Your Part to Play

One eager to please God is determined to get out of the bleachers and into the game. But our involvement in serving doesn’t have to be random or chaotic. God has given each believer a spiritual gift—a specific, supernatural ability for building up the body of Christ. It’s impossible to fully invest your life for God without discovering and using your spiritual gift. God has a part for you to play. And it’s too important for you to ignore.

Transcription

I love the opportunity to be with you and to be able to speak to you.

Our two sons, Ben and Brandon, are two years apart.  When they were in high school they played basketball.  I loved the experience of watching them play basketball.  In fact, I can still remember those days.  On game day I would be in my office looking at my watch and I couldn’t wait to get there because when I got there I was all in.  In those bleachers, it was almost like an out of body experience.  I would float away and think, who is that guy screaming like a maniac in the stands??  And I realized, that was me.  In fact, sometimes people would say to me, ‘hey, are you the pastor at LifePoint Church??’  Maybe.  When I think about those experiences and the intensity of the game, I loved it.  I loved watching kids play. 

We had two refs, in fact, that attended our church.  And because sometimes I was a raving maniac, usually after the game I would go to them and have to apologize or something like that.  Hey, you know, nothing personal.  See you Sunday!  It was really exciting.

But the feeling for me was one where I felt I belonged in the game.  Like it was frustrating to me to be in the bleachers.  My heart was in the middle of the game.  I wondered too if that’s not what God intended when it comes to church.  In fact, when it comes to church, no one should be in the bleachers.  We should all be in the game.  We should all be experiencing this thing that God has for us.

So, this is week three in a series called Out of the Bleachers.  And the premise is all about not being people in the shadows or just sitting there as spectators, but people who are in the game.  People who want to be right in the middle of the action.

We’ve been exploring how to do that as a church family.  If you haven’t guessed by now, the goal of this series is to motivate our church family to move from being spectators to service.  To move from being consumers to being contributors.  I get it.  We live in a consumer-oriented society.  It’s actually possible.  Consumerism is the mindset of ‘me’ and it can find a home even within the church.  Even though we’re surrounded in a culture, it can find its way into a church setting as well. 

The truth is the experience of church has to be way more than the exchange of goods and services.  Would you agree?  Certainly, we are part of a movement of redemption.  We have been invited by God to participate with Him, to understand the power of the Good News of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  And He invites us to be part of that experience.  And that means we don’t do that passively.  We can’t do it as we occupy the bleachers.  We have to get into the game.  We all have a part to play in this movement.

Some time ago after a sermon I preached on serving, a man came to me and he said ‘Oh, I know what you’re doing.  You’re trying to get us to serve.’  And I said, ‘well, of course, I am.  But maybe not for the reasons that you assume.’  It’s not just how we can make our lives miserable?  How can we challenge each other to somehow serve because this thing that we don’t want to do is way bigger than that?  Serving keeps us in touch with our purpose and calling.  It really is that big.  I sometimes put it this way, do you want to discover why you’ve been born?  Get involved in serving.  Serving helps us to what Jesus said to do.  Serving ensures that we’re investing our lives in something beyond ourselves.  This is the invitation that God issues to us.  And, so as we affirmed in the beginning of this series a couple of weeks ago, following Jesus was never meant to be a spectator sport.  He didn’t invite us to place our faith in Him, have the indwelling of Holy Spirit, have the assurance of heaven, only so that we could passively observe what God was doing in His kingdom adventure.  No, instead we are to move from being spectators to getting into the game.

And we also landed on another idea.  It’s fundamental to this series.  And it goes like this.  Every believer is a minister.  Every person who has placed their faith in Jesus Christ is now called by God to minister; to get into the game.  So, if God invites us to get out of the bleachers and into the game, what do we do when we get onto the field?  Is it just this random free-for-all when people leave the bleachers and storm the field after a victory, are we tearing down goalposts?  What are we doing?  Is it this random kind of thing?  Now certainly we would all agree that being on the field means that what we do I would call family chores.  There are certain things that we all do that we are called up to do just by nature of being a family together that we just do.  Now sometimes the things that you do in your own home are not necessarily pleasant but if you’re a family, you do those kinds of things. 

