Confidence in a Clear Call


Have you ever wondered where you fit in the family of God? Have you ever questioned if believing in Jesus is all there is to life with God? Have you found more purpose pursuing success in this life than in the purposes and plans of God? Be honest with yourself. For many in the church the answer to all of these questions is yes.

This tragic yes likely comes from feeling like a bystander in the kingdom of God. It comes from being left watching a few who seem to know what they are doing while the masses just observe, occasionally being asked to participate in a small, fleeting way while being told it is super important. This only further convinces the bystander no purpose can be found in the plans of God.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10

These experiences of observing rather than participating often leave us wondering if there are only a certain few who can gain a clarity of call and function in the kingdom of God. We wonder, if only on a subconscious level, if observing the purposes of God is all there is for us. God’s response to this is unequivocally NO!!!

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. – Colossians 1:16

Paul makes it painfully clear we were all created by and for Jesus in his letter to the Colossians. Every man and woman was created with intention by God with a purpose and a function in the workings of his eternal plan along with every other created being. Look no further than the care with which he made all creation work together to reproduce and maintain life and the even greater care with which he purposed us who possess an eternal soul.

The reason we stall is because we are unaware of our function in the eternal purposes of God. The few in scripture we see who gain great clarity of their function, we excuse as the exception. Paul wrote from a place of clarity. His function in the Kingdom of God was revealed to him and he operated with great conviction as a result. He didn’t receive this pronouncement in a moment of isolation. God gave Ananias the message of who Saul was to be.

Saul (soon to be Paul) didn’t instantly step into the fullness of his function. He was discipled and matured until the point of his commissioning by the laying on of hands in Antioch. This practice was fundamental in the early church. There were many reasons for the laying on of hands:

  1. Healing the sick
  2. Filling of the Holy Spirit (usually immediately following baptism)
  3. Release into the ministry of the Church

Although one’s kingdom function was determined before birth, the laying on of hands (#3) to release into the ministry of the Church gave freedom to operate, albeit still under authority. From this moment, they didn’t need to wait for any external prompting. The Holy Spirit gave desire to engage and the disciple acted.

Paul, knowing his call to go before kings, petitioned Rome when given the chance, aware this might hinder his chance of release. He knew he was to bring the gospel to the gentiles and kings. He saw the opportunity and fulfilled his call.

I am so thankful for my own call to teach and disciple others. I am able to walk into a situation without second guessing an opportunity. If I see the opportunity to call someone to repentance or encourage them in an area of growth, I quickly jump in when I know there is grace for it. I don’t need to wait, for I know my role in warning and teaching in the Kingdom of God.

I love the story of John the Baptist. John the Baptist was the greatest man born to a woman (Luke 7:28). I have rarely heard this quote of Jesus spoken of. What makes John so special?  Many of John’s attributes drew chastising by the religious groups, but Jesus saw something special. 

Why did Jesus speak such praise of John the Baptist? Was it because they were cousins? Surely not, since Jesus disregarded his own mother and brothers when he made them wait. (Matthew 12:46-50) Here Jesus defines family, however, as those who do His Father’s will. John definitely fits that bill! 

John carried an incredible clarity and confidence in his calling, only questioned in a moment of imprisonment. Where did this clarity and confidence come from you may ask. 

The story of John’s conception and birth was known and spoken of all over the region.A barren woman conceiving a child and a priest (the father) stricken mute by the Lord during the pregnancy was the kind of gossip that got around. In all likelihood, everyone John met would have immediately known who he was and how he received his name. 

“And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”” – Luke 1:14-17

Imagine from birth having these words repeated to you over and over again. “John, this is who you are…” This was not a private revelation. It was made very public by the Lord. Everyone clarified the call and spoke it to him. There may have been moments when he felt he couldn’t measure up, but never could he escape the awareness and affirmation. 

One of these moments of insecurity came when John sat in prison. He asked Jesus if he was the Messiah. Despite all that surrounded the revelation of his identity and function, John had a moment of doubt. “Was I wrong? Was I supposed to prepare the way for you?” he asks of the one who both created his identity and function. John needs a refresher, an encouragement to regain his clarity and confidence. We will all need this at times from the Lord and the body of Christ to regain our confidence.

