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The Difference Between a Talent and a Gift

In last week’s Bible study we learned and defined the difference between our talents and gifts.  We must understand that before God, our talents, gifts, and skills, do not add value or fruit to our lives.

Often this can lead to a misunderstanding based on an incorrect value system that can drive me to focus on gifts in the church, which can give me a certain level of attention and then move to desiring position and then popularity.

“My fruit has zero to do with my gifts and my natural talent and my skill level.  I will not be rewarded because I was incredibly gifted, talented or because I showed great skill.  When we are speaking of the parable of the pound and talent we are speaking of fruit.”

How is that fruit achieved?  My fruit is acquired by ministry.  Not by my gift, nor by my talent and not by my natural skill.  All of these things are potential tools for ministry.

For example, there was a famous Christian runner, called Eric Liddell, who won the 1924 Summer Olympics.  He had a natural talent and said. “When I run I feel God.”  That was a natural talent used for ministry.

“A natural talent has no value in it if it’s not submitted to a ministry”

The location of our ministry is Calvary.  The Cross must touch every aspect of my life.  My ministry is on the other side of the Cross and without the person having a ministry, my gifts, talents, and skills will be wood, hay, and stubble when I get to Heaven.

“To the degree that these three things are not submitted to ministry, whether to God or to the people around me, there will be a waste of what we call talent”

God does not gain pleasure from my natural talent.  He gave it.  God gains pleasure by what I add.  The only way I add is by having a ministry.  He is incredibly blessed when I, the friend of the Bride-groom, minister to the crowds and I give them Him and He is glorified.

“The tools of ministry are found on the road of ministry”

Ministry is burden and burden is necessary.  It’s found only on that road - the road of ministry.  We will love His appearing and finish our course with joy.  We won’t be in Heaven handing in our portfolio, what remains will be ministry.  God is not looking for the people who want to get the glory.

On the road of ministry you can do a lot of things.  You can say, “Silver and gold have I none.  In the name of Jesus Christ rise up and walk.”

It matters very little, if you have a natural gift, enjoy it.  It’s a gift.  Eric Liddell ran and felt God, others didn’t.

See value in God’s greatest creation, man.  It’ll free you and make you stand above everything else and you will be surprised what God will have you do and who God will have you physically save.  You will be released to run!  We don’t want people to be associating value with the wrong thing.  We want to learn freedom and effectiveness, through the Cross and ministry, then teach others to have a ministry and run with freedom and effectiveness.

These thoughts were taken from our Monday night Bible Study. To listen to the whole message, click here.

 
To Whom is Our Ministry?

In this week’s Bible Study, we heard about the message To Whom is Our Ministry?  If we think about this question and use the life of Christ as our main example, we see that Jesus started His ministry in Nazareth, then moved to Capernaum and then to the other cities.

Christ grew up in Nazareth and in Luke 4:18, He declared in the synagogue “to whom” His ministry was going to be with:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised

Our ministry has to begin where His began.  It is to the poor and the broken hearted, to the captive, to the blind, and to the bruised

“Dead bones don’t live and never will. But In God’s world, it’s very natural that in the supernatural they can live, and He adds that-in this day-the scripture will be fulfilled.  I will have a ministry to the ones that can’t make it”

Once Jesus left Nazareth and went to Capernaum, His power grew, His ministry began, and people were drawn to him, astonished at His Words.

Luke 4:31-32/40-41  - And he came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the Sabbath days. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.

My power and ministry will come where God is placing and directing me, in this, I will have power. It is possible, that in my “Nazareth” I get saved and grow and God speaks to me but I have no power.  But, as I leave my Nazareth, I find that I have a ministry and a power, as it’s the place God wants me to be.

The only reason Christ left Capernaum was so that His purpose would be discovered.   At some point Capernaum is supposed to end or else my feet can stay in Capernaum and not go beyond.

