Summary: 5 Ministry Maxims from Romans 12:9-10.
Putting Others First
Rev. Brian Bill
I really appreciated Pastor Dick preaching last week when I felt too weak to do so. I liked everything he said with the exception of his opening illustration in which he made a crack about the Pack. I’m showing incredible restraint by not rubbing it in for Bears fans.
I did want to let you know about something that happened to Pastor Dick when he was pastoring in Lansing. As you may know, he is an avid golfer and every chance he gets; he’s out on the golf course. He woke up one Sunday and realized that it was a perfect day for golfing. The sun was out, there were no clouds in the sky and the temperature was just right. He was in a quandary about what to do because he really wanted to go golfing instead of going to church. He called his associate pastor and told him he was sick and couldn’t preach that day.
He quickly threw his clubs in the trunk and drove three hours to a golf course where no one would recognize him. He took a few practice swings and was really enjoying himself. An angel was watching Pastor Dick and was quite perturbed about all this and so he went to God and said, “Look at that preacher. He should be punished for what he’s doing.” God nodded in agreement.
Pastor Dick teed up on the first hole and swung away. The ball sailed effortlessly through the air and landed right in the cup 350 yards away. He had never had a hole-in-one before. The angel was shocked, turned to God and said, “Begging your pardon, but I thought you were going to punish him.” God just smiled and then said, “Think about it. Who can he tell?”
While God may have gifted some of you in golf, He is much more interested in having us serve Him with the spiritual gifts that we’ve been given. We learned two weeks ago that if we want to know God’s will for our lives, we first need to be saved and then we need to be surrendered and sharpened by others. Last week Pastor Dick hit a hole-in-one in his sermon when he challenged us with the truth that we’ve all been given at least one spiritual gift that we are to use to serve Him and others. If you’d like to learn more about this, be sure to attend the In the Master’s Steps class that begins on October 25th. We’ve also posted an online spiritual gift assessment on my blog that will help you identify your gifting (www.pontiacbible.org).
Ephesians 4:16 emphasizes that our church will grow and be built up in love only if each of us do our part: “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” It’s really a contradiction in terms to find a Christian who is not using his or her spiritual gifts. 1 Peter 4:10 says that “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
There’s something pretty special about PBC in this regard because so many of you are selflessly serving already. Jon Dewald, who leads our membership class along with Brian Tumbleson, has discovered that since 2002, we’ve had 216 people join our church. Here’s the exciting part – well over half of these new members are serving in some capacity (55%). Several new people have come forward to work in AWANA, but we still need more. By the way, we had over 100 kids in AWANA this week! I understand that a couple of needs in our Sunday ministry to children have been met, but there are some additional opportunities.
==> Check out this creative commercial that Colin and Lynette Duncan have put together.
It’s my prayer that every one of us will be fired up to serve. Paul had a concern for a young believer named Timothy who was neglecting his gift and so he wrote two letters to him. Here’s what he said in 1 Timothy 4:14: “Do not neglect your gift” and in 2 Timothy 1:6 he wrote this: “I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God.” Are you flickering or burning bright for Him? You’re needed in this church! God has gifted you and now He wants to use you. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.
In our continuing emphasis on how we can help families build faith at home, I came across an article about the topic of gifting as it relates to our children. Erik Rees describes what he learned in a book called, “Pinocchio Parenting: 21 Lies We Tell Our Kids” by Chuck Borsellino: “Guess what one of the top lies is that parents tell kids? ‘You can be anything you want to be.’ Have you heard that phrase before? I have. Did you hear it growing up? I did. If you have kids now, have you ever told them that? I sure have. The truth is, you can’t be anything you want to be. When you were born, you were given a specific set of talents and passions and a unique personality. Then as you grew, you went through a series of experiences—some good and some not so good…all these things are tools God uses to make you into the unique you he’s had in mind from the start.” I would add that once our kids come to Christ they are given spiritual gifts and part of our responsibility and joy is to help them figure out their gift mix and how God has shaped them for service.