An Apostle

Welcome back!

Last week we took the first step in this ministry mentoring journey by contemplating who we are in Christ.  I have this belief that people want to know who we are before they want to know what we believe.  Hopefully you have given last week’s assignment some thought.  Who are you?  Paul was Paul, not Saul.  His encounter with Jesus had made him a new man, a different man.  This world isn’t looking for more religion, it’s looking for real people and real relationships.  What change has Jesus made in your life?  Know it!  Share it!  Be clear, concise and speak about it with conviction.  If we possess a clear concise understanding of how we met Jesus and what that encounter has done in our lives we will be able to work that understanding into all sorts of conversations with people who are looking for the “real” thing.

An Apostle

Paul, introducing himself to Timothy in this letter says, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus our hope.”  An apostle, someone with delegated authority, a messenger with a mission.  God had called Him and commissioned him.  That might sound insignificant but it’s not.  Where there is agreement, there is authority. Paul was walking in agreement with God about His mission and ministry on this earth and because he was walking in agreement with God, he was working in the authority of God.  Paul was an apostle.  Now there were all sorts of apostles in the day but Paul was ministering in his gifting, mission and purpose in the kingdom of God.  That might sound appropriate for Paul but maybe not for you.  However, everyone of us has giftings and callings for this life and ministry that God has saved and called us to in this life.  Yeah, get ready to think about how God has gifted and called you.

First, let me say that I believe that there are at least three different types of gifting.  (1) Creational (motivational) Gifts.  (2) Charismatic gifts.  (3) Church gifts.  So, there are giftings and callings associated with serving and ministering in this kingdom of God.  You are going to be able to tap into a number of different assessments that will help you better understand those giftings but first let’s get a little understanding about these gifts.  Let’s start with what I call creational gifts.  Most people call these motivational gifts but I like creational because I believe that God created us with certain motivational gifts and I like that the idea of labels these gifts with a “C” word.  It’s part of my creational gifting.  When we come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and surrender our lives to His grace these gifts He created us with come to life. I believe that they were always there but just waiting to have the Spirit of God motivate them for God’s glory.  A lot of these gifts can be found in Romans 12 and in 1 Peter.  These creational gifts help determine how we interact with life and the people in it.  For instance, you might have the motivational gift of “mercy” and when you hear of someone’s troubles or pain, you feel with them.  You might have the motivational gift of administration and it’s just in you to organize and manage life and the activities in life.  It’s just you and it’s just the way you respond to life.  But when you came to Jesus those gifts became tools of the Holy Spirit.  God has made me this way to fulfill His life and calling for Him in this life time.

The next set of gifts are what I call “charismatic gifts” and these gifts are exercised in and through our lives as the Holy Spirit moves in and through us to do the ministry of Jesus on earth.  You can find a list of those giftings in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14.  These gifts operate in and through our lives as we allow the Holy Spirit to use our lives for His will and work.  We don’t always understand these gifts and just why and when they work in our lives but these gifts are revealed by the inspiration of God and He knows what these gifts are for and why we need them.  I like to think of the charismatic gifts as those gifts God gives us to do the ministry of Jesus on this planet during this lifetime.

The third set of gifts are what I call the “church” gifts.  These are gifts that God raises up in us and through us to build His church.  You’ll find a list of those gifts in Ephesians 4.  When Paul introduces himself as an apostle he is revealing this gifting that Holy Spirit had place on him and in him to work through him.

So, before I give you a link to assess some spiritual gifts assessments, let me tell you this.  Not all giftings can be discovered through manmade assessments.  I believe these giftings are given for the church to be the church and are best discovered with the church.  I think it’s important to understand how God has created us and called us if we are going to be satisfied in the work He has laid out for us.  So, let’s begin the journey.  Let’s discover our giftings together.  If you have signed up for this group you should receive an email from me for accessing this website.   Take the assessments and your results will be recorded for me to see as the administrator of our assessme.org site.  Have a go at it and enjoy the ride.

Keep up the good work

Pastor Mike

Paul, not Saul

Welcome to our ministry mentoring module.  Over the next weeks and months, we will be spending some time sharing and learning together online.  There may be times when I invite you to join me for dinner & discussion around the table but for the most part we will do our work together online.  Hopefully, each week I will have a blog or lesson for you to deal with and I will be asking for your response whether that be in the form of questions or comments.  I’m really hoping we can all access my blog space called “from the kitchen table” which is a wordpress blog.  You can find that blog at kitchentableonlline.com.

 

My hope is that we can learn from each other but maybe even more importantly we can minister in agreement with each other.  I believe that agreement breeds confidence in ministry.  However, this isn’t about forcing agreement.  True agreement can only happen where there is the freedom to disagree.  I like the whole journey.  Discovering, Discussing and Deliberating the ideas and issues involved make for a great time around the table.  I hope you will feel free to share your thoughts and take the risk of being right or wrong so that we can find out together what is right.

 

I was hoping to get this experience off the ground a few weeks ago but I couldn’t decide where to start.  I mean, you have a starting point and I’m not sure I know where you’re ready to start so I’ve picked the 1st letter to Timothy as our jumping off place.  I’m going to encourage you to memorize the 1st letter to Timothy.  It’s going to take us a while to get through this so don’t sweat it.  Let’s get started.

 

Paul begins his letter to Timothy with…

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.                                                                                                           1Timothy 1:1-2

 

Let’s begin with this one name, Paul.  This letter begins with Paul, not Saul.  Paul has a new name that came from his new relationship with Jesus.  We catch a little insight into this name change in Acts 13:4-12.

So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Act 13:4-12

 

When we meet Jesus, the experience is so real that it leads to a name change.  O, I’m still Mike but Mike doesn’t mean what it used to mean.  The Holy Spirit has made that change in my life.  He has changed my mind, my mouth, my motives and my motions.  Praise God.  I know that to be true.  Hey, I grew up in the church and He still had a lot of changing to do in me and, even though it’s not a done deal yet, there has been a change in me by Him, praise God!  So, let’s start there.  Who are you?  Who are you now that you know Jesus and how did that happen.  I believe that when we minister the gospel, we must, speak and move from who we are on the inside.  That’s what makes the ministry so real.  I’m not telling you about something I heard about.  I’m speaking from something and someone I know.  How did you come to meet and know Jesus and what has that experience done in your life?  This week, take a few moments to write out your testimony on a 3X5 card so that you can tell others clearly and concisely who you are after meeting Jesus and you can do that without boring or lulling the other person to sleep.

 

Here’s your first assignment.  Write out your testimony on a 3X5 card and cover these three areas.  (1) Who were you before you met Jesus.  (2) How did you meet Jesus & why?  (3) What difference has Jesus made in your life?

 

Like I said earlier, I grew up in the church.  If being religious was the metric for following Jesus, I had that down.  In fact, I was afraid not to be religious.  Meeting Jesus, personally, changed me and that happens to every follower of Jesus I’ve ever met.  When, where, why and how did you meet Jesus?

 

Have a great week

Mike