New Hope Notes

God Has Gifts For You
Doing Church As A Team

Pastor Jon Burgess
February 26, 2017 - W1709

I am continually amazed with the gifts in this church. We will be talking about the fact that God has gifts for every one of us. A lot of us spend our entire lives never really understanding what gifts God has given or the purpose of those gifts. I want every one to know that you have been given a gift from God and to know how to steward it well.

1 Peter 4:10, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

“As each one” literally means, every one within the sound of my voice, has been given a gift from God. Whether you are here, watching online, or sitting at home in your pajamas, God has given every single one of you a gift.

But what is the gift for? If you have received a special gift from God, is it to be used to make yourself famous, or to get the attention of that girl in church, or to keep it to yourself and use it when someone notices or thanks you? No, it doesn’t say any of that.

I Peter 4:10 says “employ it in serving one another.” God has given us gifts, but it’s not to use it the way the world uses their gifts. The world uses their gifts to get everyone’s attention and gain all the glory and fame for themselves. But God is saying I am giving you these gifts because I am a generous God and I love to lavish my gifts upon you.

The gift is not for our benefit or for our fame; it is to make God famous. How do we do that? We do that by using the gifts that God gave us to serve one another. When we talk about Doing Church As A Team, we understand that we have a gift to be used in service of one another.

Last weekend, Pastor Richard did an amazing job preaching and it gave me the opportunity to come to the 11 o’clock service with my family and I got to see all the servants of God using their gifts in service of others. Pastor Jesse and Pastor Shawnee were signing up boys at the mauka annex (across the street) for youth ministry. When stepping off the shuttle, smiling greeters were passing out bulletins and filling out nametags, and the friendly coffee shop workers were making amazing drinks!

Then there were the Levites. Last weekend was our first Pizza With Pastors and we got to hang out with you. After everyone was gone, guess who was still working? Our amazing Levites! And what were they doing? Were they grumbling or complaining? No. They were serving and stewarding their gifts well in service to others. Sometimes we take for granted how amazing God is moving in and through the gifts and people in the church.

Notice the second part of I Peter 4:10. The only reason you and I are given gifts is not because we’ve earned or deserve them, but because of the grace of God that He gave them to us. Only through God’s grace do I have any gifts at all, and it’s not for me or about me but it is to serve those around us.

There’s a list of gifts mentioned in the Bible; the more you discover them, the more you discover your God-given purpose.

1. God Has Given You Talents. (A talent is a natural aptitude or skill). James 1:17, “Whatever is good and perfect comes from God.”

How God expects us to use our talents is found in a story in Matthew 25:14-18, “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one, he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So, also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money.”

Notice that all three servants were given at least one talent with which to do something; however, they did not respond the same way. Sometimes we take the natural ability that God gave us and we squander it or we steward it well in the service of others.

Ask yourself,

* What Are 3 Ways I Can Serve Others With My Talents This Week?

2. God has given you _TIME____________________

The Bible continues,“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 

Matthew 25:19–23

God will reward you for stewarding your gifts or talents well.

Ask yourself,

* What Are 3 Ways I Can Serve Others With My Time This Week?

About 30 million people will be watching the Academy Awards tomorrow night. They will be celebrating multitalented, beautiful actors and actresses getting out of limousines and walking the red carpet. Why? Because they are talented. Not all, but most of their talents will be used for themselves to gain more followers, accolades, money, or better roles.

Jesus flips it! He said if you really want to use the talents that I gave you, use them in the service of others. Here are some snapshots of some amazing people in our church who are using what God gave them for the glory of God!

[Video by Jillian]

“When I was born, my left eye wasn’t fully developed as I have cerebral palsy, and it affects half my brain and my left side.

“I love my family. They’ve been through a lot with me, and they had to be really patient. My siblings treated me like any other kid and would tell me to take out the trash. It’s funny, but that really helps me!

“While I’ve always been helped throughout my life, whether it was with my hand, leg, or eye, once I grew up, I began to understand what was happening. I thought it was only natural to give back because I was able to, and my heart felt compelled to because I wanted to say thank you, and volunteering became the best way.

“I volunteer for the Children’s Justice Center. It’s where abused kids come in with detectives, and if there’s a case where the children have to be removed from their homes, that’s where I come in. I let the children pick out clothing, stuffed animals, books, and toiletries to take to foster care.

