- The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever. (Psalm 28:8-9, NIV)
- Predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. (Romans 8:29,NKJV)
- So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.” (John 21:15-17, NKJV)
I was getting set to write another message for our My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers Series, but I sense God leading me a different direction today. A direction that maybe I wouldn’t ordinarily take, but as we get closer to the second year anniversary of the beginning of Christlike Ministries NWA I guess maybe going this direction today is okay.
Today’s Message “For The Sake of the Call”:
In my bio, I wrote that everything that I’ve received about the calling of God into this ministry including the title of Pastor…God has confirmed it through His Word.
Every once in a while, God leads me to be…well…a little more personal, and peel back a little bit more of my story. So, I thought what I would do is give you a few of the Scriptures that God used to speak to my heart about what He wanted me to do, and maybe even offer a little more of a glimpse into the person behind these messages I write here at www.christlikeministriesnwa.com
Not long ago, as most of you know Facebook did this thing where they released these one minute long videos. My video starts in 2009 and goes up till today, and the thing that many of you may not know is not only is this my fourth year on Facebook, we’re nearing my second year as the Pastor and Founder of Christlike Ministries NWA, I’m a few days away from my 11th annual 29th birthday, and I’m also a few days away from my four-year anniversary of relocating from Wisconsin to Arkansas. Of course I’m going to attach the video to this post.
Well, I wasn’t able to upload the video, but I was at least able to give you the link so you can check it out. I hope you’ll take the time to look at it.
Anyways, so the first scriptures God spoke to me through His Word was the encounter that Peter had with Jesus at the end of the book of John. Thing of it is, I’d read that encounter many times, but how many of you know all it takes is one time of reading something in God’s Word to be different.
As I read through these verses…
So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.” (John 21:15-17, NKJV)
As I was reading these verses one day, I had the sense that God was no longer speaking to Peter…He was speaking to me. He was telling me that if I loved Him…if I truly loved Him then I was going to have to prove it by feeding His sheep.
Let this be a lesson to those of you who think that you have to earn God’s love. You don’t. God had already proven His love for me by sending His Son to take my punishment on the Cross so that I could have eternal life when I leave this world, and to have and establish a relationship with God while I am still here. God wasn’t asking me to be saved He was asking me to serve Him. I don’t know how many of you know and understand this, but serving God is a way of worshiping and proving that we love Him…and that what He loves is as near and dear to our hearts as it is His.
People are what’s near and dear to God’s heart. Everyone who calls and has yet to call upon the name of His Son to be saved is near and dear to His heart. That’s the point Jesus was trying to make to Peter, and as He spoke to my heart about what He wanted me to do…that’s also the point He was trying to make to me.
That point. If I truly love God…I will love what He loves, I will love who He loves, and that I’ll make it the rest of my life’s work feeding His sheep.
This is also when God spoke to me about the fact that every single person He leads to the ministry He’s called me to…they’re not my people, they’re not my sheep, and while you’re part of the Christlike Ministries NWA Family…you belong to Him…not me. My job is to simply do the best I can to tend and care for you while He’s gone…until He comes back to get you.
So, how did I decide upon the name of the ministry? I’m glad y’all asked. Two Scriptures. One has been what I guess you’d call the ministry slogan and vision. The other is kind of an underwriting foundation that reminds us that we become conformed to the image of God step by step, faith by faith, and glory to glory. The two verses are these…
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18, NKJV)
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29, NKJV)
The goal of every Christian ought to be to be conformed more and more into the image of the Son of God, but there’s a lot of misunderstood ideas and theologies about how to do that. As I mentioned a moment ago…one of the main prerequisites for being a disciple is that you must love the same thing God loves…people.
The other thing, and it’s probably the best piece of advice I’ve ever received is that if you’re going to minister to people then you have got to be able to look beyond the person you see in front of you, and you also have to be able to look beyond their sin.
