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Craig Smith - How God Shows Up


Craig Smith - How God Shows Up
TOPICS: Equipted

Well, welcome to all of our locations. So glad you’re with us for week number two of our Equipted series. If you’re just joining us, you can always catch up on the messages online. But I’ll give you a quick little snapshot. Here’s what we know so far. Number one, we know that God has created and redeemed us for mission, so God created us for mission, he made us in his image and called us to partner with him and to extend his influence all to creation. We rebelled against that, kind of did our own agenda thing. But Jesus came and redeemed us not just from our sin, he didn’t just forgive us for our sin, he didn’t just invite us to be adopted into the family of God by faith, but he actually redeemed us for our mission and so he said to his earliest followers here’s what he didn’t say, he didn’t say, “Hey, come follow me. I booked some rooms at the Marriott. We’re gonna hang out, we’ll have a good time.” He said, “Now, come follow me, I’ll make you fishers of men.” In other words, you’re gonna go on mission with me, you’re gonna be part of extending God’s influence in the world.

So God created and redeemed us for mission, okay? So we know that. Second thing we know is that God has provided. Where God guides, he provides, right? If he’s gonna guide us to mission, he’s gonna provide what we need to be on mission with him. God’s never going to send us on a mission that we’re not geared up for. He’s never gonna call us to do something that he has not given us what we need in him to be able to accomplish. And so where God guides God provides and what we know too from last week is that God has provided in three different ways. He’s provided natural, learned, and spiritual gifts. Natural gifts are abilities that we have from the moment that he knit us together in our mother’s womb. So we know we’re born and we’re hardwired to be able to do some kinds of things. Some things we can do now we have learned abilities, which they developed over time with their experience and then we have spiritual gifts.

Spiritual gifts are things that we suddenly are able to do because the Holy Spirit is in us. Now, that’s only true believers. If you’re not a follower of Jesus, you also have natural gifts. You also have learned gifts, and God has given you those because he has a mission that he’s calling you to. But if you’re not a follower of Jesus, you don’t have a spiritual gift. That’s true, only a follower of Jesus…because the spiritual gifts are ability we have because the Holy Spirit is in us. And so the moment we say yes to Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes into us and begins to work through us. And one of the things that spirit does is gives us these things we call spiritual gifts. Now, how many of you have heard about spiritual gifts? Okay, almost everybody. How many of you would say with confidence I know exactly what my spiritual gift is? Not nearly so many hands, which is not surprising.

I think that there’s a lot of ignorance about spiritual gifts. And I know that’s a harsh sounding word, but that’s what Paul said. He said it back in 1 Corinthians 12. When we looked at last week, he said about spiritual gifts. I don’t want you to be ignorant, because when we’re ignorant, spiritual gifts, it either causes us to ignore our spiritual gifts or it ignites conflict within the church. And so what Paul wants to do is he wants to erase our ignorance. And so that’s what we’re gonna do today. I want you to go and grab your Bible, start making your way to 1 Corinthians 12. We’re gonna be picking up in verse 4. I think there’s a lot of ignorance about spiritual gifts in the church. I think there’s a lot of churches that are ignorant in ways that cause them to overemphasize particular gifts. I think there are a lot of churches that are talking about spiritual gifts in a way that causes them to not pay any attention to spiritual gifts. And because of that, and really on both sides of the aisle there we have our churches that are not able to be on mission with Jesus in the way that they’re called to be.

And so we’re going to raise some ignorance today. Paul begins in chapter 12:4 and says this, he says, “Now, there are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working or different kinds of ministries, we could translate it as, but in all of them and then everyone it is the same God at work.” Now, I want you to notice it is emphasis there is yes, there different kinds of gifts, but they all come from the same source, right? He says different gifts, one Giver. That’s his big emphasis there. And that’s foundational. It’s important that we realize that no matter what the gifts are, and there’s a lot of different kinds of gifts, we’re gonna talk about several varieties today. But all the gifts come from one source. So different gifts, one Giver. This is so, so important. It’s foundational. And what he’s really telling us is this, that the Giver is more important than the gift, okay? The Giver is more important than the gift and when we forget that, what happens is we can easily get fixated on particular gifts or just the gifts in general and forget about the Giver. And that’s kind of what was happening in the church in Corinth.

They were focused on, they were fixated on, they’re obsessed with the gifts and the Giver was somehow being pushed behind the scenes. And Paul says, when that happens, we’re gonna have problems. And so he says, “You gotta remember, the Giver is more important than the gift, so here’s what we need to do. We need to focus on the Giver, not the gifts. Focus on the Giver, not the gifts. That’s what Paul’s trying to get us to do. That’s foundational. And then on top of that foundation, he builds this truth, verse 7. Now, to each one, the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. And if you have the ability to highlight that in the Bible, or if you’re using the digital version, you can somehow mark that. I actually, I know this is going to sound sacrilegious on some level, but you might even do this with your page. You might even like bend the page. I know you’re not supposed to do that to a Bible, but that’s how important that verse is.

