Scripture Reference: Galatians 1:15-16 (KJV)
But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
Greetings. It’s time to get into message number 3 of our 30 day series from Oswald Chamber’s devotional “My Utmost for His Highest”.
The first two messages have been pretty good, and I’ve already gotten some feedback that it’s one y’all are really enjoying. I’m glad and I hope that we continue to get good, solid teaching from it.
So…here we go with message number three. Please believe with me that we’re going to continue to have the Holy Ghost give us some really good teaching, and that He’ll continue to anoint me with that supernatural ability that comes from Him to help me write.
Today’s Message: “The Call of the Natural Life”
I think it goes without saying that one of the problems today is the call of the natural life, and I’d have to admit that part of the reason it took God eleven years to get me to answer the call of ministry is because the call of the natural life was still the louder of the two voices.
I think part of the problem is the religious mindset that thinks that just because we’re saved and serving God that the voice of the natural life (our old lives before Christ) can still draw us back. Okay, it can still draw me back. It also is the religious mindset that if anyone gives into the natural that they’re automatically disqualified from continuing to serve God.
Think about one of my hero’s growing up. Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart. Most people remember the day that he confessed that he had sinned, and his public apology. I remember how people slammed him, ridiculed him, and basically judged and sentence him as someone who could no longer serve God.
I’m glad that Brother Swaggart is still around today, and has continued in the ministry. It’s during one of Brother Swaggart’s programs that I received the Gospel, and later that night I sat on the edge of my grandmother’s bed and confessed Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and I was probably six or seven years old.
I don’t think that just because preachers prove that they’re still capable of giving in to the natural life means that they’re incapable of preaching. I mean…what would’ve happened if Peter or Paul would’ve had to stop preaching when they missed God.
Anyways, I’m going to save you a lot of time and energy when it comes to being angry with preachers because they miss God. Okay, I will speak for myself. I have yet to obey God 100% or get a perfect score for a day. Just because I’m saved and serving God…that doesn’t make me immune from sin…it just means that when I do…I confess it and move on.
Can I also tell you that God doesn’t see stuff we do and throw His hands up in disgust and change His mind about loving us or wanting to use us. Jimmy Swaggart’s ministry is just as big…if not bigger than it was before that day…God didn’t change His mind about Mr. Swaggart just because he had an affair…and since He’s no respecter of person…if you miss Him…then He’s not going to change His mind about you either.
In fact, it give Him all the more opportunity to show off His grace, mercy, and life transforming power…and a word of caution for those of you who pass judgment…it’s not your job…and remember it was Jesus who said that YOU will be judged to the same degree and manner you judge others…and you can say that’s me wanting to sin and live how I want…but it’s not. It’s Jesus telling you that He never gave HIS job to anyone…He’s not hiring…and He doesn’t need our help judging the sin of the world…because HE ALREADY TOOK THE JUDGEMENT AND PUNISHMENT FOR IT.
The call of God is not a call to serve Him in any particular way. My contact with the nature of God will shape my understanding of His call and will help me realize what I truly desire to do for Him. The call of God is an expression of His nature; the service which results in my life is suited to me and is an expression of my nature. The call of the natural life was stated by the apostle Paul—“When it pleased God . . . to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him [that is, purely and solemnly express Him] among the Gentiles . . . .”
Since the dawn of the Social Networks it began with MySpace, and now there’s all kinds of social networks to be a part of…and I’m sure there will be more.
I don’t know how many of you saw the movie “One Night With The King”…it was the about the story of Esther. There was a line in the movie that said that Esther was “born for such a time as this”. If you read the infamous Ecclesiastes 3 that talks about how there is a time and season for everything.
So, while I was busy feeling unworthy to serve God…He already had something I was qualified to do based upon the gift He placed inside of me to be able to write. When I was told that I would use this gift one day to help advance the Kingdom…my first thought was books, magazines, and devotional articles…and I knew that my ability and skill set was not in that area…but I will say this…I believed that God could use me…I just couldn’t envision how.
So, enter the Social Media craze…and boom…here’s the pulpit that God called me to preach from. Don’t forget, friends, this didn’t happen over night…it took eleven years from the call to the embracing and eventual walking in the vocation of that call to serve God in the capacity He already had me qualified for…before I ever came to existence.