Listen, if you can’t talk to someone without judging what they have done…then please don’t talk to them and say you’re doing so in the name of the Lord. God said that He requires mercy and compassion more than justice. The whole point is that we are to be minister to people the way Jesus did. What we want to do, however, is be Jesus…and point out every little speck in someone’s eye…and tell them if they don’t stop what they’re doing that they are going to go to hell.
Now, I realize that there are times when the Holy Ghost will tell me that I need to be serious and blunt with someone, but the majority of the time before I even let one judgmental word fly from my mouth the Holy Ghost will stop me. The reason being. It’s NOT MY JOB to judge your life. MY JOB IS TO INTRODUCE YOU TO THE ONE WHO CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE…AND LET HIM BE THE ONE TO POINT OUT WHAT YOU NEED TO CHANGE.
I can’t tell you how many times the Holy Ghost has me have to write that our job as Christians is not to judge one another…Jesus said “love one another”, and before you even try it…you’re not loving me by pointing out the speck in my eye…you’re judging me because my sin is different than yours. What I struggle with might be different than what you struggle with…but what I don’t struggle with is where I’m going to spend eternity when I die or the trumpet sounds.
One of my favorite stories my former pastor talked about is how he lead a man to Christ while this man he was talking to had a 40 ounce of beer in one hand, a cigarette in the other, and a marijuana joint sticking out of his baseball cap…and when he was done leading this man to Christ what do you think the first thing he made this guy say or do?
Most of you probably answered that question by saying my former pastor told the man to pour out his beer, stomp out his cigarette, get rid of the joint, and to stop doing all this stuff or he was going to hell. Some of you probably answered that question by saying my former pastor told him that in order to be really saved he was going to have to stop doing all that stuff, and join the church.
My guess is that few of you actually got the right answer. The right answer is that my former pastor told that man to repeat these words after him. No, he didn’t tell him to put the beer or the cigarette or the joint down. No, he didn’t give any conditions. He simply had this man confess as he was that he was the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.
Friends, that is what the point of what God spoke to me about not being judgmental. That is what God spoke to me about looking beyond the person in front of you.
Listen. Here’s the Holy Ghost speaking right now.
You have to be willing and able to love people exactly where they are at because at one point in your life you needed someone to love you exactly as you were. God loved you while you were still in your sin. He didn’t ask you to clean up your life, He didn’t ask you to stop what you were doing, and He didn’t ask you to earn what He died to freely give every man, woman, and child that calls upon the name of the Lord to be saved.
I looked beyond where you were at when I was on my way to the Cross. I looked beyond where you were at while you were in the midst of your sin, and I still look beyond what you do now. I have loved you with a perfect, everlasting love that cannot be won, cannot be earned, and cannot come any other way but by grace through faith in the fact that My love is never changing, never ending, and that’s because I AM never ending, never changing, and I AM Love.
Before I get to the part where God finally revealed to me the position that He set aside for me I believe it’s important to share with you what kind of ministry Christlike Ministries NWA is. It’s an Equipping Ministry which is a long way of saying that what I’ve been called to do is the mission statement of this ministry. I have it written on the Christlike Ministries NWA Facebook Page, but I suppose it’s a good idea to include it here in this message.
The mission of Christlike Ministries NWA is to help each of our followers to begin, develop, and maintain their own personal relationship with God by posting scriptures, messages that are written and inspired by the Holy Ghost. My desire is to help you succeed in your relationship with God, and become the men and women God has destined for you to be.
That’s what Ephesians Chapter 4 is all about. It’s also where we find out that God gave a couple of gifts to the church in the form of people, and we also know from Paul’s writing that the Holy Ghost is the One who places people in the positions in the Body of Christ as it pleases Him. I am not going to talk a long time about this, but we all know there are people who are self appointed and anointed prophets, apostles, pastors, teachers, and evangelists…and that’s also the five ministry offices that God gave as gifts to the His Church.
We all know that Paul talks about those who have the gift to preach, but not all are preachers. There are those who have the ability to prophesy, but not all are prophets.