So each one is given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. What Paul’s doing there is Paul is giving us hands down, there’s not even a close second, hands down the clearest definition of what a spiritual gift is. He says it’s a manifestation of the Spirit. It’s not just an ability that we have, it’s an ability and when we practice that ability, the spirit manifests. Now, manifestation that’s a that’s a big word, right? That’s five syllables. Like that’s a big word. So let me break it down. I gave you some other other ways to translate it, to get a handle on it. He says, not each one is given we could say it this way. Now, each one is given a revelation of the Spirit, okay? That’s another way you can translate it. We can also say not each one is given a demonstration of the Spirit, we could say each one is given an announcement of the Spirit. Here’s my favorite way to translate it. If I was in charge of translation, here’s what I would have said, that each one is given a showing up of the Holy Spirit because the word that Paul’s using is a word that basically means to make clear to others.

When I was in Peru a couple weeks ago, we were at the base of Machu Picchu, we’re in a little town down there. And we were at a hotel, we were there kind of late, and we were waiting to get all checked in. Took a while we were big group. And one of the members of our group kind of was wandering and she came back and said to Coletta and I, “Hey, I found something really cool. Do you wanna see it?” And we’re like, “Well, yeah, of course we do, right?” So she took us to the back of the hotel, which kind of got into the jungle, and there were these really old steps there like Inca kind of steps. And they like headed up the mountain into the jungle. She’s like, “Do you wanna see where they go?” And I’ll be honest, my first reaction was no, it’s a jungle. Like there’s jaguars, and like almost every Indiana Jones movie begins with something horrible happening when you walk steps like these into that…but Coletta was always game and even though she just had surgery on your foot, she’s like, “Okay, let’s do it.”

And so they start one of these steps and very quickly we’re in the dark and we can’t even see what the steps are. And so me being the problem fixer, I was like, I pulled out my cell phone, I turned on the flashlight app and I was like, this is not a good idea. But okay, come on. And what I was doing is I was highlighting each one of the steps so they would know where to take it and that’s kind of what Paul’s talking about here. He says, to each one is given away the Spirit shows up, to each one is given away that we as believers have a way of saying, there’s the Spirit. Here’s God, he’s at work, and here’s what he’s doing. It’s illuminating, it’s revealing, it’s showing people that the Holy Spirit is in the work in our midst.

By the way, I know a bunch of are going like, where did the stairs go? Yeah, no idea. We stopped. Because even the adventurous woman that were like totally wired up for this pretty soon they’re like, “It’s really dark. We should go back.” And so we went back. I have no idea where they went. Probably nowhere good honestly though. This is what Paul’s saying. He says, “Each one is given a showing up of the Spirit and the ability we have, it’s not just something we can do, but something that when we do it, the Holy Spirit kind of comes in sort of rides the wave of that ability and does things that only he can do. So it’s not just something we can do, it’s a way the Holy Spirit shows up through us. Does that make sense?

Now, that’s pretty cool, right? He says, “To each one to every follower of Jesus, if you put your faith in Jesus, then you have a spiritual gift.” And here’s what he says a spiritual gift is. Let’s put it in everyday English language. A spiritual gift is the main way that the Holy Spirit shows up through each believer. That’s what a spiritual gift is. It’s the main way the Holy Spirit shows up through each believer. Now, we might have more than one spiritual gift. There might be different ways the Holy Spirit shows up in each of us as individuals, but there’s always at least one main way and this doesn’t mean that every time you do that thing the Holy Spirit shows up in the same way or to the same degree, but there’s a main way that the Holy Spirit shows up through each and every one of us let’s put our faith in Jesus. That’s really exciting news, right?

So now the question is, what’s that way? We need to know it, right? We need to know what it is because listen, you might be sitting here going well, I know that person has a spiritual gift. Craig, I know you have a spiritual gift. I’ve known these people have spiritual gifts, but he really, really told me that I have a spiritual gift, that I have a way that the Holy Spirit says here I am. Yes, it’s exactly what I’m saying. Listen to me, this is so, so important. If you’re a believer, if you are a believer, God has a main way that he wants to show up through you. So important you understand this. If you’ve said yes to Jesus, if you put your faith in Jesus, God has a main way that he wants to show up through you. And our job as a Church, partly, our job as the body of Christ is to help you discover that gift and then to deploy on mission with that gift.