But I want to go a step further and invite us beyond just doing family chores, which need to be done, into an understanding that each of us has a specific part to play.  In fact, God has given you, if you’re a believer in Jesus, the ability to play a specific part in the game.  And today I want to explore how that ends up happening.

 

The first idea that I want to talk about is very simple, but it forms the basis and insight into which we’ll build on today.  It goes like this.  Every believer has a spiritual gift.  Now I want to clarify one word as we launch into this.  I will talk a lot today about ‘believer.’  And what I mean for those who may be wondering about what that whole thing is about, a believer in Jesus is a person who has come to that point in their life where they realize that they cannot save themselves.  They cannot contribute to their own salvation.  Jesus Christ has come, taken the sin of every single human being, and that includes yours, on himself, died in your place, and now offers a free gift.  A gift received by believing Him for it.  And the moment you believe Him for that gift, you have life.  You have redemption.  You are a new person.  You have the assurance of heaven.  So as we talk about being a believer, that’s what I mean by that as we describe it.  Every believer has a spiritual gift.

Now, what is a spiritual gift?  I want to suggest that it’s a unique ability, freely given by God to every believer, for the building up of the Body of Christ.  A spiritual gift is different from your temperament.  It’s different even from your talents.  This is something given to you by God at the moment you place your faith in Jesus.  It is indeed a unique ability freely given to you.  The moment you place your faith in Jesus, the moment you believe in Him, God tells us that the Holy Spirit comes to live inside us.  Think about that.  He is our comforter, He is our guide, He is the one who empowers us.  What a beautiful picture.  But in addition to the Holy Spirit coming into our lives when we place our faith in Christ, we are also given by God a spiritual gift.  This supernatural ability is freely given by Him.  And the Spirit gives that gift as He wills.  You don’t choose it.  That gift chooses you.  God gives you that gift at His sovereign direction because He says this is how I equipped you to live and to be in the world.  What a gift!  The gift of the Holy Spirit and the gift of a spiritual gift the moment we believe Him for it.

Of course, that gift is given to us not in full fledge developed form, but as you grow in Christ we have an opportunity to develop that gift and to get better and better at employing that gift to build up the body of Christ.

Through the New Testament, God tells us a lot about spiritual gifts.  For some of you, you’re going, yep, I’ve heard about it, I understand it, I’ve read all of the passages.  But God also leaves a lot of things unsaid.  And so I think we have to be very careful about how we parse this whole subject matter out.  What has He told us?  What has He not said?  My goal in this talk today is to point us to the scriptures.  To open our bibles together and to discover, what has God said about the subject of spiritual gifts.  Because it’s apparently important to Him and, therefore, should be very important to us.

There’s a good chance that some of you might disagree with things that I say today and that’s okay.  In fact, I think that’s healthy.  I would just invite you to disagree not because of some opinion you developed but disagree because you’re able to go to the Word of God and you’re able to say, well that doesn’t seem to be what it’s saying here.  I would suggest that no matter who is communicating in any of our venues, whether it’s here in this environment, our students, our kids, never take what we say because we happen to be saying it.  Always check it out with God’s Word.  Always use God’s Word as your source.  Having said that I would like to think that I’m about to communicate something to you today that is based on God’s Word.  And if it’s not, we’re in a lot of trouble.  But, again, there are multiple opinions on this as we look at this subject. 

Study for yourself.  There are four predominant passages in the New Testament that describe spiritual gifts.  They are easy to remember because two of them have chapter 12 in the reference, and two of them have chapter 4.  Those four passages on spiritual gifts are Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Peter 4.  And these lay out for us a description and a discussion on spiritual gifts.