Just like Esther…I was born for and called for such a time as this, and if there’s an itch to serve God on your heart…I don’t know what it is you’re called to do…but I do know this. You were born for such a time as this…and maybe you’re reading this knowing God wants to use you…and you’re wondering if it’s really God or your own imagination.
It’s really God…and if you do like Mr. Chamber’s says…and really seek God…I promise you He will answer your questions…and help you to know and understand just what it is He is asking you to do…and what He’s not. I know this because He’s done it for me. You know what I’m about to say. If He’ll do it for me…He will do it for you also…because that’s the kind of God we serve.
Service is the overflow which pours from a life filled with love and devotion. But strictly speaking, there is no call to that. Service is what I bring to the relationship and is the reflection of my identification with the nature of God. Service becomes a natural part of my life. God brings me into the proper relationship with Himself so that I can understand His call, and then I serve Him on my own out of a motivation of absolute love. Service to God is the deliberate love-gift of a nature that has heard the call of God. Service is an expression of my nature, and God’s call is an expression of His nature. Therefore, when I receive His nature and hear His call, His divine voice resounds throughout His nature and mine and the two become one in service. The Son of God reveals Himself in me, and out of devotion to Him service becomes my everyday way of life.
Whoa! There’s quite a bit written and said in there, huh? Let’s see how the Holy Ghost wants to break this down…and what He can do about shedding some clearer light on what Mr. Chambers wrote.
Service is the overflow which pours from a life filled with love and devotion. But strictly speaking, there is no call to that. Service is what I bring to the relationship and is the reflection of my identification with the nature of God. Service becomes a natural part of my life. God brings me into the proper relationship with Himself so that I can understand His call, and then I serve Him on my own out of a motivation of absolute love.
I don’t serve God because I want you to notice me, and think about what a fantastic man of God I’ve become. I serve Him because I want HIM to be noticed for the fantastic work that He’s done in, with, and through my life. I serve God because I love Him, and out of my love for Him comes a desire to do something for Him that proves that love…and therefore when He said to me that He wanted me to use my ability to write to bless Him…that’s what I wanted to do…for HIM. I don’t even do this for me…because anything that I do with the motive that isn’t out of my love for HIM is the wrong motive.
I love what Oswald says here: “Service is what I bring to the relationship and the reflection of my identification with the nature of God.
Friends, the whole point of ministry is about the thing that is nearest and dearest to His heart…people. Ministry isn’t about programs or about buildings. Listen, outreach programs are wonderful, but you can’t do an outreach to save your own people…you have to go out in to the community and that is an outreach.
You see, one of my biggest issues with churches is that they like to talk about wanting to go out into their community, but they do it from INSIDE their church. Jesus never said to pray the world into the church…He said that we need to GO INTO ALL THE WORLD, PREACH THE GOSPEL, AND GET THEM.
I am not saying that fervent prayer won’t be answered, but so many people are praying for God to move…and the answer He’s given you over and over is that He’s waiting for YOU to move so that He can move through YOU. But you’re so busy asking pastor so and so and brother and sister so and so…and they’re too afraid to step into the world because they’re afraid the world is going to rub off on them instead of them rubbing off on the world.
You know what, who cares if the world rubs off on you a little bit. I think we’re so worried about how we look that we’re too busy taking care of our churchy image…and rather than go out and do what God is telling you to do…you won’t because it doesn’t look holy enough.
Listen. I literally had a falling out with a pastor because I was involved with a live karaoke band. Yes, that means that we as a group went into bars, played secular music, and some of us (myself included) even had a few drinks at those bars. I know that I was called by God to do what I was doing, but because it involved drinking and being in a bar and singing secular music…in that pastor’s mind there was no way that this was a godly thing.
Do you know what one of those guitarists is doing today because I was obedient to God’s direction? He’s attending worship school to become a praise and worship leader. He also happened to have been the best man at my wedding, and an honorary uncle to my five month old daughter. He’s also the man that once obeyed God to help get me to the day that change my life forever…so that I could turn around and be used of God to help change his life forever.
Do not ever discount anything that God asks you to do…and think that there’s no possible way He could be asking you to do something because it doesn’t look churchy. Listen, the coming of the Lord is soon, and that means that we as the body of Christ are going to have to start thinking outside of the building if we’re going to reach the world.
God has spoken to me several times about being a sheep in wolves clothing because the devil has plenty of wolves in sheep’s clothing…and the reason He’s calling said sheep in wolves clothing is because the church is afraid to go outside of it’s four walls and get their hands dirty.
