Dluxe's World

Tuesday, March 7

The pounding continues...

The resounding theme of 'Calling' continues to resound around me. Yesterday morning I completed my typical, Monday iPod synch. Mondays are special because it includes the usual, daily broadcasts that I listen to as well as weekly programs and sermons from a couple churches I monitor (adding up to a total of 7 new messages).

The internet is so cool.

Anyway, the clear theme in 4 of them was obedience to God's call. The other three were focused on getting grounded in scripture to prepare ourselves for ministry. Listen to the opening of yesterday's "Just Thinking" from Ravi Zacharias:
What was it that framed my own call and my thinking? I looked back over the years and looked at some of the messages I have studied ... to understand better, even at this stage, what it is that the calling of Christ really means. How he shapes and molds and prepares every individual.

And as I look at this notion of 'the call', and how God shapes and forms and prepares your life and mine, I think we may get a glimpse of what it is God really does when He wants to rescue a people. How he chips away at the coarse edges and creates a magnificent instrument through whom He can bring deliverance.

You see, I feel very troubled that so little an understanding is prevalent today of what it really means to be in ministry.

Mark Driscoll's sermon at Mars Hill Church this past weekend had a similar bent. He was asking believers to carefully consider their motives for seeking leadership in the church (Mars Hill is growing and also supports a vibrant church planting mission). While he made many points, he expanded on the idea of seeking to minister with an underlying motive for 'profit' in a very humorous way. With the birth of the mega-churches, I can certainly see more and more people seeing ministry as a capitalistic career path... Driscoll said:
First of all, do not get into the ministry because you think it going to pay good. Because it's not! Early on in the church I didn't get paid for three years. Beautiful wife. People come up, "She's beautiful, she's so skinny!" SHE'S HUNGRY! You don't pay us! You do not pay us, she is HUNGRY! That's why she's so skinny...

In a church like this, thousands of people serve, dozens get paid, and only a handful get paid enough to actually raise a family, live in the city, and own a house.

If you're looking for a job, you might wanna look elsewhere and tithe because then we can get enough money pay the next guy...

You've gotta hear that coming through in Driscoll's quick, west-coast voice to get all the humor. Even though he says it in a way that gets a laugh, the point is well taken.

So, I'm looking forward to hearing more in the coming week (and probably into the future until I get it through my head). If you're following this and praying, just continue to ask that whatever God's will is - be it preparing me for something, convicting me of something, or sending me to something - that I'd hear it clearly when it's spoken and respond humbly.

Just to end on an up note, Ravi relates the following little joke talking about the varied 'messages' we get from contemporary Christian culture... Made me chuckle:
A little boy [wanted] a bicycle and he did not know best how to pray for one. So he was watching a [church] television program, a very traditional service, and saw how the minister prayed. And so, at the end of the day the lad got on his knees and said: "Lord, if it is in Your Sovereign will and in Your Eternal plan that I can get myself a bicycle - in Your time and according to Your will - would you please get me a bicycle I pray. Amen."

Two days later, he was not sure that was a very confident prayer. So, he turned on the television on again to watch another type of ministry in operation. And at the end of the day, he got on his knees and said: "Lord, I declare my need for a bicycle! And I ask that it be a nice blue-colored bicycle and delivered to my home within 24 hours. I lay claim to it, Amen!"

He was still not sure at the end of a day if he'd done rightly by this thing so he kept pondering this one evening. He looked on the other side of his room, and he saw a statue of Jesus there on one of his tables. [The boy's] mother was watching him do this. He took the statue out of the room and disappeared somewhere. She didn't know what he was up to. So at night when he was sound asleep, she went back into his room to look for the statue and couldn't find it. Then, she saw this note on the desk: "Dear Jesus, if you want to see your mother again..."
...
If you and I formed out theologies of prayer on what we observe or hear, or if we formed our concept of ministry in some of the aberrations that we see of what it means to be called, I often wonder whether it might bear any resemblance to what is that God really had in mind.

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