“Downsize your kitchenware… using smaller bowls, plates, and containers can subconsciously influence how much you serve yourself.”
“Put down the fork. By putting down whatever utensils you're using between every bite, you can slow down your eating time, leaving your stomach a chance to feel full... Another technique is to take a sip of water between each bite. … a device you can get from a dentist that you wear to make your oral cavity smaller, and "diet forks" that are awkward to use that you'll get less food per bite!
“Trade weight for cash. A 2007 study showed that the more you pay people to lose weight, the more pounds they drop over a three-month period. If there's someone who keeps nagging you to lose weight, ask that person about paying you for every pound you lose.”
We want to be healthy Christians and a healthy Church serving the Kingdom of God/ serving those in our community who are searching, who need to find peace, who need to know they are loved. So just as some of us would be better off if we were in better physical shape, let’s get in Spiritual Shape. Develop an awareness.
I love Rick Warrens classic little model for discovering the place God wants us to minister. Get in shape: S.H.A.P.E.
* Spiritual Gifts - A set of special abilities that God has give to you to share his love and serve others.
* Heart - The special passions God has given you so that you can glorify him on earth.
* Abilities - The set of talents that God gave you when you were born, which he also wants you to use to make an impact for him.
* Personality - The special way God wired you to navigate life and fulfill your unique Kingdom Purpose.
* Experiences - Those parts of your past, positive and painful, which God intends to use in great ways.
Taken together, each of us has a unique SHAPE that form the area of service God has in mind for each of us. As we as a Christian community get in better Spiritual Shape, God is going to use us for even more amazing things. To be on the front row with God is incredibly exciting!
Today I want to spend a bit of time with three of the gifts described in the Bible: Wisdom, Knowledge and Faith. Each week for the next 5-6 weeks we’ll look at others… So many of the gifts all Christians are to practice to a certain level, but some people are called to an incredible passion for it, a burning within themselves.
Let’s start with Faith. We are all called to have faith, but some people seem to have an incredible gift for Faith which goes beyond the “normal” faith. I have faith in God, but it is not my spiritual gift. I have a measure of doubt that seems to walk hand in hand with faith, which means I need people with an amazing gift for faith to keep me focused. So do you. Some people believe beyond what is reasonable; sometimes people with a gift for incredible faith drive the rest of us “normal” Christians nuts because it is much easier to be a pessimist and give up. Sometimes I even get anxious because I am ready to give up on whatever the project is, and I want to get on with plan B. Because I am an administrator, that’s what I do, I make plans, I organize. I need to be on a Team with people who have faith. Every church board needs at least one or two people with incredible faith. Every Christian needs at least one or two friends with incredible faith.
Abraham had an unreasonable faith in God. If you don’t know the whole story of Abraham go back and read it in Genesis. An amazing man of faith. I don’t know how he does it. We need people of faith who just believe, who against all odds, just believe, they simply trust when most of us are ready to go on to plan B. Denny called yesterday, and said I know this is what God is going to do ( talking about a specific thing)…maybe Denny has the gift of faith. Maybe that’s why so many people think Denny is nuts… Left to me I may have given up months ago…
Look at the scripture about the gift of Faith: Rom. 4:18-21. Abraham is nutty. He’s insane. I know we all have a streak of insanity, but some are nuttier than others. Are you kidding me. How can Abraham keep believing in God’s promises. God gives some people an extraordinary measure of Faith. It’s a gift… to know this helps me…
In I Corinthians 12:9 it says, “and to another faith by the same Spirit” (NIV). Faith is assurance and belief. The author of Hebrews wrote, “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” The gift of faith involves a prompting from God to trust Him for the supernatural, to continue even when there are difficult circumstances. Perhaps you can begin to see why different people are given different gifts so that together God knits us together as a body, with each doing it’s part. If you have the gift of faith, that gift will shape whatever specific tasks and responsibilities the Lord gives you. I bet most of you can list a number of people in this church, in this room, who you admire for their incredible faith, their unreasonable belief against all odds. Ruth Glass, Jim’s mother, was a tremendous woman of faith. When I was in the Nooksack Church sometimes she would frustrate me so…faith and stubbornness sometimes look alike….
A person with the gift of faith is “fully persuaded” God has the ability to answer prayer and work everything according to His will. When a person with the gift of faith learns about certain situations that seem impossible, God seems to nudge them to trust Him. God gives them a sense of assurance in His ability and desire to work in the situation. Without people with the gift of faith, people like me would probably never have the patience to wait, but constantly go to plan b, plan c, plan d….
