a blog from our pastors and staff
What God has given us
a blog post by Pastor Becky Todd
Years back, we had a daily calendar which featured quotes from Secrets of the Vine by Bruce Wilkinson.
This is the season where we celebrate the abundance God has given us. We turn our hearts toward thoughts of gratitude and acknowledge the plenty God has given on our behalf. Though mostly our thoughts turn to cornucopias full of earthly goodness and provision, God has given far more. Let's think about the Kingdom of God. Where are you and I invited to personally grow and receive? God gives a personal invitation for us to experience the spiritual bounty of His presence in our lives. He has also given to each one certain spiritual gifts. These gifts are not so much the treasure, as the Giver! Suzanne Eller writes in The Spirit-Led Heart that we discover what Paul is saying in I Corinthians, "these spiritual gifts are valuable because of who gives them."
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord... Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
--I Corinthians 12:4-7
She goes on to say that these gifts have impact beyond ourselves. The gifts given don't make us special; they have value because God, the Giver, gave them so we could help one another. Spiritual fruit grows in our lives as we remain in relationship with God through the Holy Spirit, and the gift serves it's "distinct purpose" to bear the fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). And, that is what God treasures!
Back to that little calendar that used to sit on our old antique desk, Bruce offers these words:
"Identify the top three to five things (outside of your family commitments) you do that have the most impact for God's Kingdom. Ask yourself how you could rearrange your life to give more time to the top two than the bottom three."
These next few weeks and months will be full of activity. Choose prayerfully to honor your gifting. In turn you are seeking The Giver and will, no doubt, bear fruit that lasts.
Let's get back to using our spiritual gifts that God designed just for us. Let's hone our focus for Greater Kingdom impact!
Some resources you might like to further explore:
Secrets of the Vine by Bruce Wilkinson and The Spirit-Led Heart by Suzanne Eller
Remaining Cool in a Complaining World
a blog post from Pastor Dan
Even though I am pastor, I don’t wake up every morning with a smile on my face and
say, “Good morning Lord.” In fact, many days I am closer to saying the opposite. Monday was one of those days, the day started crazy and I was forced to make a choice between letting the crazy drive me or to remain cool.
I had just dropped off my kids at the middle school and started my day at the office when I started getting texts and calls that the middle school would be closed today because the heat was not working (I guess churches are not the only ones who have this problem). I was texted that my 5th grader would be in the high school auditorium so I went to there to get him. Upon arrival, some of the staff was very helpful and nicely redirected me back to the middle school because there was a change in plan. However, other staff were frustrated and overwhelmed with it all. The situation was even crazier when I got to the middle school. The process was not a well-oiled machine, but the staff was trying hard to make the process work. Many parents were pretty frustrated and I could have easily gotten worked up too. Patience is not my strongest virtue. But by then, I had decided that I was either going to be one of the complainers or I would keep myself cool. Once I got my kids, we decided to stop off at Tim Hortons for a donut. The workers there could easily be separated into the cool and the complainers, too.
I want to admit that I can easily fall into complainer mode. My only hope is that Jesus will help me rise above my natural tendencies and keep me cool under pressure. The world is full of complainers. Everywhere I looked today I saw them. Thanksgiving is coming soon. We will all stop and try hard to be thankful for a day or two. Then we can go right back to complaining. I have not perfected the art of choosing cool-mode over complaint-mode, but here is a tool that has helped me.
Every day take a few minutes to say a pray something like this:
Lord, I have two ways I can live today. I can try and take total control and work hard to make everything go my way. I will also complain and fight against everything that works against what I want from this day. Or I can choose to give up control. I can see this day as an opportunity to show love to others who need it. I can remain cool because you are in control. You lead Lord, I will follow.