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Re-Thinking Church
Part 7

What Am I Supposed to Do?

Pastor Gary Buchman
Emmitsburg Community Bible Church

Read Part 6

I. Demonstration

A. Flashlight and Camera Ė Do you know what these are and what they are for? Each was designed for a specific purpose. I was at a church in Mississippi when a pastor asked some children what this flashlight is for and one of them said, itís what my daddy uses to deer hunt with. Iím sure he meant to find his way in and out of the woods at dark.

B. Batteries and On/Off Switch Ė Just like the ball and the wrench we looked at last week these two items need something to make them do what they were designed for. They need these batteries AND they need someone to turn the on switch on and operate them. Look what happens when we do that.

C. Holy Spirit and You Ė Just like these items, they are incapable of doing what they were created for without the batteries and without someone turning the switch on and operating them. God created you special for a special purpose and to accomplish that purpose, He places His Holy Spirit in you when you seek His forgiveness and ask Jesus to come into your hearts. But, even though He is in you, He doesnít make you do what you were created to do. He is counting on you to turn yourself on. How do you do that? You do that whenever you make a decision to obey God. When you hear of or see a need, or from your pastor, teacher, or from reading the Bible, you know what you are supposed to do and you say, "Yes, Lord," I will do that. It is the same as turning this switch on. But if you leave the switch in the off position, you will just be a carrier of the Holy Spirit, but the energy of His power will remain dormant in you and you will not accomplish the purpose God created you for.

II. Definition Ė What does this have to do with Church and our lesson for today? A lot! God has a special purpose for putting a church together. It is the best way to invade deathís territory and bring life and hope to a lost world. Remember our definition of church? Church is a Special Unique Group of People Bonded Together by the Holy Spirit for the Purpose of Ministering as Jesus Christ in This World. When people see the church as God intended what they should see is Jesus. Sharon Scheaffer recently won an award for her art. The award winning picture is here. It is a picture of Puerto Rico. But if you look closely as I hope you all will before you leave. You will see, it is really a collage of pictures. Many different pictures that when put together look like Puerto Rico. You and I being different should look like Jesus when we are all working together, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Unless everyone is consciously obeying God and turning on the switch on and allowing the Holy Spirit to energize you to do what God created and re-created you for, the church will not be able to represent Jesus as He designed. Last week we reminded you that God has uniquely given you your own Charisma. Charisma is the word translated as gift in the passages referring to spiritual gifts. It is a grace gift, or the unique ability to minister grace to others. Every born again believer has their own unique way to grace others like Jesus. The Holy Spirit is in you. You have a unique ability and gift to give grace to others, but you have to say, "Yes," and let the Holy Spirit energize you like that little bunny in order to grace others for Jesus. However, what I have discovered is that most American Christians approach Church as God designed the same way they approach dinner.

III. Dinner Ė Most of us just want to approach the table at 6 and eat and then leave to watch TV, rest, finish some chores or go out. Many donít think about all that must be done to make a meal possible. Earning the money, thinking about the meals for the week or month, shopping on a budget, making sure all the utensils are clean and available, preparing the food, setting the table, and then after the meal there has to be clean up, leftovers put away, dishes washed and dried and returned to their place in the cupboard and who does all of that. Usually one person. How much better it is when the whole family helps with the preparation, setting the table and, cleaning up afterwards. I am not much of a cook, but I donít mind cleaning up and putting things away. Well, Christians do the same thing. Many just want to show up at the table, be feed, have their needs met, and then leave to rest, watch TV, do some chores or go out while just a few people do all the preparations to try to make Church work. Is that you? You donít really want to help with the meals, you just want to eat? Perhaps you think that Gary serves good meals. But I just want to eat and relax. If so, you may want to re-think being part of a church plant and mission. This is going to require all of us working together in preparation and clean-up to accomplish what God has called us to do. God has gifted my wife with a talent to cook and she is fantastic. She is the reason I gained so much weight. God has gifted me to study and teach. I needed to eat less and exercise more. So do you. God has uniquely equipped you all- no exceptions- to help grace others. But maybe you donít know what God has gifted you to do.

