Tag Archives: ministry gifts

A Necessity of Change

Hebrews 7:11-18 

11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?

12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.

14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.

15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,

16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

He Levitical priesthood was established in Israel for thousands of years.  It was established by God under Moses leadership and had served Israel well all through the ages.  From King Saul all the way to the captivity, the High Priest was in the lineage of Aaron, and those that served in the temple were of Levi’s heritage.  This is just the way it was, and the Israelites saw no necessity for a change.  But God had a higher purpose when he had the Psalmist write “Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” Melchizedek preceded Levi, as we pointed out in the last lesson.  The verse from Psalms was revered as a Messianic prophecy.  Paul is trying to show the Hebrews, and us, that Jesus was not just a man, not just a king, not just a Savior, but also a priest.  The reason he does this will become more evident as we walk through the next few chapters, but it is very significant that Messiah be known as a priest, and that priest would not come from the tribe of Levi.

Verse 18 is a difficult one for me to understand.  Basically, the way I read it, Paul is saying that the command about the Levites was done away with (disannulled) because it was weak and unprofitable.  I’m not sure exactly what he means by all this, and I have not gone to the commentaries to try and find out.  But what I believe is that Paul is saying the Levitical priesthood, while it covered the ins of the people by offering their sacrifices, it did nothing to save their souls.  It appeased God, but did not cleanse the sinner’s heart.  Her Israelites could walk away from offering their sacrifice, knowing that those sacrifices would cover their sins before God.  The Levites would offer the sacrifices according to the laws in Leviticus.  If you have not read Leviticus, you should.  It is essential reading to understand why Paul is going into this Hebrews dialogue in the first place.  But they would have to come back the next day, and the next, and the next.  There was no salvation in the sacrifices, only a covering.  God was after their hearts, not their livestock or bread.  The sacrificial system was, therefor, weak and unprofitable to the people.  This is why there was a necessity of change!

It is easy for us to get into a rut.  We have been doing the same thing for so long, it seems like it is the only way to do it.  Our churches can easily get bogged down by tradition and doing things “the way we have always done them.”  But that is not always the best way.  God has a better way in many cases.  He comes to us with new ideas and changes to the worship service, and yet we are too et in our ways to allow God to come into the service.  Many churches have set programs they go by which do not allow God to speak to the people at all.  They leave no place for private worship, or for changing things up a bit. The schedule has to be followed so we can be done in an hour and get home for the roast in the oven.  The services are tailor made for our comfort, but not for God’s involvement.  Hat’s the way it’s always been and that’s the way it will be.

I remember a time years ago when I was travelling back to Iowa from Massachusetts.  I usually just traveled Interstate 80 across Pennsylvania, but this time I was driving home on a Sunday and decided to stop into a church in the morning to enjoy morning worship.  I decided to just find any church and stop in.  I don’t remember what town I was in, but I chose a small mainline denomination church.  I walked in and sat down and nobody paid attention to me.  They were without a pastor that day and the service was quite short.  I wanted to shout from the rooftop that I was a preacher and singer, but God checked me on that.  I am convinced to this day that this church missed a blessing because they had to stay in their routine.  That’s the way they had always done it.  Not that I am anything spectacular, but why else would God have me walk into that church that Sunday?

I left that town and headed across the state on a state highway.  I ended up in the Northwest corner of the state in time for the evening church service and looked for a place to go.  I stopped at a gas station and asked if there was an Assembly of God church, or an evangelistic church, in town.  They pointed me to the Church of God in Christ.  I decided this would do, so I went to that church.  When I walked in the door, I realized it was an all-black church and I was the only white guy in the room.  Hey welcomed me with open arms and asked me if I had a testimony to share.  I took that opportunity, iof course.  The service was filled with dancing, worship and the word, and there was no timetable.  IT was very spontaneous.

