June 14, 2011

God's Calling. (Are you going to answer?)

At more than one time in my life I've said the words, "God is calling me to _________." You can fill it in with several things. At age 18 I surrendered to God's call on my life to full-time Christian ministry. In 1999, at age 26, Morgan and I sensed He was calling us to move to Wichita, Kansas, to pastor students. In 2009, God called me to come and pastor this incredible church I'm now part of in Madison, Alabama, called The Brook. God called. I answered. But what the heck does that mean?

In Genesis, God audibly told Noah to build a boat. He repeatedly woke Samuel up in the middle of the night just to see if he was listening. God sent an angel to tell Mary what He was about to do. And Jesus blinded the Apostle Paul, knocked him to his knees, and spoke loud and clear. God called. They answered. While that was awesome for them to experience (and for me to read), here's the thing: I've never heard Him speak with my ears, talked 'mono y mono' with an angel, or much less been blinded by Jesus on a dirt road. (Although I did see a billboard once that I could have sworn God was trying to use to get my attention.) And I hear other people say all the time, "God's calling me to _________" or "I really don't sense the Lord calling me to __________." So it's all got me wondering...what the heck is the "Call of God" and how in this world do you know it's actually Him calling?

I believe there are a number and series of things God uses to reveal Himself, His will, and His guidance to us as His people. The first - and probably most obvious - is His Word. More than rules and regulations, He's given us standards, principles, and an all-consuming mission to carry out in and through the pages of scripture. He will NEVER call us to do something that conflicts with or contradicts His Word. That's why it's so essential that we KNOW His Word! Many people wait years for this special, individual "word" from the Lord of what it is they're supposed to do, while He's probably sitting there saying, "I've already told you. It's in the Bible!" For instance, if you keep praying about whether or not you're supposed to be a missionary and move to Kenya, yet you have all this unconfessed sin in your life, I think you're missing your calling. Right now, your calling is to confess your sin and repent. God won't usher the calling of WHAT we're to DO until we've responded to His calling of WHO we're supposed to BE. Let that one soak in for a moment.

One way God sends out His calling on the lives of His people is through His Word.

Have you ever clearly sensed the Lord leading or calling you to do something through the revelation of scripture?

More to come...


Aubrie said...

I like that you're writing about this! I've really had God's will for my life on my mind as graduation is coming up. If I had it my way I'd be teaching in El Paso/Juarez in a heartbeat, and maybe that's God's desire too. Do you think it's okay to go off of feelings? Like I feel a great burden for that city. Some people say I'm too obsessed with it, I'll never make money there, and so on. I want to say, "I don't care about the money," but deep down I worry. And I'm trying right now to learn the difference between being responsible and earning money to live on, and trusting God with all my funds.

I like the part about finding out who we are supposed to be first. That's what I plan on spending this year doing!

Sorry about writing a novel...a lot on my heart about God's calling! :)

Brian Mayfield said...

Great thoughts (and questions) Aubrie! I remember reading Erwin McManus one time, talking about a girl who told him she felt called to missions but God hadn't provided the money. His response was something to the effect of: Stop waiting on Him to provide money. He never said anything about that. Maybe He's waiting on you to GO so that He can provide.

Praying for you that the Lord gives you wisdom and clarity. Seek HIM first!