Pursuing Your Calling: Overview

Since being called to ministry a few years ago I have intermittently struggled with this call. I have struggled with IF God had actually me. I have struggle with WHAT He was calling me to. I have struggled with WHERE He was calling me to serve. I have struggle with HOW He was calling me to serve. I have struggled with WHO He was calling me to serve. I have struggled with WAITING on God to fulfill his call. I have struggled with PURSUING the call that I felt on my life. These struggles have lead to a series where I explored some of the areas where I struggle and seek to help others work through this struggle. This series has proven to be the most popular series have ever written. In fact the single most popular post ever posted on my blog came through this series.

Here is a complete list of all of the posts from that series.

Pursuing Your Calling: How do I Know I’m Called?

Pursuing Your Calling: “Come, follow me, and…”

Pursuing Your Calling: The Spirit of God

Pursuing Your Calling: Light of the World

Pursuing Your Calling: Destination Unknown

Pursuing Your Calling: Christ’s Protege

Pursuing Your Calling: Running VS Pursuing

Pursuing Your Calling: Waiting on God

Pursuing Your Calling: Introduction

 


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Pursuing Your Calling: “Come, follow me, and…”

Matthew 4:18-20

“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fisherman. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.”
Here we read about Jesus calling his first disciples. There is much to be learned from this passage. However, for today I simply want to look at the actual call of Christ.
  • “Follow me” - Jesus did not give these men a whole list of instructions. Instead he chose to simply invite/instruct them to follow. Neither did they ask for more instructions.  Their obligation at this point was simply to follow him and they did.
  • “I will make you fishers of men.” Jesus said that he would MAKE them fishers of men. He did not say that they would become fishers of men. No, Jesus said that HE would MAKE them fishers of men. But first they had to follow him.
Jesus said, “Follow me AND I will make you fishers of men.” If this is true, then it is logical to assume the opposite, “Do not follow me AND I will not make you fishers of men.” These men would become the founding fathers of the Church as we know. BUT, first they had to follow Jesus. Whatever Jesus is calling you to, remember that the first step is to FOLLOW HIM! Do so and he will give you what you need to fulfill that calling.
Romans 9:21 says, “Does not the potter have the right to MAKE out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use.” The Greek word that is translated as MAKE in this verse is poieo. This is the same word used in the passage above. Jesus was telling the disciples that he would form them into what he was calling them to become.
With a potter the methods used to create a given type of pottery will differ depending on the desired results. The same is true for us. God’s call on each of our lives is unique. As such, the methods that God uses to prepare us for this calling will also be unique.
So, where does this leave us?
Well, even as Peter and Andrew’s obligation was to follow Jesus, so is ours. Jesus is promising to MAKE us into what He is calling us to. However, this will not happen automatically. Nor will it happen instantly. Peter spent 3 years simply FOLLOWING JESUS before he became what Jesus was calling him to. Certainly there were glimpses of it along the way, but it was not until Pentecost that Peter’s calling truly came to life and the results were amazing. So, if you want to pursue your calling, start by  following Jesus. I have some thoughts on what that looks like, but that is post for another day.
Click HERE to see all the posts in this series.

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Pursuing Your Calling: The Spirit of God

“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.” Matthew 3:16

Baptism itself does not have the power to save us. The Bible says, “It is by faith you are saved…not by works…” This means that there is nothing that we can do, even baptism can save us. Despite this truth, Baptism is still a powerful symbol. When Jesus was baptized the Holy Spirit descended upon him.  In Luke’s telling of this story it says that, “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan…” At salvation the same thing happens to us, we become “full of the Holy Spirit” even as the disciples were on the day of Pentecost.

Think back to the day you were baptized. Maybe you’re like me and it was so long ago that you only have vague memories of it. Either way think back to that time, whenever it was. Now imagine the Holy Spirit descending like a dove and lighting upon you. Think of yourself being, “full of the Holy Spirit.” This happened in the moment that we received salvation, but how often do we actually think about it?

In ministry, and in life there is a lot of fear. However, if we take time to remember that we are full of the Holy Spirit, it can take some of that fear away. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that allows us to do ministry. If you are trying to do ministry without the power of the Holy Spirit, then you will eventually fail. At the very least, a ministry done without the Holy Spirit is going to be limited.

