It's God's Call - Resources for Experiencing God's Calling with Transforming Mission

How have you experienced God’s call in your life?

Although the words, God’s call, can be associated with the vocation of ministry, to answer God’s call is to decide how you are going to live your life in service to God.

There is nothing necessarily mystical about God’s call. Isaiah saw a vision and Samuel heard a voice. Paul was confronted with a presence and Simon Peter answered an invitation. Such encounters with God have marked the call of many people, but they are not the only ways you experience God’s call.

Call as Vocation

God’s call is really a sense of vocation brought into focus by a decision.

It might come through a growing awareness of what you must to do with your life. God’s call might come as the convergence of life experiences that lead you to make a decision to live more fully and deeply. It might be sudden or dramatic, but for most people, God’s call comes over a period of time through reflection and conversation.

What we know is this, when God calls you, God equips you with gifts, talents, abilities to live your life to its fullest potential. To answer God’s call is to become all the person, the human being, God has created you to be.

So, maybe the question is not “how have you experienced God’s call” but “how have you recognized God’s call”? How have you made sense of God’s call in a world of conflicting voices and values through institutional structures and systems?

Sometimes to hear God’s call clearly, you must practice listening to God through other people, through scripture, or stepping out in faith to risk what you know that others might not know. Sometimes to hear God’s call clearly, you will have to study how God has called others into faith, life, or service and then decide how God is calling you.

Download the Transformation Guide to help you explore God’s calling on your life.

What’s Your Experience of God’s Call

This is how it has worked for me.

I was fourteen when I responded the first time to God’s call. It was late in the fall of the year. One night before going to bed, I was reading Matthew 10, the sending out of the twelve disciples. Reading and reflecting on the scripture was one of the ways Miss Duncan, the leader of youth fellowship, helped us understand what it meant to be a follower of Jesus.

I remember reading the names of the twelve and the instructions given by Jesus. That night I did not hear a voice or see a vision, but I did have a profound sense of what I should do with my life.

I felt I needed to tell Miss Duncan. The following Sunday morning, before Sunday School, I approached her and said, “Miss Duncan, I think God wants me to be a preacher.” She looked at me and said, “We need to go tell Reverend Seibert.” I followed her through the building looking for him. We stopped by his office, several Sunday school rooms, the church kitchen, and the sanctuary before we found him. He was in a large storage room trying to light a gas stove.

Miss Duncan and I walked into the room. I’ll never forget Reverend Seibert, dressed in his suit, lying in the floor on his stomach, striking matches, trying to light the stove. Miss Duncan said, “Reverend Seibert, Timmy wants to be preacher.”

Whiling lying on the floor, he looked up at me over his glasses and said, “That is fine, son. Get down here and help me light this stove.”

Helping People Become Who God Created Them to Be

Since that day, 51 years ago, I have been helping people become who God created them to be. God’s call has not changed. It has manifested itself in different ways depending upon the context, but it has remained the same.

So, to recognize God’s call in your life, try the following:

  1. Remember your baptism. God has claimed you and commissioned you. At your baptism, God said, “You are my child, whom I dearly love.” Remember your identity is always in Jesus.
  2. Focus upon what you can do that no one else can do. To what great area of service is God calling you at this point and time in history? What good work has God called you to do?
  3. Surround yourself with people who help you clarify God’s call. Who is it that helps you be you? Who is it that helps you to listen and to understand?
  4. Give God all your excuses. God’s call is greater than your self-interest. In your heart, what are the reasons to say “yes” to God?
  5. Give yourself totally. Remember that this is God’s call, not your call. There is no need to waste time weighing the advantages and disadvantages of following Jesus. Because it is God’s call, there a difference between “I have decided to follow Jesus” and “Jesus has decided on me.”
  6. Take the risk to step out in faith. Do you have the courage to act upon what God has placed in your heart?
  7. Now is the time to act. God is calling. Now is the time to say, “Here I am. Send me.”

Take the Next Step

 

Today, I want you to take the next step in recognizing and answering God’s call in your life. Connect with one of the persons you named who can help you clarify God’s call. Ask him or her to partner with you as you become more who God has created you to be.

Reflect upon what God put upon your heart that is so big that only you know what God has called you to do. I know it can be frightening. Remember, Mary was also scared. There are others who have gone before you. Mary asked, “How can this be?” Just remember, the God who invites you to respond to something that feels scary is with you. God is powerful enough to accomplish in your life what is being asked of you. Said differently, when God calls, God equips you to live into the call.

Download the Transformation Guide to help you explore God’s calling on your life.

Now, what do you need to make it happen?

Listen closely. It’s God calling!

Listen to Episodes 085-087 of LeaderCast where we explore God’s calling

Here’s Episode 085: 3 Steps to Revisit Your Calling

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