Don’t Wait Till You’re “Called”

by bobby williams

tumblr_np2zk316Xe1qfirfao1_1280

Not long ago, I was sitting and thinking about my calling as a pastor. I was asking the question, “how did I get here to be a pastor? When was I “called”?” I sat…and sat…and thought…and sat…and thought even more. I could not recall a time when I was “called” to be a pastor. Let me explain.

As a teenager, I attended a small, country Baptist church. I loved it. My parents attended some, but not always on a regular basis. So for the most part, if I wanted to go, I had to find a way to get there (pre I can drive days). And so I did. Every Sunday, Sunday night, and Wednesday nights.

When I turned 14, my pastor gave me a chance to lead a bible study on a youth ski retreat. That was sort of the beginning for me. It was that moment that I realized I really loved leading bible studies. But there was no calling.

When I turned 16, I had the opportunity to be the director of our Vacation Bible School. It was horrible. Trying to lead adults at 16 was a tough gig. But I loved it. I would love to say it was the best VBS we ever had as a church. But I’d be lying. It might have been the worst.

What Just Happened

A year or two later, the church went through some struggles, declined in attendance drastically and had experienced the loss of several pastors. One went on to pastor another church, and I’m not quite sure what happened to the others. There were several but none of them seemed to stick around. Thus, the church struggled to put more than about 20 people together for a Sunday.

10 of those might have been high school students in our youth group. We kept it going. And by we, I mean myself and two of my friends.

The year I tuned 17 years old, the church considered closing it’s doors. I’ll never forget that business meeting and discussion. I gathered a few of our students, showed up to the meeting and pleaded with the leaders of the church to not close doors because the Gospel needed to be shared in our neighborhood. I had some passion for the local church. I still believed it could be effective. I may have been wrong about that church in particular, but my hope in the local church is still alive.

The Moment

Not long after that, I received a call from our former pastor, who was pastoring in a town near-by. He asked if I would consider coming to work with their youth group and he would mentor me in the process.

I said yes. I was 18 years old and a senior in high school. I had NO idea what I was getting in to. But I did know this; I had a passion for it. A deep, burning passion for the the gospel to be shared with people. To serve the local church. To advance the mission of the body of Christ in the places I lived, worked and played. I couldn’t express it like that then. I just knew I liked it, and I wanted to do it.

There was never a moment for me when I just KNEW that I was being “called” into ministry or to pastor in the church. But there was a passion there. And it’s never gone away.

How Do You Know

I hear too many people ask the question, “how do I know I’m called to ministry?” I use to answer that question by talking about a feeling, signs, scriptures that would speak to a person, etc. But what I was really explaining was passion. Something that burns within a person that compels them to take action.

For some, you’ll be called. There may be a time when you feel like you hear God speak to you and say “get up and go.” But for many and most, it will be answering the question, “what are you passionate about?” Find out what that is, and go do it. Doesn’t really matter what that is (unless you love selling blow- don’t do that. That’s no good).

Paul tells us in Colossians 3, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Just Follow Your Heart. Or Not

by bobby williams

One of the things I personally am passionate about when it comes to preaching, is combating the lies, myths and false culturally beliefs of our time. For me, preaching is a lot about deconstructing and constructing.

It’s deconstructing a spiritual myth or belief that many have grown up with and even have grown to believe because they’ve heard it so many times. After I deconstruct that belief, showing why it’s false, I like to fill that hole left from that belief with the truth of Jesus.

This Five Lies is all about doing just that with lies that many of us have come to believe in our culture. And Sunday’s lie, is one of the biggest.

Sunday I will be talking about the lie to follow your heart. We’ve heard it so many times, so many ways, that we may not have even known it was bad advice. The truth is, it’s horrible advice, and a lie straight from hell.

I hope Sunday you’re making plans to join us and to bring someone with you. In the meantime, enjoy this short video of us clowning the devil yet again.

Running On E

by bobby williams

car-768711_1280

Have you ever ran out of gas in your car? I have. Once.

My wife Denira and I were on our way out for the evening, and as we were riding down the road, I noticed the gas light had come on. I asked her how long it had been on and she told me that it had just came on, so there was no need to stop at the gas station till later.

Of course, we had one of those cars that could drive like 50 miles on an  empty tank. So, surely we would hit a gas station later in the evening.

The ironic part of this story is, this conversation took place just as we were coming up on a gas station and passing it. I easily could have stopped to get gas, but chose to go on and “chance” it. It didn’t work in our favor.

Less than mile from the gas station, the car sputtered, jerked a bit and died on the side the road. I could still see the gas station in my review. Out of gas.

Maybe you’ve never ran out of gas in your car, but you feel personally, spiritually, or physically you’re running out of gas.

Some of us are running from God; others of us are doing everything we can to make up for a past we are ashamed of and using this as a disguise of running to him.

The good news is, you can run to him and not from him to get filled back up with a new hope to carry on.

“…that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “In him we live and move and have our being.”  Acts 17: 27-28

Jesus Came Because of Our Need

by bobby williams

photo-1429095687696-3227bb0aa9a8

Have you ever needed something? And I don’t mean like a new toy, that burger you’ve been craving all day or a vacation. But you really, truly needed something. Like an operation to stay alive kind of need.

Needs are interesting. So often, we confuse needs with wants. A need is vital to existence, but a want is temporary. You will want something now, but not need it later or want it for that matter.

Inherently, each of us were born with a need. A need some of us are aware of, and yet a need that others of us are oblivious too. Our need? Jesus to save us.

Jesus came because of our need. He didn’t come to make a point. He did not come as 1 of several options. He came because we needed him to come. Meaning the ONLY way we survive, the only way we exist without impending doom, is if Jesus comes to meet out need.

He’s not even come because we ask him too. He’s not come because we wanted him too. He’s not come to make our lives better off. As one author put it, “the only thing we contribute is our need.”

 

Dollar Club | Arick Davey

by bobby williams

In September, we began a new initiative called the Dollar Club. One of our core values at Ridge Church is to model generosity, so what better way to do that than to give a dollar and make a HUGE impact. In fact we like to say, give a dollar, make an impact.

We asked every person at Ridge Church to give just $1 to the Dollar Club so that we could turn right around and meet a need. This month’s recipient was Arick Davey.

Arick is a missionary with YWAM (Youth With A Mission) serving in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Arick has committed to serving at least two years with YWAM as a member of their training team and staff. However, this is not a paying job. In fact, Arick will need to raise $1500 per month to stay on the ground to cover his living expenses while there.

Arick’s face at the end is priceless.

Be on the lookout for our next Dollar Club, coming up at the first of October.