Tag Archives: equipping

God’s Call

My latest #digidisciple post can be found here.

It speaks of my call to ordained ministry, but also how God calls us all – and as he calls equips

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God With Us – Forever

This coming Sunday is Pentecost Sunday – often celebrating as the birthday of the church.  When a group of terrified and inadequate people were filled and equipped by God for the task he had for them.

To this day, God continues to fill and equip terrified and inadequate people for his work.

Acts 2:1-21

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

On the day of Pentecost all the Lord’s followers were together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from heaven like the sound of a mighty wind! It filled the house where they were meeting. Then they saw what looked like fiery tongues moving in all directions, and a tongue came and settled on each person there. The Holy Spirit took control of everyone, and they began speaking whatever languages the Spirit let them speak.

Many religious Jews from every country in the world were living in Jerusalem. And when they heard this noise, a crowd gathered. But they were surprised, because they were hearing everything in their own languages. They were excited and amazed, and said:

Don’t all these who are speaking come from Galilee? Then why do we hear them speaking our very own languages? Some of us are from Parthia, Media, and Elam. Others are from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, 10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, parts of Libya near Cyrene, Rome, 11 Crete, and Arabia. Some of us were born Jews, and others of us have chosen to be Jews. Yet we all hear them using our own languages to tell the wonderful things God has done.

12 Everyone was excited and confused. Some of them even kept asking each other, “What does all this mean?”

13 Others made fun of the Lord’s followers and said, “They are drunk.”

Peter Speaks to the Crowd

14 Peter stood with the eleven apostles and spoke in a loud and clear voice to the crowd:

Friends and everyone else living in Jerusalem, listen carefully to what I have to say! 15 You are wrong to think that these people are drunk. After all, it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 But this is what God had the prophet Joel say,

17 “When the last days come,
I will give my Spirit
    to everyone.
Your sons and daughters
    will prophesy.
Your young men
    will see visions,
and your old men
    will have dreams.
18 In those days I will give
    my Spirit to my servants,
both men and women,
    and they will prophesy.

19 I will work miracles
    in the sky above
and wonders
    on the earth below.
There will be blood and fire
    and clouds of smoke.
20 The sun will turn dark,
and the moon
    will be as red as blood
before the great
    and wonderful day
    of the Lord appears.
21 Then the Lord
    will save everyone
    who asks for his help.”

The disciples must have been feeling bereft.  They had been through such a roller-coaster of events.  Jesus life and all it had come to mean to them; his death and the bewilderment and confusion that must have ensued; his resurrection with the wondering that brought about; then his ascension, which must have left them feeling all alone again.  But now God is here in a new way.  A way that he can live inside them day in and day out.  God’s presence with them no longer depends on a physical presence – he is with them for all time, equipping them and working in and through them.

John Wesley memorial Aldersgate

This Sunday is also marked as Aldersgate Sunday, the day John Wesley pointed to as his conversion.

In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.

From the Journal of John Wesley

The coming of the Spirit is not just something that happened as a one-off in the lives of the disciples, or John Wesley, but an event that can take place in the hearts of each one of us – to KNOW God, to know he has taken all the things we’ve got wrong, and comes to equip us day by day for all he calls us to.  We all need God with us everyday, whispering, shouting, prodding, comforting, warming, strengthening.  We are his disciples, called to bring his message to the places we are, in a way they understand – for that we need God’s power, God’s indwelling – the Holy Spirit.  And he is ready to pour it on us.

Holy Spirit,
I pray that you will come today
and everyday
anew into my life.

Fill me,
equip me,
refresh me,
empower me,
strengthen me,
nudge me,
comfort me,
warm me

I pray

Excuses

So someone asks you to do something.  But you’re not sure it’s for you.  It seems scary.  You’re not convinced you can do it.  And yet…

… you are asked

By Firmin Baes (Art Renewal Center) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Before you were born, I chose you…

Last nights episode of the fabulous Call the Midwife had a side story of calling, following it, and it’s effects.

Of course she’s got to go, she’s got a calling

And now we have Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 1:4-10

The Lord Chooses Jeremiah

The Lord said:

“Jeremiah, I am your Creator,
and before you were born,
I chose you to speak for me
to the nations.”

I replied, “I’m not a good speaker, Lord, and I’m too young.”

“Don’t say you’re too young,” the Lord answered. “If I tell you to go and speak to someone, then go! And when I tell you what to say, don’t leave out a word! 8

The Lord reached out his hand, then he touched my mouth and said, “I am giving you the words to say, 10 and I am sending you with authority to speak to the nations for me. You will tell them of doom and destruction, and of rising and rebuilding again.”

God has chosen Jeremiah.  He has called him to speak for him.

Jeremiah is not sure…

There are good reasons Lord, why you wouldn’t choose me

I’m not a good speaker – and I’m too young anyway.

They are excuses!

God has called.  God will give the words to say.  Jeremiah goes, not in his own strength and power, but Gods.  There is a message to bring – and Jeremiah is the man to do it.  God had chosen him, long before he was born.

God calls to us.

Does that worry us? Scare us?  Make us feel inadequate?  Overwhelmed?  Under-prepared?

How shall we respond?

I remember when I was “invited” to consider becoming a local preacher.  I could not contemplate even writing a sermon.  By nature I am a scientist/mathematician, stringing words together in a coherent sentence with the correct structure was terrifying and seemed impossible (you may have noticed that!).  I am a child of my generation when creative writing was not taught, but just expected to happen – and certainly never corrected if it was wrong.  Although I have always loved reading, writing is just not my “thing”.  How could I write enough words to make up a sermon?

I was persuaded to give it a try.  I genuinely set about writing my first sermon expecting it to be my last, no idea how I would do it.   I still have no idea where the words come from, but come they do, purely, I believe, because it was what God was asking of me.  The amazing thing that happened was that first day, I turned up with a sermon written on the Old Testament reading (against all the rules!), about the plea for materials to build the Temple, to a church that had just had a quinquennial report saying the gable end was in need of major repair and they needed to launch a building scheme…  OK God, so I get your point.

And if God can do that in me, he must be able to do it in anyone.

God has many tasks to be done, as we have seen in recent weeks readings.  There are many ways to speak for him – not all are preaching in church.

I don’t know what God is asking of you today, but I can guarantee that if he has calls, he is equips.

Whatever reservations we have about ourselves, God doesn’t.  He has chosen you for a task because you are the one who can do it.  And he assures you that he will give you the words you need when you need them.

Today, this is his word to you:

 I promise to be with you and keep you safe, so don’t be afraid.

I thank you Lord,

that you call to me,

to work with you,

and speak for you.

Even though it scares me,

I feel inadequate,

I’m not sure that’s me…

Lord,

as I respond,

hesitantly,

carefully,

fearfully;

I thank you

that you have chosen me,

and promise to be with me

and keep me safe