Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gifted and Talented

Volume I - Called into Ministry....Qualified for Ministry?
Volume II - Serving Others

Let’s start with an appraisal of the spiritual gifts (I Cor. 12 and Romans 12), such as Hospitality - people who have an open home where others are welcome to visit, Mercy - people who easily empathize with others, Leadership - people who serve best by leading others and usually have followers, Giving - people who earnestly give of themselves in order to help others, Encouragement- compassionate, optimistic, patient people who uplift others, Evangelism - someone with a strong compassion for the lost, usually more comfortable outside of the church bubble, Administration - problem solvers with organizational abilities, Helps/Service - “do anything” people who truly understand servant hood, Teaching - people who love to study and then share what they‘ve learned with others, Apostles (i.e. church planters and missionaries) - multi-gifted people willing to brave the unknown, Discernment - people who can quickly discern between truth and falsehood, Miracles - people who usually fly under the radar, but accomplish the impossible or miraculous, Pastor/Biblical Counselor - a true shepherd who helps others with their sanctification process, Healing - people who earnestly and sincerely pray for the healing of others, Faith - optimistic, visionary people who trust God even in the worst situations, Knowledge - people who always want to dig deeper in their studies and compile their findings for others, and Wisdom - people who are able to give realistic life application to Biblical truths. The purpose of spiritual gifts is to build up and equip the Body of Christ. Notice that none of the gifts are self edifying.

The spiritual gifts differ from natural talents (musical ability, creativity, athletic prowess, computer skills, bow and nunchuck skills) in that one is given at new birth and the other is given at birth. Since no list of spiritual gifts in the New Testament seems altogether complete, compiling all of the lists together still may not result in a complete list (1 Corinthians 12:8-10; 12:28; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11; and 1 Peter 4:11).

to be continued......

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Serving Others

Volume I - Called into Ministry....Qualified for Ministry?

We’ll begin with the basic assumption that someone claiming to be “called into ministry” is a Christ follower to begin with. Of course we’ll ignore the irony that there are most likely many servants within the church and even pastors/elders who don’t actually “know Christ”. Jesus himself predicted that this would be the case. We’ll assume that the subject is indeed a true believer and we’ll even give them the benefit of the doubt concerning their calling - as it can be hard to judge the veracity of one’s calling from God. And many people count on this - that’s why you hear so many people use the phrases “God told me….” or “God spoke to me…..” because who can argue with a private conversation between one person and God?

One of the first things to look for would be a servant’s heart, both in and out of the church. What has this person given of themselves in order to better others? The obvious avenues for this service are usually restricted to time and money - a mistake that many churches make. In other words, those who give the most of their money and/or the most of their time are the best servants. This is a shallow way of thinking though, concerning servant hood, stewardship, gifts, and talents. The first thing that needs to be done is an accurate evaluation of one’s God-given gifts and talents.

to be continued......

Saturday, June 26, 2010

City Furniture: FAIL!!!

Dear Consumerist.com,

A couple weeks ago, I bought a rocker/recliner at City Furniture in Tamarac, FL. The floor model worked fine - rocking and reclining, so I purchased the recliner and took it home. Upon setting it up at home, we discovered that it really didn't rock that well, even though the floor model had rocked just fine. Customer service for City Furniture offered to send out a technician to determine if the recliner was defective.

The technician who came out agreed that the recliner did not rock very well, but that there was nothing that he could do to "fix" it.

The Customer Service agents for City Furniture stated that "the item was not defective" even though the technician agreed with us that it did not rock very well. The agent then went on to explain that all sales were final and there was nothing that could be done to help us, though she did "appreciate hearing our feedback." She also explained, as instructed by her supervisor, that these types of furniture often need to be "broken in" sometimes for as long as 9 months in order to work properly.

Today, we went back to the store showroom to try out the floor model again and sure enough - it rocked just fine. We also spoke to a few salesmen who all agreed with us that the "breaking in" excuse was a poor one and even dishonest at that. We're left with a rocker/recliner that is useless to us (for rocking our newborn daughter to sleep).

We've sent an EECB to all available parties in the company with no response whatsoever, except for the poorly trained Customer Service Reps who really "appreciate our feedback."

Just another case of the customer always being wrong I guess. But at least they "appreciate my feedback" and of course, my money. Too bad its the last of it that they'll be seeing.

Lew Graff
Sunrise, FL

Friday, June 25, 2010

Called into Ministry.......Qualified for Ministry?

What does it mean to be “called into ministry”? Do seminaries really serve a purpose? Is there a distinction between laity and clergy? Is there merit to tent-making or bi-vocational ministry? What is the career path for someone wanting to escape the secular world and work only within the church bubble? If someone is called by God, does it really matter if they are qualified?

In addition to being called, one must also be qualified. There is plenty of scriptural evidence of the qualifications necessary for being in ministry (particularly being an elder/pastor). The common denominator among these are a matter of character, not talent.

Too many churches today are concerned with one’s schooling or talent or experience, leaving aside the importance of character which God places at the forefront in scripture.

First off, realize that every Christian is called into ministry. Moreover, every Christian is required to use their gifts and talents, spiritual and otherwise, to build up and equip the body of Christ. These would include spiritual gifts (as listed and described in scripture) but also talents that they have acquired through real-world experience which might also be of some use.

One sign of maturation/sanctification for a Christ-follower would be the realization of this principal: Its not what you get, its what you give. (special thanks to Tesla for that Biblical principal) The Bible is full of admonishments, warning and encouraging that the work that you put into the Body here on earth will be responsible for the authority/responsibility given in heaven.

So then, what is the difference between lay leaders in the church and ordained leaders in the church? Good question. Is there a difference at all? Also, what is the difference between unpaid volunteers serving the church and full-time paid staff members? Another good question.

to be continued......

Thursday, June 24, 2010

New Work

I've written a five page paper which I'm going to break into pieces and post here. It is a first draft, but I'm going to post it anyways.

Hopefully, each post isn't too long.

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