Entries tagged with “Ministry call”.
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Mon 16 Jan 2012
Selective hearing occurs when we tune in to what we want to hear, and zone out that which we do not want to listen to.
- Greg wonders why his boss does not seem to have heard his repeatedly expressed concerns about safety in the workplace, and yet jumps at the smallest complaint from customers.
- Kelly, a young mother, jokes with her friends about what she calls her husband’s ‘selective hearing.’ At night he seems to be oblivious to the baby’s cries, slumbering on while she wakes and attends to their son’s needs.
In spite of these examples, selective hearing can actually be a good thing. It is important to filter out those things that are clamouring for our attention, but are a distraction, or wrong and ungodly.
Selective Hearing in our Relationship with God
When selective hearing occurs in our relationship with God, we may genuinely believe that we are hearing from Him. However, the truth is that we are only listening to what He is saying to us on some issues. We have neglected to listen to His voice regarding other, important things.
I know that many of my readers have a great love for God and desire to serve Him. Like me, you may be involved in some kind of ministry or service, or helping people, or preparing for ministry.
When it comes to our ministry priorities, many of us eagerly listen and press in to God. But I believe He desires to encourage us to hear His voice in other areas of our lives.
The Father wants you to know that He knows and cares for every area of your life intimately. He does not have a hierarchy of concerns—every part of your life is valuable to Him.
Remember what Jesus said: ‘even the very hairs on your head are numbered.’ (Matt 10:30)
Signs that we are Selectively Hearing
Important areas that we may overlook in our conversations with God may include health, family, finances, relationships, our attitude and even the quality of our thought life.
We may be sincerely loving and serving God and even have an active devotional and prayer life. But if we do not communicate with God over the above vital areas in our lives, they begin to clamour for attention.
- Weaknesses in our health and general wellbeing begin to show—eventually they actually hinder us from doing what God has called us to do
- Relationships start to come under stress, and may begin to break down
- We feel stressed, or lack the joy that we are supposed to have in our service for God
- Our financial situation starts to slide, and so on
For example, as a writer, it is very easy for me to spend a lot of time sitting at the computer. This is a vital ministry role for me. But sometimes I work additional hours at the computer and do not spend sufficient time resting and walking and exercising. After a while my body starts to ache and complain because I am not living a balanced lifestyle and looking after my fitness and wellbeing.
If I were listening to God and following His leading in the area of my physical health, then I would be attentive to this.
Selective hearing does not just happen with ministry. We can also be focusing on some priorities in our lives to the exclusion of others—for example working hard in the area of fitness, but not spending quality time with our family.
Do a Self-Check for Selective Hearing
At this time of year especially, it is beneficial to do a self-check in each of the following things. Note: if you have recently had a holiday, think about the quality of your life immediately prior to your break.
- What is my body telling me?
- What is the quality (or lack of quality) in my close relationships telling me?
- What is my schedule saying?
- What about the state of my finances?
- Am I honouring God in my thought life?
- Am I communicating with and listening to God in each of these areas?
- What am I tolerating?
As you consider these questions, the Holy Spirit may bring another area to mind.
I have come to realise that selective hearing is defective hearing.
It is not honouring to God when important areas of our lives are not in submission to Him.
Samuel was one of the greatest prophets in the Bible. He had an intimate relationship with God, listened to His voice and instructed a nation in God’s ways. And yet, he did not pass on his spiritual values and legacy to his sons—they grew up to be godless men who neglected justice and took bribes. (1 Sam 8:1-4)
Talk with God about your Whole Life
One of the best things that I did last year was take a week’s break to get aside and relax and spend quality time talking with God with no ministry agenda. After a few days, I found myself talking to my Father about important things in my life that I did not normally take the time to pray about. There were things that I was tolerating, that I knew were not His best for me. I was able to be honest and to process some things. I came away with a renewed sense of vision for the whole area of my life, not just my vision for ministry.
Do you call Jesus Lord? Do not just listen to Him concerning the areas that satisfy your desire for fulfilment. Give Jesus the leadership of your whole life, not just a part.
The life that honours Him is one of balance and wisdom.
As you enter this New Year, take some time to meditate and pray about on these different areas in your life. And remember, you can be transparent in your dialogue with God. The Father’s love for you is intimate and all-encompassing, and no issue in your life is too small or too big for His interest and care.
Jesus Is Lord: What Does This Mean In My Daily Life?
