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When Our Calling Gets in the Way

If you are looking for an attention-grabbing book to read while you are on quarantine, I recommend a personal narrative from Dr. Joel Gregory titled Too Great a Temptation.

Dr. Gregory was a gifted young preacher who was chosen to pastor what was the most influential megachurch in America in the late 1980s. His book pulls back the curtain on some of the dark aspects of American megachurch culture. He reveals how misunderstanding the call that God has placed on a person’s life can turn a positive gifting into something that can be destructive to himself, his family, and his church.

Even though this book is somewhat depressing, Joel Gregory has a lot to teach us. His story illustrates the dangers of what happens when a church or an individual allow any identity outside of “child of God” to become the most important thing about them. He has had a very fruitful and unconventional ministry in the years since the book was written. 

Our previous two weeks in the series of calling have focused on the call to faith. This is the call to salvation that comes millions and millions of times to people at all times at all corners of the world.

This week we are focused on a call that is far less common. Even in the extraordinary events of the Bible, there are fewer than 100 special calls that are issued. These calls are worth studying, however, because they give us universal truths about the way that God leads everybody who is called to follow Him.

Read Ephesians 2:1-10

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:1-10

Discussion Questions

  • How have you experienced God’s call to faith?
  • How was did you that it was God who was calling you?
  • Have you ever known someone who you felt had a special calling?
  • Do you think the special calling was to do a task or to hold a title?
  • How can a special calling go haywire when it becomes more about a title than a task?
  • Was Gideon motivated later in life by love of God or by the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life?
  • What are the things that we need to do in order to safeguard our calling so that it is not overwhelmed by our own pride?
  • How does Ephesians. 2 help to safeguard us from pride?

Prayer Time

Engage in a time of prayer for one another. Make sure that every individual prayer request is prayed for by another individual in the group.

Jonathan Pugh
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