called


Book Review: Hearing God's Call


Ben Campbell Johnson's book, Hearing God's Call (Eerdmans, 2002), is a must-read resource for anyone sensing a call from God.

In Johnson's words, has God been messing with your life? "God has always called human beings to share in the divine mission in the world - and he still does" (ix). God's "messing" in our lives, or God's call, can lead us toward many different ways of participating in God's work in the world. Our call to participate in God's purposes can be a calling to a particular job that serves the greater good (lawyer, teacher, doctor, construction worker, etc.), it can be a calling on us to adopt certain volunteer...

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I am called - what do I do now?


"I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." - Ephesians 4:1-3

You know that God has called you to serve Him - to serve His church by being a pastor, youth or children's minister, missionary or another role in vocational ministry in some kind of ministry setting. Yet, that seems to be in the distant future. What can you do now? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Ask yourself what it means to be a fully devoted follower of Christ. Things like a
...

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How do I know I am called?


Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening." And the LORD said to Samuel: "See I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle."  - 1 Samuel 3:10-11

Samuel grew up in the synagogue. He was under the charge of a priest named Eli who taught him the ways of God. When he first heard God's voice, he did not recognize the source of the summons. He thought it was Eli who called out to him. Eli, being wise, recognized the voice of God and pointed Samuel in that direction.

It is not surprising that Samuel heard God's call. His whole life had been a journey of serving God,...

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Book Review: Experiencing God


The "Experiencing God" book is actually a 13-week study.  It's all about how to know and do God's will. It's Bible based, so there's a lot of opportunity for God to speak to someone to call them or affirm their calling. It's full of Biblical and historical examples of how men and women responded to the Lord's call upon their life and how He did amazing things through them. Besides the Bible, "Experiencing God" has been the way through which God has spoken to me the most.

Blackaby, Henry and Richard. Experiencing God: Day by Day...

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I get nervous!


Everyone gets a little nervous when they sense God calling them to do something new. It's perfectly normal to feel inadequate. Plenty of men and women in the Bible felt the same way.

Philippians 2:13 is a great passage that provides all we need to know to step forward with courage. Here it is in The Amplified Bible translation:

[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.

Wow! What do I take away from this Scripture?

  1. It's not done in my strength,
  2. He works in me
...

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Excuses


I fear many young people who have been gifted and called into church ministry are simply excusing their calling by saying things like:

  1. "I feel unworthy." Some young people have the impression that ministers are super spiritual giants who have few if any failures in life. This simply is not the case. What did Abraham, David and Paul all have in common? They were murders. Trust me when I say that the feeling of being unworthy to serve in church ministry is the very feeling that makes you the most qualified. I'd be more concerned if you felt you were worthy of such a calling. Don't let your past failures, or even your current
...

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Being shaped to serve


What shape are you? Have you discovered your spiritual gifts, those special abilities that just come naturally to you? These gifts were given to you by the Holy Spirit to be used in building God’s kingdom. Do you think God might be calling you to preach? Ask your pastor or youth minister for an opportunity to speak. It may be at a nursing home or at a junior high youth gathering. However, as you practice the actions associated with preaching, you may find that they are like second nature to you. Your experiences will help you discover your spiritual gifts.

You are also blessed with a personality that will help you express all that...

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Greeter


I was saved when I was ten and called to the ministry at the age of fifteen. I remember being very confused about why God would call me to the ministry and I really didn't know what it meant to be "called" anyway. I didn't fully understand my calling until God clarified it when I was eighteen. Here is the story:

It was a typical day in a small Texas town as I began my shift at a local restaurant. I would like to think the establishment desperately needed me to be there that day, but the truth is I was just a greeter. Most people would look at the greeter as someone who was working towards becoming a waiter or waitress. Most people...

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A particular calling


Everyone who feels called to ministry inevitably asks the question - what does being "called" mean? After all, we understand that every Christian is called to live their lives in the service of and as a witness to Christ. So how is a call to ministry different?

Listening to the Puritans can help us understand the distinction of a call to ministry. The Puritans separate calling into two categories. The first is "general calling" which is the call on all Christians to live as followers of Christ. The substance of the general calling is essentially the same for all believers. The second is "particular calling" in which God calls people...

