Good morning Church, Happy New Month. We are in the month of May, the 5th month of the year. This month is particularly special for the Church and for my wife and I in particular. This month, 19 years ago, I married my beloved wife and since then we have been living happily ever after. In 2006, 17 years ago, we started to travel to this Island to plant this church and about a year later, the church was inaugurated in May 2007 and so this month, we celebrate our 16th year anniversary. Church, in honour of God and to celebrate God's faithfulness, we have declared 13th, 14th & 15th of May as Bank Holiday. Please notify your employers.
Prayer for PVN Church.
As we celebrate our anniversary this month, as we celebrate God's faithfulness, like the Apostles Paul, I want to salute everyone that has been called, chosen, gifted and eager to be part of this assembly and this movement. Would you please rise as I have a commandment to bless you.
This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Sosthenes. I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 NLT.
I'm repurposing this passage to pray a blessing over you.
This prayer is from Pastor Chris, called as an Apostles to Northern Ireland and from his wife Angela. I'm praying for the members of PVN Church here in Belfast and online, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
May I always thank God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you,
May you belong to Christ Jesus all the days of your life.
Through you, God has enriched this Church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge
In the name of Jesus, I declare that you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Vs 7.
May you use these spiritual gifts for expansion of God’s Kingdom and be a blessing to humanity. These Spiritual gifts will not be dormant in your life in the name of Jesus.
God will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. You will be blameless and remain blameless in the mighty name of Jesus.
As you partner with Jesus, you will enjoy God’s faithfulness all the days of your life. Vs 9.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft! “And I have personally appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to be his assistant. Moreover, I have given special skill to all the gifted craftsmen so they can make all the things I have commanded you to make: the Tabernacle; the Ark of the Covenant; the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement; all the furnishings of the Tabernacle; the table and its utensils; the pure gold lampstand with all its accessories; the incense altar; the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils; the washbasin with its stand; the beautifully stitched garments—the sacred garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments for his sons to wear as they minister as priests; the anointing oil; the fragrant incense for the Holy Place. The craftsmen must make everything as I have commanded you.” Exodus 31:1-11 NLT.
“The Lord has gifted Bezalel, Oholiab, and the other skilled craftsmen with wisdom and ability to perform any task involved in building the sanctuary. Let them construct and furnish the Tabernacle, just as the Lord has commanded.” So Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and all the others who were specially gifted by the Lord and were eager to get to work. Exodus 36:1-2 NLT
Ladies and gentlemen, this is a fascinating passage. We know that Moses is a seer, a prophet and Moses was anointed and was a wise man himself. The bible noted that Joshua was wise because Moses laid his hands on him. Deu. 34:9 Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit[a] of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the Lord had commanded Moses. As anointed as gifted as Moses was, there was another group of people in the congregation anointed and gifted and eager, the craftsmen. They were called, gifted, anointed and eager to bring life everything the seer saw.
God often works with a team of people. In the story of the War with the Amalekites in
Exodus 17:8-13 8 At Rephidim the Amalekites came and fought against the Israelites. 9 So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some men and go and fight the Amalekites tomorrow. I will stand on the top of the hill and watch you. I will be holding the walking stick God gave me.”10 Joshua obeyed Moses and went to fight the Amalekites the next day. At the same time Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 Any time Moses held his hands in the air, the men of Israel would start winning the fight. But when Moses put his hands down, the men of Israel began to lose the fight.12 After some time, Moses’ arms became tired. So they put a large rock under Moses for him to sit on. Then Aaron and Hur held Moses’ hands in the air. Aaron was on one side of Moses and Hur was on the other side. They held his hands up like this until the sun went down. 13 So Joshua and his men defeated the Amalekites in this battle.
Church, in this passage, who won the battle? Is it the walking stick that God gave Moses? Is it Moses? Is it Joshua and his men? Is it Aaron and Hur? Oh no, it was a team effort and to the glory of God, we have a formidable team in this Church. Yeah, yeah, we have an amazing team and I’m proud to be part of that team.
We have those who climb the mountain,
We have those who lift up the hands of the pastors,
We have the praise worshippers,
We have an evangelism team,
We have the prayer warriors,
We have the creative,
We have the multimedia team,
We have those who are attending new and can’t wait to join this winning team
a team of called, chosen, gifted and eager!
Stand with me one more time and let me pray a blessing over you and yours.
Please be seated.
What does it mean to be called, chosen, gifted and eager?
First, who is the caller? God is the caller. He is the one who has called us out of darkness into his marvellous light.
● But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 1 Peter 2:9 KJV
● But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. Isaiah 43:1 KJV
1. Called Out. To be called is to be called out by . First called out of darkness. To be called by God means you are called away from something. Everyone who is called by God is called away from darkness. When God called Abraham, he was called from idol worship. He was called from
Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:17-18 NLT
2. God's Choice.
Church, the world is full of gifted people, creative people but not all are called by God but you my friend are called by God, you are God’s choice.
In 1 Cor. 1:26-27, the bible says…For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 1 Corinthians 1:26-27 KJV
- You may not look it, you may not look like you have been called, you may not look the part, you may not look gifted but guess what, you are called, chosen and gifted.
