Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

African-American spiritual

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Jesus replied, “The time has come for the Human One to be glorified. I assure you that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it can only be a single seed. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their lives will lose them, and those who hate their lives in this world will keep them forever. Whoever serves me must follow me. Wherever I am, there my servant will also be. My Father will honor whoever serves me.

John 12:23-26

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Jesus has a clear understanding both of the purpose of his life and the meaning of what will happen on Good Friday and Easter. He uses the image of a grain of wheat that “falls to the earth and dies,” but then bears much fruit to explain the significance of his death and resurrection. Jesus enters his final days with a clear sense of mission.

I spent my teenage years seeking clarity about God’s calling for my life. Experiences in my church and words spoken to me by peers and adults had me wondering if I was called to be a minister. I also saw the struggles of ministers and wondered if I wanted to embrace a calling that involved sacrifice and uncertainty. On Palm Sunday in 1993 I was ordained as a Baptist minister.

I could never have imagined the directions that calling has taken. But I’ve found peace and hope in the conviction that serving Christ’s church as a minister is my calling.

I believe God gives each of us the gift of a holy purpose for our lives. My prayer is that you will discover your calling and embrace it in faith.

Paul Baxley

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Lord, show me how I can use the unique abilities you have given me to live for your purposes in the church and in the world. Amen.

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Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.

Isaac Watts in “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” (1707)

Paul Baxley

Paul Baxley is the executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Sunshine on My Face

John Morton

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