Set Your Sail!

sailboatPick up the Phone:  God’s Calling on Your Life

Part 4 of 5

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Acts 17:10-12

10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.  11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.

Now what did Paul and Silas do next?  They set their sails and when to Macedonia.  This will determine whether or not you will ever discover the will of God for your life.  God more often calls the willing.  If He knows that in calling you to Macedonia you will spend forever reading travel brochures and learn native customs and read articles about how Macedonians think… and never get around to booking passage to the country… He would rather call someone else.

Amazama Ministries

Amazama Ministries

I concur with Katie Davis, the 20 something missionary in Uganda in her book, Kisses from Katie:

“I don’t always know where this life is going I can’t see the end of the road, but here is the great part.  Courage is not about knowing the path.  It is about taking the first step.”

Kathy Lang heard such a calling.

“A veteran surgical nurse for over 25 years, Kathy was looking for a new job. An agency that staffs nurses offered her a position at a prison. Without hesitation, Kathy replied emphatically, “No!”

A few days later in the car, she was listening to a Keith Green CD when her ears were startled by the lyrics: “I was in prison, and I rotted there; I’d prayed that you’d come.”

Over the next ten days she was bombarded with prison references everywhere she turned. On the TV and the radio—prison news. Her devotion book had references to prison. Kathy finally relinquished: “Okay, God, I get it!”

When she arrived home, she called the agency, but the job had been filled. Undaunted, she visited a local youth detention facility to inquire if they needed a nurse, only to learn there was a hiring freeze. For the next four months she kept calling agencies to inquire. And she prayed.  One night, Kathy and her daughter Jessica were driving home from the store. As they passed the prison at exactly 9:00 p.m., she and Jessica prayed, asking the Lord to open the door if it was truly his will for Kathy to work there. She promised to never stop praying for those girls.  Exactly 12 hours later, at precisely 9:00 the next morning, the agency called to offer her that job. …

[As Kathy worked in the clinic,] she had the idea to give every girl a Bible. Through a small grant, Kathy was able to get a few hundred of them for the cost of shipping. …  At the end of each appointment [Kathy had with a female prisoner], she offered the girl a Bible, briefly explaining how to use it. Their responses were mixed between joy and refusal.  Kathy’s heart ached for these girls, most of whom were from difficult backgrounds with little hope for change.

After [Kathy] gave out the first batch of Bibles, her vision was expanded to do more. She contacted various prison chaplains and was able to place more than 6,000 Bibles in four years. …  Kathy’s goal is to see a Bible in the hand of every prisoner. And she has kept her promise to God—she never stops praying for them.  Kathy’s guiding verse for her mission with these troubled youth comes from Isaiah 9:2: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”  (Cindy Huff, “Taking Jesus to Jail,” Today’s Christian, July/August 2008.)

Have you heard a calling from God and then sat on it?  Earlier I said God more frequently calls those that are willing.  But he also calls a few Jonahs.  Maybe you are one of those.  I know where I am suppose to go… but I am unwilling to.

Get those sails up!  Take that first step.  Make that call.  Start praying.  You will be able to do more than you could ever imagine.

Facing Down “The Donald”

James 3:13-18

Last night I watched the latest installment of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice.  In this show two teams work hard to win at a task assigned to them by Trump.  After the winning team is announced, the losing team’s manager has to pick two of the weakest players (in his estimation) to join him in “the board room” to face Mr. Trump.  One of them is then fired and leaves the show.  The person “let go” is usually the team manager in that it was his or her management skills that help land them there.  Last night, however, the boom was lowered on a young man because he “lacked passion” and had “puppy dog syndrome.”  The other men indeed had fire, but it seemed to be the destructive type.  Why is it that ambition… of the ruthless kind… seems to be highly praised in today’s society?  Is this cut- throat mentality a requirement for us to acheive success?

Is ambition a good thing or a bad thing?  Zig Ziglar quotes an anonymous writer who said that ambition, fueled by compassion, wisdom and integrity, is a powerful force for good. … Fueled by greed and the lust for power, ambition is a destructive force that ultimately does irreparable damage to the individual in its grasp and to the people within its reach. (www.ziglartraining.org)

James would agree that the answer lies in what we are ambitious about.  Are we filled with envy and selfish ambition?  Then we are filled with disorder and we practice evil.  Are will filled with ambition for peace, mercy and to produce good fruit? (v. 17)  Then we are peacemakers who sow in peace and will one day harvest a bumper crop of righteousness.

C. S. Lewis wrote:  “Ambition!  We must be careful what we mean by it.  If it means the desire to get ahead of other people – which is what I think it does mean – then it is bad.  If it means simply wanting to do a thing well, then it is good.  It isn’t wrong for an actor to want to act his part as well as it can be possibly be acted, but the wish to have his name in bigger type than the other actors is a bad one.” (God in the Dock)

By the way, that “unambitious” man that Trump fired last night had this to say at the end of the broadcast:  “”I left The Apprentice fired and then walked right into my dream job in construction management.  Going from fired to hired is an awesome feeling.  My wife is now sleeping at night and I can enjoy myself in life and enjoy my family.”   Not bad for a puppy dog!