Hey there! My name is Josh Hagstrom, and I am the current President of Wesley-Luther. Over this past summer, I was asked to preach at a church in Yorktown, VA, where I was interning for about two months. I was asked to share my call story as to why I was there that sunday and to find a character in the bible that was also being called. Here is that sermon:
I am a Music education student at UNC Greensboro. Since I have been at UNCG, I have been on three mission trips to Costa Rica and have been on about eight missions, total. The first trip to Costa Rica was pretty much like all of my previous missions I had been on: intentionally live church for a week, have a moment of clarity where everything makes sense, where I knew the awesomeness that is God, and then about two weeks after I return home go back to my old life; become the same old me. The second trip to Costa Rica, however, was totally different. It wrecked my faith. During my team’s first night in Alajuela, our pastor basically called us all out. He told us that fallowing Christ should be an all or nothing way of life. Either give everything to God, or give nothing. The worst thing we could do would be live like a lukewarm Christian. Our pastor referenced Revelation 3:15-16
“I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
Wow! This was powerful for us to hear. Our first night in a foreign country getting ready to try and intentionally live church for a week, and we were being questioned about how serious we were about our faith. Some of us were lukewarm. I realized I was lukewarm. It wrecked my faith. That trip broke my mission trip cycle. My moment of clarity did not wear off after those first two weeks. I went back home after that trip in Costa Rica and started reading about what it is I am saying when I call myself a Christian. I wanted to be something other than lukewarm.
This past fall semester, my campus minister asked me to help lead the Methodist-Lutheran group at UNCG. He told me to think about it, to pray about it, to chat with some of the other leaders of the group. My first thoughts about the whole thing came very easily to me: no way. I was the music director of my a cappella group, recruitment chair of my music education group, a full time student trying to also have a social life. I was busy, and that was not going to change. Was not there someone else who could help lead?
As I look back on that semester, I realize that I was also comfortable. I knew what my roles were, I knew how to balance my time between all of my events. I was comfortable, and my campus minister was asking me to do something that would change all of that up. So I told him thanks, but no thanks. There has got to be someone else.
Well, this conversation went on for about two months. He would ask me to pray and consider helping with the ministry, and I would tell him I could not do it. I would tell him no.
I remember one Thursday night meeting with him. We were having the same conversation we had been having all semester, except he changed it up on me. After telling him no to helping out with the ministry, he looked at me and said, “Josh, maybe this is not what you want for you, but what does God want for you?” Woah. After having that transformational experience in Costa Rica, wanting to refocus my life around Christ, part of me was still trying to reason out of serving him. My campus minister told me, “I know that I probably should not tell you this, but I believe you are being called to ministry.” Go and pray about all of this.
So I did. And you know what? I served on that leadership team last semester, and I am going to be the President of that group in the fall. I do not know what I will be doing next year, or the year after that. I am scared of the unknown. Does God really have the right guy for all of this?
I relate a lot with Moses. He was comfortable. Moses had a family, a wife and son, he had a steady job living the life of a shepherd, he had a place to live. Moses was pretty comfortable. And then, one day while he was keeping his father-in-law’s flock, he see’s this bush that is on fire, yet the bush is not burning. And God calls out to him from that bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he says back to God, “Here I am.”
Moses was comfortable, and God calls out to him. God calls Moses to bring his people, the Israelites, out of Egypt. And what was Moses’ response? “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” Who, me? You must have the wrong guy. Really, me?
Three times Moses questions God. First, he asks God what he should call him when the Israelites question who sent him. And God has an answer for that. “I AM WHO I AM…the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” So Moses tries again. “What if they don’t believe me?” What then, God? Again, God has an answer for that. God gives Moses a set of miracles to perform so that the Israelites will believe him. So Moses tries one last time, “God, I am not a good speaker. I probably won’t deliver your message well.” God: that’s cool, I will be with your mouth and tell you what to say. Well, shoot. Moses is out of options. So finally, Moses pleads, “O my Lord, please send someone else.” At this, God actually gets angry at Moses! “What about your brother, Aaron?” He speaks well. Get him to help you.
When God wants someone, he is going to get ‘em. And he did. God used Moses to liberate the Israelites from the Egyptians.
Again, I can relate to Moses. We were both comfortable. Things were going just fine. Then, WHAM! God calls. I relate with Moses. We have both questioned God. Do you really want me? Is not there someone else?
I relate to Moses. And I know that I am not the only one that does so. Have you ever felt like God was calling you to leave a place of comfort, to trust that he is going to take care of you even when he is calling you to go to the unknown? Have you ever asked these same questions? “God, do you have the right guy? God, are you sure you want me? God, is not there anyone else that you could call?”
Know that these questions are okay. Even Moses questioned his call. And he accepted. So the next time you hear God calling you, I give you this challenge: I challenge you to listen, to really listen to what God is calling you to do, and to accept that call. It might be scary. It might be uncomfortable . But know this: God is calling the right person, and God will be with you the whole way. So will you answer His call?