I have a nephew, when he was born my Dad decided he was too young to be a ‘granddad’ so somehow the name ‘Poppa D’ appeared. And it has stuck! So Kohl (who is 2yrs & gorgeous) calls him Poppa. Kohl loves our family but when Poppa walks in the room it is something different! Another level of AWE and expectation and adoration. Nothing else matters, the TV, toys, songs,food even drops out of his hands-because POPPA has walked in the room!
I saw this again on Saturday before speaking at my church on Sunday and really feel it is a picture of what we ought to be like with God. To know that when he walks in the room all else falls to nothing because our Heavenly Father has entered the space. Fear, worry, burdens, confusion..even our needs can be dropped-because in has walked the Answer to it all.
It is with this in mind that I started in prayer on Sunday. This blog post is what I spoke on, as I was asked to record it but there were issues with the recording. Ephesians 4.1-16 is the passage asked to speak on. My first draft preach, which encompassed it all, would have kept us there till Christmas so this is the highlights of what I pulled out from those verses, I would encourage you to read it for yourself and see what you would pull out.
‘I am Gifted’ was the title given and that is because the verse Eph4.11
‘So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service’
So we looked through each one;
Apostle; Goes for God. Start new things and excited about new opportunities. (Church planters, new groups, new ways of doing things)
Prophet; Hear from God. This doesn’t have to mean in a “booming voice” way. It might be that you call someone because you just feel you should and they tell you they couldn’t have asked for better timing. Or you see something in creation and you know God is speaking to you through it. Or you have pictures/words/dreams etc. With all of these gifts it can start and we see the seeds of it but they all have potential to Grow and Learn in them.
Evangelist; Speak for God. You just LOVE to speak about him! It doesn’t have to be that you’re on a stage but you love it when a conversation leads to sharing about Him or telling your testimony to glorify what He has done in your life.
Pastor; Love for God. You care about people, you are a listener, you see/feel more than other people sometimes. You see when a mum is at the back of church needing a seat and you care about her and are frustrated that nobody is getting her a chair-but you see it because You can do something. We have these gifts to do something with them!
Teacher; Instruct for God. You learn something in bible and you don’t just think it is good for yourself but you would love to share it with someone else.
-Which of these gifts would you say are highest up on your scale? Which would you like to ask God for more of, to grow in?-
Why were these gifts given?
12 He did this to prepare all God’s people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ…15 by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head. 16 Under his control all the different parts of the body fit together, and the whole body is held together by every joint with which it is provided. So when each separate part works as it should, the whole body grows and builds itself up through love.
We are to work together for the purpose of building up each other, the Church. We can only have these gifts and use them by the Grace of God.
When I started in prisons full time, responsible for women’s work in prison 4yrs ago I was 19yrs and felt I had tricked everyone into thinking I could do this job! Sunday night before starting on the Monday morning I was honest with God in church. I just told Him I couldn’t do it, I had nothing to offer! I felt a weight on my head, then shoulders-I knelt down but the weight was still heavy so I ended up laying face-down on the floor. God said so clearly “This is the position you are to be in this role, you lie down so that I can stand”
From that day I have had to continually remember that and come back to it! When I start to think I am doing well and I know what I am doing, a new girl will come in. A massive skin-head girl covered in tattoos, I have planned a session all about Love and have crafty bits and go into meltdown because she will never relate! I go in the loo and as God, again- I lie down so you can stand, please stand God and just use me however you want, I have nothing! Then the power of God and love of Him carries us through and I have the pleasure of seeing this very hard women breakdown in tears experiencing the love of God.
We need to be willing to lay down ourselves, offer our gifts, and recognise it is all from him. Each part is connected and everyone doing their part will build up the church, but nothing works without a Head!
Jesus is the head of our church. Not a man, not a organisation, not even a leadership team-Jesus. We need a fresh revelation of Him, to know Him and what He has done for us in order for our body to function to its full potential. All done through knowing we are loved and out of that place all else can flow.
(Therefore I explained examples of revelations of Jesus I had had fresh, but this post is long already)
I felt for Sunday and therefore for you reading this that the resounding message God wanted to say and almost wash over our Church was
“Remind them of who I Am, and that I care”
Simple but so needed to hear! At this point in the service Becky played worship and I read over the group some scriptures. Encouraging everyone to take time to ask God for fresh revelation of who He is.
We need to be refreshed in Him again and know that He cares. We believe that He is with us by his grace; He is for us not against us; He is our comfort in times of need, our strength when we are weak, our saviour, healer, joy, peace… That is why we worship.
So maybe click on this worship track https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvLxZEU02uI(or find your own) as you read through the verses I read out on Sunday. Offer yourself, your gifts, your everything. Like I said at the start-invite Him into the room so everything else can become nothing to the AWE that is Here.
Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— Eph 2
Now that we have been made right with God by putting our trust in Him, we have peace with Him. It is because of what our Lord Jesus Christ did for us. By putting our trust in God, He has given us His loving-favour and has received us. We are happy for the hope we have of sharing the shining-greatness of God. We are glad for our troubles also. We know that troubles help us learn not to give up. When we have learned not to give up, it shows we have stood the test. When we have stood the test, it gives us hope. Hope never makes us ashamed because the love of God has come into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5