|Mary Craig Ministries|
|Home Page > News and Views > Message of the Month|
Respond to the Call of God
Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,
This month Mary Craig Ministries, Inc. celebrates ten years of ministry. Since I am often asked to talk about the process of responding to the call of God, my story follows. I hope it will encourage you and bring glory to Christ.
In September of 1972, a battle raged over my soul. I had grown up in church, and presumed I had a personal relationship with Jesus, but I was not truly "saved." When asked what I would say to God should I find myself dead and standing before Him as He asked why He should let me into His heaven, I responded with my "Christian resume," a long list of everything from 11 years in choir to VBS to how hard I had tried to do right. Suddenly, I knew it was the wrong answer and that Jesus had something to do with the right answer, but how?
For over an hour a fight ensued between God and Satan. I could sense it and screamed, having a good understanding of the sovereignty of God in salvation. Finally, God won, and I collapsed. That was the first time I heard the Holy Spirit. He said to me, "Mary, be still and know that I am God. I am the Living Spirit who has come to live within you. You have died, but because I live and live forever, you also live." It went on and on, and the Word I had studied for years made sense. I call this my Passover. With it came an understanding of Jesus Christ as the Way, the only way to the Father, and an ability to demonstrate thanksgiving to God.
After teaching Bible studies, counseling, speaking, etc., for 15 years, things began to change. The Holy Spirit became more prominent in my life. I came to a greater understanding of Jesus as the Truth by the Spirit of Truth and grew in my ability to demonstrate praise to God. I came into Pentecost as the Holy Spirit was poured out over me, my life. This Pentecost anointing brought me into a greater awareness of the spirit world and spiritual warfare along with the power of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of Pentecost is to learn to obey the Holy Spirit and to appreciate Godís laws and ways so as to repent of rebellion against Him and to go and do as He says go and do. God grants grace to obey through faith working by love.
In 1989, God called me to bring healing and restoration to the Body of Christ, to prepare the Bride for His return, and to call the nations to repentance as He would send me. I had a clear and distinct call, undeniable, to preach the gospel lest the blood be on me and woe to me if I preached not the gospel of Jesus Christ. I found this one of the most frustrating times of my Christian life, but God led me back into college and then on to seminary to complete the required theological degrees and doctor of ministry. People would pray over me and say things like, "to the nations," and "have suitcase, will travel," but I went nowhere for five years.
In 1993, the senior minister of the church where we were members called me into his office along with my husband. He said he recognized that I had an apostolic call on my life, a call similar to what he had seen personally on Kathryn Kuhlman, whom he had known when she was in Pennsylvania. He challenged me to organize the ministry with my husband as President. MCM was the response to that challenge ten years ago.
God tells us, "despise not small beginnings." MCM began with few resources. To this day, no one in our family receives a salary, royalties, or income in any form from this ministry. Ours is a testimony of Godís faithfulness as we walk with Him, not with the spurting growth of a weed, but with the steady growth of an oak tree. With wonderful Board members over the years to guide and direct it, MCM has sent mission teams beginning in August, 1994, to fifty nations and all seven continents. Twenty-three people have participated in missions experiences, many more than once. In 1999, God expanded the call to call the nations to resurrection, following what I call the spikenard anointing. With this anointing came a deeper death and resurrection, with a greater understanding of Jesus as the Judge of what is living and what is dead.
MCM established Craighouse® and most recently launched the Barnabas Project. We have seen NEWS and the message of the month grow exponentially and have been blessed to have had a radio ministry for four years along the way. Our web site, www.marycraig.org, now has over 150 pages of free Bible studies, messages, prophecy, favorite links, etc.
On behalf of my husband, Rev. Jim Craig, myself, and the Board of Mary Craig Ministries, I want to personally thank you for the blessing you have been to MCM over the years. In 1990, God asked me to "lay down my life" for the Body. You are His Body. People are the point of any ministry, and you are Godís man, woman, or child. Many of you are pastors, evangelists, apostles, prophets, and teachers, active in all kinds of ministry in the Kingdom of God all over the globe. You are people hungry for God, for His truth, desiring to keep in step with the Holy Spirit. I have learned from you and been encouraged by you, by your letters, and by your offerings. It has been a "God thing" over the years, a one anothering, a privilege.
Where are we today? Today, we are entering a Tabernacles anointing, an anointing in which we come into a greater understanding of Jesus as the Life and truly worship Him in spirit and in truth. This anointing brings us to the position of mature sons. It is about the Father, just as Passover is about Jesus and Pentecost is about the Holy Spirit. In Tabernacles, we truly come to abide in Christ and to have Christ abide in us, living the reality of the covenantó"I will be your God, and you will be My son." In Tabernacles, the glory of the Lord both covers us and fills us, even as we are sanctified to be a holy place. It is about getting back to the Father, living in the presence of a holy God and a holy God living in us, His holy tabernacle, sanctified by the Spirit and the Blood of Christ.
