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5

Answering The Call of God

Answering The Call of God

1 Samuel 3:1-10(NLT) - Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon. One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle near the Ark of God. Suddenly the Lord called out, “Samuel!” “Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” He got up and ran to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.” So he did. Then the Lord called out again, “Samuel!” Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you, my son,” Eli said. “Go back to bed.” Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before. So the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed. And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”

If you were sleeping and suddenly heard a voice call your name in the middle of the night, what would you do? Now put yourself in Samuel's shoes. He had no idea what was going on. As the scriptures outlined, it was rare for anyone to receive a message from The Lord at that time so he didn't have much of a reference point. Hence, his response was appropriate. In fact, his journey to hearing God's Voice clearly is indicative of what we all experience. Like Samuel, it takes us a couple times before we can comfortably discern God's Voice from everything else around us.

It took Samuel 4 times to recognize The Voice of God. Yet, more importantly, it took Eli 3 times to realize that it was God's Voice speaking to Samuel all along. Samuel was justified for not knowing God's Voice but Eli, the high priest, had no excuse. Maybe that further explains why the first prophetic Word Samuel ever received was a warning of impending judgment from God for his mentor and spiritual father Eli. If you read the preceding chapter you would also realize that Samuel was not the first prophet to warn Eli. God sent a prophet earlier to tell Eli basically the same thing. Since it didn't really work then, God had to repeat Himself which is never good.

Isaiah 6:8(NKJV) - Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

I remember the first time I "heard" the Voice of God. It was during a Sunday morning service at Divine Encounter Fellowship in Arima, Trinidad. I was 17 years old and a group of us had responded to an altar call. We were on our faces in prayer before The Lord when suddenly I felt something shift in my consciousness. My eyes were closed and instead of seeing complete darkness I could see the stars as though I was deep in outer space. I then felt this overwhelming sense that God was calling me into the ministry. I couldn't articulate what He said to me because I actually didn't hear anything. I just felt something all over me and I knew it was God. So in response I told The Lord yes in whatever way I knew at that time. I didn't know exactly what I was agreeing to but I knew who I was in agreement with. As you can see, the rest is history.

Matthew 22:1-4(NLT) - Jesus also told them other parables. He said, “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. But they all refused to come! “So he sent other servants to tell them, ‘The feast has been prepared. The bulls and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the banquet!’ But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business. Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them. “The king was furious, and he sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their town. And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor. Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’ So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply. Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

In this parable like most others by Jesus, the King represents God. In addition, the specially invited guests represent His chosen people Israel and the people from the street corners represent the Gentiles. Salvation was first offered to the Jews and the bulk of them rejected it so God offered it to the entire world. It may not have been a good thing that the Jews turned down God's invitation but it was a good thing for the rest of us because that's how we got invited into God's Kingdom. Nevertheless, it's easy to read a parable like this and think; "Who in their right mind would reject the call of God? What could be so important in your life that it could be worth turning down a personal invitation from God?"

Well, think about it! The VIP guests had other things to do. They had things to take care of at home or work. They had money to make. They had their own dreams to pursue. They just didn't have the time to stop living their own lives to respond to The King. They weren't necessarily bad people, they were just busy people. Of course, that doesn't include the group who killed the messengers. Of course, none of us would ever do a thing like that. Now would we? Not so fast! How many prophets have spoken God's truth into the lives of Christians who are sitting on the sidelines and got totally shot down? "Beloved, God says you need to.... Ummm... no thank you. That's not God."

Romans 11:29(AMP) - For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable [for He does not withdraw what He has given, nor does He change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call].

What about you? Do you remember the first time God spoke to you? If yes, what did He tell you? Do you remember the day God called you to serve in His Kingdom? If yes, what have you done? Did you do what He said? Did you read The Book of Jonah? He thought that he could get away from God's call on his life by going in the opposite direction. God sent him for a swim with the fishes. God might be long-suffering and patient but He doesn't forget His call on someone's life. Have you tried to run away from God's plan? If you think you're just not going to do it and things are just going to work themselves out you're in for a big surprise.

Even if you've never heard God's call you have received God's gifts. Guess what? His gifts were given to you for one purpose and that's to carry out His call. If you don't think you're called by God, your gifts will disagree with that notion. The mere presence of natural or spiritual gifts in your life means God has a purpose for you and its directly connected to the use of those gifts. So even a person's inability to hear from God is not an excuse for not answering the Call of God. The gifts He's put into each of us speak to us on behalf of God telling us what He expects of us. They point us in His direction.

Find a place where your gifts can be developed and eventually used in God's service. If you can't do it where you are right now, find somewhere else. You can either stay where you are and use your gifts outside of that place or go to a place where you can use your gifts. Whatever you do, answer God's call on your life. He is never going to change His mind regardless of what you do. The only thing that changes is that the longer you wait, the less time you have to do the same thing.

