Accept the Invite from God – Be You

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Last weekend, Oregon Campus Pastor Andy Rectenwald delivered a riveting message on one of the most amazing examples of how God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. God used Ananias of Damascus (not to be confused with the Ananias who died suddenly after lying to the Holy Spirit about money) to restore the sight of Saul of Tarsus, later known as Paul. Why would God use a basically unknown man to perform such an important act in the conversion of the Apostle Paul?

Acts 9:13-14
13 “But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! 14 And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.”

Ananias was a devout man, so why would he hesitate to answer a request from the Lord? It was widely known that Saul of Tarsus was going to Damascus to arrest Christ-followers and bring them back to Jerusalem for persecution. Ananias, like many others, was afraid of Saul, so it’s understandable why he would pause. You might be able to relate, as fear can cause us to pause when God asks something of us. Ananias must have thought, “Wait, what?!”

Pastor Andy said Ananias was prepared to hear the invite, but he needed to discern it. He had to understand who the invitation was coming from, what it meant, and then plan to carry it out.

Acts 9:15-18
15 But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. 16 And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
17 So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized.

Verse 15 brings us to our bottom line: If God says go, don’t say no. God told Ananias that Saul had converted and was going to serve the Lord, so Ananias did what was requested without further hesitation. He did not let his own fear or the horrible things he knew about Saul cloud his judgment.

We can all take away a lesson from Ananias: It may be necessary to put our own preconceived notions and potential fears aside—and take a step of faith—to accept God’s invitation. If God can use an ordinary man like Ananias as part of a great faith story, he can also use you and me.

Questions:
Are you aware of the invitation God has placed before you? Have you accepted it yet? If not, what is stopping you?

Next Steps:
Listen for what God is calling you to.  Accept the invite, with a faith like Ananias, and share God’s love with the lost, confused, and hurting people of this world.

Prayer:
Dear Father in Heaven, I am open to the invitation you have for my life. Please use me in any way that you can. Grant me discernment so I may see the plans you have for me. And help me to overcome my own fears, so that I may accept the invitations you put before me and carry out your will to help others know and love you. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Jennifer Macke. Jenn has a son, daughter, granddaughter, and grandson, and she thanks God every day for them. She is enjoying retirement and feels blessed to be writing for LivingItOut. She was raised in an Evangelical Church, but her spiritual life awakened when she started attending CedarCreek.


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2 replies
  1. Julie Estep
    Julie Estep says:

    Finding a quiet place in the morning to connect with God. Changes the whole day. Thanks Jen!

  2. Martha Smith
    Martha Smith says:

    Dear Jennifer,
    You are truly a gifted writer and a great example of someone stepping up and answering when God calls! Thank you for your ministry sister.
    Martha

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