I want to start in the epistle of 1 Peter 4:10-11 (NET).  You can turn there.  I hope you brought a Bible but the verses will be projected on the screen.  Verse 10, ‘just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of the varied grace of God.’  Now this is a beautiful reminder.  Peter is writing to Christians who have been dispersed, they’re suffering for their faith, and so when he says each one, he’s talking about believers.  Each one of you believers has received a gift.  Use it to serve one another.  Spiritual gifts are for the building up of the body of Christ.  They are given so that we serve one another in this thing called church so that individual believers get built up in the faith.  He’s reminding us that we are to serve fellow believers.  But notice this, we’re told that we have only one gift.  Just as each one has received A gift.  Again, you check it out and you go to God’s Word and figure it out for yourself.  This flies in the face a little bit of conventional American Christianity where we’re told that we have multiple gifts.  Well, at least according to this passage, we’re told that each believer has been given one gift. 

Years ago I was in a men’s small group, and the subject of spiritual gifts came up and we were talking about the dynamics of spiritual gifts and how exciting it was.  And one of the guys in the group said, ‘I have lots of spiritual gifts’.  At which point he said, ‘I have the gift of encouragement, I have the gift of leadership, I have the gift of teaching, and I have the gift of serving’.  Now you have to understand for me sitting there disagreeing with what he’s saying, I wanted to approach this in a kind way.  But inside, here’s what I’m thinking.  I’m thinking ‘nice to meet you, Jesus.’  Nobody has that many gifts.  You know what I think that comes from?  I think it comes from the mindset of the average American Christian where we have to supersize everything.  It’s as though, well, I can’t stop at one.  It also comes from the fact that we feel like if we don’t have so many gifts then we’re diminished.  It’s like we’re not measuring up, so we begin to talk about our top gift, our middle gift, our low gift, and our other gift, and we have this whole bag of gifts that we tend to communicate that we have.  Well at least according to this passage, no you don’t.  You have one gift.  Apparently, God thinks one gift is enough.  It’s enough to get the job done that He wants to do through you.

But notice as we continue this passage and move to the very next verse, verse 11, God unfolds a little bit more.  ‘So each one is given a gift, serve one another with this gift, and then He says in verse 11, whoever speaks, let it be with God’s words.  Whoever serves, do so with the strength that God supplies so that in everything God will be glorified through Jesus Christ.  To Him belong the glory, the power forever and ever.  I love verses like that.  You can almost hear the music playing in the background, can’t you?  It’s so powerful.  But don’t miss this.  He’s talking about spiritual gifts, and in verse 11, he gives us the two broad categories of spiritual gifts.  Do you see it?  There are speaking gifts and are serving gifts.  Now, of course, every gift is meant to serve and build up the body of Christ.  Peter, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gives us these two categories.  There are spiritual gifts that get used by speaking and there are spiritual gifts that get used not by speaking but by serving.  So, we have two broad categories as we understand what he’s communicating here.  For the purpose of everything in everything, God will be gloried through Jesus Christ. 

Let me offer you another insight as we unpack this subject today.  It goes like this, believers function differently but together in the body of Christ.  Let’s do a little quiz.  It’s not meant to be complicated.  Where’s Jesus right now??  There’s a sense in which He’s here in the presence of the Holy Spirit.  But the bible tells us very specifically where Jesus is.  Jesus is at the right hand of the Father.  That’s what the bible tells us.  So Jesus Christ, God walking the earth, takes the sin of all humanity on himself, is crucified on our behalf, placed in a tomb, and comes to life.  The third day He is raised from the dead.  He hangs out with his disciples, with his followers, and then He ascends to heaven.  So Jesus standing on a hillside with his disciples, in the Mount of Olives, floats off the earth into the clouds, ascends to heaven.  The disciples are standing there with their mouths open.  The angel next to them says, ‘Hey guys, how come you’re looking into the clouds?  The same Jesus you saw go away will come again in like manner.’  The body of Jesus is no longer walking the earth.  Jesus, in a glorified new body, is now at the right hand of our Father.  But, His body is on earth.  When Jesus ascended days later at Pentecost when the church is launched, His body is the church.  And those of us who have believed in Jesus make up the body of Christ that is now active on earth.  God wants to pour himself, Jesus who is the head of that body we’re told, now pours life through that body, you and me as members, parts of that body,  Now, God uses this analogy of the body to communicate our uniqueness and our connection with one another.  We could state it another way.  As a believer in Jesus you are inseparably connected to every other believer.

