Monday, May 24, 2010

What if...everyone used their spiritual gifts?

If everyone used their spiritual gifts that would tell me that the church was doing a good job with a few things. First, the church was helping people know they had gifts. I am amazed at the number of times I hear someone say they have nothing to offer. Everyone has something to offer. Sometimes it takes some creativity to use the gifts people have for God's glory, but I believe everyone has a good gift that can be used.
I love to hear stories of people using some unique gifts for God's glory. I was talking with a group of people about offering some events for young adults and their families. One of the guys threw out how much he enjoys fishing and he would be willing to help people fish. Now, I am not sure fishing is a spiritual gift (although Jesus also taught some fishing), but we are going to offer a fishing event in June for young adults and their families. I am excited to see the blessings God will bring for this gift being offered.
I also think that if everyone is using their spiritual gifts that "rewards" are being given. I am not sure that is the right way to say it, but I believe when you use your spiritual gifts God returns a blessing for your efforts. It may come in many ways and maybe we might not recognize it at first, but when we use our spiritual gifts God produces some fruit. There are spiritual "rewards" that come with using our gifts.
I also think the church should become gifted at giving thanks. We have a group in our church who is focused on giving thanks. Their work is to try to recognize and appreciate those who have given of themselves to God's work. We still miss saying thank you from time to time, but we can always strive to be thankful for all those who offer what they have to building God's kingdom.
If everyone used the spiritual gifts I believe this world would be transformed. When people use the gifts God has given them people are touched with God's love, both those serving and those being served. Find your gifts and use them for God's glory.

Monday, May 17, 2010

What knew God's plan for you?

Many Christians talk about wanting to know God's plan. We want God to tell us what to do with our lives, so that we can know for sure that we are doing what is pleasing to God. This is not a bad thing at all. However, it can make life difficult if we worry ourselves so much that we are scared to move without knowing for sure God wants us to or if we just sit around and wait for God's specific instructions.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, "I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. This passage has brought me peace and confidence in knowing that God has a plan. However, I just recently noticed it does not say that I get to know the plan. The verse says that God knows it, but in verse 13 of that chapter it says I have to seek God to know the plan.
I compare the way God shares his plan with us to how I read I Spy books with my son. Jamison loves I Spy books, which have a picture of a jumbled mess and instructions on what random objects to find in the mess. I am excellent at spying. And I could go from page to page telling Jamison where all the objects are, but that is not what he wants. To him the point is not just to find the objects, but for us to look as a team. He wants to find some of them, and he wants me to find some of them. Reading those books is about us doing it together.
I believe God's plan for your life works in a similar way. God can and God may share all the specific details of his plan for you. That does happen and it has happened with me from time to time. However, most of the time God reveals the plan as you live life with God. Jesus tells us to love God and love others. As we do that I believe God reveals his plan before us. Sometimes we see it for ourselves and other times God will point the way.
Either way, God goes with us. And this is a true blessing in life. Instead of a God who micromanages us, we have a God who wants to experience life with us. God wants to join you in the journey of discovering all he made you to be.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I know all of you were probably looking forward to a blog full of stories on how my mom is the greatest mom in the world, but I also want you share about your moms. God has called all of us to honor our mothers, so share a story with me and others about your wonderful mom.
I will go first. My mom is the best because she never gives up. When my parents divorced I was 3, my sister was 1 and my brother was 5. Mom worked at home offering childcare in order to care for us and pay the bills. When we were older, she was told she could no longer have so many kids to care for, which meant her income would not be enough. So she had to get a job outside the home. This whole time she also had a Saturday job and worked as the handbell choir director at our church.
Mom is a hard worker and is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. I want to be like her when I grow up.
Why is your mom wonderful?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Work in Progress

The children led our worship services yesterday and their theme was "Kids Under Construction." They focused on the fact that God has a plan for us and that God is working on us. (By the way, they did a wonderful job of sharing God's message with us. I had several people tell me it was the best sermon I ever preached.)
My favorite thought from this construction theme is that as Christians we are works in progress. In those times I fall short, I try to remember that God is not finished with me yet. There is still more work God needs to do in me to grow my patience, my compassion, and my delegating. The list could go on.
There is more work God has to do in you as well. If you ever think you are finished, that God is done working on you, then you better think again. God will continue the work he started in you until you reach perfection. This is a Wesleyan thought. John Wesley believed God will work on us until we reach Christian perfection.
Reaching Christian perfection does not mean we are perfect people who never make mistakes. Rather, it means we act out of perfect Christian love. When we act out of love for others this does not mean everything goes perfect, but it does mean we have attempted to move in love. Even when we move in love we need to be sure it is God's love and not our love that is leading us. Even John Wesley believed very few of us will get to this point in our earthly life, of course in heaven we will be perfected.
With this idea of Christian perfection we need to balance the idea that we are works in progress. So, remember God continues to call you to work and grow towards Christian perfection, that is a great goal to have before us. At the same time, don't get down on yourself because you are not there yet, it does not happen overnight. Just like the kids sang, we are full of possibilities. We can make progress as God's love fills our lives.