A clarity of our God-given identity and role in the kingdom is not like our identity in the world. I have often experienced feeling trapped as a result of taking on an identity or function in opposition to what God has intended for me. You could call it double-mindedness. At times it even happened as a result of the body of Christ calling me to something for which the Lord had not intended.

We were made by God and for him. To inherit an identity from elsewhere is false. It is like fitting a square peg in a round hole.The identity from Jesus is one made for the vessel. It fits perfectly. It provides peace to the one who receives it no matter what earthly end they meet. It was why Stephen finds peace in the moment he is stoned. He has walked out obedience and rests even in that moment in the joy of the Lord.

 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. – 1 Timothy 4:12-16

This clarity John had was the same found in Paul. It is the same clarity Paul intends for Timothy as we see by the encouragement in his letters. Elders or leaders in the church have an important role to provide the same clarity and encouragement. This requires listening to God for those in their care to identify and call out the purpose God has placed and reveals. Scripture is clear. We were all intentionally formed by and for Jesus (Colossians 1:16 amongst others).

No one is called to be an observer or a bystander to the purposes and plans of God. We have all been called, only to different functions so the church can move in the fullness of the plans of Jesus. We must all mature into the purposes Jesus intended for us and understand the tragedy it is for the church if any one believer fails to attain this release. John was constantly reminded of who God intended him to be. Likewise, let us encourage and help one another, both before and after our commissioning, to mature through continued sanctification into the fullness of our calling. 



Today as I was sitting in a coffee shop I was reminded of a series of blogs I had started on the mutually exclusive paths we choose to walk. The way of Jesus cannot be combined with any other. For some this may cause a feeling of restrictiveness due to conflicting desires within.

The issue for many is equating the feeling of freedom with the ability to do what we want. In saying so, the way of Jesus is only freedom for a fully sanctified person. Only once our wants and desires fully reflect him would freedom be experienced by this definition.

But doing what we want is not the real freedom. Freedomwas won on the cross when Jesus paid for our sin. Freedom from sin gives us the option of life by rejecting the offer of the serpent to become “like God”. We have two choices: to live as we were designed to live by God or live in sin. They are mutually exclusive. The idea we can jump back and forth is a lie intended to pull us back into slavery.

As we continually choose the way of Jesus, we experience what life is like with Him and our desires become anything that keeps us close with God. The restrictive feeling disappears as we maintain a single-minded focus to remain in Christ.

But this is not instantaneous. The renewing of our minds is a lifelong journey. Thus we need to take the task of discernment seriously.  We need to make choices based on sound analysis through the grid of scripture in community instead of our desires. This is the way of the free, though it sounds restrictive to many.

Therefore, we cannot frivolously support or back an individual or movement. We cannot take the shortcut to success if it isn’t Christlike. We cannot become ambassadors of something that tarnishes our ambassadorship of Christ.

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14

Nationalism and the way of Jesus are mutually exclusive. Christ doesn’t disengage with the world, but he cannot partner with sin and chaos. Hitching our wagon to anything that isn’t aligned with Christ will always pull us off the way of Jesus. We choose to be aliens in this world in order to enact change and reveal the person of Jesus, not to be pulled into the destructive patterns we find here.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” – 1 John 2:15-17

We need to adopt a single-minded focus, letting anything that doesn’t align become white noise in the background. We do not need to engage in everything but respond as we are moved with compassion.

I am fascinated in my reading of the gospels how rarely Jesus engages with the brokenness around him. I understand most stories are about healing or speaking to it, but Jesus is surrounded by darkness and still sneaks away on his own, or with his disciples. He spends time teaching, feasting and praying while there is still so much he could address.

He doesn’t address everything going on in the world but knows his task, his timing, and is only distracted by compassion and not ideology. We can take a page from his book. Jesus is not apathetic towards those he doesn’t engage with. He still has compassion, but discerns with wisdom and foresight what intervention will accomplish.

We do not need to engage with everything that comes up on our news feed!

I rarely share in my blog my own personal sentiments towards current movements. But to be clear, my reflections presented above are exactly why I cannot back something like the Freedom Convoy. I have sentiments regarding government overreach, but I also understand the manner it is addressed and the viewpoints of those in charge do not fully reflect the way of Jesus. It is why I can vote but not swear full allegiance to a person or nation. My allegiance is already given to Jesus and his church.