Do I have to tell you which service I enjoyed the most? It was the one that was not stuck on tradition and was willing to move where the Holy Spirit wanted to take it.  That evening service was one of the highlights of my trip.  Some of our churches have a necessity to change.  Our small church in Dows Iowa closed recently because they were unwilling to change. A lot of churches are closing because they are stuck in the old traditions and won’t entertain new ideas.  Even though their services are weak and unprofitable, they continue to go about it as they always have.  It’s time for the church to wake up and realize that God is moving in our nation and around the world today.  He is still healing, still delivering, still speaking to His people and still in the business of saving souls. If our churches don’t allow or encourage these things, they will die.  If they don’t preach the Gospel, they will die.

Even personally, in my life, there is a necessity of change.  I must go where the Spirit leads me and not where my schedule dictates.  Taking time to write this blog is prat of that.   Writing poetry for my other blog is also.  Making the time to record the songs God gives me is another thing.  I cannot allow my schedule to dictate my ministry!  I must make the time, not try and find the time.  I am working diligently to make that happen. Is there necessity of change in your life today?  Are you tuck with seemingly nowhere to go?  Take a long hard look at what you are accomplishing and ask yourself if it is edifying the body of Christ.  If it’s not, change it!  God has given you unique gifts that He wants you to share with His people.  What are you waiting for?

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I Know Whom I Have Believed

2 Timothy 1:8-12

8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

AM I as affective a witness as I should be? That is a question I ask myself almost every day. I walk by someone on the local bike trail while walking my dog. Shouldn’t I tell them about Jesus? I see someone in the grocery store. Shouldn’t I ell them about my Savior? The mail man delivers a package. I must tell him about Jesus! Why do I not speak up more often about my Lord?

It’s pride that keeps me from saying more. Pride makes me fear rejection. I want to be loved, or at least liked. What if they just don’t want to hear it or had a bad experience with religious zealots at some time? What if they decide they just won’t come near me anymore if I am going to talk that way. What if they yell, or snub their noses at me? I don’t want to be rejected!

Pride makes me ashamed to speak out about the one who saved my soul. It makes me ashamed to say that I could not do it on my own. It makes me ashamed that I had to have Jesus to take away my troubles. It makes me ashamed to speak out about my Savior and friend. Pride is an evil master!

But I should not be ashamed! I should be willing to endure all these things for His names sake. I should be willing to face persecution, or backbiting, or turning away so-called friends. Those things should not matter to me when it comes to my witness for Jesus Christ. Jesus should have that kind of preeminence in my life that he rises above all else and I am just his humble servant. A humble servant will do the will of his master regardless of the perceived dangers.

And why should I be willing? Look at what He has done for us, for me! He saved me. Saved me from the pit of hell. Saved me from sin and shame. Saved me from pain and misery. Saved me from sorrow and guilt. Saved me from the storm and the waves. Saved me from the trials and tests. Saved me from all my enemies and most importantly saved me from myself. He saved me!

What should I be willing? He called me. He called me to be His disciple, wretched sinner that am. He called me out of darkness into His glorious light. He called me out of the put and set my feet on the rock. He called me out of weakness and gave me His strength. He called me out of ignorance and gave me wisdom and knowledge. He called me out of sin into redemption. He called me away from wandering aimlessly around and gave me a purpose. He called me!

To think that He did all these things according to His purpose and His grace is beyond my ability to comprehend. To think that He had a purpose for me when I was lost in sin, using His name as a curse word, and denying His existence is beyond me. To think that He had a purpose for me when I was an alcoholic, a drug addict, a pervert and a wretched person is beyond me. To think that he would have grace on such a soul as I is beyond me. It just goes to show me how much further I have to travel on this journey to the perfection he calls me to. His grace. His amazing grace that brought me to the cross. His amazing love wrapped up in that grace. I am so undeserving yet He loved me just the same.

