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Here I Am Lord

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When God Calls

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Answering the Call

When I was in my early thirties, I left the Air Force to take a job working for…well, the Air Force. Except as a contract civilian. It all started in January of 2012. I had just the end of the previous year, come back from what would be my last deployment to the desert. Due to a number of reasons, not the least of which were serious issues with my leadership (one of which was the fact that I was legitimately getting extorted for money by a superior officer), I decided to finally leave the Air Force. I had applied for a job as a government contractor, but had not heard anything back, and ended up working as a security officer for the new casino that was opening south of Wichita. Great job, but terrible hours, and the overtime was great. I was averaging upwards of 75-90+ hours a week, with base pay being $12/hour (jumping to $18/hour after 40 hours). It was the worst day I had ever had at work: my feet were killing me (I was on them for all except 1 hour of my 10-12 hour work day), I came outside to find that I had a flat tire, and only had my donut (and had to change it in Kansas December cold and high winds), and I found out that they were no longer letting us work overtime. A terrible day. Taking a side road home, I got a call on my cell from an odd number. A Huntsville phone number. Weird. Then I realized that it may be an apartment that Stacy and I had been looking at. You see, I had gotten an interview and it went well with the government contractor job, but I hadn’t gotten a call back. I answered the phone, and it was Ms. Jorice Johnson, Human Resources worker for AAR, and she offered me the entirety of what I had asked for in my interview, with regards to pay and moving allowance. Everything. I worked for AAR Integrated Technologies for about a year and a half. Great job, amazing pay. I was good at what I did. In fact, 6 months into my job, I was promoted from Field Engineer I (an entry level position) to Field Engineer II (experienced technician), and was well on my way to being promoted to FE III, which was a supervisory position. I loved my job and the copious amounts of money that came along with it. Until we all got laid off because our contract was taken by Lockheed Martin. Stacy and I had talked about and prayed about me taking this job. So I did, and we moved to Huntsville. I went from making awesome money, to $265 a week in unemployment benefits. With rent being upwards of $900 a month. Fun, right? I spent nearly every day that summer scouring for a job. Nobody would hire me. Either I was overqualified or under qualified. I prayed to God to explain to me why He had led us out here away from all of our family and friends, only to be in a position where I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to even feed my family, let alone keep a roof over our heads. Stacy and I were fairly successful, I believe, keeping the truth about how bad off we were from the boys. When I mean bad off, I mean that we had zero money in any account, were a month behind in rent, had used up our SNAP benefits for the month, perpetually behind on our utilities and always on the verge of getting our power cut off (which did happen at least once), had a nearly empty cabinets and pantry (we lived off of beans and rice and PB and Honey sandwiches, and iterations thereof, skipping breakfast because nobody woke up early enough for it), and never more than a quarter tank of gas in the car. We were beyond broke. But God was in it. I didn’t know it at the time, but God was preparing me. I was laid off the first week of June. It was mid to end of July when I was praying and asking, no, BEGGING God to give me an answer on why He brought me and my family out there only to have us in that state! And God answered in a very big and obvious way, telling me I was now coming to work for Him! I didn’t want it! I didn’t want to accept it! There was NO way He was calling ME into ministry. So, I started making calls. I called pastor friends, and friends that were elders, and every time, when I asked “Could you see me as a pastor?” Their answer was a resounding “YES!”

Samuel’s Call

Our Scripture reading for today tells the story of the call of Samuel. Turn with me to Samuel 3 beginning with verse 1:

3 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD in the presence of Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.

2 At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.

4 Then the LORD called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!” 5 and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down.

6 And the LORD called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.

8 And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant hears.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”

You see, the chapter begins telling of Samuel, and that he’s ministering to God in the presence of Eli, and what? AND THE WORD OF THE LORD WAS RARE IN THOSE DAYS; THERE WAS NO FREQUENT VISION! If that ain’t a word for today’s age, I don’t know what is!! You see, in these TIMES when the Word of the LORD is rare, and when there is no frequent vision, God likes to get involved! We’ll get to that in a moment, but let’s finish seeing what’s here.
Tell the story of Samuel’s call from Samuel’s perspective.
See what happened here?! Well, after reading this passage, it made me realize several things about God’s call in our lives:
Don’t delay answering.
Don’t underestimate your call.
You HAVE to know His voice.
You have GOT to be willing to accept the call.

Don’t Delay Answering

Hebrews 3:15 says, “As it is said, ‘Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as you did in the rebellion.’” When God called Samuel’s name, what did Samuel do? Did he roll over and go back to sleep? Did he yell out “What?!” NO!! He said “Here I am!” and ran out to Eli. What do you do when you get a calling from the Lord?
Well, in Matthew’s gospel, Peter and Andrew got a call from Jesus. Turn with me to Matthew 4:18-20:

18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

Did they tell Jesus, “Hold on, pal. We have to put our nets and boats away!” NO! It says: IMMEDIATELY they LEFT THEIR NETS AND FOLLOWED HIM!! There was no delay, there was no waiting, they left what they were doing, got up, and began following Jesus.
On the converse, let’s look at Matthew 19:16-22:

16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

The rich man had a wonderful opportunity! He could have gone and followed Jesus! All he had to do was be willing to give up everything! He abandoned the call!

