What a powerful prayer meeting we had Friday evening. Each fall Northwest Church holds an all-church prayer and fasting meeting, and this year our prayer leaders determined that Gods purpose for the meeting was to pray to release people to move forward in His calling on their lives. The theme was open doors and we actually set up two doorways to symbolize our obedience to walk through the doors God opens for us. Hundreds of people walked through those doors as a public statement of their faith and obedience. Some were asking God to show them the door He wanted them to enter, some were asking Him to open doors of resource, schedule changes, schooling, etc. so they can better serve in areas where they already know His call. And some were picking up again the yoke of past ministry that had been laid down for various reasons (feeling forgotten, abandoned or disqualified).
Then after the meeting several people asked me the same question and I heard myself give them the advice Im about to give you now. My assumption is that there must be many more here today who carry those same questions in their hearts. And since were in a season in which God is dramatically opening doors of ministry, Id like to share that same advice with the whole church. So, lets talk about discovering your gifts.
1) I dont want to make a false start
We must be willing to make mistakes. There is no flawless way to do this.
Its a process of discovery. Our gifts find us, we dont find them.
Some refuse to engage the process until theyre sure. Yet, I cant be sure until I engage the process.
2) For some reason God hasnt told me
This false assumption is based on the thought that I dont know because God has chosen not to tell me (Hes angry with me, or I dont matter much in His plans)
Actually, my lack of understanding is simply (assuming Ive prayed) a reflection of the fact that I have not had the opportunity for my gifts to reveal themselves.
Where do I start?
1) Find somewhere to help
Step into the process
All ministry involves the same dynamics (discouragement, weariness, fear, shame, demonic assault, envy)
Learn to work cooperatively with others; humble yourself and faithfully play your role
Let compassion guide you
Ignore the arguments from your mind
Ask God to confirm His will
2) Stay long enough to want to quit
Empty, tired, demonically opposed
Aware of my desperate need for God to show up
Feeling unappreciated, shocked at how broken some people are
3) Your gifting will show itself
But you might not recognize it because it comes so naturally
4) The Body of Christ will tell you where your gifting lies
Its intuitive to them:
- Brother/Sister I just want to tell you I really see Gods hand on you when
- When you were ministering in that way God really helped me
1) You must place yourself into the community of Gods people. They are the ones who will confirm your gifts, as well as recognize where they are not (they are less inclined to want to tell you this; you must ask directly and assure them you wont reject them for telling you the truth).
2) You will often not be pleased with your gifts.
We feel frightened, inadequate and overwhelmed, or
We tend to covet someone elses gifts and dismiss the value of our own (whats so special about my gifts, anybody can do what I do, its easy).
3) The key to fruitfulness is to recognize your gifts and then schedule regular time slots to use your gifts for God
and then grow in your dependence on God rather than quit when the going gets hard.
4) It is essential to develop heart-level friendships with other Christians who are genuinely interested in what youre doing
people who really will pray for you when you minister and encourage you when youre weary.
Thursday evening prayer meeting
Mens & womens groups
5) Develop a disciplined prayer life for the people to whom God has sent you. Prayer softens hearts, pushes back the demonic, sends protective angels, gives prophetic insight, removes fear and confusion, reminds me of important things Id forgotten to do.
6) Constantly repledge yourself to serving God for as long as your body and mind will hold up. Do this especially as you worship: repent of wrong attitudes, listen as God reaffirms His promises to you, listen as He reminds you of how much He values what you are doing especially if its not noticed or honored by others, and thank Him for the honor He has given you to serve Him by serving people.
Why wont He give us a map?
God doesnt show us whats ahead for two reasons:
1) Id see it and want it so badly Id jump ahead though I was not personally ready yet.
2) Id see it and refuse to take the first step because Id be afraid of whats ahead and feel inadequate.
Who would have thought:
Victor: who didnt like water or bugs would end up a full-time missionary in PNG.
Sondra: and the Food Pantry ministry would be feeding 150-160 families a week.
Thanksgiving baskets: 2 or 3 to 230.
God starts small
Mustard seed, Matthew 13:31, 32
Leaven, Matthew 13:33
Good seed, Matthew 13:38
Gods plan is to cast you as a seed into the world (Mt 13:24, 36-38):
To use you as He designed you (Ps 139:13-16)
To open doors for you (Col 4:3)
To teach you to depend on Him more and more (especially in prayer and worship)
To humble you and make you an integral part of the Body of Christ (Ro 12:3-8)
To produce much fruit through you, beyond what you could ask or think (Jn 15:5)
To reward you openly for your faithful service when He returns (Mt 16:27; Rev 22:12)
1) Name one of your gifts and tell us how you use that gift for God.
2) What personal struggles do you normally face when you use your gifts?
3) Is there a next step you need to take in ministry?
4) Who regularly prays for you?