Your Prophetic And Christian Ministry Will Be Impacted By This Choice
How To Recover The Wonder Of Hearing God’s Voice
Do you have any further thoughts about the topic of hearing God’s voice? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment in the comments box below. If the comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.
© Helen Calder 2011 Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church
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Mon 14 Nov 2011
Your DESTINY is the answer to the question, ‘What has God called me to do?’
Your IDENTITY is the answer to the question, ‘Who has God called me to be?’
How can we discover the answers to these questions? And what will it take to completely fulfil the calling of God on our lives?
Out of Hiding and into History
In Judges 6, Israel is living under oppression from their enemies, the Midianites. A young man called Gideon is hiding from the enemy in a winepress, threshing wheat.
God sends an angelic messenger to Gideon to proclaim his God-given destiny and identity.
‘And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valour!” Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us?… Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” (Judges 6:12-14)
When the angel calls Gideon a ‘Mighty man of valour,’ he is calling him by his God-given identity.
In the Bible, a given name is often synonymous with a God-ordained identity or destiny. 
The name Gideon means ‘cutter down’ or ‘destroyer’, and Gideon is destined to be a leader who, with God’s help, overthrows Israel’s powerful enemy.
Gideon, however, sees himself differently—as insignificant and powerless. As a result, he is living in fear and weakness.
The angel’s pronouncement of Gideon’s identity and destiny sets in motion a chain of events that propels Gideon out of hiding and into history.
What Gideon teaches us about our Identity and Destiny
We may not have an angel turn up on our doorstep with a message from God like Gideon did. We may not even have a personal prophecy. But we can begin to grasp our God-given identity and destiny.
When we do, it will have life-changing consequences to others and ourselves.
Here are some things that we can learn from Gideon’s story:
1. God Himself Initiates our Identity and Destiny
‘For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.’ (Eph 2:10)
God steps into Gideon’s normal, everyday life and announces His intention for him.
God’s purpose for our lives is not our own good idea of what we would like to be or do; it is His plan for us.
God’s destiny for your life will be consistent with the way He has wired you. It may be helpful to consider the clues He has given—your unique experiences, passion, abilities and spiritual gifts.
But don’t limit God by over-defining these things. Remember—He took Gideon by surprise and may have some surprises in store for you too.
Prayer journaling is one helpful tool that you can use to converse with God.  Take time to pray and ask your Father the questions:
- ‘What have you called me to do?’
- ‘Who have you called and created me to be?’ 
Ask godly leaders that you have a relationship with what they see in you. Allow them to speak into your life.
2. He Turns our Weaknesses into His Strengths
‘Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.’ (1 Cor 1:26-27)
When God calls Gideon, the young man does not comprehend his destiny or his identity—in fact, he is currently being and behaving the very opposite of what God has called him to be.
Gideon is fearful, however his God-given identity is to be bold. He feels himself to be the smallest and least significant, but God is calling him to be a leader.
In the Bible, those whom God uses powerfully usually have a history of weakness or failure in their very area of strength.
God is by nature a Redeemer.
Consider where you have been hurt and wronged, or have sinned, or are weak. These are the very things God is redeeming. With His help you will not only overcome those weaknesses, but they will become points of strength. They will become areas in which you minister to others.
Remember, too, when your Heavenly Father speaks to you of your identity and destiny, it will be something beyond your own natural ability to accomplish.
3. It Takes an Intimate Relationship with God to Wholly Fulfil our Destiny
An encounter with God is an invitation to relationship with Him.
Potentially, Gideon’s encounter with God could be the beginning of a personal relationship with Him. He has the opportunity to be an Abraham, a Moses—a friend of God.
Gideon has the opportunity now, to not only overcome the enemy, but also to lead Israel in worship of God.
However, tragically, he will fall short of his destiny and instead, lead the nation into idolatry. (Judges 8:22-27)
Here is the bottom line.
Here is the very foundation of our identity and destiny.
We are created to have an intimate love relationship with God. This is both the beginning of our identity and the ultimate end of our destiny.
As Christian believers, we are sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. This is the relationship that Jesus paid to restore when He shed His blood on the cross.
And before we can fully understand our personal identity, we need to comprehend our Family identity.
We need to understand what it means to have the divine DNA, the identity of being a member of God’s royal family. 
Only once we have understood this can we fully embrace and enter into our personal God-given identity—and fulfil it.