How do we do that? I’ll say how we don’t do it. I’m gonna step on some toes here. We don’t do it through spiritual gifts surveys. There’s like personality test. I don’t know if you’ve ever encountered these, but there’s like, you know, you got the Myers Briggs and StrengthsFinder. Well, the Christians have a version of that, too. We’re always like, follow like, me too, me too. I’ll build one too. And we built spiritual gifts surveys. I don’t like spiritual gift surveys. And I’ll tell you why. Part of the reason I don’t like spiritual gifts surveys is because you know how to game the system. When you read the question, like I know exactly what spiritual gift they’re talking about. And I really liked that spiritual gifts. So I may answer yes to that question. And then a whole bunch of people, like I have the gift of teaching, I have the gift of this or this or this, whatever it is, we go, that’s the gift that I want. But that’s not necessarily the best way to figure out what your spiritual gift is. The other reason I’m not a big fan of surveys is because I think they take such an important element out of the process of discovering your spiritual gifts. They take the people of God out of the process.

And here’s the thing, sometimes, in fact, I want to say most of the time, the way that God shows up isn’t necessarily discernible to the person that God is showing up through. It’s the other people who are in impacted by it, it’s the other people who are affected by what God does that most clearly see that God is working in someone. I’ll give you example my own life. When I was in college I really thought where God was leading me was music ministry, I was a decent musician. I thought God was using me, He had used me in some ways. And so I thought, that’s my spiritual gift. That’s where I’m headed to. So I was involved with a campus ministry called Campus Crusade for Christ, which they now call it CRU, which I think was a very good decision. Like whoever decided let’s put the word crusade into a Christian organization, because people only have positive associations with the word crusade, right? How could that possibly go wrong? Yep, Campus Crusade for Christ. Nobody’s going to think badly. They finally was like, maybe not the best idea that we renamed CRU. But I was involved with this ministry when I was in college, and I was a worship leader for them, and I was a Bible study leader for them.

And at a certain point, the guy was disciplining me, helping me become like Jesus and join him on mission. He came to me one afternoon, he said, “Hey, I need you to go to one of our expansion campuses next week, and I need you to do the talk.” Now, what we had was we had staff on our campus as a Kent State University, a big university, we had to have a full time staff, but they had expansion campuses that didn’t have full time staff, but they would go like on Wednesday nights and the staff would volunteer at one of those campus and they do a program basically a church service. And he said, none of us can do it. I need you to go give the talk. And I was like, “I don’t do that. That’s not what I do. I play guitar and I sing songs.” He’s like, “Well, you can do that too. But I need you to give a message.” I was like, “Okay.” I don’t even know why I said yes. But I said yes.

So I went and I did what I did. I played music, we led some worship. I thought that went really well. At a certain point I put the guitar down and I stood up, I was like, okay, and I didn’t know how to give a talk. I didn’t know how to teach. I wasn’t a Bible college student. I was actually an audio engineering major. Nobody ever taught me how to develop a talk. Certainly no one ever taught me how to deliver a talk. So what I basically did was I just told a crazy story of something that happened while I’d been on tour with a band in Europe that summer. I told this crazy story about what happened. And then I was like, you know, and that kind of reminds me of this verse from the Bible. I don’t even remember which verse it was, I don’t even know if it was a good connection. But I was like that reminds me of this verse. I was all backwards is my story and then God’s Word all kinds of broken. And I was like but, you know, here’s what it reminds me of. And here’s a couple of thoughts that I have around sort of putting that into practice. And I was like, okay, I’m done. My guitar will sing other song. Okay.

And when it’s over, an interesting thing happened. Several people came up to me, not the whole crowd, but several people came up to me and they gave me some encouraging words. And I remember the words because they were all kind of the same sort of words. And nobody came up to me and said, that was awesome. Didn’t happen. And they’re right. It was not an awesome talk. Nobody came up said you’re an awesome speaker. That didn’t happen. But what almost every one of them said was that really impacted me. I was like, “Really?” He said, “Yeah, that really spoke to me.” And several even said, you know, when you said this or that, it’s like a light bulb went on. And I felt like God was saying, this is the area that in my life I need to deal with, and your insights actually helped me figure out like, what do I do with that? I was like, Huh, okay.

I went back to my dorm that night and I prayed. Hey, God, thanks for showing up. Appreciate it. I’ll get back to music now. I graduated college, Coletta and I took a job as…I was a youth pastor for a small church. It was a temporary gig, we were in the process of raising money to go on staff with CRU with a band. But I took this youth ministry job for about a year was the plan and I found myself having to do a whole lot of teaching. And I kept having similar responses from people. People would say, that really impacted me. A light bulb went on. God spoke to me through that, including part of my job was a youth pastor. I don’t know why it was my job, but part of my job as a youth pastor was to do what they called the kids sermon, the children’s sermon, anybody know children’s sermons? If you’re not familiar, in some churches, what happens is they want as many people as possible in the service during the worship, so they let the kids stay in there, that whole service up to that point, and then they want to get the kids out of there before the message starts. But they want to be spiritual about it. So they have them all come up front for this little thing called the children’s sermon and somebody gives a little to three minute message that was my job as the youth pastor.

