Thursday, July 31, 2003

Be Confident of Your Call

I preached roughly 300 sermons or teachings between 1994 and 1998... as the Sr. Pastor of my first church.... with every one of the messages I second guessed my words all the way home... I drove my wife nuts. You would think it would get better as you go but for me it didn't... I got more calloused to the self-critique but I didn't get better about going through the exercise. I would get in the car after Sunday morning, start it up, and ask... "ok, how was it?" She got used to it, learned to debrief me all Sunday afternoon. I replayed in my mind the whole message... think, "I meant to say this here..." or "I should have left that out" or "I didn't explain that well enough". It made me reluctant to get back up to preach because I was so critical of myself.

It wasn't until I moved on to my second church that it all changed. (which demands an article in and of itself) There was a new sense of purpose and freedom. A fresh anointing and confidence. I still replay the messages in my mind but I'm nowhere near as self-critical. I still think of things I should have said but it doesn't bother me.

People's opinion of my message or content have less influence on my mood than it used to. One person challenging my word as 'unscriptural' or 'unspiritual' used to set me back weeks... I would get so depressed and second guess my calling... wondering what right I had to try to say anything to these people. Anymore I chalk it up to their interpretation and don't think of it as a personal challenge (even when it might be personal).

The answer is to know your call. It wasn't until I began to really believe and accept that I had God-Given authority before his people that I found peace... a real breakthrough... if God placed you in the position you are... then there's nobody who's opinion or viewpoint is important enough to affect your mood, your perspective or your sense of calling.

I wrote this sometime ago while thinking about ministry issues... it relates to people who might complain or demand influence over you...

If people come in a spirit of submission or an honest attempt to understand you and your vision then they deserve time and attention. Those that come with a judgmental or arrogant spirit, a superiority spirit (I can do as well as you), should not be entertained. Those whom you know in your church that can intimidate you because you know they are more talented, spiritual, charismatic, etc. Remember... if they were called to lead that body, then God would have placed them in that position. They either aren't called or they rejected the call - either way - you are their leader and their gifts, abilities or talent levels do not matter at all. As a leader you must embrace humility but never give away your spiritual authority. It is God's banner over you and is more powerful than talent or experience.

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