Archive for July, 2019

Called to the Ministry

July 24, 2019

There are quite a few people these days who feel ‘called to the ministry’.  This is good, and I’m certainly not one to tell someone they are not called.  But, being called to the ministry can sometimes be confused by:

  • Emotions
  • Willingness to help people in their spiritual walk
  • Enthusiasm in witnessing
  • Desire to lead

All of these have their place, but it is hardly a true call.  There are folks who are well-meaning, and who have taken their place in the ministry ranks, who really are not where they should be.

First let’s be clear.  To some degree every Christian is ‘called’ to do some ministry work, although this work may not be credentialed or preaching from the pulpit.  The area of ‘ministry’ actually covers a broad spectrum, far beyond pastoring, preaching, or even teaching.

A true call to ministry is a God-chosen, God-called task.  It is not based on how we feel, what we think, or what we may reason.  It is not based on career, family background, or even on skill or talent (God can provide some skills).  God, Himself, is the caller, and assigner of ministry tasks, or at least that is how it is supposed to be.  Some take matters into their own hands, and suffer because of these ill-advised choices.

Besides all that, ministry can change over the years, as God leads the way.  It is not static.  We can see this clearly in the life of Paul, who started off as an evangelist, then overseer, and finally as an author of about 14 books in the Bible.  He is still Paul, but God has moved his ministry to fit where He needed Paul at various times in Paul’s life.

So, how does one know if they are called to ministry?

Good question, and the answer is I don’t know.  Some people receive an audible instruction from God, while others are lead their through circumstances of life.  Some receive instructions via prayer.  Only you can answer whether you are called or not.  But, as stated above, everyone is called to do something.  It may be something that is completely behind-the-scenes, or it may be something that is not a position.  The key is to be willing to do those things God instructs us to do.

I do believe that in the end, no one guides his/her own ministry.  It should be led of God.  Only then can we fulfill the commission God has given for our life.

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Not Santa

July 13, 2019

Virtually everyone has a different view of who God is.  I would not presume to try and sort out everyone’s personal view of God, but I will say this – He is not your personal Santa Claus.

He is also not Aladdin’s Lamp, or the Genie.  He brings hope, love, and restoration to millions, but there is more to God than simply being a grandfatherly figure who grants our every wish or desire.

Of course, we need things from God, and it is perfectly normal to ask Him for the things of life that we need.  But, there is more…

God is not just a request fulfiller.  According to His own Word, what He wants from us is RELATIONSHIP.  All other things are secondary.

If we look carefully at the roll-call of famous ‘good’ men and women of the Bible you will find they have one thing in common – RELATIONSHIP with God on a personal level.  So, what does it mean to have a relationship?

I think it means at least three things, possibly many, many more:

  1. Right standing – you cannot have a meaningful relationship with God if you are steeped in your own sin.  And, according to His Word there is only one path to ‘right standing’ with Him, and that is through the forgiveness of sin made possible by the blood of His Son.  But, this is not automatic.  There needs to be some confession, and willingness to receive instruction and help for our weaknesses.  When all of this comes together we can achieve ‘right standing’ with God, which is the first step to having a meaningful relationship.
  2. Thankfulness – He has already done many things for you.  Some things you are aware of and know about, and some things He has done that you have no clue about.  A thankful heart is the second step to a meaningful relationship.
  3. When you have right standing and a thankful heart, you can now make your requests known to God.  He wants to answer your prayers, but if you lack right standing, and are not thankful, then you might find more frustration and wonder why He is not responding to your prayers.

All of those things are important, but there are a few more, namely love and faith.  These are also necessary for meaningful relationship with Him.

And, isn’t a meaningful relationship with God what it’s all really about?

Practicing Sin

July 7, 2019

Interesting title.  What does it mean?  My definition of ‘Practicing sin’ goes something like this – “the act of engaging in a pattern of sinful behavior with fore-thought”.

While sin is sin, there are differences.  Practicing sin is a behavior that destroys Christian witness, and endangers the salvation and long-term spiritual relationship we have with Christ and God the Father.

Practicing sin requires fore-thought, planning, and deception.  It is a behavior pattern designed to let the believer eat from both the tree of forbidden fruit, and from the tree of life.

While it is a myth that Christians ‘must’ sin because they are human, it is true that because we are human we not yet perfect and make mistakes.  And sometimes we sin.  Sometimes we make mistakes.  Sometimes we make wrong choices.

These sins are covered by the blood of Christ, but repentance and forgiveness are still required.  However, practicing sin falls into a different category.  Here are some of the things I think are the biggest problems with practicing sin:

  1. It becomes a pattern.  This pattern changes our thinking, our behavior, our future path.
  2. It promotes more sin, as practicing sin can become addictive.  One sin can certainly lead to others more easily.  “If I’m already in trouble, then it really doesn’t matter what I do”, becomes the thinking of the individual who has fallen victim to practicing sin.
  3. It challenges our relationship with God.  The more we practice sin, the more unresponsive we become to the guidance of the Spirit in our life.  In other words, our hearts become ‘hardened’.

The Christian must be aware of the danger of falling into the trap of practicing sin.  No one is immune, or so spiritual as to not be tempted.  But, the chain can be broken.