2008 05 18 Gifts of the Holy Spirit Mandy Hain Youtube Paul Potts Britain’s Got Talent Video: Paul Potts – a car phone salesman entered Britain’s Got Talent and impressed even the usually grumpy judge Simon Cowell with his phenomenal voice. Consider for a moment, what if he didn’t discover & use his God given singing gift? Today is the last sermon in our Holy Spirit series and we are focussing on gifts of the Holy Spirit. Gifts of the Holy Spirit, or spiritual gifts as some like to call them, is a huge topic and there is no way that we can deal with everything in 15 minutes. But as I prepared and pondered and thought some more, the central message for this sermon on the gifts of the Holy Spirit seemed clear - God wants you to know that HE has gifted you and he wants you to open the gifts he gives you and to explore them and find your fit so you can put them to good use. So how can we do that effectively? Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (Message version) #1 Know the gift giver – Know God: The first thing this reading tells us is that our gifts are from God, and the verses confirm that God is both generous and specific in his gift giving – • V4 & 7 Generous - they are handed out everywhere to everyone and to all kinds of people (no- one is excluded), but • V 7 & 11 Specific - Each person is given something, the gifts are handed out one by one by the Spirit of God and God decides who gets what and when. And if we think about it God is the ultimate gift giver – he gives all of us life and creates each of us to be YOU-nique, he shows you and I grace in the gift of his son Jesus who offers love and forgiveness through his death on the cross and gives us new life in relationship with God because of his resurrection. But God’s gift giving doesn’t end there – it continues as we live in relationship with Him… and because He loves us and wants us to have fullness of life (John 10:10) He seeks to enrich our lives and so he continues to give us gifts and provide opportunities for us to use the gifts in ministry & to give expression to his power. Now it may seem obvious but for us to use our gifts effectively we need to know the gift giver – we need to know God. It’s not enough that we know of the gift giver, we need to be in relationship with God and to love and trust and know him well that we celebrate his gifts and eagerly seek out what he wants us to do with them. And this means we need to deal with any issues we have with God because if our relationship with him isn’t in a good space then it may block us from embracing his gifts and opening them up. Let me explain what I mean with a personal example. When I thought about why I don’t always embrace & use the gifts God gives me I realized I have baggage from the past that distorts my picture of God and these issue make me distrust him on some levels. And I’ve realised that until I am honest with God and deal with my anger and trust issues I’ll remain hesitant to open the gifts he has given me and use them. Is he saying something similar to you - Is he asking you to do something to get your relationship back on track? Do you have any issues with God that need to be sorted out so you can know him as your generous, loving gift giver? The 1st point is that we need to know God personally if his gifts are to have real meaning in our lives and to be used effectively. # 2 You are gifted by God The second thing this reading tell us in verse 7 is that each person is given something by the Spirit and everyone gets in on it, no-one is excluded. It tells us that we, you and I, are gifted by God!! And this means we can’t have an I am useless attitude, no matter what others say or the results of our IQ test…because we are gifted by God. It also means we can’t say “I am gifted” and leave out the “by God” part because that makes it all about us and makes us loose focus on God and the purpose of the gifts he has given us. Gifted by God, think about it, a special and very specific gift from God with your name on it! And a special gift for me too! Join me in saying the words out loud “I am gifted by God” and let it resonate in you as you say the words… Do you believe it – that you are gifted by God?! What keeps you from believing it? What voices tell you it isn’t true? What will it take to deal with them so you can believe that you are gifted by God? So we’ve looked at knowing God and believing that we are gifted by God - two vital elements to embracing our gifts from the Holy Spirit. The last point we’ll look at today is the gifts he gives us. Let’s go back to our reading to see what it tells about the gifts from the Holy Spirit… # 3 What gift is this? Verse 7 The reading tells us that we need to do something with our gift. The gifts aren’t meant to be ornamental type of gifts – these are gifts to be used and lived! And God gives them to us with the