Reflections on Ministerial Call
I became a Christian 21 years ago through a campus ministry at the university. There was a hunger in my spirit to read the Word of God and came to an understanding at that time that our calling as a Christian is to share the Gospel. So I contemplated, “if the highest job we could have is in sharing the Gospel why still study technology and pursue secular job?” But I continued studying because that was expected of me by the society and my family. I was given an opportunity to serve in the student ministry for 2 years as the coordinator of evangelism ministry and I enjoyed what I was doing. But I wanted more training so I attended the month long Christian leadership camp of the campus ministry organization and heard about missionary calling. After that camp I was certain that I was called to be a missionary. So when the opportunity opened for me to work in Baguio, I considered that as my first missionary journey.
In Baguio I came to know about a mission organization that sends missionaries to different nations. I went there and told them that I would like to be a missionary. They asked me, “What is the name of your church?” I answered, “I don’t have church in Baguio”. I did’t know yet the importance of church and community in mission. So they instructed me to find a church first. The Lord led me to attend a small church in the city which has become my home church until now. I served in the church during my early years as a youth leader, worship leader and sometimes Sunday school teacher. I so love the ministry and the idea of being a minister but I lost sight of the Master. I was burned out and felt that I was trapped in the ministry. So as with the story of the prodigal son I set out to the secular world and experienced the life it could offer for 7 long years. However, entering into a relationship with the Lord is a covenant, “us” and the “Lord”. I was not faithful to that covenant but God is faithful. Six years ago, the Lord brought me back to a loving relationship with Him- my second born again experience. This time I believed in my heart not just in my mouth that Jesus is Lord of my life. He is enthroned not me. The moment I understood that, the Lord showed me revelation after revelation on the fulfilment of His calling for me as a missionary.
Reflection#1: The ministerial call is to experience and know Christ.
God brought back in me the burden for the lost. I shared Christ to people I met locally. He opened doors for me to get involved in church ministry again. While at work, I was promoted to a global position which allowed me to travel to different places in Asia and as the Spirit led me I made myself available to share Christ to people of different nations I met along the way. The desire for cross cultural mission grew in my heart. This time I sought counsel from the leaders in the church and to the people that He impressed in me. I found my way back to my home church and had my theological and ministerial training at APTS. The path to the missionary calling has become more clear each step of the way.
Three years ago, the Lord impressed me about going to an unreached area (restricted area). Again in another spirit field prayer occasion I asked the Lord for the mission field and He pointed me to a triangle field on my map covering various nations in East Asia. I was very confused so I sought the counsel of my spiritual mentors and they explained to me that the calling may be geographical but it could also be a people group. So I asked my mentors, friends, brethren to pray with me for the specifics of God’s call for me.
Reflection#2: The ministerial call is personal but in a community setting.
Through the prayers of the faithful, the Lord opened doors for me to (Restricted Area) the mission which started during the Missionary Training Institute of APTS. I met missionaries to the people group, met the people group and went to the area of ministry (Restricted Area). The Lord increased the burden in me to pray for the people group and I have dedicated most of my academic papers at APTS to know more about the place, the people group, their religious affiliation and culture. The Lord brought (Restricted Area) world closer to mine. The calling for mission amongst the people group became clearer and certain as He connected me to a mission organization and like-minded people. But am I really ready for the field? Last November I set out to (Restricted Area) bordering the area of ministry for a month long mission exposure. The Lord brought me to village where I was shown the need for Christian presence and influence. The place can be categorized as unreached geographically and with an unreached people group. They are predominantly Buddhist. All the more I am convinced that the path of a full time missionary is the right path for me because I was shown how few are the workers on that place and how vast the mission field. But can I live longer in that cold and dry place? During my 3rd week of Mission trip I became sick for 4 days. It was hard to get sick in a foreign country alone. I suddenly missed my loved ones back home. I missed speaking my own language, eating Filipino foods and being Filipino. Then I heard the Lord asking me how far shall I go in the mission field? I responded with a question, is it really worth it? When I said that, I was thinking about leaving my comfort life as a manager of an aerospace company, living at the coolest place in the Philippines, and partying with long-time friends in exchange for the life of uncertainty and suffering. Is it really worth it? While contemplating on that, I spent time listening to the testimonies of the local believers, I asked them what attracted them to Jesus? Most of the believers I met are ex- Buddhist monks, Believer#1 said, “I found peace in Christ”, Beliver#2, the sister of an ex-Buddhist monk said, “I saw changes in my brother, there must be something special about Jesus so I seek Him” and Believer#3 said, “ever since I was a kid I don’t feel I am loved, but when I was introduced to Jesus I felt love.” Reflecting on their responses, I came to the conclusion that the missionary calling is not all bed of roses, I will not experience all the time the emotional joy and excitement; and I will miss home, my comfort zone and my own culture. There will be sacrifices to make… but it is all worth it! Because there are those unreached people out there who are in need of peace, change and love. I can tell them about Jesus.
Reflection#3: The ministerial call is a commitment in sickness or in health, for good or for bad.
