When we moved here a few years ago, we went church shopping. When we came across New River Church, we knew we were home. Bryan Bradshaw was about to become the head pastor and it was a church in transition. The beautiful thing was, we were coming at the tail end of what had been a lot of changes and in the very early stages of a new beginning. We were unscathed by the turmoil that had surrounded the last few months there, and I know that was God’s timing.
It’s now been two years since we started attending. Bryan is well into the groove of leading our flock. Along side him are three other pastors and many support members to the staff. All of them are wonderful people. I don’t think it’s easy to remember that for some — that these are just people doing their best, listening to the promptings of God for the sake of His body and living out what they were called to do with the gifts God has granted to them.
The past few Sundays we’ve heard from pastor Ryan (that was an amazing sermon on who Jesus is) and pastor Vernon, who spoke from Romans on the nature and goodness of God. This past Sunday, as I was sitting in the chairs full of questions about should I, could I, how do I move forward on the path God is speaking to me about, Bryan was back and speaking on go figure — Gifting,
I always take notes during Sunday sermons. There’s always something said that strikes me, or that I want to savor, or that I need to study more to apply it personally. I’ll fill a few lines, or half a page — sometimes a full page. This Sunday looks more like this:
Bryan recounted the story of Saul — who was simply looking for his father’s donkey when he ran into the prophet Samuel. Samuel recognizes who Saul is immediately — on the inside — he is anointed and called of God to be King.
He then spoke of David, who would become the second king of Israel. David, a shepherd who was simply doing what he was supposed to be doing, tending to his flock, when Samuel came to his father’s house because God had directed him that this is where the next King would be found. Samuel met all of Jesse’s sons, but he didn’t recognize a king among them until he asked if there were any more sons. Jesse offered up that he had one more son who was in the fields at the time. Samuel asks to meet him and when he does, he recognizes the next king of Israel. Samuel anoints him with oil — there’s more to that story and I’ll touch on it in a bit, but at this point, Bryan points out a few things:
When you are called of God, He will make it clear. You will be chosen to do “it”, you will have gained the skills to do “it” and others will see “it” in you. Because God equips whom He calls. Our gifts are each unique to us — some people have the gift of compassion, some of gathering others together, some are teachers — but we all have a baseline, we as Christ followers are all summoned to a common call:
We are called to turn ourselves over to Christ; to Love God; to Love each other. As we continue to do that, much like David tended his sheep, God will prepare us for whatever He will call us to. I’ve been worrying too much. I just need to be willing and God will lead me and equip me to do whatever it is I am needed to do; my part in the body of Christ.
I enjoyed lunch with friends after the service, and then returned home excited and yet very, very peaceful. I studied Romans 12 again which speaks to gifts and took a nap, and enjoyed the rest of my day. And then I woke on Monday. God wasn’t quite done giving me the answers to my prayers just yet.
My friend Christy and I host a FB page called “Joyfully Yolked” — a gathering place for woman who seek a godly community of believers to share life with — Christy posted a talk by Christine Caine about the difference between being called to something and being annointed. You can find it here: CCaine.
I was blown away.
It both humbled me and encouraged me. It gave me pause. It confirmed for me that my heart is in the right place — I am seeking after what God would have me to for His glory not for my own — but also made me realize my timing is not God’s timing. If it was THE time, I wouldn’t have so many questions still. I would know the full vision. I trust in that. Because of the way God has spoken to me my entire life.
Being loud by nature, God doesn’t generally speak to me in still small voices, though occassionally I have heard the whiper in my heart. He generally speaks to me through cymbal crashes and often in my deepest sleep.
When I was 22, he woke me from my sleep in my warm bed in Chicago with the knowledge that I needed to move to Phoenix immediately. I’d never been west of Colorado. I heeded that call and so many blessings ensued. He woke me in 2017 on fire to find a surgeon to help restore my health. I followed, had weight loss surgery and spent a year and a half losing weight and regaining my health only to be diagnosed with breast cancer — but it was incredibly early stage and I hardly missed a beat during the process of fighting it. Had I faced that fight at 300 pounds it might not have gone so smoothly.
Back to David. When Saul saw him and recognized in him that he was anointed to be the new king of Israel it didn’t immediately happen. There were 20+ years in between that moment and David receiving the full mantle of his kingship. Twenty years of God teaching, leading and preparing him for what he was annointed to do. I need to work on my patience. For real. David’s story doesn’t go on to tell of how he badgered God for more insight after all.
God has revealed my calling in part — and I’m good with that. I’m at peace with that. There’s more for me to learn and experience so He can equip me to whatever my role in His kingdom is supposed to be. And I’m not looking for some glory or some big showy calling/anointing. My mission may simply be between my two feet, in my own home, with my own people. I’m good with that. I just don’t feel it has quite been revealed to me yet. And I feel at peace over it. I’m pretty sure one of the things I’m lacking is patience. I don’t know many people who don’t lack that skill. So I will continue honing the gifts I recognize already and He’ll let me know when the next step is before me. I trust Him — in a way I don’t think I’ve understood before.
For now I will simply Love God…and Love Others. Amen.