Friday, March 8, 2013

Five Questions to Find Your Spiritual Gifts

"So yesterday, I'm at home laying on my couch and I see snow falling.  For those of you who are northern transplants, you have to understand that snow in the south might as well be cocaine falling.  There are people who are not in church because of snow.  It becomes Snowmageddon. "

This is the second week of the series, "Don't Waste Your Life", Perry Noble of wants to offer 5 questions that will change your life.  Most people don't intend on wasting their life.  They get distracted.  Alot of people know what they should be doing but they just don't follow through. 

To give an example, Perry talks about taking his daughter out to Chik-Fil-A for a date.  First, he was going to take her to the zoo, then to the Mall of Georgia.  His daughter, Karis, also wanted to ride the escalator while the two were there.  Perry was fine with that.  On his way out, his wife Lacretia asked him to pick up something while he was at the mall.  Of course Perry got nevous because he seems to always mess these kinds of things up.  Lacretia asked him to go into Bed Bath and Beyond., a place that already freaks him out.  "I'm not anti-Bed Bath and Beyond.  I just don't get it."   So, his task was to get one of those things that plug into the wall and hold a scented insert.  "None of you guiys know what I am talking about."  When they got to the store, Perry asked his daughter to find what mommy wanted.  Immediately, Karis went right to the area and knew what to get.  As he was leaving though, a store helper stopped him.  saying if he bought another refreshener, he would save mmoney because it was 2 for $15 but 3 for $20.  after a little back and forth, Perry, said, "you know what, I am going to just do what my wife asked me to do."  Walking out, Perry thought to himself that this is what happens a lot of times in life.  We know what we should be doing and then we get distracted. 

There are a couple of competing ideas in life.  One is a lie from the pit of hell.  Perry calls it the "Great American Lie".  Here is the lie; If you believe in yourself and try really hard you can do anything you want and be anything you want.  "That's the biggest pile of crap in the universe!  WE know that's not true!!  We know that because we watch American Idol."  So many people have failed because they have spent way too much time believing in themselves.  What if someone wants to be an american idol and can't even sing?  Perry wanted to play professional football, but that wasn't going to happen.

God made us on purpose to make a difference.  He custom designed us.  We are fearfully and wonderfully made.   Maybe your parents said you were unplanned but God has never called you an accident.  He made you on purpose for a purpose so you could make a difference in this world. 

Last week in Matthew 25, Jesus told a parable about a man going on a journey who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them.  To one, he gave five bags of gold.  To another two bags and to another one bag.  The man with five bags turned it into five more.  The man with two bags turned it into another two, but the man with one bag buried it!! 

In the Bible, it says that all of us have at least one spiritual gift.  One of the coolest things about being a christian is that Jesus wants to bless us right off the bat.  He wants us to focus on our gifts and blessings and not be distracted!  God does not take from us good things.  It is the miserable things in our life He wants out, NOT the good things!  To help us wrap our minds around what our spiritual gifts are, Perry decides to give us 5 guiding questions. 

1) What do I enjoy?   When Perry first was considering being a follower of Christ, he started hearing what the pastor was saying.  The pastor wasn't preaching a sermon about keep him from going to hell, but rather it was a prayer to let Jesus control his life.  See, Perry knew a lot of Christians that just weren't happy at all.  Waiting tables, Perry noticed that on Sunday people would show up after attending services and they would be some of the meanest people he's ever met.  They all looked constipated.  "Have you ever seen that person?  No Joy!!"  Perry didn't want to be that person.  From the time he was 0-12, Perry says he had a "drug problem". "I was drug to church every Sunday".  But when his mom died, he wasn't drug anymore.  But then he was skeptical and didn't want to be unable to party and then have to go on mission trips.  But what finally transitioned his thinking was Perry was reading in the Bible and saw John 10:10;

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. 

It hit perry that Jesus Christ wanted him to be filled with joy.  THE BEST EVIDENCE OF CHRIST IS OUR JOY.  Perry says he has joy in what he does because he loves his job.