So, just look around for a minute.  That might make you feel uncomfortable and that you don’t want to be connected.  Well, too late.  We’re all connected together in this mysterious thing called the body of Christ.  Every believer inseparably connected to every other believer.  This is the description given in two of those major passages of spiritual gifts.  In Romans 12, for example, we’re told we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function.  So, we being many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another, the passage in Romans 12 says.

1 Corinthians 12 states a very similar idea.  We’re one body made up of different parts.  He even goes into detail in that chapter and says some are a hand.  Some are a foot.  Some are an ear.  Some are an eye.  I feel like I should break into that song, Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes!! J  The body is made up of all these parts.  By the way, the fact that He gives these body part descriptions, I believe is just one more evidence that you have only one spiritual gift.  He doesn’t say, oh, by the way, you’re an eye/ear or you’re a hand/foot.  No, he says you’re a foot; you’re an ear; you’re an eye.  We have a specific part in the body.  We have a specific part to play in what God wants to do.

As we looked at the Romans 12 passage, it continues with a list of spiritual gifts.  Notice how it starts in verse 6 in Romans 12.  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them.  What a beautiful reminder!  We have gifts that differ; we have different parts to play in the body of Christ, and they are given according to His grace.  You don’t choose.  It’s given according to his grace that’s given to us.  Then let us use them!!  In other words, they have been given to us to use; not to just sit on and not use.

And then he gives us this list of spiritual gifts in Romans 12.  Prophecy, Serving, Teaching, Encouraging, Giving, Leading and Mercy.  Let me quickly parse out a definition of each of these.

So, he tells us that these have been given supernaturally – supernatural God-given abilities. 

  • Prophecy, for example is to foretell, but most especially, to speak forth the Word of God.
  • Serving – the ability to come alongside people to provide help to them.
  • Teaching – the ability to communicate specifics of biblical truth in a way that’s easily applied.
  • Encouraging speaks for itself. The ability to come alongside people and build courage into them; to speak life into them.  Also translated as exhorting in some passages.
  • Giving – the ability to freely share financial resources and to encourage other people to do that. 
  • Leading – the ability to cast clear vision and encourage followers around the common direction.
  • Mercy – the ability to come along side someone and empathize; to be able to feel what they are feeling.

It’ a beautiful list of gifts. 

Again, there are lots of different opinions on this but I’m going to share with you how I think this lays out and you just check it out in God’s Word.  I believe that this list in Romans 12 is the primary list of spiritual gifts.  In fact, this list represents our basic motivation.  When God gives you a gift, He also gives motivation that comes with that gift.  The fact that He’s implanted that gift in you says that there’s a desire – an excitement – around it.

Let me put it another way; get more specific.  I’m suggesting that each believer has one of these gifts.  I will explain a little more about this as we move along.  When we think about this list of gifts and having one of these gifts, we will naturally view life through this motivational gift.  We will naturally think of life as I have this gift and you cannot escape the fact that you’re viewing life through the lens of your spiritual gift. 

Let me explain this by using a simple example.  Let’s visit a friend in the hospital.  The friend is in the hospital and around the bedside of this friend in the hospital are seven people each representing each one of these motivational gifts found in Romans 12.  We could expect their comments and their insights to reflect how they view life through this motivation gift.  Let me explain what I mean.  A person standing around this bedside with the spiritual gift of Leading might say to this person who is hospitalized, Hey I have everything under control.  I have taken care of your assignments at work; I have assigned to four others in the office.