IV. Discovery Ė So, how do I know what my Charisma is? How can I discover what I am to do? I am going to give you 6-7 things that you need to think through carefully. The scriptures are given for you to study this week. Take one a day and meditate on what God is saying to you.

V. Dedication (Romans 12:1; 2 Cor. 5:14; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; Romans 6:11-13; Eph. 5:18). Look at some of these scriptures. It basically says that because of what God has done for me in Christ in that He died for me and rose again to give me so much hope, purpose, forgiveness and a future, I intentionally determine to live the remaining part of my life for Him. My hands, my feet, my ears, my mouth, and my life are His. I give myself as a gift to God, dedicated to serving Him by serving others. It must begin here, class. I gave my life to Christ- Have you? I am not talking about asking for forgiveness, or believing in the cross and resurrection. What I am talking about is as intentional as joining the military or getting married. "Here Lord, I give my self to you, tis all that I can do. At the cross, at the crossÖ." You died for me-I will live for you! I will use my life to honor you by ministering for you in the power of your Holy Spirit n this world. It must begin here.

VI. Delineation (1Cor. 12; Rom. 12:6-16; 1Pet. 4:10-11) This just means that you should study these scriptures to familiarize yourself with the various ways we can minister Godís grace to others. Look especially at Romans 12, and 1 Peter 4. The Holy Spirit may have given you more than one, but he hasnít given them all to you. He definitely hasnít given them all to me. But He has given you at least one. Doesnít mean that He doesnít expect you to love and be hospitable or to give or have faith, it just means it is not as easy for everyone.

VII. Duty (Romans 12:6-16; 1 Peter 4:10-11) Often God leads us to knowing what we are to do as we make ourselves available to do whatever needs to be done. Philip started serving widows in the church in Jerusalem and became a missionary Church planting evangelist in Samaria. Paul began as a street evangelist, then an associate Pastor to Barnabas and then a Church planting missionary. Justin started working with AWANA, became a youth leader, then a youth leader with state wide influence and now a missionary. I will begin with what needs to be done in my church or community and see where and how God leads me. Listen, sometimes a need just naturally brings out your Charisma. Ex.

Suppose we were all guests in a home for Thanksgiving-As our host is bringing the Turkey to the Table she trips over the dog. The turkey goes flying and the table is destroyed, the host is on the floor and dinner is completely ruined. What would you do? Following the list in Romans 12:

  • The Prophet will point out the problem and how it must be corrected to avoid this in the future and to have restoration to the home. The dog can not be in the house on Thanksgiving Day.
  • The Servant quickly grabs paper towels and begins to clean up
  • The Teacher helps the host to understand why the turkey flew and what she can learn from this situation
  • The Encourager reminds the host that it isnít as bad as it could be, everyone is safe, and some of the plates and glasses didnít break and the turkey landed on a clean napkin. Weíll get through this together and itíll all work out because God is working all things together for Good.
  • The Giver is already on the phone calling Bob Evans for a complete meal.
  • The Administrator is organizing the clean-up and how to seat everyone when the Giver gets back from Bob Evans.
  • The Mercy-Giver hasnít stopped hugging the host and even cried with her until the clean-up is over and the new meal from Bob Evans is consumed.
  • Which one were you? Would you have simply made yourself available to the administrator for whatever? Or, would you have simply watched it all from the TV room between football plays?

VIII. Desire (Phil 2:12-13; Ex.36:1-7) This is where the thought process really comes in. Knowing you are given Charisma, what would you like to do? Notice Exodus 36:1-2. God put in the hearts of these people to do what needed to be done. That is what He does today. Look at Philippians 2:12-13. Turn your, ĎOn,í switch on to what God has put in your heart. "God is working in you both to willÖ." I really believe God wants me toÖ. Or, if I could, I really would like toÖ. How would you finish that? What would you do? What people? Where? Supposed money was no object? Suppose the training was no object, what would you do? God, who calls you to do it, will make a way for you to do it. That is what the verse says, but not if you donít turn the switch on.

