Sunday, March 02, 2008

Luke #47 – Children Go Where I Send Thee

Luke #47 – Children Go Where I Send Thee

“And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of Him through all the region round about. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all” (Luke 4:14-15 – King James Version).

My pastor is a pastor’s son. He grew up knowing full well the pressure and time consuming ministry of being a pastor. He has often commented on how tough it was being a pastor’s son. Craig has told me that he used to say, “I’ll never be a pastor!” HAH! Little did Craig know what God’s plans were for his life. Craig left home, attended and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He moved out into Orange County and began going to a little country church. He would probably say he was going to church and minding his business when God issued the call. Here’s the thing…I believe Craig was being led all along. He grew up in a pastor’s home, got a degree in psychology, and the Spirit issued the call; Craig had two choices…cooperate or rebel. The first sentence of this paragraph will tell you that Rev. Craig Willingham did not rebel. That degree in psychology? Well…even God will let someone go to Carolina if He wants to use them…Craig is one of the most gifted counselors I have ever met and I must believe that course of study was no coincidence. Growing up in a pastor’s home gave Craig experience that no one can teach in school. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Craig said “Yes” to God, took further education at seminary and is still following the Spirit’s leading today. Would Craig have chosen to be a pastor? I doubt it, but Craig has chosen obedience, so he follows where the Lord leads…whether he likes where God leads him or not.

Jesus was led of the Spirit into the wilderness and now He is led of the Spirit into Galilee. Take it from someone who knows, it’s tough to minister in the place where you are from. Jesus goes to the region that He is from to begin His public ministry in earnest. Jesus wholeheartedly supported the will and plans of the Father so He was simply being obedient by following where the Spirit led.

If we are to be obedient to God today, we must follow where the Spirit leads. That automatically means that we may be sent to places or become involved in ministries that we’d never choose if it were totally left to us. We may have to do a lot of difficult things if we follow the Spirit, but wherever the Spirit of God leads us to we can be sure that the Spirit will be there with us.

I believe that there are many Christians that are completely miserable today because they are in rebellion to the leading of God. I cannot help but think of several specific individuals that I know who said God called them into ministry, but they have not yet to act upon that call. I can also think of many Christians who God has called to a deeper level of service who are miserable because they have not responded. I think there are entire congregations that are miserable because the Spirit is leading them to places and ministries that they refuse to act upon.

Are you miserable because of rebellion today? Has the Spirit spoken to you, calling you to serve, go, or give and have you failed to respond as of yet? The Holy Spirit may lead us places that we do not want to go, but the Holy Spirit will not leave us alone. Whether it is the wilderness or your own hometown or some rotting jungle on the other side of the globe or to open your checkbook wider…respond to the leading of the Spirit.

1 comment:

Mandy said...

Every time I read this blog, it speaks straight at me. I know it's God, but I still think it's funny. I don't know if I ever told you about my story of being called into missions. (I probably did, but I don't remember for sure...) That was like 8-ish years ago, and I have been totally miserable until just this past year. Another seemingly irrelevant side-note that will be important in a minute... I've never been good with kids and swore I'd never have any.

8-ish years later, after tons of horrible work junk and not being able to find work and so on, I'm "working" (it totally doesn't feel like work) in a place of ministry where I am constantly involved with kids, mothers, and the concept of the importance of children. Beyond that, I am going on my very first mission trip, to work with kids! If you had told me this 8-ish years ago, I would have told you that being where I am now would make me miserable. In actuality, I'm happier than I have been in years. I keep telling people that I've felt like Jonah... constantly running away from what I knew God wanted me to do. It was hard to submit, and painful to be "pruned" of what was holding me back in some areas, but I'm feeling a freedom now that I haven't felt in a long time. And... well... I'm not quite as opposed to having kids... but don't tell anybody. ;-) I have an image to maintain. (ha ha)