This Sunday we conclude our short three-part series from the Revised Common Lectionary framed as #ThreeSteps in a Christian’s walk.
Over the course of this short series, we began with an assertion to step out into our identity as persons of faith, especially in light of the events of #Charlottesville. We continued with the understanding that we are called to step toward our siblings in faith and community as we seek to build the Kingdom of God. This week, we choose to step forth in the power of the Spirit’s gifts. To do so, we must prayerfully discern how we are gifted and how we are called to use those gifts.
1So, brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service. 2Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature.
3Because of the grace that God gave me, I can say to each one of you: don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. Instead, be reasonable since God has measured out a portion of faith to each one of you. 4We have many parts in one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function. 5In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other. 6We have different gifts that are consistent with God’s grace that has been given to us. If your gift is prophecy, you should prophesy in proportion to your faith. 7If your gift is service, devote yourself to serving. If your gift is teaching, devote yourself to teaching. 8If your gift is encouragement, devote yourself to encouraging. The one giving should do it with no strings attached. The leader should lead with passion. The one showing mercy should be cheerful.
Consider these questions:
- Do you think our Spiritual gifts stay the same throughout our faith journey, or do you think they change over time?
- What are your spiritual practices to help you discern (i.e. discover) how the Spirit is working in you and how you are spiritually gifted?
- Why do you think God gives us – and specifically you – spiritual gifts?
- How do you use the spiritual gifts that you have been given?
Post-Sermon update on 8/30
Audio from the sermon can be heard below, and video can be found by clicking this link (will open in a new tab).
On Sunday, we talked in depth about our goals and about the spiritual gifts that God gives us so that we can reach our goals. If you missed these goals, consider these below:
- Every local church needs to reach out to its surrounding neighborhood and bring 10 new people to Christ per year (10 new Baptisms, 10 new Professions of Faith, or some combination);
- every church to increase its average worship attendance by 10%;
- every church to make 25% of our current congregations into living Disciples;
- every church needs to give 100% of its apportionments.
It is critical that we understand that if we want to meet these goals, we are facing change. Indeed, if we welcome 10 new people to Christ and 10% more people in worship, that is change! And the accompanying truth is that if we do not embrace change that change will continue in the national membership decline in Protestant churches. So, which change will we choose?
Another important truth is this: if we want new things to happen, we must do new things. And if we are concerned by the idea of new things, we might find comfort in the scriptures that tell us that newness is of God. “Behold, I make all things new.”
- What do you think about the idea of long-term goals in a faith settings? Do you find this helpful? Troubling?
- What do you think about these particular goals? Are the achievable? Lofty?
- How does the concept of change affect you? Do you embrace change? Do you fear change?
- Do you agree with the statement that we must do new things if we want new things to happen?
- Are you willing to use your Spiritual Gifts to meet these goals, embrace change, join in new things?
- What are your next steps?