One cannot swear allegiance to conflicting forces. Righteousness cannot side with lawlessness, light cannot side with darkness and believers cannot be equally yoked with unbelievers. If a believer is involved in something they cannot fully reconcile with Christ, they are met with a crisis.

Eric Liddell, as made famous by the movie Chariots of Fire, made a similar decision to not run on a Sunday in the Olympics despite being favored to win. His allegiance was to Christ and not to the sport, his nation, or himself. Just as a note, this is not an opening or transition to a discussion on revering the sabbath. It is an example of a man facing conflicting convictions and choosing the way of Jesus above all others. If you haven’t seen this movie it is a wonderful depiction of the inner conflict of a believer facing a broken world, scored with an epic soundtrack.

Has your company just spit in the face of Jesus? Has the political party or movement you swore allegiance to just walked into darkness? How do you respond as an ambassador of Christ? Do you pretend it didn’t happen? Do you speak to those above you? Do you leave?

There is no cut and paste response to all these questions and situations. We are in fact called into the world to be light, contrasting the darkness around us. I am thankful Jesus didn’t call each one of us alone to answer the questions. He called us to seek him, and he brought us into community with others to discern together.

In the midst of all of the confusion and chaos around us, one thing is for sure. Our witness and allegiance to Christ is never to be tainted. Our single-minded pursuit is to “seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33) in our end goal and each step we take.

Finding Treasure


Did you know the treasure I have found in Jesus is worth everything to me? The sacrifice Jesus paid is worth life itself. To be made right before God and brought into relationship with the living God, let alone the inheritance I will receive, is worth everything. What Jesus has done is good news, and remains good news even when we find out  the cost is to give our lives as a living sacrifice. To live in full obedience to a good God demands we lose our lives so we might receive life eternal.

For the past few months, I haven’t been able to move away from contemplating the cost of following Jesus. It is important to know what we are gaining in following Jesus but also the cost. It costs our lives to follow him but in this we are not paying for all Jesus has done. There is nothing we could give that can pay the cost of salvation.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

Matthew 13:44

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

Matthew 13:45-46

In both of the parables about discovering the kingdom of God, the cost to acquire it is everything they had. They found the treasure and got rid of everything to obtain it. It was of that great value and importance to them.

I think when we read these stories we get caught up solely on the great value and miss the part where everything else in their life is now gone. It has been taken away but they leave rejoicing because of what they have found.

It reminds me of the story of the rich young ruler who approaches Jesus with a desire to follow him (Matthew 19:16-22). He faces the cost of having to sell his possessions and give everything he has to the poor. This was a high cost and we are left wondering, why did this guy have such a high cost of entry into the kingdom of God? 

The conclusion I have come to is this is what Jesus requires of us all. He does not always require us to give all of our physical possessions and wealth away, but the things of this world are no longer to have a hold of us. To enter the Kingdom of God we must surrender the entirety of our lives to him. Jesus just pointed to that big idol and said you need to give that up to follow me.

He does the same thing with each one of us. I know this isn’t a popular topic. But Jesus doesn’t just add to your life, he tells us to remove things we pursue and find comfort in apart from him. It blows a hole in how we often view the blessing of God. Please never forget that what we inherit in this is far greater than anything we give up. What we give up is good for us, but it is a cost when it is demanded we hand it over.It is a cost because we are blinded by the trappings of this world. Our eyes are fixed on the here and now, and it is hard for us to see what God can give beyond the physical things in front of us.

I am reminded as I write this of Jesus’ response to James and John (or more specifically their mother in Mark 10:35-45) following their request for seats of power beside Jesus. His response is not of granting this request but of asking if they are prepared to drink from the same cup of suffering he is to endure.

There is a constant warning of persecution that Jesus gives his followers. These are not just empty words but a promise of what is to come for those who follow him. There is no expiry date on this. There will always be people who hate Jesus and take it out on those who follow him. 

I think it is time we start acknowledging that words like blessing have to be understood not through a lens of the world but through that of God (particularly found in scripture). We should maybe start looking at the heroes of the faith who were persecuted and without worldly wealth as living a blessed life.

I am not making an argument to search out persecution intentionally. I am trying to set up a life that holds everything of this world with a loose grip, willing to let it go as directed by God, even if it is painful trusting in a good God who sees the need for us to be rid of certain things, or enter into certain situations.