“I am also kind of an advocate for HUGS (Help, Understanding and Group Support). It is an organization that helped me as a child, and my job there is to tell my testimony—my story. I think it’s important for people to see and realize that you may have it all, but some people don’t. You need to go out into the world and whether you’re doing a big act or a small act, you’re helping people.

“I feel very blessed and it’s something I feel I must do. I’ve been through a lot and people have helped me. I feel very fortunate that I’m able to give back. Never let something stop you from helping, even if you don’t know the outcome. You should just have faith, and everything will be okay.”

[End of Video]

Did you catch the power of that? Jillian reminds me of the first two servants where as soon as they were given something, they immediately set out to do the most they could do with what they were given.

Jillian’s eye and hand do not work like everyone else’s does, but instead of using it as an excuse, she uses that as a reason to give more. Did you hear her say this is something she had to do? This is how the first two servants responded in the Bible. It wasn’t an option for them and it wasn’t an option for Jillian.

The next amazing person is Mildred. She first attended New Hope on Easter Sunday 2005 and has been volunteering here. Pastor Wayne baptized her on February 22, 2009, when she was 92 years old! This coming Tuesday, she will turn 100 and is still serving the Lord.

[Video by Mildred]

“I was born on Maui in 1917. I had one brother and four sisters (five girls) in our family. I was the oldest. I got married in 1939 and I have five grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. My brother encouraged me to come to New Hope and he took me to the Easter service. Since then, I never missed a service. My brother and I used to come every Friday to have lunch together, putting the program/bulletins together. I have three secrets: believe God, forgive, and keep on moving. I always have something to do. “I always forgive whoever needs forgiveness. I forgive, and I ask for forgiveness

(Mildred’s son Fred:)

“She understands that we’re not here to judge people. It’s God’s responsibility to judge people. She asks for continued guidance from God so that we are watchful and guided in our words, thoughts and actions. Mom is always grateful for things that we experience—the beautiful weather, a beautiful flower. In prayer, she talks about appreciating what God has given us.”

[End of Video]

Did you hear the three lessons from Mildred: use the time that God has given to believe, to forgive, and to keep on moving? Don’t get stuck. Don’t get sedentary. Don’t let the enemy convince you that you will never get out of that situation. Mildred learned that unforgiveness is the biggest time waster, so she forgives. She lets God have it. She doesn’t stand in the seat of a judge. She can move forward because of that beautiful practical lesson.

Who are you holding unforgiveness towards? Unforgiveness is a time waster and will steal your energy and joy.

Pastor Wayne said that today we will celebrate Pastor Emy Alvarez. She had her homecoming on Tuesday and right now she is without pain, sorrow, or grief and is looking face to face at her Savior for whom she had lived.

It was amazing to see so many servants have served and helped Emy as the cancer was eating away at her. It didn’t matter how much pain she was in, but every time I was with her she would talk about what Jesus was doing. She would always say, “God’s given me one more day. I’ve got one more day.” Her body was wracked with cancer and she was thanking God for one more day.

Sonya Roberts was cleaning out Emy’s car and came across a bunch of badges. Emy would step in and serve any place, any chance, any opportunity she had. She would say, “If you need help, I’m going to serve there. I don’t even care if I’ve never done this before. If you need help, I’m here to serve.”

I picture Emy walking up to the Throne Room of Grace. When she closed her eyes on Tuesday, she opened them in heaven, and her Heavenly Father looked in her eyes and said, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter into your reward.” Why? Because she was a woman like Jillian and Mildred who used their time and talents to serve others.

3. What do we give to God? A willingness to _TRY___________________

The Bible further says, “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.’”

Matthew 25:24–27

So much can happen when we stop making excuses and simply step in with a willingness to try. That’s what set the third servant apart from the other two. He didn’t want to try.

Philippians 4:8-9, “And now dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me, everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”

Ask yourself,

* What’s One New Ministry I Can Try Out This Month?

Remember to “keep putting into practice.” What’s that? Keep trying. What did Mildred say? Keep moving. Don’t get stuck. Don’t give up. Don’t go back. Keep moving forward.

Study Questions:

  1. What is the gift/talent that God has given you?

  2. What is the purpose for our gifts?

  3. List three ways that you can serve others with your gift/talent.

  4. What are the three secrets that Mildred shared for her longevity?