If you caught my post from the a few days ago you probably concluded that my credentials have finally arrived; part of the application to legally perform marriage ceremonies in the state of WV includes providing proof of ordination and a letter of good standing with your affiliated organization.
I must admit, I was anxiously awaiting them for a couple of weeks, hoping with each mail delivery they would be a part of the day’s incoming letters and packages. When they did finally arrive I was pretty impressed with them; they are definitely accurately depicted on the website and were exactly what I expected them to be – with one major difference: I felt no different having documents in hand than I did before I received them.
You see, I know that I am ordained by God to do the work He has called me for. I have also been validated by my Brothers and Sisters and peers in my calling and abilities. I don’t want to sound high-minded but many have commented that I am a very good Bible teacher yet I feel totally inadequate for the task. In truth I really only needed these documents for man’s law, not god’s calling. I did, to be honest, desire them to show that I had indeed accepted this call from God to do the work He has appointed to me. I like to equate it a little bit like baptism to a believer: baptism is an act of good conscious toward God setting oneself apart from the world (1 Peter 3:21) – ordination is kind of like a minister’s baptism (if that makes it a little clearer than mud).
So while I needed these things to be able to perform certain rites and rituals under man’s laws, I felt no different, no more validated or “preacher-like”, by having them. But I am glad to have them and glad for the organization that helped me obtain them independently, as well as all those that encouraged and affirmed my calling along the way.
After years of trials, questions, and hurdles, on Thanksgiving Day 2015 I received notices I had been approved and officially ordained into the ministry. The road has, as I eluded to, been a long and arduous one, filled with obstacles. But thanks be to God I persevered and stayed the course, knowing this was what God has called me to do.
I understand more now than ever why some throw their hands up and say “Forget it!” Or “Maybe I was wrong; maybe this isn’t God’s will for me.” (Please don’t think what I’m about to say is a “jab” at those who have stopped/left this path into ministry; it is not for everyone and some who quit do so rightly.) I could’ve easily been among those ranks were it not for godly folks encouraging me and confirming my calling. I’m thankful to them for following the prompting of the Holy Spirit to encourage me. (If you read this you know who you are; I need not mention names.)
So, what does the future hold for me? God knows; I don’t. I intend to study more, already taking some classes to make me a more useful servant-leader. I know that soon there will be some new and exciting opportunities opening up to teach and share biblical content here and other places (I’m not at liberty to discuss those yet). So, more or less, things will continue on as they are – perhaps a bit more hectic or busy, but mostly the same.
I look forward to sharing more when the time is right.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
While thinking this afternoon of some friends who have been running eagerly from one place to another after a celebrated, and, I suppose, most interesting preacher–this idea forcibly struck me: Why manifest such undue concern after streams, when we have the Fountain always accessible? I can, in my humble cottage, approach the footstool of the Father of mercies, and enjoy the manifestation of His love!
“My people have committed a double evil: They have abandoned Me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves–cracked cisterns that cannot hold water!” Jeremiah 2:13
I honestly don’t know if that verse was what she noted or if it was added by the author of the email-devotional I read. (The link to the text is included in the title of the piece if you’d like to look at it in depth.)
I do know that what she is essentially saying, how we put so much emphasis on man and his presentation over the fact we can go to the source at will, is absolutely true and utterly amazing to me. As has been well said, “The more I learn about how amazing grace is the more amazing grace truly is!” And I’ll add this verse myself, as today’s daily verse.
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
“A weather vane preacher is any preacher who changes what he preaches or how he preaches when the wind changes direction. The preacher who alters his message or his method because of the ever-changing advice, counsel, and opinions of men is not a leader, but a follower. Such weather vane preachers are worthless! They only do harm to the souls of men, and they need not preach at all. True, gospel preachers are pillars in the church of God–not puppets in the hands of men.”
“On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.” 1 Thessalonians 2:4
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths!” 2 Timothy 4:2-4