IX. Delight (John 15:7-11) What ministry brings you delight or do you feel Godís pleasure? The movie, Chariots of Fire was based on the real life of missionary Eric Liddell who when criticized by his sister for running instead of thinking about missions said, "When I run I feel Godís pleasure." When I put a good lesson together I feel Godís pleasure. When I read scriptures and pray with the dying, I feel Godís pleasure. When I give hope to an inmate, I feel Godís pleasure. When I encourage another pastor I feel Godís pleasure. This joy is the inner delight of my heart knowing I have obeyed God. Jesus said, I want you to bear fruit because I want you to know my joy. It is a joy that comes from loving each other as I have loved you. It delighted the heart of God to minister to these guys and it will delight yours as well.

X. Discernment by Others (Acts 11:25-26) What do others see in you? What has someone said, "I think you would be great atÖ, or, I believe God wants you toÖ." Our Lord saw potential in 12 rough men. Barnabas saw the teacher in Saul of Tarsus. Paul saw pastors in Timothy and Titus. Barnabas saw potential in John Mark, even when he quit and Paul didnít trust him. Ask your parents, your peers, your partner, or your pastor, "What can you see me doing for God and others?

XI. Development (Phil. 2:12; 1 Tim. 4:7-8) Donít give up if you fail or flop once in a while. It will happen. God always intends even your failures to fail forward. God has placed his Spirit in you forever. His gifts and calling are irrevocable (Romans 11:29).Do not neglect them. Just like your muscles, the more you exercise them the stronger they become. Paul says exercise them, work out your salvation. And listen closely, there is no such thing as too old, or retirement in Godís vocabulary. If you donít connect and use your Charisma you are simply disobeying and dishonoring the one who gave His all for you, regardless of your age.

XII. Denial Ė Disobedience (Ex. 3-4; Jer. 1;) There are some of you that are not listening. There are some that are saying, "Someone else needs to hear this, I hope they are listening." (If Someone Else can). But you are forming reasons why this doesnít apply to you. God will let you be exempt from this. Here is what you thinking:

  • I am too young Ė But cp. Jer. 1
  • I am too old Ė cp. Luke 1, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Caleb
  • I have no ability Ė cp. Acts 4:13; 1:8
  • I have disability (Ex. 3-4)
  • I have done my share Ė no retirement in scripture
  • I am too busy with life (Matt. 11:28-30 My yoke)
  • I donít want to be hurt or disappointed (Luke 9, a Cross)
  • I donít want to commit my time (Matt. 16: deny self)
  • Fear Ė Iíll be expected to everything and I wonít be fed and I will not like what I am doing Ė just do 1 thing but do it well.
  • I will later when Ö. (Luke 9:57-62)

Only One Life that will soon be past-Only what is done for Christ will last.

XIII. Decoration and Designation (2 Cor. 5:9-10) My Brothers and sisters, I am not preaching this to dampen your day, but to encourage you and help you see the purpose you were created and redeemed for. You are special to God, very special. Knowing your personality and your potential, He has chosen to live in you to do incredible stuff. But you must turn the switch on. The day is approaching when He is going to have a time of accounting for what you have done with your Charisma and your time. You will stand before Him, or perhaps kneel. There could be great joy as you hear, "Well done, my good and faithful servant, here is your crown, your robe, and the results of your obedience." The saints and angels in heaven erupt in applause for your faithfulness. But, what if there is commendation, no decorations, and no designated results of using your Charisma, no Crown, no Royal Robe, and no applause, nothing to report for the grace you were given to share? A place in Heaven, yes, but the honor of your King, No.

Thatís why Paul says, "We make it our aim, whether present or absent to be well pleasing."

I want my King to be honored and I will live for Him who died for me. I will minister in the power of the Holy Spirit as Jesus in this world. I will use and not waste the Charisma he has given me. Amen? Amen! Letís get out there and givíem heaven.

Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman