Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Formation of Our Call

Mike Gerber preached again today. Wow! Gotta love Mike Gerber!! He just radiates tenderness and compassion and you can really feel the depth of his words. I hope that he’ll preach more often!! He has a nice way of communicating!! If you would like to hear Mike for yourself, you can visit our church website to listen to the sermons online or download the podcasts.

Last week, Mike talked about faith and being called to serve Christ. (Read last Sunday’s entry if you missed it and want to get caught up to what I’m writing about today). Today, he went more in depth by talking more about how we are called.

There are different areas into which we are called and they are all formed in different ways. Some are formed out of hardship, necessity, opportunity, conviction, desire, or even silence. So, let’s look at each of those and understand more about what they mean.

We all have hardship. A LOT of growth comes out of that!! Pain is hard, but it helps develop qualities that we will need to be the person that we are meant to become. When you think about it, a lot of people’s missions in life involve some testimony of hardship. People relate to other people through their stories; particularly when they speak of their own struggles. Testimonies of pain helps other people get through their own problems when they see that there is light at the end of the tunnel. So, what if your mission and ministry in life comes from your own struggles? What if the way you have overcome your problems can help someone else overcome theirs? For me, one of the most amazing examples comes from my friend Susan Stafford. Of course, many of you already know her story. But, for those of you who haven‘t, please click here to watch a short video - and grab the Kleenex!. I never get tired of hearing about her testimony; though that video only scratches the surface of the horrors that she has suffered through in her life. Yet, she has emerged victorious. Even to this day, God still continues to use her and bless her. She is a beautiful and totally transformed woman of God and the way God uses her to bless me, and others, touches countless hearts!! Now THAT is a pure of example of turning pain into beauty!! I love you, Susan!!! You’re an inspiration!! Praise God for you!!

Another way we are formed into our calling is through necessity. Sometimes, things just need to get done!! God needs people to step up and do what needs to be done for the kingdom. We all have a role to play, and we need to be courageous and obedient to do our part!!

In addition to necessity, some are called because of opportunity. That’s how it was for Esther in the Bible. She didn’t really want to be queen, but the opportunity was pretty much forced upon her. So, what happens in cases like that when we are given an opportunity to do a lot of good? What happens when we are given a huge responsibility and opportunity to do something wonderful? Do we just stand around and do nothing and bury our talents in the sand? Do we shrink back in fear? Or, do we do as Esther did? Do we stand up and be courageous and stand up for what is right, even when it’s hard? Do we embrace what Mordecai said to Esther: “and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14) We are all given an opportunity to make a difference. All of us are living and breathing during a very important time in the history of the world!! Never before have we had such an ability to reach out and make a difference in this age of technology; and in a time of such peril and decline in morality!! We were born for such a time as this!!

Some people have a call of conviction. David sure did!! He killed a giant!! He did it because he knew that God was on their side and that God could enable him to do anything!! He stood for his faith when all of the rest of his people were fleeing. He felt the call of conviction, and he did what no one else would do; just because he knew it was right! I can relate to this one! That’s why I stand for the sanctity of life. (Which reminds me, the next monthly call for life is this Friday!! Please click here to learn more about it! Please, it’s only a few minutes per month out of your life!! Please sacrifice those few minutes in order to save countless others!!)

In conjunction with conviction, there can also be a call out of desire. God places special burdens on our hearts to step out and serve out of a desire to be used of God. It’s best illustrated in Isaiah’s statement: “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:1-8). Mike Gerber pointed out how that kind of call is so much more an invitation than it is a command. God ASKED “whom shall I send?” rather than just saying, “hey you….go do that!”

The final call that Mike talked about was really beautiful. I also think it’s one of the most astounding ways to be called!! The call comes out of silence; from just sitting there and listening to God and then being moved to action. That’s what happened to Samuel when he heard the voice of the Lord. However, he had thought it was Eli’s voice and went to him three times saying, “Here am I; for thou callest me.” At that time, the Bible says Samuel didn’t even know the Lord yet!! Still, the Lord was calling him, and Samuel did hear. Eli told him to listen for the Lord and the next time the Lord called him by name, he was to answer, “Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth.” So that is what Samuel did. (1 Samuel 3).

I find it amazing when God calls people out like that!! I especially find it amazing when God calls people out of pure darkness; people who had no real knowledge of God beforehand, or had totally hated Him prior to their calling. I know two atheists who were totally taken by surprise and through amazing sets of circumstances, were just called by God out of their lives of darkness in order to live in the light. It just wows me how God can grab onto someone’s heart like that and totally transform them - and they never saw it coming!! WOW!!

Bottom line is, we are all called. We all have an area of service that we can specialize in. We got to find our purpose and grow into that calling; however it is that we are formed into it. Keep your eyes open and your heart sensitive to God’s voice!! Remember Mordecai and Eli’s words. We are here for such a time as this and we should tell the Lord that we are open and listening. Let’s be like Isaiah and say, “Here am I! Send me!” God bless you all!!

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