Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Use Your Giftings!

But the manifestation of the spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” 
I Corinthians 12:7

We are members one of another and it is time we took these words seriously and began to act like one harmonious body again. The gifts of the Spirit are not only for use within the church. They are for the world as well. 

Some who have the gift of teaching ought to be exercising it in their homes. Some who have the gift of helping ought to be using it in the office, the shop, or wherever they are. Remember that the ministry of the body is the ministry of Jesus Christ, His continuing ministry in human society. Christ loves this world and the men and women in it. He loves the homeless, the street derelicts, the drug addicts, the alcoholics, the prostitutes, the gang members, the down and outers on crack, the business people enslaved by the god of success, the Generation X’ers who have given up on the future, the baby boomers who have achieved their goals and status goals and still feel hollow inside. 

Jesus loves them all, and He wants to reach them about the Savior who has given His life for them, the Father who gave His only Son for them, and the Spirit who wants to empower them and indwell them. 

Our job is to exercise our gifts in order to urge, draw, and love people into the Kingdom of God and the Body of Christ. That is why God has equipped us with gifts and filled us with His life. As we discover and use the gifts He has given us, we become His hands, His mouth, His feet, going out into the world and telling His story; doing His work; sharing His love; completing His eternal plan for the redemption of this broken world! Pastor Reg

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Let Nothing Compromise Your Integrity!

I recently spoke to a group of 40 men at an outdoor retreat in Wrenshall, Minnesota. These were primarily men who enjoy the great outdoors and its hunting and fishing. Of course I enjoy that kind of life experience as well.

A good hunter or fisherman must have proper equipment and make good decisions in order to enjoy success. Most fishermen could spend hours telling about all the fish they lost because of faulty equipment or poor judgments they made. The important thing is that they became better fisherman as a result of those experiences!

Character is developed much like we develop good fishing techniques. Most of us will try to avoid pain and adversity, but the truth is, pain is often necessary to purify and refine our character.

The Bible says, “We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience—and patience produces character, and character produces hope.” (Romans 5:3, 4) We must have hope in this world. Hope is an anchor that will keep us from drifting into discouragement, futility, or despair.

The Scripture says that troubles will produce patience. And patience produces character. Another word for patience is long-suffering and forbearance. Do we fail in these areas? The answer is yes!

One thing that has tested my patience through years of fishing is what is called “line memory.” That’s when the line comes off the spool and ends in a giant snarl. A couple of things have helped keep the frustration level low is to (1) change the line on my reels often and (2) not waste time trying to unravel the snarls but to just cut it off.

The Living Bible paraphrases Romans 5:4: “Patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady.” Is your character strong and steady?

One of the greatest hindrances to integrity and character is hypocrisy. Integrity does not hold two standards. Integrity means that you are real! You are authentic! An old country preacher said it this way: “Be who you is, cuz if you ain’t who you is, you is who you ain’t!” Our great challenge as Christians is to not compromise our integrity, no matter what the rest of the crowd might do. According to Psalm 7:8, God judges us according to our integrity! Character IS everything!

- Pastor Virgil Amundson