After 40 years the answer is still yes


Not too long ago, I added a new category of blog entries which I called the “Word for the Day” in addition to the “Verse of the Day” which often becomes the basis for the blog entries that I post. Today’s discussion of a little word of great importance could fall into that category, as I relate the power of “Yes!”, compiled from previous blog entries:

Without question the Word of God is energetic and life-giving, as revealed in Hebrews 4:12:

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Each word in the Word of Life is an expression of power. Luke 1:37 in the King James Version says, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” The American Standard Version offers this translation: “For no word from God shall be void of power.” Indeed, there is life-changing power in a single word from the Word, as the Poet notes:

. . . the power
of the printed word,
the power of a single light,
like a cloven tongue of fire,
to shatter the darkest night.

One of the most powerful words in the English language, in my estimation, is “yes.” With regard to Jesus Christ, Paul makes known this profound truth:

2 Corinthians 1:19-21 (NLT):

19 For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says.
20 For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.
21 It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us,

“Yes” is used to express affirmation or assent, often used as an affirmative reply. Certainly we are aware of the word as a strong expression of joy, pleasure, or approval. When a player scores the winning shot in an overtime game, often excited fans respond with a vigorous “Yes! Way to go!”

Recently I have been reflecting upon an experience where I said “yes” forty years ago when I enlarged my commitment to serve God when I was asked to develop and teach a class on New Testament History for the first time at a Bible college in Emporia, Kansas in 1976. Today as I continue preparing for the 2015-16 academic year at Carolina College of Biblical Studies in Fayetteville, NC, I marvel at the Providence of God, whereby I continue to answer yes in answer to God’s call.

On Sunday, my wife, Brenda, and I will be installed as one of the Senior Ministers and Associate Pastors, respectively, at Christian Provision Ministries in Sanford, North Carolina where we are presently serving. Ordination is the public recognition of a response of an individual to the call of God to serve. My recognition of this inner prompting to be of greater service transpired a considerable amount before time prior to 1976, however. I recall as a child being aware of the presence of God, and as I grew older and was introduced to the Bible, I remember reading the passage in Isaiah 6 where the glory of God overwhelms the Prophet, who responds to the question: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us.” Isaiah answers saying, “Here am I, send me.” This simple response resonated within me for years, and I simply acknowledged the call to ministry and said “Yes.”

In reflecting upon the intersection of these meaningful experiences, I recall this poem written in celebration of the call of God and my response:

Forty Years ago

The number 40 is the product of 5 and 8,

and points to the action of grace (5),

leading to and ending in revival and renewal (8).

This is certainly the case where forty relates

to a period of evident probation.

E.W. Bullinger

Number in Scripture

Forty years ago in a kairos moment in time,

I was forever changed, beyond all reason and rhyme.

I answered God’s call, offered my life, and I said “Yes.”

The exact path my life would take I could only guess

The valleys I must descend, the mountains I must climb.

I would need great courage, symbolized in fragrant thyme

That graced my neck, as I was striving to reach my prime

Forty years ago.

To stumble and fall along the way is no crime,

For my earnest desire was to minister full-time;

Despite the challenges, to serve God nevertheless,

To go where I am sent, to please the Lord and to bless.

With a simple “Yes,” I began my quest toward heights sublime

Forty years ago.

William Nelson offers “A Song for my Ordination.” to close out today’s blog entry.

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