How and Who: Finding Your Passion for Service Pt. 3

 

During the months of January and February, I’m teaching a workshop at my church about finding your service passion. After we spend a few sessions defining our service passion, we will be creating vision boards to help us focus our efforts on the right areas to support our service.  This blog will provide brief summaries of the previous classes in order to help people stay up to date if they can’t attend or have missed a session.

 

Previous Posts In the Series:

In the previous posts, we’ve looked at Jeremiah 29:4-11 and I Corinthians 12:1-11.

Gifts and the Spirit

This week, we added a familiar passage for many Christians:  Romans 12:1-8. Let’s look at the last part of this passage:

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Romans 12:6-8

If you examine these three passages, you begin to see several correlations:

  • God has a will for us.
  • His will might not match what we expect.
  • We all receive gifts of the Spirit specific to us.
  • Not everyone has the same gift.
  • We should use the gifts God gives us.

As you seek to discover your focus for service, it’s important to remember these points.

Now, let’s look at another passage about the Spirit:

“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”” ‭‭John‬ ‭3:6-8‬

Jesus speaks these words to Nicodemus. What follows is a discussion of being born again, but I want us to look at something else in this passage:  Jesus uses the wind as a metaphor for the Spirit. We know it exists, we hear it, we feel it, we see its actions. What a great explanation of the Spirit!

Have you ever felt or heard a prompting from the Spirit? How did you know it came from the Spirit?

A thought comes to you, but it’s not a random thought. It may be unusual in its timing but not without purpose. Sometimes it’s a name of someone you haven’t thought of in some time. For me, that name might surface in my mind several times in a short period of time. Guess what? If I contact the person, they’re often going through something and needed to hear from me. Occasionally, I’m going through something and needed to talk to them. Either way, it’s not a coincidence. Stories like this abound.

My point? We have to listen for the promptings of the Spirit if we’re going to use our gifts to God’s service.

How and Who To Serve

Which leads us to the How and Who of developing your service focus. How will you serve? Who or what cause will you serve?

I gave the participants two lists–one for the How and one for the Who.

The How list contains a long list of action verbs. I encouraged them to circle the words that spoke to them or jumped out as they read through the list. Each person, through an activity, narrowed the list down to their top three.  The Who handout listed several groups or causes. Each person read through this list circling any group or cause that interested them.

Next week, we’ll do the Why list.

From these three areas, you can begin to build your service mission statement.

If you missed last week or are only following these posts online, feel free to contact me, and I’ll send you the lists and the directions to follow while making your selections.

Meanwhile, be in prayer over how God wants to use you.

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Why Do We Love Superheroes?

Courtesy of Pixabay

Courtesy of Pixabay

Yesterday, I sent my grandchildren to school wearing superhero T-shirts.

Why?

The family of the six-year-old boy killed in the Townville school shooting requested that people attend his funeral in superhero clothing instead of suits and ties. Jacob loved superheroes, and the whole country embraced this idea.  Stores sold out of superhero-themed clothing, and many people wore them as they went about their day, even if they weren’t attending the funeral.

This got me to thinking about why we love superheroes.

Superheroes represent our need for someone who steps in and saves us from the bad guys. A person with supernatural abilities who has a knack of showing up when people need them, kicking the bad guys to the curb, and ensuring we’re safe.

I have good news for you!  He already exists!

  • There is someone who is always there.
  • There is someone who saves us.
  • There is someone who keeps us safe.
  • There is someone with supernatural abilities.
  • There is someone who people turn to when they desperately need him, and he’s always there.

All we have to do is seek Him and He will be there. In fact, even when we forget to seek Him, He is there.

Who, you ask?

The Holy Trinity:  God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

We love superheroes because our souls cry out for someone who provides us this love and safety.

In Isaiah, we see His power and our yearning:

We have a strong city;
    God makes salvation
    its walls and ramparts.
Open the gates
    that the righteous nation may enter,
    the nation that keeps faith.
You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.
He humbles those who dwell on high,
    he lays the lofty city low;
he levels it to the ground
    and casts it down to the dust.
Feet trample it down—
    the feet of the oppressed,
    the footsteps of the poor.

The path of the righteous is level;
    you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.
Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws,[a]
    we wait for you;
your name and renown
    are the desire of our hearts.
My soul yearns for you in the night;
    in the morning my spirit longs for you.
When your judgments come upon the earth,
    the people of the world learn righteousness.

Isaiah 26: 1-9

In Psalms, we see how we yearn for Him:

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God? Psalm 42:1-2

My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Psalm 84:2

Is it any wonder that we are fascinated with the idea of a superhero? Our souls know we need Him.

My heart breaks for the family of Jacob Hall, but I’m so glad that he had a savior superhero to bend down and scoop him up in His loving arms and say, “You are safe. You are loved. I am here.”

Never fear, Jesus is always here.

 

A Piece of My Salvation Puzzle

domestic violence

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

I tell my story because I have to.  I feel the need to reach out to others and provide some hope where it might be lost.

Even though I share this journey for any one in the world to see, my story has not been an easy one to tell.  Some posts led me down agonizing hallways of memory.  God led me through those dark days, and, in writing these posts, I’ve discovered more ways He guided me than I ever realized before.

Through it all, God was with me.

My awareness of this didn’t happen overnight.  It happened over many years, one step at a time.

My first awakening to the truth came during a singles retreat.  Our speaker taught from Ecclesiastes.  I listened to this man’s teaching unaware of what was to come.  I wish I could tell you the verses that hit me in the gut, the passage that changed my world, but I can’t.

One moment, I was fine, a person in the crowd, the next, an overwhelming awareness engulfed me. God could love me in spite of the stains on my life.  I was worthy of His love and forgiveness.

I can point to many reasons why I didn’t understand this before.  The first, and most obvious, stems from those who first taught me salvation.  They preached living right.  They told me God was not a respecter of persons (whatever that means).  In the next breath, they told me no one can be perfect, but we have to try to be, but we will never succeed.  They described to me a vengeful God.  One who wanted our perfection and punished us if we didn’t make the grade.  Their understanding of salvation missed the boat.  They saw Him sitting in judgment of our failures.

Is there any wonder that I didn’t think my life worthwhile?  How could I ever measure up?

Yes, we should strive to live as Christ. No, we will never succeed.  That’s the point.  They missed it.

When this point hit me, I ran out of the session.  It didn’t take long for the singles minister to follow me. I’ll never forget how he sat down on the curb beside me, a look of concern on his face.  I tried to tell him, through my tears, what I felt.  He nodded, then first told me he had been keeping a close eye on two other single moms in the crowd, aware of the emotional trauma they had experienced.  He never thought to watch me.  He never suspected how I felt.  I had become so good at being present without grace that no one knew my struggle.  (This is one reason my story amazed so many people when I started sharing it.)

We talked for a while and then again later.  But I had the most important piece of the puzzle: I could be blameless and whole before God.  I would screw up, but I could have the salvation I wanted.  I could have grace.  I just needed to seek to do His will and accept His grace when I fell.

Alleluia!