Do you have any experiences or questions to share on this topic, or difficulties you are facing that you would like us to agree with you in prayer for? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment in the comments box below. If the comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down
 It makes an interesting study to track name changes in the Bible, and see the destiny that God was speaking into those He named—for example, Abram became Abraham (father of a multitude). Jesus renamed Simon (meaning reed), Peter (meaning rock).
 To learn more about prayer journaling, read the following post:
Activate Your Prophetic Gift Through Prayer Journaling
 In relation to personal guidance, the following post contains vital information:
Personal Guidance For The Important Decisions Of Life
 I discuss this more in the following article:
Breaking Free From An Orphan Mindset
© Helen Calder 2011 Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church
Mon 7 Nov 2011
I regularly come across gifted prophetic people who wonder why they are not being given opportunities to minister in the area of their spiritual gifts and passion.
There are two contexts in which this can happen:
- You may be aware that you have a gift of prophecy, or another spiritual gift. In fact, you may have exercised that gift or ministry in the past, and even seen great results as the Holy Spirit touched people through your ministry.
- You may be newly emerging in your spiritual gift. You are aware that you have a gift and Spirit-given ability—so why is it that others do not see it?
Maybe you can identify with the following questions:
- ‘Why does it seem as though my gift is hidden?’
- ‘Why am I not receiving opportunities to exercise my gift?’
- ‘Why don’t leaders in my church recognise my ministry?’
- ‘Will I ever fulfil the call of God on my life?’
These are questions that I have asked myself at various times in the past. If you can relate to this today, I have some things that I would like to share with you on a personal level.
Blaming Others will Disempower You
It can be very easy to blame others when we are not being given opportunities to exercise our gifts in church life.
We perceive that leaders especially, have the power to release or hold back possibilities for us to minister. It may seem that they are blocking the achievement of God’s call on our lives.
But the reality is that as long as we are blaming others for our lack of ministry fulfilment—whether it is a spouse, pastor, ministry leader or anybody else—we are actually disempowering ourselves and limiting God.
Invariably, we will begin to voice our frustration and resentment, for as Jesus said, ‘Out of the abundance of our hearts our mouths speak.’ (Luke 6:43-46)
Eventually, discouragement, disappointment and frustration pervade the atmosphere around our lives, creating a cycle of barrenness. But I have good news for you today: you can break free!
Reasons why Your Gifts are not Being Used
Firstly, you need to remember that God is sovereign. No human on the planet can hold back the fulfilment of His call on your life—except you.
You are empowered. You do not need to look to someone else to release your ministry.
So, if your spiritual gift or ministry call seems to be hidden, here are some possible reasons why this might be happening, along with some suggestions to help you move forward: 
1. You are Waiting for Appointment Unnecessarily
Sometimes we wait for an invitation, role or position when Jesus just wants to love people through us.
For example, if you have a gift of prophecy, you can use it at the basic level of encouragement in a small group and everyday life amongst family and friends. Remember, though, that if you have a word that goes beyond simple encouragement, the principles of accountability apply.
If you want to be used in the area of healing, start offering to pray for people—and so on.
The key is to stay within the appropriate context in the use of your gift. 
2. You Need to make your Desires and Dreams Known
Sometimes we think that ministry leaders are aware of our gifts and calling and should open doors for us. They would—if only they knew what was on our hearts.
I can remember one time in particular where I was frustrated because a ministry leader wasn’t giving me an opportunity. When I eventually broached the subject, he asked me why I hadn’t mentioned it, and happily provided a pathway forward for me.
Leaders aren’t mind readers. Sometimes we think that they are supermen and superwomen who should be listening to God about our personal gifts and situations.
They may simply need the opportunity to hear from us firsthand.
3. You are Beginning and Need to Step out.
Sometimes we wait too long for encouragement, when we should be stepping out of the boat ourselves.
Understandably, when you are new in your gift, this can be a bit daunting.
When a seedling emerges from the soil, there is a last push to break through the earth. When a butterfly is emerging from a chrysalis, there is a final wrestling to break free.
This is the kind of motivation that the Apostle Paul talked about when he said, ‘Desire spiritual gifts.’ (1 Cor 14:1) Is your desire strong enough that you will seek tangible ways of moving forward in your gift? 
4. The Delay is about God’s Timing
Wilderness seasons are a Biblical theme—remember Moses, Joseph, David, John the Baptist and the Apostle Paul? 
