Waynedale United Methodist Church
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

May 17, 2015 Sermon

 
“Called To …”
Ephesians 4:1 – 7
Ted Jansen May 17, 2015 Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        I believe that God speaks to all of us. He wants us to know that He created us, He knows us, and that He loves us. He wants us to know that He came in the form of a human, Jesus, to show us how to live. Jesus, died on a cross so that we might live eternally with God and have abundant life today. 
            The Holy Spirit, Christ’s presence today, speaks to us today. We can hear the voice of the Spirit in many ways. Through the words of God’s word, through other people, through creation, through the voice we hear within us. When we desire to listen we can hear and respond to His voice. This is true for each person.   Just as you can hear my voice you can hear God’s voice, though perhaps not in the same fashion.       
           
2.)        I want to share with you a part of my story about how I heard God’s voice to serve the Lord as a pastor. All the pastors in the Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church have been encouraged by the leadership to share our story of our call.  
I want to share some thoughts on scripture, my story and then invite you to consider how you have heard God calling you in your life.   
 
3.)        I was drawn to the Ephesians 4:1 – 7 because a few verses highlight my story. Listen again to Ephesians 4:1, 4, 7. “As a prisoner for the Lord, then I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received… you were called to one hope when you were called… But to each one of us grace has been given…”  
            The three truths that I focus on are these: We are all to live worthy of the calling we have received. We are called to one hope in Jesus Christ. We are to use the grace given to us for others.  
            What has God called you to? Whatever it is as far as your vocation, your job, your interests, your passions, your investment of time do so with a life that is worthy of your calling. Be the best that you can be in whatever it is. At the time of this writing Paul is in prison. He is urging disciples that in whatever circumstance you find yourself in do it with honor and be found worthy.  
We are called to put our hope firmly and focused on Jesus Christ as Lord, Savior, Friend, the Alpha and Omega, the Lamb of God. We need to have a firm belief in the life of Jesus Christ who came to earth, lived, died and rose again. 
God has given each of us grace as one of His children. We know that as disciples of Jesus Christ we have his Holy Spirit within us but we have been given grace, gifts, of our self, our personalities, etc. We are to use what God has given us. We don’t compare ourselves to others, though at times we are tempted to do so. We use what God has given us. If God has not given us grace we are not expected to do something God has not given us. We use what we have. We are all different and are needed by God in different ways. How have you been using your gifts?  
             
4.)        Thank you for listening to my story. I love the outdoors and was involved in camping outdoors as a family and as a Boy Scout. I had attended Church camp in the Poconos and experienced God’s love in my heart. I did not fully understand what it meant to be a Christian.  
            In 1975 I went on a Canadian Canoe Trip and over the course of 10 days I saw the beauty of creation, had a great experience with other guys and gals, and heard the Good News of Jesus    Christ. One night I made a commitment to let Christ come into my heart.  
5.)        I grew spiritually by reading the Bible, praying, listening to Christian music and being a part of church and Bible studies. I was involved in that church camp in Pa.  
            I understood that Jesus Christ was my Savior, he had forgiven me for my past sins, but to make Jesus Christ my Lord meant I needed to give Him my future. This was a different decision.    
            God’s love was in his Son, the presence of Christ that allowed me to have a new relationship with God, but God’s love was given in that He had a purpose for my life. I wondered what my purpose was for being a Christian who believed Jesus was my Lord.  
            I began praying my Senior Year of High school for the Lord to show my His purpose for my life. I wanted to go to a Christian college, but did not know much about what I needed to major in. I was taking a lot of sciences and was planning to go into the Environmental field.  
            God was preparing my heart to hear His voice. I kept praying and towards the end of my senior year I believed God was calling me to full time ministry. I had no idea what that meant but when I shared that with a few people there was a sense of excitement, fear and peace. It was a gradual openness in my spirit and the quiet inner voice that spoke to me. When I verbalized my call it was right.    
            God’s peace and timing have been one way I have known the right next step in my calling. There have been times when doors would open or close and there was peace. I had no idea what God was calling me to do or be in the future but I needed to take the next step.   
            My initial calling has shaped me to be fully present wherever I am and be firmly rooted into the lives of the people and plan to stay with them the rest of my life.   I also need to be willing to hear God’s voice, as it relates to whatever the next step is in my life.  
 
