1 Peter 4:10-11
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If you speak, you should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If you serve, you should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Have you ever have someone steal credit for something you’ve done, or worse have you ever stole credit from someone else? The other evening as i was speaking to someone they began opening up to me about certain issues in their life. This was truly one of those pastoral moments and me a with such wisdom wanted something utterly profound to say.
Immediately i thought of something i had heard from Wayne Cordeiro’s sermon a day or so before “You don’t realise that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you got…”. Hmm so for a moment i briefly changed the wording to something less coherent and effective and thus i claimed that piece of wisdom during that time of counsel. This person thought i was so wise and i glorified myself. It was awesome.
You’re reading the above and think man that guy is a douche, or perhaps some of you read it and think yeah i would do the same thing. In actual fact that didn’t happen, i actually played the sermon for said individual. But what if i had done such a thing? Would you respect me less? Possibly…
In reading this passage from Peter’s first letter we realise that in fact all our giftings and talents, whether they be serving, counsel, hospitality, speech actually come from God. To claim them as your own is to rob him of his glory. In actual fact using them is encouraged, but using him that The king gets the credit to assist the gospel expand is the condition.
Recently i have come to a point in my life where i realise that the best you can do as a Christian is to realise that your life and all the giftings and positive things that come from it are firstly not from you, secondly not just to bless you, but thirdly it’s to glorify him. Realising the above point releases a deep sense of humility and freedom as you become immersed in the fact that what you have is grace, and the purpose behind what you have is larger than just your own personal gain.
You become part of an eternal story, and because of this eternal unstoppable gospel story you can truly find rest, because nothing has stopped this unstoppable message (Acts 28:31), nothing will and the fruits of your labour will not be stopped because the fruit is produced by him who never fails. Yahweh…
Now i don’t personally believe that to give him glory with what you do means you literally lift up a verbal praise, what does Peter say? In verse 10 he writes that with our gifts we should use it to serve others. Do your gifts and talents help other people? Or just yourself? Perhaps if others gain, so will you and so will God’s name be glorified.
- Serve others with the gifts i have…
Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
To properly know the meaning of a text one must first begin at the beginning aka the introduction and also at the end aka conclusion. A conclusion is a way of the author saying “well in case you weren’t paying attention until now, this is what you should have gotten out of what i wrote…”.
In the last verse of acts we see something amazing. Luke finishes his writing by declaring Paul and his circumstance. In fact the last words of “without hindrance” directly translated to the Greek literally means “unstoppable”.
I’ve recently been playing UFC on my xbox 360 (yes i do play video games to relax…). Of which i have created what i believe is an invincible fighter. He is strong in every way, and will beat any other fighter in the game on every level. I wanted this character because using him means that i can’t lose. In fact when i have friends over i tell them if they want to learn to play to use this character because using him you can’t lose. You can try any moves, do stupid things in the game and still win because he is unstoppable.
In the same way the book of acts ends without the story of the church being over (because well obviously Jesus hasn’t returned), but with the amazing statement that the gospel that we preach and the power of the church is in fact unstoppable. Like UFC we have the ultimate character in Jesus Christ, when we’re with him we can’t lose. There is nothing you can do to slow the progression of the gospel.
The gospel is God’s and the good news will never die, if we realise this it will have huge implications for our lives and how we view everything.
It means that without fear we can approach our circumstances, without fear of failure we can preach the gospel, sure we might look like a fool in the worst case scenario but even if we make a fool of ourselves it will not effect the gospel and it’s evangelism through the nations.
We can do anything, try any moves, do stupid things but at the end of the day Jesus won’t lose. SO we should try anything to get the gospel to our friends, have that awkward conversation, spend that extra bit of money, invite them to your churches outreach (which ironically is this weekend at our church), have no fear because there is nothing you can do to stop the Gospel. For 1/4 of the book of acts (chapters 20-28), Paul is in Prison… Luke is trying to show us Christians that even with the main apostle in prison the Gospel still spread because it was never about one man, but it was about one God, the world can try everything to stop it but it won’t, it’s unstoppable.
So we can praise God that the gospel message is not dependent on any one man or person, but on an amazing God who uses people. Though people fail the message never will. We can’t lose.
- Have no fear when it comes to the Gospel
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms
Today was the last of a long weekend, the first true days off i have had in a long while, having been working 6 days a week for the past few months.
This morning was jam packed with relaxing if that makes sense, waking up at 9:30am, breakfast with my family, shopping with Linda and the parents, it was truly a Good day.
As evening approached i receive a nice call from my mother inviting me and Linda home for dinner, she had prepared a special vietnamese BBQ, with marinated beef and rice paper rolls (as seen in the above photo), she also bought Linda’s favourite fruit for desert, lychee and jack fruits in a sweet bowl of syrup.
