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

Warning Label

2 Chronicles 16:9
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.”

There are some truths that are so powerful it seems almost frightening to open them up. That is certainly true of this particular verse. The truth tucked away here is so powerful it has the ability to transform the life of every individual who will apply it, and to bring about real and lasting changes in the world in which we live. It is a truth that might even need a warning label. “If you apply this verse to your life, God will do great things in and through you.”

First, notice the promises; He declares that if we are loyal to Him that He will prove Himself strong on our behalf. The word “loyal” means complete, and speaks of the person who has given himself completely to the Lord. The promise here is not for those who are keeping things back from God, or unwilling to give up certain desires, dreams, ambitions or even personal sins. This promise is for the loyal, the devoted, the surrendered, the one who,like Paul, have crucified themselves to the world and are living devoted to Christ.

It is to the loyal person that God promises He will show His strength. His strength will be shown in our weakness, inability, frailty, and confusion. We will find, when we are overwhelmed by our inadequacy and cannot possibly accomplish what is set before us, that the strength of God will meet our weakness, and we will be empowered by His Spirit to do what we could never do on our own. That is what I meant by needing a warning label on this verse. If this truth is applied, then there is nothing the child of God cannot accomplish for the kingdom of God. Suddenly, our personal weaknesses, our fears, and our inabilities, no longer limit what God may accomplish through us. When we apply this truth to our living, we will be able to step into any area of ministry The Lord calls us and we will find His strength for the task at hand.

Pastor Jim

 

Better Off 

John 16:7
“It is to your advantage that I go away; . . .”

Much of what Jesus said was shocking to the ears of the disciples. He spoke with a wisdom that was otherworldly. They may have become used to the fact that Jesus was going to say things that surprised them, but I do not think anything could prepare them for the statement Jesus made here. Earlier, He had been speaking about His betrayal and death, He now declares they will be better off without Him. For over three years, these men have been with Jesus. They have watched as He transformed lives, and listened as He declared truths about the Kingdom of God. Now He is speaking about leaving, and declaring they will be more effective with Him out of the way. I know Peter is the one who is known for objecting to Jesus, but I find myself objecting on His behalf. I cannot think of a single scenario where it would not be better to have Jesus around. If I were fishing, boating, preaching, visiting the sick, feeding the hungry or facing the Pharisees, I think it would always be better to have Jesus there, than to be by myself. How could Jesus say such things? What conditions could make it better to have Jesus absent, rather than present?

First off, things are better because of the way Jesus will depart. No one could take His life, He would instead, lay it down as a sacrifice to provide the cure for man’s sin problem. His death makes it possible for each of us to have eternal life, and gives us a message to declare to the world. The message that, they too, can have their sins forgiven, and receive eternal life in Christ. Beyond that, Jesus goes on to explain why things are better for us if He departs to the Father.

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” 

When Jesus departed to the Father, He sent forth the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the third “Person” of the Godhead, He is described as the Helper, the Comforter, and the One who empowers the Christian. Jesus promised that when the Holy Spirit came, He would convince the world of its need for a Savior, by convicting it of sin, righteousness, and judgment.

Ministry is impossible. We are natural beings with natural abilities. We are sent forth to impact people spiritually. We can tell moving stories that effect people’s emotions, but only the Spirit of God can penetrate the heart of man, and convince Him of His need for Christ. Praise the Lord, Jesus did not leave us alone, but sent forth the Holy Spirit who will enable each of us to be involved in furthering the work of God in the World.

Father, baptize us afresh with Your Holy Spirit today!

Pastor Jim