Driven vs. Called (Dallas)

2016 RightNow Conference


What do you do when your calling begins to feel too heavy to carry? The answer to that question will tell you something of what you believe about God. In this 36-minute session from the 2016 RightNow Conference,  Jennie Allen issues a challenge about our views of ministry by demonstrating the ways in which we trade God's priority in our lives for His mission.

Jennie Allen is an author, speaker, Bible teacher, and Founder of the IF:Gathering, a uniquely practical Christian conference which gathers, equips, and unleashes women to live out their purpose. She is the author of several books and Bible studies, including Stuck: The Places We Get Stuck and the God Who Sets Us Free, Chase: Chasing After the Heart of God, Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked my God and My Soul, and Restless: Because You Were Made for More



There's a big difference between living "driven" and living "called." Sometimes, we get so caught up in the busyness of our work that we struggle to slow down long enough to diagnose our hearts. Living out God's call does not mean we will never grow tired, but when it becomes burdensome there is something wrong with what we believe about God.

Matthew 11:30 (ESV)

30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Jeremiah 2:11-13 (ESV)

11 Has a nation changed its gods,

even though they are no gods?

But my people have changed their glory

for that which does not profit.

12Be appalled, O heavens, at this;

be shocked, be utterly desolate,

declares the Lord,

13for my people have committed two evils:

they have forsaken me,

the fountain of living waters,

and hewed out cisterns for themselves,

broken cisterns that can hold no water.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Have you experienced a season of burnout? How did it affect you? How did it influence your ministry?
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Jesus tells us that His yoke is easy and His burden light, but we grow tired when we replace God with His mission—an empty cistern that cannot hold the water we need to thrive.

How have you seen the temptation to replace God with His mission play out in your own life? What desires are at the root of that temptation? What about your work tempts you to believe it will give you something you cannot find from God?
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Is it possible that we are doing ministry wrong? Could it be that our emptiness comes from the fact that we are running to the wrong cisterns? Jennie asked these provocative questions to remind us of the truth—Jesus is the only cistern that satisfies.

John 7:37-39 (ESV)

Rivers of Living Water

37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”39Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


In this passage, what does John define as the "living water" (see verse 39)?
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What do you think it means to "come to" Jesus in our thirst? What are some times when you have experienced His quenching power in your own life?
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Pointing to the story of Daniel, Jennie keyed in on one of the primary ways we become empty—by forsaking our private lives for a public life. Rather than living as those called, equipped, and filled by God we engage in performance for God. Influence is not a bad thing to desire, but it becomes destructive when it robs us of faithfulness to God.

Daniel 6:4-10 (ESV)

4Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him.5Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”

6Then these high officials and satraps came by agreement to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever!7All the high officials of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.8Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.”9Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction.

10When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


How does verse 10 describe Daniel's private life? What were his priorities, even when threats against his influence and livelihood were directed at him?
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How do you tend to respond when your influence is threatened? What does this reveal to you about the priorities of your heart?
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Where do you stand in the tension of desiring God and influence? At this point in your life, would you say your priorities are in the proper order? Why or why not?
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Like Jennie said, your greatest ministry will come not from the words you say, but from the example you set. Those are are driven preach an example that is defensive, abnormally busy, yearning for approval, constantly comparing to others, and lonely. A called example preaches deep relationships, service without recognition, regular confession of sin, commitment to rest, and a craving for Jesus. 

Which list of attributes best describes you today? What example are you setting for your people? How do you see it displayed in their lives?
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What are some practices you have in place for staying focused on God? In light of Jennie's message, what can you do to improve?
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How will you practically take steps to resting with God this week? What will you do to create margins in your life to cultivate a greater dependence on Him?
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The idol of our day is to make a name for ourselves. Do you desire God more than personal influence, applause, and the things of this world? It's a difficult question to ask, but one that is crucial not only to effectiveness in ministry, but to intimacy with God. Ministry is a heavy task and one made all the more so when we trust in our performance before the power of God in us. Ask Him to search your heart and bring to light any idolatry luring you away from the living water of Jesus. He is faithful to cleanse you and restore you to that abundance that will pour out of you into the lives of those He has placed in your midst.


For more information on the RightNow Conference or to find out how to attend next year's event, visit rightnowconference.org