Summary: The fourth of a four part series entitled, ‘Four Resolutions for 2008’

In his book, Maximizing Your Effectiveness, Aubrey Malphurs says, ‘most people have a profound inner desire to accomplish something of importance with their lives during their brief stay on planet earth. They want more than anything to lead fulfilling, productive lives that leave them with a deep sense of significance.’ (Notice he says, ‘significance’ and not ‘fame’ or ‘success?’) How many here this morning, have this desire? How many of us here this morning want to live a fulfilling and productive life and find a deep sense of significance at the end of our days?

(Slide 1) How is this done? What does it take to make happen? What are the challenges to achieving this? How can we find deep and God-honoring fulfillment not just in our work but in our lives as believers and members of the church?

Consider the following story, entitled, ‘A Rabbit on the Swim Team,’ as you ponder these questions.

‘Once upon a time, the animals decided they would do something meaningful to meet the problems of the new world. So they organized a school.

They adopted an activity curriculum of running, climbing, swimming, and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all the subjects.

The duck was excellent in swimming; in fact, he was better than his instructor. But he made only passing grades in flying and was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to drop swimming and stay after school to practice running. This caused his webbed feet to be so badly worn he became only average in swimming. But average was quite acceptable, so nobody worried about that-except the duck.

The rabbit started at the top of his class in running but developed a nervous twitch in his leg muscles because of so much makeup work in swimming.

The squirrel was excellent in climbing, but he encountered constant frustration in flying class because his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the treetop down. He developed a ‘charlie horse’ from overexertion, and so only got a C in climbing and a D in running.

The eagle was a problem child and was severely disciplined for being a nonconformist. In climbing classes he beat all others to the top of the tree but insisted on using his own way to get there.’

This is the final sermon of our series ‘Four Resolutions for 2008.’ The past three weeks we have studied these themes and examined a New Testament chapter that relates to each theme as indicated on the slide.

(Slide 2)

Live Free In Christ

Galatians 5

Aim High

Colossians 3

(Slide 3)

Live Well With Others

Ephesians 4

Find Your Place and Serve

I Corinthians 12

Which of these has become a part of your life for this coming year? I hope and pray that all of them will!

(Slide 4) Today we focus on the final topic of finding our place and serve and our New Testament chapter for this morning is I Corinthians 12. Here is what it says, ‘And now, dear brothers and sisters, I will write about the special abilities the Holy Spirit gives to each of us, for I must correct your misunderstandings about them. You know that when you were still pagans you were led astray and swept along in worshiping speechless idols. So I want you to know how to discern what is truly from God: No one speaking by the Spirit of God can curse Jesus, and no one is able to say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

Now there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service in the church, but it is the same Lord we are serving. There are different ways God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work through all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.

To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another he gives the gift of special knowledge. The Spirit gives special faith to another, and to someone else he gives the power to heal the sick. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and to another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to know whether it is really the Spirit of God or another spirit that is speaking. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages and another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Holy Spirit who distributes these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.

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