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Gifts in the Church

In this Bible study, we learned about the gifts God gives us in the church. They have been placed into three main categories: Motivational, Ministerial, and Manifestation gifts. Almost all agree that the motivational gifts and ministerial gifts are still being used today in the churches. The Scriptures where the subject of gifts is mentioned is in 2 Corinthians 12 and 14; Romans 12; Ephesians 4:11; and 1 Peter 4:10-11.

The Apostle Paul and Peter both emphasized that there were higher and bigger issues than identifying one’s spiritual gifts; which is the love of God shed abroad in our hearts, and His ministry working in and through us towards other people. You are devout because you love and because you are loved. You know the love you recognize. That’s the love that’s already in you to shed abroad to others. You know the joy you see. Teach people about that and how to give that. We were drawn to the fruit of the Spirit and not the gift of the Spirit.

Ministry must absolutely be emphasized and taught long before gifts, only because we can take something very beautiful and make it very much carnal.

In the early church the power of the gifts (the manifestation gifts), were shown to separate the church from the world; they were to separate the church and Christianity from other religions. There are certain times God manifests that power. The reality is I first need to be educated in ministry and the tools of ministry to grow in the fruit of the Spirit.

All gifts used for the edification of the church fall under three main divisions:

  1. That which is visible in church service
  2. That which is visible in church activity
  3. That which is visible in church life

I think you have to talk about the non-visible gifts. Generally, the person with the non-visible gift, many times, has only one talent. It’s amazing what you can get done, if you don’t care who gets credit for it. Let me lift up in my mind and see how Heaven sees. Look for the invisible part of serving God, that which is spiritually successful. To what degree am I ready to lose my life?  Honestly, though I have been given these three categories, many of the gifts can fit in any of them. It really depends upon the expression of God in that part of the world, with that particular group of people, in that particular point in time.

This message is taken from our Monday night Bible study. If you would like to listen to the full message, click here.

 
A Full Semester of Ministry

In this Bible Study, we spoke and defined what ministry is all about. We talked about the problem of zeroing in on gifts and identifying the gifts instead of identifying that I have a ministry. Not understanding that I have a ministry can put me in a place where I could potentially think of myself as lesser person in the church, or as a believer, rather than acknowledging that I have a ministry.

My gifts are expressions of ministry-We don’t go around trying to identify Christ’s gifts, because it’s the ministry of Christ that’s so important to us. The fullest expression of my life would be that Christ would be so fully formed in me that the ministry of Christ would come through my life because He has made me to be that. Therefore, if I die and never know the gifts…The ministry of the life of Christ is enough.

Within the church on a daily basis, on a moment by moment basis, there is a spiritual masterpiece going on and it doesn’t need my “screwdriver”, necessarily. I don’t need to put my screwdriver into it but there is a concentration, a focus, of what the ministry is here. What is the ministry of the Holy Spirit, in this moment, as He manifests Christ? What is that and how do I further that? Sometimes, that is why there is quietness. I am just focused on the ministry because that’s where life is.

Life is not in me to find the screw driver, but it’s in me to focus on the masterpiece. God is shaping us for ministry as we are ministering to Him. The parable of the talent and the pound was a parable based on a poor understanding of the master, so they ended up with no talent.

A poor relationship with God creates paralysis in ministry. A poor relationship with God creates a private mission. Christ is formed in me, Christ is formed through me, and to the people around me. I have a constant ministry and I am ministering to God and that is coming from a proper relationship with God.

The beauty of ministering is that when we are in tune with God, we learn to appreciate each other’s ministry. Greatness is fulfilling my ministry and appreciating others in their ministry. True greatness is a picture of who Christ was and what He said. He put the child in front of them and said, “Except you receive the Kingdom as a little child,” there will be no greatness. Greatness is also when I serve: “I am among you as He that serves.”

Am I available? God will bring people to us, to test that. People are not our little check marks and pegs on the board. They may be in and out of our life. It is the ministry of the moment. Seek to be an expert in that, of being “ears and eyes”; just to be with people and not move past them. If I am really getting to know the bride groom I will find that His eye is on others and it’s not about activity but about intent. God calculates things from the heart. He calculates intent. The only thing that matters in defining ministry is the loss of my life, and I do it because of Christ.

