Get Out There

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

It doesn’t matter how God has gifted you.  You may have a number of gifts or you may only have one main gift.  Whatever the case may be, it’s to be used for God and His glory.

God has a job for us to do.  We are to love Him and teach others to love Him.  And because we’re all unique we’re going to do that in different ways.  Some will teach; others will visit.  Some people will keep the church looking beautiful for visitors while others will welcome them and follow up with them.

None of us are too young or too old to serve God.  Our gifts may change and mature over time.  That’s alright.  We worship a God who makes things new.  He can even give us new gifts as we transition from one stage of life to another.

God turned the world upside down with twelve men using their gifts and motivating others to use theirs.  What can God do with your community as a result of your church using its gifts?  What can God do through you when you get out there and use your gifts?

Miraculous Gifts

1 Corinthians 14:4

He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.

It would be a disservice to pretend to solve the issue of the miraculous gifts that are prevalent in Pentecostal and charismatic churches today.  Numerous books have been written and dividing lines are still drawn.

Paul is not denouncing the use on tongues in this verse because he too speaks in tongues and he continues in verse five wishing they would all speak in tongues, but would rather have them prophesy.

Paul’s point is that gifts are meant to edify God and the church.  As the church was being established miraculous gifts were clearly used to demonstrate that what was happening was of God.  Now that the church has been established, such proof may or may not be needed today.  Perhaps it is useful in places where the church is still being established and not useful in other locations.  We must be careful that we don’t tell God what He can and can’t do.

That being said, we need to remember the purpose of spiritual gifts.  They are to bring glory to God.  Some, but certainly not all, who claim to perform miracles do so for their own glory because God has gifted them in such a way.  But all gifts are gifts of God and none are greater than others, even miraculous ones.  And all are to be used for His glory.

Gift of Intercession

Ephesians 6:18

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

We don’t always understand the way God works.  Perhaps our greatest lack of understanding concerns our prayer life.  Sometimes God clearly answers our prayers while other times we’re not sure if the answer is “no” or “wait.”

People with the gift of intercession have a desire, perhaps even a burden to pray for others.  To some people they are known as prayer warriors.  This may sound over the top but Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but… against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

How else do we combat this type of evil but through God’s power which is obtained through prayer?  Not that we should ignore the physical needs of others – those in poverty, those who are ill, those who are in the military – but Christianity is plagued by weak prayers.

Intercessors don’t just pray about physical needs; they pray about the spiritual ones as well.  They aren’t limited in their topics and they don’t pray by the clock.  They’re done praying when they’ve expressed all to God that they have, not when five minutes are up.  And if five minutes pass and something else crosses their mind, they might offer up another prayer, regardless whether it takes fifteen seconds or five minutes.

Paul told us to pray continually and people with the gift of intercession take this especially to heart.  They will pray at any time about anything that the Lord lays on their heart.  These are the people that you want praying for you because they will be faithful in praying until God answers one way or another.

Gift of Hospitality

2 Kings 4:9-10

She said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God.  Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.”

The gift of hospitality is important but often overlooked within the church.  You may have attended your church a year, five years, twenty years, or even fifty.  We have our regular seats and know where everything is.  We feel welcome because we know everybody or at least our little group.

When there are visitors that come to our church, we need to make them feel every bit as welcome as if they were long time members.  Even if their goal is to slip in and out unnoticed the church needs to make the effort.  How they respond is up to them.

Hospitality is a gift that can be developed and seems to be more prevalent in elderly ladies than anywhere else.  When I visit people, the last thing I need usually is a slice of cake or something to drink.  But I try hard to allow someone the chance to use their gift.

Others may exercise hospitality by making phone calls or sending cards to visitors or those who haven’t been in church for a while.  There are those who complain about getting old and not being able to do what they once did.  Then there are those who adapt their gifts and find new ways to use them.  Hospitality is a great way of serving that doesn’t require as much energy as some other gifts and is still a valuable part of the church.

Gift of Music

1 Samuel 16:17-18

So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays well and bring him to me.”  One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the harp. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the LORD is with him.”

You know people who can’t carry a tune in a bucket.  Maybe you’re even one of them.  Or maybe the only thing you can play is the radio.  Fortunately God has called us to make a joyful noise to Him in worship.  Our ability does not matter so long as we honor God in our worship.

There are others who have tremendous musical abilities though.  These people have the ability to cause others to worship regardless whether they are worship leaders or not.

When beautiful music is played or sung – and it doesn’t even have to be a church song – it gives everyone a chance to reflect on God’s majesty.

We all have different preferences in music and that is great because God made us all different.  This also means that we have many different ways to worship God in music.

Psalm 150 is one of my favorite Psalms as it describes many ways that we can worship God.  Those with the gift of music can lead us into worship in many different ways.