A person with the gift of Mercy standing around this hospital bed might say, I felt so bad when I heard how sick you were.  How do you feel now?

The person with the gift of Serving, Hey, I brought a little gift for you, here’s your mail, I watered your plants, is there anymore I can do for you?  We love those people to come visit us, don’t we?! 

The person with the gift of Teaching says, Hey, I did a little research; I think I understand your illness.  I can explain it to you if you’d like to hear about it.

Or one with the gift of Giving, ‘Man, this hospital stay must really be expensive.  Do you have insurance?  I can start a GoFundMe for you if you’d like.’

Or one with the gift of Encouragement, ‘If anybody can get through this, you can.  You’ve always been strong and determined.’

The one with the gift of Prophecy speaking forth the things of God says, ‘Hey, I think we have to consider a couple of things.  What is God trying to teach you through this?  Is there any unconfessed sin in your life?  (Don’t you just love them!).

But this extends beyond even a circumstance like this.  When we think about our contribution through our gift in light of the priorities of the church, well, wow, it makes perfect sense.  This is why we might even disagree about what we ought to be doing in church.  This is why we have different perspectives about what church is really about.  Let me explain what I mean about that. 

With the appropriate priorities of the church, the person with the gift of Leading might put it this way.  Here’s what we need.  We need a clear vision and a well-organized strategy.

Or one with the gift of Mercy might say as a church, we need a soup kitchen and regular outreach to those who are hurting and those who are sick.

A person with a gift of Serving might say it this way, we need to help our church family recognize the priority of serving in the church.

Or the one with the gift of Teaching, no, I’ll tell you what we need.  We need in-depth Bible study and classes on doctrine.

Or the one with the gift of Giving.  What we need to do is inspire people to give and to expand our church’s generosity.

One with the gift of Encouragement might say ‘we need a team of people to write encouraging notes to send to people in our church family, and while we’re at it we need a counseling center.

One with the gift of Prophecy might say ‘no, what we need is well-prepared sermons about the seriousness of life with Jesus Christ and regular reminders that we will give an account of our life to God.

Do you see how these different perspectives inform our view about so much of our view of life?  And rather than being right or wrong, this is the beauty of the body of Christ.  We all come at it through the filter of our motivational gift.

So, maybe you’re thinking there are other gifts mentioned in the New Testament, and of course, there are.  Why just choose from these seven gifts?  I want to explore that a little bit with you but it’s going to require that we drill down a little bit.  The discussion gets a little bit interesting and I want to invite you to go to 1 Corinthians 12, one of those major spiritual gifts passages. 

In verse 1 of that chapter, Paul begins with these words, ‘Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant.  What’s interesting is that the word ‘gifts’ is in italics.  Do you know that when a word appears in italics it means it’s not found in the original language but that the translators seemed that the idea is inferred, have supplied it in your translation?  And so even though this chapter is on spiritual gifts and certainly that’s one of the subject matters of this chapter, the word ‘gifts’ is not found.  One way to think about this, you could also translate it, ‘now concerning spiritals.  Or now concerning spiritals stuff.  Or now I’m about to talk to you about spirital things, and spiritual things are one of those.  I do not want you to be ignorant.  Friends, it’s a crime to be ignorant while following Jesus.  God wants us to know things.  We shouldn’t be ignorant about how this works.

I want to pick up in verse 4 because I rarely hear these verses talked about and I think it informs us in our discussion of spiritual gifts at least on one level.  Here’s what it says.  ‘Now there are different gifts but the same spirit.  And there are different ministries but the same Lord.  And there are different results but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.  You can’t not notice very deliberate word choices.  He chooses to talk about gifts, ministries and results.  Why would he do that?  Why wouldn’t he just talk about gifts?  Well, I think because there is a specific reason why these categories are mentioned.  Gifts, ministries and results.  How do gifts, ministries and results fit together?  I want to offer you one explanation.  Again, you are free to disagree; this is not original to me.  I’m not the first to suggest it.