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How I knew I was called


During a youth camp when I was in college, I went forward to pray for a young person. I heard God calling me through the preacher, and I experienced a burning in my heart while bursting into tears thanking God for His calling. When I was asked to preach and teach, God confirmed his calling through other people. Also, I saw people respond to the messages/lessons that I was led to share with them. The internal satisfaction I felt was also a testimony of this. I knew I was called as I saw God at work in my life, making things happen and opening a way for me to follow...

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Discerning a Call Means Continuous Listening


Ministry can be a very broad calling. It can encompass church ministry, mission work, chaplaincy, institutional ministry, non-profit ministries and much more. Often we struggle in trying to discern more specificity in our callings than simply "ministry." We want to know exactly what it is we are called to so we can have certainty about where our lives are going. We want calling to be clean and simple so that we can discern all of the details and move out of the calling phase into the living-it-out phase.

But calling grows with us. If we are faithful to God's calling, we will continually be in the process of discernment. The calling...

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My calling


My first impressions of being called to the ministry were filtered through the church context of which I was a part. The phrase used was "called to preach." Thinking about being called to preach came as I was in the 8th grade. I spent the time until the summer between my junior and senior years in high school trying to gauge the validity of what I was sensing. When I made my conviction known to the congregation, one of the deacons came by and said, "Some of us have seen this coming." That one sentence helped a great deal toward firming up my conviction of being called.

Since that time, I have had that confirmation added to, not...

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Follow me


Christ's call is clear:  "Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19). We do not know the specifics of such an invitation, but we know the Person issuing it.

Every Christian is called by God to serve Him.  Some are called to specific places and specific tasks to which others may not be called.  All Christians are called to share their faith and to be about Christ's mission in the world, but some Christians are called into what is often referred to as "full-time Christian service", "a Christian vocation" or "the ministry."  All of these phrases refer to the calling to a career or vocation that is related to...

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Book Review: Is God Calling Me?


Is God calling you? If you're a follower of Christ, the answer is, "Yes" of course. All of Christ's followers are called to serve. But is God calling you to ministry as a job? That is an altogether different question. A question almost every believer asks at some point in their journey of following the Lord.

Jeff Iorg helps you answer that question in his little book Is God Calling Me? Answering the Question Every Believer Asks. And don't be fooled by the size of this book. It's a simple and practical guide to help every follower of Christ, especially students and young adults, answer these important questions about God's call on...

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Why I may decide to say no to God


"I believe I know what is best for me." This may be at the heart of our resistance - expressed in ten words or less. Instead of viewing ourselves as the creation and God as the creator and the one who knows us best, we try to be our own god. We place our knowledge of our well-being above His knowledge of us.

"I think God may not really have my best interests at heart." We think we may miss out on something good by allowing Him this type of control. (The God who gave everything He had in order to restore fellowship with us isn't looking out for us?) When we honestly face our feelings here, the error of our thinking becomes...

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Work worship


As Christians we must avoid any task that takes our minds off of Jesus. Too many become worshippers of their work rather than true worshippers of God. This is a form of idolatry. This is especially tempting for those whose work is Christian ministry. It is far too easy to rationalize our work in ministry as being worthy of our full attention and worship. This is a recipe for burn-out or something far worse. 

Our efforts to serve the Lord must not become a substitute for our pursuit of knowing the Lord. What is the difference? One focuses on accomplishing tasks and the other focuses on knowing and loving a Person. When the latter is...

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Understanding the Bible for Women Who Feel Called to Ministry


Discussions of how women should be involved in ministry and the church in particular have been happening for many years. Many young women who feel called to ministry have grown up in churches that take one position or the other on the concern of women in ministry. These young women, then, may not be aware that different positions from the ones they have been taught exist in Baptist life.

One position on women in ministry in Baptist churches is that women are restricted from certain leadership roles in the church. Some say only the office of pastor is limited to men while others argue that women should not lead or teach men in any...

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Make an evaluation of your gifts and skills


Talk to persons in ministry whom you admire. They will more than likely be a listening ear for your reflections about whether you have the gifts and skills for being a minister. They may initiate an opportunity for you to try out your skills: present a sermon, teach a Sunday School lesson, lead music, provide leadership to a ministry/mission project, include you on ministry visits.

There are personality inventories, for example, the Myers-Briggs Test, which can provide some clarification on your sense of world view and how you make decisions. The Myers-Briggs might be available through your school counselor. It and other such...

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