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Answering the Call - What Has God "Called" You to Do?, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
January 23, 2023 5:00 am

Answering the Call - What Has God "Called" You to Do?, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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January 23, 2023 5:00 am

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a job that you really loved? Well, if you think that your dream job is “only a dream," think again. Starting today, Chip begins a new series called, “Answering the Call.” He’ll talk about how to find the career of a lifetime and begin enjoying the work God made you to do.


Wouldn't it be great if you had a job that you really loved? You know, the kind of job that you can't wait to get to every day?

Well, if you think your dream job is really just a dream, then think again. Starting today, we're going to talk about how to find the career of a lifetime and begin enjoying the work God made you to do. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. Thanks for joining us as we launch our helpful series, Answering the Call, How to Discover and Fulfill God's Purpose for Your Life. For the next several programs, Chip's going to challenge us to think about our work as an act of worship to God, which is radically different than the world's view. Now, before we get going, let me encourage you to invite a friend or spouse to listen to this series with you.

They can do that via the Chip Ingram app or Well, if you have a Bible, turn down to the book of Ephesians as we join Chip for his talk, What Has God Called You to Do? When the phone rings, we all expect that there's someone else on the other end, correct? Second, when the phone rings, we not only expect there's someone on the other end, we expect they have a reason to call, right?

I mean, there's an actual reason. They don't just call and go, you know, my mind went blank. This number came to my mind and I thought I'd give you a call, okay?

That's not it. The third thing is when the phone rings and we pick it up, we expect there's going to be someone on the other end. We expect they're calling for a reason, and this is a little, may sound naive, but we assume they know our number, right? Because they called us, right? They know our number.

That means they know some things about us. Not everybody has your number. And finally, when the phone rings, we not only expect someone to be on the other end and believe they have a reason for calling and they actually know our number and something about us, but we don't really intellectualize this, but we expect it will have an impact on our world and on our day. Sometimes you get a phone call and someone is asking for help that impacts your day. Sometimes you get a phone call and someone says, Chip, I'm thinking about you. I remember when I went through a big transition, I was really hurting and I don't know, I couldn't get you off my mind. Here's my number.

Here's my new cell. I don't know if I can be of any help. I want you to know, Chip, I'm here for you. I care about you.

If there's anything I can do, would you let me know? So we expect when we answer a call on the phone that it's going to impact our lives. Sometimes it impacts our lives and we get news and it makes us very sad because we heard about a death or a car wreck or a tragedy. Sometimes it makes us mad.

Sometimes it makes us unbelievably happy. You have won the sweepstakes. Right?

You just had a brand new baby. All I want to get to is calls are a very important part of our life every day. And what we want to talk about is when God calls. When God calls, I want you to know there's someone else on the other end of the line. When God calls you, he has a reason.

I want you to know God not only knows your number, he knows everything about you. He created you. He made your DNA and so he has a direct line not just to your body and your ears. He has a direct line to your heart because you are fearfully and wonderfully made and he made you and designed you uniquely.

You are not off a mass production. There's no one else like you in all the universe because you are part of the mosaic of his body but he's going to call and let you know what that purpose is. And his call will have an incredible impact on your life and on the lives of others. But I'd also suggest that sometimes the phone rings and we're so busy or distracted we can't get to it. Someone was on the other end. They had a reason for calling.

They knew our number. It would have impacted our lives but the phone rang and we couldn't get to it. At other times at least in my house, there's times where the phone can be ringing but you can't hear it. And if you can't hear it, you can't pick it up. And I believe there's a lot of Christians that the phone has rung with God on the other end to give you a call about what he wants to do in you and through you uniquely. And sometimes we're so busy we don't pick it up. Sometimes we're so distracted we don't pick it up.