2) What do I do well?  For those who say they do nothing well, they might as well give God the finger and call him a liar.  He knows who you are and what you do well.  Some people are organizers.  They love to order things and GOD NEEDS THESE PEOPLE for His Purposes.  Some have the spiritual gift of mercy.  They love to shepherd people, cry with people, hear their problems and help them.  Some people are creative and write poetry, music and webcode.  "Did you know that some of the first people filled with the Spirit of God were filled to be creative?"  We all have gifts...

1 Peter 4:10:  Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace and its various forms. 

Everyone has a specific gift for this purpose.  Both of the previous questions have to be anwered together because some people enjoy what they don't do well.  But on the flip side, some people are really good at something they don't enjoy. 

3) What bothers you?  I'm not talking about people who don't use their turn signal or men that wear Capri pants,.  "Some of them might get mad, get in their Prius, drive home and eat some hummus and write a poem.  I don't care.  I don't fear the men that wear Capris.  I'm afraid of the guys who wear Wranglers."  Anyway, when you look at the world, what bothers you.?  One time, Perry was watching Popeye.  It bothered Perry because it never made him want to eat spinach.  Besides, Popeye's girlfriend Olive Oyle was ugly and Popeye was always getting beat up!  But remember what Popeye would always say before he ate his spinach?   "That's all I can stand.  I can't standst no more!" 

When you find your misery, you'll find your ministry.  What bothers you? 

In the book of Nehemiah, the walls of Jerusalem had been torn down and Nehemiah was bothered about this.  He fell, wept, fasted and prayed.  By the end of the book, he and his men rebuilt the walls of Jeruselem.  "What about Mother Theresa?"  When she went ot Calcutta, India, she was so bothered by the poverty that she moved there and dedicated her life.  One day, she was washing the feet of a leper and someone said, "I would not do that for a million dollars" and Mother Theresa responded with, "Neither would I".  Christian Kain was in a Greek airport and saw all the missing girls moved in to the sex trade, so she started the A21 campaign.  Perry started his church when he was botherd by churches where he felt he couldn't bring friends to any other one.  Perry makes the point that whatever botheres  you, you cannot delegate that burden to other people in the church.  You have to act on what God has put on your heart. 

4)  What opportunities are in front of you right now?  If we are not faithful with what we have now, we will not move forward to other areas.  When Perry found Jeuss, he found it natural to just talk to peole.  Perry asked what he could do in the church and the pastor directed him to the 6th grade classes.  He volunteered all week with the kids making crafts and stuff as he was directed.  One day, the class leader said she didn't have a lesson and she asked him if he would put something together.  So, his first sermon was to seven 6th graders giving his testimony! It was the worst sermon in the history of the world, but after he was finished, four kids out of the seven gave their lives to Christ.  It really meant a lot to him and helped him realize what his gift was.  The pastor got wind of this and asked Perry to speak at a mission trip he was going to on.  He ended up speaking in the basement of a youth rally.  That night, someone was playing guitar and Perry followed.  After he preached, eight more people gave their lives!!   From here on out, Perry just preached where he was called to preach.  He stopped giving God his plans and just gave Him his hands. 

5) Who?  None of the other questions matter until you ask this question.  Matt 25:19-25 tells us what happens to the servants when their master returns.  The master comes back to the servants and asks what the servants have done with his money.  They each show their accomplishments.  To the first two servants, he says "Well done good and faithful servants, but to the last servant, buried his lot, the master responds by throwing the man out.  All three declared God as their master, but only two demonstrated that He was their master.  Who are you going to live for?  1 Corinthians 5 says;

Do you not know that wrongdoers do not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be decieved.  Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolators nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slandereres nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the spirit of God. 

Don't worry about where you were or  of what you are afraid.  Embrace what God promises for you and what He has for you.  Trust that.  Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.  He can use you to make a difference!

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