by Jason Cruise
Hang around preachers long enough and you'll begin to hear the word "calling" come up quite often. Most every preacher you meet has his own story of how God called him into a career of ministry. I wonder, however, if the rest of the world ever thinks about God calling them to, well, anything at all.
While I know for certain that my call from God to full-time ministry was tangible, I am fully convinced that God doesn't just reserve calling to the prophetic fraternity. Why? Because Moses was an average guy. David was a shepherd, a livestock farmer. Amos was a grower of figs. Jonah was, well, anyway. Bad example. Jonah was looking for a way out of the whaling industry!
The Scriptures say that you are "fearfully and wonderfully made." (Psalm 139:14). God took time to make you, and God doesn't waste His energy to create a worthless product.
We are, every one, called to something. Calling is not a guarantee of success, or of failure. Calling is not exclusive to any group, like, say, pastors. Calling is, however, unique to you. Calling is not about the job itself. Calling is not about performance. Calling is about obedience.
The real issue at hand comes down to courage and guts. Do you have the fortitude to stay on a path when it gets hard, or to leave even though life is comfortable?
My calling has been, and will always be, the only constant thing I can truly depend on in terms of my career and my identity. My identity is shaped by the fact that God told me He wanted me walking a certain path, so I did it. You have the same calling. The context of the career may not be the same, but your decision about obedience to His call on your life is what's at stake.
Never be afraid to walk into the unknown when you are called to do it. It's there and only there, friend, that you'll find a freedom that transcends circumstance.
An Unexpected Redemption
by Jason Cruise
How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of great things. - Romans 10:15
Something odd happens inside the soul of a man when he answers the call to defend those who are defenseless. I have both seen and experienced the Spirit himself forever alter a man's earth journey once he steps into the obscure realm of obedience to rescue those who have no hope of hope itself.
Many years ago God crossed my path with Jeremy Harrill, a North Carolina Game Warden, who has since walked as close to me as a brother born of a different mother. Through filming and production efforts, our journey of brotherhood has taken us all over North America as we share the story of Jesus the Christ with hunters.
Working through Justice and Mercy International, our most recent expedition would literally take us on the other side of the globe in hopes of sharing the love of God with those who are being hunted by human traffickers, for you see, Moldova is ground zero for human trafficking in Eastern Europe. In the last 20 years, research indicates that 47,000 Moldovan teenage girls have been sold into sex slavery.
Jeremy and his band of brothers at his church decided they wanted to sponsor a Moldovan girl, and immediately I knew the girl he needed to meet. The one in need of rescue was a young Moldovan princess named Alina. Being both stunningly beautiful and severely poor, she is a prime target for traffickers. Born into extreme poverty in this former Soviet country, at the age of 7 she was sent to ... of all places ... an orphanage, located in the poorest country in Europe, to seek out a path for her life.
I watched Jeremy explain to her that he and his brothers in Christ were going to walk through life with her; to love, support, and protect her both physically and spiritually. In my many trips to Moldova I often get to see a child's reaction when they hear for the first time that they are going to be sponsored.
While it's always a sweet moment, I have never before seen anyone react like Alina. In the moment when Jeremy spoke these words about sponsorship she literally closed her eyes, dropped her shoulders, exhaled, and said, "I've been waiting for this." Though perhaps the dosage may have been small, it was as if she was face to face with her first glance at the idea of hope.
Soaked from the rain, her feet were cold and her socks were wet. On a rainy Saturday in October, I watched as my brother literally put new shoes and dry socks into this girls hands while she took off what was most likely the only pair of shoes she owned. Alina knows a little English. Her exact words were, "Wow."
We were in Moldova to preach redemption.
The Scriptures say that the feet of those who bring this good news are "beautiful feet." It is true that we are His messengers as we preach to the ones needing to be redeemed. However, I'm quite certain that in those times where we share the message of justice and mercy to the afflicted, it's also the messenger himself that experiences a reconnection with redemption yet again, for in that moment, I heard the words of Jesus say to Jeremy, "... inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me."
The Secret Drumbeat Few Ever Find
by Jason Cruise
Our youngest son, Tucker, has, on many levels, pushed us further down the road of faith in all things related to parenting. Our first son, Cole, actually set me and Michelle up for parental failure by being so incredibly "good." Cole was, from day one, compliant, gentle, reliable, and just about as easy to raise as it ever gets in terms of parenting. Tucker ... well, he simply isn't any of that. Yet.
Tucker is incredibly funny, but compliant he is not. Since the day of birth, it was blatantly obvious that at the top of Tucker's core value system was total and absolute defiance of authority. Gentle, yes, sometimes. Reliable, very much so, in terms that you can absolutely count on him ... to destroy just about anything you find valuable. Tucker has redefined Man-to-Man defense for me, as in you'd better shadow him at every moment if you don't want him to score. I'll give him this: he is a winner. He will find a way to score, and the prize will always be at the peril of your wallet. Bookies in Vegas are laying down odds now that he will surpass more spankings by the age of three than Cole has on record at the age of seven.
In all fairness to Tuck, he's a ton of fun.
When he's not drawing a line in the sand for control of whatever is important to him at the moment.
One of the things that Tucker has taught me is that there's always a party going on, you just gotta have the desire to find it.
Even before he could walk, you'd notice Tucker, at times, bobbing his head. Like he was at some rock concert in the arena of his head. Yet, if you listened closely, you'd always hear a beat somewhere in the background. It never failed, and still doesn't to this day. We can be in the grocery store, walking through a parking lot, in a noise-filled environment of any sort, and out of nowhere, Tuck will stop in his tracks and start moving to a groove. Sure enough, listen closely, and you'll hear music playing somewhere in the distance. Sometimes soft, sometimes loud, but it's always there.
I am fully convinced that Tucker is going to teach me a lot about God. Especially about the joy of a Heavenly Father who yearns for His children to enjoy the journey set before them. That journey is one where His song is always playing, if you have "eyes to see and ears to hear."
The Goal Of Your Faith
by Jason Cruise
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
Without grace freedom was never in your future. Freedom to live beyond your self, and the scars of your past, simply was not, and is not, possible without the grace of Jesus Christ.
Jesus never called you to follow Him in order to be good. You don't need Jesus to be a better person.
So often the devil dupes people into thinking that the chief aim of their faith is to see incredible behavioral reform. Becoming a better person was never the intent of God's sending Jesus to this earth so that you could ultimately follow Him. God did not allow His son to die on a cross just to help you with your bad habits.
The entire reason that God set you free was that you were never going to be able to purchase redemption from Hell on your own. He called you to follow Him because you were not, and are not, able to save yourself from yourself.
Goodness has never been the goal of Christianity. Walking in Christ-likeness is the lifestyle, not a goal set, for how we are to live.
It was for freedom that you have been set free.
Jason Cruise is the founder of Mission. Mission was created to "vindicate the fatherless" in a country known as Moldova. To learn more go to www.themissionvision.net Jason is a well known speaker traveling across the country sharing his love for Christ at wildgame dinners and conferences. Jason has created many valuable resources for the outdoorsmen to take them deeper into their walk with their Creator. These items include DVD's, Bibles, and Bible studies.