Q Follow-up #2

teaching, administration
giving, apostle
leadership, discernment
mercy, faith
prophecy, healing
service, helps
healing, knowledge
miracles, tongues
interpretation of tongues, wisdom
pastor, evangelist

(see Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4)

Here is a list of spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament.
Have some spiritual gifts expired?
If so, how do we authoritatively know which ones?

Post your comments.


Q Follow-up

What a great discussion we began on Sunday. I love those Q Sundays. I love opening up the discussion to hear what everyone adds to an idea or an issue. Our discussion of the use of tongues got cut way too short. I have been clouded by the sense that we really were not done and that our worshipping community is left with some unclarity. (I must say that when it comes to these overtly mystic spiritual gifts, I often feel a sense of unclarity.) PS I know that "unclarity" is NOT a word.

So, lets keep the conversation going here.

Let's start with this idea. Does EVERY spiritual gift have a place in the church?

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
(1 Corinthians 12:4-8)

So the phrase "common good" sticks out to me to be a highly significant phrase in the whole discussion of spiritual gifts. The Holy Spirit in other places describes the gifts as building up the "whole body"... It seems the common good and what is common good in a give place at a given time would be the factor that God uses to dispense and inspire any of the gifts for you. The phrase "all men" also sticks out to me. The idea of all leaves no one out of the gift reception process.

All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. (verse 11)

Again the idea of each one. One of my thoughts whenever we discuss spiritual gifts is the idea that we are all gifted and we should take seriously the idea to find, develop, and use that gift.

OK, all this to say that it seems to me that if every person has a gift, and every person has a place in the church, it is likely that every gift has a place in the church. In fact, as I read on in 1 Corinthians 12 - 14, the Holy Spirit leads Paul to write in such a way as to completely enmesh the identities of people and gifts into one notion.

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. (1 Corinthians 12:14-20)

Paul seems to start up this discussion of the body without ever defining it. He seems to assume prior knowledge. Could this be from his writing to the Romans or from his discussion while present in Corinth? He mentions the idea of the church as a body previously in 1 Corinthians 10:17, referring to the persons as the members of one body. But his metaphor here seems specifically to deal with people in regard to their gifts and the contribution their gifts bring to the whole church.

OK, now I'm rambling like a preacher. Post your comment and lets keep digging. I'll bring up another idea tomorrow.

Season of Prayer and Meditation Entry 12

Praying for my wife and personal friends today.


Season of Prayer and Meditation Entry 11

Praying today for our ministry to students and kids. I'm specifically praying for these important servants in those ministry areas.
Jill Axelson
Joy Prys
Jordan & Sarah Bentley
Kirk Warmerdam
Josie Lopez
Melissa & Jason Lincicum
Tyler & Dusti Jones
Jeffery Hamilton
Lori Kane
Debbie Downs
Phil Perkins
Debbie Garrett
Allyson Sippel
Breanne Luis
Jennifer Adams
Rosemary Capriola
Bethany Cantrell
Heather Cripe
Pam Perkins

I'm praying for endurance and persistence and the mission today. And asking God to protect these families in these economically tough times. I'm asking for their souls to be nourished and their vision to be renewed. I asking for their physical health and for a dynamic sense of God's presence in all the areas of life.


Season of Prayer and Meditation Entry 10

Continuing to pray for Life Group facilitators today. As i begin to seek God's clear direction for epic in 2009, these people are people on the front line of ministry and therefore on the front line of the spiritual battle for Hanford. I feel compelled to continue my focus on praying for them intently.


Thank you God for these incredible soldiers. Help me lead them with the passion and power of your kingdom. Help me to uphold them with your grace and your care. Help me to inspire them to reach beyond themselves and reach out to where only you can keep them. Help me to love them with Your love so that they know the security of your presence. Help me to shepherd them as the good shepherd (little g) you call me to be.

God, as they pray with their life groups, empower their prayer by your Spirit and connect them to the true issues that happen in the unseen realm. As they fellowship with those in their groups, connect them to one another with authentic friendship and genuine openness, with compassion for one another and with your hands and feet in action among them. As they challenge the members of their groups to conform more to the Word of Life, give them confidence and grace, authority and mercy, knowledge and integrity, help and hope.

Thank you God for these servants, diligent and trustworthy. Thank you.



Prayer and Meditation entry 9

Today is devoted to prayer for those who facilitate Life Groups at epic.
I am praying that god will guide them each, bless them each specifically, protect them spiritually from the deception and temptation of the Enemy, counsel them, comfort, and restore them. I am mentioning them each by name and devoting an hour of my thoughts as I go through the day to that person. So far I have spent an hour on 6 people.

