Monday, February 22, 2010
Called To Preach? Take The Test...
To Which Capacity Has God Called You?
A. The Gift of Prophecy - Proclaims the Truth
B. The Gift of Knowledge - Clarifies the Truth
C. The Gift of Wisdom - Applies the Truth
D. The Gift of Teaching - Imparts the Truth
E. The Gift of Exhortation - Inspires obedience to the Truth
#1: Do you find yourself with great desire to proclaim Christ and do you follow through in that desire? If so, God has gifted you with the gift of prophecy (not foretelling but forth-telling); 1 Corinthians. 14:1,4. You are not called to proclaim revelation, you are called to reiteration of God's Word. Simply put, God has called you to be a preacher in the capacity of pastoring, evangelism or missions.
#2: Do you find that you have the ability to observe biblical facts and make a correct conclusion? If so, God has gifted you with teaching. This gift can be applied to both public and private audiences. Likely, God has called you to be a pastor or a lay-teacher.
#3: Do you find that you have the ability to understand God's will and make application of it? If so, God has gifted you with the Word of Wisdom (1 Corinthians. 12:8a) This can be applied in the area of counseling.
#4: Do you find yourself with the desire and ability to strengthen and encourage believers to walk by faith? If so, God has given you the gift of exhortation (Romans 12:8). This is the ability to come alongside someone who needs building up. Barnabas was a great exhorter. If this is your habit, God has called you to be an evangelist and can be applied in the area of pastoring, evangelism, and/or missions
It is important to note that if God has called you to be a pastor, all of the above is in your possession. It is imperative that you allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate these gifts in you in order that you may be proved and approved for the pastorate or whatever capacity God is calling you to. This is where a sound biblical seminary education becomes essential. Let NJITS meet your Biblical Training needs. and begin the process to answering your call to preach with a sound biblical and affordable seminary education today.
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I have been a Christian since I was about 14 years old growing up in Richmond, Virginia. I remember walking up to the altar one Summer Sunday morning and giving the pastor my hand. I was baptized and became a part of the Body of Christ. It should have been a happy time, but it was the beginning of a war. I was raised in a single parent home in Bridgeport, Connecticut and we later moved to Richmond. I had some serious emotional problems that were hidden from everyone but my mother.
I have suffered from depression as far back as I can remember. I even had a doctor offer to prescribe medication for me when I was a teenager, but my mother refused to make me take it. Thoughts of suicide have haunted me every since I was about 12 years old. My father wasn’t there for me and that was a major contributor to my depression, but it really got worst after I got saved. Looking back I realize it was the enemy trying to cause me to end my life prematurely to abort my calling and mission for God.You see Satan tried to abort me even before I was born, I remember my mother telling me how her friends tried to convince her to abort and how she was tempted by couldn't do it.
My brother was in the Army during the Vietnam War and he had just got home from College before he got drafted. I was a loner and didn’t have many friends, I was a book worm and spent most of my time in the attic reading comic books and yes the Bible. One day I found a trunk in the attic that belonged to my brother, it was filled with pornography. To this day my mother never knew that stuff was in the house. I was right at the age of puberty so you can imagine the effect finding this stuff had on my young life. Needless to say I spent a lot of time in the attic.
The devil knows that our battle starts in the mind; our thoughts are our freedom or our bondage. If our minds are on the truth of the Word, then we walk in freedom and deliverance. The devil knows if we are led by our fleshly desire then we will be in bondage. Satan will provide all of the fuel our flesh needs to keep us in bondage. When I got saved the Holy Spirit convicted me about the pornography. The enemy would back away the more I embrace Jesus and His Word. (James 4:7); The moment I lapsed and stopped praying and studying the Word that is when the opportunities to sin became available.
