Discovering, embracing, and living out Jesus’ call for our lives is a part of our future together as His church family.
But, what does it mean to “be called”?
Some might say it’s the “inner leading” that draws us to something. Afterall, Elijah experienced God’s “still small voice” calling him (1 Kings 19:11-13).
Others might equate it to a combination of a clear purpose and learned skill set (Genesis 1:28, Deuteronomy 28:12-13).
Yet, Biblical tradition suggests that affirmation is part of the equation, too (Acts 6:1-15).
This Sunday, we will discover what the Bible says about “being called” and experience Jesus’ calling in an up front and personal way.
What are inner and external calls? I’m glad you asked.
Inner Calls are those still small voices. As author and pastor Craig Groeschel calls it, it’s the “it”. You know when you have “it”. You know when you don’t have “it”. You’re drawn to “it” and “it” energizes you. You have an inner drive and passion to do more of “it”. Simply put, “it” is what you love. There’s nothing physically proving you have an inner call. It’s largely subjective and personal.
External Calls are those which you tangibly and physically possess. They’re the positions you hold. They’re the roles that you fill. They’re the opportunities you seize. Life examples include parenthood, child, and grandchild. Professionally, you can be called as a teacher, auto worker, baker, butcher, or small business owner. Civically, you’re “called” as a neighbor, citizen, and friend. All these external calls can be proven by a certificate, contract, or agreement. They’re usually given by somebody or a group of people - not assumed or experienced “on your own”.
Let’s apply inner and external calls to what we’re doing on Sunday.
Our inner call begins long before we arrive at church or log onto oslc.com. It begins with a desire to gather together. God’s Spirit (the Holy Spirit!) motivates, energizes, and creates a desire for us to “go to church”. We then experience inner calls during silent prayer and reflection as we confess our sins - personally and quietly; as we join our hearts together during the scripture reading and prayer times; and during our sermon time. Through music, we also are inspired and stirred to sing soft or loud… verbally or silently… our song is a response to the inner call of God - the Holy Spirit’s work in us!
Our external calls are bold and direct. We remember our baptisms as we shout, “amen” in response to our invocation, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”. It’s a resounding agreement that we have both an inner call of faith to be here (we belong!) and that we are present with God and one another. We then are directly told that we are forgiven. Signed. Sealed. Delivered to us on the cross. And the proof is that Jesus lives to tell us. We’re then invited (called) to Jesus’ table to share bread and wine with Him and each other. We are then sent with Jesus’ blessing to do Jesus’ work in our homes, workplaces, schools, and neighborhoods. You can’t get more direct affirmation than this.
This Sunday we will celebrate inner and external calls in two special ways.
I want to end with this… Have you felt God’s “inner call” to something, or do you want to discover God’s “inner” call in your life?
If you want to discover/rediscover that call and clarify what that specifically means, perhaps your next step is talking with a coach. A coach can help you discover and live in your calling.
You can learn more at oslc.com/coaching and schedule a time with them by scrolling to the bottom of that page.
Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
Meet Pastor Tim
Tim Bayer has served as Our Savior's Lead Pastor since September 2019. He also serves as an Adjunct Instructor at Concordia University - Irvine, a National Leadership Facilitator and Resource, and a Community Mental Health First Aid Instructor. Tim studied sociology, psychology, and theology prior to earning his M.Div at Concordia Seminary - St. Louis. He has also is a candidate for an Ed.D (ABD) in Transformational Leadership. He is married to Beth and they have three young children. Together, they enjoy exploring the outdoors, experiencing culture, and pizza and movie nights.