Some reasons that God ordains a time of hiddenness may include:
- Timing as He brings circumstances and people together
- Strengthening other gifts and skills in your life that will be needed in the long run
- Preparation of our character or gift
If God has ordained a season of waiting, He is faithful and will release you at the right time.
5. You may Benefit by Adjusting Something in Your Ministry Approach.
This is a vital point. Many times I have seen people held back because there is something unsuitable in their approach to using their gifts—and yet they are completely unaware of it.
Here are some checks we should do regularly in relation to our gifts and ministry:
- Am I willing to serve in small ways?
- Am I present at meetings, even when my gift is not being called on?
- Am I honouring my leaders in my conversation and actions?
- Am I being self-centred, i.e. it’s about my gift and my ministry, or others-centred—“What can I do to help you?”
Culture and Style
- Does the style of the way I use my gift fit with the culture of my church?
- What about my language—terminology and expressions?
- Do I use any methods or ‘formulas’ when I minister that my leaders do not use?
- Do I use actions, gestures or manifestations, e.g. when I pray for people, which are not in keeping with the culture of my church?
If a movement we have been brought up in, imparted to, or taught by, is different from that of our church, this is something that we need to especially consider.
We need to be willing to lay these methods aside and align our ministry style with the culture of our church or ministry organisation.
Vision and Values
- Do my values and vision for ministry differ from that of my church?
A friend of mine observed that a church is like a train—led by God and our leadership with a definite destination in mind. We need to decide whether we are willing to get on board and to serve in the direction that our church is going.
So long as we are nurturing our own desires for a different destination or culture of church life, our leaders will perceive this. They need to know we are pulling with them—not against them.
Why not ask?
You may benefit by approaching someone in leadership—perhaps sharing this article with him or her—and reviewing any possible reasons why you seem to be stuck in relation to your gift or ministry.
This will only work if you take an open and humble approach and are willing to listen to suggestions without becoming hurt or offended.
Often leaders do not address situations such as I’ve mentioned above because they know that their observations will not be well received. If you initiate the conversation, and are willing to make adjustments, you may be surprised at the results.
Do you have any experiences or questions to share on this topic? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment in the comments box below. If the comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.
 Another reason our gift or ministry may be hidden is because we are hiding ourselves—due to fear or hurt. We will be covering these topics in the next few weeks.
 Every church has unique protocols for the operation of spiritual gifts. See Prophetic Ministry In Church Life: Why Have Guidelines
 If you believe you have a gift of prophecy emerging, see the following post for ideas:
How To Develop Your Prophetic Gift: Where To Begin
 Here is a post on the topic of wilderness seasons that you may find helpful:
Going Through A Testing Season In Your Spiritual Gifts
11 Signs That Your Prophetic Gift Is Being Held Back
Do You Have A Ministry Call?
Break Free Of Hurts That Are Blocking Your Prophetic Gift
© Helen Calder 2011 Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church
Wed 29 Jun 2011
Have you ever felt as though you had a ministry call from God?
As Christian believers, everything we do in life—including our vocation—has both present and eternal value when we are serving God from the heart. (Col 3:23-24)
I regularly hear from readers who have a call from God for a particular aspect of ministry. Having a sense of destiny for a unique, God-ordained purpose can be a powerful motivator, regardless of whether the ministry is full-time, part-time or voluntary.
Usually, there is a process of preparation as we await the opportunity and timing to fulfil God’s call. It’s not unusual to experience trials and difficulty in relation to the call of God.
God called me to preach when I was just 15 years old. Over the years, I have learned that you can run away from His call, or you can run towards it, but you certainly can’t ignore it!
Last week I looked at the subject of personal guidance and if you haven’t read my post ‘Personal Guidance For The Important Decisions Of Life’, I encourage you to do so in conjunction with this article. Today I am focusing on a vital key that needs to be in place before taking action on a ministry call. 
That key is accountability.
The Power of Accountability and Leadership
Last week I gave the example of Abraham, who followed the call of God to Canaan. (Gen 12:1-5)
In the New Testament, God speaks to the individual regarding His destiny for his or her life, but the witness of that guidance is found in the church body and in leadership.
In the New Testament church, our Father has designed us to be interdependent upon each other, not independent. (1 Cor 12) 
The Apostle Paul had a clear call to ministry from God, that was confirmed by prophecy and accompanied by great signs, including an open vision of Jesus.
However, we see that he did not enter into the fulness of that call until the Holy Spirit spoke to the leadership of the Antioch church. Once sent by his church, he returned regularly to report in. (Acts 13:1-3, Acts 14:26-28).
