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Beyond The Call

The baby had been born, Steve said, but with a hole in his heart, and they weren’t sure of anything. Within hours Jerry had flown to Louisiana to be with our son, his wife and the baby. Our daughter was critically ill, so I was not able to go with him.

They transferred Joel to a superior hospital: Through the touch of Jesus, and the ministration of human doctors, the flaw resolved itself, and within a short time, Joel Buxton was declared perfect.

Now, on Saturday, July 26th, 2008, with a wife and three small boys of his own, Joel was ready to be installed as pastor of Calvary Pentecostal Church in Carson City, Nevada.

“Pappy, will you be able to come to my installation service?” Joel had asked on the phone many weeks before, but Jerry wasn’t sure. “Well, I hope you can come. I want you to be a part of it.”

Jerry opened the service with prayer, read from his Bible: “Children’s children are the crown of old men:…” then turning to Joel, addressed him. “You are my crown, Joel. I am intensely proud of you.”

The preliminary part of the service was kept short, and the first speaker, Randy Keyes, preached a profound sermon on the subject, “The Call, the Preparation and the Sending.” Joel then took the pulpit, welcomed everyone and told of his reasons for choosing these particular men for this significant occasion. When he was quite young, at specific and memorable times, both Randy Keyes and Floyd Odom had uniquely ministered to Joel.

“The Anointing,” was Floyd Odom’s subject, and from Old Testament scripture, he expounded on the composition of anointing oil, pointing out that “things” were first sanctified, then were the men–the priests–anointed. As Rev. Odom preached, he lifted a bottle from which he poured copious amounts of olive oil into his hands, and as he massaged his hands, he addressed Joel. “Routinely, you must anoint the sheep. As their pastor, as their shepherd, you must lovingly tend them, rubbing oil into the corners of their eyes, into their ears, and onto the corners of their mouths.” 

“Come,” Rev. Odom spoke to Steve, Joel’s father. “Come, as I preach and lay hands on your son and anoint him.” It was a powerful and moving gesture as the father anointed the son, and as the grandfather watched. From their loins had come this excellent young man.

“Join your husband here, please,” Rev. Odom spoke to Aisha, and as the couple stood, he charged them to do the work of a pastor and a pastor’s wife, to defend truth, to be just and wise.

Steve concluded the service, calling forward all ministers and their wives to speak a corporate prayer for Joel and Aisha. Standing at that altar were three generations of Buxton pastors: Jerry, Steve and Joel.

And so it was finished…but only has it begun. From the calling, through the preparation, the sending, and now the installation, Joel Buxton had progressed, and, in the long line of God’s will, had taken his designated place.

At some unknown moment, and in an unfathomable way –timeless and separate from eternity–Almighty God formed Joel, a distinct, eternal soul. One day, faithful to His Design, God bent over and summoned His servant: As unmistakable as is lightening on a summer day, so was the beat of Divine as Joel sensed the quickening of The Call. Stripping himself of personal ambition and of secular choice, he bowed in submission to God’s eternal plan.

And who would not? Who, once called, would refuse the dedicated path of bonded servant to Almighty? Who could ignore such rarified opportunity? For in place of lowly is the elevated, in exchange for decadence is the righteous, in trade for chains come ethereal freedoms; an orchestrating, a brokering, an unimaginable exchange, a joining of God and man.