My Call

     Everyone is called by God to serve.  In other words, everyone is created with a purpose.

        “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. “

                                                                                    1 Corinthians 12:4-6 

     My call story is nothing spectacular or dramatic.  Few people have the good fortune of having God speaking to them like a roar of thunder, telling them exactly what He wants them to do.  No, I believe most people are called over a long period of time through gentle messages.  It’s like I let the phone ring, for a LONG time before I picked it up, and even then I hesitated to say “Hello. Can I help you?”

     I was on a mission trip to Guatemala in January of 2008 with a group from my church and a number of pastors from other Presbyterian churches in our area.  We were sitting at the dinner table when I mentioned that Maundy Thursday was my favorite worship service of the year.  One of the pastors said “So, why don’t you preach the sermon this year?” 

“Who, me?”

     “Yes, you.  You’re an elder, you should try it.  You never know, you might like it!”  So I agreed to think and pray about it, even though I was secretly dying to do it.  I never told anyone before, but I used to drive around in my car composing sermons in my head and thinking “wouldn’t it be cool?” 

     I said yes and started writing.  I had 2 months to write it, so it was re-written about 100 times before it was ready.  And I rehearsed it about 500 times before I was ready. I knew that sermon by heart, but I had no idea what was going to happen when I shared it from the pulpit. 

Maundy Thursday, March 20, 2008

     We traditionally begin our Maundy Thursday with a fellowship dinner of soup and bread.  I usually make the soup, but not that year.  I could barely get a bite in, I was so excited!  The attendance is low for these special evening services, and I knew practically everyone there, so there was nothing to be nervous about.  But I had never spoken before a crowd, other than making an occasional youth group announcement. 

The service began and I was overwhelmed with emotion. 

    I suddenly felt unworthy, unqualified, unprepared.  My hands were shaking and I couldn’t catch my breath.  I’d been here before; Panic Attack!  Then I heard the pastor give the gospel reading and I knew it was “my turn.”  I took a deep breath and moved to the pulpit.  I looked out at the congregation, all eyes on me, and…

I was overcome with a sense of peace.

     It was the most amazing experience.  I immediately felt the Holy Spirit enveloping me.  Words cannot adequately explain the feeling.  It was like the air and the light around me were charged with an incredibly powerful presence.  I looked out at the congregation and felt like they were part of me.

We were all One with the Holy Spirit

It was suddenly so clear, how could I have missed it?  This is where God wants me.  Right here, in this second, right now; 

I am standing in the center of God’s will for me. 

And I could feel His smile. 

     The sermon flowed from my heart, not my mouth.  It was the most natural feeling, like I had been born to do this.  The writing was not perfect;  it was, after all, my first.  But it felt good.  After the service the pastor asked me how I thought it went and all I could say was “It felt right.”  How could words express what I had just experienced when I didn’t even understand it myself?

     I was allowed the privilege to preach and lead worship several more times after that.  Nothing can compare with first experience, but each time it felt right; it felt good.  Why did it feel so wonderful? 

What are you trying to tell me, God?


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