Observing this dinner i couldn’t help feel blessed by my mum, and i’m sure Linda felt the same way as she exclaimed “you guys are too good to me”. I was reminded of this comment tonight when spending time with the Lord.
Peter 4 speaks of the amazing act of grace given to us by Jesus on the cross, and it is concluded in verse 10 by a revelation that firstly everyone has something to offer, whatever your giftings may be, whether it’s cooking, cleaning, talking, friendliness, prayer, kindness, forgiveness, music, sport etc, and each of these gifts can ( and should) be used in someway to bless people and by doing so people experience just a little bit of an amazing things we Christians refer to as Grace (receiving something you do not deserve).
Through this amazing experience of Grace, the people whom we bless can begin to see an image of God, and his ultimate act of Loving grace on the Cross. In 1st John 4:12 John reiterates this point, that Love is something so amazing and the very definition of it is what Christ did on the cross. The conundrum therefore is not the act of love, but it’s getting people today 2000 years later to grasp how amazing that act of grace truly was and is.
How do we do this? Through as Peter says, loving others, giving grace to others with the gifts given to us. Like my mum made Linda feel loved, may we use our gifts not matter how small or big to make others feel loved, that they may see just a glimpse of the grace and Love of Jesus Christ.
May we truly Glorify God through our actions, our gifts and our lives, no words can explain the grace we experience every day from Jesus, but truly a picture does speak 1000 words.
- Use my gifts to bless others and show God’s Grace in their lives
I have developed a recent fetish over the past year for memory foam pillows. Since my beloved cousin bought 2 i have been in love with them. This year having started a career i figure it’s the perfect time to go out and purchase one. So (if you remember from previous blogs) i want out got a terrible one from ebay to save money, then i bought a medium one from work and again have become disappointed. Linda asked me the other night, why don’t you just go buy the same one as Thomas since you want it so bad. My response was that i couldn’t justify spending $150 (the non-sale price) on a pillow.
This has led me to an epiphany, maybe it’s not really the price but it’s just that i honestly just don’t want the pillow that much…
In the book of John Jesus asks a cripple sitting by a healing pool for 38 years a seemingly silly question… Do you want to get well? What Jesus is really implying is, if you really want to get better then what’s your deal? Why are you sitting by the pool and not getting in? Instead this invalid defends himself with a negative i can’t do it attitude. Aw poor me everyone jumps in the pool first before me and no one is carrying me in the pool.
Does this cripple really want to get better? Do i really want the memory foam pillow? The truth is that as Christians Jesus is highlighting one of our key mistakes, many Christians have mastered the Ican’t do it attitude. I can’t save that person, i can’t become a pastor, i can’t do that business, i can’t make a difference. Well the answer is of course you can’t but all this cripple had to do was want it, and Jesus can. Jesus asked him if he really wanted it and not that he could but Jesus did.
If you want it just take it, If i really wanted a memory pillow i should stop whining about my pillow and buy it.
We are part of a Can do lifestyle because Jesus can do everything. We can see a million reasons why others can’t but if you want it and Jesus wills it, we can have it.
The cripple tells Jesus he want sit and Jesus enables him to walk, the interesting thing is perhaps if he wasn’t whining for 38 years he probably could of rolled to the pool and eventually dipped himself in. Maybe you are waiting to make a decision, and the answer lies in you rolling into your bethesda pool. Maybe instead of looking at the can’ts we should just love Jesus and roll our way into whatever pool lies in front of us.
May we be inspired to take action through Jesus.
- Love God First, then roll into action
I recently purchased a Golf Buggy, the other day I read in the paper there was a sale on in Golf Box, so i drove to the Balcatta store after work (who did not have a very good range), so i decided let’s go to the city store down the road from Linda’s place, i force her to come along with me. Eyeing off 2 buggies, one cheap and one expensive i was sold by the salesman, he stated that if i were a non-serious golfer then i should spend less because it wouldn’t last, but oooh the expensive one man it has all these extra switches that make it so much more convenient, it’s definitely an “investment” (his words).
I spend a large amount of money on this buggy (I won’t mention how much) and walk out happy. This very scenario however led me to a thought, i was able to gladly depart from my income and actually consider it an “investment” because i treasured hitting a ball in a hole.
In Matthew Jesus speaks of treasure, and advises us against storing up loads and loads of wealth on earth, but rather have our hearts set on his eternal work. He goes on to state that where your treasure is that’s where your heart is.
Where is my treasure? Do i gladly part with income and time when it comes to church, helping the poor, ministering to a troubled friend? or Am i much more glad to spend such money on making it more convenient for me to hit a ball into a hole… Where are our hearts indeed, or should i say where is our treasure indeed, as both are synonomous according to Jesus.