I am almost 50 years old and I still have urges and compulsions to view pornography. The good news is I KNOW it is an area of weakness, so I avoid place and people that would make pornography available to me. When I was in the military it was very hard because pornography is SO accepted and available. I had to ask the First Sergeant to change roommates twice because they had porno in the room. I am not going to lie and say I was victorious every time. I fell on many occasions, I was frustrating and I was often ashamed about this bondage. I biggest key to victory is admitting you need help and that you can’t do it without God’s help.
What is really amazing is how today I work in a Psychiatric hospital and most of my patients and sex offenders. I believe God ordered my steps this way for a few reasons. Many of the men I deal with were molested as children; also many were exposed to sexual perversions in the homes they grew up in. My own struggles help me be more empathetic towards them and help me be patient when I minister to them.
My prayer is that this book will help you realize that you are NOT alone. Jesus died so we can be free from the powers of darkness. When I was a teenager I didn’t know that demons were subject to Jesus name. I never realized the full extent of the power of God over the devil and his imps. Today I know that pornography is my Kryptonite and I have to avoid it of I will fall. The devil knows what YOUR Kryptonite is, never forget that.
The biggest thing I had to deal with was GUILT, I always felt like a failure in God’s sight, there have been times I begged God to take me home because I grew weary of the struggle. Guilt will destroy a Christian unless they give the struggle over to Jesus Christ. He died on the cross so we could be free from the condemnation of the devil.
Guilt is one of Satan's biggest weapons against us. It tears us down, it makes us feel dirty, unworthy, robs of us of our faith and confidence in Christ Jesus. Jesus not only came to cleanse us from our sins, but also set us free from the guilt of our sins. If you want to live a life of spiritual victory, you need to have a conscience freed from the guilt of your past. 1 Timothy 3:9, "Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience."
Two kinds of guilt
There's two kinds of guilt in the Bible. There's Godly sorrow that leads a person to repentance (2 Cor 7:10), which is know as conviction and it comes from the Holy Spirit (John 16:8, "when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin..." - NASB). Once a person repents, the guilt lifts and they feel relieved and joyful that their sin(s) have been forgiven. Then there's another kind of guilt, and that's condemnation or accusations from the devil. Satan loves to torment God's people by reminding them of their pasts, and continually holding their sins before them even after their sins have been forgiven. This is condemnation and there is no good that comes out of it whatsoever. It tears us down, makes us feel dirty, unworthy and robs of us of our faith and confidence in Christ Jesus. It's a lie from the father of lies, and it needs to be ignored.
The difference between condemnation and conviction is explained in much more detail in the teaching Condemnation verses Conviction.
In this teaching, we will be dealing solely with the negative kind of guilt called condemnation.
Guilt is a door to the enemy
I have seen how guilt can be an open door to be tormented by evil spirits. False guilt is actually a symptom of unforgiveness in your heart that is directed at yourself. In Matthew 18:23-35, Jesus tells us how important it is to forgive those who have wronged us, and how we can be turned over to the tormenters (evil spirits) if we are unforgiving. Collisions 3:13 tells us to be, "...forgiving one another..." The phrase 'one another' in NT Greek translates to the word Heautou, which includes THEMSELF! Bitterness, regardless who or what it's about, defiles a man (Hebrews 12:15). Spiritual defilement is what makes a person open to unclean spirits. It is very possible for a person to be harassed by evil spirits or come under their power, just because a person has refused to forgive them self.
How guilt is cultivated and nurtured
Guilt is cultivated when you continually allow yourself to dwell and think about how badly you've messed up, your pasts, the sins you've committed, etc. The enemy loves to remind us of our past failures, so he can keep us thinking about them. The problem is, if we allow ourselves to fall for this trap, it allows the enemy to build what they call a stronghold in our minds.
Your best bet is to learn what is going on, and stop Satan dead in his tracks. Learn the difference between condemnation and conviction, and stop listening to condemnation. Condemnation comes from the devil, and it's meant to build strongholds in your mind and weaken you spiritually.
Chaplain Mark H. Stevens, M.Min