How do we respond to Christ's Calling?
Dennis Richards, National Pastoral Co-ordinator for GCI New Zealand, wrote this about the upcoming Refresher weekend.
The refresher weekend dates are February 20-22. In light of our hope for clarification around our calling and service for the years ahead, it is appropriate that we address ourselves to the nature of our relationship with God, from which emerges our relationship with each other, and our communities. Kerry Gubb will lead us into an exploration of these relationships working to a theme of “Delight in Him – Seek His Face.” What a challenging and also hope-filled topic this should prove to be, especially given all that our Lord has already done for us in his incarnation, life, death, resurrection and ascension.
Kerry’s outline for the weekend starts with a challenge, asking what is true and what is meant for each of us personally by the words in Matthew 16:25, James 4:10, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, James 1:2 and Luke 6:27. These demanding, even unsettling verses call into question how well or poorly we responded to Christ’s calling and being in Christ, and yet they should be wonderfully uplifting also given his faithfulness to complete in us all the Father wills (Philippians 1:6). Hence we truly should delight in him!
As I have thought about this delighting in him, I sense both the fantastic nature of the relationship we are called to, and hence its overflow into relationship with each other and with community, but also how inadequate my understanding of it probably is. Nevertheless I am reminded that we ought not feel intimidated by any falling short of what we hope for since God has called us and committed himself to accomplish everything he has willed be achieved within and through us!
Intriguingly, Kerry quotes God’s words to Abram in Genesis 17:1 that Abram walk before God and be perfect, and asks what God was actually asking of our spiritual forefather. It bears thinking about carefully, for we are called to walk similarly (1 Peter 1:16); it would be a shame to miss the beauty of what God intends we enjoy so completely and amazingly in our shared life in the Spirit.
It will be a special time together, not only for what we learn as we are led deeper into God’s Word, but also in the fellowship and pleasure we see reflected in the faces and lives of friends. I hope we come away with an enriched sense of the treasure God has made us to be, and return home empowered all the more having shared at his table the delights he has prepared for us (Psalm 23:5-6).