Friday, June 06, 2008

Guest Blogger: Pastor Craig Sloan

"Accepting the Call"

I rarely have guest bloggers. I think I've done it maybe three times or so in my several years of blogging. But today I came across a blog post that just arrested my spirit and I simply have to share it here, with permission. It's by Pastor Craig Sloan and it's about the call of God and how family can affect it. I've encouraged Pastor Craig that I think he needs to write a book on this subject. He said he feels the leading of the Lord to in fact do that. I believe that book will be of great help to many pastors and their staff.

Do you know how many people I've found who are affected by this issue that he speaks of? Larry and I have presented a teaching on this for our staffers. I think it's one of the main issues anyone in ministry faces. And without exception we have had every single staffer we have ever had deal with this in some fashion - some successfully, and some unsuccessfully. This will make or break your ministry depending on how you deal with it. Simply put, everyone who is in ministry has to come to terms with this. I believe the way Pastor Craig has communicated this is just second to none, so I'll simply let you hear it from him at this point, in his words....

Accepting the Call

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Luke 14:25-33 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it -- 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. NKJV

This is one of my favorite texts in the entire Bible. Jesus is transitioning the disciples from following him, to being willing to die for Him. The relationship is about to change, and the requirements of following are about to be raised. Notice Jesus does not focus on the benefits of following Him, but rather the costs of following.

Here are some things I noticed:

* In ministry there will always come a point of separation from those who are close to you because they do not understand the commitment to your call.

* You will face the test of family and friends, Jesus family told Jesus to go to the passover before His time and when it was His time, they questioned Him. His brothers did not believe in Him.

* Throughout the Bible great men had to pass the test of the opinion of the family. Why? Because most family members are too familiar with you to see the greatness in you. They will many times misunderstand and misrepresent your call.

* I really struggled with Jesus saying that you had to hate your mother... to follow Him. He is not referring to the English word for hate, He is saying you must be more committed to me than even your mother.

* Why is it that the critics that try to talk you out of your call, are the ones that most of the time do not know their call? Maybe misery loves company.

* Jesus goes on to say that if you are not committed to the call, you are salt that is no good. In other words when you listen to the critics who want you to stay the same as them, you lose your uniqueness and ability to impact.

* Not everyone will agree with your call and commitment. The true test is -- can anyone talk you out of it? If they can, you are not ready.

* Before you respond to the call, count the cost, lest you are not able to finish. There is something very negative about those who do not finish. Can you go the whole way with me? (Jesus)

* One of the ways you know you are really anointed is the odds are stacked against you.

* Who is your voice for God's will, is it people or is it God?

* You must be convinced that God spoke to you before you can commit. Here is a final question to ask yourself. Is the person trying to talk you out of accepting the call have a life worth emulating? Do you want the kind of life they have? Usually not! We see a transition from a call to follow to a call to die with Christ. Are you willing to die for Him? Are you willing to ignore family, and those close to you when they try to talk you out of it? Tomorrow I will share a story of how my parents tried to keep me from doing what God called me to do. I knew I was supposed to serve my Pastor but they said he was brainwashing me.

Blessings,

Craig Sloan

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