“My purpose is not discovered in the house but in the desert place”

When Christ left Capernaum He expanded His ministry.  Christ was going to love the ones that were going to respond negatively.  He was going to find and give to those who would never be able to give back, and to love those who would never respond, or to those that would respond negatively. Everywhere Christ went, He had the poor man and the Pharisee.

“Ministry is not just to the poor but to the unthankful”

I was never meant to sit in Capernaum.  I am His hands and feet.  Ministry will always go from one place to the other.

Nazareth - I learn the life of my Master.  Capernaum - God lets me grow and I get to see the comfort and the ability of what I am to have once I get to Heaven.  It is not my resting place and the place where I stop.  Other Cities - I learn how to suffer well and have an expanded ministry. I learn that the more I love, the less I will be loved.  I learn how to spend and be spent for others, to go outside and see the poor, and I am aware, looking out and loving my enemies.

“When you and I step out and go forward, it’s an automatic ministry to the one who gave it to us.  There is something at the core and it keeps us.  The boat can fill with water and it actually never capsizes.”

These thoughts were taken from our Monday night Bible Study. To listen to the whole message, click here.

 
Myself Apart from Christ, the Necessary Vision

This week’s message was about a double vision that God gives us. The first vision He reveals to me, which He will interpret in time and the second vision is of myself without God.

There needs to come a time in my life when I realize that I cannot go back to the way I used to live, that it can potentially kill me and therefore, it gives me a healthy fear in my heart regarding my past life.

“God Himself must take me to this place. To the degree I don’t allow God to devastate me and feel my separation will be to the degree I am not ready to answer the call.”

In Isaiah 8:13 the Bible says, “Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.”

God also reveals to us that without understanding who He is in all of His righteousness and who we are without Him, His righteousness can be devastating, as I can live my Christian life with an idea that I am “ok” spiritually speaking but deep within my flesh is reigning, rebelling and ruling my heart.

In Romans 7, the Apostle Paul talks about this deep reality of who He was outside of Christ and it devastated him. He was scared of himself and running a race other than the one in which Christ Himself held the reins.

“To the degree that I understand the defeat will be to the degree I understand He has the victory.”

The only way to deal with rebellion is to acknowledge that it is possible for me to secretly live my own life while calling it God. This life can even be a very good one. I can actually go forward in what I think God has me do and live in the flesh or I can live in victory and simply say “uncle, I give up! Take my life and let it be yours--it’s a mess”.

These thoughts were taken from our Monday night Bible Study. To listen to the whole message, click here.

 
Atlanta, Atlanta...

Sincere apologies for not having posted in awhile. However, I assure you that the silence does not mean that we have not been active.

Back in August, we took a trip to Atlanta, Georgia to help a friend, who actively participates in our bookstore outreach, salvage a house she owns.  But, what was just meant to be a home improvement trip quickly became so much more. While digging in the front yard, we mistakenly (or so we thought) hit the water main, which rapidly began flooding the neighborhood.  We called the city’s emergency hotline, and by God's grace, had great supernatural peace in the midst of this disaster and so were able to minister to the workmen they had dispatched, particularly one man named Cliff.  He began asking questions about what we were doing there in Atlanta, and also, what it is that we do as missionaries. We talked for a while and then after maybe a half hour, he left.  Three hours later, he came back and said, "I just have to hear more!"  We sat with him for another hour or so talking about how we plant churches, Bible Colleges, and raise up full-time Christian workers.  This was exactly what he had been praying for.  He invited us to his house the next day to meet his family, and to his church on Sunday.

As the long weekend continued, our interactions with Cliff and the people of that area, many of whom were formerly Hurricane Katrina victims, seemed nothing short of miraculous.  It was apparent to all present that God was moving.  God had brought an Acts 16 Macedonian man to us.  After we returned home, we continued praying, and God seemed to keep confirming--Atlanta!  The owner of the house there also recognized that God was speaking, and has dedicated the house to missions--amazing!

So now, we have made monthly commitments to continue taking trips down to Atlanta and have just returned from our second trip. As we are working with another non-profit, you can get frequent updates by visiting their website, Grace Outside.

 
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