This summer, I have preached on the first few chapters of Mark’s Gospel. We’ll continue this into the fall. One of the recurring themes I’ve seen in these stories is the power of Jesus to heal, to forgive, to include and listen to outsiders, to speak a fresh new word of God’s love into harsh circumstances. I’ve also noticed how this power is available to us – in fact I’ve mentioned that a few times in my sermons. And that is something I believe whole-heartily. We are not just to be observers or receivers of God’s powerful love, but agents and givers too.
I also know that it’s hard to give something you don’t have, can’t see, don’t feel or know about. I can’t give a birthday gift I haven’t already acquired. Earlier this year, we encouraged everyone in the congregation to take a spiritual gifts assessment. We did this to help us see what gifts we have, and what gifts are abundant in our church. We had many with gifts of servanthood, healing, miracles and compassion. Going forward we’ll incorporate this in how our Church Council and ministries are set-up.
Sometimes the gifts of God come through feelings and experiences we have. For example, hearing God’s voice, feeling God’s peace or presence, or sensing a call from God. I go through periods of my life where I get nothing of this and can’t understand how a friend is experiencing God so clearly or how other pastors can talk so definitively about God. I think this happens to most people. These are also seasons for me to evaluate how plugged in I am to listening, what spiritual disciplines I am following, how am I opening myself up to the Spirit. I want to encourage you to stand in a posture of receiving; make time for quiet and listening, practice a discipline that fills you so you will have plenty to give. The power of God is available for transformation in your life, and to give others for their transformation.