And so I would do weird stuff. I’d get up there like a tube of toothpaste and I’d squish it all out and I’d share a proverb about the power of words because like words like that, once it goes out, you can’t get it back in. You gotta be careful about words, blah, blah, blah and just silly little things. But almost every week, people would come up to me after the service, mostly adults, who would look around for the pastor. He can’t hear me now. And they would say, “That really impacted me.” There was a light bulb that went on like God spoke to me and I was like, “What? Okay.” And every time I’d go home, and I go, God, thanks for showing up. And I’m a little slow on the uptake sometimes. Nobody ever came up to me after a song and said God showed up. People would come and say, “That was a great song. You’re a gifted worship leader. Ah, that’s really good I enjoyed that.” But when I taught, people would come up to me and say, “God seem to show up.”

It took me a while to get a handle on that. I was saying, God, thanks for showing up before I just finally sense that Jesus was going…I was like, oh, that’s my spiritual gift, that’s the main way that God shows up through me. It doesn’t mean I don’t have other abilities and it doesn’t mean every time I teach God shows up in exactly the same way, but that seems to be the main way that God shows up to me. It took me a while to figure that out. Spiritual gifts survey would never reveal that because I didn’t even like teaching. And I hadn’t done enough of it for me to be able to talk about whether or not I was effective. The people of God helped me to see that. I don’t like systems of discovering spiritual gifts that take the people of God out because the reality is often like I’ll finish a message, this still happens, I’ll finish a message and I’ll go, “That was not good. Man, that was the worst message.” This happened to me this weekend. You guys get the second round, actually you’re the third round. The first time I delivered this one, I sat up here afterwards like that was man, uh. And then I went out and several people went, “Boy, that was really impactful. That was super impactful. God showed me this.” And I’m like, “Okay, thanks, Jesus.”

It’s not necessarily an ability that we can sense, it’s a question of what the people of God, the Holy Spirit showed up, God showed up. And see our job as a Church is to make sure that you understand this is so, so important that every one of us who said yes, every follower of Jesus has a main way that God wants to show up to us. And so the question is, how do we go about discovering and developing? It’s so important that we do because here’s the thing, when we work together, when we discover our gifts, and when we live out those gifts, when we deploy in those gifts, what happens is we advance the cause of Christ, we advance the mission of God so much more powerfully than we could ever do on our own. But then I have a picture, we have a picture. That thing, can we get that picture up here? The lighthouse? Yeah, it’s a lighthouse, right?

Now, let me ask you this question, which is more important the light or the house? The natural response is the light and that’s true, right? Because I mean, the house itself by itself is not gonna protect any boat from, you know, wrecking on the shores of the reef or whatever it is, right? The light is the most important thing, but without the house, the light can’t do its job. The lights are gonna lay down on the ground and it’s not gonna shine in the darkness, and it’s not gonna make its difference, bigger difference as it’s supposed to do. What happens is that we’re like the bricks that make up the lighthouse. And when we’re operating in our gifts, with our natural gifts, and our learned gifts, as well as our spiritual gifts, we’re putting them all in Jesus hands. And when we’re living in those on mission, what happens is all of us individually come together as the bricks and we build the house up and we lift up the Gospel, we lift up the Good News of Jesus for all the world to see.

And when we don’t do that the light stays lower down. And it doesn’t accomplish the purposes of God in the same way that it’s supposed to. And so we’ve gotta come together, we gotta build ourselves up so that we’re holding the light of the Gospel up high. And so Paul says, to each one is given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. I’m actually not a huge fan of that translation. But it’s the last part, the common good, that I’m not crazy about because the word that Paul uses really talks more about a common purpose or common mission. He says each one is given a showing up of the Spirit for the common mission. In other words, we’re accomplishing what God has called us together to do to hold the light of the Gospel up high for the world to see. It says we need to know what our spiritual gifts are. And so he goes on and he gives a list of some spiritual gifts so that we know what he’s talking about.

