Monday, March 30, 2015
Monday, November 24, 2014
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Monday, October 27, 2014
BY STEVE DUNN
In the study of spiritual gifts, we often define them as divine enablements. This is to distinguish them from skills. All persons can be taught the skill of sharing one's faith, i.e., how to do evangelism. In this case, learning precedes acting. The skill is enhanced when it is empowered by the Holy Spirit's presence in the activity.
An enablement is not learned, it is bestowed. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit and its exercise provides leadership and encouragement to the rest of the Body as all do the work of evangelism. One might say that the spiritual gift itself becomes a part of the new nature of the believer. They cannot help but make disciples because that in particular was what they were redeemed to do.
Or think of teachers. Some people by skill are good teachers--and we learn from them. But some are given the Gift of Teaching and despite what others may consider a lack of skill or a deficit in presentation, we are compelled to learn deep truth when they speak.
What do you think--read this alongside Ephesians 4 for more insights.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
BY STEVE DUNN
Many years ago I pastored a church in the Midwest. The church never had a lot of money; but it had dedicated people and a fruitful ministry with a positive impact for Christ in the community. There were five of us on the staff-two full-time and three part-time. The church's slim finances generally meant that we were not overpaid. Three of us had families to support with school age children.
One day, when money was tight, I went to the mailbox. There was a white envelope in it addressed to me. The address label had been computer generated. In the envelope two fifty dollar bills and a note with more computer-generated words. Those words?
PEOPLE THAT LOVE
My first thought was to be astounded at so much cash being sent in an envelope with no return address. Obviously, some trusting person wanted to be anonymous. I thanked God for the gift and asked him to thank the giver.
Several weeks later another envelope arrived with more cash, again from PEOPLE THAT LOVE. And several weeks later, another.
One day my youth pastor stepped into my office with a white envelope and cash.
"People that love."
"How did you know?"
"I've had several myself."
Some weeks later another staffer came in with the same astounded look.
Those envelopes for almost two years. Later I learned that they had come not only to my church staff, but others in the church family. Altogether easily several thousand dollars--all in white envelopes with computer generated labels, always cash and always signed PEOPLE THAT LOVE.
What prompts such generosity?
I think we know.
BY STEVE DUNN
Are you familiar with that staple of creative children’s toy – the LEGO ® ? The basic LEGO building brick looks like this:
On a typical brick there are 4-8 hardened raised circles that serve as the “connectors” to the other bricks. When a connector is inserted into the bottom of the connector of another block, and then connected to another—structures can be built. In some cases elaborate toys are created. It is something wondrous.
As elaborate as the ultimate construction may be—a single block with 4-8 blocks is only to able to connect with only 4-8 other raised circles. There can only 4-8 solid connections.
Social scientists tell us that most of us, while having many acquaintances can only have about 4-8 close relationships. Those are relationships that are intimate enough to be enduring and dependable. Where, to use a scriptural metaphor, “we know as we are known.”
When it comes to building relationships that are capable of bringing people to redemption in Christ, what are the implications for people who have been Christians for more than several years?