Family Calling

I grew up as an only child, so when my wife and I got married, I not only gained a spouse, but I gained a brother that I had never had before.  Kelley has a brother that is a few years younger than her, and he became my brother.

The family I grew up in is very faithful in being Christ followers, but when I answered God’s call after high school to go into ministry, I am pretty sure I was the first in my family to do so.  I might be wrong, because I do not really know our family’s history past my grandparents on each side, for the most part.  I did not really have a legacy of ministers in my family line, although I never even thought about that because it did not seem strange to me.

Then Kelley and I got married.  Her dad, Kevin, is in ministry, and multiple grandparents, uncles, and cousins on both sides of her family are as well.  I gained a legacy of ministry when our families joined together through our marriage.  The incredible thing to me is that her younger brother is now studying to go into ministry as well. In other words, I now have a younger brother answering the call from God to go into the ministry.

While I was in school for ministry, I did an internship at Kelley’s home church in Georgetown, OH.  That is actually how we met, as she was finishing her time in the youth group while I was there, and we started dating when my internship officialy ended that summer.  While I was there as a student ministry intern, working with the teens mostly, I was given the opportunity to preach in the main adult worship service near the end of my time there.  That was the first time I preached in front of a group of more than 100 people, and I got to do it twice, as there are two services every Sunday.  It is an experience that I will never forget. It is also from this stage that Kelley and I got married as well.  The stage at Georgetown Church of Christ has been a pretty special place in my life.

As I was stating earlier, Korey (Kelley’s brother) is currently working on his ministry degree at Johnson University.  A few months ago, he had the opportunity to preach at Georgetown as well, as part of the requirements for a preaching class he was taking.  Kelley and I were unfortunately unable to attend, as we live in New Mexico, but the church uploads the sermons every week, so we were both able to watch Korey preach.  Sidenote, I love technology!  While I was watching him preach, I was struck with an incredible thought.  I have had the honor and privilege to share the same stage or pulpit with not only Kevin (Kelley’s dad), who is the preaching minister in Georgetown, but now with my brother as well.  That is a very cool realization to make, and it is also very humbling. (I have also gotten to preach from the same stage as some of my biggest mentors in ministry as well, which is pretty awesome as well).

What got me thinking of all of this again is that Korey just preached at Georgetown again this past weekend, and again, I was able to listen to his sermon thanks to technology.  I found out the morning of that he was going to be preaching, and immediately posted something about it on Twitter, offering a prayer of encouragement to Korey, and ended the tweet with the #FamilyCalling.  When I got to listen to his sermon today (Monday), I was so proud of the growth that he is having in his communication skills, and the fact that he is so willing to use his talents for God.  It again got me thinking about the idea of a family calling. I got to marry into a family that has many that have answered the call to ministry.

It is truly a calling as well.  I do not believe that you can be successful in ministry if you make the decision on your own that you want to do it.  As I listened to his sermon today, I was struck by the theme of his message, because it is something that I have been trying to stress in my own ministry as well.  It is the idea that as Christ followers, we have work to do. We have a calling. Our faith in Jesus should lead us to put in some major hard work and dedication for Him.

I will not give away too much of what he had to say, because I am going to provide a link at the end of this for you to go check his message out yourself, but he was preaching on Ephesians 2.  It is a very beautiful and powerful passage from Paul, and Korey nailed the idea from my favorite part of the passage, Ephesians 2:10.  It states, “10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”(NIV)

Other translations use the word masterpiece instead of handiwork. We are God’s masterpiece! And the fact that we are His masterpiece means that we were created for a specific purpose. We have a job to do; bringing glory to God. God has this work in mind for every single one of us.  I mentioned earlier that those of us in ministry have “answered a calling”, that you cannot really be successful in ministry if you have not been called.  What I did not mention then, I want to stress now. While you may not have been called to be in vocational ministry, if you are a Christ follower, you are called into some kind of ministry. It could be anything that you do to bring glory to your Creator, who created you as His masterpiece.

Korey made a statement in the middle of his sermon that was so dead on I just sat here in my office shaking my head in agreement. In fact, I have made very similar statements multiple times to my faith family here in New Mexico.  He said, “Everywhere you go should be your mission field.” Think about that. You should be sharing Jesus and His love everywhere you go. Here is how I have tried to stress that idea here; I had signs made that are now hanging beside every exit door we have in our church building. They simply read, “You are now entering your mission field” and then quote Matthew 28:19-20, which reads, “‘19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'” 

In other words, we all have a family calling if we are in the family of God. If you claim to be a Christ follower, answer your calling, and get busy in your mission field. It could be in your own back yard, or it could be half way around the world. Where it is does not really matter. What matters is that none of us sit idly by and expect someone else to do it for us. Let us all answer our “family calling”!

Click here to listen to Korey’s message on Vimeo.

Thoughts From a Crosseyed Jesus Freak

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