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve lead to a decision to confess Jesus as Lord and Savior while we were in a bar drinking…and don’t even start trying to tell me that person’s conversion wasn’t real…it was real to them.
The man that I credit with helping to establish my foundational beliefs once told a story about how he was out doing street missions, and he lead a man to Jesus who had a forty ounce of beer in one hand, a joint in the other. After my pastor lead this man to the Lord…my pastor said to this man something that stuck with me because this is something I do today. He said; “Repeat this after me…I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.”
How in the world can he do that? He’s drinking beer and about to smoke a joint?
Okay. How in the world could you confess Jesus Christ as YOUR Lord and Savior in the middle of whatever it was YOU were doing? Maybe you were sitting on the couch contemplating suicide and God had you watch a sermon on television…and by the end of that sermon you had confessed Christ. Maybe you were in prison after killing several innocent people, and you’re going to be put to death soon to, but you have this peace about you because you’ve made your peace with God and know He’s forgiven you…and you’re going to meet Peter, James, John, and Abraham like the rest of us when we all get to Heaven.
This is kind of getting back to not being judgmental, isn’t it!?! Do you know the single most important piece of advice I got about ministry is the single most important thing I do today? That piece of advice…If you cannot look beyond the person you see in front of you…you won’t be able to minister to anyone.
Listen. We’re not God. We’re His servants. We don’t know what that person we’re about to minister has been through. All we know is that God had us meet this person, and wants us to be the one to minister to them. If you can’t look at that person without judging them for where the are or where they came from…then you’re going to do like the rest of the body of Christ has done…you’re going to ruin your chance to minister to them by hurting them even more with your self-righteous pride.
The other piece of advice that the Lord, Himself told me. “Remember what state YOU were in when YOU came to Me to be YOUR Savior.”
I believe that point is driven home. Praise God! I love when He gives the ability to meddle a little bit. Keep in mind, I’m not just writing this stuff…I’m having to read it, learn it, and apply it to my life too.
Service becomes a natural part of my life. God brings me into the proper relationship with Himself so that I can understand His call, and then I serve Him on my own out of a motivation of absolute love.
Ever heard the expression those whom have been forgiven of much…love much? This writing I do now has become a natural part of my life. I understand that this is what I’m called to do, I understand that this is my platform and pulpit, and I understand that this act of service is how I love God in return…by loving you enough to write the truth. My motivation for serving Him…again…isn’t because I want to be noticed…but because I love God so much for all He has done in, with, and through my life…that I want HIM to be noticed, blessed, and glorified by what I do for Him through this ministry He’s called me to shepherd.
I believe the best way to close out this message is to allow Mr. Chambers to take us out with the last part of what’s written for today’s message. I don’t think there’s anything I could add that would bring it any more justice…and some times…it’s just good to let things speak for themselves…and ask God to reveal what was said to us…so that we can apply it in our lives and walk with Him.
Service to God is the deliberate love-gift of a nature that has heard the call of God. Service is an expression of my nature, and God’s call is an expression of His nature. Therefore, when I receive His nature and hear His call, His divine voice resounds throughout His nature and mine and the two become one in service. The Son of God reveals Himself in me, and out of devotion to Him service becomes my everyday way of life.
Lord, Your Word comes so quietly and all pervading—“If any man serve Me, let him follow Me,” and, “If any man serve Me, him will my Father honor.” Take us, Lord God as Your servants in this sense. We want to learn to serve You out of a heart to give You this deliberate love-gift. Let Your nature and mine become one…and Lord we desperately pray that you would reveal Yourself in us and through us…and that serving You would become a part of our everyday way of life. In Jesus’ name we pray…Amen & Amen.
Wow! What a series!?! Three messages down, and I can’t wait to do the other twenty-seven. This is going to really be a fantastic series…I can feel it.
Who doesn’t want God to reveal Himself in us and out of devotion to God…that becomes an everyday way of life. In other words, who doesn’t want their service to God to become part of our nature…you know…like second nature.
I know this. I know that I want my service to God to become something that I don’t even have to ponder…it just becomes…well…second nature to do.
Thanks again for joining me.
God bless you and thank you for being a part of the Christlike Ministries NWA family. I truly love and am thankful for all of you.
Bryan J. Kizer
Pastor/Founder Christlike Ministries NWA