Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘Paul’

Using Our Gifts?


Are we Using our Gifts?

Today’s sermon notes from the message delivered at
The Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
Ennis, Montana
by Rev. Steve Hundley
inspired by the message Paul wrote to
the church in Corinth: 1Cor.1:1-9

It’s really not OK to live in your own little world, keep your gifts to yourself, and fail to step out with courage and faith to share the spiritual gifts God has given you. Today’s message focused on the problem we have when we hoard our gifts, keep the to ourselves, fail to use our talents to glorify God and benefit others. Steve Hundley called his sermon “The Gifted Church.”

I listened and noted the message through my own filters writing:

Paul wrote four letters
To the Corinth people.
The church there had problems;
They struggled ‘neath their steeple.
But it wasn’t a typical
Place with steeple on a peak.
Instead, they met in a house
Large enough to fit those who who seek
To worship God through Christ.
It was an urban setting.
The church was being attacked
By the townfolk who were vetting
Their frustration at Christians.
There was a gap between rich and poor.
It was a hindrance to worship
When the poor were scorned by those with more.

Corinth was a diverse city.
The church was diverse as well;
But their real problem was their gifts
With which they were gifted. (Do tell!)
We are weakest at the point
Of our greatest gift, when it
Is a crutch, not shared, not used
To glorify God, help others, and send it
Out to make the world better.

But when we use our gifts
To be part of something bigger –
And we thank God who lifts
Us up, then our gifts are used
To make our talents worthwhile.
Like the people of Corinth,
We must not let our gifts go into a pile
Where they are lost and wasted.

Talents not shared are wasted gifts.
There are talents everywhere,
But until we use them for others,
who will know? Who will care?
This is a church full of talented people
Whose gifts are very apparent.
You use them here and in the community.
You spread your joy; your love is transparent.

If Paul were alive today,
He would write a letter to praise you.
Keep on sharing, caring, using your gifts –
And let His loving spirit raise you
To His blessings.

Amen

What talent are you willing to share this week? Make your gifts count!

.

See ya tomorrow

Heaven is Here


I sometimes drift into negative thinking, remembering my shortcomings of the past, projecting them into my present. You don’t ever do that, do you? I engaged in that kind of harmful reminiscing this morning when God hit me upside the head and scolded me: “Knock it off! Open up your devotional for today and see what I have to say!”

OK, OK, I don’t know why I was dredging up that old stuff. Sorry, God! Totally unproductive, I know. OK, what does “Mornings with Jesus” have to say today?

The scripture for today is Philippians 3:13-14, “I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it…” I paused. Taken hold of what? Paul is being pretty vague here, Lord. What should he have taken hold of? Read on, Jan! OK, OK…  “But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal…”  Just a minute, Lord. What goal? I can understand the bit about forgetting what is behind. I can see the wisdom in understanding that we can’t change one single thing about the past and so it is pointless to dwell on it. But, how do I strain toward the goal if I am not sure what the goal is?

“Beeeee paaaayshunt!!” God urged. Read on!

“… the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

There! Now, let me read that again. “I do not consider myself YET to have taken hold of IT. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:13-14 (emphasis mine)

Now I get it! “It” is the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward. Heaven is the prize. And, the best news of all… Heaven is right here! Right here where I live. Right there where you live! Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Here – on earth – where His Will is done, – here is Heaven on Earth!

Lord, as I love in gratitude for this place where I live and for its people, help me strive (yes, even strain) to make “IT” a more heavenly place. Let the peace of Christ rule in my heart – and let thankfulness for today and bright hope for tomorrow radiate from my life through YOU. In Christ’s Name I pray, Amen!

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