And sometimes we just can't hear it ring. We're going to talk about God's call, his calling, both at home and at work. A number of years ago I was involved in a church in Santa Cruz, California right on the Monterey Bay and God decided to do an amazing thing. We saw thousands and thousands of people come to Christ and at the time we had filled out our facility and we were at five services and video overflow on all of them and as the church grew, it outgrew my leadership ability and it was obvious to everyone and I was burned out and we needed people with good management and we called a consultant that had really helped with the big church and he listened to me and listened to our staff and listened to the elders and thousands of people coming and he said, oh this isn't hard, this happens to a lot of churches and tell you what, what you need is someone, he's in your church, he's probably a VP of operations somewhere, you need someone because there's the cause aspect of a church, evangelism, there's the community aspect, relationships, those two are strong in your church and there's the corporate aspect of a church, you know, policy, organization, administration, HR, you know, systems and infrastructure so the cause can go forward and community can be empowered and your corporate structure, if I can put it mildly, stinks and we said, yeah we agree with that and so we began to pray who that person might be and so I found when you want to recruit great staff members because I hired most all the people out of our church and offered them tens of thousands of dollars under what they were presently making and felt good about it and was surprised at how many said yes and we were just involved in this amazing run together and so I found that, you know, you got to have exactly the right setting and so I asked Fred to meet me while we were doing all the different ministries Wednesday night, we had all these electives and things going so we met at Burger King and I knew that after offering him fries and a Whopper, you know, he's going to be so indebted to me, how could he say anything but yes and I talked with Fred and we laid out the needs of the church and his gifts and he was the VP of operation of a multinational company in the Silicon Valley. He was vested and had, you know, just under a million dollars of if he would stay for about another year or so and I gave him a great opportunity to shift gears in his life and use all those skills and come and take over all the operations of the church and he prayed about that and that was the question, I said, Fred, would you like to come to work for us and I know you got a great job, you got a great testimony, I don't know if it's God's will but what we need is who you are and you came to Christ out of this church, God's used you in this ministry, then this ministry, then this ministry, I'd like you to really pray about it and his answer was very interesting. He said, Chip, it's interesting that you'd ask me and he says this isn't really a good time to ask me because, you know, I've been thinking and praying about some other things but this is not really good timing because if I stay in my job, you know, even if I would leave, you know, I'd probably get over a million dollars because I was in the early days of this startup. He said that shortly after I became a Christian, I mean within just even a few weeks, and I didn't even know much about, quote, how you hear God's voice, I felt called to be a senior pastor and as the process went on back and forth, we basically cut a deal, Fred, I'll teach you everything I know about being a senior pastor, I mean Mary, Barry, counseling, teaching, everything I know, if you'll come and take over all the ops and you do that and then we'll do it little by little and I did for the next several years, if I did a, whatever I did, he did it and then I had him do part of the message, then he did a series with me, then he did a small series and pretty soon I'll tell you, well, Fred is a senior pastor now, a thriving ministry but he heard God's call.

He knew when he heard the offer, that's what God wanted him to do and it was an integrity test because he walked away from hundreds of thousands of dollars to answer God's call and that raises for me some diagnostic questions that I think we ought to ask and answer before we go too far along. Question number one is how many of you have ever considered going into full-time ministry and you know, maybe as a pastor, a teacher, a missionary, youth worker, music, a parachurch, Bible translation, maybe full-time ministry as a support ministry, a mechanic, computer operator, administrative skills. Second question is what motivated you to consider that? Why did you go through the process at some point in time and say to yourself, you know, I think maybe God, maybe, I don't know, maybe God would want me in full-time ministry. Was it deeper meaning, it was a call from God, fulfillment, serving others, maybe eternal reward, obedience to Christ, desire to make a real impact in your life, I don't know, what was it?