expectation that we use them… He wants us to open them up and do something with them so we reveal who He is and benefit others, not just ourselves. And what you’ll notice is that God doesn’t limit them to church use only – he wants everyone to benefit and to know who he is. Verse 8-10 of the reading confirms that there is a great variety in the gifts, ministries & expressions of power that God gives and you will notice in the reading that none are highlighted as more important than others. This list is also not meant to be a complete list of all the gifts God gives but an example of the variety of gifts God gives. The bible is full of examples of other gifts God gives like craftsmanship, encouragement, music, etc. Verse 11 - God chooses our gifts deliberately and what and when he will give them to us. And that means we need to bear in mind is that God doesn’t give us gifts as a once-off, he gifts us throughout our lives and so our gifts may change for a specific time or purpose. Now this is where we often get stuck when it comes to effectively using our gifts - and if we aren’t careful we don’t open or use the gifts God gives us? What do I mean? • Have you ever received a gift but been so focused on someone else’s gift and what you haven’t been given that you haven’t appreciated your own? • Have you ever got a present and gone huh? Perhaps you didn’t know what it was or what it should be used for and so it never got used and got hidden in some drawer? The gifts God has given to you are specific – he has chosen them for you and they are meant to be used in the here and now but sometimes there is a process to opening the gift and finding your fit so you can use the gift God has given you. Perhaps a puzzle piece best describes gifts of the Spirit? #3b Find your fit – use your gift Consider the humble puzzle piece:- • It’s unique in it’s shape & pattern combination – just like you and I and the gifts we are given. • Puzzle piece connects with others…a missing puzzle piece, picture is incomplete. So a gift not used means we all loose out. • Sometimes it’s obvious where it fits in the greater puzzle, but often it needs to be seriously looked at from all angles to understand the colours and pattern of it before we can find it’s fit in the greater puzzle, and often we need to consider the detail of the greater puzzle to know where our piece will fit. Even then we sometimes need to try a few places before we find the spot it fits in, and sometimes we wonder why this puzzle piece is in our hands. The same is true with our gifts from God, often we need to contemplate and understand our gift and look at “the greater puzzle” of life so we can find our fit and use the gift we’ve been given. Think about Paul Potts, his unique pattern was an awesome singing voice but he wasn’t confident and so he tried to find his fit in life as a car phone saleman with an awesome singing voice. Now he probably added value as a salesman but if he’d stayed there his singing gift would have gone unused. So how can we find our fit and find out how to use our puzzle piece. Well there are a number of ways to do this:– attend the next finding your fit course, join a G.I.G where you can get into the Bible and be encouraged to develop & use your God given gifts, ask God for help, ask others to help clarify things for us, investigate and experiment. I did that with preaching – I joined the local preacher’s group and experimented and found my confirmation that preaching is not where God wants me at the moment, he wants me involved in encouraging others to have faith in him and to find their fit so they use the gifts he has given them. Lastly, when it comes to using our gifts we need to be a little brave and step out in faith holding God’s hand and trusting him - like Paul Potts when he entered the Britain’s got Talent competition. And it may mean we need to allow God to direct our lives and give up some control of it, we may need to put aside our fear of failure, our fear of what the future holds, ignore the pressures of the world and others expectations on us. Sometimes we, like Moses and Jonah need, need to wrestle with God about the gift we’ve been given and the doubts we have about our ability to use it. In closing, have you had some of these thoughts… • Is there more to life? • What is my purpose? • What am I here for? • I feel like a square peg in a round hole! • I feel so unfulfilled! God wants fullness of life for you – that’s why he gifts you and the gifts he gives you hold the answers to these questions & thoughts. As the worship team sings the last song, I’m going to pass around some gift bags – please take a puzzle piece from the gift bag and as you do know that you are gifted by God and he wants you to find your fit so you can use your gift. May this puzzle piece encourage you to unwrap your gift from God and put it to use.