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.
January of 2012 Martha flew in to John Wayne Airport, California. Mark and I met her there to say our goodbyes to Mark and headed out to cross the country for Tennessee. I had a stone in the center of my chest. It is tough to say goodbye. I’m a caretaker. It’s genetic, inherited from my mother. I’m a mother hen who chases after my adult chicks long after they leave the nest.
The first four of my stressors are all related in some odd way. Another odd thing is that I handle all my stressors the same way. I have a Higher Power that acts in a super-natural way to help me cope and to recover. I call Him God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Trinity. I rely on the Bible as my basic instruction before leaving earth…
“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
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.”Philippians 2:3-5 NLT
This morning I was reminded of something I had read or heard a long time ago, though I can’t recall from where or who. The thought was brought to mind while listening to an elderly preacher speaking about justification, sanctification, and glorification. I taught a lesson a few years back entitled Big Words to help folks better comprehend some of the words we use to explain different parts of theology and this was my finale for that lesson:
“Justification happens when you meet Jesus. Glorification happens when you see Him. Everything that happens in between is sanctification.”
That is undoubtedly the simplest explanation of those terms I’ve yet to come across. It’s also, for the same reason I reckon, the most memorable way, for me at least, of explaining it to someone that doesn’t quite have an understanding of those “big words”.
After the elderly preacher wrapped up the message…
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”Romans 12:9-10 NLT