Paul says he was appointed to be a preacher, an apostle and a teacher unto the Gentiles. He was appointed by the one who saw that purpose in Him and moved by His grace to bring that purpose to fruition. Paul was a willing vessel, a vessel ready to face any persecution that might come his way. I know that God has appointed me to be a Psalmist, a songwriter, a preacher, a teacher, a worship leader, a writer and a trusted advisor. He has appointed me! The King of Kings and Lord of Lords has appointed me! There is no authority higher than Jesus and he has appointed me! No one can take that away, or dismiss it as worldly, or say it is not so. It is true in every way. The world can mock me and torment me and persecute me but it does not change my appointment. What has he appointed you to do?

You see, I know whom I have believed. I have believed the one who raised the dead, who opened blind eyes and deaf ears., who made the lamb to walk and the leper to be cleansed. I have believed the one who taught the multitudes who the Father was and brought down the religious ruler for not following him. I have believed the one who was beaten and scourged and mocked. I have believed the one who was crucified for my sins and who rose from the dead. That is who I have believed.

And because I believe Him, I am persuaded that He will keep those things that He has committed to me, those appointments He has put into my life. He is able to move me further ion those appointments as I continue to draw closer to Him. He is able to give me the words to write, the melodies to sing, and the avenue to got the words out. He is able to bring the right people along to read or hear the words He has given me. I do not have to worry about a thing. I just need to continue to do as he asks me to do. He will do the rest.

What has God committed into your care? What have you committed to Him? He will keep it all. He will uphold His promise to you as you uphold your promise to Him. The best position we can take is to commit ourselves, in our entirety, to Him. Give Him your all. Don’t hold back. He promises that the more I give, the more He will give. He promises top always be with me and to walk through the valleys with me. He has committed to keeping His promise. I pray we will all keep our promises to Him!

Take Heed

1 Timothy 4:14-16

14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee

Do you have a spiritual gift? Maybe you have never used it, or even realized you have it, but I can guarantee you that you have a gift from God. We seem to take it for granted that this verse is talking about a spiritual gift., and that very well could be true. But there are so many gifts that God gives us we should not limit ourselves to thinking this way.

First. There are the gifts of the Spirit which are listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

There are some who say that these gifts are no longer needed in the church, or that they are no longer in operation. I am sad that they believe this because these gifts were given to edify the church and to show the power and manifestation of the Holy Spirit. I have personally seen all of these gifts in operation and have been used by the Spirit ion several of these gifts. My own personal belief is that the Holy Spirit can use anyone who is willing to listen to Him and step out in faith, and that he can use them in any one of these gifts at any time. It does not have to be in church, or some revival. Gpd can have the gift of miracles alive in my life when I am walking through Walmart, or he can give me a word of wisdom at the grocery store. We are so quick to limit God and put Him in a box that we can understand.

God wants these gifts in operation in every church. But many churches now shut their ears and mouths and don’t even want to work in these precious and powerful gifts. They do not know what they are missing and do not want anyone to tell them. They want to keep God in a place where they can understand His every move and not be awed by Him too much. It is sad to see these gifts neglected, especially when Paul tells us specifically not to neglect the gift that is within us. We have a responsibility to utilize what God has given each and every one of us. The parable of the talents makes that very clear. If the church would start to operate in these powerful gifts we would see revival sweep across this land and throughout the world. Are you neglecting the gift within you?

But the spiritual gifts are not the only gifts. In Romans 12:6-13, Paul list many more gifts that are given to the church.

6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

There are things on this list that each one of us is gifted with and just refuse to be used in that area. There are other things that you may not completely understand and you are already working in that gift. So let’s take a closer look at these gifts.

Prophecy – this is not just foretelling a future event, as many think it is. It can also be expounding about things in the present, or applying the word of God to a particular situation for someone else. Have you ever given someone a scripture verse that they needed at that time? Then you used the gift of prophecy. It is simply proclaiming the word.

Ministry – this would include praying for others or participating in some type of ministry to others like providing food or shelter. Ministry is a broad subject that most of us have some part in it. It is a gift that many have.

Teaching – this does not even have to be spiritual teaching necessarily. It can be any kind of teaching. Don’t even try to tell me the teachers in our schools are not gifted to do that! They deal with kids every day, and that is a gift. It definitely includes teaching biblical principles,. But please do not limit it to that.

