“When God calls you to do something,” the pastor cautioned, “your only response is, yes.”

I saw a number of heads nodding in agreement, but I sensed a question stirring in the heads of others: “But how do I know when God is calling?” 

It's an important question. In fact, there is no question more important for Christians. For how can we follow Christ, if we can't tell His call from that of the culture, or from an echo of our own desires, the product of misplaced guilt, or another have-to, got-to, need-to duty that seems good and feels good—and maybe, is good—but is not God-sent?

The answer is, we can’t—without first recognizing the means by which God calls us.

Prior to Pentecost, God called individuals in four ways: directly, through some physical manifestation of Himself (the burning bush); indirectly, through divine messengers (angels); subconsciously, through a dream or vision (Jacob’s “stairway to heaven”); or personally, through God incarnate (during Jesus’ earthly ministry).

But what was the norm then is exceptional today. The Christian who waits for a theophany or Danielic dream to receive a word from God, could be waiting a long time. And yet, while God’s call may no longer come through angelic visitations or blinding lights, it can be discerned with the help of two books: the Book of Nature and the Book of Scripture. Continue reading here.