With Tabernacles comes an even deeper appreciation and understanding of the price of our redemption, the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world, the heinousness of sin, cleansing of unrighteousness, the command of God to be holy, as He is holy. With Tabernacles comes the spirit of sonship, the attitude of "henceforth to do Your will" and "I have come to do Your will, O God" and "a body I have prepared for you." God the Father prepared a body for Jesus, a divine Person with a divine nature who took on a human nature in the incarnation. We are human beings with a human nature and body, prepared to partake of the divine nature, though never being fully God. With Tabernacles, MCM will go again to the nations to carry the glory of God where He sends us. We are not the only ones, but the glory of the Lord will cover the earth until the whole earth is filled with His glory. With Tabernacles, we respond to the call of the Holy Spirit to "rise and reign."
But what is Godís calling? I think it begins when we ask, "Lord what would You have me to do?" I believe every Christian has his or her own calling, a calling as Godís child and servant. It begins when we are willing to agree, align, and abide in the Word, in Christ.
In salvation, God gives us His Name. Believers are baptized into the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. God makes us His and makes His Name ours. So first there is the call to Jesus Christ, to believe in Him and believe Him. It is a call to be like God, holy, by grace through faith. It is a call to sonship, to bear Godís Name and the Name of Christ, to be a holy one, a saint.
God also calls you by your name, and often, He gives a new name. (Isaiah 62.4; 2 Samuel 12.25; Phil. 4.3; Malachi 3.16; Revelation 2.17, e.g.) God can change your name, as He did with Peter and Paul, and with it change your life.
Following the call to Christ when the Father says, "look and live," comes the call to the cross, when Jesus invites, "come and die." With it comes a call to service in the kingdom of God, as we are to serve one another in love. In accepting this call, we find we suffer for the sake of others, for the Body, even if we do not suffer in the place of others, bearing their sins as Christ did. As Christ is Lord over all, every calling becomes a calling of service to Christ (Col. 3.22-24), a service to others in Christís name (Eph.4.28).
The gifts given to us by God also shape our service and the call to serve. The variety of gifts in the Body of Christ are meant to unify, not divide us. We should seek the power of a combined anointing, each coming with various gifts and callings to edify the whole. (Ephesians 4.16) So we look at the gifts and grace given. (Romans 15.15, 16; Romans 12.3; 1 Corinthians 3.10; 15.10; Galatians 2.9; Ephesians 3.2, 7) Paul said of his apostleship that he was what he was by the grace of God which was with him (1 Cor. 15.10).
Think soberly at this point, because to whom much is given, much is required. (Luke 12.48) Fellowship and opportunity also work to shape our service and calling. With Godís gifting, we need to discover, develop, and deploy those gifts.
As we are faithful in the least, God will grant grace to be faithful in the much. God is faithful above all, and He brings this to pass. Faithfulness is keyófaithfulness to obey the truth you know, faithfulness to keep going in season and out of season, knowing that in due season you will reap if you donít faint. Keep going.
Some are "called to the ministry." This is not a call to be a prince or a master or a king or queen, but rather to be a servant among servants. (1 Peter 5.3; Ephesians 2.6; 1 John 3.1; 1 Timothy 2.5; Matthew 23.8-12) Christís total rule obliterates the idea of hierarchy. Every believer is co-heir with Christ. Jesus washed feet, and when the apostles argued about rank, Jesus offered the cup of suffering (Matthew 20.22) and a basin and a towel (John 13.4-14). Every believer is called to share both the cross and the crown with Christ, who alone is High Priest, Prophet, King, and the only Mediator and Potentate.
But just as the Father and the Holy Spirit give gifts to the Body (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12), so also Christ gives gifts to the Body in the five-fold office (Ephesians 4). The call to the ministry is a particular call of stewardship of the gospel of Jesus. We are all called to witness, to evangelize, to proclaim truth, to share and spread the Word, etc. But some will be called to an office, be it elder, deacon, pastor, etc. These are servants among fellow-servants, but with authority. (Timothy, Titus, and you!)
Stewardship of the gospel is tied to our confession of Christ. The stewards of Christ have the authority to declare in Christís name both the good news of the forgiveness of sins and the judgment that follows failure to repent. Christís authority is the beginning and end of the authority of any oversight and/or preaching. The power and glory belong to Christ. Those who understand this remain humble in their calling. Stewards are there to serve, not to be served.
Edmund P. Clowney says, "To miss your calling, follow this three-point program: assume that it begins in the future, decide that you donít know what it is, and sit down to wait for the Lordís call." If you are a believer, you are called. Fulfill your call as a Christian, and you will soon learn what ministry/commission is yours. (Clowney, Edmund P. Called to the Ministry. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Co., 1978, page 67.)
Just the messenger,
But I am among you as he that serves. (Jesus, Luke 22.27b)
|Copyright © 2003 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.|
|ïBack to Healing, Deliverance and Eternal Life|