Third question is what hindered you from moving that direction? Financially, there's no way to pull it off, I'm unsure if this is really God's will, lack of confidence, oh boy at this stage am I going to go back and get theological training or maybe the one that I hear most often, I'm not sure how to know to be sure, I've thought about it, I'm not sure, but I don't know how you can be sure, so until I'm sure, I think I'll not be sure and so I didn't do it, and if you can follow all that, you are really awake and doing well. The fourth question is do full-time Christian workers have a special place in God's heart? Now I know the surface question, you know, God loves everyone, so, but I mean, what do you really think about that? Well, maybe they get a little more grace, a little greater reward, maybe they get and have greater abilities. Final question, was God more pleased with Jesus at age 28 as a carpenter or more pleased with him as a preacher at 31?

Why or why not? At 28, he was a carpenter doing manual labor. Was God more pleased then or at 31 when he was a preacher, what do you think, why or why not? Now I'm asking those questions because I want us to think, I don't want to just lay something, I want to think through the issues because God calls everyone and he calls for a reason and he knows your number and he wants this call to impact your life and those around you. But if we're foggy on how he calls or what a call is, we may stay too busy or not even hear it. With that then, let me do some defining because there's things that are related that might be helpful, just important definitions because we're talking about hearing God's call for work and some work at home, some work outside the home, some are self-employed, some have different kind of jobs, some are building careers.

So let me just take a run at a few definitions so that we don't use these words in a sloppy way. First, a job is what I do to earn a living. A job is I need money to pay the bills, it's called a job.

This is what I do, this is what I do so that I have enough money to take care of, you just go through all the bills, the house, the food. A career is what I build to create a life. Everyone's had a, at some point in time, I had a job throwing papers, I've had a job painting houses, I've had a job cutting grass, I've had a job doing this and then at certain points in your life you thought, now, this is something you're going to build to build a life.

This is what I want to do, here's where the opportunity is, this is how I can be successful. And finally, a vocation is what God calls me to do to fulfill his highest purposes in me and through me for his glory and my joy. By the way, we'll look at that, the Latin word vocation is where we get our word calling. And we'll learn some history that job, career, vocation, these things didn't used to be all in separate categories. There was a time when people thought through different worldview where your vocation, your calling from God got translated into the career and the job that you did where you were living before the face of God doing what he made you to do in a way that it paid the bills and built a career and that your life using your unique gifts and talents was in the right sweet spot of accomplishing what he put you on the earth to do. And so that's why they called it your vocation.

And now we use the word to mean your vocational opportunities and your aptitude tests and what kind of career or what kind of job. So I just wanted to get those definitions out of the way and then ask, what is your calling? I mean, if I just took my little pen out and I said, okay, many are going to say, God has not called me on the phone yet, okay? But if I gave you this pen and I said, okay, write down in two sentences, God has called me to, God wants me to do, God wants to do in me and through me, what if you were going to write it down, what would you write down? What do you think God has uniquely gifted you and designed you to do to fulfill his highest purposes?

And by the way, don't miss the second half and give you the greatest joy. Remember the parable of the talents? We miss it sometimes, that parable where he, you know, it's a stewardship and he gives them each so much according to their abilities. And do you remember how that ends when he rewards them?

Come and enter the joy. We're going to talk about work and our views of work and calling, but I just want to get the categories sort of shaking around in the back of your mind. What is it God wants to do in your life, through your life, at your home, in your work? In fact, here's the fundamental question, what did he make you to do? And I would just suggest that sometimes God's call is a single, wow, I got it, and it comes young, and I'm Joseph, and here's the dream, here's the call, here's what you do. Other times, the call comes in mid-life, when you're in a completely another career, and you're a Saul going one direction, and you become a Paul, and things radically change. And sometimes you thought your life was pretty well, you know, I've kind of put in my time, you know, I've done the actuary report, thinking maybe got a couple more years, or actually I'm about five years over, what I should get, and you're a Moses. And at 80, you learn that everything you've done up to 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85 was preliminary. Because you do understand that the accomplishment of God's will has nothing to do with the time it takes to do it.

