What can you do?

Dear Church Family and Friends,

We are in the middle of a sermon series on our SHAPE:  Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences.  As we address our abilities, here are some myths that you and I have probably been taught.

Myth #1:  People aren’t born with abilities; all abilities must be learned by experience.

Truth:  There are a number of abilities which children seem to have at birth.  These abilities seem to be God-given at conception.

Myth #2:  Abilities are learned primarily in the classroom.

Truth:  Actually, many abilities are better learned outside the classroom.  For example, you can study in a classroom the various ways to build and light a campfire, but the best learning on how to make a campfire probably comes from making a campfire.

Myth #3:  If you have certain abilities, you will be very aware that you have them.

Truth:  This last week, you probably used some skills of which you were not aware.  For example, you may have been in a crowded store and noticed that people were treating each other with hostility.  Without thinking much about, you became a peacemaker by sharing a kind word.  Peacemaking is an ability that you have, but are not aware of.

Myth #4:  Abilities that I use at work are only useable in that environment – I couldn’t possibly use them in ministry.

Truth:  God probably gave you those skills to use both for the workplace and for His kingdom.  For example, if you have administrative skills that benefit your workplace, then your administrative skills could also be a benefit to the church.

Myth #5:  Most people only have a few abilities.

Truth:  Studies show that the average person possesses 500-700 abilities.  You have a multitude of abilities.

May God bless you as you learn the truth about your abilities and use them to make disciples.

Pastor George

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How are your hearts?

Dear Church Family and Friends,

How is your heart doing? Specifically, how is your spiritual heart doing? Our hearts are the eternal part of us, often referred to as our souls. Our hearts consist of our mind, will, and emotions.

We must spend more time making sure we have a healthy spiritual heart than we spend on making sure we have a healthy physical heart because only one of them is eternal. Our hearts determine:

– Why we say the things we say?
– Why we feel the way we feel?
– Why we act the way we do?

It is more important to take care of our spiritual heart than it is to take care of our physical heart. Don’t misunderstand me – it is important to take care of your physical heart, or else you will die. But when you die, your physical heart will begin its process of decay. At that moment in time, the health of your spiritual heart is exponentially more important.

Let’s conduct a quick spiritual heart check-up – three questions.

1) What drives (or motivates) you to do what you do?
– If you are motivated by the wrong kinds of things, you will end up in the wrong kinds of places.
– If you are motivated by the right kinds of things, you will end up in the right kinds of places.
2) What do you care about?
– As followers of Jesus Christ we should love God more than we love anything else.
3) What ministry has God shaped you for?

– If you are motivated to love God with everything you’ve got and love people as you love yourself, then your heart will lead you to make disciples according to your spiritual gifts.

May God bless you with good physical, and more importantly, good spiritual health.

Pastor George

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Spiritual Gifts

Dear Church Family and Friends,

Today we are beginning a sermon series on our SHAPE: Spiritual gifts, heart (passion), abilities, personality and experiences. This morning, we will examine what the Bible says about spiritual gifts.

What are spiritual gifts? A spiritual gift is a supernatural endowment of motivation and ability, given by the Holy Spirit to every believer, to be used to minister to others and therefore build up the body of Christ and the kingdom of heaven. Here are five truths about spiritual gifts: 1) Only believers have spiritual gifts. 2) Every Christian has received spiritual gifts. 3) No one receives all the gifts. 4) You can’t earn or work for a spiritual gift. 5) The Holy Spirit decides what gifts you receive.

Here are five cautions about spiritual gifts: 1) Don’t confuse spiritual gifts with natural talents. 2) Don’t confuse spiritual gifts with the fruit of the Spirit. 3) Be aware of the “gift projection” tendency. 4) Don’t feel your spiritual gift makes you in any way superior or inferior to others. 5) Realize that using your spiritual gifts without love is worthless.

There are four Scripture passages that teach specifically on spiritual gifts: – Romans 12:1-8 – 1 Corinthians 12:1-31 – Ephesians 4:11-13 – 1 Peter 4:10-11

If you do not know your spiritual gifts, then stay after church and take the spiritual gift inventory, or make an appointment to take it sometime this week.

May God bless you.

Pastor George

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Our Heavenly Father (Happy Father’s Day!)

Dear Church Family and Friends,

There are all kinds of father-child relationships represented in our church and in our community.  Some children consider their father to be their biological father.  Some children consider their father to be their adoptive father.  Some children consider their father to be their step-father.  Some children consider their father to be a man who was an important role model in their lives, even though he is not biologically or legally related to the children.

These men are important to us for various reasons.  They were often there when we needed them.  They have helped us master skills as we have grown up.  Such men are priceless to us.

However, I know that some of you have had fathers who were not good or honorable.  You have made it to this point in spite of your father’s influence.  There is a fantastic father-figure for you – a heavenly Father.  When we think in terms of our heavenly Father, we find a truly great Father-figure.  He is always with us.  He has loved us before we loved Him.  He has adopted us into His family.

Adoption is such a picture of a father’s love.  “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.  For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Romans 8:14-15).  God has adopted every person who has called out to receive His Son as Lord and Savior.

The adoption process can be a difficult time that can challenge and stretch a person’s faith in God. For example, Gina and I faced many trials in the adoption of our children.  In fact, we were told on the first night that we arrived in Kiev, Ukraine that it would be impossible to adopt two children.  Our adoption by God was no less dramatic.  Before we knew about the grace of God, it looked impossible for us to become the adopted children of God.  “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8).

In today’s sermon, we will examine the spiritual adoption process and admire the love that our heavenly Father and His Son display to us.  May God bless you.

Pastor George

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Disciples in the making

Dear Church Family and Friends,

We have been commissioned by Jesus Christ to make disciples.  Here are some tips on how we can effectively make disciples:

Principle #1:  When God tells or shows you an opportunity to share the gospel, do it.  Remember that Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth.  He gives us divine appointments to share the gospel with people.

Principle #2:  God does the heavy lifting as we evangelize.  Jesus taught us, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him,” (John 6:44a).

Principle #3:  We need to be in tune with the Holy Spirit so that we recognize His guidance to us.  This takes some spiritual discernment because there are many other voices that come into our minds.

Principle #4:  We have to learn to ask good questions.  Here are 5 good questions to ask (from the evangelism training, “Share Jesus Without Fear”:  1) Do you have any spiritual beliefs?    2) To you, who is Jesus?  3) Do you think there is a heaven and a hell?  4) If you died right now, where would you go?  5) If what you believe were not true, would you want to know it?

Principle #5:  Make the most of the evangelism opportunities that God gives to you.  They are divine appointments that God has made between you and the person needing Christ.

Principle #6:  We prepare for evangelism opportunities through daily, personal Bible study and prayer.

Principle #7:  The biblical example of baptism is through immersion because only immersion correctly depicts the symbolism of baptism.

Principle #8:  The Scripture teaches that only people who have received Jesus as their Lord and Savior should be baptized.  Baptism is exclusively for believers because it symbolizes a decision that a person has made – the decision to follow Jesus all the rest of their days.

Principle #9:  Baptism is followed by celebration.

 

May God bless, gift and use you to make disciples for His kingdom.

Pastor George

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