Monday, June 13, 2011

Answering the Call

A significant theme of Scripture is the astounding interplay between God and specific human personalities. Often we speak of this as God's special "call" upon the life of certain humans. I sometimes think that we take for granted how incredible it is that a supremely holy and eternal God choose to "put His word into the mouths" of the prophets and apostles of Bible times. How amazing is it that God graciously gives the knowledge of His will and character to a race of fallen people?

God created man for His pleasure and to enjoy personal, intimate fellowship and communion with Him. However, mankind choose the path of rebellion and sin, and consequently was expelled from the Garden of Eden forever. Still, throughout history, God has chosen to communicate to man through messengers who were uniquely called to carry God's words to His people. God, in His mercy, has passionately pursued His people by shedding divine light through human vessels upon the path that leads home.

God called Abraham (Genesis 11-24) to leave the familiar land of his fathers and to journey to new land of promise. God told Abraham that he would be the father of a new race of people--people who would be counted righteous by faith, rather than trying to prove their own "goodness" by their deeds. God called Moses to boldly lead His people out of Pharaoh's hand in Egypt (Exodus 3). God spoke with Samuel, David, Solomon, Elijah, and Isaiah. Of Jeremiah, it was said, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you a prophet to the nations" (1:5). And later, God said, "Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant" (1:9-10). Indeed, God choose to "speak to our fathers by the prophets at many times and in various ways" (Hebrews 1:1).

We are probably more familiar with Jesus' call upon an unimpressive group of Galileans to "Come, follow me" (Mark 1:17). Or, perhaps we especially think of Paul as the "Apostle to the Gentiles" and one who was uniquely called of God to preach the gospel to the whole world (Romans 1:1). The sovereign call of God kept Paul focused on his mission despite tremendous hardships and abuse. Paul was so persuaded of God's presence and power in his ministry that he said, "Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel" (1 Corinthians 9:16).

The reality for every child of God is that they are called to bear fruit for the glory of their Heavenly Father (John 15:16). We are all called to walk in the good works that God prepared in advance for us (Ephesians 2:10). We are all called to walk wisely and in purity before the world (1 Thess. 4:3, Eph. 5:15ff). God has a common call upon every believer to bear witness before the world of His transforming grace and power.

On another note, I am completely humbled to say that I have just received a special "call" to serve New Beginnings as pastor. Over the past three years I have been employed with Church Extension ministries as a church planting pastor designated to Woodbury Heights, New Jersey. Now that New Beginnings has graduated and is self-supporting, they have graciously decided to extend the invitation for me to stay on as the permanent pastor. Please pray for our church as we move ahead in the grace and for the glory of God!

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