Now, I want to tell you two things about this list before we unpack it. Number one, once you understand that this is not an exhaustive list of all the spiritual gifts, okay? This list does not give all the possibilities, you don’t need to go which one of those do I have? This is not an exhaustive list. There’s several other places in Scripture where there’s other lists of spiritual gifts and some of those lists have items that are not on this list. And some of the items on this list don’t show up in those other lists, okay? I don’t think those lists are exhaustive. And I also don’t think that if you put all the lists together, we have an exhaustive list, because the point isn’t to say, here’s all the different ways that the Holy Spirit might show up, figure out which one of these is and push yourself into that. No, no, his point is simply to illustrate that there’s a vast variety of ways that the Holy Spirit shows up. God is infinitely creative. There’s lots of different ways that he might show up through you. But he kind of illustrates with a list, here’s some examples.

Secondly, I want you understand what the list of all gives us here is this is it. The Bible doesn’t define these lists. It doesn’t define these particular items. It doesn’t tell you this is what this gift means, here’s how you understand and the reason for that is the focus is supposed to be on the what? On the Giver. So, so important. There’s some things in this list that are immediately obvious. We know exactly when we saw them. He talks about the gift of healing. Listen, if you pray for somebody to be healed, and they’re immediately healed, okay, that’s the gift of healing. We get that, there’s no question about that. But he mentioned some other things that are not so clear. He talks about message of wisdom, or word of wisdom, or word of knowledge, and there’s nowhere in the Bible that explains exactly what that means. Now, I’m gonna be honest with you that has not kept preachers and Bible study leaders from inserting their guesses. Sometimes they’re honest about it, here’s what I think. Other times they come across real definitive like this is what it is like, oh, I didn’t know that. Yeah, because we don’t know that.

They’re just guesses the Bible doesn’t define it. I’m not gonna put words in God’s mouth. I’m not gonna try to find these. Because again, I think what Paul’s saying is not, here, you need to understand exactly what each gift here means. You need to understand that it’s all about the Giver That’s where the focus is. Listen, he says this, to one is given through the Spirit, a message or a word of wisdom. To another word or a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit. To another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit and he distributes them to each one just like he determined. You see the rhythm of it?

Over, and over, and over again, it’s about the Giver, not the gift. Now, part of the reason that he’s doing this is because this was the problem in the Church at Corinth, they were fixated, not on the Giver, they’re fixated on the gifts, and particularly on a very small subset of the gifts that we might call the charismatic gifts are sometimes called the sign gifts. Every list, every item that’s on this list that Paul mentions here is part of the sign gifts. These are the kind of in your face really obvious, showings up of the Holy Spirit. And these are the ones that the Church in Corinth was obsessed with. And so he chooses his list of examples from this particular list is not an exhaustive list. And again, he doesn’t define them because that’s not the point. His point is to go hey, it’s about the Giver.

In other words, what makes the gift significant isn’t how spectacular it is, or how obvious it is and always, what makes a gift significant is the source. Listen, source determines significance. That’s what Paul’s saying. Who it came from is so much more important than the particular gift. Source determines significance. I’ll share something with you. I’m gonna be super vulnerable right now. Here’s the vulnerability. This is not like you’re like oh, he brought one of his kids toys. No, this is mine. This is Blinky Bill. I searched on eBay, he’s worth like 10 bucks. But I’ve kept him since I was like two years old. He hangs out in my music studio at home. He’s special to me. He’s significant to me. It’s not because of his monetary value. It’s because of where it came from. It came from my dad. When I was about two, three years old, my dad went on a trip to Australia, he came back with Blinky Bill.

Blinky Bill’s significant to me not because, you know, like I don’t think this is koala fur I think its probably fake fur. He’s lost both eyes at this point. He’s missing…he’s not all that valuable from the worldly perspective, but he’s significant to me because of who he came from. He came from my dad. So the source determines significance. Or if that’s a little touchy feely for you, let’s try this. Can I have that picture up here. This is a sketch. It’s not a polished painting, it’s not a finished work of art, it’s a sketch, $16 million. You know why? The source, it’s Leonardo da Vinci. Recently discovered sketch from Leonardo da Vinci, $16 million. Because of the source, the source determines significance. And so Paul says, that’s the same truth when it comes to the gifts of the Spirit. It’s the Spirit who’s, you know, it’s God at work, who’s significant.

You gotta remember that source determines significance. When you don’t, here’s several things that happen and they’re all bad for the church. The first thing that happens when we forget that source determine significance is that we start to value some gifts more than others, because will that’s the really valuable gift. That’s really important gift When that happens, we begin to go, I wish I had that gift and we become envious of people who have that gift. We start to devalue the gifts that we have, we fail to understand that their significance is rooted in the fact that God shows up through these things. But we start to devalue, and when we devalue in our own lives, then we don’t practice it. And then God shows up less among his people. All because we forgot that source determines significance.

