The Call

 

 

 

 

I have been reading and thinking lately about being called.

 

Paul had a clear call on the road to Damascus when Jesus came to him in a flash of light and asked him why he was persecuting Him.

 

In 1505, Martin Luther had a bolt of lightning strike the ground near him and he immediately pledged to become a monk.

 

In the summer of 1983, I was asleep in a pup tent in Murdo, South Dakota, when a tornado passed over me –and I promised God I would give up my sinful lifestyle and start living the way I knew He wanted me to. (There are no atheists in fox holes or in pup tents underneath a tornado.)

 

As I got on my 1973 Honda CB450 the following morning and rode away, I thought there was no way I could ever keep the promises I had made to God in the dark of night with only eight dollars worth of polyethylene fabric to protect me.

 

But God had other ideas.

 

He saw to it that all the awful, stupid, and worthless things I was doing with my life lead to a point where one day I looked in the mirror and what I saw was something I no longer wanted to be.

 

And that’s when He changed me. Jesus changed me.

 

Within two years of that night in Murdo, I had quit drinking and drugs and I was in college on a path which He had planned for me long ago. Did I know every step of that path and see exactly where he was leading me to be some 35 years later?

 

Absolutely not.

 

But He has watched over me and blessed me and gently led me along His path for all this time. And, just to be clear, none of this is to my glory. I didn’t save me. Jesus saved me.

 

He used my wife, my daughter, and countless pastors, missionaries, authors, teachers, and just plain people of God to change me and save me and bring me to this point. Some of those people of God work in Christian radio.

 

Even writing this blog came about because my finances were in bad shape. I prayed, “Lord, what should do? I’m struggling to pay the bills.” And God said, (In a very still and calm voice.) “You’re a writer, Dan. You should write.”

 

So I did that. I started writing things about Jesus and God and faith and things I found in my Bible. I kept at it for two months but my finances didn’t get any better. So, I prayed again, “Lord, you told me to write, so I have been writing but it’s not getting better.”

 

And God said, (In the same voice.) “Dan, no one is reading what you write. You should find someone to read it.”

 

So, I contacted a friend of mine who was the Editor of a local magazine and Kinship Christian Radio Executive Director Matt Dorfner and asked both if they needed someone to write Christian stuff.

 

My Editor friend didn’t respond, but Mr. Dorfner quickly returned my email and asked if I would like to be the Editor and Writer of the Kinship Christian Radio Blog, which did not exist at all at the time.

 

I said, “Yes, yes I would.”

 

(I didn’t need a tornado to pass over me a second time to come up with that answer.)

 

As it turned out, the position Mr. Dorfner offered me was as a volunteer. Yes, loyal and faithful readers, I have been writing this blog for many years for exactly no salary. Zero. Zip. Nada.

 

And I have absolutely no problem with that at all! Shortly after beginning to write this blog, my financial situation miraculously improved but God had far greater plans for me than merely helping me to stop spending money on stupid stuff and paying off debt.

 

The spiritual rewards have been far, far greater than any amount of money could have purchased.

 

Because you see, when one sits down to write, it’s absolutely essential that one knows what one is writing about. I cannot just make up the facts I cite, I cannot fake what the Bible really says, and I often cannot react to events around me in a way that my sinful flesh would want to react. It means I have had to examine myself before God Himself so that the words I put on this page are not my undoing when I stand before Him in the throne room of heaven. (See Isaiah 6:1-8)

 

As a result, writing this blog has caused me to grow and develop as a Christian. I have learned things looking stuff up for this blog that I would have never gotten around to knowing had I not been doing it. Why is it okay for me to eat shrimp when the Bible clearly forbids it in Leviticus 11:9&10? I found the answer in Acts 15 and wrote about it years ago. How are we to respond to immoral people infiltrating the church and corrupting it? The answer is in Jude 20-23 and I wrote about it last week.

 

In doing so, I have also been overwhelmed by the great and mighty, awesome, glorious grandeur of the love of God:

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Ephesians 3: 18&19 (NLT)

 

When you really start to ponder verses like that, where Paul writes about the love of God as if it had physical dimensions and you realize that it really does –and not just the regular three dimensions, but a fourth one too–it’s awe-inspiring. It’s amazing. It changes your life.

 

And when you hear that kind of grandeur and glory in songs on Kinship Christian Radio and you really start to absorb the lyrics of a song like “Revelation Song” or “Reckless Love” it’s like an itch you’ve got that makes you want to share it and talk about it and write about it and see that joy and amazement in others in the family of brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

And when God had me brought me to that place, then He sent me out on a mission trip. And He showed me that the love of Jesus and the family and kingdom of God crossed all the barriers and borders of nations, color, race, ethnicity, and any artificial lines we have drawn between us. He showed me that we will all someday rise from the grave one people with one Father, one Savior, and one Holy Spirit–all encompassed in one eternal, glorious, majestic, omnipotent, omniscient God.

 

After that first mission trip and what I experienced, I told God, “Lord, I will go wherever you send me.”

 

And God said, “Giddy up.” (Paraphrase)

 

Since then, He keeps sending me. He has blessed me with so many places and people and ministries and churches I can no longer pray for all of them at one sitting. He has poured out so many blessings on me I have been moved to tears over and over again. I have learned and seen the power of prayer. I have seen Him do things that can only be attributed to Him. I have come to the conclusion that I do not believe in a God of coincidence but One of such power and glory and immeasurable love that nothing, absolutely NOTHING is impossible for Him.

 

And when I look in my Bible for people who were “called” to do His will, I find a guy named Moses who was pretty sure God had the wrong guy, but finally had to go do what God told him to do when he ran out of excuses and objections. I find Joseph who was just a kid with crazy dreams. I find Gideon, who needed God to give him a sign –twice. I find Jonah, who was so sure God had the wrong guy he ran the other way and ended up on a beach smelling like fish vomit. There are more, but none of them I have found was the teacher’s pet sitting in the front row with his hand up going, “Oooo! OOO!! Pick me! Pick meeeee!”

 

When I get to the New Testament and I see Jesus calling his disciples, I find a bunch of fisherman, a tax collector, a political rabble-rouser, a murderous Pharisee, and (my favorite disciple) an impulsive guy who often spoke and acted without really thinking about what he was doing or saying. None of them ran up to Him and volunteered for their calling. There was a rich young guy who asked about being a disciple, but he ended up walking away dejected and humbled. Some of them were called as Jesus just walked by and said, “Come, follow me.”

 

Because that’s what a disciple does. We’re just following the Leader. His rightful place is King of the Universe. He is glorious and holy and perfect and He has the Words of eternal life. He is LORD.

 

Yes, JESUS is LORD… and I will never forget that my rightful place was a guy in a pup tent underneath a tornado who is no better than any other sinner rescued for HIS glory!

 

But see, this isn’t just about me. I believe every sinner He has saved is called to something. He has plans for each and everyone one of us and they are good and glorious plans you would not believe if I had the power to tell you right now. We find out what those plans are not by making our own plans, but simply by faithfully following Him wherever He leads us.

 

TO HIS GLORY!

AMEN!

 

Today’s Praise

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT)

(Tornado drawing by author.)

 

 

 

 

 

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