Week Two: September 17-23

We Believe

“I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” - (1 Corinthians 12:3)

Belong. Believe. Become. isn’t a three-word slogan; it’s a process Christians have observed of the Holy Spirit at work making disciples of Jesus. This Holy Spirit calls, gathers, and claims to belong to Jesus. Through the words and promises of the Bible, along with His sacred acts we call “Sacraments,” the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see the reality we would have rejected without Him. We believe! Jesus is Lord! Yes, He’s got us!

Somewhere not long after the great Reformation, Christians started to reverse the process. Teaching had become corrupt, and getting back on track for the Church meant getting it all straight again. So the process became, “Believe. Belong.” While well-intended to teach truth, a subtle false question began to rise… “Do I belong because I believe?” And with that question, the organic, spiritual, creation of “The Body” of the Church began creeping back into the intuitionalism it had fled.

Over the past several decades, millions have left “The Body” and fled intuitionalism. Many of them found community in relationships that rejected all their beliefs. But now they “belonged,” and sadly that led to following false beliefs. Our values and beliefs are largely influenced by the company we keep.

There is hope. From Genesis to Revelation, we meet the God who claims us first. We believe because the Spirit made that move. Almost always, that happens in a community that has adopted us. Thus, when we confess, “Jesus is Lord,” we are confirming what God has already done. We’re doing it with “The Body,” where we belong. As the Christian Church awakens from this subtle distraction, “I believe” becomes less a proposition of religious thought and more the awakening of meeting Jesus. Wherever Jesus is, so is His Body, the Church, and in this holy, amazing, mysterious community, the Spirit is flooding us with gifts. And so, St. Paul, immediately connects the cry of faith to the grace of the Spirit’s gifts flowing into your life. “Now,” he writes, “to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 12:7)

Spiritual Gifts and Abilities

This week we look at “Spiritual Gifts,” and along with them, we review the gifts we frequently call “Abilities.” Both come out of the grace of God. The difference is that Spiritual Gifts come supernaturally, without training or our timing. They catch us by surprise because God is a work supplying them when He needs us to serve. Abilities also come by the grace of God; but in this case, they are learned and developed over time. They are a part of the rhythms of our life and work. They are given so that “...you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work.” (Colossians 1:10)

So let the exciting journey begin! As you believe Jesus is the Lord and Savior of your life, so move on to the next sentence of scripture and discipleship. Believe that the Spirit has gifted you.

 

Sunday, September 17

Read: 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, 27

Reflect: What is the connection between calling on Jesus as Lord and spiritual gifts? How have you seen God at work through the spirituals gifts of people in your community? How have you seen God at work with these gifts in your own life?

For the Family: Some gifts are wrapped up in boxes as presents. Talk about the gifts God wrapped up inside of their body to serve Him? Try to identify some of those gifts in this Bible passage. 

Spiritual Gifts

Over the next four days, you will read brief descriptions of 15 spiritual gifts emphasized at Webster Gardens. They are named in various places in the Bible, and we see these gifts active in the church today. Read the description of these gifts each day with your devotions. Listen to the voice of the Spirit as you read and reflect on scripture with them. Make an initial self-assessment by choosing “yes,” “no,” or “maybe” if you’ve seen an indication of this gift popping up in your life. Remember, these are gifts from the Spirit. His promise is that each of us has one or more of them. Be open to what He is saying to you in this assessment. Could they change in the future? Absolutely! This is a starting point for you as a disciple. When you have completed four days of this exercise, review all your responses, especially the “maybe” responses. Ask God if any should move to the “yes” column. Finally, record in the back of the book the names of those gifts you are open to with a “yes.” If you are doing this with children, choose a simple word or phrase from the description and ask them if they have seen the gift.

 

Monday, September 18

Gifts: Serving the Vision

Read: John 14:1-4

Reflect: What is Jesus’ vision for us? How do the gifts below serve His vision? Where have you seen them appear in your life?

ADMINISTRATION: the ability to plan and execute procedures that increase the church's organizational effectiveness in such a way that Christ's program is carried out. (1 Corinthians 12:28)

____Yes_____ No____ Maybe 

GIVING: the ability to contribute of yourself and your material resources to the work of the Lord with great joy, eagerness, and liberality. (Romans 12:8)

____Yes_____ No____ Maybe 

LEADERSHIP: the ability to envision God's purpose and plan for the future and set goals which will inspire others to work together to accomplish those goals for the glory of God. (Romans 12:8)

____Yes_____ No____ Maybe 

WISDOM: the ability to have an insight and understanding of life situations which arise, perceiving what to do and how to do it; applying knowledge to specific needs so that the Body is built up. (1 Corinthians 12:8) 

____Yes_____ No____ Maybe 

 

Tuesday, September 19

Gifts: Serving the Message

Read: John 16:7-15

Reflect: What is Jesus’ message for us in regard to sin and righteousness? How do the gifts below serve the Gospel message? Where have you seen them appear in your life?

ADMONISHING (PROPHECY): the ability to proclaim and apply God's truth so that believers may be edified, encouraged, and consoled, and non-believers convinced. (1 Corinthians 12:10,28)

____Yes_____ No____ Maybe 

KNOWLEDGE: the ability to discover, accumulate, analyze and clarify information and ideas that are pertinent to growth and the well-being of the Church. (1 Corinthians 12:28)

____Yes_____ No____ Maybe 

TEACHING: the ability to understand, clearly explain, and apply the Word of God to the lives of listeners. (Romans 12:7)

____Yes_____ No____ Maybe 

 

Wednesday, September 20

Gifts: Serving the Mission 

Read: John 14:12-14 

Reflect: What are those greater things that Jesus is speaking of? How do the gifts below serve the mission? Where have you seen them appear in your life?

