Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary says “the remnant could be described variously as refugees, a community subgroup, or a sect”.
How many times have you heard this statement – “the Lord called me into ministry.” Well in the midst of one of the most difficult times in our lives, my husband and I both heard the voice of the Lord calling us to heal the broken hearted and set the captives free through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. My husband’s grandfather was a traveling Evangelist, and my grandmother and great grandmother Intercessors.
My first call into ministry was as an Intercessor. I’d always prayed for others but not with the power, passion and insight God was about to give me. My husband and I had a family crisis that left me bewildered. When I got the news I called my brother and his wife who are a powerful couple in the kingdom of God. My husband was on another phone extension. All three of them kept telling me you can handle this, you can believe God for this, it’s going to be fine. As I’d never done before I cried out to the Lord – “I can’t do this without you, please give me the strength to handle this.” At that moment with all of them as witnesses, I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit that has changed the course of my walk with Christ forever.
I grew so quickly after that experience. Oh, how I praise the Lord for giving me the gift of His Spirit. Soon after that my husband and I began to have couple prayer time and during one of those times my husband had a similar encounter with the Holy Spirit. He has been a new man almost since the moment He was touched by the fire of God’s Spirit. It’s like God poured into us a passion and a yearning to see salvation and deliverance take place in those that society deems undeliverable. These encounters have continued and the supernatural power of God has just become so real to us. It was in these times that we’ve heard the voice of God so clear in His calling to us.
We were blessed to have one of our pastors recognize the call and he provided us with an opportunity to begin in ministry. Soon however we found ourselves in the midst of a church split which brought about discouragement, frustration, fear, doubt, insecurity and every other feeling from hell that you could imagine. Moving into leadership opened our eyes to the ugly side of ministry. How could this happen with people who loved the same God, and shared in the body of Christ? And how could we serve the same God but be hearing completely different things? As the old adage states, “why couldn’t we all just get along?” Further, why would God call us into ministry and then put us in the midst of a big old mess? Then, in the midst of that confusion, my mother-in-law passed, my grandma died and even the dog died. Why was all of this happening? We didn’t understand that God was going to use this experience to prepare us for the call on our lives.
Finally, the split became permanent. It actually turned out more pleasant than we expected and I believe we all learned from the experience. The next assignment was to help our new pastor bring forth the ministry God had placed inside of him. Well, first there was finding a place, developing a mission statement, completing the incorporation papers, and getting the phone lines hooked up. Then there were the business cards, the letterhead, the logo, the web site and all that goes into marketing – you get the point.
I was so excited when my pastor assigned me as the Women’s Minister because God had poured so much in me, I was so full and I just wanted to share it with others. We started with an all night shut-in and monthly we would have prayer meetings and monthly services for women only. Oh, the power of God visited us when we came together and I began to see the lives of God’s women change. What an experience! On one occasion there was a scheduling conflict for the use of the church building and many of the women knew they would find it difficult to come to a very late service. We decided to have a women’s shut-in four times a year and forego the monthly services. At first I was discouraged and felt as though somehow I’d experienced a setback. But God would soon show me – He was in control. After spending time with God about this, I realized God had allowed this to happen because I still was not grabbing on to His vision for me.
Oh how easy it is to get comfortable inside the doors of the church. Oh how easy it is to get caught up in “church” and get sidetracked from your true calling. Some folks are doing some real “radical” things for Christ. There are a group of believers who distribute anointed oil and minister throughout the streets of Detroit and other large cities. They hit a lot of the rock concerts and clubs, etc. I also know of an ordained minister who does not pastor a church but actually functions as an Exhorter for other pastors. He also has a calling to pray for actual church buildings and pray against spirits that might be there to hinder the work of the Lord. There is an ordained minister on the East Coast who is called by God to do private deliverance sessions in his home – he has a special calling to spiritual deliverance and his pastor and others refer people to him. Radical ministers made a huge impact on gang life in the Los Angeles area over the last few years, and we surely cannot forget the good old fashioned tent revival preachers who bring in the power of God and claim the neighborhood for Jesus Christ. I think of these folks as “the remnant”.
My husband has known for a long time that he was a part of the remnant – called to do something radical and different in ministry. He used to joke in frustration saying – we can just do ministry from the van. I used to laugh at him, but I’m not laughing at that statement anymore. Over the last several months, I’ve felt very uncomfortable on the potter’s wheel as He has been really pressing me and putting unique definitions in me. A couple of months ago as I lead praise and worship, the presence of God visited us in a mighty way and I found myself saying “Lord, I’ll do what you want me to do – I’ll go where you tell me to go” and I just fell on the altar. I knew then, I’d just said yes to a change.
At this time, God is raising up a remnant in the church. This remnant is not better or more valuable to Him than the others – they are just different. I believe we are in a time of urgency and this remnant will play an important role in the gathering of the harvest. Those who are “the remnant” must be careful of becoming overbearing, frustrated, judgmental and bitter. How many of you know of people who have ceased fellowshipping/assembling with the brethren because of their radicalism? Or, how many of you know of Evangelists, Prophets and the like who are out there doing great things for the Lord but are not connected to or accountable to a group of believers? This is not the way God intends it. Be strong in the Lord, and put on the whole armor of Christ. Pray about what body of believers God will connect you to that can help support and encourage you in ministry. God is not raising up “Lone Rangers”. Even the remnant needs to work with the rest of the body to fulfill the great commission of winning souls for Christ.