Last January 15, 2016 was my last day at work. I don’t feel any negative emotions like sadness or regrets in finally taking the step out of my comfort zone. It is like my whole being was commissioned to follow the missionary call. My status at social media goes like this, “first day to forever of surrender”, indeed I am ready. The plans were in place, I was accepted at the language school in the area of ministry for 2 years, connected to a missionary agency, free lodging and accommodation were ready and scheduled to leave the Philippines on February 26, 2016. I processed my student visa expecting good result. After 4 days I went back to the embassy to find out that my visa application got denied without giving any reasons. They told me that I can only reapply after 6 months. I was shocked. Instead of thinking about it, I immediately bought a ticket back to home town and slept on the bus. When I woke up I was tempted to question God, but I was reminded that I am on the path to surrender. That if things are not in my control then it is under God’s. And if it is under God’s then it is for His glory, for my good and for the saving of many. I told God, “I resigned from work, You are now my employer, can you please sort it out.”
Refelection#4: The ministerial call is a life surrendered to Christ and His plans.
Just recently I was told by the leader of the mission organization that they were looking for me to apply for a business visa and go direct to the area where the Lord called me to minister. I have inquired with the travel agency if I can apply for visa entry without waiting for 6 months and they confirmed that it is allowable. I was overjoyed with that news. As part of the preparation and to meet the business team leader, I was invited to attend the Business as Mission Conference in Thailand for 3 weeks. Reflecting on this new missionary path, all I can say was, “the Lords ways are better than my ways.” Pray with me that I may be used effectively to further the Kingdom of God in the area where God called me to minister. Intercede with me for favour and success over the business visa application. May I be found consistently committed to the call for His glory and for the salvation of many.
It is early Christmas morning here in the Houger Home. Our thoughts and prayers are with you; and we pray that you sense the joy, happiness, and peace of Christ and His first coming. Also, Barb and I want to take this opportunity to say “Merry Christmas” from our house to wherever you may be! We pray that the message of His first coming will continually spur you on to reach the unreached, the least reached, and the forgotten and to look forward to welcome Him at His second coming! We are so appreciative and thankful for each of you and the partnership we have with you! “Merry Christmas!”
Barb is the coordinator for the Doctor of Ministry Class here at the Asia Pacific Theological Seminary (APTS), Philippines! There are 13 students from nine countries. Drs. Waldemar and Rosemarie Kolwaski are the lectures and presenters. The students have expressed their appreciation for these seasoned professors, ministers, and counselors and they have said they have learned a lot through their teaching. Would you take a moment and pray for this class?
Merry Christmas to all of our friends, family members, students, colleagues (both in the educational and ministry realms), etc. All of you are very important to Barb and I! We appreciate you very much and we are very grateful for the partnership that we have with you! It is our prayer and desire that each of one of you experience the lovingkindness of the LORD in a greater and deeper sense! We pray that the Kingdom of God will expand through your lives. Furthermore, may your stories that flow through you lives and touch many other lives! Each of us have been privileged and honored to carry the greatest gift to the entire world — Jesus Christ! Again, Merry Christmas!
AG NEWS SPECIAL REPORT–
**Beloved Theologian Dr. Stanley M. Horton Passes
Rev. Stanley Monroe Horton, 98, of Springfield, Missouri, died
Saturday, July 12, 2014. Dr. Horton, recognized as the premier
Pentecostal theologian, was a renowned scholar and prolific
writer. Influencing the Assemblies of God through teaching
generations of ministers and missionaries personally and
through his works, Dr. Horton was highly regarded and loved by
leaders and students throughout the world. AG General
Superintendent George O. Wood referred to Dr. Horton as a
“bridge linking the Azusa revival to the present day.”
Visitation and funeral arrangements will be forthcoming.
**BELOVED THEOLOGIAN DR. STANLEY M. HORTON PASSES
Rev. Stanley Monroe Horton, 98, of Springfield, Missouri, died on
Saturday, July 12, 2014, at Maranatha Village in Springfield.
Son of Harry Samuel Horton and Myrle May Fisher, Dr. Horton was born
on May 6, 1916, in Huntington Park, California. His maternal
grandparents Elmer Kirk Fisher and Clara Daisy Sanford participated
in the historic Azusa Street Revival of 1906, leading the nearby
Upper Room Mission. As a child of the Azusa Street Revival and
Mission, Horton has served, in the words of Assemblies of God
General Superintendent George O. Wood, as a “bridge linking the
Azusa revival to the present day.”
Dr. Horton received his educational training at Los Angeles City
College (A.A., 1935); University of California-Berkeley (B.S.,
1937); Gordon College (now Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary)
(M.Div., 1944); Harvard University (S.T.M., 1945); and Central
Baptist Theological Seminary (Th.D., 1959). He was Distinguished
Professor Emeritus of Bible and Theology at the Assemblies of God
Theological Seminary (AGTS), where he taught from 1978-1991. Prior
to that, he served as chair of the Bible Department at Central Bible
College from 1948-1978 and professor at Metropolitan Bible Institute
from 1945-1948. He wrote the Assemblies of God “Adult Teacher” Sunday
School curriculum for over 25 years. In 1980 he served as president
of the Society for Pentecostal Studies. Upon his retirement from
teaching in 1991, he held the position of general editor of the
Pentecostal Textbook Series/”Logion Press” in Springfield until 2000.
