God Gives Us Spiritual Gifts to Serve Him & Others

These are our sermon verses today. God gives each of us spiritual gifts. Part of our responsibility as followers of Jesus is discerning our gifts and using them as the hands and feet of Christ. The world seeks to lead us astray, using our gifts for selfish purposes rather than in service to God. God calls us to find our identity in Jesus and as SERVANTS of both God and each other.

We are called to serve others and use our gifts in our service.

What are your spiritual gifts? How is God calling you to use your gifts in His service today?

1 Corinthians 12:1-7 NIV
“Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”See it at YouVersion.com:http://bible.us/1Cor12.1.NIV

The Power of We

By Shelly and Wesley Fryer
28 December 2008

This past Christmas our family was blessed by “the power of we.” No, we are not talking about a Nintendo “Wii” console game system. Rather, we are speaking of the power which grandparents and grandchildren, living life as connected, extended family members, have to love, to share, and to grow together.

Some of the writers of Psalms and Proverbs addressed the importance and role of grandparents in our families. Psalm 71:9 states, “Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.” Proverbs 16:31 reads, “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.” Living as we do in the early twenty-first century, many of us are separated by space and time from our grandparents, or as grandparents ourselves we are separated from our grandchildren. While grandparents and grandchildren may not be able to be physically connected like extended families living under the same roof were in decades past, there are different ways grandparents can remain connected to grandchildren for mutual benefit.

Time is a finite commodity which we have to use and give each day, but which we can never get back. We can spend time, we can waste time, and we can invest our time. Time grandparents spend investing in the lives of their grandchildren is never wasted.

Time is often perceived differently for the very young and the very old. For grandparents, time may be passing by very quickly. For children (especially when waiting for Christmas to arrive) time can pass very slowly. The “power of we” for grandparents and grandchildren begins with TIME. Because of different perceptions of time, grandparents and grandchildren seem to have greater powers. These include:

1. The power to listen.
2. The power to love.
3. The power to experience joy together playing simple games.

Reading together and cuddling together, grandparents and grandchildren can exemplify the love, the peace, the joy, and the hope represented by the candles of the Advent wreath. Saying those three simple words, “I love you,” grandchildren and grandparents edify and build up each other in powerful ways which are likely to leave indelible marks upon the heart.

Grandparents are people of extraordinary importance in our lives. Yet unfortunately, many of us may underestimate how valuable they (or we) are to the present generation and to the generations to come. Where does a child’s perception of a “father’s love” or a “mother’s love” come from? Here in Oklahoma, we have more grandparents raising grandchildren than any other state in the U.S. In many cases, it is the grandparents who are the caregivers, responsible for the health, welfare, and ethical development of their children’s children.

If grandparents and grandchildren are geographically separated in your family, or you are a grandparent living apart from your grandchildren, new technologies can provide opportunities for interaction and sharing. The free software program Skype (www.skype.com) permits anyone to videoconference using a computer, a webcam, a microphone, and a high-speed Internet connection. These “video phone calls” are free to make if you already have the previously mentioned equipment: No “per minute” charges are assessed. In addition to video phone calls, the website “Grandparent Games” (www.grandparentgames.com) offers grandparents and young grandchildren a website to interact, play, and talk together online. The website Grandparents.com (www.grandparents.com) offers more helpful suggestions and resources for grandparents to use to better connect with children and grandchildren.

We live in fast-paced times, when family dinners together may be few and far between. Time seems to be in short supply, yet the truth is we all have twenty-four hours each day. How are we investing those heartbeats together? Over the past Christmas holidays, we watched our own grandparents invest their time with grandchildren in different ways, and the “payoff” for each was very positive. As we consider our resolutions for the new year, let’s resolve to learn from these examples of grandparents and grandchildren.

May our homes and families reflect the words of the prophet Zechariah (8:4-5) who wrote, “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with cane in hand because of his age. The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there.’”


Give the gift of a goat

Ever since I saw the water buffalo movie, it helped bring alive the power of tangible giving to third world countries. Our family has been supporting children through World Vision for years but it really isn’t something we consider. Yes we get cards from our sponsor children but it’s still distant.

Goat Gift

The water buffalo movie started me thinking differently. This year, our family decided to give each other this kind of gift. I gave a goat and after watching The Story of Stuff, it makes sense. I showed my own kids the story of stuff movie and while consumerism and materialism will always be a struggle for those of us with means, it does open up conversations, thoughts and spiritual questions that can produce change.

Unusual gifts

I was pleased when Wes invited me to participate in the project. I’ve been blogging professionally for a while and also personally. It will be interesting to talk about my journey with others.

One thing I’ve been discovering over the past few years is that tradtional views of spiritual gifts is very limiting. Many tend to think of spiritual gifts in terms of teaching, prophecy, faith, healing and the like. We often think that pastors, elders, and those in visible ministry are the ones that excercise these gifts. Now most of us would quickly acknowledge that it’s much broader than that but we don’t always realize that God has given us interests, abilities and talents that are every bit as spiritual.

I’m sort of a self taught nerd. Over the past 8 years I’ve developed enough skills and knowledge combined with my teaching experience to carve out a nice position helping teachers use technology. As I was developing this talent, I began to realize that our churches could use an infuse of technology. At first it was largely administrative…developing websites, setting up projection systems and supporting office management. I also began to realize the power of video. During this time, I’ve been involved in the creation of numerous videos and presentations designed to draw attention to Christ. I now understand that God has given me a gift of storytelling through video and I’m excited to use this gift in whatever way it’s needed.

At the same time my wife also began turning her ability to design quilts into a ministry as well. She’s created a number of quilts and designs for others including a cancer quilt for a friend of ours. It’s helped us realize the diversity of gifts God has given us and that they are all important. We need to be more diligent in helping others not only discover their gifts but recognize the ones they’re already using.

Our pastor met with a lady who was feeling badly she wasn’t more involved in the church. She genuinely wanted to be used by God. He asked her what she enjoyed. She mentioned she loved her job which was counselling. She had never thought of her job as a ministry. Maybe that seems odd but I wonder if many have missed this too.

“…Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church. ” 1 Corinthians 14:12

Look around you, consider the talents and gifts you’ve been given and think about how God can and may already be using them for His glory.

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