Monday, September 30, 2013

I am at the final retreat of the Spiritual Academy here at Mt. Angel Abbey in Oregon. Here are my notes from the first session which was on God's Calling on Our Lives. We all have a void in our lives. You have to step into the void to get in touch with your deep desire for God. My calling comes from before me. From eternity past. Most recently through the prayers of my grandfather Charles Isenberg who prayed for a grandson who would become a pastor. He died 6 months before I was born. I am that grandchild. I have felt the weight of this calling since soon after my conversion at age 17. I knew almost immediately where I was called by God to be. I have run toward this calling, run with it, run ahead of it and run from it. It was the most evident to me when I ran from it after I left the ministry in 1987. Others even told me that knew I was called to ministry and was not being obedient to my calling! This when I thought my ministry life was over. It is in transitions that God wants to deepen our faith. Oswald Chambers said, “Beware of anything that competes with your loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of true devotion to Jesus is the service we do for Him.” It is easier to serve than to pour out our lives completely for Him. The goal of the call of God is His satisfaction, not simply that we should do something for Him. We are not sent to do battle for God, but to be used by God in His battles. Are we more devoted to service than we are to Jesus Christ Himself? Personal Calling is balanced by three things: • It must be fitted into God’s story and God’s redemptive purposes. • There needs to be a corporate sense to it. • Personal sense of calling must be balanced by 1st order calling. First Order Calling=to love God with all that you are. (This would be my relationship with God). Second Order Calling=what we do to follow Jesus in this world. (This would be my pastoral ministry calling). These two callings must not be pitted against each other. The must be kept in the right order of priority. Second order calling must not become detached from first order calling.