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Summary: A short series on how people can serve God

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Through Our Works of Service - Abilities & Personality?

Gladstone Baptist Church - 12/6/05

In 1658 a young Italian boy lived in the town of Cremona. Legend has it, that like his townsfolk, Antonio loved music. Cremona was a town where musical ability was highly valued. But poor Antonio was not a very accomplished musician. When he tried singing his friends nicknamed him "squeaky voice". When he tried to learn the violin he was all thumbs. About the only thing Antonio could do was to whittle on a block of wood with his knife, carving little objects.

One day Antonio sat whittling by the roadside as three of his very musical friends were busking. The air filled with their beautiful playing and singing. One gentlemen stopped longer than any of the others and even asked the friends to sing a song again. After they finished he dropped a gold coin into the hand of the singer. Then he moved on down the street.

A gold coin was a princely sum for a street singer. "Who was he?" asked Antonio. "It was Amati," his friends proudly replied. "Nicolo Amati, the greatest violin maker in all of Italy!"

That planted a thought in young Antonio’s mind. The next morning he went to Nicolo Amati’s house and waited for he great master to come out. When Amati opened the door, Antonio bounded up and told him that he wanted to become a violin maker. "I cannot sing and I cannot play, but I can carve." Would Amati take him on as an apprentice?

Amati agreed and the eleven year old went to work for him. Years later Nicolo died and Antonio took over the business. Antonio’s full name? Antonio Stradiviari, the greatest violin maker of all time.

Antonio couldn’t sing, Antonio couldn’t play, but he could carve. We may not all be able to sing, we may not all be able to play violin, but like Antonio Stradivari, we all have things we can do and all have a lasting impact to make on the people around us and even on the world we live in.

Last week, we started to review the fourth purpose that God made us for - We were shaped for service. Roger started to talk about that last Sunday morning, explaining that God has given us all a unique shape which enables us to serve him. Last Sunday night, I began to unpack what this means for us individually.

We started off by acknowledging that God designed us for ministry in 3 directions ...

1. First we minister to GOD - That’s upwards. We do it through worship. When we worship, we are actually ministering to God.

2. Then we minister to OTHER BELIEVERS - That’s inwards. Many of the things we do here at our church are mainly for the benefit of other believers. The musicians for example, morning tea servers, welcomers, children’s church - they are all focussed on believers.

3. Then we also minister to UNBELIEVERS - That’s outwards. Some of the things we do in this church reach out to people outside of this church. Brigades, KOGs, BYG House, Craft Group, the missionaries we support are examples.

SHAPE is an acronym which stands for aspects of our ministry profile. S is for Spiritual Gifts, H is for Heart, A is for Ability, P stands for our Personality and E is our experience.

Last Sunday night, I began to speak about our Spiritual Gifts and our Heart. We learnt that these are two factors which help us to figure out what we should be doing in ministry and where we should be ministering. And this morning I want to continue our mini series and explain how our Abilities and Personality contribute to our ministry profile.

3 ) ABILITIES

Many people when we start talking about abilities really get depressed because they can’t recognise all of the abilities they possess. We all have literally THOUSANDS of abilities. Some of them are NATURAL - i.e. you were born with them. But most of them are LEARNED skills and most of them are so basic to our lives that we take them for granted and don’t even think about them. Speech is an ability you all have. Most of you can tie a shoe lace. Most of you can drive a car. Most of you can tell a $20 note from a $5 note. A bit silly isn’t it, but the point is, that you have literally thousands of skills ranging from the basic and mundane, to complex and unique skills which may have taken you years to master.

Exod 35:30-36:1 30 Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the LORD has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts- 32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship. 34 And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers-all of them master craftsmen and designers. 1 So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the LORD has commanded.”

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