Discernment: The People God Uses

sadDo you feel you know who the “right” persons are to do Kingdom work? Do they have the right credentials, right training, know the right people, live in the right neighborhood, wear the right clothes, and are a part of “right crowd” of “leaders of tomorrow”? Where do these assumptions come from? Are you absolutely sure you know who will do God’s Kingdom work?

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong. 1 Corinthians 1:27

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8

Are you open to God? Are you open to God using circumstances and people who don’t fit the image you have imagined? What if God chose someone who did not fit “The Checklist”?

Many plans are in a man’s heart, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21

Recently my dad shared with me an article bringing to light the issue of the people God uses. An inner city student with autism from a single parent home, did what many think is impossible. He became the salutatorian of his high school class, mastered four languages (fluent), and on track to study mechanical engineering at one of the nation’s best science based academic institutions. Man says that “inner city” kids are trouble, are all in gangs, and should be avoided. Man says that children with autism have no hope of academic success and should be prepared for a group home for the rest of their lives. Man says that children from single parent homes don’t even have a chance compared to dual parent home children. However, God in the power that only He can display declared that this inner city student with autism from a single parent home is exactly capable of all things according the Kingdom of God. This child is a walking miracle and a sign post to the Body and the world that we cannot assume we know who God will use for His purposes.

In Acts 5, there is a story of the apostles being placed in jail by the religious leaders and during the course of the night they were released by an angel of the Lord and charged to teach in the temple the next day about the Believer’s life. The following morning the religious leaders and guards checked the prison house and found all the locks secured as they were placed the night before. They were confused as to how the apostles got out and into to the temple where they were teaching. The leaders ordered that the apostles be brought back to them. Upon the apostles arrival, they were immediately chastised for having continued to disobey their human orders to not teach about the Believer’s life. Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus who you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given those who obey Him” (Acts 5:29-32).

Now rather than recognize God’s work in these individuals and surrender to God, the leaders turned to anger and planned to kill the apostles. One of the religious leaders, Gamaliel, could see God’s hand at work in these individuals and could see a disturbing pattern in those who worked against the apostles.

‘But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in the council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time. And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered. So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be over thrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.”’ Acts 5:34-39.

In God’s perfect universe, there are no right credentials, right training, right neighborhood, right clothes, right family, or right crowd that can do His Kingdom work. Our God is the God of love and inclusion. He uses even the most tarnished or challenging individuals to do great work. In fact, God believes so much in this principle that more than one of Jesus’ descendents were considered tarnished or challenging by historical and modern day moral standards (Tamar, David, Rahab). Coincidence?

Related Post: God NOT Satan is author of sickness
Related Articles: God Uses Nobodies
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Discernment: What’s your Sign?

zodiacWhat’s your sign? It’s the pop culture question often asked when one is looking to classify individuals into personality categories. It is steeped in the traditions of man’s astrology most noteably of the Babylonian period. Society often uses it as the source of figuring out the quirks and traits of others. Have you heard of that other question? What’s your gift? It is steeped in the tradition of Yeshua and highlights the unique character of individuals that make up The Body. Here’s a pretty cool story that describes The Gifts.

There is a dinner party with the seven guests. Each guest has a different gifting. At the end of the meal you begin clearing the dinner plates and begin to serve desert. As you are bringing out a tray with the desert plates on it, you accidentally trip, sending the deserts flying and crashing to the floor. The story of the dinner guests helps exemplify the seven spiritual gifting of Romans 12:5-8.

The guest with the gift of prophecy proclaims, “I could see this coming. You can’t clear plates and bring desert at the same time.” (The motivation is to correct the life of the waiter.) The guest with the gift of mercy quickly follows, “Don’t worry; it could have happened to anyone.” (The motivation is to relieve embarrassment.) The one with the gift of serving jumps up and begins cleaning the mess. (The motivation is to fulfill a need.) The one with the gift of teaching analyzes the situation and responds with, “The real reason the tray fell was due to the equilibrium. See, of the seven deserts, five were on one side and only two on the other.” (The teacher’s motivation is to discover why it happened.) The guest with the gift of exhortation gift pipes up, “It’ll be alright, next time serve desert with the meal.” (The motivation is to correct for the future.) The one with the gift of giving thinks a moment. Noticing the carpet needs to be professionally cleaned and the plates are shattered, responds with “Here is $100 to cover the cost of the dishes and carpet cleaning.” (The motivation is to give to relieve a need.) Finally, the gift of leadership begins calling out directions. “Kris, could you go grab some paper towels? Sally, would you mind getting some more deserts put together. Molly, get the vacuum!” (The motivation is to keep things moving in the right direction.)

So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:5-8

Chip Ingrim, Pastor and Founder of the Living on the Edge radio programming highlights the spiritual gifts a bit further.

Prophecy – identifies what went wrong, has a sense of the culture, opinionated, corrective, works well in large groups but may be prone to pride and being insensitive to feelings
Mercy – cheerful to towards those who are suffering especially those who deserve punishment, can detect feelings, wants to relieve the embarrassment experienced by others but has a tendency to not be firm and be misunderstood by the opposite sex
Service – meets the practical needs, often asks “what can I do to help?”, behind the scenes worker, detects personal needs, more neglected in the Body and tends to overemphasize the practical needs and may become bitter when acts are not recognized
Teaching – presents the truth of God’s Word, loves to study, doctrine oriented, often says “Show me the meat?” but may overemphasize content rather than application and be boastful in knowledge
Exhortation – reassures, stimulates faith of others, often thinks “How can we move to wholeness?”, comes along side others, challenges others to grow, emphasizes practical application, described as a “fix it” person that may be discouraged if no change occurs and focused on temporary fixes
Giving – earns, saves, and gives money/resources to the Lord cheerfully, often thinks “What can I give to meet the need?”, sees opportunities but may be prone to pride and judging others by their bank account or use of resources
Leadership – sees what needs to be done, how things fit together in the big picture and coordinates it, mobilizes others, delegates, often asks “What are the results?” but may be prone to pride and forgetting the purpose of the project

So, what’s your gifting?

Abba, we thank you for the wonderful message received today. Reveal to us our primary spiritual gifting and help us to operate in the fullness of you for the Kingdom of God. – Amen

Related Resources: The Dinner Party ; Sober Self Assessment
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