How can we match these ideas?  And I think we do by matching the Greek words for gift, ministry and results with the lists that are found in scripture.  So, for example, the gifts that we mentioned in Romans 12 are (Mercy, Teaching, Serving, Encouraging, Giving, Leading, Prophecy).  Ministries are talked about in Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthans 12:28.  Results are found in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11. 

I have tried to figure out what is the best way to help you understand that, and I want to explain this and how these categories fit together by using my own life as a personal example and my own understanding of this.  I believe that my motivational gift is Prophecy.  By that I mean the ability to speak forth words from God.  Not like I’m going to tell you what’s going to happen next week.  I don’t mean it in that sense.    But to speak forth the Word of God.  That is the driving thing inside me that I believe God has placed there.  That motivational gift can express itself in various ministries.  So in other words, in my case, having that sort of drive and desire to speak forth the things of God, that motivational gift can be expressed through the ministry of pastor, the ministry of teacher, the ministry of leader, someone said even apostle because I was one of the founders of this church.  But that’s hard for me to think of myself as an apostle.  If you start calling me an apostle, that would be weird. J  So that desire, that God-given motivational that I want to speak forth the Word can be expressed in lots of different ways.  And by the way, those ways can change.  But then notice this, the results are what happens in the lives of the recipients of the ministry of that gift.

So, let’s play out the analogy even further.  This desire to speak forth the Word of God, directed through the ministry of Teaching might result in faith.  This is the desire to speak forth the Word of God through the ministry of Teaching results in a manifestation of (another word used in 1 Corinthians 12) a hearer going, WOW, I’m inspired to believe God more.  So that gift of faith, so to speak, gets legs and traction within the life of the recipient. 

Let me offer another final insight in piecing all of this together.  It goes like this.  Fully investing your life for God requires the discovery and use of your spiritual gift.  Every word that I have included is intentional and meaningful.  Fully investing your life for God requires the discovery and the use of your spiritual gift.

I think we’ve all been in situations where with the exchange of gifts (let’s say you’ve bought a gift for someone, it’s Christmas or maybe a birthday present, your other gifts from other people; yours is in the pile and a person takes your gift, shakes it and sets it aside.  (If you’ve had kids, I can guarantee you’ve experienced that.).  Or, worse yet, they open the gift and then go, no, and push it aside.  So, we know as a gift giver how demoralizing and unfortunate that scenario can be.  Now can you imagine God has given every believer a spiritual gift and when we flippantly approach it or ignore it, what are we saying to God??  Oh well.  So, as a believer, God has given you the Holy Spirit, but He’s also given you a divine enablement through which He plans to pour His life.  To ignore it, can I say is sinful?? 

The parable of the talents I reminds us that I think God expects us to invest what we’ve been given, and we will answer for our obedience and for our disobedience.  I’ve often said it this way, believer, when you appear before Jesus, not to determine whether or not you get into heaven, because that’s determined the moment you believed Jesus.  But we will all give an account of our lives, and so when you’re standing before Jesus as a believer, I think there will be one question that Jesus is going to ask us — What did you do with what I gave you??  It’s plain and simple.  And it’s going to be really weird if we don’t have an answer.  The dog ate my assignment??  What am I supposed to say here??  We are going to give an account for what He has given us.

Let me offer a couple of ‘what now’ ‘how do we head in this direction’?  Some of you are saying that you learned your spiritual gift years ago, have been using it, understand it.  But I want to point us toward refining our gift and point us toward maybe discovering it.  How do we do that?  Well, first of all, get engaged in practical application where you are serving in lots of different ways.  You can try lots of different things and do it in the context of accountability and feedback.  In other words, have a trusted friend with you.  We have these opportunities around here when you can serve where you can do what we refer to as shadowing.  You can try it out.  Here’s the beauty of that.  You get to try different avenues of serving and with feedback, so that people can say to you based on experiences, they might say, Hey I love you but that’s not your gift. J  And that’s okay because we’re moving toward discovering what our gift really is.  Or they might say, did you see when you served in that way, did you see the response?  Then in addition to that, monitor your own heart and discover where do you find fulfilment and joy?  It’s not meant to be this terrible thing that we do.  It’s meant to be a joy-filled thing that we do.  In fact, the big word for gift is charismata.  And it’s made up of two words.  Chara, which means joy, and charis which means grace.  So this grace gift that God has given us is meant to engender joy inside of us.  It’s meant to be fulfilling.

