Called by God


Colossians 1:1–2 (ESV): 1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.


It is believed that Paul never visited Colossae, but that during his ministry to Ephesus from AD 52-55, a Colossian named Epaphras was converted in Ephesus and went back home sharing the gospel. When this letter was written, Epaphras had come to Paul in Rome and shared the news that a dangerous teaching was threatening the church.

Over the years, what scholars believe this heresy was has changed. It was once considered to be early forms of Gnosticism, but it had many distinctively Jewish elements. Most likely, the false teaching was a mixture of local Jewish and pagan folk beliefs.

Probably the best understanding is that a “a shaman-like figure within the church had attracted a following and was presenting himself as something of a Christian spiritual guide” (ESV Study Bible). Paul now wrote the church to emphasize the supremacy of Christ over all and remind the believers of their new identity in Christ.


Paul was an apostle by the will of God. Paul was called to ministry by God, not by men. He was not elected or appointed by popular vote of the people. Neither did he assume his call due to his own initiative and determination. Similarly, in other places Paul wrote that the gospel he preached did not come from man nor did he preach by the okay of men. He did go to visit elders of the church at one point for reassurance, but even then Paul wrote that he did not back down from the gospel he preached, of which the acceptance of Gentiles into God’s plan of salvation featured prominently.

As a minister of the gospel, similarly, my call did not come from men or even myself, but from God. A formative experience happened to me the summer before I became a high school senior when I went to Mexico on a short-term missions trip. Up to that point, my dreams were of the Air Force and aerospace engineering. That experience pointed me toward ministry as I pledged “Make a Servant” in the commissioning service before we set out on the trip. Yet I still did not feel God’s call to ministry.

During my senior year, I gradually exchanged my dreams of the Air Force for a country gospel guitar-singing ministry. I entered college as a music major.

But God arranged various chapel services and General Camp messages at the end of the school year to awaken in me a call to ministry. I accepted that call from God one summer day of 1995 in Antioch Park.

I later applied for a minister’s license with the Church of God (Holiness) and was granted one as a recognition of God’s call on my life and my preparation to serve in ministry. Then in 2018 after nearly 20 years in ministry, I was ordained by the Church of God (Holiness), again as a recognition of God’s call on my life as a minister.

After eight years in the pastorate, I served for two years as a teacher in Bible college, during which time I married the love of my life. We then served a church in Missouri for five years, before going overseas for six and a half years as missionary pastors. Returning a year ago to the U.S., Zenia is working on her master’s degree in education and I am supporting her. But my calling to ministry remains, and I have been serving various churches in supporting roles – camp meeting, fill-in preaching, teaching Sunday School, and leading worship songs.

These principles guide me: I have been called by God, not by men nor by my own imagination and I serve God, not for men’s applause nor for personal success. I am an ambassador of Christ, entreating all I can to be reconciled with God, changed forever by the grace of Jesus Christ.


Heavenly Father, thank you for your call upon my life. May I live and serve you faithfully in whatever role you have for me. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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