There is an inherent cost to following Jesus. It is renouncing all other masters, for with Jesus there can only be one master. That is not the way we are used to living. We treat ourselves and many others as Lord of our lives. We experience the cost when we reach a situation where we confront a love of money and have to let go of it. The cost is letting go of the way our lives pursue that love of money.

We see the cost in the lives of the disciples, giving up occupations and leaving their homes to follow Jesus in scripture. But the cost doesn’t end there. Frequently they are faced with a worldly desire they have to let go of to embrace Jesus.

It is the same for us. Not only was there an initial cost to follow Jesus, but our lives ongoingly present a cost to following Jesus. We no longer serve the gods of wealth, power, status, or family. We come into moments of conflict regularly where we must count the cost as followers of Jesus and believe the treasure of Jesus is worth more than what we see in front of us. 

The pursuits and desires we are bombarded with in this world are no longer what we follow. We have given those up and are set on the path of the Kingdom of God. It is narrow with many seductive offshoots, but we must not turn away from the path. For the treasure that lies ahead is of value beyond comprehension. We get to experience a taste of that treasure here, but what awaits is unimaginable.

Eyes Set on Eternity


I was chatting with my friend the other day, and realized how little we think about the fact that this life is just a breath in comparison to eternity set before us.

There are so many people who have a hard time wrapping their heads around the thought of a God that would allow all of this sin and destruction in the world. The understanding of a God that would allow this suffering to continue does not make sense to them alongside the character of a loving and gracious God.

God, in creating us, knew there would be a need to save us from our own actions. God created the world without sin, without destruction or decay. The entrance of sin corrupted everything. But God was prepared with the plan of Jesus, so that man could choose to experience life as God intended, free from sin and destruction. God came to experience the pain of this life, so that we, having chosen sin, might have eternity as he intended and created it.

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

We get to experience life to the fullest, eternally, with just a moment of suffering. This is the gracious plan of God from the beginning. When we lose sight of eternity, suffering loses meaning and becomes heavier. It engulfs us and steals our hope.

How are we to endure suffering if we see no end to it? If we only see life in this world, why would we not just live our best life here? These questions drive us when our eyes are not set on eternity. We live for this life by the standards set in this world. It may not be intentional, but the world’s message will be the one we focus on and follow.

Throughout the New Testament (and across the globe today) we see stories of believers persecuted, tortured and put to death for their faith. An interesting aspect to Paul’s letters is he doesn’t ask God to deliver him or other Christians from this torment, but rather strength to endure it.

The suffering of the believer gives testimony to their faith in Jesus. This holds true across beliefs. Beliefs are exposed in hard times and only that which is worth clinging to withstands the pressure. It gives testimony to what is important to that person. For a follower of Jesus, what is important is only that which is given by Christ himself. Discovering this comes through turning your eyes on Jesus rather than the things of this world.

This life we are living matters not because it is our only one, but it is where life eternal begins. We should not be setting ourselves up for life here, but for living with Christ eternally. These two options are drastically different. The things that matter in the kingdom of God are very different from what matters here. We will not be bringing with us any of our stuff, our jobs, or even our relationships as they currently exist.

Knowing what is important for eternity is important. Knowing God is important! Becoming like God is as well. So is bringing people along with us to life with Christ.

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
Romans 8:18-21

We should not expect this world and life focused on the eternal to share the same values, motivation or pursuits. In fact, because this world has been corrupted by sin, we should expect they will be at odds. We will see those who know life eternal persecuted. But do not lose heart. The greatest of hardships can not compare to the future glory. The way of this world has no glory to look forward to. This is the best it gets.

Setting our eyes on what is unseen and eternal allows us to take heart in persecution and when looking at the pain surrounding us. Eternity brings hope. Endless days free of this pain are ahead for those who choose it in this life. No suffering should tempt us to give that up for this short time on earth. The more we know God, the more we have to hope for.

So where are your eyes focused? Is it on the future glory, or the glory this world has to offer? Is your focus status, power or wealth? Or is it on the riches or eternity with Christ? What does your decision making process reveal? What does your bank account reveal? What does your calendar reveal? Take heart. There is eternal sharing in the inheritance of Christ to look forward to.