Now, which gifts we value depends a little bit on the church, honestly. And there’s some sides of Christianity that value different sets of gifts than maybe we would tend to value in Mission Hills. In Mission Hills, I’ll tell you the gift that we tend to value a lot. It’s the gift of teaching. That’s the gift that we do, that’s the best gift. That’s the most important gift. It’s not. As someone with the gift of teaching, let me tell you, it is not the most important gift. There is no most important gift. When we value teaching, if we don’t have the gift of teaching, they go well, then somehow, you know, I fell short. Somehow, I’m not as important, I’m not as significant. It happens in other churches too. Sometimes they value different things. I dated a girl in college that was part of a more charismatic kind of church. And in that church, the gift of teaching isn’t necessarily the one they value, the gift of tongues or prophecy. Those might be the gifts that they really value.

Different churches value different gifts, but it’s so easy, because when we forget that source determines significance, we go well, I’ll decide the most significant and so we value this or this, but not these and those in that, that creates division in the church. And it creates a context in which the gifts are not operating the way they’re supposed to. Second thing that happens when we forget that source determine significance is that we start to value some gift-havers more than others, not just the gift, but we start to divide the people who have that gift more than others. And the charismatic church that this girl was part of that I was dating. One of the gifts they really had was the gift of tongues.

It was my first really encounter with that. And so I you know, I asked her a certain point, like, you know, how did you get the gift of tongues? Like what was that like? And she said, something I will never forget, so interesting. She said, “Honestly, I didn’t have it for a long time. And it was hard because our church valued that gift. And the people who had it so much they were the more spiritual, they were the ones that God was really blessing. I always felt like an outsider because I didn’t have that gift. And then she said this, she said, so I started faking it. She said, I faked it for a long time, I faked the gift of tongues.

Now, please, please hear me. I’m not saying that’s true of everybody. I’m not saying everybody who has the gift of tongues is fake. I don’t believe that. I believe it’s a genuine legitimate manifestation of the Spirit. We’ll talk in this series a little bit about the parameters that God gives us for understanding what it is and how it functions. But I don’t think that her was, you know, the story of everybody was a gift of tongues, but I also know for a fact, because I’ve heard the same story multiple times. It’s not a unique story. So when a church values that gift and then they value the haver or that people who have that particular gift. Then people who don’t have that gift, they feel devalued, and they’ll end up doing some very strange things. It can happen in the Evangelical Church and evangelical we value teaching.

It’s really easy for somebody who has the gift of teaching to start suddenly feeling like, I’m a big deal. I’m not, I’m not a big deal. And I don’t believe that my gift is more important than any other. It has a particular operation. It’s important I need to use it. Because I want God to show up through it. But it’s not more important than other gifts I’ll be I’ll be honest, I have been ministered to by people that have the gift of encouragement that God shows up when they’re encouraging. That minister to me more than any sermon I’ve ever heard. I have a tremendous value that I placed on the gift of encouragement. I don’t have it, but it’s powerfully impacted my life. But when we forget that source determines significance, we begin to look at certain people and go well they have this gift, therefore they’re more important and that creates division. It creates jealousy, it creates a lack of unity in the Church fails to hold the light of the Gospel up as high as it supposed to.

Because we forgot that source determines significance. Third thing that happens, unfortunately, is that we start to value how a gift advances us rather than how it advances the Gospel. When we value certain gifts, and certain people have them, it’s so easy to begin with people who have those gifts to go, well, yeah, then my gift actually, it pushes me into the spotlight, it pushes me forward. It gives me notoriety, and fame, and influence, and honor, and esteem and all those kinds of things. And it’s so easy to get that because we’re we’re valuing how it advances me rather than the Gospel or the God who gave me the gift. And it certainly can be true of teaching in the Evangelical Church, can be to have the gift of prophecy, or other kinds of things like that in other kinds of churches. But let’s face it, guys, there’s no gift that’s been given so that people look at us and go, you’re awesome.

And I get that sometimes, and I know that when it’s given, it is given as a compliment. I know it’s given as an honor and I get that. But it makes me intensely uncomfortable. And so always my response is. No, I’m not. I’m so glad God’s using me, I’m so glad God’s showing up. But we can’t allow gift to advance us rather than the God who gave it and the Gospel that he’s given us to share. Every one of us has a gift. If you remember nothing else from today, this is this is the truth that I want you to grab a hold of and I want you to go out of here wrestling with God wants you to discover and to deploy your spiritual gift. God has a way that he wants to show up through you. If you are a follower of Jesus. God has a way that he wants to show up through you. God wants you to discover it, he wants you to deploy it. How do we do that? Let’s get practical. Step number one, you need to make sure that you have a relationship with God.

