If you were truly called of God to be a minister, a preacher, that is never going to change, no matter what you do.
I don’t care where you go in your life, if you travel to the far ends of this earth or to the deepest pits of hell, you are a preacher and you always will be.
I have come back today to tell you this in hopes that it will spare you unparalleled suffering and perhaps change your mind, if you have been having thoughts of giving up.
The Church as we know it would not allow this message. It still doesn’t.
It is quite obvious now that many of the things we said we believed and quoted scripture for, we did not believe at all.
If we had, we would have lived by it. No preacher who failed or backslid, was ever allowed to come back and face the Church to speak this undeniable truth.
The leadership would not accept it, nor would the saints. Why? Because we did not believe it, even if the Word said it.
Some of us did not know that we were marked. When God called us; He placed a mark upon us that could be seen and read by spirits we encountered throughout the world, no matter where we went.
Likely, because of our Church society and the rules of modern civilization, we did not get it that there are some things God never changes His mind about.
God does change His mind, about a lot of things, we know that. Repentance and a change of heart in us does move God, but prayer can cause him to change His mind and He can simply change His mind because He wishes to, especially if it happens to confuse some of us sanctified, know-it-all folk who think we have Him all figured out and are spiritual gurus.
Nonetheless, there are some things He won’t budge on and the calling of His ministers is one of them.
He might repent of many things, but that is not one of them. We know His Word said that, but we refused to teach and accept it.
Who else would know what I’m saying here, whom else could possibly realize this unless they had tried to remove themselves from His hands, His calling, or thought they had been disqualified?
Oh, there’s that awful word, disqualified. First of all, you are not big or powerful enough to disqualify anything God has qualified.
It’s neither your place nor your job to undo anything at all that God has done, especially if He spoke it in His Word, telling you plainly.
We know there is a list of qualities a minister should have, a certain report every man or woman should have in the ministry and most of us have striven to have that good report, not to tarnish it or play with it.
We have used the King James word ‘Bishop’ [ἐπίσκοπος, episkopos, ep-is’-kop-os] for the description of what a preacher should be.
I’m not sure that is one hundred percent correct but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that once you are called, you remain called, until you pass from this life, even if you are or were a bishop, even one that failed!
It comes out in you. It won’t leave you alone. Just when you thought you had totally scratched the idea, finally have all the reasons and accepted it was over and finished, it happens.
Something crosses your path, some need of another person, a certain sound, a voice out of the blue or an overpowering hunger to speak, to minister, to move in the Spirit arises from somewhere deep down in side of you and suddenly you remember who you are.
Others see it in you. I will cross a line with many of you when I say this but I can’t help that.
You could be at a party, in a bar, in some place or situation where a minister should never be and they will recognize you, something in your manner of speech, the way you move at certain times and you give yourself away.
To those of you who are deeper in the Spirit, I can inform you that the demons know you also.
They can see that mark and they cannot touch you or harm you unless God allows them too.
Frankly, most often, they want nothing to do with you. You see, they know God’s Word better than we do.
I am old and tired today so I can be real. There have been many times I asked God to take this calling away from me.
I did not want it anymore. Too much hurt, too much sorrow, too many failures and mistakes I could not undo.
I asked God to please take it away, even in anger I said, “Why can’t you leave me alone? Why can’t I just have peace and be happy with what life I have left? I’ve made my amends! I’ve paid my price! I’ve done my time and it’s over!”
I didn’t want the Gifts to work anymore. Backslidden people still see and know things in the Spirit whether they want to or not.
It can work at the most inopportune times and right when you think your spiritual senses are dead, you see clearly.
It’s like, “Oh no, not again!” Why now? Why do I have to see this now, why can’t I just be an average Joe like everyone else and live my life the way I want to, at least ending this prison road with some dignity and maybe a trace of respect, even if the Church and its people want nothing else to do with me.
Others can appreciate my work to recover and how hard I’ve tried to turn my life around and make things right, even if my peers never know or care. “Let me go!”
I ran from my calling for many years like many of you did. I didn’t want to be a preacher.
I didn’t think I could. I didn’t have the boldness I saw others had. So I thought I’d be a minister of music, that would be enough. And besides, I didn’t like preachers that much.
Too many mean ones. Too many abusive and harsh men and I didn’t want to be like that.
I was inferior and not bold or strong enough. It’s almost funny today. All of the same arguments Moses gave and some of the others too were the very same ones I gave God. It didn’t phase Him!
Years later, after running like Jonah and getting sick of being in that nasty fishes belly, I finally got honest and I knew exactly the very place, moment and time He called me and I finally said, “Yes!”
I never dreamed I would fail one day. I never meant to. I had loved God from the time I was a small child and I had never wanted anything else but to work in his house, to honor and serve Him.
No matter how they beat me or what they said and did to me, they could not take away my love for Him or my desire to be in his presence.
At age forty, I was already a defeated and broken man — my heart ripped completely apart. I blamed myself.
You know, the same arguments roll around in my head today. Like,
- “The church will never accept me.”
- “Their people will never forget and many will never even forgive.”
- “I did too much wrong.”
- “My errors are too grave and long lasting.”
- “I can’t live a lie today and I can’t be something I’m not.”
- “No one will hear me. No one will want to listen.”
- “They think I’m a reprobate, terribly deceived and I should be grateful if I can just sit on a pew somewhere and be in the LORD’s house.”
Well, and once again I think I’ve finally convinced God I’m right. I can go my way and rest in peace.
And then it comes — that burning desire, that something from The Ancient of Days that moves somewhere way down in my spirit, a stirring, a rousing from sleep and a tear, a moan, a mournful sound that won’t stop, a hunger, a cry….. “Somebody is calling me!”
It’s like Samuel, who kept hearing this voice that would not go away. A call to attention. And then I look around.
I see more minsters falling, no one to help them. I see people dying too young, damaged sheep scattered everywhere, people full of brokenness and hurt, a world suffering with no one to aid, people taking for granted the very thing I thought I had lost forever, and I cannot help myself.
Something is pulling me, it won’t let me go.
It’s like that valley of dry bones and those bones are coming together whether I like it or not and I am suddenly reminded that I have a job to do, the job I was selected to do so many years ago and God does not want any excuses, His ear is closed to this and He says, “I will not repent!”
I know the Scriptures. God is going to use people like me. In fact, he’s going to use a lot of misfits, has-beens and some undesirables.
He’ll use those who were cast aside and demeaned by those who say they have all of the truth; some while their own children lie broken and deserted in the streets of life as they run the aisles and point fingers.
Honesty, it doesn’t matter what those people believe anymore. Many of them have deceived themselves and don’t even know it.
Their arrogance is so intense that they don’t realize most real people don’t want to even be around them.
They’ll do anything to hang on to their “form.” The world knows they don’t have what they claim, and those seeking for a miracle are not looking to them.
Those who are forgiven much, love much. They can’t help it. It just comes out.
Most who have been badly hurt have no desire whatsoever to hurt anyone else. That is real.
So. I still want to bow out sometimes. I’m not worthy. The pressure’s too great, The price of being mightily used of God has not gone down — if anything, it’s gone up!
I shouldn’t be too hard on myself about it all. What have I got to lose anyway?
Maybe I won’t write so much. Maybe I ought to just sing and let the preaching be done by those who are more qualified…..
Wait a minute, I hear someone knocking. I’ve heard that knock before….
But you see, He’s got to open some doors or help me find those that are open.
Like I said, I’m too old and tired to fight anymore, so I might as well pick up the pen, turn the light on and wait for instructions.
Today, I’m glad He called me. Maybe I always was.
First published: August 12, 2011.
~ Robert Blackburn