by C.A. Phillips
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
1 John 5:14-15 (ESV)
The framed document sits on the top shelf of the bookcase as you enter my office. While it’s just a “fancy piece of paper,” it’s a visual reminder of two things: (1) that God has called me, and (2) that He provides answers in powerful ways.
I’m referring to my Certificate of Ordination – a formal record of my acceptance of God’s call on my life, and that He had set me apart to serve in ministry. But accepting that call didn’t come easy, and it didn’t happen in an instant.
I began working at NorthStar Church in the fall of 2004. I was fortunate that NorthStar had created a role specifically designed for my skills: Communications Director. I had served in Communications and Media Relations for years, so getting to do these things for the church I called Home was an honor, to say the least. What I had never contemplated was that God had other ideas.
Several months after I had come on staff at the church, Mike Linch (Senior Pastor) called me into his office. He wanted to share with me what it meant to be ordained, and to gauge whether or not I felt it was something God might want for me. He shared all the ins and outs – from IRS tax implications to roles and responsibilities of ordained ministers – officiating weddings and funerals, baptizing people, serving Communion. Mike finished our meeting by telling me it was a very personal decision, and to take my time making it.
Later that evening, I shared all the details from my conversation with Mike with my wife, Amy. And, we began to pray. And pray. And, pray some more. Several weeks had gone by, and I had not yet made a decision. Or, maybe I wasn’t sure if God had given me the “go-ahead.” Either way, I was at an impasse.
One Sunday morning, Amy and I were seated together in the worship service, when Mike wrapped up the morning with a prayer. Of course, this is not unusual – we almost always conclude the service with prayer. But, this one was different. It felt directed at me. Mike said, “Some of you in this room continue to pray for things that God has already given you the answer to.”
I sat in stunned silence. “Was God saying that to me?” I wondered. I didn’t say a word to Amy about it. I just pondered. I replayed that line over and over in my head for hours.
Immediately after church, our family was driving to Alabama to visit Amy’s grandparents for the day. We began our drive home that evening, when Amy turned to me and asked, “So, what did you think?” I gave her a quizzical look, and said, “What do you mean?” She replied, “About what Mike said.” Again, I played dumb and said, “I’m not sure what you’re talking about.”
She began laughing and said, “Don’t pretend that you didn’t hear what I heard!” And, that’s when I knew. Not only had God spoken to ME, had had spoken to us both – through Mike in a pointed prayer.
Later that week, I met with Mike and shared that I was ready to accept God’s call on my life into the ministry. I even explained to Mike how I had heard God speak through him during the prayer. And what did Mike say? He said he didn’t even remember saying it! That’s how God works!
So, what does my story have to do with you? I don’t know – but you probably do. Like me – you may continue to pray for things that God has already provided an answer to. And, now it’s up to you! It’s time to make a move.
C.A. Phillips is a lifelong sports enthusiast and youth baseball coach, and currently serves as the Communications Pastor and Director of Men’s Groups at NorthStar Church in Kennesaw, Ga. He lives in Kennesaw with his wife, Amy, and his two sons, Chaz and Chandler.
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