Because the spiritual gifts we’re talking about, they’re different than natural gifts. They’re different than learn gifts. These are abilities that come to us by the Holy Spirit. Now, sometimes the gift does involve a natural gift or learn gift. Sometimes God takes that and starts to show up through that. But the gifts that we’re talking about here these ways Holy Spirit show up, they only happen because the Holy Spirit is in us. And Holy Spirit is only in us when we have put our faith in Jesus Christ. God loves you so much he sent his Son to die for you. On the cross, he paid the price for every sin that you’ve ever committed. Three days later, he rose from the dead to prove that he had paid off the debt of sin and to offer you the new life that he has. When we say yes to Jesus, we get forgiven of our sin, we get adopted into the family of God and the Holy Spirit comes to live in us. And when the Holy Spirit comes to live in us, he brings this way that he shows up through us.

If you don’t have a relationship with God through faith in Jesus, you don’t have a spiritual gift, but you can. But you have to have that relationship will give you the opportunity to do that before the day is over. Make sure you have a real relationship with Jesus. It’s not just a matter of, well, I’ve gone to church my whole life, or I’ve tried really hard to be a good person, none of that’s going to do it. Jesus didn’t die for good people. He died because we could never be good enough. He died to do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves, you gotta have faith in him. You can do that today if you don’t have it. But that’s the first step. Second step is this. You need to check your motives. You need to ask yourself the question, why do I want to know what my spiritual gift is? Is it about advancing you about gaining honor and respect? Is it just because that would be really cool to know how God does that? None of those are sufficient motives. Why do you want to know what your spiritual gift is? Why do you want to know how God shows up through you? Check your motives. Third step is this, pray and pray specifically for a more missional mindset. Pray that God would make you the kind of person who wants to be on mission with him. As we say at Mission Hills. We’re here to help people become like Jesus and join them on mission two sides of the same coin.

And I’m convinced that one of the reasons that a lot of people don’t know what their spiritual gift is, is because they don’t have a missional mindset. So they’re not looking for it to be more effective in their mission with Jesus. They’re looking to know what their spiritual gift is for different reason. And I think that’s one of the reasons why people don’t know their spiritual gift is God will reveal your spiritual gifts when we are moving more and more into that place where we’re going to use it for what it’s intended to be on mission with him. So pray for a missional mindset. Fourth step is this, this is so important. You don’t take a spiritual gifts inventory survey, you ask. You ask other believers, when they’ve seen God show up through you. This is how we do it. You ask other believers, when they’ve seen God show up through you, by the way that the question you ask is not Hey, when I did this, did you see God show up through me? Okay, because you’re going to be talking to nice people they’re gonna be like, of course I did. Yes, absolutely.

That’s not the question. There’s some other questions that we’ve published a list of questions there in the Mission Hills app. If you don’t have it, get it free. Go to Mission’s app, you’re going to find a list of questions that we develop that you can ask other people that will help you get at this issue where have you seen God showing up through me? This is how we discover it friends. so important. I was in Zimbabwe, a few years ago, I was part of a nonprofit, one of my staff was there with us. And at a certain point in our trip, I remember, we were sitting on this wall waiting for our van to come and take us to something and some of the issues spiritual gifts came up and she said to me, she said, yeah, I’ve been following Jesus for like, 25 years and I don’t have any idea what my spiritual gift is. And my response was, what are you talking about? I said, you have the gift of hospitality. And she goes, I hate potpourri.

I, like Martha Stewart is on my hit list. I was like no, no, no that that’s that’s not that’s the American modern hospitality. I said. I said hospitality is it’s the ability to make people feel so comfortable with you, making you feel at home with you that they just they lay it all on the table and then they’re willing to let you into their lives and you’re able to minister to them in ways that other people can’t because they let the walls come down. And she goes, really? I said, yeah, I said, how many times when you’re in a coffee shop, do people, random people just stop by your table? Go? What are you studying, sit down and talk to you. And they’re there for two hours. And they’ve shared their entire lives with you. She goes all the time.

I said, yeah, how many times a year on the on the airplane, and you’re going to try to get some work done. But somebody random sits down next to you. And they go, hey, what are you talking about? And they don’t even listen to answer, then they start telling you what their lives are like, and what they’re struggling with where their points of pain are. They lay it all on the table, and you’re able to speak the Gospel into that maybe they come to Jesus, maybe they don’t, but you have a relationship, and they keep speaking to you and God’s extending his influence into their lives. How often does it happen? She goes every time. It’s like, yes, that’s the gift of hospitality. And she went, I had no idea.

