March 22, 2019

Pastoral Nuggets: God Called Me to Preach

After our wedding, Marianne and I attended the church where I met Jesus and we met each other.

Before long I began to sense that God had something more for my life.

As I would listen to the pastor preach, I would think things like, “I would have said that like this,” or “I would have used another scripture there.”

As I began to sense that God was calling me to preach, it literally scared me to death! However, instead of embracing the calling, I began to do exactly the opposite. I rationalized that if I reverted back to my old sinful lifestyle, then God wouldn’t want me.

However, I was unaware of Romans 11:29 (KJV) which states, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”

This means that God doesn’t call you to do something and then change His mind! And God has a way of getting your attention! I reverted back to my wicked lifestyle and God began to tighten the screws on my life.

I was wasting every penny Marianne and I had supporting my sinful lifestyle. On top of that, we had just found out that Marianne was expecting our first child.

Please understand that God will allow you do some stupid stuff when you’re running from His call on your life. At this moment in history the all-volunteer army had just been established. I thought, “I know what I’ll do; I’ll join the army; I’ll have a steady income, and they will pay for the baby to be born.” The screws were tightening!

They sent me to Fort Jackson, South Carolina for basic training. (Tank Hill!) For the first three days I thought I was a genius. They placed us in a holding company while they issued us clothes, gave us shots, and processing us into the army. While waiting, we just lounged around the barracks and watched TV. The army life was for me! However, toward the end of the third day cattle trucks rolled up. They herded us onto those trucks and took us to our real basic training unit.

Drill Sergeant Shape met us on those trucks. After running us up and down three flights of stairs for a couple of hours, with full gear on, he literally put us to bed. He told us that at 4am the next morning Drill Sergeant Owens would be there – and we would wish to God that he was back. He was a prophet!

God continued tightening the screws. While there I wound up with both feet in gel-casts, in the hospital for three days with an upper respiratory infection, and had to have a tooth surgically removed after breaking it eating a plain M&M. (Not even a peanut one!)

All of this because I was running from God’s call to preach. So, I began to pray and tell God that if He would just get me out, I would do what He wanted. It wasn’t long until I received a 635-1 Honorable Discharge. (Cannot adjust to army life.)

I don’t recommend you do what I’m about to tell you. After I got home and all the hoopla had subsided, Marianne went on to bed and I went into the living room with my Bible in hand. I was intent on settling this preacher thing with God!

I told God, “God, if this calling is from You, then You’re going to prove it to me beyond the shadow of a doubt. I’m going to close my eyes, let this Bible fall open, and I’m going to randomly point to a scripture. Whatever scripture I point to will be my answer from You.”

My finger fell on Acts 4: 29, which states, “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word.”  I may be dumb, but I ain’t stupid! I got it! I surrendered to His call on my life and believe me when I tell you that it has been the adventure of a lifetime!

So, what’s the Spiritual takeaway from my story today?  It’s this: The only way to find true joy in this life is by surrendering to God’s call on your life.  And by the way, the safest place in all the world is in the exact center of God’s will!

God called me to preach.  What’s your calling? Are you fulfilling it?  If not, why not?

Brother Aaron

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