Believe Buzz — Week 17 — Spiritual Gifts

believe_bulletin-cover-week-17Here’s the buzz from the small groups week 17:

Another great chapter and discussion!  Who has Spiritual Gifts?  Everybody has Spiritual Gifts – but not necessarily the same ones.

Following the video portion of this chapter, group members were each asked to write down their respective Spiritual Gifts.  We then shared what we had written.  A couple of members said that they had no Spiritual Gifts.  To the surprise of each of them, the group members quickly listed that particular person’s Spiritual Gifts as displayed at FPC.  The genuine love and acceptance evident was a sincere and impromptu “sharing of the Spirit”.  One of the “lessons learned” is that we all have Spiritual Gifts.  We may not recognize them, but others do.

 We also discussed that our Spiritual Gifts must be used to be of value.  This led to a further discussion of possible ways to involve more of the FPC congregation in utilizing their Spiritual Gifts – at the same time recognizing that many already do so.

 Each group member was asked to complete a short survey on Spiritual Gifts that is available at   Members are asked to print their results and bring them to our next group meeting.

 Each week seems to get better and better.  We are actively on our journey to become “more like Jesus”.

Spiritual Gifts.  We talked a bit of how in some (pentecostal) churches, the gift of speaking in tongues is a special focus.  The Apostle Paul seems to de-emphasize such gifts, noting that the important thing with tongues is that an interpreter be present to translate.  Of greater usefulness for the majority are the spiritual gifts God blesses the church with, such as sharing love, hospitality, service, instruction in faith, encouragement, prayer.  We went around the circle, each person sharing a bit of the challenges/opportunities they’ve had in life to develop or use the spiritual gifts God has blessed them with.  I was struck by the fact those in our fellowship have not had it easy, facing some real challenges.  Yet God has blessed each to face those challenges, and at the same time bless others.
I Cor 12:7 shares  “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit given for the common good”.  Spiritual gifts are not given to make one person look great, but to nurture and bless the community of faith!

Prior to our group meeting, we asked everyone to take the spiritual gifts survey. We discussed the needs of the church and  then talked about our gifts and  even though they are different, how they work together to make the church function. We discussed how different our church would look if everyone used their diverse gifts to further God’s body, The Church, on this earth.

This chapter led to some exciting conversation. However, the consensus of the group was that the illustration given by Randy Frazee of the car crash seemed more designed for newer Christians and not so much for more mature believers. Also, we felt that it was lacking the spiritual basis for the gifts given by the Holy Spirit. We discussed the differences between Paul’s description of spiritual gifts in Romans and in Corinthians. We found it interesting when thinking of the parts of the body of Christ in terms of your spiritual gifts, that must work in harmony to lift up the God’s church. But, what is in the space between the parts, the “ligaments” holding us all together? The Holy Spirit. We also delved into the differences between our Spiritual Gifts, and our skills and talents. The goal is using our God given skills and talents to glorify God. The community of believers edifies God by allowing God to work his works through us by way of his Spiritual Gifts. We are called to do our best to maximize our gifts in humility and in community.

The idea that God wants us to use our spiritual gifts for the betterment of our communities and that we are each a smaller part of the Church as a whole as illustrated in Romans chapter 12 and 1 Corinthians chapter 12 is really a matter of common sense.  However, our group faced some challenging questions this week.  What is the difference between a group of believers who are using their gifts to help others as opposed to a group of non-believers who are doing the same?  The Bible tells us that when we choose to follow Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells within us.  But, how can we tell?  What makes us different?  Finally, in the companion book to BELIEVE, Randy states, “You have been given a gift and God plans to use your gift to change the world.”  How are each of us “changing the world”?  This is a BIG statement, and the answers are not always easy.