Am I Called? is a ministry of Dave Harvey and friends, based in Four Oaks Church, in Tallahassee, Florida. We want to help men find their call to gospel ministry and to help churches find called men.
Through articles, regular blog posts, podcasts, and other resources, Am I Called? will help men evaluate whether or not they are called to pastoral ministry, as well as help churches find men who are called to pastoral ministry.
Each week all over the world, there are men – often younger but sometimes middle aged or beyond – who earnestly wrestle with a nagging question. They have dreams and drives. They query friends, consult pastors, exhaust mentors, and sometimes
Dave Harvey regularly interviews key Christian leaders to discuss the issue of pastoral calling, as well as pastoral leadership in general. You can listen to all the episodes on iTunes, or you can listen to them below. Episode #16 –
In the book, Am I Called: The Summons to Pastoral Ministry, there are six questions which a man must ask himself in order to evaluate whether or not he is called to pastoral ministry. These resources are organized according to those questions. We’ve
It feels like I can’t find my sustenance. Deadlines are whizzing by, and even when I meet them the tension never eases. There is no celebration at the end of the finish line—just more Greek, more research, more writing.
As the semester winds down, I’m expected to reflect: “What did God teach me in my first year at seminary?”
If there’s anything I’ve learned in one year of seminary, it’s this: I am insufficient.
I make a really bad god. I’ve learned that I don’t have the time to be omnipresent, and I don’t have enough horsepower to be omnipotent. I’ve learned that community is hard, and it’s especially hard when you live among the kinds who are good at knowing others’ weaknesses. I have caught myself trying to put on a perfect face because it’s what I am supposed to do. If we are being really honest with one another, I often still feel like I’m a walking disappointment.
I’m convinced that many of us are often lured into the same lie I am—the lie that we are supposed to be able all on our own. I’m equally convinced that God doesn’t function according to man’s idea of spiritual physics. I think that God actually wants us to press into our weaknesses instead of stepping away from them. I’m not surrendering ground to those who let sin abound so that grace might abound all the more. By no means! Scripture discusses the necessity of Christian obedience all over the place.
No, I’m simply tell you that I’m convinced God really meant it when He told us that His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). I’m convinced that when God designed salvation so that no man might boast (Eph. 2:8-9), He meant no man could boast unless they were boasting in the work of Christ Jesus, the God-man.
I’m also convinced that this leads us to a glorious and liberating truth about the gospel: In our victory, we can embrace insufficiency.
Since the Fall, a war has been waging for our affections. From Rome to Roe v. Wade, we have been quick to sacrifice anything at our disposal to please our idols (the ones that, ironically enough, look a lot like us). When Christ died on the cross, he demarcated you as his. You were moved, in that instant, from a place of insecurity to a place eternally secured for you.
With his blood, he paid in full the ransom that was due. But you don’t just belong to him; you are united with him (Eph. 5:32, Rom. 6:8). What Christ has done, you have done. His righteousness has become your righteousness. The Father looks upon you and sees the glistening crown of King Jesus. You are Christ’s coheir, and no power of sin can overtake your blood-bought status before God. Jesus’s death and resurrection actually accomplished something by purchasing his people and uniting them with him.
Christ was victorious.
In Christ, you are worth more than the sum of your shortcomings. You are counted as the King’s. Christ’s victory, and thus our victory, frees us from feeling ashamed of our insufficiencies and allows us to embrace them instead. It’s the serpent’s kryptonite.
I’ve long been telling people that since Christ removed its fangs, my depression has become a kind of companion—a reminder that I’m not God. And while it’s easy to fall off the tightrope running between emotional licentiousness and stoicism, my depression has humbled me enough times that I’m convinced God has given it to me for a reason, and I need to embrace that truth.
I don’t have to fight for victory; I get to fight from victory. This is a game-changer. Embracing your insufficiency helps kill pride, forcing you to depend on Christ in your weakness. Embracing your insufficiency helps you embrace the gospel.
Every week, I look forward to dinner with my friends Jason and Abi. After a particularly long week of feeling stretched from every side, I wanted to give up. I was so overwhelmed that I was talking about giving all the things I’m doing up entirely—school, writing, and so on. Abi interjected to ask me if I was trying outrun my depression instead of bringing it to Christ, and it was the first time I could recall feeling truly and deeply known in months. I hadn’t even considered I was running, but she was right: I had been running, and I needed to repent. Our insufficiencies are oftentimes blind spots, and when they aren’t, it’s because we are hiding them from others.
Allowing yourself to be known to a community of other gospel believers is a surefire way to find where you are insufficient and to learn to embrace those insufficiencies rightly. Insufficiency is part of the church’s DNA. It is in our creeds and catechisms, our songs and liturgies, our sermons and small groups: Christ is all. We can harbor our insufficiencies in the church by reveling in the gospel—playing in it, living in it, and wrestling through it. And most importantly, we can boast in our insufficiency so that Christ’s strength might be made known, perfected in our weakness to God’s greater glory.
Embracing insufficiency hurts. I’ve spent the last four months coming to terms with it. I’ve had to relentlessly preach the gospel to myself. I have to constantly be on the prowl for my pride (and trust me, he doesn’t go down without a fight). I’ve learned to say no because I’ll overcommit or overextend myself. I’ve learned that I still try convincing myself that my hard work will pay off, will be enough for my well-being. And through it all, I’m learning that Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, is sufficient for every need.
In our “Final Moments in Ministry” series, we are celebrating preachers and pastors before us who faithfully endured to the end. This week’s post is about the martyrdom of Polycarp, an early church father who pastored a church in Smyrna (modern
Let me come out of the gate saying I will not, under any circumstances, be supporting or voting for Donald Trump. I know, not an incredibly shocking announcement for most of you reading a post on Am I Called. Personally,
At the end of last year, we provided you with a year-end update to highlight some of the ways God had been working through Am I Called in 2015. If you haven’t read it, you can click this link. In
In this episode of the “Am I Called?” podcast, Dave talks to speaker and author Paul Tripp. They discuss: Paul’s health How God is meeting Paul in this time of physical difficulty What’s making a difference as he suffers How