Don’t Underestimate Your Call

So often, when we get a call from the Lord, we look at the sheer magnitude of the call, and balk, saying something like “There’s no way...” or “I’m not able to do that...” or some other version. Or, we make excuses, like “I’m too short, I’m too tall, I don’t have any education, I don’t have enough education, I’m not worthy enough, yada, yada, yada...” It’s worse when we do it as a church: “We’re too few!” “We don’t have a big enough budget!” Well, let me tell you something, church family: Samuel was small when God called Him. When God is calling you to great things, understand that it’s not about you!! God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called!!
Look at Matthew 17:18-20:

18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

The disciples didn’t get it, not at first. After Jesus died and rose, and went back to Heaven, Peter got it.
Turn with me to Acts 3:1-7

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.

This was Peter! Pete. The person Jesus said “Get behind me Satan!” The guy that denied Jesus three times!! Peter was a NOBODY!! Peter was a poor, uneducated, follower of Jesus, who had a constant case of “Foot in mouth” disease, meaning he was always putting his foot in his mouth, saying the stupidest things!! And, with the power of Jesus, was able to accomplish something people had only seen Jesus do: heal a man.

You have GOT to Know His Voice

What was it that woke Samuel? It was God’s voice calling to Him. Every time God called He got up. It’s no surprise that he would have thought it was Eli. I mean, even Eli didn’t catch on until much later in the night, because, as we have already said, the Word was rare in those days, and there was no frequent vision. But unlike in Eli’s day, things are a little different in ours, because we have Jesus. Turn with me to John 10:25-27:

25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

Understanding this, consider our Scripture reading, because it’s not always this easy: when Eli realized what was going on, he told Samuel. Samuel had to be told by someone familiar with hearing God’s call in their lives, that God was actually speaking. Part of knowing and understanding God’s will for your life is recognizing that call. We can’t always rely on our feelings, because those lie. And it’s not something we can rationalize. So, when praying, and we believe that God is calling us to something, what are we to do? Well, what I do is reach out to someone I also know to be spiritually attuned to God’s will in their own lives. Then I talk it over with them and pray over it with them. Then I go to Scripture and read what God’s Word has to say on the matter. Hebrews 1:1-2:

1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

How is He spoken by His son? Through His Written Word, which reveals the Living Word that is Jesus Christ!!
And then, God will always give me an answer, be it yes, no, or not yet. And when I get that answer, I have to be good with it, and accept His will, leading me to my last point:

You HAVE to Be Willing to Accept the Call

Our church is unique in that we have someone who was very clearly being called by God. She was a weak and frail woman. But she wasn’t the first one, though was she?
First there was William Foy. He received visions and was told by God to share them. He was very reluctant, and didn’t want to, but eventually had them published in a book, called “The Christian Experience of William E. Foy.” History leaves that as his last known act. Nothing is known about what happened afterwards. After him was Hazen Foss. Talk about a man to be pitied. An 1890 letter by Ellen White tells of his story:
“The next morning, I met Hazen Foss. Said he, ‘Ellen, I want to speak with you. The Lord gave me a message to bear to His people, and I refused after being told the consequences. I was proud; I was unreconciled to the disappointment. I murmured against God, and wished myself dead. Then I felt a strange feeling come over me. I shall be henceforth as one dead to spiritual things. I heard you talk last night. I believe the visions are taken from me, and given to you. Do not refuse to obey God, for it will be at the peril of your soul. I am a lost man. You are chosen of God; be faithful in doing your work, and the crown I might have had, you will receive.’
On comparing dates, they discovered that it was not until after he had been told that the visions were taken from him, that Ellen Harmon was given her first revelation. Although Hazen Foss lived till 1893, he never again manifested interest in matters religious.


Have you lately heard God’s call in your life? If you have not, have you been listening for it? If you have, why have you not answered? Don’t delay answering God’s call in your life, whatever it may be. When God calls, answer. And when you answer, don’t falter! God’s calling you for a purpose! If He can qualify a man with a speech impediment to stand before Pharaoh and walk out of Egypt with the entire labor force, if He can take a young shepherd boy and turn him into a king, if He can take a lowly fisherman and make him one of the Greatest evangelists in history, then what can God do in YOUR life, or YOUR church! He is made perfect in our weakness. And learn to know His voice when He calls you! The Voice of Truth tells a different story than the Accuser of the Brethren. Ignore the idea that God COULDN’T call you! And lastly, you have to be willing to Accept the call. The one thing God will never do is take your free will. That’s not how He rolls. In the end, it has to be YOUR decision to follow Him.
Let us Pray.
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