Just off the coast of Africa and Somalia, pirates have become a huge problem.  They approach ships that are passing through the area, hi-jack them by force, and then direct them to their own ports until money is paid for their return.  This has become a huge problem in the area.  Each ship’s captain and owner had plans for their own lives and for their ships but the Somali pirates aren’t concerned about what the ships were meant to do.  They use the hi-jacked vessels for their own selfish purposes and for their own selfish profit.

Sometimes Christ followers are a bit like those pirates.  I don’t mean they put on pirate costumes act like Jack Sparrow.  I believe they are like the pirates in the use of their spiritual gifts and talents that God has given them

God has given talents and gifts to ALL believers to use in growing HIS Kingdom.  Some people use their talents selfishly to only grow their own Kingdom.  They pour everything they have, including their gifts and talents, into their work, hobbies, or their own families.  (None of which is a bad thing.)  The issue is that God has given those talents and gifts for use to grow His Kingdom but they have been “Hi-Jacked” and used exclusively for selfish purposes.  With all of the commitments with work, little league, family, and “me” time, there simply isn’t any time left for being a leader at church.

Everyone that has asked Christ into their life has spiritual gifts.  Some examples of these gifts include administration, mercy, evangelism, and helping others.  It’s true that most of the spiritual gifts are very similar to talents, however, they are a bit different.  It’s like talents on spiritual steroids.  God takes the natural talents that you have and super-sizes them when you become a believer so that you can use them for Him.  Other gifts, like spiritual discernment and evangelism, are a bit different from natural talents

If you aren’t sure what you have to contribute, there are a few ways to discover your spiritual gifts.  Here are some ways to discover your spiritual gifts:

  • Diligently seek God daily, asking Him to reveal them to you.
  • Ask Christ-followers around you.
  • Study God’s Word.  (Try 1 Corinthians 12, 1 Peter 4:10, & Ephesians 4)
  • Take a spiritual gifts test like this one: http://www.firstbaptistnashville.org/resources/spiritual-gifts-inventory/
  • Think about what you are passionate about.  Sometimes your gifting is in your areas of passion.

God meant for us to use these gifts in the church.  If you aren’t using your gifts for Him, you’ve “Hi-Jacked” them from the original purpose.   You have a lot to give and the body of Christ is missing out if you aren’t using them for God’s purposes in your local body of believers.

Have you discovered your spiritual gifts?

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Is Your Life Stagnant?

June 23, 2011

I love being in the mountains and seeing a brook or stream flowing from the top of the mountain and sitting there reading my Bible or just thinking.  There is a sense of God’s presence there to me as I watch the water flow over the rocks and down the stream.

Normal people, however,  don’t see a pool of stagnant water and feel refreshed.  In fact, I think about the opposite when my nose catches a good whif.  It makes me want to see my lunch again.  The smell is enough to make a weak stomach gag.

Webster defines “stagnant” as “not flowing in a current or stream.”  Stagnant water stinks.   When it stops flowing, the life seems to go out of it.

God hasn’t designed us to be stagnant either.  The Bible says that the lukewarm life makes God gag too. God’s mercies are “new every morning.”  (Lam. 3:19-23)  He isn’t a God that you can be in a close relationship with and feel stagnant.  He is always at work around us.  If we aren’t involved in His work and seeing it on a daily basis, it’s our own fault.  When we seek Him we’ll find Him.  When we’re too busy, we don’t take the time to look.

That’s why we always talk about taking your next step at MJLifeChurch.  We believe that no matter where you are in your walk with Christ, there is always a “Next Step” to take because God is always at work and He is inviting us to be involved with Him.

As amazing as it is to me that God is inviting us to be involved with Him in His work, perhaps even more amazing to me is that we often ignore that invitation because we get ourselves too busy.  If you’re too busy to help your neighbor, take food to a sick person, or invest some time in your church, then you’re too busy.  Even though you always seem to be moving and going, you have become stagnant in your spiritual life. …the only part of your life that really matters because EVERYTHING is tied to the spiritual.

How do you break out of the stagnant life?  Decide to make your spiritual walk the most important part of your life.  Sometimes we have to give up some things that we love for some things that we love even more.  God should have the first spot in your life.  Everything else should fit around your relationship with Him.  (Quiet time with Him, Investing in leading areas at church, helping people, etc.)

The challenge is that most people fill up their lives with work, soccer, hobbies, and everything else that they can fit in it and then try to fill the cracks with God to help them feel better about themselves.  They blow off church if they happen to be too “tired” from all of the other stuff that they have crammed into their lives.

Take an honest look at your life right now.  Are there changes that you need to make for the sake of your relationship with God?  Then do it now!  There’s too much at stake to spend the rest of your life in a stagnant state of living.