You may remember that a few weeks ago Momma Nan won a copy of the new Precept Ministries 40 Minute Bible Studies titled "Understanding Spiritual Gifts."
She and I have decided to work through the study together (but apart) and then come here and share what has most impacted our hearts from each week's time with the Lord.
Here is your fair warning though...these posts may be considered as
So if you're planning on doing the study yourself, you might want to work through the given week, and then come back and read what we've written and join the discussion by sharing your own insights in the comments section.
Here's the book. Just click here and you can order your own copy directly from Precept.
I'll go first. Not because it's my blog, but because Momma Nan told me I had to, and I generally try to do most of what she tells me to. :0)
When she sends me her thoughts, I'll do an update and add them right into the body of the post instead of having her put them into the comments section.
Here we go...
In the introduction section of week one, this sentence really jumped out at me:
"All of us, as Christ followers should be working together to strengthen the body, to produce unity, to be lights shining in the darkness, and to bring glory to God."
The Precept student in me just so wants to structure this sentence, or at the least make a list from it! In fact, I'm not going to be able to resist!
So here it is:
All of us, as Christ followers should be working together
to strengthen the body
to produce unity
to be lights shining in the darkness
to bring glory to God.
Think about that for a minute.
Really let each of those soak in.
Are we working together?
Within your church are you seeking to work with the other members of your body, or are you wanting the praise for your serving, for your teaching, for your leadership?
Is your sole goal to strengthen the body?
From personal experience I have learned that when this is my goal, to see my sisters in Christ strengthened in Him, I don't have to be concerned about whether I'm impressive or not.
My goal isn't me, it's them....their walks with God, their marriages, their families, their use of their God given gifts.
In my opinion when our goal is to strengthen the body, the next just naturally flows out...producing unity.
And when we use our God given gifts to serve Him and others, we are lights shining in the darkness!
Looking at the last part of the statement, we must ask ourselves, "Am I using this precious gift that God has entrusted me with to bring glory to Him, or am I abusing the gift by trying to bring glory to myself?"
Hmmm....questions that make you go hmmmm.
May these questions lead us down upon our faces to ask the Almighty to...
"Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way." Psalm 139:23-24
As I dug into the Scriptures for week one, right off the bat I was tendered to just how vitally important it is to God that we view the gifts that He has given us as He does.
1 Peter 4:10-11
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God;
whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies;
so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
These verses make it clear to me that each of us, every single person who has put their faith in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation...not as a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:9)...every redeemed child of God is given a gift by Him and for Him.
What are we to do with it?
Do you see that command in the first sentence?
It's not optional is it? We've been given clear direction as to what we're to do with the special gift we've received!
I also see that the gifts fall into two categories:
Do you see what we are stewards of in our gifts?
The manifold grace of God!
I also love that this verse is like a 2x4 between the eyes to those of us who have a speaking gift. God is not subtle here.
No bones about it....when we speak, it is to be as one who is speaking the utterances of God! No glory to the speaker in that, is there?
That reminds me of Christ when He said, "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works." (John 14:10)
He is a clear example for those of us with a speaking gift. The same can be shown from other verses for those with a serving gift.
Christ is our role model in how to use our gifts for the benefit of others!
And if one serves, they are to do so not of their own strength. Why does this make so much sense?
Think about those who have the gift of serving. They will often serve and serve and serve until the break.
Yet the Word is making it clear to us that the one who serves is to do so by the strength that God provides!
God knows when we need a rest, and He will not push the one who serves until they break.
Nor should we! As a body, we need to be sensitive to these precious saints who serve. We need to protect them, and make sure that they aren't always serving, but that they are also being ministered to.
I'm sure you can think of people in your church who are always seen serving, but rarely seen in a Bible study or in worship service.
This is wrong, and we as their brothers and sisters in Christ need to step up! We need to love them enough to encourage them to stop and sit at the Master's feet.
The next section of the book looks at Acts 6:1-6. In this passage, I was reminded of how vitally important it is that we as a body make room for our pastors to do what God has called them to do...preach and teach the Word of God!
Our pastors have been called with a gift of speaking. While it may be nice to have them show up at every hospital bed and to see them behind the food line serving sloppy joes on church supper night, that is NOT what they've been called for!
They need to have time and space to be in the Word of God, studying and preparing to present the Word to us in Spirit and in Truth.
They simply cannot have that time if we expect them to be serving at every turn. Theirs are not serving gifts, theirs are speaking gifts.
And how is one who speaks to do so?
That's right! You saw it in the above verse, didn't you?
Shouldn't that put some fear and trembling into those who speak? Wouldn't they (our pastors, Sunday school teachers, and Bible study leaders) desperately need time to seek the Father before they ever address the flock?
Let's give it to them!
If you have a gift of serving, you need to plug in at your church and serve! Pray and ask the Lord to make it clear to you where you are to do so, and don't overload yourself. Lift each need of serving before Him, and He will make your paths straight. :)
If your gift is a serving gift, I encourage you to resist taking the role as a speaker. Just because those with speaking gifts are usually more out front, it doesn't mean their position in serving the church is more important.
Those of us with speaking gifts are LOST without those of you who serve! We NEED your gifts, we CHERISH you gifts! We can't use our gift to it's utmost without YOU helping us!
I think of my precious friend Davina, who was the administrator of our Precept class for several years. She could read my thoughts, and knew my needs before I mentioned them. She kept me on track, and thus she blessed the entire class because I was able to be so much more productive as a teacher because of her.
I dearly love and appreciate her, and am praying for one just like her in my new church. :)
If you have a speaking gift, start praying now and asking the Lord to show you where and when He'd have you employ it. Don't accept every serving position that comes your way...wait upon the Lord that you might use your gift of speaking to edify the body, and trust that He will fill those serving positions as He sees fit.
There is more to week one, but these are the parts that really pierced my heart the most.
Now it's Momma Nan's turn.
Remember, if you are doing the study too, we'd love to have you share you comments!
So much love to each of you today, in Christ Jesus!