Thursday, August 28, 2008
I know. At first, it sounded hokey to me, too. They have a Christian chaplain who works with 180 employees to support them with prayer and spiritual counsel. There are people of all major faiths working there but they still operate on Christ-centered principles like: integrity, honesty, love.
Just recently they told us that someone, an employee, committed suicide. So, they all gathered for a worship service. No one was compelled; everyone was invited. They said they don't beat anybody over the head with the Bible, but they do try to live out their faith in word and deed.
One of the witnesses said: "You don't find this in churches all the time..." It seemed strange to admit that but I have to say that she's right. The President of the company said that they strive for it but don't always meet it.
In churches where I have served over the years, the core values of some were power and control, not prayer and love and kindness.
At Bethel, I find a very loving community of people. Let us resolve to be as Christlike in our church toward each other as we can be. We won't get there completely, but we strive for it.
Monday, August 25, 2008
1. Five biblical texts form the basic framework for Spiritual Gifts.
a. I Corinthians 12-14
Wisdom: Equips a person to have insight into how certain knowledge should be applied to specific needs.
I Cor. 12:8
I Cor. 2: 1-13
Acts 6: 3, 10
James 1: 5-6
2 Peter 3:15,16
Knowledge: Equips a person to discover, analyze, clarify, and articulate information and concepts essential to the work of the Body of Christ.
2 Cor. 11:6
I Cor. 12: 8
I Cor. 2:14
Faith: Equips a person to have so much confidence in God that they never see an impasse --only detours which they can go around in pursuit of God's work.
1 Cor. 12:9
Prophecy: Equips an individual to proclaim truth in a way people can understand for the purpose of correction, repentance, or nurture. This is not so much fore-telling the future as it is being able to draw implications from the Bible to life's situations.
I Cor. 12:10,28
Teaching: Equips a person to understand and communicate information so that others within the Body learn and grow.
I Cor. 12:28
Helps/Service: Equips a person to accomplish practical and necessary tasks which support and build up the Body. These people usually work alone and behind the scene. Often, this gift has nothing to do with people.
I Cor. 12:28
Administration: Equips a person to bring order to all or part of an organization and to formulate and enact procedures that enhance the function of the organization and support the mission and vision of the Body.
I Cor. 12:28
b. Romans 12
Leadership (governments): Equips a person to articulate, cast, and share a vision in such a way that the individual members of the Body discover ways in which they can make the vision a reality
I Cor. 12:8
I Timothy 5:17
Exhortation (encouragement): Equips a person to reassure, strengthen, affirm, and offer comfort to those who may be faltering in their faith or who are going through hard times. This is seldom seen as a gift by the person using it.
I Timothy 4:13
Mercy: Equips a person to respond lovingly and compassionately to both the churched and unchurched who are suffering.
I Cor. 12:8
Giving: Equips a person to contribute cheerfully and liberally of his/her material resources so the work of God may spread. (This may be the only gift this person has, and it may not be realized as a gift.)
I Cor. 12:8
II Cor. 8:1-7
II Cor. 9:2-8
c. Ephesians 4
Evangelism: Equips the person to effectively communicate the story of Jesus Christ so that the unchurched will respond and move toward discipleship. (This person enjoys sharing his/her faith.)
II Timothy 4:5
Shepherding: Equips a person to guide, care for, and nurture individuals or groups in the Body so they can grow in their faith. This person may or may not be an ordained minister; however, this gift assumes a longtime, personal commitment to the spiritual welfare of others.
I Peter 4:11
I Timothy 3:1-7
I Peter 5:1-3
d. I Peter 4
Hospitality: Equips a person to enjoy opening his/her home to guests and to provide food, fellowship, or shelter.
I Peter 4:9
Romans 12:13; 16:23
e. Others Texts on Spiritual Gifts
Intercession: Equips a person to pray for an extended period of time on a regular basis for individuals, both the churched and the unchurched, and for specific ministries of the Body.
I Timothy 2:1-2
Counseling: Equips a person to effectively listen to people and assist them in their psychological and relational Proverbs journeys toward wholeness.
Discernment: Equips a person to be able to see through phony individuals and ideas. (People with this gift must take care not to be overly judgmental.)
