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Call Waiting: God's Invitation to Youth

82 pages
Judson Press
ISBN: 0817014810

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Find Peace with God Youth Section


An Invitation from God

By Larry L. McSwain and Kay Wilson Shurden – Where is God leading me and how do I follow that path? Is there a connection between my interests and God's call? What exactly does it mean to be "called" anyway? The new book, Call Waiting, may help you answer these questions.

Working from the assumption that all Christians are called to serve God in this world, Call Waiting is designed to help you understand the nature of "call," explore personal giftedness, and identify ways to walk in faithfulness to a unique and unfolding calling.

An Invitation

So you're watching your favorite music videos and you’re thinking, Hey, I could do that! I should do that…lotsa money, lotsa fun! Is that call? Not even close.

Or you’re searching the Web and you get a pop-up about the next American Idol audition. Is this a sign? Should you go for it? Is this call? Annnnt! (Buzzer sound.) Wrong again!

Or you ride in a bike-a-thon to raise money for a children’s hospital and you begin to feel guilty. You say, “I must become a doctor so I can help sick children.” But you barely passed biology and you don’t even like to go to the doctor. Are you ignoring your call? Nope.

Or your grandfather gives his annual “This kid’s gonna be the next…(fill in the blank here)!” speech at your birthday party. You smile back at your beaming family, but there’s a sick feeling in your stomach. If you let them down, have you rejected God’s call? Uh, probably not.

Have you seen the movie Sister Act? If you haven’t, here’s the 411. Vegas lounge singer Delores, played by Whoopi Goldberg, is sent to a convent to hide from the mobster boyfriend who wants to kill her. Delores, or “Sister Mary Clarence,” as she’s known in the convent, takes over the choir, and it goes from boring a few church members to drawing huge crowds and media attention. Along the way, Delores makes some discoveries about
herself, her talents, and her calling in life. But she’s not the only one. One night novice Sister Mary Robert brings “Mary Clarence” an alarm clock to help her get up in time for morning prayers. They begin to chat, and Delores asks Mary Robert if she always knew she wanted to be a nun. Mary Robert replies, “I’ve always known I had a call to a life of service to God, but I’ve always felt that there was something inside me that I want to give; something that’s only me and nobody else.”

Call is something that all Christians share but that each of us has in a special way.

We all share the same call to a life of service, and we each have a unique calling that uses the extraordinary person each of us is. So let’s take a look at how one person first got word of his unique calling.

The Call of Moses (Exodus 3:1-12)
You know this story. The baby Moses was placed in a basket by his mom and put into the Nile River to keep him safe from the Egyptians. Pharaoh’s daughter found him and raised him as her own son. We can imagine that he had all the perks of royalty growing up, but things really changed later. One day when he was about twenty, Moses saw an Egyptian beating a slave, and to rescue the slave, he killed the Egyptian. This was an offense
punishable by death, so Moses ran away across the Nile and far into the desert country of Midian. He eventually became a shepherd for a man named Jethro and married Jethro’s daughter. One day many years later, Moses saw a strange site as his flock was grazing in the hill country. A ways off he saw a bush that was on fire but didn’t burn up, and when he went to check it out, God spoke to him from the bush.

“Moses! Moses!”

“I’m right here!” Moses replied, approaching the bush.

“Don’t come any closer. Take off your sandals—this is holy ground. I am the God who was worshiped by your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Then God went on to explain the purpose of the meeting: “I have indeed seen the suffering of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries for help and seen how cruel the Egyptians are to them. I am going to take them out of Egypt and bring them to a wonderful place, so I need you to go lead them for me.”

Moses’ first response was “No way! Who am I to do such a thing?” but God assured him by promising, “I will be with
you.” So Moses headed back to Egypt for what turned out to be the biggest job of his life.

Call is an invitation.

Notice that when God told Moses what needed to be done and Moses said, “Not me!” God didn’t respond with “Hey, I’m God, so you will do it.” Nor did God threaten, “If you don’t, you’ll be sorry.” Nor did God promise, “If you do this, I’ll give you a fun life.” God simply said, “This is what needs to be done. You are the right person for the job, and I will be with you.” For Moses, the way God dealt with him would have been startling. Historical study reveals that in Midian and in Egypt, people worshiped many gods and believed in magic. They believed the gods would punish or reward them according to what they did. They also believed that they could summon a god’s presence by speaking his or her secret name. As the story
continues, Moses asks for God’s name so he can give it to the Hebrew slaves in Egypt. God advises Moses to tell the people that “I Am” or, perhaps even a better translation, “I will be with you” sent him. No coercion. No manipulation. No threats. No magic. God invites Moses to a task and promises to be with him as he carries it out. That’s the way call works. It’s an invitation that reads like this:

You’re Invited!
WHAT:To Partnership
WHERE: In the Church and the World
WHEN: Now and Forever
RSVP: Please respond with all of your life.
P.S. I will be with you no matter what happens.

For Reflection
Call is something that all Christians share but that each of us has in a special way.

Call is an invitation.

1. What are some ways people respond to invitations?

2. Is the idea of call as an invitation new to you? Does it excite you? Frighten you? Confuse you?

3. What are the voices that you hear when you think about the choices that you will be making over the next few years? How do you decide which voice to listen to? Whose voice is strongest?

4. When you think about the story of Moses, do you connect with Moses? Or does his story seem too different from your life?

5. Think about how different our faith would be had Moses
said, “No thanks, God!” What are the results when people say no to God’s invitation?

6. God told Moses that the ground where they met was holy. Where is your holy ground—that is, where do you feel close to God? How did you find it?

Read part two of this article.


Related Links:
Find peace with God.

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Excerpted from Call Waiting: God's Invitation to Youth by Larry L. McSwain and Kay Wilson Shurden, Copyright © 2005, published by Judson Press. Used by permission.


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