Monday, January 19, 2009

Our Invitation

Samuel heard God calling his name and finally, after his mentor realized it was God calling to him, he answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Jesus said to Philip, “Come, follow me.” Philip ran to find his friend Nathanael to tell him they had found the One Moses had wrote of in the Law, the One preached about by the prophets. When Nathanael couldn’t believe that anything good could come out of Nazareth Philip said, “Come, see for yourself.”
Samuel, Philip, and Nathanael all received an invitation, an invitation to be something more than they were before the call.
Invitations are funny things. Sometimes we receive invitations to celebrations; sometimes the invitation is to a party, just for fun; sometimes the invitation is to a new vocation, in fact it may come as a surprise to some of us to receive such an invitation.
Invitations can fill us with excitement and joy or they may fill us with fear and trepidation. It depends on the invitation. Sometimes we expect the invitation and sometimes we are surprised to receive it.
Have you ever received an invitation in your mailbox and been afraid to open it? Or have you been invited into someone’s office and been afraid to hear what they might have to say?
Friends, you are here because, I believe, God has issued you an invitation. You probably didn’t find this invite in your mail and you may not have even received it on the telephone but you did get the invitation. That’s why you are here this morning.
The invitation you received is a free gift from God. It’s called grace. It’s not something you can pay for or do anything to earn. It’s entirely free. There are no strings attached.
If you choose to accept the invitation you must ask Jesus to come into your heart, you must believe in Jesus as God’s Son, and you must confess your sins to God. Some folks receive this invitation and will choose to not do anything with it. Some will want to think about it for a while and some will decide that it’s time to take a step out in faith and just do it.
Regardless of our response I believe that we have all been called. We have all been invited, called, summoned, or chosen, you pick the right word for you, and now it’s up to us to decide how we will respond.
Sometimes the invitation comes and we’re not sure who it’s from. Linda and I received one last week and we weren’t entirely sure who it was from. Samuel heard God’s voice but thought it was Eli calling him. Even Eli didn’t understand at first that it was God until the second time he was awakened from a sound sleep. God does have a way of calling to us in the strangest moments.
Just think back to the Old Testament lessons about how God called all those to do the work he needed to have done. Some responded right away and some had to have proof that it was really God who was calling, remember Gideon?
Do you believe that God still calls or invites people? Do you believe that he has called you? How do you know whether God is calling you to a particular work? What if you don’t want to do it? Will he keep calling? What do you believe?
Friends, I believe God still needs his people to be his hands and his feet and he still calls people to be his servants. If we listen we will hear the voice of Jesus calling us to be his servants.
God is calling you. How will you respond? Will you say, “Speak, your servant is listening?” Will you drop everything when he asks you to, “Come, follow me?”

Everyone received a piece of paper with the following three options printed on it

1. I am not sure about God's call to me
a) I would like to talk to somebody about this
b) I would be interested in finding out more about my spiritual gifts, talents and abilities
c)I need some encouragement
2. I have an idea of what God's call to me is but for various reasons I am a little hesitant about it all.
a) I would like to talk to somebody about this
b) I would be interested in finding out more about my spiritual gifts, talents and abilities
c) I would appreciate some training in this area
d)I need some encouragement
3. I know what God has called me to do
a) I would like to talk to somebody about this
b) I would appreciate some training in this area
c )I need some encouragement

You have a choice whether to keep this activity to yourselves or to share it. Consider the three options and circle the one that is most like where you are at. After a time, consider carefully the three or four options in the section which they have chosen and check the one that speaks to them the most. If you would like to think more about it, I suggest that you take it home with you. If you would like some follow up on what you have checked, put your name on your card and then put it in the offering plate when it comes around. Ann Scull, Gippsland, Australia (

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