Posts Tagged ‘40 years’

Yes and amen: In answer to God’s call

August 11, 2014

2 Corinthians 1_19

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 in 2 Corinthians 1:19-21 (New Living Translation)

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,

Used to express affirmation or assent, “yes” often indicates as an affirmative reply. Certainly we are aware of that 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 animated gestures and a vigorous “Yes! Way to go!”

Today I am celebrating an experience where I said “yes” forty years ago when I was ordained to the Christian ministry. Ordination is the public recognition of a response of an individual to the call of God to serve. For me, the recognition of this inner prompting to be of greater service may have transpired a considerable amount of time prior to August 11, 1974.

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 my heart, even before I really knew what I was doing.

In reflecting upon that life-transforming experience I was inspired to revise this poem written earlier:

In celebration of my ordination

to the Christian Ministry

August 11, 1974

 

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.

Matt Redman offers “Yes and Amen,” the perfect expression in song of my response to God’s call to serve:

40 Years ago, I said “Yes!”

April 4, 2011

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 1:19-20 (New King James Version) 

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes.

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

The word “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 was reflecting upon an experience where I said “yes” forty years ago when I enlarged my commitment to serve God and volunteered to join a ministry leadership training program. Prior to making that decision, I stood around a campfire that summer and acknowledged that I would seek to serve God and do His will in response to His love for me. That event was a prelude to a culminating event that would occur three years later when I would be ordained to the Christian ministry. I comment on the significance of my ordination in this excerpt from an Examiner.com article:

Ordination is the public recognition of a response of an individual to the call of God to serve. The recognition of this inner prompting to be of greater service may have transpired a considerable amount of time prior to my experience around the campfire in 1971. 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 my experience around the campfire, I was inspired to write this poem:

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.

Around a campfire I offered my life and 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.

I have compiled a number of musical selections whose theme is the word “yes.” One of my favorite selections is “Say Yes” by Shekinah Glory Ministries. The song brings to mind my experience of serving in the US Army for two years, during which time I really came to know Jesus Christ, as my personal Lord and Savior, when I was introduced to the study of the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. At the end of an enlistment period, a soldier is asked if he or she would like to extend the commitment and “re-up” or leave the military and pursue other options. This song asks a similar kind of question:

“Now will your heart and soul say “Yes”?”

Now will your spirit still say “Yes”?

If I told you what I really need,

Will your heart and soul say “Yes”?

More than twenty years ago I was working on a special assignment in New Jersey, and I recall making a trek by commuter bus and subway to the celebrated Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York. I have enjoyed the music of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir for many years. My wife gave me a CD of their most recent collection entitled “I’ll Say Yes.” The title selection has become one of my favorites in light of my experience around the campfire where I said “Yes.”

Another choir whose music I also appreciate is the Mississippi Mass Choir who also recorded a selection called “Yes.”

From an early age I recall the power of the word “Yes” when I heard it chanted spontaneously, as the word reverberated throughout the church during periods of devotion leading to prayer or times of personal testimony. The song “Yes, Lord” became the anthem of the Church of God in Christ, founded by Bishop Charles. H. Mason. Here is a selection “My Soul Says Yes” by the C.H. Mason Choir.

Here is another contemporary composition with the lyrics “Yes, Lord!”  from Sandra Crouch, twin sister of Andre Crouch.

From the bottom of my heart, to the depths of my soul,

“Yes, Lord,” completely “Yes!”

My soul says “Yes!”