Lately I have received many emails and a few phone calls asking my advice about certain positions in ministry or even about whether or not they should go to Bible School.  The advice I give most often (unless I feeling the Lord saying otherwise) is just be led of Holy Spirit, He will not steer you wrong.  God never leads us in a way that will end us in failure, but God always leads us in a way where, if we respond correctly in obedience, He can bring us into victory the place of God’s purpose and meaning. Almost every time I go to Africa a young man will come to me and ask should I go to Bible School and I answer; why do you go to Bible School? I tell them there are millions of wrong answers, but only one answer and after five to ten minutes of saying wrong answer, (you know we are full of wrong answers) I tell them, because God said to.  Unless God says to go to Bible School you are wasting your time and resources, especially the resource of time.  Now please understand me here I am not saying not to go to Bible School, but I am saying be led by the Spirit of God and if He says go then go and be the very best Bible School student the school has ever seen. I have had the great pleasure and honor of teaching at the Bible Schools in Romania; in Suceava Headmaster, Marcel Lelcum and Headmaster Ciprian Bozdog in Constanta, also in Africa, and Asia, too many to name. I have realized the importance of getting the truths of God’s word in students, because then the word will have time to be mixed with God’s dealings and judgments in their lives, now that is a foundation God can use to build His character and nature in them.  It is important to know when God calls us to ministry my friend we do not have to wait for the vote of any man or go to the right Bible School.  No degree conferred or appointment carries the most important sign of Godly ministry, the revelation of God’s spiritual authority. The real qualities of ministry are to be found in those who are willing to suffer for the sake of objectives great enough to demand their wholehearted obedience. Spiritual leaders are not made by election or appointment, by men or any combination of men, nor by conferences. Only God can make them. Simply holding a position of importance does not constitute one a spiritual leader, nor do taking courses in leadership or resolving to become a pastor or teacher. The only method is that of qualifying. Religious position can be conferred by bishops and boards, but not spiritual authority; which is the prime essential of Godly ministry and leadership. That comes, often unsought, to those who in earlier life have proved themselves worthy of it by spirituality, discipline, ability, and diligence, workers who have heeded His call. Spiritual ministry is a thing of the Spirit and is conferred by God alone. When His searching eye alights on a servant who has qualified, He anoints him with his Spirit and separates them to their distinctive ministry.  Ezra shares the standard for all who desire to be a spiritual minister and leader, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9) The standard is to have a perfect heart toward God or to have a heart like God’s, a perfect heart.  Now the word “perfect” here does not mean flawless or mature, but selfless.  To be a spiritual minister and leader we must have a selfless heart like God’s.  As matter of fact, the greatest Apostle and teacher, Paul was in a type of what we call a Bible School and God called Him out.  Paul said of himself, I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.” (Acts 22:3) Gamaliel was the High Priest and a famous Jewish teacher that Paul served and was “brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel” or was Paul’s Bible School teacher.  Paul was a great student, keeping the law, many Bible scholars believe Paul was being groomed to be the next High Priest, but God had other plans for Paul.  God called Paul out of his Bible School and alone commissioned, ordained, and sent him the Apostle to the Gentiles. Paul did not need to have a degree or have someone mentor him, He was led by the Holy Spirit to a place where God took his physical sight so He could give Paul his spiritual sight.  We all know the wonderful story in Act 9:1-9 how Paul was called into the ministry and if Paul was called without going to Bible School or a seminary then God can call others the same way.

It is important not to get ahead of God.  God has His man whom He wants and we must not get ahead of what God wants.  I believe this was the case when Matthias was chosen to replace Judas.  From the beginning the 11 Apostles looked for one who had the history and ability to serve.  Just like  today in most churches we look for the educated and skilled to serve, one who has all the credentials the complete package, but take heed my friend they may not be the one God wants.  In Acts we read, “Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. 23And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, 25That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. 26And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”  (Act 1:22-26)  Now they did pray, but then they cast lots or voted.  Does not that sound like most churches today, let’s vote in God’s man or worse let’s vote out God’s man. God’s will is never determined by man voting, but is determined by knowing the will of God in every given situation.  Sadly most churches do business by voting, rules, charters, and by-laws no my friend church business is to be done by being able to hear from God and by knowing what He wants to have done.  God does not select a man by the vote of men, but chooses a man for His purposes and His plan by His Spirit.  My friend when God’s man arrives on the scene you will know, there will be no doubt in anyone’s mind that this person is sent from God to do God’s will and purpose.  I really believe God chose Paul to be the 12th Apostle, but Peter and the others got ahead of God and chose Matthias.  This is why Paul time and time again had to confirm to the people He was an Apostle called by God.  Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,” (Romans 1:1), Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,” (1 Corinthians 1:1), and Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)”  (Galatians 1:1)  Also this thought can be found in Paul’s letters in Ephesians 1:1, Colossians 1:1, 1 Timothy 1:1, and Titus 1:1. I wonder if Paul was trying to tell us something?  I know so because I did not go to a Bible School, but have been called, ordained, and sent by God to do His will and purpose within the earth.  Even Peter got in the act, Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”  (Peter 1:1-2)  Maybe Peter heard of Paul’s writings, but there arose an uneasy rivalry between Paul and Peter and at times it became quiet testy. But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.”  Galatians 2:11), but finally they resolved their differences, “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.”  (2 Peter 3:15-17)  You know when we get ahead of God we can hamper God’s work in our lives and corporately within the local body we serve. But, Peter finally got it; Paul was called by God like he was called by Jesus to do the will of the Father, as we too are called by God to do the will of the Father in all the earth. You know it is not wrong for two people to disagree, but it is wrong and ungodly for two people (especially Christians) to maintain an unteachable spirit and anger for the other person.  We will disagree that is a given, but what is important is to be able to try and see the other’s position as Peter did with Paul and be ready to allow reconciliation to grow forth in the relationship, but we must never compromise the truth of the word of God for unity of purpose even in the church.  Never look for an apology that way you will never get offended if one never comes, let God worry about the apology you worry about following God.

When I consider the importance of being called by God, the critical need to be able to hear His voice, and our obedience to it I am always reminded of my teacher Charles Haun.  Charles was invited to go and minister in North Ireland during the war. Well, Charles prayed asking God for His agreement and leading whether or not to go, nothing. So Charles waited and prayed, while invitations and money from other churches and groups came poring in, still nothing. You know sometimes praying is not enough, after prayer we must be led by the Holy Spirit. Without a word from God Charles made plans to go, thinking God would confirm his trip, but still no word.  Charles went and spent two weeks of mighty services in the midst of death and destruction many were saved, healed, and filled with the Holy Spirit yet all along the way not a single word of agreement from God, but as the plane touched down at John F. Kennedy International Airport the Holy Spirit said, “Thank you.”  Charles knew he was called of God to go and teach the word of God and if he goes people will be saved, healed and filled with the Holy Spirit.  No man needs to tell us to go, only ask if we have the heart to go and help them.  No man needs a special degree or some special training just go if God says go then He will provide all we will need to fulfill the going, for in our obedience of going God will supply all that is needed and out from the call of God we are changed more and more into the image of the one who called us, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: “  (2 Peter 1:3)