Then here’s another suggestion.  You can go onto our website and you can take a spiritual gifts inventory.  It’s there for you in the Volunteer section.  If you haven’t done that, it’s a helpful tool.  I wouldn’t do that alone and not explore through various serving, but it does help you try to get categories together.

And then finally, ask God to show you.  He has a vested interest in your understanding how He’s created you.  What gifts He’s given you to use. 

I know we were all over the board with this message, and some of you feel like it’s been drinking out of a fire hose a little bit, but some of you needed to hear this message because you’re hearing about spiritual gifts for the very first time.  You thought following Jesus was that I just needed to be good.  It’s more than that.  And some of you needed to hear this message because you’ve grown cold in the use of your gift.  Others of you needed to hear this message just to be reminded that while you’re in the trenches using your gift, it’s worth it and it’s a good use of your life.  It’s a good use of what God has given you.

We said before that this series is designed to be practically applied.  In your worship guide today there’s a flyer that lets you know three ways to get involved in serving and volunteering in our church.  On the reverse side you will find lots of different opportunities.

We featured every week of this series a department or a division in our ministry.  And today it’s all about weekend experience.  So, you’ll see a table out in the foyer, there are folks manning that table, and it’s there to help you to ask questions about how to serve on the weekend.  What we call a weekend experience, we mean worship teams, tech teams, and other opportunities to serve that way.  They are there to help you with those questions.  It’s meant to be an exploration and a joy-filled adventure.  That’s because God has given us each believer a spiritual gift.

Let me pray for us.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for your generosity.  We thank you for the way you have equipped us through the presence of your Holy Spirit, and we invite you to use our lives for your glory.  We’re humbled by the fact that you invite us into that, in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Discussion Questions

Read Romans 12:3-8. What are spiritual gifts? Of this list of seven gifts can you identify one that might be yours?

Read 1 Peter 4:10-11. What evidence do you see from this passage that a believer has only one spiritual gift? Can you identify the two broad categories of gifts found in verse 11?

How would you distinguish between temperament, talents and spiritual gifts?

We will tend to view life and ministry through our spiritual gifts. Try this exercise: Image you’re serving dessert in your home and someone at the table drops their apple pie and ice cream on the floor. How might 7 people, each with a different spiritual gift, respond to the accident (explain the response of each spiritual gift; serving, teaching, exhortation, mercy, leadership, giving, prophecy)?

Even with varying understandings of spiritual gifts, we should at least be curious about 1 Corinthians 12:4-7. How might we understand the differences between gifts, ministries, and manifestations?

Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. What point is God making by using the analogy of the human body and its parts? How might you restate verse 27?

Let’s conclude with some practical insights. What is your spiritual gift? How are you using that spiritual gift to build up the body of Christ and the local church called LifePoint?

Further Reading

Game Ready

The results on the playing field are largely determined off of it. In sports, in work, on the battlefield, even in our relationships, much of our success in the moment of engagement is determined by the work we did or didn't do preparing ourselves for it. In short,...

Get Your Hands Dirty

Following Jesus calls us out of the bleachers and into the game. But being in the game means we have to get out of our comfort zones and get our hands dirty. This willingness to lay aside ourselves is at the heart of volunteering. In this message, we’ll see how Jesus...

From Spectators to Servants

It doesn’t take much energy to be a spectator. Just watch the action on the field. Then you can cheer when you approve and boo when you don’t. But following Jesus was never meant to be a spectator sport. One eager to please God is determined to get out of the...

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