As part of the service at our Attridge Site on November 23, 2014, we gave people an opportunity to text in questions that they may have had from our Body Parts series regarding spiritual gifts. Due to time constraints, we were unable to answer all of the questions during the service – but Pastor Bruce has taken time to answer the questions below.

Body Parts Q&A

What should someone do if they have a gift, passion for a particular ministry that doesn’t seem to exist within our church?

I would see gifts and passions as two different things.  The spiritual gifts God has given us have many different ways that they can be used.  Passions lead us to particular expressions of ministry, of doing ministry a in a more pointed, particular way.  The gift of encouragement can be used in unlimited settings or the gift of leadership again can be used in many diverse types of ministry settings.  As a church we try to give many ministry options for people and where we can, try to facilitate the passions of people – even at times starting new ministry initiatives where a group has a collective passion.  So while I believe there is a place for every gift to be used – we may not be able to accommodate every particular passion.

What was the name of the person you referenced regarding “love in the work place”?

Joel Manby and the book is called “Love Works”.

How do I help my teen discover her spiritual gift?

A good starting place that I mentioned on Sunday, would be to review the four steps we outline in more detail on our website in the tab called “Understanding Your Place“.  To begin by just starting to serve and trying different things in areas of giftedness.  Secondly, to spend time in prayer and reflection around the listed texts about how God has created you and gifted you.  Thirdly, to use some additional resources (some are listed there).  And lastly, to include others in the discernment.  If our gifts are to be used in community, we need to also hear what others see in us in this area.

The other thing I would simply say in regards to helping teens in this area – as I also mentioned Sunday – for all of us as parents to ask better questions and listen more.  I can be so guilty of speaking and giving directives to my teens, before actually listening and really understanding where they’re coming from.  Learning how to draw out instead trying to pour in can be really helpful.
The other piece I’d add that we talked about earlier in the series and would be especially important for teens – is to have safe places for trial and error.  Contexts where you can practice and just try different gifts and know that it’s okay if it doesn’t go as well as you’d like.

“Who picks your wardrobe?” (from a particular youth pastor)

Unfortunately I’m usually left to my own inclinations in the early (now dark) hours of Sunday mornings when my ‘fashion advisors’ are not typically awake yet.  So I’m on my own here, usually wondering if I just wore the same thing the week before, because I can never remember (I need a system).  I’ll take this as a compliment.

Is loving Jr High kids a spiritual gift?” (also from unsaid youth pastor)

One other person – who will also remain unnamed said something about “consequences of the fall”.  But I would just say it takes really special people to work with Jr. High kids (I love my Jr. High kid!!).

Are there some spiritual gifts that are ‘dead’ or that have ‘passed away’…
For it says:  Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. (1 Corinthians 13:8 ESV)

Is this talking about Christ coming? Or is this a day that has yet to pass here on earth or a day that has already come? Is this verse akin to the verse ‘the flowers fad, but the word of the LORD will last forever’…

I did speak on this in more detail two weeks ago on Nov. 9th, just in case you weren’t able to hear that message – which is partly why I didn’t speak to it as much this week.  I understand this text to refer to the day of Christ’s return.  Vs. 9 and 10 go on to say, “For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.”  The other main biblical meaning of the word translated “perfect” is “maturity”.  But neither perfection nor consistent maturity have yet come to the church – so it makes more sense to see it as an extension or followup to 1 Cor 1:7 which talk about the ongoing role of the gifts until Christ’s return.
So I would say (in line with our conference position as well) that the gifts have not ceased, and likely why Paul pick up on these specific ones mentioned would be because they were some of the main ones in focus in the discussion and also some of the conflict Paul was addressing in the church.

If an act is clearly not love- genesis 16:5-8, the consequence seemed to drive a wedge deliberately and create a new religion; Ishmael -v20 -a split that seemed designed by God. How does this reconcile to 1 Cor13:6 & truth- love connection. Ishmael’s religion is untrue? A bit confusing. Ishmael had no choice to enter into covenant- was excluded from the beginning. How do we reconcile that to our loving God? I know we see in part now and all will be revealed; I’m no historian but as a Christian layman I’d like to offer a better explanation besides ‘just wait and see’ on the tough questions.

This is a good, but really BIG question that pulls in some of the great debates of the Christian church including many around God’s sovereignty and free will.  Pretty hard to answer fully here – so I’ll state right off – this will be inadequate.  But as a partial response, I believe that our ability to choose is seen throughout scripture and yet submits to God’s sovereignty.  In other words – both are true and we live in the tension of these two truths.  Secondly, I would say that the text you mentioned in Gen 16:5-8 is followed with a great story of grace along with additional ‘hard to understand’ truth that we submit to God’s sovereignty.  Vs. 9-14 continue as a story of tremendous grace toward Hagar of a blessing (more descendants than you will can count) and also how she sees God as the “God of seeing or the God who looks after her”.  And then this prophetic word in vs. 12 of the ongoing conflict that will be part of this story between Ishmael and Isaac.

Two other resources if you’re interested.  First is an article I wrote for the MB Herald that speaks to some of your question above.

Second is a picture I took while in the Blue Mosque in Istanbul last month.  If you’re able to enlarge it you can read the history/genealogy of the world from a Muslim perspective. Fascinating stuff…