Heeding the Call  By Paul M. Carhart

 

I can remember clearly my pastor urging the congregation to allow themselves to be used by God. I can also remember the rebellion in my heart. I was twelve. I had my own ideas about what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be so many things. Part rock star. Part Walt Disney. Part novelist. Nothing I wanted to do entailed going to Africa to preach the gospel.

 

But God plants seeds. And they grow, even though the topsoil may not seem like the best place for something good to sprout. Throughout my teenage years and into my twenties, I pursued my artistic dreams. I was in bands. I created cartoon characters that I decided were going to make me famous (if not rich.) All the while, I earned my living in a factory. When they laid me off, it was the open door I needed. I just didn't know it at the time.

 

Where did the open door lead? School. Graphic design. One day in class, I was invited to attend the Harvest Crusade at Anaheim Stadium. It was there that I re-dedicated my life to Christ. Suddenly that open door had

an open road leading out beyond. I returned to the church of my youth. It was a conservative church but I brought my bass along with me and started playing with the pianist, eventually becoming the praise band leader. I had never been good at singing and playing simultaneously, and yet when the time was right, it wasn't all that difficult. The difference, I submit, between learning in the flesh and reacting to

GodŐs instruction.

 

I joined a local band called Raw Confession. Led by Chuck Milner, we played/ministered to juvenile halls and rescue missions (with an occasional coffee house gig) in Southern California probably around the time my future wife, Lori, was singing at Dorothy Kirby, a youth prison in Los Angeles. Surprisingly, we never crossed paths.

 

I moved to Colorado in 1998. Since then, I've had three different jobs. Much to my delight, God has used each position for His glory. Once in Colorado, I churned out three sci-fi novels, all with a Christian bent. About the time the third book came out, my sister and Lori's dad, both still in California, hatched their conspiracy to put Lori and me together. Despite the distance, we started dating. While visiting her, I'd borrow a bass from my brother and we'd gather in Lori's piano room to play music and worship

God. After a year of interstate courtship, we were married and she joined me in Colorado where we continued the piano and bass worship for Bible studies.

 

My wife has a powerful singing voice. Her calling is to lead worship. It comes naturally to her. Like many, we wanted to attend a church where we could give back the gifts we had been given. After much prayer, God opened a door and we stepped through it together. Currently, Lori and I are part of the

worship team at our church. Most Sundays, I play bass and she sings with the band. Occasionally, with Lori playing keys, we lead worship together. Again, God provides a way to use what He's given, not for musical glory, but for His glory.

 

My point isn't that it's cool to be on stage. It's that God wants to use us. Each of us. There should be no question as to whether you're called. You are. God has given every person unique gifts, abilities and a calling. He wants us to work for His glory. Not everyone will be used in the same way. More often than not, God's calling will be in accordance with the gifts, dreams and desires that He has already given

to you. You don't have to go to Africa to serve God, although some will. You just have to go to Him.

 

Paul and Lori Carhart currently minister at Grace Be Unto You Outreach Church (www.gracebeuntoyou.org) in downtown Colorado Springs. There they introduce their young daughter, Melody, to spirit-filled worship. You can visit he Carharts online at: www.paulcarhart.com. Or email: writeme@paulcarhart.com. Paul is author of The Fairlight Novels.

 

© 2004 Christian Sound & Song. All rights reserved. Churches are encouraged to reproduce for use in their ministries. For any other use, permission must be obtained from the publisher.