Dr. Horton has been recognized as the premier Pentecostal
theologian. A renowned scholar and prolific writer, he continued to
travel the world until age 92, visiting 25 countries as a lecturer.
He authored dozens of books — many of which have been translated
into multiple languages, book chapters, and manuals and published
more than 250 articles and book reviews. He was listed in “Who’s Who
in Religion and Outstanding Educators of America.” His writings have
appeared in publications as diverse as “The Encyclopedia Americana
and the Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements.”
He served as chair of the editorial committee for “The Full Life
Study Bible” and its 2003 revision titled “Life in the Spirit Study
Bible.” Foreign translations commonly refer to this as “The Fire
Bible.” His book, “What the Bible Says about the Holy Spirit” (Gospel
Publishing House, 1976), has long been the definitive text on that
topic in universities and seminaries around the world. Dr. Horton
served as the official translator of 1 and 2 Corinthians from Koine
Greek to modern Messianic Jewish vernacular for the “Tree of Life”
Bible, an undertaking done in cooperation with the Messianic Family
Bible Project and now the official Bible of The King’s University.
Stanley Horton’s devotion to the salvation of “All Israel” and
biblical translation abilities did not weaken with his length of
Dr. Robert Cooley, Horton’s student at Central Bible Institute in
1949 and later his colleague on the faculty there, would later
comment about his writing, “He modeled a biblical scholarship that
was practically applied. So if you read the adult quarterly for 25
years, you can see that the lesson material grew out of an academic
understanding of Scripture but was very practical. It was the same
with his articles and other books — a technical understanding of the
biblical text but a remarkable way of translating that into a body
of applied theology. This is the meaning of his life, that he had a
wonderful way to do that. His scholarship was never esoteric; it was
for everyone. To be able to go from an exegetical theology to an
applied theology was a real gift.”*
Horton’s life of service has been characterized by a unique
combination of Pentecostal fervor, a commitment to biblical
scholarship, and Christ-like character.
In 2010 AGTS honored Dr. Horton as a “Legacy Leader” — one who
displays “fierce biblical faithfulness … long tenure … a high level
of confidence but no appearance of arrogance or haughtiness … [who]
accepts the responsibility for [his or her] ministry … [who] shows
unconditional love for those he or she serves … is persistent … has
a vision that always includes evangelistic passion … and [who] makes
decisions that will benefit the church … well beyond their own
tenure or even lifetime.”** Part of that legacy was Dr. Horton’s
support of women in leadership as well as his commitment to racial
reconciliation. “Scripture makes it clear that we’re all one in
Christ, and we need each other,” he said.
Committed to a sense that following Christ means being a “lifelong
disciple,” Dr. Horton continued to serve the Church well into his
nineties, on the Assemblies of God Commission on Doctrinal Purity,
an adviser for AGTS doctoral participants, and an original board
member of Israel’s Redemption — a role in which he served to the end
of his life.
In 2009 AGTS established The Dr. Stanley M. Horton Scholarly
Resources Endowment (http://agts.edu/more/horton/) in his honor. In
lieu of flowers, donations may be made to this endowment by
contacting the AGTS Development Office at 417-268-1000.
In 2009, Gospel Publishing House released Dr. Horton’s biography,
“Stanley M. Horton: Shaper of Pentecostal Theology.” As an addendum
to the biography, a full bibliography of works by and about Dr.
Horton up to the present time, and video interviews with him are
available at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center website (click
here to view: http://s2.ag.org/hortonbib).
Stanley M. Horton was predeceased by his parents, his loving wife
Evelyn Gertrude Parsons, and siblings Donald, Harold, David, Evelyn
May, and Gertrude. He is survived by two sisters, Esther and Ruth of
California; two sons, Stan, Jr. (Linda Self) of Springfield,
Missouri; and Ed (Diana Dykes) of Branson, Missouri; and a daughter
Faith (Brent Stilts) of Springfield, Missouri. He is also survived
by three grandchildren: Matthew (Darci Stonebreaker), Monica
(Matthew Bryant), and Zachary Andrew Horton Stilts as well as six
great grandchildren: Cale, Aven, Asher, Noah, Lila, and Seth.
Visitation and funeral arrangements will be forthcoming.
*Robert Cooley, telephone interview by Lois E. Olena, Springfield,
Missouri, August 28, 2008.
**Thom S. Rainer, “Breakout Churches: Discover How to Make the Leap”
(Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan 2010), 66-67.
Good Morning, MTI! MTI happens on the Campus of Asia Pacific Theological Seminary (APTS) nearly every year. It is wonderful and an honor to see 12 eager students. They are ready to study Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Shintoism, and Taoism! Please pray that the Lord will give us a special time of learning and exploring these religions; and vision for the lost!