I come to realise that the more important something is to you, the easier you use your time and money saving it up, whether it’s a car, a business, a lifestyle choice, all these things can be our treasure. But are these treasures well invested? Will they harness a profit? Hmm the bible’s answer is a simple NO, it all burns, or gets eaten, but what goes with you into eternity?
As Christians the thing we cherish most must be Christ and the lifestyle he has called us to live. Our treasure should not be found in Golf buggy’s, but rather in the Christendom that we are so gracefully a part of.
May our income, our savings be in Christ as our investment, and may we find a solid return in this life and the next as we faithfully and hopefully invest in the ultimate blue chip fund… Jesus.
- Invest in Jesus
2 Corinthians 2:14-16
Yes i know same scripture from yesterday but wow it’s a good one.
I was driving today behind a large 4wd and it had on it a lovely bumper sticker Jesus fish coupled with a sticker on it’s rear windscreen exclaiming “Jesus 4 All”. I looked at that car and immediately i knew, well that he was Christian, and hence therefore expected good driving from this individual. Next to him was a van with bumper stickers of 94.5 radio show and something to do with being a delivery truck, and then you also see a 4wd with “born to fish” on it.
By observing all these stickers i was able to know a little bit about the driver. It got me thinking why? Why do we have bumper stickers? why do we have facebook profiles, blogs, myspaces, twitters etc. We have them because every human being was made to reflect something. We ourselves are nothing, but we are created to glorify something.
That something might be a radio channel, an occupation, a hobby or Jesus. We assign these things value, reflect them to the world and then not only that but we begin to define ourselves, finding our identity in these things we glorify. How many time have you asked “whose that guy again?” and your friends reply’s with an inference, “he’s the guy that likes doing (insert item of worship)”.
In Corinthians Paul draws the image of our lives being found as an aroma to Jesus and his ultimate sacrifice, that ultimately our lives should reflect Jesus’ lovely fragrance to the world. That when people smell or see us they are pleased to smell or see God for a split second. Christians have our identity as the name implys in Christ… This theology is called adoption/ sonship – whereby our identity is found in the fact that we died in Christ and rose with him and therefore are his co-heirs (Romans 8).
May we as Christians have a Jesus bumper sticker on the car that is our very lives. May we always remember that the world is always watching and smelling, and hopefully the fragrance they experience gives them a taste of the most high creator rather than his creation.
- Smell like Jesus
2 Corinthians 2:12-17
“What you look for you will find”
I don’t know who said that saying but man is it true. It’s interesting because many eyes look at one thing and see something completely different, it’s a bizarre phenomenon.
I watched an episode of 30 Rock today, probably one of my favooutire shows of all time. In it Liz Lemon exclaims that she is unlucky in love and it’s not fair that Jack Donaghy is getting older but in the world’s stereotype that makes him more attractive to women,whereas as she ages she is less attractive to men.
To this Jack responds that her perspective is false, that he is good in love because he is charming, successful, confident and most of all positive, she however is nagging, negative, pessimistic and low in self-esteem. She later realises that when looking at men she would always see their faults rather then their good, that her pessimistic view on life has allowed her to miss out on seeing many good men around her.
It’s an interesting concept, one which we can see so truly in Paul’s outlook on life. In above scripture Paul talks about how he was upset he couldn’t find his friend Titus and when he did, he described it as “Thanks to God… Triumphal procession, Fragrance of Christ to God, dying men and saved men… No one is sufficient as God”. Wow that is a lot of things spotted in a one blessing given to us by God. It’s interesting because how often have we overlooked God’s blessings in our life?
Are we always like Liz Lemon seeing our needs and not what we have, when was the last time we thanked God so poetically as Paul for every blessing in our life. Paul could just easily have been negative about being whipped, single, alone, ship-wrecked, unloved and challenged about his integrity from every church he planted. If he took a Liz Lemon view on life he would be depressed!
But instead Paul takes a Jesus view, one which we new-age Christians should definitely adopt. I notice a few things in running the prayer ministry at church.
- People don’t want to tell people their prayers
- People don’t want to share their testimony’s
Why? it’s because we have a perspective that is selfish, we don’t want others to know our needs and hence grow in love and support, we don’t want people to share in our Joy given by God. Paul was not like this, he shared every blessing with everyone, and everyone knew how Great God was in his life because of his positive outlook. Paul’s testimony’s as he described are truly a fragrance so beautiful to all people, saved and unsaved.
May we realise that in Jesus we have too much to be thankful for, that in him we have a testimony that can and will be a beautiful fragrance of blessing to all people.
- Share my testimony’s with all people
- Look through Paul’s Perspective of all things