I'm a wife, a mom, a friend, a daughter, a sister and a follower of Jesus who is learning how to love God and people better. Scroll down to take a look at some of my adventures!

11.17.2008

Catalyst Groupzine, Volume 3

As always, Catalyst Groupzine did not disappoint. Divided into 6 sections, the groupzine focuses on the topics of being Courageous in Calling, Engaged in Culture, Authentic in Influence, Uncompromising in Integrity, Passionate about God, and Intentional about Community. Feature writers included leaders such as Stephen Graves and Thomas Addington, Chris Seay, Mark Buchanan, Craig Groeschel, Andy Stanley, Tim Willard, and Andy Crouch.

Each of the six sections are broken up into smaller sections with short articles from various leaders. Each section includes a Catalyst Study, several writings and stories, and then a section of Catalyst Features, which include 1-2 page stories on Global Perspective, a True Story, and a Perspective.

I think the section out of which God spoke to me most clearly was Courageous in Calling. Although I’ve heard hundreds of talks on finding one’s calling, this collection of articles and speakers worked well together to communicate to my heart some things I was missing, or misunderstood, about one’s calling.

In addition to the normal, “know yourself” portion of calling (you know, knowing your skills, limitations, passions), the first writer focused on the part of looking outside of yourself. He says, “There’s nothing wrong with looking deep inside. But calling is about being part of something that’s a whole lot bigger than you: God’s purposes- and not just His purposes for your life, but His purposes for everything else, too.”

Another point this first writer made was that the word calling isn’t Christianese for career. I think this is important for me to remember. He goes on to answer the question of “what does life look like when you’re pursuing your calling?”
• 1. There’s a certain settled-ness about the person who is pursuing her calling. He says, “you’ve seen people who are always looking over the fence, people who get a little too excited about every new possibility, whose interest is piqued a little too much by every conversation. That’s not a person who has settled his or her calling.” This is the thing that has hit me the hardest, by and far.
• 2. Living out our calling involves Christ’s command for us to abide in Him.
• 3. When we’re pursuing our calling, we’re not constantly trying to convince God to go along with our plan.
• 4. Listen to your desires when you’re discerning you’re calling.

Somewhere along the way through this section, I felt God asking me to consider the idea of communal calling- What does the community in which I am living need? Where is God working amongst us? How would my talents and gifts best serve the larger community in which God has already put me. I think for our generation, so transient and noncommittal, this is nearly impossible for someone to ask us to do…. Normally we figure out what God wants us to do, then we move somewhere where that possibility is most probable to happen. And obviously God does ask His people to move and go, just like Abraham. But, sometimes I think we don’t have this idea of communal calling- following God with a group of people, allowing the gifts and passions and needs of the community shape and form and move the community as a whole. Is this heretical or impractical in this day in age? I’m not sure, but it’s something to think about.

Also through reading this section, I began to think not about my individual calling, but our family calling. How does calling work when you’re married? And then when you have kids? How do you find a familial calling? This is something Jake and I have done over the past couple weeks—searching and praying for this—and I feel like it’s something God is bringing is through quite evidently with His hand. I suggest a Family Dream Time for every family- a time that you set aside each week or every other week or month or something, and just dream of what God could have for your family and/or community. Not only is it a good time of family bonding, but also an avenue through which you’ve set aside and prayed for God to speak through.

Think you’re missing your calling? Ninteenth-century French writer Honore de Balzac said, “Vocations which we wanted to pursue, but didn’t, bleed, like colors, on the whole of our existence.” Is there something that continues to come out in your thinking and actions and words that you love, even though you’re pursuing a different vocation? Most of the time others can point this out to you more than you can recognize it yourself.

Jake experienced this recently, I think. For anyone who spends very much time around Jake, he always looking at things through the lens of education. Even when it comes to activities of the local church body, he’s asking pedagogical questions about what would help the congregation be healthier as a whole. When in school, he’s thinking about how professors could have communicated something more clearly. When looking at the global community, he wants to create more unity, a better understanding of one another, and thinking about how people can learn about each other. In fact, he’s always trying to teach everyone something, 95% of the time not realizing that he’s doing it. Anyway, for the past few years he’s been searching for that “thing”… what’s to drive him for the rest of his life? What’s his focus to be? Jake has a million interests, but he didn’t recognize any of them to be “it.” It wasn’t until here in Kenya that he realized what was maybe obvious to others, or maybe was a “given” to himself- that education was it. Anyway, I think it’s been a cool example of what I’ve been learning and reading about to come to life for our family. God’s been good to us in his leading us.

2 comments:

denise said...

Jake wanted to teach from way back. When anyone said why not doctor, engineer (with his intelligence)?? They'd need a teacher! There used to be a commercial like that I thought I'd always remember but of course I can't.... ha

Jessica said...

Hey hon--

First of all.. it made me happy to see the picture on this blog. I'd forgotten it was up there.

Love your thoughts on calling that you learned from the groupzine. That's good stuff. There is peace in Him leading you into fulfillment of your desires-- or into singing the song your heart was meant to sing. :)

Love you guys!

Just finished up my first of two Greek finals (second one is a standardized seminary-wide test) and I think it went pretty well!
Tell Jake su aspadzomai (haha hopefully he gets that though we dont have greek characters on here)