Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chuck Swindoll on "Ability"

My wife recently gave me Chuck Swindoll's book, THE TALE OF THE TARDY OXCART. It's primarily a book of Swindoll's favorite illustrations. His section on "Ability" seems to fit yesterday's post on Spiritual Gifts. It also seems to fit what we are trying to do at Grace River.

"Abilities are like tax deductions, we use them or we lose them" (Sam Jennings).

"Once upon a time, the animals decided they should do something meaniful to meet the problems of the new world. So they organized a school.

They adopted an activity curriculum of running, climbing, swimming, and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all the subjects.

The duck was excellent in swimming; in fact, better than his instructor, but he made only passing grades in flying, and was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to drop swimming and stay after school to practice running. This caused his web feet to be badly worn, so that he was only average in swimming. But average was quite acceptable, so nobody worried about that--except the duck.

The rabbit started at the top of his class in running, but developed a nervous twitch in his leg muscles because of so much make-up work in swimming.

The squirrel was excellent in climbing, but he encountered constant frustration in flying class because his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the treetop down. He developed charley horses from overexertion, and so only got a C in climbing and a D in running.

The eagle ws a problem child and was severely disciplined for being a nonconformist. In climbing classes he beat all the others to the top of the tree, but insisted on using his own way to get there . . . ." (Chuck Swindoll, Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life).

"Between the great things we can't do and the little things we won't do, the danger is we shall do nothing at all".

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Spiritual Gifts? I am working on a pre-assessment tool in preparation for a Church Planting Basic Training that Tina and I will attend in a few weeks. A portion of the pre-assessment deals with spiritual gifting. I have completed, I suppose, a dozen spiritual gift inventories in my life. The one consistant among them all is that they are inconsistant. My "gifts" change. Maybe that's why Paul gave at least three different lists of gifts in the Bible--each of them a little bit different. It seems highly likely to me that in any given situation, the Holy Spirit may empower (gift) us however He chooses making spiritual gifts assessments irrelevant. Different situations likely will call for unique gifts.

Anyway, according to the survey tool, I possess the following five spiritual gifts:

  • Encouragement--the divine capacity to give strength, support, or comfort.

  • Faith--The divine capacity to act on God's promises with confidence and a steadfast belief in God's ability to provide.

  • Hospitality--The divine capacity to care for people by making them feel welcome, comfortable, and accepted.

  • Leadership--The divine capacity to communicate vision, motivate, and direct people to accomplish the purposes of God.

  • Teaching--The divine capacity to clearly explain and apply God's Word, producing spiritual growth in the lives of the hearers.

The tool also suggests that I ask some close friends about my spiritual gifts. With that in mind, do you agree with the list? disagree? Is there something missing from the list?

You may want to work through a spiritual gifts assessment as well to see how you are gifted (at least right now). I've used the Team Ministry assessment for years to help with gift assessment. You can do a free online assessment at Look for the "FREE Gifts Analysis" link over on the right side of the page.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Progression of Housecleaning

  • Week One: Wife cleans house for ladies Bible study meeting that evening.

  • Week Two: Husband helps wife clean house for ladies Bible study.

  • Week Three: Wife schedules work appointments. Husband cleans house.

  • Week Four: Wife works at previously scheduled appointments. Husband cleans house.

  • Week Five: Wife goes shopping with paycheck from work. Husband cleans house.

  • Week Six: Bible study no longer meets at house. Husband still cleans house--not sure where wife is...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I have some good news for you...

Allow me to share some good news with you that I read this morning in Charles Stanley's book, "The Source of My Strength". Dr. Stanley writes:

"Many people take their drive to excel into their relationship with Christ. They seek to be number one in everything they do for the Lord. They desire to be the best Christian who ever lived. As I stated earlier, God doesn't compare people--whether Christian to non-Christian or Christian to Christian. He doesn't rank people in percentiles or give out rewards based on firsts, mosts, or bests. The Christian who is striving to be the best Christian on the earth needs to ask, 'Why am I striving so hard? What am I expecting to get or earn?' Is it a matter of pride--that you desire to be recognized over your peers or competitors? Is it a matter of control--that you are seeking to gain power out of your achievements? Is it a matter of inadequacy--that you must do more in order for God, or another person, to approve of you or love you? Let me share some good news with you. God couldn't possibly love you more than He loves you right now. God couldn't possibly approve of you more than He does today. You are His child, and he loves you just the way you are--right now. he knows that you are in the process of becoming, but He also takes responsibility for what you will become and how fast you will become it. He says to you, 'Let Me do the striving on your behalf! Let Me do the work in you. All you have to do is receive what I want to do in you and through you. Accept my offer. Let Me do the perfecting work.'"
--The Source of My Strength, p. 134-135

Friday, January 01, 2010

Things that irritate me...

2010 is here and the new year is prompting all kinds of thoughts about what the future will hold. I am truly thrilled to be traveling the path that I am and I am perhaps enjoying the most fulfillment that I have ever experienced.

There a couple of things that have surfaced today however that really irritate me. Let me share.

#1--My beloved Cowboys are playing the hated Eagles on Sunday afternoon in a game that has huge playoff implications. The NFC East Championship is on the line. Will I be able to watch the game on my local Fox affiliate? NOPE! It seems that the NFL will not allow the game to be broadcast in this market because of blackout rules (whatever that means). I'm guessing that the Broncos have some kind of arrangement that allows them to be the only team on network tv in the Denver area. Of course, if I had NFL Sunday Ticket I could watch the game. The current price for the final week of the regular season? $99! So, that's not happening. I could always go somewhere else and watch the game. There's a wing place that I like that shows all of the games but it's not the same as watching it home in the comfort of my Sunday afternoon pj's. The only other option is to fork over $9.99 to listen to it online. And that is likely what I will do.

#2--I have no idea who is playing college football this weekend. I have no idea who is playing for the national championship (or even when the game is being played). My lack of interest stems solely from the fact that the NCAA does not have the wisdom to put together some type of playoff series. This bugs me because I could be a BIG college football fan--but I'm not--and I won't be--until there is a playoff. Give me eight games. Give me sixteen games. Just give me a playoff series. Until then, I will watch (and listen) to the NFL and perhaps take an early look at the favorites for March Madness.

#3--I detest the putting up and the taking down of Christmas decorations. I have no idea why--I just don't like it. However, I have tried not to fuss too much today as I have been recruited by the wife to assist in our "undecorating" process. She does an awesome job inside. My outside decorations consist of two green 60 watt lightbulbs placed in the fixtures just outside the garage. I don't win awards--but I've got the outside decorating process down to less than five minutes.

I guess that I should not just express my irritations. I do have some extreme joys today as well.

#1--I'm enjoying a "Heritage" Dr. Pepper (made with real sugar). No soda should ever again be made with corn syrup.

#2--I cooked an amazing breakfast this morning that I would call a bacon/egg/jalapeno scramble. In addition I fried a couple of cubed potatoes in our (the boys) new deep fat fryer onto which I poured a plateful of gravy (bacon & jalapeno). Yummy!

#3--I have just spent my 24th Christmas and New Year with the love of my life--my wife Tina.