Ecuador’s Earthquake

As we’ve heard in the news, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck near the central coast of Ecuador Saturday, April 16. On April 21, reliefweb.int reported:

According to the latest report from Ecuador’s National Secretariat for Risk Management (SNDGR), there have been 238 deaths, 1,577 injuries, 50 people have sought shelter in emergency collective centers, 370 buildings have been destroyed and 151 others have been affected, and 26 schools have been affected; no official information has been provided on the number of affected people. Ecuadorian Red Cross estimates that the numbers of affected people could reach up to 70,000-100,000 and with 3,000 to 5,000 needing emergency shelter.”

Compassion International

One of the great things about being a child is having all kinds of hopes and dreams. Compassion International, one of the world’s leading child development organizations, helps connect sponsors with children who don’t have a fair shot at making their dreams a reality through local churches and centers.

Dennis Michael

Although we seek to encourage Dennis through our letters, we find we’re the ones inspired and encouraged from his letters. We’ve loved learning about Dennis’ family, friends, education, hobbies, dream of becoming a professional soccer player, and growing love of Jesus.

Compassion International has 22 centers within 60 miles of the earthquake’s epicenter. My family has sponsored Dennis from Ecuador since 2009. Thankfully, Dennis’ center was unaffected, but my heart still breaks for the children and families who have not only lost loved ones, but also their homes.

Compassion International has set up a fund to aid families of Compassion-assisted children who’ve been adversely affected by Ecuador’s earthquake. 100% of donations go to relief efforts.

Through our contributions we can help provide the following urgent needs: temporary shelter, medical aid, water and sanitation, and emergency food.

Will you join me in helping these precious people? You may access Compassion’s fundraiser page through this link: Provide Urgent Care to Ecuador.

I will continue my Bible Study in Genesis next week.

Blessings,

KD

 

Seven Primary Spiritual Gifts

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”          Romans 12:6-8 (NIV)

Every believer has one primary motivational gift

According to the above passage, the seven motivational gifts are:

  1. Prophecy – Communication of revealed truth that builds up believers
  2. Service – Practical service to help others
  3. Teaching – To provide guidance and moral instruction
  4. Encouragement – Encouraging, comforting, and exhorting others
  5. Giving – Cheerfully contributing to the needs of others
  6. Leadership – Service carried out for the benefit of others
  7. Mercy – Helpful activities such as feeding the hungry, caring of the sick and aging

Not only does the Bible command the church to lovingly exercise all seven of these motivational gifts, but every believer also needs these seven areas in order to grow as God desires.

Do you know your primary motivational gift? It’s our job to discover what that gift is. Spiritual gift inventories may be helpful, but I’ve found the best way is to jump in and try an area of service that seems fitting, (see God’s Masterpiece & Sublime Design).

Taking a class at church and/or talking to someone who knows you well will also help you discover your primary gift. I really like how our church encourages and gives people permission to volunteer for 90 days in an area of service. By the end of three months, the individual has a pretty good idea if he/she has that particular gift. If it’s not a good fit, we’re encouraged to try another area of ministry.

We are most effective for Christ when we lovingly use the gift(s) He has given us, (see 1 Corinthians 13). But this shouldn’t be an excuse for not occasionally taking out the trash, or lending a helping hand for someone whose primary gift isn’t service.

I love that God shapes us uniquely. Our gifts will look differently in the way they are expressed through a variety of ministry. When we exercise our gifts through ministry, the Holy Spirit is the One who determines what impact another believer will receive (1 Corinthians 12:8-11).

How do you know what your primary gift is?

Joy and fruitfulness are often the results when exercising your primary gift.

God’s Plan for Spiritual Gifts

You are a paintbrush. God uses the paintbrush in your hand (your gifts) to help change and transform others in the body of Christ. And God uses others in your life to make you like Christ.”  – Chip Ingram

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God’s ultimate makeover is to produce the life of Christ

I found Chip Ingram’s analogy of spiritual gifts and paintbrushes interesting (Your Divine Design). This is my paraphrase:

  • Some believers’ gifts are like a paint roller. Although they may not be as personal, they are more effective in a large group setting with their broad paint strokes.
  • Some believers’ spiritual gifts are more like a refined artist, patiently painting detailed color and techniques on an individual’s canvas/heart.

You get the picture . . . . There are different paintbrushes for specific jobs; God uses different spiritual gifts for His specific purposes.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (NIV) says: There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

Where does God do His extreme makeover?
  • In His people—the church (Ephesians 2:18-22)
  • In the believer’s heart (Ephesians 3:14-19)
How does God do His extreme makeover?

Jesus’ victory over sin, death, and Satan is witnessed through spiritual gifts in His church (Ephesians 4:7-13).

10 Principles for Understanding Spiritual Gifts

(Source: Chip Ingram)

  1. Every Christian has one or more spiritual gifts.
  2. Many believers have received more than one spiritual gift.
  3. Spiritual gifts are given the moment of regeneration, but they may lie undiscovered and dormant for a long period of time.
  4. Spiritual gifts can be abused and neglected, but if they are received at regeneration, it would appear that they cannot be lost.
  5. Spiritual gifts are not the same as the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  6. Spiritual gifts are not the same as the fruit of the Spirit.
  7. Spiritual gifts are not the same as natural talents.
  8. Some spiritual gifts are more useful in local churches than others because they result in greater edification of the body.
  9. Charismata literally means “grace gifts”. These gifts are sovereignly and undeservedly given by the Holy Spirit.
  10. Gifts are God’s spiritual equipment for effective service and edification of the body [church].

Do any of these 10 principles surprise you? If so, which ones? Why?

Related posts:

Power of Love

The power of love is a curious thing. Make one man weep, make another man sing.”

I remember well this catchy tune by Huey Lewis and the News in the eighties. No matter the genre—music or literature—love is the most celebrated, analyzed, and agonized topic. 218187_364190660328477_349698182_nEveryone desires to love and be loved. And there is no shortage of advice about how to love and/or how to be loved. But what does the Bible say about love?

*The following article is used with permission. ©2014 United Church of God, an International Association. Published as a free educational service in the public interest. http://www.ucg.org/booklet/marriage-and-family-missing-dimension/divorce-proof-your-marriage/different-kinds-love-menti/

The Different Kinds of Love Mentioned in the Bible

The Greek language in which the New Testament was written uses several words translated “love.” The first two listed below are found in the New Testament. Understanding their meanings helps us better comprehend God’s expectations of us.

Agapao (verb) is a special word representing the divine love of God toward His Son, human beings in general and believers. It is also used to depict the outwardly focused love God expects believers to have for one another. Agapao (including its noun form, agape ) is “the characteristic word of Christianity, and since the Spirit of revelation has used it to express ideas previously unknown, inquiry into its use, whether in Greek literature or in the Septuagint, throws but little light upon its distinctive meaning in the New Testament . . .”

This special type of Christian love, “whether exercised toward the brethren, or toward men generally, is not an impulse from the feelings, it does not always run with the natural inclinations, nor does it spend itself only upon those for whom some affinity is discovered” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, “Love”).

Reflecting the fact that human marriage is modeled after the divine relationship between Christ and the Church, husbands are told to love their wives with this kind of outgoing, selfless love (Ephesians 5:25, 31-32).

This kind of love is perhaps best expressed in Jesus Christ’s statement in John 15:13, “Greater love [agape] has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Jesus Himself perfectly exemplified this kind of love throughout His lifetime, continually giving of Himself and His time and energies to serve others and ultimately offering up His life as a sacrifice for all of humanity. This is the kind of love God wants each of us to exemplify in our lives and particularly in our marriages.

Phileo (verb) means “‘to have ardent affection and feeling’—a type of impulsive love” (Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary , 1995, “Love”). This is the natural, human type of love and affection that we have for a friend and is often defined as “brotherly love.”

In John 21:15-16, Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him with the agapao type of love and Peter responded that he had the normal human phileo type of love for Him. Later, after receiving the Holy Spirit, Peter would be able to genuinely demonstrate agapao -type godly love, serving others throughout his lifetime and making the ultimate sacrifice in martyrdom.

Eros (noun) refers to sexual, erotic love or desire.

True love, as explained in the Bible, isn’t focused on oneself and one’s feelings or emotions, but is instead outwardly focused on others —wanting to best serve and care for them. True love is beautifully described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (NIV). 425239_457108351048200_531874565_n

Share the Gospel in Asia

I believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to transform lives, and that EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE, should have the opportunity to hear.

In countries hostile to the Gospel, the government bans radio stations from broadcasting any type of Christian content. They also block websites that produce Christian content, or the Internet in general is just not as accessible.

Christ has called us as the Church, and me individually as a follower, to do something about it.

That’s why I’m fundraising for FEBC (Far East Broadcasting Company), a global missions organization focused on getting the Gospel to these people so that they can hear. They’ve developed a method called the Gospel Chip.

 It’s a MicroSD card that can go into most cell phones, computers, and MP3 players. The Gospel Chip contains audio messages of sermons & Scripture, all in the local language.

Using contacts with underground churches, FEBC can discreetly distribute the Gospel Chip to people without detection. 96% of people in these target countries own a cell phone. This means that almost every person in the country has the means to hear about the love of God through the Gospel Chip.

The amazing part is that it only costs $5 to develop and distribute a chip to someone who hasn’t heard the Gospel.

Stewardship is taken seriously at FEBC. Charity Navigator, EFCA, and BBC are among some of their accrediting agencies. You may view their past audit reports and annual 990 forms at: http://www.febc.org/about-us/financial-accountability.Will you help me raise $250 so that I can send 50 Gospel Chips for 50 people to hear the Gospel? You may safely contribute online at this link: http://donate.febc.org/fundraise?fcid=291542.

Thanks so much for your help!

K.D.