Romans 12:4-8(NLT) - Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Each person in The Body of Christ has unique gifts which accompany specific functions. When you see The Church as a body you will realize how important you are, not just to God but to the rest of us. Do you know what it's like to be missing a body part? Even if all of your body parts are present, do you know what it's like when you have body parts which don't function properly? Now consider every Christian who is out of place and not doing what God has called them to do. Consider the impact their lack of function has on the rest of us. They handicap God's body by not fulfilling their roles. Are you one of those people? Are you the malfunctioning foot that's caused us to limp along for the last five years? Are you the missing finger that has made it hard for us to grasp what God has asked of us? Is it you? If it's not you, do you know who it is?

1 Corinthians 12:12-27(NLT) - The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.

We're all in this together. When I answered the call of God on my life it was not just about me, it was about you. When you consider the call of God on your life, it's not just about you or your family, it's about the rest of us in The Body of Christ. We need you to do what God has called you to do and we need you to do it now. God is calling your name. Go ahead and say yes! Until we all do what we are called to do, The Body of Christ is not functioning at its full capacity.

6

Boldness

Boldness

THE SPIRIT OF BOLDNESS

Luke 10:19 (AMP) - Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you.

Acts 1:8(AMP) - But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth.

The King James Version uses the same word, "power" to describe what Jesus gave us in Luke 10:19 to defeat the enemy and what He in Acts 1:8 said the Holy Spirit will give us to preach the gospel. However, they are not the same. The power we have over the enemy is "Exousia" which is authority, hence all we have to do is speak to him in the name of Jesus and all the forces of hell must obey. On the other hand, the power we get from The Holy Spirit coming upon us is "Dunamis" which is ability and might. That's important because all Christians have "Exousia" power since it comes only by the name of Jesus. Hence we can pray for the sick, cast out demons and make declarations against the enemy.

However, until The Holy Spirit empowers us with "Dunamis" we will remain scared to death to tell our co-workers about Jesus. Isn't that amazing? It's not the same. As bold as we are in church stamping on the enemy and laying hands on people we assume we can translate that into preaching the gospel to people we meet on the streets. Well, have you ever tried that? My goodness, its easier for most of us to command the enemy to get out of our lives than to just tell a human being we don't know that Jesus loves them. It's easier to wage war against a spiritual enemy than to show love to a human. It's easier to bind principalities and powers than to be witnesses for Jesus. We all already have "Exousia" but for those of us who want boldness to spread this gospel, let's ask The Holy Spirit for "Dunamis."

6

Expect Opposition

Expect Opposition

Jesus offered a crash course in ministry to the seventy in Luke 10:1-24. In one compact leadership seminar He taught them the salient points that must be considered when answering the call to ministry by God’s standard. This is one of the greatest mysteries of the Kingdom of God that few people realize is so obvious in the Bible. In fact, Jesus first gave a similar ministry training seminar to His disciples in Luke 9:1-6. In this chapter from my book; "Mysterious Kingdom Of Heaven", we will witness the mysteries of ministry revealed by Jesus during His time as a man on the earth. Click here for Part 2 - What's Your Vision?

Luke 10:2&3 - Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.

What’s a good ministry without stiff opposition? I hope you don’t think that you’re going to walk into this perfect stage of your life in ministry without someone trying to stop you? The wolves are part of the package. This life includes constant warfare between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world. At no point does the enemy overlook an individual with enough brevity to step forward in ministry.

I once thought that strict obedience to the Word of God would prevent the accusations of the enemy but I was totally wrong. He is a relentless foe and as a result, we should be just as relentless. We should never assume that he is taking a break even when things seem to be calm around us. Always be wary of his plans and never get complacent.

John 16:33 - These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Jesus told us to expect trouble in this world but He also offered Himself as peace. It’s important to have a very strong relationship with God if you plan to survive the trials that come with ministry. The world is a very rough place and it’s designed for the survival of the fittest. A weak heart is the recipe for failure. Don’t expect the world to like what you are doing even if it looks like they initially do. They are still wolves, whether or not they look or sound like sheep.

John 15:18 - If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

James 4:4 - Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Jesus was hated by the world. He came to earth to give His life for the world and they still hated Him. In fact, even though hindsight is 20-20 and we all know what Jesus did for the world, they still hate Him. Therefore, they will hate you! That's why, anytime you are active in ministry and they seem to really like you something is wrong. Either you’re not doing your job or they have something sinister up their sleeves. Sometimes, they push ministers to the top of the world and if they fall, the same world is quick to say, “I told you so” and step all over them.

