It has been some time since my last post. A lot has happened in the past two months. My wife, Alicia, and I traveled to the Philippines with a group from our church. My parents came to Paducah to celebrate Christmas with us. Then Alicia and I took the girls to Indiana to bring in the New Year with our families. I couldn’t even begin to calculate the hours and miles we have endured over the past 67 days.
In addition to the travel I accepted a position as President-Elect for the Discipleship Network of Kentucky Baptist Churches. I know it’s a mouthful but it basically means I have the privilege of working with fellow ministers across the state as we aim to provide discipleship coaching and opportunities for training throughout the year. We have already started planning our first event and have a few others on the docket for 2019!
It had been a busy season but as 2018 was coming to an end I had a sense of longing. I didn’t know what was going on internally but I knew something was missing in my life. My joy was diminishing and my energy was beginning to fade day-by-day. I thought if I read more I would be filled. So I read 4 books in the course of 3 weeks but that didn’t fill the void in my life. I started going to the gym again. I ran. I lifted weights. I ate better. While those things made me feel better and did help with my energy, my joy was still struggling. I prayed more. I mediated more. I searched God’s Word for hope and direction, but I was still missing something.
Have you ever had a season like that? It seems that no matter how hard you try, nothing can scratch the itch! It wasn’t until recently did I realize what was missing. And now that I look back at it, it makes perfect sense! The problem wasn’t a lack of filling in my life. Obviously I was doing more than I had in some time. I filled myself with God’s Word. I filled myself with exercise and healthier eating habits. I filled myself with knowledge and sought wisdom. But what I wasn’t doing. What I was missing. What I needed to be doing all along was pouring out to others all that I was pouring into myself.
The Bible tells us that we all have gifts. Paul calls them ‘gifts of the Spirit,” (1 Cor. 12.1). Each person who has professed Jesus Christ as Lord has received the Holy Spirit and therefore received ‘gifts of the Spirit.’ Some are given one and others given more. There are several gifts and I won’t go into them all right now but I know that one my gifts is teaching. This has been affirmed to me over the years. My greatest joy comes from studying God’s Word and then teaching others how to apply His truth in their lives. Truth be told, that was one of the motivations for this blog. I want to encourage you, challenge you, and motivate you to live a life that brings glory to God. There is no way we can do that apart from His Word.
What I discovered was that I had not had an opportunity to teach in nearly 3 months. I poured out everything I had while we were in the Philippines. When we returned I welcomed the thought of a short break. But then Thanksgiving was around the corner. Christmas came and went. We were busy at church planning for special services and programs. My family was busy with the hustle and bustle of the holidays. I was busy but not satisfied.
Then last week everything clicked. We launched a 4-month initiative focused on Evangelism that allows me to teach every Sunday morning from now until Palm Sunday. I have the honor of working with every class in our church from 7thgrade thru senior adults as I teach them how to share their testimony in 2-minutes or less.
Four days prior to the Evangelism training I kicked off an 8-week series on Spiritual Gifts during our Wednesday night ministry. As I write this I am preparing to teach for the fourth time in 8 days and I couldn’t be more energized! The Apostle Peter writes, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God,”(1 Peter 4.10-11a).
Let me end with this. There is an undeniable joy that comes from using what God has given you. I can testify to that! If you have trusted your life to Christ, you have been given a gift to be used for His glory. Maybe you are like me: you know your gift but haven’t used it in some time. But maybe you don’t know what it is. If that’s you, I encourage you ask God to reveal His gifting to you. Ask others what they see in you and then begin to, ‘use whatever gift you have received to serve others.’
There are several ‘tests’ you can take to begin the process of determining your gifting. Understand that these ‘tests’ are not the answer. They are however a great place to start. If you have never taken a Spiritual Gifts test I recommend the Spiritual Gifts Survey provided by Lifeway. Click on this link to download a free test, https://www.lifeway.com/en/articles/women-leadership-spiritual-gifts-growth-service Find “Spritual Gifts Survey (Discover Tool).” Print it. Take it. Pray over it. And post your spiritual gift to this blog! Let me know where the Lord is leading you and how I can pray for you.