The accomplishment of all the will of God in the life of Christ was under three years. It's not how long you do God's will, it's hearing His calling and doing what He calls you to do to accomplish His purposes. Some people have real long, steady callings, some people get them early, some middle, some late. So I just wanted before some of you with a little bit of the whiter hair are thinking, you know, this is about finding the right job and getting in the right niche, it probably doesn't have anything to do with me.

I'm guessing maybe it does. Well now we're going to do a little research, and what I want to talk about now is a biblical perspective of calling. And I'm going to, without apology, give you a little theology here, because when we talk about calling, and if you would just go through the Bible and say, calling, and look at all what the Bible says about calling, you would just start getting confused. We're called into this kingdom, Paul was called by God, we're called to this purpose, you're called to walk in a manner worthy, and you've got all these words about calling all over the Bible.

And so what I did is I did a lot of work and I tried to then say to myself, okay, how could I could arrange this in a way where we could have some categories to look at calling? And the key, key verse I want you to think about is, imagine if you will with me, Ephesians is the book about how to live, the church, chapters one, two, and three, this is who we are in Christ, chapters four, five, and six, here's the practice of how to live. Okay, this is what God has done, we have a new inheritance, we're adopted, we're transformed, we're redeemed, we have a new place that we are in this thing called the church, now chapter four opens up, now walk in a manner worthy of the calling by which you've been called.

That's the key verse. Walk in a manner worthy, and we get our English word, we get his axis. And basically what he says is all this truth of the first three chapters that I just gave you, this is what's already true of you in Christ. Now walk in a manner worthy, this is your belief, here's what's true, I want your behavior to tell the same story as your beliefs, and basically it's bring up to level your behavior with your belief, what's true of you and how you actually act, walk in a manner worthy of the calling by which you have been called. And then as you look at the rest of the second half of Ephesians, he will talk about what a worthy walk looks like out of the call that you have. But with that in mind, let me just give you a, at least, and other people may organize these differently, so this is not from Mount Sinai, this is from Mount Chipperoo, okay?

So other people who organize this a little bit differently, those are great, this is my best understanding. God calls us first to a person, to a person. You'll notice in your notes, Ephesians 1, 18, that the eyes of your understanding being enlightened that you should know what is the hope of his calling and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. And then, John, if you would, 1 Corinthians 1, 9, to God who has called you into fellowship with his son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and then it talks about him and says that he is faithful. First and foremost, the call that God has for you is to call you into a relationship with him.

Jesus said, come unto me, not come to a cause, not come to work, come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. The first call is to a who. It's about relationship. It's about being loved. It's about God saying, I want to rescue you, I want to redeem you, I want to love you, I want a relationship with you, I want to be your father. I understand, early what, Ephesians 1, 2, and 3, you were in the kingdom of darkness, I have called you, redeemed you out of the kingdom of darkness and placed you into the kingdom of light by what Christ has accomplished on your behalf, and you, by believing and trusting in what Jesus did as your substitute, you have been transformed from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, you have been called into personal relationship with God the Father through the work of the son by the power of the Holy Spirit. So you're called into personal relationship.

That's how the word is first used. Second, God calls us to a purpose. Notice in your notes, Ephesians 4, 13. It says, till we come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the son of God to a perfect, or literally to a mature man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, he calls us to a purpose. And notice it makes it even more clear in Romans 8, 28 to 30, it says, and we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, then notice this phrase, to those who are called, how, according to his purpose, for whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Moreover, whom he predestined, these he also called, whom he called, these he also justified, and whom he justified, these he also glorified. God has called you to a purpose, and that purpose is to make you like his son. The purpose is Christ-likeness, conformed to the image of his son. God's number one agenda is not where you work, not what you do in the church. God's number one agenda is to call you first to himself and second to a purpose, and his purpose is to conform you to the image of his son. He wants you to think like Jesus. He wants you to drive your car the way Jesus would drive your car if he was in your body. He wants you to prioritize your time and treat other people the way Jesus would prioritize his time and treat other people if he was living inside your body. The whole goal is that you literally, progressively become more and more like the son of God. You are called to that purpose. In fact, it's said here in Romans 8, he works all things together, the coincidences, quote, the tragedies, the stock market, the pain, the job situation, the children, the singleness, the cancer, the unknown.

