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before one of them came to be

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been asked to speak at Valley View Christian Church on July 3.  My text for the morning is this one:

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:13-16

Rather than debate the ins and outs of predestination (see verse 16!), I’d like to focus more on this aspect of God’s call on your life and mine.

I grew up in a church fellowship that didn’t talk much of a minister being “called” to a particular church.  In other words, we didn’t talk like God had directed a specific person to a specific church — or even to a specific ministry.  In some ways, ministers (or preachers) were treated more like employees than as someone God had provided with a purpose and vision for the local church.  As one elder so graciously told me after I had been at the church for less than a month, “I hired you and I can fire you.”

Over the years, I have developed a much more biblical view of calling.  I do not believe every calling is alike.  Some are dramatic; others unfold over the course of several years.  Some callings are for specific plots of ground, like cities or regions.  Other callings, like mine, are to a particular emphasis or values.

In 2001, God reaffirmed my call to being a pastor — a call he first placed on my heart when I was in high school.  But this time was different.  While praying at a retreat center nestled in the hills above Danville and San Ramon, God laid three life themes out before me: plant churches, reach my generation for Jesus, and train the next generation of church leaders.

This calling set in motion a series of changes, some immediate, others that are still in process.  It’s this calling that sustains me when I hit a low point or dry season.  I know for my own good, I can never wander too far from what God has called me to do.

How about you?  Do you have a sense of calling that drives you and sustains you?