He "channeled" demon spirits posing as the ancient masters. They heard supernatural voices, saw unexplainable phenomenon, and thought they had found God.

But The Church Slept On.

The only tragedy worse than the delusion those seekers found, is the pretentious continuity of death on the pews in churches everywhere. Even Pentecostal pews have been visited by the changes of death.

Can We Even Recognize A Dead Saint?

A warm body on a church pew does not necessarily indicate the presence of a Saint of the Living God. Some have become petrified in the same position they were in 1955. Some are fossils of a primitive revelation that was far surpassed in the transition of spiritual chrysalis.

Too many don't know a butterfly when they see it, because they are so far removed from the realities of Divine Life. A dead religious mind figures anything that isn't earthbound could only be a devil or a demon, not realizing that the strangely colorful and high flying creature is exactly what God meant them to be.

Do You Know If You Are Alive?

An old proverb says:

    If you don't know that you don't know, you're a fool.
    If you don't know that you know, you're asleep. Wake up!
    If you know that you don't know, you should be punished.
    If you know that you know, you are wise.

Are You In Transition?

YES! Absolutely! But which transition are you in? Are you being changed into the likeness of the life of Jesus Christ, into that highest order where anything can happen?

Or are you slowly seeping away, while a stony coldness replaces the cells that once burned with Godly vigor? Have you already become petrified, and no longer respond to the awesome opportunities God has set before you?

As Surely As God Is Alive, We Can Be Changed!

It is not too late to be changed. There is a hot fire of revival spreading just outside the gates of hell, among men and women who have turned their backs on the world, the flesh, and the devil.

They refuse to be satisfied with a church that can only talk about how good it used to be. They cannot remain a caterpillar for long. Their demand is for a real, live manifestation of Apostolic power in this present day.

It Has Always Been His Life That Attracted Us!

Why did you and I ever buy into this Christian mindset in the first place? Wasn't it because we saw a God who was bigger than our minds could ever comprehend?

We stood in awe at the Red Sea and watched God part the waters. We were amazed to hear how the Angel of God wrestled Jacob, and made him Israel. And how Elijah called fire from heaven. And Daniel crawled out of the lion's den alive. And the three Hebrew boys walked out of the fiery furnace without so much as the smell of smoke.

And JESUS! He calmed storms, walked on water, cured diseases. He turned reeds into rocks, Sauls into Pauls, derelicts into saints, and ordinary men into miracle workers.

How Can We Possibly Settle For A Church That Is Less?

We must recognize the urgency of our plight. We must live, or we will die! Let us AWAKE unto boundless life. Paul's admonition to the Ephesians (5:14) is good for us: "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light!"

It's Time To Fly!

Every ounce of excitement we have ever read about in the early Church can be relived on our turf. Jesus said that those who came after Him would do GREATER works than He did. Our report should be even more remarkable and amazing than anything we ever read in the Bible.

It is when, and only when the very dynamic LIFE of Jesus Christ begins to flow and function in our daily existence that we will begin to see the evidence of that life in the subsequent signs, wonders and miracles. Only then will true satisfaction come- satisfaction like we have never known.

It is impossible to be a butterfly without a change. A caterpillar can't fly. And a professing Christian that does not actively follow the activities and leading of the Holy Ghost, will never know the unspeakable joys of truly walking in His life.

Let Us Go On To Perfection!

"Like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father,
even so we also should walk in the NEWNESS of life." Romans 6:4

"That we should serve in the NEWNESS of spirit,
and not in the OLDNESS of the letter." Romans 7:6

" ye transformed by the RENEWING of your mind."
Romans 12:2

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Ken Raggio

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