Called And Equipped 

Luke 9:1 “Then He called His twelve disciples . . .”

When the Lord calls us to serve Him there seems to be a universal response. Our hearts cry out, “I can’t.” This was the same response of Moses, Saul and Gideon. We feel this way because the Lord always seems to call us to do what is beyond our capacities. A young woman with small children senses a call to teach in children’s church, or a retired couple hears the call to the mission field, or a young man has a burning in his heart to become a pastor, and the voice in our head cries out, “I can’t.”

I think there is something encouraging here as Jesus calls the twelve. He is sending them out to serve Him. They will encounter many with needs beyond their capabilities to handle. They will cross paths with the sick, who will look to them for the answer, the demoniacs, who are held under by the powers of the devil, and some will oppose the work of God. For their journey they are told to take nothing: no money, no provisions, no extra stuff, for these things will not equip them for the ministry. Jesus wants them to understand, those are not the things that enable them, nor will a lack of those things restrict them. Instead, Jesus provides everything that is necessary. We read,

“. . . He gave them power and authority. . . “

All of their objections, and ours, should be silenced by these six words. Whatever reasons they had for objecting to the call, whatever lack they may have felt, must be silenced when Jesus declares, “I have given you power and authority.” Just as their objections are silenced by His promise, so must ours be silenced. Whatever objections you have to the call of God on your life, understand that what He calls us to, He equips us for. As He said to Gideon (Judges 6:12, 14), He says to you “Mighty man of valor… Go in this might of yours.”

Will you go?

Pastor Jim

Selective Service

1 Samuel 10:6
Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man.

Saul was first chosen by God, then equipped for service. This seems to be a pattern. Saul, along with Moses, Jeremiah, and Peter, all resisted the idea of being selected for service by God. Their objections stemmed from a realization of their own shortcomings. What they failed to realize, was God would equip them for whatever He called them to do.

We often have the same objections. We size ourselves up, and limit the ways God can use us. Then we sense a stirring from the Lord to serve in a capacity in which we have no gifting or experience. Right away we begin to come up with the excuses. “I can’t do that, I am not a …”

It is so important to remember what God did with Saul. After selecting him, God poured His Spirit on Saul and “turned (him) into another man.” Saul, before the call of God, was definitely not qualified for the task. However, after the call, Saul was equipped with everything he would ever need.

Whatever God calls us to, He equips us for. Don’t resist the call of God out of fear of failure. Instead, trust in the power of God to transform and use you.

Pastor Jim

 

Fill Me Up

Exodus 31:3
“And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,”

Fuel GaugeWhen the time came to make the articles for the Tabernacle, God selected two men, and filled them with the Spirit of God. Under their leadership, this vast and elaborate project was completed. Normally, we associate the need for the Holy Spirit with intrinsically spiritual tasks, like leading worship, teaching the Bible, or witnessing to the lost. However, here, we discover that the empowering of the Spirit is required for designing the facility and making the building. It seems a pattern develops within Scripture, where God chooses common men, fills them with the Spirit of God, and accomplishes uncommon works. Instead of focussing on what makes us common, we should fix our attention on being filled with the Spirit.

When Paul wrote to the Corinthian church regarding the work of the Holy Spirit, he gave them a series of exhortations. First, he told them to earnestly desire or covet the gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31). It is when we step out of our comfort zone and into ministry that we will begin to covet the gifts. As long as we only serve Jesus where we are comfortable, we will never find ourselves desperate for His work in our lives. If you want to covet the gifts, begin to look for new ways to serve.

Second, he wrote that the desired gifts are received through prayer. He used the example of tongues and interpretation of tongues and wrote “if someone speaks with a tongue, pray that you might interpret”(1 Corinthians 14:13). In other words, the gifts are acquired through prayer. When we step out to serve the Lord, and become aware of our shortcomings, all we need to do is ask for His Spirit. When we do, we will be filled with what is lacking, in order to accomplish the work of ministry.

Third, he wrote that while the gifts are given to individuals, they are designed to build up the entire church. God’s method of reaching the world is through His church. He designed it, built it, and energizes it with His Spirit. The church has its greatest Impact when each member is being filled with the Spirit and stepping into the areas of ministry to which God has called them. We can only imagine what a tremendous impact your local church would have, if each person surrendered completely to the Lord, and stepped out in the power of the Spirit to serve Him.

Jesus exhorts us to pray for laborers to be sent into the harvest (Luke 10:2). Those who will be sent are like Bezalel and Aholiab, who are filled with the Spirit of God, to accomplish the task at hand.

Pastor Jim

 

Many Are Called…

Matthew 20:16
“For many are called, but few chosen.”

2015/01/img_1355.jpgThis verse is the conclusion of a parable Jesus spoke regarding God’s reward system. All those who responded to the offer of the vineyard owner received the same wage, whether they worked for a few hours or for the entire day. What a beautiful picture of God’s grace. Heaven is the great reward of all who respond to the call of God. Young Timothy and the thief hanging next to Jesus were both recipients of God’s manifold grace, both will forever live under the banner of King Jesus, walk the streets of gold, and experience the glories of living in glory.

That being said, I am struck by the condition of those who responded to the vineyard owners call. We read, they were “standing idle.” The word idle means to be free from work. We use the word to speak of a car that is sitting at a stop sign; the motor is running, but the car is going nowhere. It is not being used to its fullest potential or to accomplish what it was designed for. The person who responds to Christ in the eleventh hour will receive freely the gifts of eternity, but will have lived life idly, not fulfilling the purposes for which God designed them.

What about you? Are you living life for the glory of God? Are you storing up treasures in heaven, by living life to please King Jesus?

Take a moment to get today’s marching orders from the Lord.

Pastor Jim