I have continued with my responsibilities for the day and having conversations as I have needed and when my mind has had free time or has wandered, I have directed those moments to prayer for each of these individuals.

John & Joy Prys
Sal & Josie Lopez
Scott & Ashley Peterson
Darin & Brandi Parson
Pat & Jonell Freitas
Myself and Rhonda

I have said it a thousand times, "at epic it all comes down to Life Groups." God has done the most significant things in our congregation in and through these groups. Thank you all for being involved in a Life Group and thank you facilitators for staying the course and guarding the church as you invest in the lives of those around you.


Prayer and Meditation Entry 8

Surely God has met all my needs.
Thank you God for my family - my wife who loves me SO unconditionally, my children who are healthy, happy, fun, smart and growing in faith.Thank you God for my home, safe, secure, filled with love, warm, and beautiful.
Thank you God for food to eat. My bills are paid and there is always plenty to get through the grocery store with a full basket.
Thank you God for clothes to wear - plenty of them, warm enough for Winter, cool enough for Summer, variety, and quality.
Thank you God for our car that gets us everywhere we need to go safely and we have never had to worry about being stranded.
Thank you God for electricity and flushing toilets and running water and heaters and air conditioning... Just by virtue of my generation I have the basic blessings... I take them for granted and consider them basic necessities, but they are a privilege that I don't even deserve.
Thank you God for all the things I do not need: movies, wii, furniture, restaurants, appliances, cameras and photography, vacations, ipod, books, watches, and more, more, more.

God grant me an attitude of thankfulness, from which worship always begins.
Thank you for protecting me, forgiving me, guiding me, helping me, using me, creating me, correcting me, challenging me, teaching me...

Thank you God for providing all of my needs and SO much more.


Season of Prayer and Meditation Entry 7

Psalm 78

Click the verse link above. As you read the passage above, go back and take a close look at vv. 19-32.

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

The context for this passage: the apostle Paul has just been reporting to this group of Christ-followers about his use of their financial support and his gratitude for it. He seems to be aware that they gave the support out of their own lack... not out of plenty.

My God - the Creator of the universe is personal. He is enormously eternal. He is closely personal. He is mine. Like my ipod, engraved with my name, reserved for my personal connection. And yet not exclusively so. And yet personal and reserved for every person who puts living faith in Him. MY God. MINE. OURS.

...shall.. This is so sure. SHALL has such a sense of command to it. "Will" can have a sense of possibility. I often say that I "will" do something and it doesn't come about because of some interfering factor. But I don't use the word "shall" except to quote God. Unequivocally SHALL. Its the verbiage of the 10 commandments. SHALL.

...supply... As a noun supply can either be a necessary item OR an abundant stock of necessities. A supply. As a verb, it is to provide such things.

ALL I really hate it when God uses these words. It forces me to examine my personal failures. Because God never lies and because God is completely empowered to fulfill absolutes like this, if I don't see my life in alignment with this absolute then the problem is with my life - NOT WITH GOD. That means if I can't make it on what I have, I have gone beyond what I need OR I have taken a worldly view of quality and assumed that more expensive is better, or I have been duped in to the believe that the same product with a popular brand name is worth the premium price. I have all too often spent money on one thing with a brand name, stealing that money for the "supply" for another need. In the words of Charlie Brown, "Urrrrgh!" ALL. My needs are met. I'm sitting in a beautiful, warm, comfortable, dry living room. My pantry is full of ingredients that will sit unused for months waiting for the next time I make that "item." I read a statistic that says the average family could live for more than 2 months on just the calories in the ingredients in their pantry. MY GOD... ALL MY NEEDS.

my needs... Teach me about needs. Relieve me of wants. I need a miraculous transformation if I am really going to experience contentment.

according to His riches in Christ Jesus... my needs are found in Christ Jesus and met in Christ Jesus. I can't buy them at Marshall's or order them from Amazon or barter for them on Craig's List. Perhaps if I saw my needs through spiritual eyes I would recognize that what I need is spiritual instead of physical, eternal instead of temporal, godly instead of earthly. Food for the stomach, life for the soul.

Lord, guide me today to live in richness of your supply. Amen.


Season of Prayer and Meditation Entry 6

A Prayer

My Father in Heaven, How incredible Your name is. Its so incredible that I should never speak it and yet I say it casually. FATHER. GOD. LORD. YAHWEAH. No I say it with reverence today. I say it with respect and trepidation today. I say it with honor today. GOD. I say it in every part of me today. GOD.

May I devote the entirety of my day to the honor of your name. Take my thoughts LORD and be honored by my casual thoughts and my intense thinking. Be honored by my criticisms and my compliments. Be honored by my opinions and my fantasies. Take my thoughts and be honored today.

