Chapel talk urges us to not put God’s call on hold
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
Years ago, Brian Kruckenberg never would have expected to be the guest speaker in Chapel at Grand Canyon University. He was a corporate attorney, making great money, living comfortably — or so he thought.
And yet there he was Monday morning, as the Lead Pastor of New City Church, asking his audience an uncomfortable question: “Who in here has ever felt a call from God?”
No one raised their hand.
“It’s OK to raise your hand to that because the truth is, we’re all called by God,” he said. “Maybe some of you in here today don’t necessarily feel that – you wonder why you’re here.
“Well, maybe you’re here today because God has something He wants you to hear … maybe something bigger than that, something deeper than that. Maybe God has a call for you that you aren’t really ready for.”
Kruckenberg certainly didn’t know if he was ready to transition from that cushy attorney lifestyle to the challenge of being a children’s pastor. Even his background was working against him – he hadn’t grown up in a Christian home.
But his story underscored one of his main points: The call of God is “personally radical.”
“If you really trust in God alone,” he said, “you wouldn’t put conditions on your walk with God. … It’s more than an adventure with God. An adventure with God sort of sounds like, ‘OK, we’re going to go out and come back.’ A life with God is, ‘We’re going to go out and we might never come back.’”
Kruckenberg had started his talk by referencing the journey God called Abram to make in Chapter 12 of Genesis, verses 1-4 and 7. It wasn’t a short trip. Abram, whom God later renamed Abraham, was 75 years old, but he answered the call to complete the journey his father, Terah, had started.
Kruckenberg showed a map of the full loop from what is now Iran to what then was known as Canaan, but Terah had stopped halfway in Harran.
To put that in a context his audience could understand, Kruckenberg next showed two pictures – one from the desert town of Blythe, Calif., the other of a beach. Going halfway was like stopping in the desert rather than continuing all the way to the Promised Land, the beach.
“Here’s a teaching point about your call,” Kruckenberg said. “Your call, much like the call of Abram, is a call of grace. Notice what it says here, and God is clear. He says that ‘I, God, took Abram and led him to Canaan,’ where his family was supposed to go in the first place. …
“You have to know this about God: You didn’t earn the call. It’s not anything special about you. It’s God’s grace. But at the same time, I want to tell you this: Your call has to be a personal call. See, Abram couldn’t just follow his earthly father. He had to follow his Heavenly Father.”
Family background doesn’t matter, he emphasized. Some biblical experts have theorized that Terah worshipped the moon, so it wasn’t as if Abram was brought up believing in God.
Similarly, many people today come from broken homes and broken families. But your past shouldn’t prevent you from going where God wants to take you, Kruckenberg said: “Some of you have allowed your past to have way too much control of your present and therefore your future.”
But answering God’s call, Kruckenberg added, can be difficult. You can’t find out in advance what will be expected. You can’t put conditions on it. It’s spelled out clearly in Hebrews 11:8-9:
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.
And the underlying lesson from all the people in Hebrews 11 who obeyed God is captured in Verse 16:
They were longing for a better country – a heavenly one.
Kruckenberg recounted his own journey, through church jobs that didn’t pan out and a move to Phoenix, of which he knew only one thing – it’s really hot for much of the year. But he kept answering the call, ultimately planting a church in downtown Phoenix.
“Abram had no clue what God was going to do, and you don’t, either,” Kruckenberg said. “But I know this: You have to move with God. You have to walk with God. Some of you just need to start going. It’s a lot easier for God to direct you if you’re moving.”
The call of God is “sacrificially missional,” Kruckenberg declared, but more than anything, “it’s not about you.” Just like Abraham, just like Jesus, the call is about you blessing others.
“If you want to have a personal life mission,” Kruckenberg said, “here’s a good one for you: Live to be a blessing. If you live to be a blessing in your home, in your dorm room, in your classroom, in your cube, in your office, wherever God takes you … you will have no shortage of friends, you will have no shortage of joy, you will have no shortage of happiness, you will have no shortage of fulfillment.
“Why? Because it’s not about you. It’s about blessing others. That’s what we’re called to do.”
● Chapel replay.
● Next Monday’s speaker: Terry Mackey, Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].