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SPIRITUAL GIFTS  (11) 

 

LORD, RELEASE YOUR GIFTS

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

Having considered the nature and function of the God-given abilities we call 'spiritual gifts', we come to this final study in which we seek to discover those ways in which we can know what gifts (or areas of 'giftedness') the Lord has imparted to us…or that He may do so in the future.

 

The role of your home group can be very significant in this respect. Very often others will recognize our God-given abilities before we do and part of our own awareness in this respect comes from the insights and affirmation of other believers.

 

In this session I want to identify 8 'natural' ways in which we can begin to discover how God is equipping us for ministry. There may be no one aspect that stands out to you. Often it is a combination of these 'pointers' that alerts us to the area of our giftedness.

 

1. FAITH   In order to begin this discovery process, we must first believe that God has gifted us for ministry. Obviously, if we don't accept that biblical truth we need go no further! Note again the emphatic nature of Scripture in this regard.    1 Corinthians 12/7,11 & 1 Peter 4/10

2.  PRAYER   This is such an obvious step that we can overlook it. Let's commit ourselves to seek God's will in prayer that waits and listens. Ask one or two Christian friends to covenant with you so that they will pray for God to reveal what gifts He has imparted into your life.

 3. AWARENESS   We noted in one of our studies that Paul was wanting to eliminate ignorance about spiritual gifts. Read again 1 Corinthians 12/1.  Keep reading the relevant Biblical passages concerning gifts. Read some key authors on this subject. Talk to one (or more) of your pastors. Make sure you attend the next "Discovering Your Christian Ministry" seminar or your Church's equivalent. In other words, do all you can to minimize ignorance and maximize knowledge and truth.

4. SUBMISSION   Surrender to the Lordship of Christ in this area. Surrender your pre-conditions to God (i.e. be open to HIS choices and decisions about how He wants to equip and empower you for service in His Kingdom).  Avoid the attitude that would dictate what you are willing to receive and what you are not…..what you are willing to do and what you are not.

5. PERSONAL DESIRE   What is your heart telling you? What are the desires of your heart in ministry? What is your heart's passion when it comes to ministry? Despite some negative believers who might tell you otherwise, the Will of God is not necessarily the exact opposite of what you would choose! Sometimes your own personal desire and passion can be the very gift/s God has given you pushing their way to the surface.   Read Psalm 37/4.

6. EXTERNAL CONFIRMATION - What do other people affirm in you? As strange as it may seem, the person who has a particular gift for ministry is usually the last one to recognize it! To them their gift seems more like a natural activity than a gift from God! So listen to what others say about your 'gift mix'.

 

The Small Group setting is a great place for this affirmation. As people get to know you they will become aware of how God has equipped you for service. What are you often asked to do? Conversely, what are you never asked to do?!

 

7. COURAGE   Be willing to take some new steps. Recognize that 'faith' is sometimes spelt "R-I-S-K".   People who opt for safety will rarely enter into the joy and fulfillment of serving the King and the Kingdom. Courage will recognize that mistakes will be made as we launch out on this journey of discovery. The gifts don't come all nicely matured and functional - anymore than the gift of playing a musical instrument is fully developed at first.

8. PRACTICE    The presence or absence of gifts in one's life is most often discovered in the doing, not in the talking. "Experiment" does not sound very spiritual but that's what we are talking about here. The 'doing' part might include being part of a prayer group that lays hands on a sick person to pray for that person's healing. It might involve leading your Bible study group that reveals an emerging teaching gift. Such examples could be multiplied. Whenever you get opportunity, practice. Experiment. But do it all prayerfully.

 

SOME GROUP ACTIVITIES

1. Talk about one or more of the above steps. Which one might be the next step for you?

 

2.  If you are aware of an area of ministry for which God has gifted you in your own life (and you feel secure within your group), share with the group how you first became aware of that gift/those gifts.

3.  Perhaps the most significant response that we can make in this whole series is for your group to take time now to share with each other what qualities/gifts/abilities that you see in the lives of group members.

4. Share a time of affirmation. Begin with something like this: "You know (name of person), one thing I really appreciate about you is____________ and I believe that God may have given you the gift of _________________

Another very significant response to the series is to pray for each other that God will release His gifts among you. Depending upon the security and willingness of the group, such prayer can be accompanied with the laying on of hands.

 

A PRAYER FOR THE CHURCH

 

Lord Jesus, You are the Head of the Church. We bow before your sovereign throne and invite you to grant in this your Church the release of a fresh imparting of your gifts so that we can serve you more effectively in our community. We ask that such a release be accompanied by a fresh baptism of love so that the diversity of the gifts will be unified by a spirit of love and affirmation.

 

May the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit grow among us in a delightful balance so that your Church here will be empowered to be all that you have called us to be and to do all that you have called us to do.   Amen.

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