So I wish you had asked that question to somebody sooner. Because everybody around and we were all like, how do you not know this? Because we’d all seen it. We need to ask people where we see God showing up. We developed some questions help you do that. And then the fifth step is this, you need to try different kinds of serving. Try different kinds of serving. Because when we don’t try different kinds of serving, we don’t give people the opportunity to see where God might show up. But sometimes we don’t try them guys to serve because like, well, I didn’t like that, or I wouldn’t be good at that. That’s okay. We’re not gonna put you in charge of it. But maybe subbing. I can’t tell you the number of people that I know who are children’s pastors now. They only work with kids who got into children’s ministry kicking and screaming, because they said, I don’t like kids.

I’m not any good with kids. But we got guilted. The pastor gave the message that we don’t have enough kids workers, we need somebody and said, like, okay, I’ll do it for couple of weeks. And the most remarkable thing happened. They were like, this works. Like, I’m impacting these kids. My group’s listening me that group is insane. They’re crazy. And that guy’s losing his hair because they can’t…and what’s different? Do I just have a really good kid? No, no, God’s showing up through you. And they began to see that and then they began to love it. Sometimes we come to love the way God shows up, not necessarily we love it before God shows up. I didn’t love teaching. But I love the fact that God shows up even when I feel like this was not a good message. People go, yeah, but the light bulb came on when God showed up. That’s awesome. I love that now.

We need to try different kinds of serving. And when we refuse to try different kinds of serving, we might very well be missing an opportunity to let other people around us see whoa, God showed up then you step out of our comfort zone, so we try again serving and then we need to circle back to number four, and ask those questions. God has a way he wants to show up through you. He has a main way he wants to show up there he wants you to discover and to deploy your spiritual gift. We need to get at it. The mission of God that he’s given us is at stake. Will we hold the light of the Gospel up as high as it should be? Or keep it down on the ground, bright as always, but unable to be seen from the distance that it should be. We gotta get at this. Would you pray with me?

Jesus, it’s ridiculous. You died on the cross for us. You died while we were yet sinners, we were sinful, we’re in rebellion against you. And yet you came and you paid the price for our sin on the cross that love, that grace. It’s unbelievable. But you didn’t stop there. When you rose from the dead, you didn’t just offer us forgiveness. You adopted us into the family of God, you gave us new life that goes on forever and ever with our Creator. That’s ridiculous. But even that wasn’t enough for you. Beyond that you gave us your Holy Spirit.

The third person that turned to God himself in our lives, looking to show up through us. That’s ridiculous, but it’s so cool. Thank you. For those of us who know what our spiritual gifts are we say thank you, Lord, help us to value the Giver and not the gift. Help us to use it to advance your cause not ours. For those of us who don’t know what our spiritual gifts are Lord, but asked for powerful movement, your Holy Spirit, give them the courage to try new things. Give them the courage to to ask those questions of others. And Lord, would you speak to those around them so that you can speak through those to them about the ways that you want to show up to them because we want you to show up. We want to be the kind of Church that’s filled with people where you show up through us and draw attention and glory and honor to yourself and help us to get after it. To discover and deploy our gifts. As the followers of Jesus, we say thank you.


If you are a follower of Jesus, just give me a favor. Begin praying for the people around you. The people watching online at all of our locations that don’t know God, they don’t have a relationship with him because I want to speak to you for just a moment. Maybe there’s something in this message has made you go. Well, I wish that were true of me. I wish I had God in me. I wish had a way that God was showing up through me. Well, God wants you to have that too. But it starts with the relationship. Not a religion, it’s not something you don’t earn the right for God to show up through you because you did enough good things and avoided enough bad things. You don’t you don’t convince God to show up through you because you attended church long enough, or you were in this Bible study or whatever, all that stuff. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about a relationship.

If you don’t have a relationship with God, you need to understand how desperately he wants it. God loves you so much, he sent his own Son to die for your sins. Jesus rose from the dead and he’s offering you forgiveness. He’s offering your relationship with your Creator that goes on forever. And he’s offering you the power of God coming into your life to change you from the inside out, and to begin showing up through you in such a way that you can be a part of the mission of God. And if you came in today and you realize I don’t have that relationship with something in the message that he said, that’s where I need to start, I need that relationship. And if you’re ready to say yes to Jesus to put your faith in him, you just slip your hand up right now. If you’re ready to say yes to Jesus, that’s awesome. Fantastic. If you’re watching online, just click the button right below me. And wherever you are, you just have this conversation with God. In your heart, say:

God, I’ve done wrong and I’m sorry. Jesus, thank you for dying in my place. I believe that you rose from the dead, that you’re offering me, forgiveness and a new life. I need both of those. And I know you’re the only source of them. So right here right now, Jesus, I’m saying yes to you. Putting my trust in you. Putting my faith in you. Come into my life. Be My Lord my Savior, for now and forever. Amen.

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