I saw jets of light shining from cities and villages, and from the high places and the low places of the earth. God's word was obeyed, and as a result there were memorials for Him in every city and village. His truth was proclaimed throughout the world. --Testimonies, vol. 9, pp. 28, 29. {ChS 112.2}

Saturday, May 10, 2014

So, what are your Spiritual Gifts?

Pastor Ern Brake
Today we had a specially arranged "Spiritual Gifts" seminar with Pr. Ern Brake, Ministerial Director from the BC Conference of Adventists.  The seminar began with the 11 a.m. message and continued after our fellowship dinner until about 4:30 p.m.  Pastor Brake did an impressive job of presenting the regular materials and of 'ad libbing' some "confirmations" (I will explain this a little bit down the page).

Before he took off with the Spiritual Gifts seminar, Pastor Brake gave us a speedy overview of  REACH (acronym for Revelation & Transformation; Education for Discipleship; Alignment (Unity); Community Outreach & Evangelism; Healthy Leadership and Management.

In our BC/Yukon Conference there are 7,000 active Seventh-day Adventist Christians and an estimated 4.6 Million "seeking souls".  While the figures denoting the people who are actively looking for an intimate God might seem unwieldy, remember that Christ did his ministry with a disciple team of 12.  Using the REACH acronym, the Mission Statement reads:
"To REACH BC and the Yukon with a Christ-centered Message of Hope and Wholeness."
In the Fall/Winter of 2013, REACH recommendations by individual church bodies were put forward and will be further fleshed out over the next couple of years.  One project example using these recommendations is to look at "How To Hear The Voice of God" -- a booklet with 100+ book summaries addressing this topic will be made available in both paper and online format.

The Spiritual Gifts Seminar will also be available at some future date to be presented by individual churches in power point like the presentation we saw today.

We look forward to these innovations!

Unpacking the REACH acronym in terms of its use for understanding Spiritual Gifts:
Revival and Transformation:  Who are you?  Looking at going from unbelieving to believing... (or believing again)
Education for Discipleship: What you do with your Spiritual Gifts
Alignment / Unity: the evidence of Divine Power in action!
Community Outreach and Evangelism: Invite others into your fellowship
Healthy Leadership & Management: the goal with the progress of the above.

Dr. Ern Brake shared his own testimony-- how he started out as a young University-attending Atheist and graduated from that to theist, then to Christian theist, and finally to Seventh-day Adventist Christian theist-- you can read about this at the Conference site.

A Spiritual Gift is an Ability Given by God to edify the Body of Christ.
If you have a beautiful singing voice, but do not use it to edify the Body of Christ-- your singing voice is not a spiritual gift.

Alignment/Unity within the Church is extremely important in the discovery and use of one's spiritual gifts.  Dr. Brake showed a screen with a number of circles with each having a Spiritual Gift listed: Helps in one, Mercy in another, etc... with other circles interspersed.  These were all "free agents"-- there was no unifying force, no real ability to fully edify the Body of Christ.  However, when there was a pictoral arrangement of the Gift "circles" into a body shape (with the head being Christ) it was clear that the arrangement (the alignment) would allow for mobilization of these gifts to serve in unity.  

A scene in the children's movie "Finding Nemo" was used to illustrate the concept of effective teamwork: When all the fish moved harmoniously all together in one direction, they had the hope of saving each other.  Sister Ellen White wrote:
"If Christians were to act in concert, moving forward as one under the direction of Power, for the accomplishment of one purpose, they would move the world." 9T221
Throughout the presentation Dr. Brake pointed out that if you are working for the Lord in your area of spiritual giftedness you will SHINE for the Lord-- you will find great satsifaction in doing whatever it is you are gifted to do in concert with others doing what they are gifted to do. 

There are many "Spiritual Gifts inventories".  The one that was chosen to sample today was from the book "Connections."  You can pick that up from the ABC.

We went ahead and did the Spiritual Gift Assessment.  After people arrived at their 3 or 4 strongest rated gifts, there was some sharing and some questions and comments.  I mentioned that when I have done these assessments before there has never been any follow-up so that we can use lists of gifts to appropriately nominate persons to church offices, for example, or form ministries based on spiritual giftedness of members, etc.  Confirmation is needed from other members, friends, community to make sure that the giftedness is indeed as perceived by all.  In demonstration, a few persons were invited up and the rest of the members were asked how that person had blessed them-- the blessings were a validation of what the assessment showed their Spiritual Gifts to be in most cases.

The seminar was very enjoyable.  Dr Brake suggested that the next step would be to have the Board of Directors decide on how we can move from the assessment to receive confirmations, and then what can be done to inventory the Gifts for use in ministries.

If you would like to do the Spiritual Gift Assessment, please see someone on the Board to get the forms needed.  God bless you!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pause and Think Calmly

Selah! (Pause and think calmly). When you are fully aware of God's power you will not collapse with despair, no matter what happens. The Godly must not be anxious about the Day of the Lord. The Lord is sovereign over the whole Earth! Habakkuk 3:3, 9. By singing praises to the Lord, the Godly encourage each other to look expectantly towards the Lord's Coming! Selah!