By Lin Pearson
Winter sports can be exhilarating and at times scary—a bit like the Christian life! There are elements of “risk” when we follow Christ. There are no guarantees of trouble-free life; being a Christian is no insurance against experiencing difficulties and hardship.
Waiting for the call of God
Knowing the call of God can seem like being at the top of a ski jump, waiting for the clear “go ahead”. Then, when the time is right and you abandon yourself to God’s purposes, you are propelled forward.
Fear of failure
It may at first feel like a slippery slope. “What if I’m no good? What if I fall?” Ski jumper Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards didn’t let fear of failure stop him from competing in the 1988 winter Olympics—even though he came last! His spirit of adventure has been an inspiration to many.
Following God’s plan is definitely not going to result in you careering down a slippery slope, your life out of control, though it may at times be a bumpy ride. You may be misunderstood. Many a Bible College student has been told that they are “throwing away a good career” or “wasting their education”. You will face challenges on every level—spiritual, emotional, financial or otherwise.
Step out – go for it!
But, like the disciple Peter, who stepped out of the comfort-zone of the boat and onto the deep water, you will not be alone. What appears to be a risk is total security when Christ is with you on the stormy waters. There is no safer place to be than in the will of God.
When you obey God, adversity can become adventure! Whatever he has asked you to do—go for it!This article was published by The Faith Mission, Edinburgh, in FIRST! magazine January/February 2009
By Frank Parker
You could guess that it represents the population of a nation, or you might think it signifies the distance travelled by the latest scientific instrument through outer space. But you would be wrong on both counts. The truth is much nearer home. 36,816,480 is, in fact, the number of minutes in a life-time of 70 years, (including 24,480 extra minutes in 17 leap years).
If you are 35 or over, you have already used up at least 18,408,240 of those precious minutes 97 and nobody can tell you how many minutes you have left!
The new year stretches before you like a plateau of untrodden snow. But instead of unsullied snow flakes, the future offers you the enticing vista of 525,600 unused minutes!
How will you use them? What footprints will you leave on the territory of Time? Will you walk with God through the year? Or will you go your own way, disregarding the Saviour’s call to follow Him?
‘Time is money’ asserts the efficiency expert. But actually Time is far more precious. Money can be banked. Time cannot. If you don’t use Time when it is available, then that opportunity is forever lost.
In the words of Thomas Edison:
Time is not a commodity that can be stored for future use. It must be invested hour by hour, or else it is gone forever.
Use your time to serve the Lord. Follow Him through the year and learn to walk with God. When you die, there will be no ‘extra time’ or second chance to retrieve all the wasted moments and lost opportunities. ‘Lost time is never found.’ ‘We speak of spending time,’ declares John Blanchard, ‘the Bible speaks of buying it!’ ‘You cannot kill time without injuring eternity,’ warns Henry D. Thoreau. A wise old proverb sums it up: ‘Kill time and you murder opportunity!’
Time is precious. It is not given us to waste, or to kill, or to spend on selfish pursuits. Every moment should be used wisely, with the ultimate glory of God in view. Much can happen in a moment. How long did it take for Adam to taste the forbidden fruit? Just one unguarded moment – and sin with all its hideous aftermath was introduced into the human race. Luke explains that the devil tempted Jesus by shewing Him ‘all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.’ (Luke 4 vs.5). But Jesus did not fail. His moments were regulated by His Father’s will.
Moments are uniquely precious. They have a miraculous potential for determining eternal issues. So let the Lord control your moments, then your eternal destiny will be secure.
Frank Parker is a retired minister and lectures at the Faith Mission Bible College. This article is reprinted, by permission, from Frank’s book Treasures of Truth, a collection of articles he wrote whilst editor of the magazine Riches of Grace.
This article was published by The Faith Mission, Edinburgh, in FIRST! magazine January/February 2008
By Rev. Dr. Sandy Roger
HAVE you ever heard someone telling of their call to Bible College and thought: “God’s call is only for the elite. The Lord would never call me; I’m not spiritual or good enough.” Perhaps you feel that all this “call” is something mysterious and definitely not for you.
The Scriptures deal with this subject plainly and practically. So before going any further, will you go and get your bible and read the account of Jesus calling some of his first disciples? You will find it in Matthew 4:18-22.
So often, we think of this incident only as Christ’s call to would-be followers, but it also has some more profound lessons about how Christ calls people to his service. The “call to discipleship stories” in the Gospels always operate on two levels – encouragement for those taking their first tentative steps in Christ’s direction, and the challenge to face up to what this will eventually entail.
Jesus called people who had already proved themselves as workers. It is highly unlikely that the Lord is going to call you to Bible College and train you for Christian service if you are not already working for Him. The Jewish Rabbis tended to call people to follow them and become great scholars. Jesus, in contrast, was on the lookout for workers.
Among the original disciples there were seven fishermen. Why so many? These men had the very qualities needed for the life of discipleship. In their busy jobs they had already acquired the basic skills of patience, courage, co-operation and trust.
Jesus called people to a new task in which they could use their old skills.
Christ’s call does not obliterate all of your past experience and skills. These are the very things He wants to use.
It forces us to ask the question: “What do I do in my present, secular employment that I could utilize in the service of Christ and His Church?” All the people Jesus called brought something with them to be used for Christ and by Christ. Luke certainly made use of his medical skill. Paul brought with him his passionate religious zeal and sharp mind. Lydia placed her home at the Lord’s disposal. Bible College training will only make our life skills more effective.
Jesus called people to leave certain things behind. The followers here gave up their means of livelihood, their family, and their security. Some are called today to do the same. All are called to support those who do.
There is always an element of sacrifice in responding to Christ’s call. But he never drags people kicking and screaming against their will. Those who become involved in Christ’s service out of a sense of pressure, guilt or fear inevitably end up frustrated, angry and resentful. Their testimony becomes, “Look what I gave up.” To which the Lord replies, “Yes, but the one thing you haven’t given up is your self.”
Jesus called different kinds of people. Peter was impulsive and headstrong. He had a big heart, but he also had a big mouth and big feet! Andrew was content always to play a supporting role. James and John were probably nicknamed the sons of thunder because of their fiery tempers. We know that along with their mother they were overly ambitious. But Jesus called them all. It is no problem to him to take our personality defects and eccentricities. In fact, he is the only One who can do anything with them.
Jesus expects our eventual response. This was not the first time these men had met Jesus. Previously they had been to his home and they had even accompanied him to a wedding reception. By piecing together the various Gospel accounts it becomes clear that he had actually given them about a year to think it over. Jesus never hurries or hassles people into discipleship and service.
I would love to think that some of your reasons for not recognizing or responding to Christ’s call could be demolished by taking a fresh look at this familiar story.
• All the skills learned in life so far could be used by Jesus, if only they were placed in His hands.
• Even though you see yourself as different from every Bible College student you know, that does not mean there is no place for your gifts and personality.
• The Lord has given you more than enough time to mull things over and in your heart you know it is now time for action.
Here is a prayer that you might find helpful.
Lord Jesus, for some time I have been aware of your call upon my life, and I have now reached a point of no return. Insistently, I can hear your voice: “Follow Me.” Clearly, I can see your promise: “I will make you…” Help me to move forward in step with your will for my life.
Dr Sandy Roger is a former Principal of the Faith Mission Bible College, Edinburgh.
He is now a parish minister in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, ScotlandThis article was published by The Faith Mission, Edinburgh, in Life Indeed May/June 2002