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March 26, 2014, 12:20 PM

Working for God

"If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. " Romans 8:31-39 NRSV

There I was one day being asked by someone, "If not now when," he had listened to the Spirit move him to confront me to get with that question and take the next bold step in the journey of faith I was on for over 50 years. I answer in faith and veer off the path I was on and take on the call to ministry. 

Two years later that same person would come up to me as the Chair of the Committee on Preparation for the Ministry and tell me, don't quit your day job, no church is going to want you or call you ....you are too old, you are too energetic, you have too much of a background in church and finance, ...save yourself the trouble of trying to find a church because we have way to many folks looking for churches and  not enough churches with openings. Besides the fact no church will call you....they will be afraid to call you and they won't listen to you even though you know because it will be your first call they won't believe you know....by the time they are convinced you could pastor them....it will be time for you to retire.  Again, who wants to follow an old... new pastor?

Really? Ouch! When one is called to the ministry, as we ALL are, I believe we must look to the Apostle Paul and his writing about the confidence in his call. His letter to the Romans in chapter 7 and 8 remind us the task we are called to do is going to take dedication, perseverance and spiritual faith because folks are going to be hostile to God and God's messengers and workers. There will be sufferings (note the plural!). Jesus and  Paul assure us that there will be sufferings, Paul says it will be like labor pains but the Spirit will intercede. That is when Paul's words above ring out, at least to me and when we read this with the words of John 3:16 ringing in our ears...we know we are on the right journey.

Folks when you're on the journey for God, called by God and working for God, we know the only ones that have the power to accuse, condemn and judge are God or God's son Jesus Christ. God is on our side.  Our team will never lose so we must and are called to have confidence in God. I believe that Paul's eloquence in the words to the Romans show us the reality of God's love and that loves action in our lives.  Jesus does not promise us a rose garden but we hear of the gift of eternal life and experience the gift of grace in him. We must go where we are called and do what task we are called to perform.

Jesus' promise of the call he makes of us is found in Matthew 11:29-30 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST IN YOUR SOULS. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light!"

Friends I am here to tell you that yes I am old, yes this is my first solo pastorate but God has united us together. Together you and I, along with God's help and support can do amazing things.

If we could just get the burden of a few things off of our shoulders we could get it done!  Our mortgage just went under the $100,000 mark and if we could get that paid off we would have the 1,300 each month to meet our general expenses. The load would come off of our shoulders and God can make this possible.

Paul makes it clear that God and God alone is the one who makes all things possible. We need to heed and to obey for we can do nothing without God's grace. If you ever get discouraged in your ministry or your daily life I urge you to read Romans 7 and 8. Your spirit will be lifted and your energy renewed ... it is true what Jesus said in light of what Paul tells us!


Pastor Ken

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