When God Calls
Our scripture this morning is about God's call to Jeremiah... a call to ministry... to serve God as a prophet. A prophet... in Old Testament times was a person to whom God spoke... he received God's word... and in turn... he declared God's word to the people. In those days... a prophet was God's highest appointed office.
You might be tempted to compare the office of prophet in the Old Testament to the ministry in our modern day. However... being ordained as Minister of the Word and Sacrament does not confer any special spiritual status. Those of you who have been in my Search for Significance groups... I'm sure... are becoming aware of that. A Minister of the Word and Sacrament is called to be the leader of a community of believers... and my task is to enable you to be God's ministers in the world.
Did you know that you were called to be ministers? As Presbyterians... grounded in Reformed theology... we believe that all Christians... and that means you... and you... and you... are called by God to ministry... or "loving service." That's why your bulletin says on the back... "Ministers to the Community....... The Congregation." That's right... all Christians are called to spread the Good News... through their words... and their actions... of God's love... reconciliation... and friendship. And... as your leader... it is my job to help you recognize... reinforce... and enable your call to service in the world in God's name.
I'd like this morning to use Jeremiah's call to help us examine our own call... the call to discipleship... to proclaim, teach, and heal... to communicate God's love in Christ... to share the burden of suffering people.
The first question that comes to my mind about God's call to ministry is "when did it happen?" If I am called by God to do something in my life... but am not aware of it... does that mean that I am not called?
In our story about Jeremiah we read:
5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
And that's not the only place in scripture where we learn that God instigates our birth with a plan in mind. Samson's conception and birth was foretold... as was the birth of Jesus... and John the Baptist. Paul claims to have been "set apart." Psalm 119 tells us that God made us and formed us.
In Isaiah 43 we read:
20 The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen,
Did you know that... first and foremost... God called you... specifically... to serve him. Did you know that God had a meaningful plan for your life... even before you were born?
You are a unique person... there is no one else exactly like you in the world... and throughout your life God has provided opportunities for you to minister to others. You have been "set apart" to live the gospel. How have you responded to God's call... and his plan for your life?
I've invited a special guest this morning to share his story with you... but first I'd like to read from Acts 1:15-26 to provide the setting.
15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty)
Please welcome Joseph bar Sabbas... who prefers to be called Justus.
|Dramatic Reading||Ben Diebold|
Why Did God Chose You?
by Lavern E. Brown, Jr.
When God calls... choose well, indeed. Amen
A Sermon Preached on August 23, 1998
The Rev. Shirley R. Frazier
Carolyn Park Presbyterian Church, Arabi, LA
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