In this blog I'm going to talk some about callings in ministry. It's a subject I don't teach on much, because to me, it is should be a personal thing between God and the individual. Great men and women who have been called by the Lord to minister, all have their personal struggles, persecutions, troubles, and adversaries. When they fall, fail, (and we all do), judgment flows like water, and mouths speak things that should remain silent. Occasionally the Lord prompts me to speak on this topic, and this is one of those times.
When Paul was called by God on the road to Damascus-it was a very dramatic event, and his conversion started the movement we know today as the Body of Christ, all those who put their trust and faith in the risen Lord Jesus Christ. Paul's start in faith began with great turmoil, and continued throughout his life-until his martyrdom by beheading. Throughout his writings, we read of the many accounts of his trials, persecutions, adversaries; in and out of the churches. He debated with the Jews relentlessly. False brethren; he had many. In the end, it's debatable whether he could be considered a complete failure-he died alone, no one stood with him, but God. He died in the same manner as the Savior he gave his life for. Indeed, all the disciples but one, John, died in the same manner. It's been said, they all died either crazy and deluded-or totally convinced that the One they followed was who he said he was. I have chosen to follow this same Jesus, for the same reason, I'm convinced.
Today in ministry there's a lot of emphasis on success, and it is gauged by outward popularity, how many sit in the pews, how many marriages, baptisms, and funerals the pastor has performed. This is in contrast to Paul's life and his emphasis. He tells what his focus was in these verses:
1Co 1:12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
1Co 1:13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
1Co 1:14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;
1Co 1:15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.
1Co 1:16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
1Co 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
Nothing has changed in two thousand years, Paul had the same conflicts and contentions then, as we do now.
It's to be noticed in these verses, Paul's attitude toward the boasting and bragging of his contemporaries. His only acknowledgment of baptizing anyone, was a few, and then only to make the point; performing ceremonies wasn't his focus-it was preaching the gospel. I've found no records of any marriages he performed. He may have, but their not mentioned anywhere in scripture. It would do people well, to study what scripture really emphasizes as important. If you do, and then listen to a lot of ministers today, you can discern what is really important to them, many times it's their ego's. If the full gospel of Jesus Christ was preached today in churches, and what the gospel teaches about the sin that's rampant in society, there would be the same uproars the first disciples had to deal with in their ministries. You'd be shut down, and possibly put in jail.
Some ministers who fall deep in sin, never recover. But a great many are like King David. He sinned greatly with Bathsheba, and other sins in his life God dealt with him about, but did he step down and stop being the King of Israel? Did God take his position from him? No. He disciplined him, allowed events in his life to happen, and told him they would, and David lived with the consequences of his mistakes. He remained King, he repented, and remained in his calling. Peter sinned, denied the Lord three times. His remorse was great, he knew the weight of his failure. Jesus speaks to Peter in John ch. 21:15-19, challenges him, proves him by asking pointed questions, foretells him of the death he would suffer to glorify him, then commissions him, "follow me". Somebody's level of faith, and most important their love for the Lord will determine if true repentance occurs, and the life of the person and their pattern of living will reveal it.
I've had many occurrences of accusations, and judgments made that come from those whose estimation of success is what I've described above; how many marriages, funerals, or baptisms have I done; how many churches have I served in.
Forty years ago, I knew God called me to intercession, and a watchman shortly after I was saved. I spent many years studying scripture, went to correspondence bible school, served in local churches through those years primarily in the area of prayer. In the 90's several people who were serving in ministry who taught and served in my area came to me and said they believed I was called to teach, it was confirmed several times over the years by people who I didn't know, but they said they had been observing me and also knew this. In early 2001 it was confirmed to me again in a church service on a Sunday morning by the guest speaker-as he turned to me and said "The Lord has shown me you are called to teach His word." There was a room full of people there that morning that heard it, including my daughter and son-in-law. In these 40+ years, I've known the assurance of this calling, and like David, have had my share of failures, made many mistakes, and chosen wrong decisions. But the calling hasn't changed, nor has God's love, mercy, discipline, and guidance. There's been times I've wanted to quit this just about every week. What keeps me going is God's hand on my back, and His undeniable, constant presence. Without Him, I am nothing. I don't claim to know all His purposes for this calling, but my love for Him won't let me deny Him, or say no to Him, when I know He is asking me to do something, or say something. No amount of money could get me to do this, and no amount of money could get me to stop. I keep going for one reason-I love Him. But, during the end of Paul's life, he didn't teach in churches-and ended writing his epistles and letters in prison. People who won't compromise today who are called to teach, don't find it any easier.
I've been ordained a minister several times-but does this really matter? That piece of paper doesn't mean anything. It hangs on my wall, along with other credentials, but God is not impressed with any of this. He called me by His Holy Spirit, no one can take that from me.
I've had my share of sitting at bedsides of people gravely ill, and dying during the years I worked-those jobs were part of my ministry, and part of God's growing me up spiritually. Those years equipped me to be able to serve Him in the capacity of intercession and warfare that I would not understand, without the experience of those years. I went to many of their funerals. Many of those jobs were stretches of many long hours, sometimes entire weekends-from Friday nights through the weekend till Monday, around the clock. In other's it was 12 hour shifts, many times back to back. This went on for many years. In those jobs many situations came up that brought me to places of "on the spot prayer" where I needed God's intervention-right then; and He showed Himself very present in those times. I know first hand, that many of God's greatest ministries, and ministers are not just in churches, and they've learned many valuable lessons that some pastor's may never learn.
I prayed with many who were dying, saw some of them get saved shortly before they died, but many who died and knew they were now in hell-it is heart wrenching. It also continues to motivate me in preaching the gospel without compromise; I know very well how final death is. Once your gone, there's no coming back to this life for another chance. There is no purgatory, there is no reincarnation. The decisions made in this life; for or against Christ, are final.
So, for those who look at this ministry and feel it can be judged that it's a failure, all I will say is; in the end, when this life is over-God will be the judge.
1Th 5:24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
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No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me,
saith the LORD.
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto
The Victory of Our Faith
is born of God overcometh the world: and this is
the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
Who is he that overcometh the world,
but he that believeth
that Jesus is the
Son of God?
But they that wait
upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
The Whole Armor
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all,
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
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