At Midwestern, Page said God sometimes provides irrecoverable moments when believers have opportunities to accomplish Kingdom tasks -- and they can either get it right or get it wrong. The results of their decisions will impact life either positively or negatively forever, Page said, noting that such times come for nations, families, marriages, churches and individuals.
Page identified an irrecoverable moment in Samuel's life recorded in 1 Samuel 3. The young Samuel could either accept or turn from God's calling upon his life, and when he chose to accept, God richly blessed him.
God's call still comes today, Page said.
"The call comes for many reasons. We know that God calls to salvation, and He initiates the act of salvation," Page said in his Midwestern chapel message in mid-September. "God also calls us to be the sharer of that salvation. The call of salvation continues to this day, and I urge you to share the Gospel with the men and women around this area who so desperately need the Good News."
God calls people to suffering and to service, Page continued. "We don't hear that talked about a great deal. That's not on our Top 10 list -- 'I want to suffer for Jesus,'" Page said. "In that suffering, God does something mighty special in teaching, training, edification, sanctification and growth. In the midst of that calling to suffering, He calls to offer us His loving care. Don't ever forget that."
The saddest part of the 1 Samuel passage, Page said, was that Eli and his sons failed to receive the calling to service. The Word of the Lord was rare in that time, he said, but because Samuel's heart was ready, God's Word came to him.
"Is the Word of God rare now? Is God struggling to find men and women who will listen to His call and instruction?" Page asked. "We are in the most individualistic age I've ever imagined. We think we can perceive better than anyone else. It's that kind of intransient spirit that God struggles to get through. We need prepared hearts that are open and responsive to the call. Humble your hearts, be available and listen to God."
Urging students to respond properly to the call of God, Page said, "I pray that we will all do what Samuel did. I pray that we will hear the call and heed the command."
Because of Samuel's obedience, God was with him in Shiloh and blessed him where he served.
"Your irrecoverable moment is coming," Page said. "Just maybe God is doing a work in your life now that could be considered an irrecoverable moment. If you'll make a decision and you'll allow Him to do what He wants to do, He can change your life forever and the Kingdom of God will be blessed."
During chapel at New Orleans Seminary, Page said he borrowed the term irrecoverable moments from evangelist Billy Graham's autobiography "Just As I Am."
"I do believe in every life there come irrecoverable moments, times when God doing a work -- a work of pruning, a work of convicting, a work of instruction, a work of exhortation. And I believe, contrary to some of my brethren, that we have a real choice," Page said. "I believe irrecoverable moments come, and maybe some of you are in such a moment right now."
Page said when Jesus encountered the woman at the well the exchange was an irrecoverable moment for her.
In the John 4 passage, Jesus and His disciples were traveling north through Samaria, a country often avoided by Jews of the day. While the disciples fetched some supplies from a nearby town, Jesus arrived at a well where He found a Samaritan woman drawing water, Page recounted.
Jesus asked the woman for some water, and they engaged in a wide-ranging conversation about Jew-Samaritan relations, the correct way to worship and the woman's personal history. At the end of the conversation, the woman went into the nearby town to report, "Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?"
"Truly, I believe salvation came to this woman, and I believe it had implications for her past, present and future," Page said. "Salvation has implications for our past as well."
Jesus knew the woman's reputation, but He still offered her dignity and love and helped her move past her personal history. Page said God can do the same today.
Jesus also impacted the woman's present. Page related this point to Jesus' and the woman's conversation on proper worship. The woman asked Jesus where the proper place for worship was -- on Mount Gerizim in Samaria or in Jerusalem. The dispute was a major point of conflict between Jews and Samaritans, but Jesus didn't spend time discussing the dispute. Instead, He used the dispute as a bridge to discussing true worship.
"Finally, she knew how to worship and who to worship," Page said at NOBTS Sept. 15, the day after his visit to Midwestern. "He was standing right in front of her."
Page described how the encounter with Jesus changed the woman's future. Jesus gave the woman a fresh start, and it began with her inviting the town to meet Jesus.
"This woman who'd been the talk of the town now gets the town talking about Jesus. This woman who'd really been a symbol of defeat now shows the people where victory is," Page said. "This woman who'd been a tribute to immorality now points people toward the only source of righteousness. This woman becomes a soul-winner."
Page then urged the seminarians to consider who around them needed a similar "irrecoverable moment" with Christ.
"They need the opportunity for a moment with the Son of God so they might have a relationship that will change them forever," he said.
T. Patrick Hudson writes for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Frank Michael McCormick writes for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Editor's Note: The SBC Today blog site posted an interview with Frank Page on a range of topics on Oct. 18. It can be accessed at http://sbctoday.com/2011/10/18/an-interview-with-dr-frank-s-pagepresident-and-ceo-of-the-executive-committee-of-the-southern-baptist-convention/.
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