If people hate Jesus but love you it’s important to judge yourself. You might need to spend some time looking into the mirror of the Word of God at your reflection to ensure that nothing is wrong. I’ve been to several discussion forums and have read some of the nastiest things said about precious men of God. People are so jealous of the success of ministers today that they make accusations of impropriety against even those who are obedient to the Spirit of God.

Matthew 5:11 - Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Psalms 2:4 - He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.

It really is amazing to hear some of the things that come out of the mouths of the critics. Do they really think that their words can stop what God is doing? I hope not, because while they assume success, the entire host of heaven is laughing at them. Sometimes, I also like to do a little laughing myself. It really is good medicine to laugh at the “haters” because if you let them frustrate you, it is your fault. I let critics entertain me with their ramblings and join the laughter with my Heavenly Father. One of these days, they will have to acknowledge the truth, whether they like it or not. Expect opposition!

2

What's Your Vision?

What's Your Vision?

Jesus offered a crash course in ministry to the seventy in Luke 10:1-24. In one compact leadership seminar He taught them the salient points that must be considered when answering the call to ministry by God’s standard. This is one of the greatest mysteries of the Kingdom of God that few people realize is so obvious in the Bible. In fact, Jesus first gave a similar ministry training seminar to His disciples in Luke 9:1-6. In this chapter from my book; "Mysterious Kingdom Of Heaven", we will witness the mysteries of ministry revealed by Jesus during His time as a man on the earth. Click here for Part 1 - Have You Been Chosen By God?

Know your assignment and how others fit into it; have a specific vision.

Luke 10:2 – Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers unto his harvest.

The goal of every minister in the Kingdom of God should be to spread the love of Jesus Christ in some form. The seventy in Luke 10 were selected to be extensions of the hands of Jesus Christ. In addition, Jesus wanted them to remain cognizant of the fact that they would need the help of others to fulfill God’s purpose on the earth. Ministry is a team effort and the entire Body of Christ can work together to see positive results.

Anyway, after you know that you are called to do something; your next step is to find out what that something really is. You may not know how you’ll get there but you need to be able to see where you are going even if it’s just on a “map.” This is very important if other people are following you because they are depending on you for direction.

Proverbs 29:18 – Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

A ministry without a vision cannot succeed because there is no standard by which success can be evaluated. Good intentions and a clear call from God can definitely plant the seed for ministry in your heart but a vision gives direction to its growth. God sees the end from the beginning and can reveal to you the goal of your ministry. On average, that goal would seem impossible based on your current position but God’s ways are higher than your own and so are His thoughts.

You will see later on why it is so important to have a very specific vision. One of the main reasons is to avoid distractions. Anything that is not of God is obviously a distraction but several activities of service to God may also be distractions. If what you choose to do within the Kingdom of God at a particular time is not contained in His plan for your life, you are being distracted. If God wants you to be an usher but you’re preaching, your preaching is a distraction. If God told you to start a ministry for the poor but you started a Christian entertainment company, you’re distracted.

Habakkuk 2:1-3 – I WILL stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

Some ministries will never seem glamorous on this earth but are very effective for the Kingdom of God. Therefore, you can’t be unsure about your position because you’ll start drifting in a direction that you prefer instead of the one that He prefers. Remember the words of Solomon in Proverbs 29:18; “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

Therefore, it is important to not just know your vision but to have it recorded in black and white as a clearly written document. Don’t assume that your photographic memory is enough. It may take several years before you see something happen that resembles the vision and time has a way of changing your perspective.

I remember a prophecy I received from a young lady at church when I was about 11 years of age. She wrote down what my future looked like and gave it to me. I smiled and kept the document. God showed her how He was going to use me as I grew older and what role I would play in the Kingdom of God. I still have it in my Bible and every time I read it, I can confirm the fulfillment of that vision. This brings up another issue. Your most important vision is the one that God has for you and not the one you have for yourself. Let God show you the vision, write it down and move forward with your life in ministry.

0

The Price of Preaching The Gospel

Matthew 24:14(NKJV) - And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
5

Operate Where You're Gifted

Romans 12:6 (KJV) - Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

Romans 11:29(KJV) - For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
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Why God Seekers? A Youth Ministry Revolution

3 KEY WORDS: VISION, DIRECTION, TRAINING

Acts 4:13(KJV) - Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

Each youth must have a personal encounter with Jesus.

2

Share Your Testimony

Genesis 22:13-14(KJV) - And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.

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Let God's Word Guide You

Truth is absolute. Lies are relative. Let Truth anchor your heart when storms are raging.

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The Word of God Is Truth

Truth is absolute. Lies are relative. Let Truth anchor your heart when storms are raging.

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