373. Don’t Doubt Your Call

walking-worthy-of-your-calling-pictures2 Timothy 1:6-7 NKJV  Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  (7)  For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7 is a verse often used out of context to preach a lot of different things regarding fear.  I’ve twisted the context countless times myself.  Though there are some other applications we can make from this Scripture at its root it is and encouragement from Paul to Timothy to be bold and confident in the ministry (doma) gift and calling that is in him and in exercising and using the various (charisma) gifts within him for the benefit of the Kingdom and to fulfill his calling as the Pastor in Ephesus and as a minister to the Body of Christ.

I’m so grateful for Paul’s letters to Timothy and especially Second Timothy, as I’ve received so much encouragement from this letter through the years.  I’m also grateful for my pastor, Virgil Stokes, the Paul in my life who encouraged me in the gift, purpose, and calling in me when I doubted or couldn’t see it because I had let it settle under a heavy weight of the opinions of others, intimidation by those that are or sound more knowledgeable about things, and the other pressures of life and leadership.  Like Paul, Pastor Virgil, would encourage me to remind myself of the call and of the moment I knew God called me into the ministry.

You may or may not be called into pulpit or the 5-fold ministry, but you are called a place of ministry.  Every Believer is called into ministry and service in the Kingdom of God.  We also can all have times where we lack the confidence or are timid and afraid of doing what we’ve been called to do.  Sometimes it is a commitment factor and we fear the personal or time cost of the ministry.  Either way, it is in remembering WHO has called us, WHO we serve and the moment WHEN He spoke to our heart about serving Him that will stir back up the passion and fervor to complete the task.

No matter what is before you to do; whether it is to clean the church, usher, work with youth, help with outreaches, or preach, you have the gifting to get the job done.  The empowerment and the gifting came with the call.  Fear Not!

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372. Paul’s Advice on Living Fearless

apostle-paul1 Timothy 4:11-16 NKJV  These things command and teach.  (12)  Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.  (13)  Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.  (14)  Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.  (15)  Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.  (16)  Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

I really enjoy Paul’s letters to Timothy.  They are filled with such fatherly instruction, encouragement, and of course pastoral wisdom.  Timothy faced a number of obstacles as pastor of the church of Ephesus.  He had strong opposition from those against Christianity in the community.  He had opposition from those within the church that didn’t respect his leadership.  And he had opposition from within himself where he dealt with thoughts of self-confidence and self-doubt.  Throughout his letters to Timothy, Paul touched on these areas and exhorted Timothy.  We can learn some things here too that will help us in the face of opposition or any other kind of obstacles that might begin to cause us to fear.

In the face of fear or any obstacle remember these 3 things.

1.  Identity – Who are you?  Paul encouraged Timothy to be strong in who he was and live it out in every facet of his life.  Like Timothy we are Believers and we can be encouraged by Paul’s letter to be examples to others in what we say, how we act, how we love, our disposition, our faithfulness & confidence in God, & holiness of our lifestyle.  We can continue to grow in these areas as we study the Word and apply what we learn (Rom 12:1-2)

2.  Calling – What is your call?  Not all of us are called to pastor, like Timothy, but we all have a call and have been given gifts to assist us in that call.  Some will be called to ministry, some will be called to sort mail, design buildings, work in the medical field, teach, build houses, etc… for the Glory of God.  Our identity tells us who we are.  Our calling tells us what we are to do.  Even if you are not walking in your calling yet, it gives you direction in where to head.

 3.  Purpose – Why are you here?  Purpose tells us why we are here.  Your purpose and mine may be vastly different, but we share at least one commonality together with Timothy.  We are called to bring others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and teach them to do likewise.  Our individual purposes can vastly differ as do our callings, but that thread is entwined in the fabric of the purpose of every Believer.

Knowing who you are, what you are supposed to do & why you are here will encourage you to stand and press forward when you are tempted to give in to fear.  Take some time to reflect on who you are in Christ, the gifts and callings on your life, and why you are here.  If you are unclear or not sure yet, talk to your pastor and help them fulfill the vision of your church, re-read Mark 16 a written purpose for the Body of Christ and get busy doing those things before you to do.

350. 4 Keys to Fearless Living

FrontCoverOnlyActs 18:9-10 NASB  And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent;  (10)  for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.”

We all need encouraged from time to time and the Apostle Paul was no exception.  Entering Corinth, Paul immediately experienced some pretty stout rejection to the Gospel of Christ.  Heading to the gentiles he gained some traction, then the ruler of the synagogue believed and was baptized.  Still, the rejection Paul faced initially had caused him to experience some fear.

Then one evening the Lord appeared to Paul in a vision and told him to Fear Not.  He actually told Paul 4 key things that we can glean from to help us live free from fear.  He told Paul:

  1. Don’t be afraid. Fear Not! (This is a command from the Lord.)
  2. Do not be silent, but confront your fear. (For Paul that meant preach the Word)
  3. I am with you.
  4. You are not alone. “I have many people in this city.”

Jesus told Paul to stop fearing.  This is a pretty common message from Him (Mt 10:26,28,31; Mt 14:27; Mt 17:7; Mt 28:10; Mk 5:36; etc…).  Thankfully He also gives us some instruction on how to stop.

He told Paul to preach the Word and not to be silent.  Paul’s fear stemmed from the many painful rejections and the opposition he had face as a minister of God’s grace.  It was triggered by the hostile interaction he had shortly after arriving in Corinth.  Jesus encouraged Paul not to quit but to face his fear.  When fear grips us we must face it, we cannot remain silent and let it run rough shod over us.  Stand up.  Declare your freedom.  Then take a deep breath and confront your fear.

Next Jesus reminded Paul, the very one given the revelation of the mystery of Christ in us, that He was with him.  If you’ve been born again, then you are never alone.  Jesus is always with you by His Spirit.  But He didn’t stop there.  He went on to say that there were other people who loved God and would be a support and strength to Paul.  You have these people too.  They are found in your local church.

Jesus is always with you and is ready to walk with you as you confront your fears.  There are also many people in your city church that will support you, encourage you, and stand with you.  Don’t be afraid.  Don’t be silent.  Jesus is with you.  You don’t have to be alone.  There is a whole church waiting for you.  Fear Not!