Exhortation – This is also proclaiming the word, and would line up more with preaching or declaring God’s ways. When we share our testimony, which we all should be doing, we operate in this gift.

Giving – this is someone who gives over and above the tithe, or gives them self unselfishly to help others. It can be a talent we have, or our time, which is so precious.
One author puts it this way. “God loves a cheerful giver. How much He must be pleased when someone cheerfully gives of themselves.”

Ruler – this can apply to anyone in a position of authority. This can include deacons and elders, people who serve on a Board if Directors anywhere, people in management within the workplace or leaders in government. The ones who fill these roles are gifted by God to do so.

Mercy giver – We should all operate in this gift. We should always show mercy to others. But some are gifted above and beyond with the ability to show mercy to others with a cheerful heart, I am so glad for these people.

Love without dissimulation – This is a gift we should all practice and desire. Love without hypocrisy. Love your enemy. Love your neighbor, no matter who they are. Lover all the same. Don’t play favorites. Our love should be that of 1 Corinthians 13. This is a tall order, but we all need to strive for it.

Abhor evil and cleave to good – to abhor means to regard with disgust and hatred. We should hate evil and be disgusted by it. So much so that we stay as far away from it as possible. It is a gift to have this type of hatred for evil and to cleave, or become attached to only good. I want this gift!

Kindly affectioned one top another – there are some people who are much better at kindness than others. They always have a kind word and deals with others in a gentle way. These are not only fruit of the Spirit, but are also gifts given to the church. Don’t discount these kind, gentle people. They are mighty through their meekness.

In honor preferring one another – this gift is sorely lacking in our churches today and is one that I strive for on a daily basis. Putting the other person first is a lost art in our society where it is every man for himself and do whatever I can to get ahead. Let us not be so, but let us do all we can to help others succeed.

Not slothful in and worldly success. – I am sure you can recognize those who work hard and those who do not. This gift also usually brings with it prosperity. This is a remarkable gift to have and can benefit the church in so many ways business. Through the tithe and offerings, through help in making wise decisions, through leadership and mentoring programs – all of these take people who are not slothful.

Fervent in Spirt, serving the Lord – we all know those people in our church who have a heart for ministry. They are fervent about their work for God and take it very seriously. They are true servants of Christ and we depend on them to get things done in our churches. If you are not one of these, I ask you why not?

Rejoicing in hope – some people are always in the joy of the Lord because they see the hope that is set before them. They are not caught up in the day to day struggles we all face. The rejoice because they are saved and redeemed and it takes no more than that to bring their joy to the surface. I think I am blessed with this gift!

Patient in tribulation – I know that my trials are God’s perfecting agents (James 1:2-4). I know they strengthen my faith. I know I am on His timetable and he is in control. So I can wait in those troubling times. I can wait on the Lord!@

Continuing instant in prayer – with out our prayer warriors, our churches would fall. This is a category I need much help in. Oh I am good at praying when God brings someone to mind, or when I am told that prayer is needed. But I am not good at setting aside time to pray on a regular basis. I need much work on this one. I thank God for the silent prayer warriors.

Distributing to the necessity of the saints – I give when I can but most of my income goes into my own monthly needs. I wish I had more to distribute and I am thankful for those who can give more. Our church would fail without them, and many of yours would as well. But this also talks of giving of our time and talent. I do a little better there.
Given to hospitality – My wife and I have always been people who kept pretty much to ourselves. We don’t have people over often and don’t visit others much. I am thankful for those who each out to others and give of their homes and resources to make them feel welcome.

This is just one list of gifts that are given to the church. There are others but I have gone on long enough. I think you get the picture. People who have gifts like these need to step up on a regular basis and share them. We should all desire to be sued more often in these ministry gifts. We need to give ourselves wholly to the gifts that we are gifted with, stirring them up and not neglecting them. When we all do our part, we will see our churches grow both spiritually and physically in numbers. That is the purpose of the gifts. Let us utilize them for that purpose.