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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor
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A Voice Calling In The
1998 Christmas Message
Thomas F. Fischer
"A voice calling in the wilderness, Prepare the
Way of the Lord."
- A "voice calling." These words of Isaiah present the simplest description of
the calling to divine ministry. We are but a "voice calling."
- Of course, the greater voice is not ours, but Gods. It is His Voice that
graciously called all creation into existence. It is His Voice that called us to Himself.
It is His Voice that, in a more specific way, called us to the Divine ministry. Our
calling is simply to let the Voice re-echo in the voice of our proclamation--wherever that
- One of the most amazing things about the ministry of Jesus Christ is its amazing
diversity. The Christian ministry is not just local congregations in "middle
class" communities. Instead, the ministry of Jesus Christ is carried through the
voice of organizations such as "Unlimited Potential" which hosts baseball
workshops for youth using Christian Baseball Players. Their voice is used to share the
news that Jesus loves them, too.
- Other organizations such as "Developmental Services, International" are
missionary support agencies sharing the comforting voice of God with those involved in the
difficult cross-cultural mission stations throughout the world.
- Yet, whoever and wherever we are, these diverse forms of ministry share one common
element: the divine directive to be the "voice calling" where they are.
- Perhaps the most interesting thing about Isaiahs prophecy in Chapter 40 is that it
is ambiguous. We cannot be sure if Isaiah meant that the voice was calling people to
prepare the way for the Lord "in the wilderness" or if the voice calling to
prepare the way of the Lord was calling "in the wilderness."
- Though textual critics will continue to deal with an ever-evasive final answer to this
issue, perhaps the issue is best left unresolved. Gods servants are, in effect,
always calling out in the wilderness. Whether the wilderness is physical or not, one thing
is sure. The context of ministry is always in a spiritual wilderness. Though the
experiences, joys and sorrows may vary in duration and intensity, all of us share the
burden of being Gods voice in an often barren wilderness.
- It is because we, too, must go into the wilderness that we share the wilderness
experience. Impatience, criticism, rejection, discredited reputations, uprooted lives, and
personal, emotional and spiritual injury are never far behind. Indeed, so often it feels
as if neither our hearers nor God hear our voice. Yet, our proclamation continues. We
remain faithful. Our voice continues to call "in the wilderness."
- This voice "in the wilderness" has a purpose. That purpose is to call people
to a life of fasting, of preparation, of repentance. As the hearers are in the barrenness
of the wilderness, it follows that it is there they must prepare for the new life. Or, if
they are too entangled in the things of this world, the voice beckoning them to go to the
wilderness to prepare His way may be the voice that makes the greatest, eternal difference
in their lives.
- To those "voices", like Isaiah, God in His most authoritative manner gives His
- "Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and
proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the Lords hand double for all her sins." Isaiah
- The message of Christmas is that we not only have Comfort in Jesus Christ. But we have a
joyful mandate to voice that comfort to all of Gods people, wherever the wilderness
or however hostile that wildernessspiritual and/or physicalmight be. The
message which the voice bears is the simple, eternal message.
- "Speak tenderly
her sin has been paid for
she has received from the
Lords hand double for all her sins."
- You are Gods paracletes to the peoples of the world. You are the
voice calling them from the wilderness to the richness of Gods grace. Your
voice is that which God is using to raise the valleys, lower the mountains, and smooth the
rough places into a plain. The final result of this proclamation is to realize the
fulfillment of Gods promise.
- "And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it.
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken." Isaiah 40:5 (NIV)
- The Voice has spoken. His glory will be revealed and all mankind will see it together.
The coming of Christ is the greatest revelation of Gods glory. The Apostle
Johns voice declares,
- "We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father,
full of grace and truth." John 1:14 (NIV)
- That is the reason for our ministry. It is the reason for our joy this Christmas. Without
you, there is no voice to call to those in the wilderness. Without you,
there is no one in the wilderness to share the comfort of Jesus Christ. Gods Voice
has called you to be His voice in the tradition of the prophets.
- The Kerygmatic voice which the prophets spoke was one of grace, comfort, and
forgiveness. It was a ministry not without sorrow, sacrifice, or scorn. But it was a
ministry of joy.
- On behalf of Ministry Health and
those very special people who make this ministry possible-- Rev. Kelly Bedard
(proofreader--how could I do it without you, Kelly!), contributors (including Dr. Glenn
Daman, Revs. John Crowe, Wayne Dobratz, Greg Morris, and General Superintendent John
Simpson), advisors (Carol Bacon and the above), computer support technicians
("NB" and Ronald Grift), and the many encouragers whose comments and feedback
direct and shape this ministry--I pray that the celebration of the Newborn King of Kings
and the experience of seeing the "Glory revealed" before you will again touch
your spirit and encourage your voice to keep callingwhatever the
wilderness"Prepare the way of the Lord."
- Blessed Christmas To All Of You!
- Thomas F. Fischer, Editor
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was revised on:
Tuesday, October 05, 2004 11:04:47 PM