Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bethany Bullet - September 28, 2010

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”
-Words from the Apostle Paul’s letter
to the Romans, the 12th chapter

May I be so bold as to expound on the list, if it is painting - let him paint, if it is singing - let them sing, if it is reading scripture aloud - let them do so with boldness, and if it is making coffee - let it be strong.

Today, I want us to spend some time with the concept of giftedness. Now I am not talking just about spiritual gifts, but they are a part of it. I am not just talking about being in the gifted class at school, because, in Christ we are all gifted. I want to start with the first few words of verse 6, “We have different gifts.”

The scripture reminds us that we have all been created with a unique SHAPE for service with the express purpose of building up the Body of Christ. For God has made a masterpiece out of all of us through His Son.

Our text in Romans chapter 12 is just one of the passages that describe gifts, talents, and abilities in scripture.

As the people of God were wondering in the desert, God continued to create them into His masterpiece. During this time, Yahweh directed the building of the tabernacle for worship. We find this passage in Exodus 35, “Then Moses said to the Israelites, ‘See, the LORD has chosen Bezalel…and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts-to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship. And he has given both him and Oholiab…the ability to teach others. He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work...”

Why didn’t God have Moses, Aaron, and the priests make the temple? Our text in Romans sheds some light for us, “We have different gifts.” Moses was given the gift of leadership, not craftsmanship. Aaron used his gifts in the area of worship not workmanship. “We have different gifts.”

Picking a major in school is a difficult task, but for many, finding an area of the body of Christ to major in is just as difficult. Many don’t have the tools needed to find out where they can make a difference and serve. Going “Back to School” means learning where we can put the words of our teacher and the message of our textbook to use.

Today going “Back to School” means finding your SHAPE. If you have been around Bethany for a while you have heard about it. It is a class called SHAPE. Your SHAPE describes how God has wired you for service in the body of Christ. Finding your SHAPE will help you pick your major.

When God planned the masterpiece He would make of your life, He decided to give you certain gifts, talents, abilities, and experiences that would enable you to effectively share His Good News and make your own unique contribution to His kingdom. In other words, to help you pick your major in the body of Christ. Finding your SHAPE is more than just figuring out what you are good at.

Your SHAPE consists of:

  • Spiritual Gifts — A set of special abilities that God has given you to share His love and serve others.
  • Heart — The special passions God has given you so that you can glorify Him on earth.
  • Abilities — The set of talents that God gave you when you were born, which He also wants you to use to make an impact for Him.
  • Personality — The special way God wired you to navigate life and fulfill your unique Kingdom Purpose.
  • Experiences — Those parts of your past, both positive and painful, which God intends to use in great ways.

What God made you to be, determines what He intends for you to do.

Your ministry is determined by your makeup. We have all been divinely designed for a specific purpose within the body of Christ. Knowing your SHAPE can help you know your place.

If you don’t understand your unique SHAPE, you end up doing things God never intended or designed you to do. When your gifts don’t meet the role you play in life, you feel like a square peg in a round hole. This is frustrating, both to you and to others. Not only does it produce limited results, it is also an enormous waste of your talents, time, and energy.

Because of sin, our SHAPE has become disfigured. We find ourselves majoring in sin, strife, and selfishness. We cease to seek and save the lost. Even those in the church can find themselves separated from service because we cease to act. We may know what we need to do, we may even try to encourage others to act, but we find ourselves frozen by fear.

From the ESV translation of our text, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace give to us, let us use them”. That is the key; we can take a page from our Teacher and use the gifts that have been given to us.

Jesus knew His SHAPE. His hand was in creation, yet He humbled Himself and took on the shape of humanity. He followed the will of His father and became our Teacher. He became the Word made flesh. He made His dwelling with us in order that we might be with Him forever. He took the shape of a servant and majored in obedience to the Father as He took our place on the cross. It is because of His SHAPE that we have been saved.

God has called you to use your gifts. He has SHAPED you for service. He has combined the colors on the canvas that is your life and has made you into a masterpiece. He has given you forgiveness, reconciliation, and new life in Christ.

Paul begins chapter 12 with these words, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”

If we offer our bodies as living sacrifices without knowing our SHAPE, we will find ourselves burnt out, frustrated, disenfranchised, and doing things we were never really created to do. This is neither holy nor pleasing to God.

But as we keep the mercies of God in view, as we keep our eyes on our Teacher and our noses in our Text, we are released for service. Our SHAPE directs our major, our Savior guides our life. While we have different gifts, lets us not lose sight that we are all gifted and we all can benefit from the gifts of others.

So if you are looking to find your SHAPE, I have some homework for you. Starting today you can take the SHAPE class online though our website, www.bethanylutheran.org. On the home page is a link for the online SHAPE Academy, there you will find videos and handouts that will help you find your SHAPE and help you pick a major in the body of Christ. It is a go at your pace program and when you are finished I would love to sit down with you and help you pick a major. Not all of the lessons have been uploaded but they should all be there in a week or so. I look forward to helping you learn your SHAPE, find your place, and come to see the masterpiece that God has made in you, through Christ.

-Pastor Seth Moorman


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