LORD, in Your name, take my words and be honored today. Be honored in the stories I relate. Be honored in the comedy I share. Be honored in the good and bad news I convey. Be honored in the instructions I deliver. Be honored in the facts I exchange. Be honored in the banter, intellectual, comic, causal, mundane, that I engage in. Let no unwholesome talk come from my mouth. For out of a man's mouth, his heart flows.

FATHER, I devote my activity to You. All that I do. Every chore, task, engagement, meeting, meal, sport, calculation, or other thing I do... Be it unto You an act of worship. May all of me speak all of YOU in honor today.



Season of Prayer and Meditaion Entry 5

Today was an intensely distracted day. The to do list too doo long. The values struggling for first place. The prayer and meditation squeezed. My spirit and my mind struggling to feel freshened. My psyche attacked by doubts and discouragement. So I turn to God's word. One of the passages I have been studying for this upcoming Sunday's message begins to speak to me.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-3)

This passage, central to the book of Colossians is so inter-related to its context, it is nearly impossible to limit the scope of meditation. For the sake of this entry, I have done so.

... you have been raised with Christ... Christ, the messiah. My messiah. My savior. My Jesus. Jesus. Our Jesus. Our savior. Our messiah. Your Jesus. How I need a messiah. A redeemer who will renew me, my life, my existence, my family, my mind. How I need a messiah. Christ: not a one time story or a messiah with only political agendas. God with me - Christ Jesus.

Jesus be with me now. My heart is worn as is my mind and my body. Be with me now and help me be fully with you as I seem to want to wander back into the too doo list instead of this connection. Jesus... thank you for redeeming me and continuing to do so as I continue to give you cause. Thank you for being a messiah who does not give up or wear out or leave or retreat in self-protection or pull back for lack of passion or withdraw for having been failed so repeatedly. Thank you Jesus. My Jesus. Be Christ to all who desperately need you as I do this evening.

RAISED... I just don't feel raised right now. He was dead and raised. What's my problem. I'm just tired and stressed. Why can't I be raised. Am I not willing to be raised. I want that sense of being raised. What must if have felt like to come back to life? To return to a semi glorified humanness after being humanly dead? What it exhilarating? Did it leave Him longing for eternity once more? When I recall my earliest sense of having been raised into FULL LIFE by putting faith in Christ, I remember a sense of relief and freshness. I remember a sense of limitlessness. I remember hope.

Set your hearts/minds on things above. That is not where my mind has been. (too doo... blah, blah, blah)

The throne where God is lifted up in all of His glory. Worship never ceases. I worship without ceasing. Beauty is uninhibited. Light is magnificent. AWE!


Completely out of myself... completely... Wow!
Look what happens when my mind goes there. What if my heart were there too? God, have my heart and take me there.

For you died and your life is now hidden with God... Did I really die? Really? That seems pretty extreme. I'm not so sure I experienced anything that extreme. Am I continuing to die more... or just add more life to the life I already live?

Ohhh my heart. I remember reading somewhere in Proverbs that the heart is hopelessly deceptive and should not be trusted. What do I want? Where does my heart lead me?

Lord take my heart and lead me to things above. Hide me above. Make my life hear hollow. Just a reflection... A reflection of the life in perfection that truly happens above where you have hidden me with You. A reflection... Wow! I like that idea. If I were truly living in Heaven with God, what would my life look like. God make my temporary and meaningful life here reflect that eternal life hidden above.

When you appear, I will appear with You in glory.


Prayer and Meditation Entry4

Lord, thank you for your grace. Grant me the sincerity to accept it fully, embrace it sincererly, live it vibrantly.

Teach me to live grace that forgives and restores. Teach me the balace of justice and mercy.

Thank you for your grace.
Thank you for your grace.
Thank you.


Season of Prayer and Meditation Entry 3

A Prayer for today.

Lord, I have gathered all of my failures before me, asking you to bring to mind the failures that have hurt and offended you and those you love. And I confess that many of these are failures to see beyond myself. They are the result of selfishness and of pride: my ego overrun. God I recognize and apologize for the fact that I have seen myself as the star of my own show and I have believed that your audience was my own. I have been greedy with more than money and my failures are my sin.

Now God I give them all to you. I give you the failures that occurred because I was doing the best I could for you and fell short. I give them to you as the worship they were intended to be and I trust you to see my heart and receive the gift as I intended it. AND, I give you my failures that were a result of my pride. I give them to you as a gift of repentance, releasing them from my grip into your grace as a gift of worship, entrusting them to you to make new as I face the coming year with the intent to serve you as the only star of the universe. I am sorry for what is my fault. And I regret what was not. But in every case I let go to let You renew and restore me.