So, think back to your own baptism. Visualize the Holy Spirit coming on you on that day. Then go forward with pursing your calling confident in the knowledge that you truly are not doing ministry alone. The Holy Spirit is with you. Draw on that power to do ministry that is much bigger than what you can do yourself.

“I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:133

Click HERE to read all the posts in this series.


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Pursuing Your Calling: Light of the World

  •   “You are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:14a

One of my fondest memories of childhood is from Christmas. I remember lying in my bed and looking out into the hall watching as the multicolored lights flashed down the hall. To this day there is something special about a Christmas tree with multicolored lights. The way that the tree lit up the hall outside my bedroom you would have thought that the tree was in the hall, or at least right at the end of it, but it wasn’t. The tree was actually down the hall, around the corner on the other side of the living room.

That’s the funny thing about light. A light that burns bright enough can light not just the room it is in, but can cast light into surrounding rooms as well. It’s almost as if the darkness runs from the light; almost as if the darkness was afraid of the light.

Jesus said that as Christians we are the light of the world. This statement was for all followers of Christ. So, a very basic step toward pursuing your calling would be simply to SHINE. So you may be asking, how do I do that, or what does that look like? Well, let’s take a look at what Jesus said in this passage.

  • “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”

This is speaks especially loudly to those called to ministry. In ministry we are out in the open, much like a city on a hill. Because of this people will notice if our light does not shine. The good news is, if our light does shine it will shine ever brighter and farther.

  • “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put I on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”

If you have the Holy Spirit in you, then your light will shine, even as the lamp that has been lit will shine. However, that light can be hidden. If you place a lamp under a bowl, then it light will be hidden. In the same way we can hide our light, usually by actions that prevent people from seeing the light of Jesus shining through us.

  • “In the same way let your light sine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

If our light shines, then people will see our good deeds. However, the goal of people seeing our good deeds is that they would praise God, not us. As a person called to ministry we must take great care that as our light shines that we are constantly pointing people towards Jesus. Make sure that the good deeds we do are ALWAYS for the glory of God.

In pursuing our call, our light will shine. In a dark world, this light will get noticed. We must take care to always remember that what we do is for the Glory of God, not our own glory.


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Pursuing Your Calling: Destination Unknown

I love road trips. There’s something about getting on the road with a destination in mind, and a route planned, but little else set in stone. You never know what kind of adventures you might have along the way. One time I was driving from my home in central Florida to North Carolina for a friend’s wedding. I stopped at a rest stop along the way and ran into a girl that I had gone to high school with. This was several years after high school and hundreds of miles from home. I mean what are the odds. That’s why I love road trips; you just never know what might happen.

For me when I take a road trip I have a specific destination in mind and usually a certain route I have planned. However, I know that road trips are not always this way. Sometimes the destination could be as simple as “the beach.” Well in Florida there are literally thousands of miles of beach. So to simply say you’re going to the beach doesn’t really help you plan your route.

Sometimes our calling is the same way. We know we have been called, but we are not sure of much else. Or maybe we know what he has called us to, but are not sure what that might look like. That’s where I am. I know that God has called me to full-time children’s ministry. I even thought I knew what that looked like, until this week. This week I was talking to my brother about my calling and he spoke words that rocked my world, “Full-time children’s ministry may not look like what you think it looks like.” Wow! I had been thinking that full-time children’s ministry meant a full-time staff position at a church. Maybe that isn’t what God has planned.
I remember one time we were driving to Cocoa Beach. I had driven there many times and was certain I knew the way. Well, we missed out turn and ended up in Daytona Beach, about 80 miles north of Cocoa.

Daytona is great, but it was not what I had planned. So, I made a right turn and drove the 80 miles to Cocoa. When I look back I can’t help but think how stupid that was. Here I was a few miles away from the most famous beach in the world, and I turned away because it was not what I had planned.

We need to be careful not to make this same mistake in our ministry. God calls us and we decide what that is going to look like and we will turn away from anything that doesn’t fit OUR vision for OUR ministry and OUR calling. God calls us to go to the beach and because we end up in Daytona instead of Cocoa we turn away from what God has planned for us. Let’s remember that it is God who calls us and that he had a plan even before he called us. Let’s not avoid Daytona because WE think we belong in Cocoa. Let’s ask for GOD’S vision for GOD’S ministry and GOD’S calling on OUR lives and then let Him take us where HE wants us to go, even if it doesn’t fit our plans.

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 29:11

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5


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