Recently I heard Chris Wienand from Southlands Church share about “calling,” and how it is distinct from vocation or job; like God’s appointment for Jeremiah to be a prophet in Jeremiah 1:4-8:
Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.”
Calling is what gives your life meaning. Your calling should be recognizable to others who know you and appreciated as an area of gifting. It made me wonder, what is my calling? If wiping noses and changing diapers is just the current season of my life, what parts of me will endure beyond that?
I concluded that writing and editing is some part of my calling. Not writing novels, although someday maybe I will do that, but teaching ideas with well-chosen words is an intrinsic part of me. Nothing earthshaking there for those who know me, since I have been writing for the public schools, the church, and on family blogs for years; but it was helpful to me to crystallize the idea (and to get me through the next 20 years of dirty laundry).
Today I got another affirmation of my calling: I am now an officially published author! A publisher called Gospel Centered Discipleship has actually paid me for a piece of writing and credited my name on the title page. It’s an ebook right now, and actually just a discussion guide, but it is the companion volume for an awesome book that every Christian should read: Jonathan Dodson’s Unbelievable Gospel. (And then you can buy my discussion guide to go with it!)
Unbelievable Gospel exploded all my existing paradigms for evangelism. I am completely convinced that Jesus came to save sinners and that apart from faith in Christ there is no hope of forgiveness or eternal life. But it is really hard to talk to people who don’t know Jesus about what I believe without feeling like a jerk, an idiot, or somehow fake. Jonathan Dodson took everything I feared about evangelism, and everything I thought I knew, and turned it on its head in a wonderful way. He replaced my idea of evangelism being like memorized outlines and canned “spiritual surveys” with genuine listening and communicating through gospel stories that are meaningful and precious, like redemption, adoption, and union with Christ. I hope you grab this book (it’s a quick read, with lots of personal stories and examples) and read it with your small group, Sunday School class, or church. And a discussion guide can help you with that. 🙂
So I didn’t get a page to write my acknowledgements, but if I did, this is what I would say:
First I would like to thank my pastor, Jesse Kincer, for introducing me to Unbelievable Gospel and inviting me to write the curriculum for the small groups at my church, One Harbor. Thank you to Brad and Ben at Gospel Centered Discipleship for this first opportunity to see my words in print. My sincere appreciation also goes to my dear husband and parents, who watched the kids while I stole the time to write; and to my writing buddy, Kelly Simpson, for her encouragement and energy. And finally, thanks to God who authored such a beautiful, captivating gospel that humanity will never tire of writing about it.