Lord, this year I will bring you fresh gifts of worship in my personal life (privately and publicly). I will bring you fresh gifts of worship in the acts of service I devote to you. I will bring them to you as gifts for your glory and not my own. Lord make me strong in Your Spirit and weak in myself and committed to the goal of making you more and me less. And should I fail, God may I fail only for trying too hard to make you known.



Season of Meditation Entry 2

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

This is a familiar verse to me. But in bringing it up on Sunday morning in my message, I was touching on something in myself that God was doing. "Forgetting what is behind." Here is some of my meditation on the passage from my evening meditation and study.

I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it - If Paul could just finish boasting on his credentials, what is it that I have to boast about. And how could I think so highly of myself if Paul considered that he had not taken full grasp on the things God has given him in Christ... Consider - to think or hold the opinion. I am such a worker person. I like to do for better than I like to think about. I prefer decisions made in the throws of service than ones made sterilely (I'm not sure this is a word...) in advance. Even in my passion for planning, I generally get the big picture, gather the supplies and decide on the spot how it will all come together. Maybe what I "consider" is not well enough thought about. So what do I consider myself. (Here comes true confession - pride and all) I consider myself "the man with the plan." I consider myself right... generally. I consider myself to have come in short of my goals... OK, generally having failed. I consider myself... hmmm. Taken hold of - Too much stuff. Cursed materialism! Not enough of the power of God available to me. Not enough of his wisdom. Not enough of His plan. Not enough of his outrageous love. Too much of his grace.

Forgetting what is behind - Well in 2008, I feel like I lost friendships. I think I did not grow personally... very much. I think I spent money poorly. I think I lead ineffectively. I think I gave too little and used too much. I wish I had more proud things behind. Forgetting - "To have no memory of." I know what that feels like. When I forget to call someone back. When I forget where I put my keys. When I forget what I went to the store for. I usually forget when I have put my brain power to work on something else. Surely that will be the key to forgetting what is behind. Put my brain power to use on something besides blaming or beating myself up. On something beside compensating for those failures or proving that they don't define me.

Pressing on toward the goal for which Christ has called me heavenward - Well there are the things I should be using my brain power for. 1. Guiding fellow Christ-followers toward fruitful Christian living. 2. Developing a community of believers that adequately love God and serve the world He loves. 3. Sharing the light of God with people in my own life, and not just the people in our "church". (The church is my own life, but there is such a blur of profession, ministry, and personal calling that it is necessary for me to share my faith in another way in order to be vibrant in my sense of responding directly to God instead of responding to my job description... or people's expectations... or my professional goals.)

Win the prize - What is the prize? In myself I wish the prize were a big church with a big paycheck. A big house. (ouch!) But really the prize that I should fix my eyes on is closer union with Christ. As much of a friendship person as I think I am, you would think this connection would be high on my list of desires. I want it to be higher. I don't think of Him enough. I don't pray continually as I think I could in order be close to Him. The prize - Christ now and forever.



My Season of Prayer Entry 1

Hey there everyone. I'm starting the year in a 40 day season of prayer and meditation as has been my custom for about 7 years now. I'll try to enter my prayers, reflections, revelations and progress as much as I can.

So far it's been a good start. I am already more focussed and energized. I'm feeling relief from the strain and fatique of the prolonged holiday season. I have found enough energy to get some direction from God in regard to the first half of this year's sermon preparation. I feel strongly directed to teach about God's ideas on wealth, things that keep Christ followers locked away from the significant lif God has for us, things that are assumed to be Christian beliefs but are not, and encouragement from an Old Testament prophet named Habbakuk. This is great to have in front of me. It provides a great deal of relief and a good dose of inspiration to know what I am called to in advance.

As for my prayers, I'm beginning by asking God to relieve me of my failures from 2008. I'm one of those people who wear defeat like a mill stone and take all the blame on myself. So, I'm asking God to take my sense guilt away without me replacing that guilt with blame (that is sometimes a convenient option to guilt...). I want to be able to face this year's objectives without any discouraging glances in the rear-view mirror.

I'm seeking to become a more attentive husband. I need God to help me. I'm a task person and marriage is a much more grand endeavor than a task. I need to not be distacted by tasks... (Please Lord help... I already have a list of tasks unfinished.)

I'm also focussing on asking God to grant me more patience and understanding as a dad. To teach me how to guide with nudges and wait for long term results intead of instant responses.

I'm asking God to grant me more passion for everything in life. My passion was lost in the Fall of '08... sucked away for everything. And the stress, over-work, and emotional requirement of the holiday season was hard to endure without it.

That's where I'm starting. Thanks for reading.

Happy New Year

Well, since we have not made it by Christmas for a card in several years (since kid #2), we have decided to send new year's cards instead. Much love to you all.

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