There are some who feel that I may have appointed and anointed myself as a pastor because I never stepped foot into an actual Bible School, I have never been legally licensed or ordained, and so they think that I’ve given myself a position in the Body of Christ.
I struggled with this for a while, and what wound up happening delayed my serving God for a little longer than it would’ve had I understood what I’m about to say. I can’t hardly write a message without the anointing of the Holy Ghost to help me to write. I just told you in the introduction that I couldn’t even write a thing yesterday because there was literally no anointing to write at all. Not to even post daily scriptures, and if you think that I’m going to somehow disrespect God by appointing myself to a position in the Body of Christ without being sure I’m anointed by God to be in that position…then you are completely mistaken…and quite frankly you are wrong.
On January 13, 2012 I read these verses from the Book of Psalms out of a devotional book I was reading. I just read them and put the book down, and went about my day. However, there was a gnawing on my heart to sit down, and really study these two verses out. What I found as I studied them made it clear to me that I was anointed by God to be a pastor…and that I was to be the pastor of Christlike Ministries NWA.
The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever. (Psalm 28:8-9, NIV)
The specific part that God spoke to me was the words “anointed one, save your people, bless your inheritance, carry them forever, and be their shepherd”.
For those of you who don’t know…the Bible commonly refers to pastors as shepherds. Those were the words God used to speak to my heart that I had officially become Pastor Bryan J. Kizer of Christlike Ministries NWA.
I do have the dream of being able to get legally licensed and ordained as a pastor, but the final thing the devil used to keep me from embrace what God wanted me to do was crushed by the Word of God…and once I understood…really understood that God places people in positions in the Body of Christ as it pleases Him and according to His anointing…I stopped worrying about the lack of legal credentials that say what I know God spoke to me through His Word.
So, there you have it…there’s the story of how I went from being just Bryan Kizer a born again, spirit-filled believer four years ago to being that and Pastor Bryan J. Kizer of Christlike Ministries NWA.
Everything I’ve done ministry wise is backed by Scripture not my own set of ideals and goals or dreams. Truth be told, being in ministry wasn’t something I ever thought I’d be or do. I never thought of myself as ministry material. I never really thought that being a pastor is a job I would want to have.
However, over the last four years of my life…I’ve become just that, and I have to say that it’s one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. The blessing of my inheritance…is God showing me year by year that I’m doing exactly what He wanted me to do.
I often write about how I started with barely 100 people following my ministry to having it reaching over 150 nations. Friends, that’s not a fluke…that’s not a self made ministry…that’s God growing a ministry for a person He’s proud of and that He loves…and like Paul I am convince that there’s nothing that can ever separate me from His love.
Every time someone hits the “like” button on Facebook, or the follow buttons on my other sites it causes a few things to happen…and I will close with them.
First…it causes me to be humble because I know that there’s many blogging ministries that are easier, better reads then mine…yet God is still drawing people to my ministry.
Second…it encourages me because the more people who follow and stick with me the more it helps me to see that I’m writing things that are impacting lives and encouraging people.
Finally…it blesses me because the Christlike Ministries NWA Family is over 1,000 people strong, and that blesses my heart more than you’ll ever know or I’ll be able to express.
Have you been blessed by this ministry? Would you like to help me out?
Here are some really practical ways you can help me out.
1) Engage – I don’t always have time to reply to everyone but I read every single comment and post on here. I reply to every message and email and every one blesses me! Please do get involved and let me get to know you in the little ways we can online.
2) Share – If you love the posts here, or maybe an article on the website… please share it on Facebook or Twitter… it really helps new people find this ministry and be blessed by the good news of the gospel…and tell people about us.
3) Pray – We really value your prayers. Pray for this message to find good soil – that God would continue to bring new faces to this ministry that are ready to accept His embrace.
Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support. All of you who follow me are of great encouragement to me…and I’m grateful for all of you.
Please check out
http:www.christlikeministriesnwa.com to find out more about me & my ministry.
You can also follow me on Twitter @ChristMinistNWA and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ChristlikeMinistriesNWA.
Blessings & Grace;