It was planned to be a surprise. Anita was going out of the country and the idea was to gut our kitchen diner and have it rebuilt and refitted by the time she had returned. Somehow, I’d managed to find out the colours, doors and cupboards she would like without giving the game away and now I was sitting with the designer who was about to submit the order.
As he clicked the button the conversation turned to small talk. ‘What do you do?’ he asked. ‘I’m a church minister’, I replied. Then came the awkward one. ‘What made you want to do that?’ I then had to make a split-second decision. Do I tell him that I do it because I enjoy showing people what the Bible says and being an influence for good in people’s lives or do I give the real answer? You see, it’s not that those things aren’t true, they just aren’t the real reason I’m a church minister.
I opted for direct honesty, ‘God called me to do it’. I still remember his face as he tried to compute my answer. It was one of quizzical disbelief. I can’t blame him for that. One minute we were talking about door handles and hinges and the next about a God who I was claiming was not only real but also speaks and intervenes in the lives of people today. There was a definite pause in the conversation before he moved it back to safer ground.
I acknowledge that I’m putting a big claim on the table. ‘God called me’ are not words that should be used lightly. So how did it happen? Was there an audible voice from the sky, bright flashing lights or something else impressive? Well no, there were none of those things. The call came over a prolonged period of time in which God used the Bible, other people in the church, circumstances and ministry experiences to completely change the course that I’d set for my life.
Ok, that’s all interesting, but why write about it here? The Bible is a book full of accounts of people’s encounters with God – of God speaking to real people and bringing change in their lives. People like Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Mary who became the mother of Jesus, or the many people that Jesus interacted with during his life and ministry on earth. I want to encourage you that these encounters are not just things of the past, but it is possible to know and meet God today.
In November we’re going to be looking at three people who met with Jesus. Each came from a different background and their stories have different endings, but they are tied together by the fact that they met Jesus. Why not come along for an hour on a Sunday morning and hear about someone who can change a life forever. More details here.