05-21-17 Outflowing: The Holy Spirit as Equipper

Our Haiti Missions Team is halfway through their time serving the church down in Haiti!  They’re actually unable to connect with us here in the United States for two more days, but the last time we heard from them, they were finding it very rewarding to be able to help in meaningful ways, and really felt the power and leading of God in what they were doing there.  Please do keep praying for them for the rest of the week, and for their safe trip back on Memorial Day.

Speaking of Memorial Day weekend, next weekend is the last day of our Sunday School year -- but also the final day for the Adult Sunday School class that I’ve been teaching for the past couple of years on “Church History for People Who Didn’t Think That They Liked History” (and whether you let out a little cheer or a little sigh says which side of the fence you’re on for that).  No, we didn’t quite make it up to the present year (if we’re very lucky, we’ll be able to get into the 1990s this week), but we’re coming to a natural ending point for the class, and I’m looking forward to teaching with the Bible as my main curriculum again in the Fall.  But feel free to come and join us on Sunday for this one, last class, if you’ve got the inclination.

In the service this week, we made it a point to honor the two graduates in our Youth Group -- cousins Hannah and James Schellenberg.  You’ve probably seen James at VBS over the years, and you’ve probably seen Hannah at our Sunday morning services over the past few months.  But they’ve become important members of our Intersection Youth Group, and we’re very proud of the young adults that they’re growing into.

In our message this week, we continued in our “Outflowing” series, looking at the Holy Spirit.  This week, we talked about the simple fact that God will never call you to a ministry that He won’t equip and empower you to carry out -- but He may very well call you to a ministry that He hasn’t already equipped and empowered you to carry out. 

That means that you need to be very discerning about what God is calling you to do, because you can’t always gauge that by what you’d like Him to call you to (or not to), or by what you feel qualified to do (or not to do).  So you need to be genuinely listening to the Lord for guidance in your personal prayer time -- not just sharing your own prayer requests and moving on, but really stopping and listening to God’s heart speaking to your own.

That also means that you need to be willing to be gifted by God in ways that may expand your existing gifts, or may stretch you in areas where you have no natural gifting whatsoever.  When thinking about “spiritual gifts,” we tend to think about clearly supernatural gifts like prophecy or healings, but Scripture also speaks of the spiritual gifts of embroidery (Exodus 35:30-35), or architectural design (1 Chronicles 28:11-12), or physical strength (Judges 14:5-6).  If God can gift so many people so specifically -- and in areas that you’d never even think to ask Him to gift us -- then what can God equip you to do when you need to do it?

We’re told that though these gifts come from the Spirit, when the Spirit wishes, how He wishes, and to whom He wishes (1 Corinthians 12:1-11), so you can never make a gift come upon yourself... but you can quench the Spirit and choose whether or not to step out in His gifting (1 Corinthians 14:32).  So let me ask you a serious question:  Are you willing to stop and really listen, and then let God use you in whatever ways that He chooses?

How you answer that -- how you honestly answer that -- will change the rest of your life...