LOVE Called; Called to Love!

Thursday , 16, March 2017 Leave a comment

LOVE Called; Called to Love

I am beginning to think that my beautiful wife may be up to something…  She has told me to stay off Messenger; she has forbidden me from opening any mail that might look like a note or card; she won’t allow me into my own office at the house…

It probably has something to do with the fact that this Sunday marks the 25th Anniversary of my beginning to serve as a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I was asked in mid-March of 1992 by the Murfreesboro District Superintendent to go to three small churches in rural Rutherford and Wilson Counties to preach “on a trial basis” for two weeks.  Nine years and three months later, I was appointed to serve in Livingston…

Tina and I were jointly called into ministry the previous August at the Aldersgate Conference which was held that year (1991) in Chattanooga.  We each separately heard the Lord’s call—on the same day and at the same Conference.  We were not running away from a bad situation; in fact, we owned the third largest ServiceMaster Lawn franchise in the nation and owned the franchising rights to two states.  But when we each heard God call—in perfect love—we began running toward Him and that call immediately.

We came home from that Conference and began to meet with our Pastor, Rev. Frank Blair, as well as Rev. Gary Moore, the leader of Aldersgate Renewal Ministries.  As they and other deeply trusted Christian friends and mentors confirmed the call, we began to move forward.  In January 1992, I enrolled at Vanderbilt Divinity School.   Once a person has heard a defining call from Love Himself, it becomes a matter of obedience to follow and fulfill it.  We have been about that ever since!  The specific call?   To be instruments of renewal within the United Methodist Church…

YOU, in Christ, have just as real and just as transforming a call on your life…!  LOVE Himself, Jesus the Lord, has CALLED you just as surely as He has called me and Tina!  And you happen to be part of a congregation where “equipping the saints for the work of ministry” is first and foremost in your Pastor’s heart!  But part of that equipping is based on these absolute Biblical truths:

1)      True Ministry will NEVER take the place of dwelling in the Presence of the Most High God “behind the veil!”  We don’t find and “do a job” for Jesus at the expense of being with Him and beholding His glory!

2)      The CALL of God flows from His heart, not from our program…!  If HE is calling you to start a parking-lot greeter’s ministry, or to build a Habitat House, well, Hallelujah!  You should meet with trusted leaders to help discern and refine the call, and then “go for it!”  It is not my job to program it for you; it is your job to obey the Lord and His call and then not look back!

3)      God’s CALL is NEVER at the detriment of the Church—local or universal.  If a person believes that God is calling them to start some ministry that pulls them away from the church and Godly cover and authority, the call they are hearing is NOT from God!  He does not undermine His church to bless His church!  When we left Antioch Church to begin ministry at Dunaway’s/Lascassas/Cainsville, it was with their blessing and under their covering…

Here is the really cool thing—and a truth I am still coming to understand—when Love calls you, He calls you to love…!  And you will love what He calls you to!  You will love WHO He calls you to!  True love, however, isn’t born and nurtured simply in the easy times.  The fires of adversity and hardship refine and define true love far better than any “honeymoon” does!  Cancer has made me a better pastor.  Praying with a desperate mother in the parking lot will make you a better greeting pastor, if that is your call.  Praying with a family and living amidst their hardship and lack will make you a far better “Habitat” builder.  Conversely, serving in a “ministry” where you feel little love or connection isn’t ministry at all—it’s just being religious—which is ALWAYS beneath the real and legitimate call Jesus has on your life!  Find it, own it, obey it, and live it!!!

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