I John 4:16-18
I Cor. 12:10
Apostleship: Equips a person to be a church planter, Multiple site pastor and entrepreneurial leader. These people enjoy beginning projects more than f
Monday, August 18, 2008
1 Corinthians 12
1. There is a HOLY SPIRIT!
a. Acts 19- Ephesians did not know there was a Holy Spirit- Do we?
b. God is TRINITY- When Jesus was crucified and raised, he ascended and there was this sending forth of the Holy Spirit which made the disciples into the church- the Holy Spirit is God making a difference in our lives and in other’s lives
2. The CHURCH is the BODY OF CHRIST!
a. DIVERSITY- God must love diversity; he sure made a lot of it- We are different
b. ONE BODY- but we are one in the Spirit
3. EVERYONE is a MINISTER!
a. GIFTS- Spiritual Gifts are listed in the Bible I Corinthians 12; Romans 12
b. MINISTRY- each Christian has gifts and a ministry
4. The PURPOSE of EACH GIFT is:
a. To Build up the Body of Christ
b. To give glory to God
c. LOVE- This is the most important gift
5. What can I do?
a. Spiritual Gifts Inventory – made available to the congregation- please take it
b. Pray about God’s Will
c. Share it with someone- Share you gift with Sunday School Class or someone
d. Learn, grow, move out- Do the ministry that God is calling you to do with the gifts God has given and is giving you.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Another website where you can take the inventory online is: http://www.churchgrowth.org/cgi-cg/gifts.cgi?intro=1.
These are two good sites. There are others equally as good. Just put in Spiritual Gifts Inventory in your search engine and a myriad of different sites will come up.
Notice that I'm not calling this a test. It is not a test. You can't fail it. This is an inventory, an assessment of how you see yourself as gifted by God's Spirit.
If you do choose to go online, then share the results with someone. If you're in Sunday School, your class will be given some inventories and you will be asked to share with the class. The purpose of asking you to do this as said before is:
1. To give you an idea of your own gifts
2. To reveal to the Natural Church Development Team those who are gifted in evangelism
3. So that we might be better Christians at using our gifts for God's glory
Again, this is not an attempt to say that we are not already using our gifts. It is a call to expand the number of persons who know their gifts for ministry.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Next Sunday, August 17, I will preach at Spirit Song and at 10:55 on the Spiritual Gifts. Four passages in the New Testament talk about Spiritual Gifts: Romans 12: 3-8;1Corinthians 12: 1-11, 27-31; Ephesians 4:11-12; and, 1 Peter 4: 9-11.
Every Christian is a minister and is given at least one gift to be used in ministry. The following Spiritual Gifts are listed in the New Testament:
The above list of Spiritual Gifts is a compilation of those listed in the New Testament. There are other gifts, I think, that the Holy Spirit has given to the church. No gift is any more important than the others. The Spirit has given to the Body of Christ, the church, the gifts that are needed to do the work of Christ in the world.
Now, over the next few weeks we (the Natural Church Development Team) will be making available a Spiritual Gifts Inventory that we would like for everyone to take to determine their gifts. Some of you may have already taken such an inventory, but we encourage you to join us in this effort.
Two inventories will be available through your Sunday School Classes. There will be a Short Form and a Long Form, so to speak. The short form will give you feedback about your gifts in a simple way. The Long form is a more extensive, in-depth, look at your gifts.
Once you have taken the inventory and discovered your gift/gifts, we invite you pray about where God will use your gifts. Many of you are already using your gifts for God’s glory in and through Bethel Church.
Our structure in the church may provide a place for you to serve on a committee or mission team, at the Bethlehem Center or soup kitchen. However, God may also be calling you to use your gift/gifts in the creation of some new ministry for which you don’t need our permission.
We will ask you over the next month to give us some indication if you would like to serve on some church planning or mission team, finance, trustees, etc. But, we hope that you will feel free to dream about what God is calling you to do.
As we begin to think, pray and study about our Spiritual Gifts, we don’t mean to imply that ministry is not now going on.
We do want to encourage all of us to see ourselves as God’s
ministers with a ministry to do. We hope that you will use this as a time to reflect in some depth about your own calling.
We aren’t doing this because we need bodies to fill positions in the church. We are doing quite well with that already. Our goal is help each person identify their gifts so that the Body of Christ might be enhanced.
We hope that you will share your ministry gifts with others in your Sunday School Class. Share how you feel about your discoveries.
If some of you find that your gift is Evangelism, then let us know. We will be forming a new Evangelism Team this year.
If you need any further guidance, the church ministry staff and the Natural Church Development Team are ready to assist you. This article will appear on my blog (http://denichols.blogspot.com), along with other material about Spiritual Gifts, plus some online Spiritual Gifts Inventories that you may use instead of the ones we will give you.
If you’re not in a Sunday School Class, we will make some inventories available in worship.
We invite your prayers and your support in this effort at moving our church forward.
My Church's Website
I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.
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