Paul in turn recognised the ministry call of others such as Timothy and Titus, and released and appointed them to minister. Not only were they called, ready and available; they had also demonstrated a history of faithfulness in serving Paul himself.
Personal Lessons in Accountability
I have not always been good at accountability; in fact my call to ministry would have been seriously undermined (at worst, shipwrecked) if I had not learned some difficult lessons about responding to authority.
This cartoon is from my book, ‘Prophetic People In A Changing Church’ and demonstrates a significant error that many of us have when it comes to guidance. 
I call it the ‘hotline to God’ philosophy.
This is the misguided belief that revelation we receive personally from God is not subject to leadership and godly wisdom.
Accountable to Whom?
‘For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.’ Prov 11:14
Our local church leadership should be a vital source of accountability to us.
Many times our leaders and pastors know us well and are familiar with:
- Our attitudes and actions
- What we are good at
- How we are going in our character and family life
- Any blind spots that we need to consider
- Our love for people and willingness to serve
The accountability that comes from our church life can also be painful, which is why many of us avoid or circumvent it.
Some reasons for this include:
- Fear that we will miss God’s timing if we submit the power of decision-making about our call to others
- Distrust of authority in general due to past abuses, or
- Mistrust of our leaders in particular if there have been hurts, misunderstandings, or we are judgmental of them for any reason
By God’s grace, we can work through these things and become stronger.
If there is irreparable damage in your relationship to your church leaders, or valid grounds for mistrust (as I understand there can sometimes be), then it may be wise to take another look at your reasons for being in your local church.
These issues will not only affect your ministry call, they will also affect your ability to have a significant input in your church life, and your ability to faithfully serve the vision of the leaders in that environment. Inevitably, your responses will also affect others around you.
The bottom line, as Steve McCracken puts it, is, ‘Do you believe you are in the church where God wants you to be?’ If the answer is yes, and you know you are planted in a church according to God’s will, then the Biblical principles of accountability to leadership apply.
Of course, there are other sources of accountability available to us. I recommend having more than one trusted leader or mentor that you can go to, who can give you wise input about your decisions concerning your call to ministry.
You may be involved in a Christian organisation, as I am with David McCracken Ministries, where you have godly Christian leadership.
Remember that a safe mentor or leader is one who understands and practices accountability (is submitted to authority) himself or herself.
These should also be wise, experienced leaders who know what it is to exercise faith.
Trusting God for Your Ministry Call
A ministry call frequently has strong emotions attached to it, because of
- our love for God,
- our heart for the people we are called to minister to
- our concern about any problems our Father has called us to be a part of the solution to
We need to remember that God is sovereign. I have learned over many years that He is faithful, and that when we keep our hearts right, His will and word must prevail.
An inability to trust others in the process of being released and appointed to fulfil God’s call on our life can be a sign that we do not trust our Heavenly Father.
We are tested when we trust Him during times when the power to fulfil that call does not lie within our own ability to make it happen.  As we keep our hearts right, even during times of apparent contradiction, nothing and no one can stop the Father’s plan.
Benefits of Accountability
Some benefits of accountability include:
- An invaluable test of timing
- The added wisdom of others
- An outside perspective on any weaknesses or blind spots
- Commissioning is something to recall and hold on to when we go through trials
But the most important benefit of accountability has to do with the release of God-ordained authority that comes with it.
I believe that commissioning (Apostolic sending), as practiced by the Apostle Paul, is vitally important to ministry. 
Recently, my pastor and church leadership team anointed me and prayed, released and commissioned me to join the team at David McCracken Ministries.
At times like these, I believe a transaction takes place. There is blessing in unity. And we receive a commission and anointing for our new season of ministry.
 Accountability is also beneficial to any significant change in life direction. This is especially true if you have a family or others who will be impacted by your decisions.
 See my article, Not Word Perfect: Understanding How Prophecy Works In The Church Today
 I understand the pain that can be inflicted through abuse of authority. For my personal journey and lessons learned about overcoming hurts related to authority, see my e-book Prophetic People in a Changing Church
 A great example of this is Joseph. For more on this, see my post ‘Personal Guidance For The Important Decisions Of Life’
© Helen Calder 2011 Enliven Blog
On team with David McCracken Ministries
Do you have any experiences or questions to share about having a call to ministry? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment in the comments box below. If the comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.