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The Call of God on Our Lives

Check out this quote:

 “A lost person or article is still what it is, still valuable in itself, but in the wrong place, disconnected from its purpose and unable to be or do whatever it is intended to be or do.”  (David Winter, What's in a Word)

I can’t help but think of last week when I was looking for a flathead screwdriver in our garage.  That screwdriver was somewhere, and, wherever it was, it was still a screwdriver.  But it was separated from its purpose because it was lost. 

Okay, that may be a bad example because Diane would argue that a screwdriver in my hands is still cut off from its intended purposes but you get my point.  That’s us apart from a life-giving connection to God.  We are still what we are – still capable of some extraordinary things, still with noble longings, still trying to give and receive love, but we are disconnected from our real purpose and cut off from our authentic selves. 

Last week in service we talked about the call of God on our lives.  Throughout the Bible we read testimonies of people whom God has called: Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, Jeremiah, Isaiah, the disciples and many more.  These people became who they were intended to be because God literally spoke into their lives in a way that they could hear and understand Him.  I also know many of these kinds of stories personally from hearing them over the years from others and from some experiences of my own. 

Being “called by God” is incredible and life-changing and amazing and several other powerful adjectives! 

But what if you’ve never heard God’s call?  What if, when you hear these stories, you feel something more like frustration or self-doubt or doubt of God or the story-teller?  I had someone ask me after church this week: “Does God not call some people?  And does that mean something is wrong with them if He doesn’t?”  Is such a person doomed to never being found?

This is one of those kinds of questions that deserves more than a short blog-answer.  However, since I’m writing a blog (partly because I never found that screwdriver) here’s a short blog-something-to-consider.  I think there are 3 likely reasons why we end up feeling this way:

1) For some of us, we’ve actually had experiences of being directed by God, or confronted by God, or even radically altered by God … but we just forget them.  I don’t mean we literally forget them, but we let them drift so far away from our thinking that they are no longer part of the equation when we’re making decisions or when we’re thinking about ourselves.  I’ve certainly ended up doubting my experiences with God at times because of this very reason.  I can’t help but think of what Luke says about Mary when she heard the things that were being said about her newborn son Jesus.  “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”  (Luke 2:19)   For some of us, we need to do some treasuring.

2) For others of us, there is simply too much distraction in our lives.  This can take the form of sheer noise: soccer practice, karate, spend the nights, academic club, piano, softball games, baby showers, project deadlines …  Or this can be because we have too many other seemingly important things in our lives.  If we’re honest, it may be that we’re really relying on our children’s success or our bank account or our list of accomplishments to give us purpose and security.   Moses tells the Israelites, “If from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”  (Deuteronomy 4:29)  This must be a big deal for God because he repeats Himself in Jeremiah (29:13) and in Jesus (Matthew 7:7).   So let’s consider for a moment: have we wholeheartedly sought Him?  He rarely screams over extraneous noise.

3) Finally, some of us are just plain resistant to God.  We may be mad at Him or we may be fiercely disappointed with our lives.  We end up feeling like and acting like a 14-year-old boy who thinks that everything his parents say is either ridiculous or irrelevant or both (I’ve had some experience with this).  We do not want to be bothered.  “Hey, show me something real and tangible and big or I think I’ll just go my own way.”  If you’re in this place, you’re in good company, but you’re not in a good place!  God does not respond to demands!

Here’s the thing: when I’m in one of those places I still am what I am.  I still have noble longings; I still do some good things.  I still feel like myself … sorta.  But it’s the sorta part that usually drives me back to Him.  It’s the sorta part that bothers me when I’m alone or when it’s late at night.  Because somewhere deep inside, I know I’m disconnected if I’m not living underneath His call.

I pray that you are treasuring God’s call on your life today.  And if you’re not, I pray that the deep sense of “sorta” will drive you to seek Him, wholeheartedly and without resistance. 

 

Posted by Ed Allen with 0 Comments

Comments on Work

This past Labor Day Sunday, we talked about work.  We actually looked at an interesting section in one of Paul’s letters – 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13.  In this passage, Paul rebukes people for not working.  In fact, he encourages his readers to shun people who refuse to do their part.  In our discussion of this we made the observation that it is essential that all of us contribute.  It is essential practically because it’s a fairness issue – that makes it essential to community.  It is also essential spiritually because we were designed by God to work.  (See Genesis 2:15.)

After that lesson, I got an email from a friend in our fellowship.  I’ve included some of it here because it’s worth reading.  As you read, think about your own work history.  What lessons have you learned?

 

Work has been an important component to my spiritual life.  From the beginning of my Christian life, my work story has been unusual.

On paper, I didn’t stand a chance at getting the job I have: no education and no connection.  And at the beginning I didn't show any skills of any kind.  Life looked very bleak.  But as it turns out, I have a strong natural talent for computers … still becoming a software developer would not been possible if something amazing didn't happened.

The first step happened by my being at the right place at the right time.  This opportunity was created because I was living out a new way of life for me at the time, which was, “doing the next right thing.”

That first step was nothing impressive.  I got a job emptying the trash in the computer room at the company where I was working loading trucks, (18 hours a day at minimum wage in the Phoenix heat).  God stepped in and this insignificant job was made into something akin to the 5 loaves and 2 fish.  The person God made me into started with the core I had at birth.  And then He built me into something that no one could have imagined when I was 20 years old.  It took ten years to be established as a bonafide software developer.  There were some incredible stories, many “coincidences” that allowed me to progress, and most of it was a journey of faith.

Here are some of the things I have learned:

  • God has been faithful to His promise to take care of me and my family – even when I didn't have a way to do it myself.  I got a front row seat in seeing God deliver time and time again.
  • God gave me an outlet for the creativity that burns in my soul.  For me, software development is almost all about creativity.  In fact, I was emotionally unstable until I was able to focus my creative energy at work.  This also was a key part of my being successful at it.
  • I made God first, family second, and work third.  This was a significant challenge because I was so behind all the other people I knew.  The logical thing to do would have been to spend more time at work to catch up.  I didn't do that.  I believe I was successful because I let God do the heavy lifting and I did the important things like raise my kids and live out my faith.  
  • This gave me a sense of worth.  The moment I realized, (through getting a better job) that I was going to make it as a software developer, and that I would be able to support my family, was indescribable.  At that moment, I had one of the strongest God encounters of my life.  In this case God’s voice came as a question.  It was related to my sense that “I was going to make it” and “my life isn't hopeless after all.”  God’s simple question was: “What has changed?”  My initial response was, “what does that mean?”  Then I realized the question was telling me that nothing has changed.  I always had worth; I was never hopeless.  This thought became an atom bomb of emotional healing.  To this day, when I find myself comparing myself to others and feeling inadequate I remember that event.  
  • I have skills that I’m able to use for Gateway and other church organizations that I wouldn't have if didn't first learn them at work.
  • You need patience.   It can take years of serious work to see plans execute.

 

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