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Sep 16, 2018

This is Us: Gifts

This is Us: Gifts

Passage: 1 Corinthians 12:4-13

Speaker: Pastor Chris Riedel

Series: This is Us

Category: Faith, kindness

Keywords: service, gifts

Every one of us has gifts and all gifts are important. When they are used together.....lives change.

In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” 

 

 

This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. — Acts 6:1-6 (NIV)

Devotional

It has been a little over three years since my family first visited Arcola.  Since then, I have heard a common ice breaker question that is mulled over in small groups.  It is: “How or what made you decided to make Arcola your home?”  Many times, I have heard people say that it was Pastor Chris’ preaching that made them stay.  But while the preaching was icing on the cake, on my first visit, I was convinced long before the sermon began that this place should be my family’s home.  

It started in the parking lot.  We visited the 11 o’clock service, so people were still streaming out the building from the 9:15 service.  I saw happy faces that greeted me warmly before I even got to the door. 

Once I was at the door, my entire family was welcomed and handed a bulletin.  We were guided to a table, where we received nametags.  I think that was the first and only time I ever had to state my name before my tag was prepared. 

The Narthex was a busy place.  There was coffee, treats and warm conversation taking place.  The service began with a greeting from the Worship Leader, a lay person, specifically it was Barbie.  There was music sung by a choir of volunteers.  

I felt very comfortable and was really warming up to the place.  But what got me hooked?  It was the Sharing of Joys and Concerns.  One by one people shared moments from the week past.  After sharing, their Joy or Concern was acknowledged and repeated, and prayers were offered.  It was conducted with such kindness and love that I knew this was the place. 

My wife had really talked the place up before I came.  She had heard good things.  I was more skeptical.  But after Joys and Concerns, I gave her a knowing look.  Yep, this is the place.  Not a word had been preached, yet.  But the Gospel was heard, loud and clear. 

None of these things I have described happened on accident.  What I observed were countless acts performed by members of the laity, to support this house of worship. 

That is what is described in the scripture reading.  A need was identified.  Loving people were identified.  They were commissioned and blessed.  And then they went out and did God’s work. 

This is how the Church came to be.  It may differ from community to community.  But in a healthy church, needs are identified.  People are identified.  And with the church’s blessing, they carry out countless tasks for the betterment of the community.  

Service is the act of becoming a follower of Christ.  We find our gifts and offer them up to God.  And in return, we are transformed into the embodiment of Christ on Earth, the Church.

Prayer:  

Father transform us into your glorious Church.  Help us to find our gifts.  Lay a burden on our hearts to help those in need.  Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on Earth, by the Church, reflecting our eternal home in Heaven.

Written by Ben Roberts. Ben leads one of the Men's Ministry groups. He lives in Ashburn with his wife Jennifer and their son Ethan.