This message is taken from our Monday night Bible Study. To hear the full message, click here.

 
The Miraculous in Ministry

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” 1 Corinthians 15:19

In this Bible Study, we spoke about the miraculous in ministry.  God is miraculous and everything He does is miraculous.  He is a miracle God and it’s what makes Him who He is.

We are people who cannot control our ministries; humanly speaking, we are not considered miraculous people, but with God, excellence can come out of good, and another dimension or level can happen in my personal ministry.  With God, I can still see the spectacular.

It’s amazing that these verses can take me to another sphere.  That which is dead can come to life, and that which is alive can remain eternal.  There is something better that can happen which is not under my control in ministry.  If we don’t have the miraculous, then we are in all ways miserable.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren be ye steadfast…”1 Cor 15:58a

May we have a “therefore” in our lives?  Does anything in my mind have permission to shut me up?  Is there anything in my heart that can stop me on a dime and make me submit?  If I don’t have that, there will be no control in the inner man and control of my Spirit. Better is He that controls his Spirit than he that can take a city. Proverbs 16:32.

God has granted us the ability to control our Spirit.  I have got to have a “therefore” or my ministry will be affected. The storm in my heart will now become the storm in my ministry. The storm in the ministry should not affect the quiet in my heart.

The core of whatever ministry that God would have me do is locked up in this: my internal steadfastness is the core of my ministry; otherwise I am just like a breath.

To the degree that I am able to look up, will be to the degree I will be able to lift others up.

To the degree that I am able to be steadfast and immovable, believe it or not, that is to the degree that I will have the power to move others and to translate them, to help move them from one kingdom to another.

It’s not that we are saying, “Just fill this cup Lord,” God is saying, “I have an ocean and I have more.”  If I am asking Mr. Miraculous, why am I asking for so little, when I can have so much?

“…always abounding in the Work of the Lord, for as much as you know that your labor is not in vain or empty.” 1 Cor 15:58b

Weariness in ministry is not empty or vain; God is not going to forget my work and my labor of love.  He doesn’t forget the work or the exhaustion in ministry. I will work and will be weary.  God will have me always abounding in the work and in my weariness.

 

These thoughts are taken from our Monday night Bible study. To listen to the message, click here.

 
What Can A Cookie Do?

What Can A Cookie Do?

For many, the Christmas season is a time of great joy and celebration. But for others, it is a time of deep depression and loneliness. In fact, it holds the highest suicide rates of the year. We wanted to do something to show people that someone was thinking about them. So we hit the city streets with 10,000 home made Christmas cookies!

It was our founder’s vision to encourage those who were down-and-out by scouring the streets and neighborhoods of Baltimore in order to surprise people with Christmas gifts, home made Christmas cookies, hot chocolate, and a message to let them know that they are loved.

Over the years, we have seen suicides prevented, comfort brought to those going through divorce, and joy as well as relief shown by parents who just did not have anything to give to their children. For some, they expressed that our cookies were the only thing that they received for Christmas that year.

We have found that a cookie can do a lot.

What Can You Do?

Pray that each cookie lands in a needy hand…

Each gift to a needy family….

And each smile to hungry eyes.

You can also help donate ingredients, gifts, money towards gifts, or help us bake cookies or wrap presents. Below, you can see that we need:

  • eggs
  • flour
  • sugar
  • margarine
  • wax paper
  • wrapping paper
  • bows
  • curling ribbon

A big thank you, thank you, thank you to the Arrow Center for Education for all of their help!

So Far...

"When giving out hot chocolate, many people looked at me with surprised, wide open eyes and said free???? One lady was so surprised that she kept saying thank you, thank you, thank you. "

You never know what people are going through..

""My wife just left me, my dad just died. I drink a lot now. What can you tell me?"

"I was having a really hard day, today. You really made my day."

GOAL!

A big thank you to all those who helped us reach (and exceed) our goal of 10,000 cookies. With all 10,440 cookies in hand, please pray with us that they reach just the right person at the right time. Also, you can continue to follow the schedule above to join us on any of our outreach times. Thanks again!

 
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