He is working. God, this day, at this moment in your life and mine, is orchestrating every circumstance, every relationship, and every event to fulfill the calling of his purpose to make you and to make me more and more like Jesus. It's like Michelangelo chipping away, right, on that big piece of marble to make a masterpiece. And God is infusing us with grace, even using the worst and most difficult things that come our way to fulfill that purpose. Jesus said, be ye perfect in Matthew 5, 48, even as your heavenly father is perfect. The word perfect there, you might write, it's the word teleos. It's exactly the same word up in Ephesians 4, 13, where it says that we're to be a perfect man to the measure of the stature.

Teleos, you can kind of hear it, telescope. But what it's about, it's the argument of design. Teleos means fulfilling and becoming according to the exact design of the one who designed it. God's purpose, his design, is that I would become perfect, mature, like Jesus. So God calls us first to a person, second to a purpose, third, God calls us to, and if you'll add a little word, it's not just to people. God calls us to a people. Ephesians 4, 1 to 16. As you stare at these 16 verses, notice we get the first verse, either for the prisoner of the Lord beseech you to walk in a manner worthy of your calling.

Now what I want to get in your mind, don't get so much into all the facts. The goal is he's going to call us first to himself, then he's going to call us to this purpose of becoming like Christ, and now he calls us to a people. He wants to transform you. You're going to be called to walk in a manner worthy. Now look at verses 2 and 3, what's the very first thing he talks about? Isn't it with all gentleness, forbearance, bearing with one another?

There's four different words there that are about relationships, right? And they're all about getting along with other people, with all humility, with all gentleness, making every effort. Making every effort what? To maintain the unity of the body in the bond of peace, not to create it. You are placed out of this kingdom of darkness, into the kingdom of light, into the supernatural community, the body of Christ, and he says, now what I want you to do is I want you, you're a part of the puzzle, but you're a different part. I want you all to fit together in relational unity in such a way that preserves this reflection of who I am, and then you get these staccato, one faith, one Lord, one baptism, one calling in your... In the first six verses, what he's saying is, I've called you to be a people in unity that reflect who I am, and then look at verses 7 through 10, and he talks then about how he gives grace, gifts to people, and basically it's a passage that talks about the victory of Christ and the proof of the victory of Christ over Satan and death and sin is he gives spiritual gifts to men. And so when he's talking about calling us to a people, he's saying that this people is going to be a relational reality, then he's going to say the basis of our relationships is the work of Christ. Now look at verses 11, and he talks about what the gifts are in this supernatural community we call the church, and he gave some as apostles and some as prophets and some as evangelists and some as pastors and teachers, why? For the equipping of the saints, for the work of service to the building up of the body of Christ, how? Until we all attain, what? To the unity of the faith, of the measure of the fullness.

We're perfect, we're to be like Christ. So he says, I call you to be a people. Peter says a holy nation, a royal priesthood.

They're all synonyms for the body of Christ, the church. You are called to a person, Jesus. You are called to a purpose to become like him, and you are called to a people, called the church.

The phone rings, and God says, I didn't just save you for a purpose, and you float out there somewhere. I want you connected to a local body of people, because I've deposited gifts in you, and I have purpose for you, and you, fitting with who you are and who they are, come together to demonstrate my glory to the world. And in the one, you come, right? Coming to me.

In the other, it's be, be perfect. Then what did Jesus say? Follow me. Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. He wants you to be a part of other people becoming like Christ.

