Posts tagged ‘called’

October 2, 2012

What It Means To Be Called

by pastortimfowler

I have been blessed to be the pastor of my church for 10 years now. In those ten years I have seen a lot of stuff that many might take for granted, but I am still amazed at. Like when people who are one day going to hell if they die and in the very moment that they ask God to forgive them they change their direction toward going to heaven. The church is a place where people from every walk of life should be able to come and find love and forgiveness. God loves people so much that He let His Son Jesus die on a cross as payment for our sin. Once a person accepts this forgiveness, God begins a process of growing us into people who serve others. He requires His people to take a personal role in developing new believers, called discipleship, and often calls men and women to become more than just believers, to become ministers of the gospel. In our church lately we have had several men who have said that they feel called to this ministry; wow!. It is the call that I answered almost 20 years ago and feel very privileged to have done so.
So what does it mean to be called? Everyone is being called to answer God’s call of salvation. Few are called to the ministry in an official capacity and that is what I am talking about. A pastor, evangelist, missionary, youth or children’s pastor all are things that come with a specific calling. The Bible gives some specific instructions in the books of 1st & 2nd Timothy and Titus for those who are called. It tells us things like we should not be drunks, we should manage money well, and we should have our family in order. Sadly, many people don’t care about those things and they leave themselves open for criticism and corruption and Satanic attacks. But one of the main things that the Bible teaches about this call is that it is a call to be a servant and that few will be called, but those who are called are called for life.
It was Jesus who said that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. God made salvation very easy to obtain but the call into the ministry unique. Way too often men answer the call to ministry with an idea of a position of authority. Perhaps they should think about Jesus washing feet, the job of the lowest ranking servant. Perhaps they should remember that Jesus said that the greatest among us will be the servant.
Titles can be worn by anybody. But they can only be exemplified by those who live out what that title requires. Pastor is a title that has its roots in being a shepherd. Shepherds were not highly thought of in society and rarely told people what to do. Instead they put their lives on the line for some pretty simple animals who needed protection. They have the position of a leader but the responsibility of a servant. Leading as a shepherd means having sheep follow, not telling them where to go and what to do.
Those who are called into ministry must learn to be humble. Humility is rarely a normal human quality. We are taught early and often to look out for number one and that we deserve the best. Jesus was the ultimate minister. He humbled himself even to the point of dying on a cross for those who hated Him. He healed sick, fed the poor, and raised the dead and yet never took the credit for doing great things. His main focus was saving the souls of a fallen mankind who cannot save themselves.
When you are called into the ministry it means that you get serious about becoming not only a teacher, but a student. Although God equips those that He calls, He expects us to submit ourselves to the teaching of those who have gone before us. Sometimes that means submitting to someone without a title or someone who’s personality clashes with our own. Sometimes it means serving in a position that no one else wants to do, not even yourself. Sometimes you have to do it for longer than you want to and remember that you have been called to serve God and man even if man doesn’t give the recognition that you want.
But ultimately being called into the ministry means that God knows that you can do what He has called you to do. What He calls you to do should be the highest priority and pleasing Him the goal. Sometimes the rewards are very obvious, but often they will only be recognized when we get to heaven. But the call to ministry is a life long calling that is worth every second that you serve. Romans 11:29- God never changes his mind when he gives gifts or when he calls someone. This means when you want to quit, you don’t. It means when you  get tired, you dig deeper for strength. It means when you don’t see rewards for your efforts that you remember where your rewards are stored, in heaven, and you keep serving in faith.
I have been blessed in that I have been able to make it through some tough times since I have been called. I have seen many souls saved and lives changed and now I am seeing others called. I would love to take credit for some of these things, but I must always keep in mind that if I don’t do what God calls me to do, there are others who will. I am not needed by God, but I am wanted by Him. He loves me; first enough to save me, and secondly enough to call me into this crazy life of ministry. What it means to be called into the ministry is really quite simple. It means that God is God and we have surrendered to Him no matter the cost.

August 1, 2012

Missions

by pastortimfowler

 

Mission – a ministry commissioned by a religious organization to propagate its faith or carry on humanitarian work. Does that not sound awkward? Maybe it is the use of the word propagate, which means to spread, or maybe it is the use of the term religious organization, which could mean anything if you think about it. Sometimes definitions of words bother me and why I get into looking them up is beyond me, but for some reason I do.
When I was younger I use to watch Mission Impossible, the TV show. They were not a religious organization. I use to watch war movies and they would talk about “the mission” that they were on. I used the term, “I am a man on a mission” several times prior to becoming a Christian. Usually it was focused on finding a party or finding a girl or both. All of the examples I gave were to some degree exciting and challenging and even dangerous, especially the girl hunting. So I understand the term and what its root meaning is, and it fits in well with what God has called Christians to do, but, we are not all acting like we have a mission that is exciting and challenging and rarely dangerous.
This whole missions thing is on my mind lately because of my recent trip to Cuba and the fact that my friend from the Philippines will be here this week. Going to Cuba is exciting and challenging and even a bit dangerous. If things go well I will be going to the Philippines too, and that will be exciting and challenging and dangerous. My friend left his family in the Philippines to come here for a few months and they are in an area that recently had a major earthquake it is not uncommon to get typhoons through there this time of year. Why do people do this? Because it is needed.
Much like a soldier has a mission or a secret agent has a mission, God has given Christians a mission. We are to go into the whole world and preach the good news. Yep, the Philippines, and Cuba and Africa and Rock Hill and New York and Los Angeles and, well everywhere. No one said it had to be a foreign country, we are just supposed to go.
Some people think when Jesus said, “go”, that He meant to church on Sunday. Sorry; not what He was talking about. He meant to go where ever there are hurting people who need to know Jesus. Going to church is not what we are called to do. It is important to go to church. I like to think of it as the pit stop in the race. The race is out on the track driving as fast as possible to win, but from time to time you have to pull into the pits to get fuel, tires, and a cool drink of water. This is a short pause with the intent of getting you back out on the racetrack trying to win. Missions is the race, church is the pits.
Maybe you find it nearly impossible to go to a place like Cuba or the Philippines, but everyone goes to the grocery store. Kids go to school and parents go to work, and sometimes we get to go the beach or the mountains. Where ever we go we are on a mission. We are out to show Jesus and God’s love to whoever we come in contact with. It doesn’t mean we sit everyone down and give them the old “Bible beat down”, but we can help someone at the grocery store who may be overloaded and have kids, or we can help that new kid at school who doesn’t have a friend yet, or we can fill in for that co-worker who needs to be with a sick child. We can always be that shoulder to lean on or that ear to listen and that can go a long way into sharing the love of Christ with those who need it.
Some of you are thinking that this doesn’t sound exciting or challenging, and certainly not dangerous. If this is what you are thinking, you must ask yourself, what is more exciting or challenging and sometimes dangerous, than sharing the love of God with someone, no matter where they are? Why do we have to be in another country to do what God has called us and allows us to do anywhere? Maybe you are looking back at the definition and thinking that you have not been commissioned by a religious organization to propagate you faith. That is probably a good thing. Because Jesus should be and is the one who has commissioned His people to go into all the world. But if you think that you need an organization to commission you too, talk to your church and your pastor about it and I am sure they will agree with Jesus and say, GO!