Summary: Our God given gifts, skills and talents are to be used to grow the kingdom where ever we are. Invitation: Bring “Pictures” of where you are serving the rest of the week.

We begin this new series we have lovingly called, “RUN!” This is not meant as a warning of the future or a bad fire drill or re-enactment from the movie, Mar’s Attacks. It’s actually not about running away from anything. It’s really a reference to a piece of scripture from the book of Hebrews in which the writer encourages the audience to persevere in being a Christian in the world. The life of a Christian is simple but it’s not easy. This is where a friend and I often talk about the “bait and switch” strategy of some Christian churches. They tell you about Jesus, his saving action on your behalf and the peace, joy, hope and love that stems from the relationship but then they stop. They fail to tell you that by accepting Christ as your Savior, you will be at odds with the culture and that you will be confronted with decisions, marked by obedience which will be followed by actions that actually declare or deny your faith.

It’s a small moment of tension in the indecision that leads big declarations.

I am confronted with this tension often in my personal life. You see, I wasn’t always a preacher/teacher/Pastor – a paid good guy. I was striving for success at all cost kind of a guy. I worked hard. I played hard. I tried to get the world before it could get me. However, when I met Jesus that selfish and self-centered me began to disappear. It has been a slow refining process. I am still learning. I know that because occasionally when I am overly hungry, angry, lonely, tired or sad, I revert back to the full metal Bob. It’s still a default mode. I know when I fall into it because of my behavior when I am driving. The best way to say it is, “I am more vocal about other people’s ability to drive.” I think it was the late George Carlin who said, “Anyone who drives faster than you is a crazy and anyone going slower than you is an idiot.” When those actions begin in my car, I know I have fallen into the worldly Bob and I am no longer living out the gifts God gave me for His glory, even if I am using my gift of preaching.

The benefit I have is that I know my gifts. I know there are plenty of people who claim they don’t know their gifts or talents or even skills so they sit on the sideline. There are others who say they don’t have any gifts or talents or skills. As a result neither group does anything: the first group because they are claiming ignorance, the second because of a lack of worthiness. Both groups fail to realize God was involved in their creation, currently involved in their development and is encouraging their development so He can use them because they are uniquely qualified. There are hundreds of books, studies and evaluations on gifts and talents. They all can be helpful. However, if you really want to know your gifts – ask a loved one or a trusted friend. Who better to ask than someone you feel has your best interest at heart? If you want to verify the information, ask a couple of good friends and compare the notes. If you want to know your talent or passion, start asking yourself after every daily activity if the activity gave you energy or drained it. Finally, if you want to know your skills, take a look at the kind of activities you often find yourself doing. Chances are these are skills you have learned along the way. Skills are but learned actions. I had a perfect example of how this works during the week. It has been another crazy transition week but in the middle, a person I really like who is often brutally honest came and told me about two situations in which I really helped the person I was with because the person was raving about the self discovery that happened because of my questioning. I learned I have a talent and a passion for meeting new people. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I hung out at the Oswego Panther’s soccer tryouts handing out flyers and picking up soccer gear. It was awesome. I met the directors and some of the parents. I drove away each night totally energized. I could barely contain my excitement. I also realized after talking to a new friend that while I don’t like going up to completely strangers, I do have a skill I learned from my business life of being able to share information quickly and gauge interest. It was great.

? What do people say are your gifts?

? What gives you energy?

? What have you learned in the past that you do well?

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