For the introduction this week, Pastor Joel had us brainstorm answers to the questions “What does it feel like to love someone?” and “what does it feel like to be loved?”. After a myriad of both thought provoking and strange answers, he posed the question that he was leading to which was:
“What is it like to have a relationship with someone you can’t see or touch? And how do we feel when we are in a relationship with the Holy Spirit.
Before diving into discourse, Pastor Joel did a quick recap of last week reminding us of the beauty of the trinity and the role of the Holy Spirit (see post on week one!). He suggested that a question like, “How are spiritual gifts active in my church?” can be boomeranged back with the question “How Christ centered is your church?” and gave some clarifying imagery on the Holy Spirit’s role in the Testaments. He quoted 2 Corinthians 3:6-11 to support the notion that the Holy Spirit’s role never changed, simply grew. He was a candle in complete darkness in the Old Testament shining its light on the glory of God, and in the New Testament He is still shinning his light on the glory of God (manifested in the person of Jesus Christ) but now instead of a candle He is more like some sort of giant, mega concert light!
Okay, now moving on! First we looked at five New Testament passages that contain a list of Spiritual Gifts:
- 1 Corinthians 12:8-11
- 1 Corinthians 12:28
- Romans 12:6-8
- Ephesians 4:11
- 1 Peter 4:11
If you look these up your notice that each of the lists are VERY different. No two are the same, though of course there are similarities in each of them. Some were miraculous, some were non-miraculous, some were people, and some were broad categories.
PJ points out these differences, and the fact that spiritual gifts are NOT mentioned in every book (Philippians and Galatians for example) to support the idea that spiritual gifts are not of utmost importance.
Then we went through FIVE FACTS ABOUT SPIRITUAL GIFTS-this is what the relationship is based on…
- Spiritual gifts are divine enablement for service
- 1 Cor. 12:11- Holy Spirit
- 1 Cor. 12:18-God the Father
- Eph. 4- Jesus Christ
- Everyone has a spiritual gift, no one has them all
- 1 Cor. 12:29-31- This is a rebuttal to any Pentecostals who say that everyone must speak in tongues to be a Christian. Clearly no.
- We have many unanswered questions about the spiritual gifts
- If you read a passage in Scripture and have 25 unaddressed and unanswered questions, you are probably missing the point of the passage.
- Lack of information reflects a lack of centrality
- Focus on welcoming and appreciating people with different gifts
- Spiritual gifts are for the joy of others!
- Not for SELF-FULFILLMENT! Not about your “uniqueness” or about how we fulfill ourselves by serving…it’s about LOVE!
- There is no command that says, “Thou shalt find thy spiritual gift and once thou knowest thy gift thou can serve!” Love > Knowing your spiritual gift. (though of course it is helpful to know and recognize; we took a spiritual gifts test that night!)
We closed the night by watching “Let it Go” from Disney’s current big hit, Frozen. (I haven’t seen it yet…don’t judge!) Pastor Joel pointed out how Elsa had a gift. When she hid it and didn’t use it at all, it was a waste, and when she used it too much, with no regard for anyone else, it also was a painful waste. She was isolated at both ends (Wonderful puns were made about the word “ice-olation”). BUT when she was able to infuse her gift with selfless love, THAT is when the true beauty, purpose, and delight in her gifts were able to shine. In that same manner, if we hide our spiritual gifts, or if we pridefully “let our gifts go” without regard to anyone else, we are not using them the way God intended them to be used. Exercise your gifts with encouragement, gratitude, and selfless love!