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February 23, 2011

Thoughts on the Heart Call

Les Disciples by artist Eugene Burnand
I have enjoyed Greg Ogden’s book Unfinished Business: Returning the Ministry to the People of God. I felt as if he was giving words to the needs I’ve been sensing in the body of Christ. What would the body of Christ or a local gathering of believers look like if we were all committed to do our part and be ministers to our Lord Jesus Christ? I for one want to be a part of such an experience.


I’ll share some thoughts from chapter 10 concerning God’s calling in our life. Ogden shares three forms of a calling. (1) The primary call to Christ, community, and transformation to all who are in Christ. (2) The secondary call, which is the application of the primary call into all spheres of life. And (3) an individual heart or purpose call that is the particular reason God has placed us on this planet (Ogden, 2003, 243). We all experience these calls and I believe we can only come into God’s full purpose for our lives when we align ourselves with these described callings. I think we all know this. I think most of us sense there is more to our life. Often we enter into these three callings under our own terms and that always leads to un-fulfillment. One of my favorite quotes is “No man ever gained by serving God with half a heart, nor lost by serving Him with a whole one” (author unknown). If we accept the call to be in Christ then we need to embrace the transformed life, cast out the old, and live fully in the new. If we say we are a Christ follower then we need to serve Him unconditionally in every area of our life. If we sense God’s heart calling and purpose, then we need to take up our cross and follow Him.


I want to also share Ogden’s four characteristics of the heart call or life purpose. (1) It is focused on a need you care about. (2) It has a feeling of a positive burden, or inner oughtness, or this I must do. (3) It is bigger than we can ever accomplish in our own resources. And (4) there is energy and joy that wells up within you when you apply your gifts to a need you care about (Ogden, 2003, 261-65). Ogden is right when he expresses the heart call with an overwhelming sense of impossibility. These heart callings contain so much potential and can be so wondrous that they have to be outside all our own definitions and possibilities. That’s why we call them dreams. At some point we need to accept that God’s heart calling for our life exists in the realm of impossibility, accept that God loves us and has good things in store for us, accept that He will sustain us and provide the resources needed, and then step forward in faith. Our life will reach its greatest potential at our point or greatest surrender.


Ogden, Greg. 2003. Unfinished Business: Returning the Ministry to the People of God. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.