EVANGELIZING: the ability to share the Gospel with unbelievers in such a way that people become disciples of Jesus.

(Ephesians 4:11)

____Yes_____ No____ Maybe 

HOSPITALITY: the ability to provide an open house and a warm welcome for those in need of food and lodging; to care for those not in the immediate family with joy and effectiveness.

(Romans 12:13)

____Yes_____ No____ Maybe 

INTERCESSION: the ability to pray for extended periods of time on a regular basis and also to seek frequent and specific answers to your prayers to a degree greater than a fellow Christian who does not have this gift. (Colossians 4:12)

____Yes_____ No____ Maybe 

SHEPHERDING: the ability to guide, care for, and nurture individuals or groups in the Body as they grow in their faith. (Ephesians 4: 11)

____Yes_____ No____ Maybe 

 

Thursday, September 21

Gifts: Serving the Needy

Read: John 13:12-17

Reflect: How do Jesus’ words and actions give direction to His mission for the church? What are some “foot washing” activities

in our day which serve the mission? How do the gifts below serve the needy? Where have you seen these gifts appear in your life?

EXHORTING (ENCOURAGEMENT): The ability to reassure, strengthen, and affirm those who are discouraged or wavering in their faith. (Romans 12:8)

____Yes_____ No____ Maybe 

HEROIC FAITH: the ability to demonstrate a heroic, unwavering trust and confidence in the power of God to reveal Himself in extraordinary deeds that may seem impossible to people.

(Hebrews 11)

____Yes_____ No____ Maybe 

MERCY: the ability to empathize with hurting people and to translate compassion into cheerful acts of service.

(Romans 12:8)

____Yes_____ No____ Maybe 

SERVING: the ability to serve with others in their ministries by aiding them in practical ways, enabling them to be more effective in their work for the glory of God. (Romans 12:7)

____Yes_____ No____ Maybe 

Abilities

Over the next two days, reflect on God’s word and check those abilities you have developed in your lifetime. This list is far from exhaustive, but it does recognize those abilities we have used most often in our community at Webster Gardens. On the first day, we look at abilities loosely connected with the arts. The second day, we consider abilities loosely connected with trades. If you are doing this as a family, ask your children to share things they would like to do when they grow up.

 

Friday, September 22

Read: Colossians 3:15-17

Reflect: How has the Spirit used your gifts to directly or indirectly bring peace to an anxious situation? What abilities, below, have you practiced and shared in your work? What does this mean: “whatever you do… do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus?”

___Musical Instruments ___ Dance ___ Director 

___Drama ___ Lead Worship ___ Lighting

___Sound Tech ___ Video ___ Vocalist

___Cooking/Meal Planning ___ Copy Editing ___Interior Design 

___Teaching ___ Leadership ___ Organizing

___Child Care ___ Counseling ___ Financial

___Graphics/Arts/Crafts ___ Marketing/Communications

___Writer

 

Saturday, September 23

Read: Colossians 3:23-24

Reflect: What does it mean for a Christian to “work… with all your heart?” What abilities below have you practiced and shared in your work?

___Landscaping ___ Mechanical ___ Medical

___Office ___ Security ___ Tech/Computers

___Translator ____Face-to-Face Communication

___Athlete ___ Coach ____ Official

___Concrete ___ Contractors ___ Decks

___Electrician ___ Garage Doors ___ Handyman 

___Painting ___ Plumbing ___ Roofing 

___Dry Wall

Small Group Conversations

Week Two: We Believe

  1. Share a thought you learned from our first session, “Belong” and your exploration of personality and experience.

  2. Name an activity you just love to do? What is it about this that you enjoy most? 

  3. Read: 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
    (If you haven’t done so, read also the introduction to Week One.)
    a.
    Paul moves from confessing one’s faith in Jesus to spiritual gifts (vv. 3-4). What is the connection between these two thoughts?

    b.What makes a spiritual gift different from an ability or skill?

    c.How are we creating an environment for spiritual gifts to bear fruit in our church and small groups? What barriers or concerns are there for their use among us? How does this scripture help (or leave open) these concerns?

  4. Review the spiritual gifts descriptions on pages 17-19.
    a.What gifts do you believe God has given you?

    b.How do you believe they complement your service in family, community, work, and the church?

    c.What would you like to explore more and have your group pray about? 

  5. Read: Colossians 3:12-17
    a.What abilities have you acquired that give you the most joy in sharing?

    b.Where are you anxious, conflicted, or burned-out in using your abilities?

    c.How does this Bible passage help address joys and trials in your work? What false beliefs lead to burnout? What beliefs give peace and joy? 

  6. What abilities did you identify in the exercise on page 20?
    a.In what ways do you believe you are serving Jesus with these abilities?

    b.What do you believe Jesus is calling you to keep doing, stop, or start doing with your abilities?

  7. Group Vision Exercise: How will your group organize to support one another as disciples who use their Spiritual Gifts and Abilities in their work and volunteerism, doing it all in the name of the Lord Jesus?