- You may not even know it yourself. You may not have discovered that you're gifted. Your Pastor may not know yet what you carry, he may not have realised it yet. In these passages, Moses didn't know. God had to draw his attention to it, God said see.
When you are called and chosen by God, it means you’re also equipped. God told Moses, I have called these guys and I have also equipped them. I have given them all the necessary skills needed to perform the work that I called them to do. Moses wanted to try it with God. Check this out But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” Exodus 4:10-12 NLT
4. Qualified. When you're called and chosen by God, when God equips you, he then qualifies you. Friends, you’ve heard it said before, God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called. He qualifies you by putting his spirit inside and putting his mark upon your life. God said to Moses, I have put my spirit inside these guys.
Church, let me finish by reminding you of 7 people you are called to, chosen, gifted and must be eager to be a blessing to and serve.
1. God almighty.
a. Friends, you are called by God to be with him. And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. Mark 3:13 KJV
b. You are called to walk before God. And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. Genesis 17:1 KJV
c. You are called to give him pleasure. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11 KJV
d. You are called to serve his purpose. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11 NLT
2. Yourself. Friends, self first and self love is not selfishness. You are to love your neighbour as yourself. You are called to yourself, to look after yourself, to love after your mental wellness.
3. Your Spouse. You are called, chosen and gifted to your spouse and you must be eager to serve them. Remember your marriage is your platform for the next generation. It is through your marriage that God wants to raise godly seeds. You cry out, “Why doesn’t the Lord accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the Lord witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows. Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. Malachi 2:14-15 NLT.
4. Your family. You are called, chosen, gifted and must be eager to love and serve your family. Your children, your parents, your siblings. In Cornelius, we see a man whose prayers and offering benefited his entire family. When the Angel told him to send for Peter, guess what he gathered his entire family to hear the gospel and the Holy Spirit came upon them. They arrived in Caesarea the following day. Cornelius was waiting for them and had called together his relatives and close friends. Acts of the Apostles 10:24 NLT
5. Your Pastors. Pastoring can be a very challenging calling. it's a calling to love, care, protect, teach, counsel, provide, intercede, support everyone in the fold. Pastors are expected to be ever ready at all times, he is to be loving, compassionate, powerful, an excellent leader, an orator, anointed man of God at all times. Pastoring can be a very stressful job and when Moses started, he was going to kill himself.
Many Pastors are on the edge, stressed out ans about to burnout.
Here are some statistics from soul shepherding ministry...
75% of pastors report being “extremely stressed” or “highly stressed” (1)
90% work between 55 to 75 hours per week (2)
90% feel fatigued and worn out every week (1)
70% say they’re grossly underpaid (2)
40% report a serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month (1)
78% were forced to resign from their church (63% at least twice), most commonly because of church conflict (1)
80% will not be in ministry ten years later and only a fraction make it a lifelong career (1). On average, seminary trained pastors last only five years in church ministry (2)
100% of 1,050 Reformed and Evangelical pastors had a colleague who had left the ministry because of burnout, church conflict, or moral failure (2)
91% have experienced some form of burnout in ministry and 18% say they are “fried to a crisp right now” (7)
● 70% of pastors say they have a lower self-esteem now than when they entered ministry (1)
● 70% constantly fight depression (2)
● 50% feel so discouraged that they would leave their ministry if they could, but can’t find another job (2)
● 80% believe their pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families and 33% said it was an outright hazard (1)
● 80% of ministry spouses feel left out and unappreciated in their church (2)
● 77% feel they do not have a good marriage (2)
● 41% display anger problems in marriage (reported by the spouse) (3)
● 38% are divorced or divorcing (1)
● 50% admit to using pornography and 37% report inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in the church (1)
● 65% feel their family is in a glass house (2)
Statistics on Pastors’ Lack of Soul Care and Training
● 53% of pastors do not feel that seminary or Bible college prepared them adequately (2)
● 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend (1)
● 50% do not meet regularly with an accountability person or group (6)
● 72% only study the Bible when preparing for sermons or lessons (1)
● 21% spend less than 15 minutes a day in prayer — the average is 39 minutes per day (4)
● 16% are “very satisfied” with their prayer life, 47% are “somewhat satisfied”, and 37% are either “somewhat dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” (spending more time in quiet prayer or listening to God versus making requests was correlated with higher satisfaction) (4)
● 44% of pastors do not take a regular day off (5)
● 31% do not exercise at all, while 37% exercise at least three or four days a week as recommended (6)
● 90% say they have not received adequate training to meet the demands of ministry (2)
● 85% have never taken a Sabbatical (6)
- we are called to support our pastors,
- we are called to lighten the load,
- we are called to encourage them
- We are called to pray for them
- We are called to love them
- We are called to shield them from wagging tongues.
Remember Pastor bleed too.
Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit. Pray for us, for our conscience is clear and we want to live honourably in everything we do. Hebrews 13:17-18 NLT
● Then Elkanah returned home to Ramah without Samuel. And the boy served the Lord by assisting Eli the priest. 1 Samuel 2:11 NLT
● Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon. 1 Samuel 3:1 NLT.
6. Your local Church. We are one body. You are called to serve in your local Church, join hands together to build. You are called to play your part. Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 1 Corinthians 12:14-15 NLT
7. The World, Humanity