Knowledge – READ 1 Cor. 2:14-16. Some are given a spiritual gift of knowledge.
In I Cor. 12:8 it says, “to another the message of knowledge” . The Biblical meaning is to “know” something through experience, to sense it. We rely on God to speak to us as the result of our experience with Him and His word. It could be an insight, a summary or a relevant message. A person with this gift has the desire to seek out, investigate and personally experience the meaning of God’s word. Paul uses this same word in Rom. 15:14 where he writes, “that you are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.” You enjoy your time with the Lord and sharing it with others. God seems to speak to you with information and ideas that are insightful and helpful to the church or in ministry and adds to our complete understanding of Christ.
God uses people in the church that have the Spirit-given ability to understand, in an exceptional way, the great truths of God’s Word and to make truth relevant to specific situations in the church. This way God is able to speak to the believers in each generation and in each church. I’m going to take a risk and name one person in this church that might have the gift of knowledge. I think he can handle it: Jaime Glass. Jaime has an incredible desire to know, to accumulate facts, to organize his facts. You should see the way Jaime organizes his files of digital photograpsh, they drive almost everyone else absolutely bonkers, but for Jaime he thrives. Maybe Jaime has a gift for knowledge, to understand, to know. My challenge for Jaime as he grows is to use his passion for knowledge in applying it to the church.
The gift of Knowledge seems to be centered on brain, some people thrive in studying, knowing, understanding. Now let’s turn to Wisdom, which is similar to Knowledge, but seems to be centered in the heart….
Wisdom – the gift of wisdom. READ 1 Cor. 2:6-10. You know who I think of… Herschel Wiley. For those who did not know him, died less than two years ago… Herschel was the S.S. teacher. He just seemed to have insight in how to respond to situations, how to apply Christian ideas and Bible ideas to situations. Wisdom.
Can you begin to see how different gifts are needed, and how the Lord uses the Spiritual Gifts he gives us to SHAPE us? The Church Board needs a person of faith, but I sure hope at least one other person has the gift of wisdom. The body of Christ working together with different gifts.
In I Cor. 12:8 Paul writes, “To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom.” The Bibles use of the word wisdom puts the emphasis on the thought process that takes the scriptures and makes an intelligent application to a life situation. The result is insight which allows one to exercise sound judgment. To have the gift of wisdom is to be able to apply Biblical, spiritual knowledge to living a Godly life. You need friends that have wisdom, you need to know who your friends are that are wise, and lean on them, not in an absolute sense because we are all human and sin, but in the sense of guiding you, enlarging your perspective of what God is doing. Wisdom is the ability to make scriptural truths relevant and practical in everyday living and decision-making.
A person with this gift loves to read, meditate and commune with God, drawing wisdom that applies the scriptures to everyday living. It is similar to a mechanic being able to hear a car run and know what is wrong and how to fix it. They are wise in automobile mechanics. This week I was at NAPA at one point watching Vernon Merk look under the hood of a car, to him it is like an instrument. The person with a gift for wisdom understands the rhythm of what God is doing in this world, they see God as the master conductor, orchestrating this world. While most of us only hear the loud out of kilter instruments being tuned at the beginning of the concert, the person with wisdom can hear each instrument, see God at work, understand what God is doing with a bit more clarity. This gift allows a person to “hear” life situations and apply truth to the situation.
For those with an extraordinary gift for wisdom, the SHAPE God gives them is amazing. People with wisdom are sometimes the most admired people because they are so strong and focused, and other times they are hated because we don’t want to hear the message and be corrected. Don’t you sometimes hate people with wisdom? Like a child that wants to reject the wisdom of the parent… You know they are right, but you don’t want to hear it. You know you should not enter that relationship. You know you should not be making this decision. And you just want all your Christian friends with wisdom to disappear. You need friends with wisdom. The body of Christ is Shaped by God in an incredible way through the gift of wisdom.
The spiritual gift of wisdom goes beyond human wisdom. Where would we be without people of wisdom….Counseling, problem solving, teaching, leadership are just a few of the areas of ministry where wisdom fits hand in glove.
Let’s get in shape by understanding and practicing spiritual gifts. Using your spiritual gift is like being in the front row seat of what God is doing. Wisdom, knowledge and Faith are three of the extraordinary gifts the Lord gives his people. Amen.