13 Years In The Call

It was the end of the Jesus First meeting at Middle Tennessee Baptist Church November 9, 2008. The service had been saturated with the manifestation of the the Lord. Pastor Tony Hutson sounded the alarm, “It’s Preaching Time!” He called the late great brother Roger Henson to the stand to bring the message for the night. As the battle scarred warrior of the Word made his way to the pulpit he began to shuffle pages in his King James bible, comment on the hospitality of the church and the sweet presence of the Lord thus far. Then he paused, closed his bible and turned to say, “Preacher, I’m not sure what is supposed to happen but I’m not supposed to preach right now. Somebody else needs to do something.” He seated himself on the platform pew in perfect peace and waited to see what would happen next. Bro Tony called the pianist to the platform and called for a song. “Alright, we are going to give whoever it is the opportunity to obey the Lord.” The Holy Spirit of God climbed on top of my shoulder and shouted in my ear, “IT’S YOU! IT’S TIME!”

Since late December of 1994 I had been running away from the call to preach, all the while justifying my activity in gospel music as an honorable exercise of my talents and abilities in the service of the Lord. Good works but completely against the perfect will of God. His permissive will had allowed me go my selfish disobedient way, keep me safe, give me a bride and children, as He set my barley fields on fire, dismantled my childhood dreams, and kept my life in a perpetual state of turmoil hidden behind a placid persona of false peace. INDEED, IT WAS TIME. My running shoes were worn out, my spirit was spent, my excuses were exhausted, my facade was failing. I gathered my bride from the nursery and approached the altar where bro Tony met me.

“It’s me. I believe the Lord is calling me to preach.” “I thought so!” he said. Bro Tony called me to the pulpit and advised the audience that I had something to say. As I blubbered out my official surrender, bro Ken Elkins sitting on the front row not so quietly agreed, “It’s about time.” Though many offered their inclinations to the same effect that night, none of them had so much as hinted at my possible call. They allowed the Lord to do the work in me.

Bro Henson came to me after everything had settled down and asked me how all this had come about. As I explained the chain of events he asked me how old I was. 36. He said, “Don’t ever feel like you are behind. God has you right on time. Always be yourself. Don’t try to be just like any other preacher. God will make you the preacher He wants you to be.” I have pondered upon that wisdom all of my preaching life. And though I ran like I knew what I wanted for almost 14 years, I have known peace in the midst of the hardest trials of my life knowing that not only is God in control, I am under His control. In all humility, I bless the Lord for the call to preach.

Do you believe the reports?

Part of our traveling life is staying in hotels, motels, prophet’s chambers, and people’s homes around the country. We are removed from our prayer closets, desks, literary resources, and a great deal of personal privacy. Not a complaint, but merely an opportunity to share our creative ways and places we find to have private time with the Lord and His Word in semi-public places. Many a hotel breakfast area or business center has become a study. Many a bathroom has become a prayer closet. “It is impossible but that offences will come…” sometimes in the form of ultra liberal news outlets on lobby televisions. This morning as I enjoyed a hot breakfast I realized how long it has been since I have been exposed to the cesspool of ideology that is ladled onto the plates of the pitiful-minded who find the putrefied socialist gruel to be delicious. I considered just for a moment how long it would take for me to jab my eardrums with a Ticonderoga #2 pencil if I were forced to listen to this rubbish for any extended period of time. The report is absolutely depressing coming from the world. But I was reminded that there is a better report. “Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? ” The prophetic report of Isaiah pointed to Christ who performed his work on Calvary. As Isaiah was giving a report on what would happen in the future, the Lord has a report regarding our future. Jeremiah 29:11 KJV “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Our end, the end of the story is not one that the world is expecting. They’re expecting to drive the Entitled States of America into communism. They are expecting to make churches and Christians immobile, mute, and impotent. And if not all that, possibly imprisoned. If we pay too much attention to that report we will throw up our hands at the prospect of accomplishing anything for the Lord. So who’s report are you going to believe. The Lord has given us his report. He wins! He wins! And because He wins, we win in the end! Stay aware, stay vigilant, stay active, stay on your knees, stay in the word, and believe His report.