6.)        While in college I was involved in camp ministry in the summer serving as dishwasher, kitchen manager, counselor, program director and interim maintenance director. Each of these roles helped shape me and give me ministry experience in different ways.    
            I majored in Christian Education and tried several minors thinking I needed to learn some different things. I was a Bible Minor for one day, I was a Psychology minor for two quarters and then I ended up getting a Business Minor. 
 
7.)        In my senior year of college I explored full time camp ministry options but believed that the Lord wanted me involved in a local church. I needed to see how camp ministry can build a church. I sent my resume and applied for church positions over the eastern half of the country.   I had an interview in Atlanta, Georgia my second interview was in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I accepted that offer and started at Trinity UMC in 1981. I immersed myself in that church as I continued to learn, grow, explore and discern what my next step was. I decided to begin the ordination process in the United Methodist Church and after two years at Trinity I went back to school while a student pastor at Spencerville UMC. 
 
8.)        It was during this time that Sue and I met and as we were dating we shared our stories of God’s call. We came to believe that God was calling us to be married and in ministry together.   
            I continued to explore how the camping ministry and the local church ministry would work and what I needed to do. At an Evangelism Conference in January of 1986 I heard God’s voice through a workshop speaker that said effective evangelism comes through a pastor and a local church that wants to reach people for Christ. It was an affirmation that I needed to be in a church.  
            Sue and I were married in 1986 at Church of the Covenant UMC and began ministry and our married life at Richvalley UMC.  
 
9.)        I have had a conviction as a Christian and one who has been called to ministry that my marriage and family were a priority. This was a way I live out my faith and calling.   
            God blessed us with three children and a vital part of our calling has been to nurture, raise and love the children that God gave us. We are to teach them about the Bible and God’s love and model the faith in our home.   
             
10.)      Each location God has placed us has been a place that we have sought to stay and be rooted in the lives of people, a place that we want to stay and a place that will benefit from or gifts and graces. We have had a sense in each place that we were needed. 
We have sought to use our gifts for ministry and allow that place and people to be a blessing to our family.   We served at Richvalley for four and a half years, at New Haven for five years, at Shiloh in Kokomo for eight years, and eleven years at First UMC in Auburn. We are just finishing our first of many years here at Waynedale UMC.  
 
11.)      There are a lot of other things to share with you about my calling. The times when I got discouraged, the times when you know the reason for your ministry, the times when you ask God how long do you want me to continue to do this? I want to share three thoughts that have encouraged me over these years.     
a.)        A college professor shared with our class a saying that has helped me over the past 28 years of listening to the call. He said, “It is God’s responsibility for the breadth of our ministry, it is our responsibility for the depth of our lives.” 
It is not my role to make sure I influence a lot of people. That is God’s job. I am not to spend energy making sure millions of people know who I am. My responsibility is to sink my faith deep into God’s word, into prayer, into my relationship with the Lord and with people.    
            b.)        Did you know that the sweetest part of the fruit, like an apple, is the part that gets the most exposure to the sunshine? The more sun the sweeter the taste.  
            In my life as a disciple the more I face Jesus Christ, the Son, the sweeter my life will be. The sweeter my life is the greater benefit to others and to the Kingdom of God. Inside of me I will have more love, more peace, more joy, more forgiveness, more patience, more of what Jesus can bring me. When I have more then I can give more.   
            c.)        I received when I graduated from High School.   It has one candle on it and it said, “One small candle might light a thousand.” (William Bradford). 
            I am one light. I am one light. That is all God has given me. If somehow, as I use my gifts and graces, I can light another candle, another life, my life will have been worth living. When that one candle is lit, it may light another and the cycle continues until one small candle might light a thousand. 
 
12.)      Can you light another candle with the love of Christ that you have within you? Can you hear God’s call to serve Him? Is God calling you to take the next step for ministry?   Is God calling you to serve Him in some full-time ministry?