If you have not been to this site yet - it is worth checking out. It is worthy of your consideration.
Once this blogger beta site gets straightened out I will add it to my sidebar [which apparently has become my "end of postings" bar.]
I sent copies of the last 2 posts out to some buddies - asking them to be my category 4 sounding boards. It will be nice if they reply. I hope for some thoughtful consideration.
I should include the following in the list:
1a - [This applies to those who are married] The working of the Holy Spirit through your spouse - as he/she submits [imperative] to the working of the Spirit in his/her life as he/she seeks the Father in prayer and submits to His Word.
"Late in the nineteenth century, two men living in London went to a meeting of their geographical society to hear one of their members speak of his recent trip to China. During his report the man spoke of being in a village and inquiring if any Christians lived there. The leader told him there was one Christian living in a village about fifteen miles away. One of the two men leaned over to his friend and said, 'Ah, there was only one Christian and he was fifteen miles away. But they knew exactly where he lived!' Does the world know where we live because of the radical nature of our lives?"
-- John Sartelle, Radically Contagious - September 2006 Tabletalk
Sometimes musing to long on a subject can just be a way of avoiding bringing the subject forward for discussion.
The idea of Christian's today receiving a "Call From God" has always been one that bothered me - even from my Bible college days - even to today. "God has called me to be a _________ (insert your choice - minister, missionary, architect, etc...)" What exactly do people mean when they use that kind of language. Have they heard the literal voice of God? Have they received direct revelation through a dream or ecstatic vision? Have they grabbed their Bible and had it miraculously fall open to Isaiah 6 and claimed "That's for me - I will go." This is something that I would like to look into further.
For now, my understanding of the call of God in a persons life presupposes a few items:
1) God is sovereign in everything - He is at work through primary and secondary causes to work out His will in His creation for His glory - yet without violating man's limited will and without being the cause of evil.
2) Although I may ignore (quench) the work of the Holy Spirit in my life - I can in no way thwart His will being accomplished - it would be best for me to continuously bring my life into agreement with His will.
3) God's means of communicating to His people today is through His Word the Bible. There is ample information concerning His revealed will in there that should keep us occupied for our whole lives.
OK. I believe that the call of God is His sovereign working in an individual's life through His Word, through the "circumstances of life," through the counsel of godly advisors and authorities - the covenant family, to bring praise to Himself through the life of His child. God does give peoples desires to serve Him in various vocations - all are important to Him - not just the position of minister or missionary (usually the two "biggies" mentioned). As we live in covenant relationship with Him and other believers - He will use them to confirm/affirm the direction of our lives. Believe me, I wish there were audible utterings and unmistakable dreams - but, from what I know of Scripture and theology - I don't see that as God's means of communication - for us - for now. Biblical occurences of specific vocational "calling" were limited to specific people...
Before I go too long with this - Let me just say, from experience at least - I have seen those who claimed to be "called" to preach who had no ability, talent, or giftedness for the task. Yet they had been told that once you are called to ministry you can't turn your back on it - you will be miserable the rest of your life because "you've missed God's calling" for you. Not only is that cruel - I believe it is unbiblical. I think God moves in our lives as the Holy Spirit ministers to us through His Word above all [we must read it] as we pray [habitually] to Him - and through His and our covenant family [we must fellowship] and spiritual authorities [we must listen] - and through our personalities [He made them] and biblical desires/passions [He gave them] - so that as we acknowledge His Lordship over our lives - whatever vocation and avocation we are doing - we are answering His "call" in our lives.