You are called to that. California, you get into lots of conversations, like, you know, I don't need to go to church to be a Christian, to which I say, you're right. I don't have to go to church. You know, all I do is talk, and I don't think it's that important to be a member of a local church.

Yeah, you know, God does. You can describe membership, and you know, some people, I'm a member, and they haven't been in three years, so I don't think that's a good one. And some churches don't take formal membership.

I'm not talking about that. What I'm talking about is a participating, involved, active, engaged member where you know your gifts, you're serving, you're being loved, and you're loving other people. And life, community is happening on the basis of the work of Christ, and people's lives are changing because they're rubbing up against the Christ in you and your gifts, and you're rubbing up against the Christ in them. You are called to a people.

Chip will be back in just a minute with his application. You've been listening to the first part of his message, What Has God Called You to Do? from our series, Answering the Call. Are you looking for a job, starting a new career, or just desperate for a fresh perspective on your current employment? Through this eight-part series, Chip unpacks what the Bible has to say about this idea of work and reveals why God intended it to be more than just what we do for a living. Stay with us as we discover how to find genuine enjoyment and fulfillment in our work and bring praise to God through it. To get more plugged in with this series or our many resources, visit

That's Well, Chip's with me in studio now, and Chip, I think this is the perfect time for you to teach on a topic like this. We're a little way into the new year, and we're all trying to develop new habits.

For some, maybe they're starting a new job. Take a minute, if you would, and share what you're hoping we can all learn from this series. Well, great question, Dave. First, I'd like to say your work really matters to God. It's not just a paycheck or a get-it-done-so-you-can-live-for-Friday-and-Saturday-and-Sunday. Your work is a part of the most integral issues that God is concerned about. He wants to do something in you and through your work. In fact, the word vocation, we're going to learn it means a calling. And there's a calling that we tend to think about missionaries or pastors, but God calls people to Himself, to specific jobs, and to tasks that are each just as holy as if you were called to be a pastor. You need to understand what God made you to do, how to hear His voice, and that's what we're going to learn in this series. Well, I hope you'll join us for every message. And to help you get the most out of this teaching, download Chip's message notes. They include his outline, the scripture references, and much more. To get them, go to the Broadcasts tab at

App listeners tap Fill in Notes. Chip, as we wrap up this first program, take a minute and share one of the major faults you've observed in how we view and approach work. I'd be glad to, Dave. You know, all of us tend to compartmentalize our lives. We have work, we have home, kind of have spiritual and church, but God doesn't look at it that way.

In fact, we're one whole person. It's the spiritual life of God in us at home and in us at work and in us in our neighborhood and in us when we're kind of hanging out at the coffee shop or when we're playing sports. There's no compartments with God, and work is an integral part that consumes the greater majority of your waking hours. As we go about learning together about work, here's what I want you to get. It's time to think completely differently about work.

It's time to not think of something you have to do or ought to do or, you know, it's just a requirement or just a paycheck. It's not a job. It's not a career. It's a vocation. It's a calling. In this series, we're going to integrate who God made you to be and do with what He's called you to do in your everyday life.

I want you to know that whether you're in the greatest job of the world or whether it's boring and you wish you could find a new one, God is going to teach you about work in ways that can transform the greater majority of every waking hour. You don't want to miss it. Looking forward to it, Chip. Before we go, I want to quickly tell you about a new resource we've developed here at Living on the Edge that goes right along with what Chip's teaching in this series. It's called The Real You. It's a free online assessment that'll help you better understand how God uniquely designed you and the specific purpose He has for your life. You'll learn more about your thinking patterns, passions, gifts, motivations, and how you fit on a team. Then The Real You will suggest how you can live this out every day. Sign up for this free assessment by visiting That's, or text real to 74141. That's the word real, R-E-A-L, to 74141. We'll join us next time as Chip continues his series answering the call. Until then, this is Dave Druey thanking you for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-23 05:47:59 / 2023-01-23 06:01:41 / 14

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