Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Loves Vitameatavegamin.

"Are you run-down, listless? Do you poop out at parties? Are you unpopular? Then you need Vitameatavegamin," says a sober Lucille Ball. After practicing this commercial numerous times, this wonder medicine has made her drunk, and the results are classic Lucy. "Are you run-down, listless? Do you pop out at parties? Are you unpoopular?" Lucy, Lucy, Lucy. Always trying to get on television. Always trying to be something she wasn't. Always trying to figure out what she wanted to be on television – be an ad girl, a ballet dancer, and many more.

Have you ever wondered what your purpose in life is? Have you ever looked for a place to belong? Have you ever wanted to find something that energized you? Have you ever searched for an outlet to give back? Have you ever wondered if anyone cares? This is why you should discover the gift that God has given you.

Why would anyone want to discover their spiritual gift? This gift that God gives us when He adopts us into His family that we have been carrying around day after day ever since we asked Him into our hearts – THAT GIFT.

The spiritual gifts are laid out in four locations in the Bible – Ephesians 4, I Corinthians 12, and Romans 12. Discovery of your gift is part of the process. It is part of maturing. It is developing your relationship with your Creator. Study the gifts. Ask God to reveal to you which one He has given to you. There are plenty of evaluations or questionnaires you can fill out to get a better picture of which ones may be your gifts. Then once you discover your gift, you need to exercise it.

What happens to a muscle that is not exercised? It atrophies. It decreases in size. It becomes weak, useless. Employ your gift. Find someone who has the same or similar gift as yourself who has matured and developed their gift and talk to them about it. There will be bumps along the way as you begin exercising your new gift. This reminds me of when my children first started learning how to walk. Erin was in no great rush to walk, but Pearce had places to go. They fell. The toddled, but eventually, they got the hang of it. Then we put shoes on them. Another challenge. They looked like we had put cats on a sock! They looked so funny walking with their knees all whopper-jawed, but they got it. It didn't take long for them to start running either. When we exercise our gifts, we grow.

Then, ladies, a really neat thing happens. You start feeling the Lord's prompting. You feel Him leading you to do things you wouldn't normally have done, but it's amazing because you know He is ministering to others through you. He chooses YOU! He chooses you to work through to minister to others. Is that not awesome? Is that not humbling? That feeling and knowing that He chooses to use you will energize you. It gives you your purpose. You'll find your place of service, and you'll know that your Creator cares more for you than you can ever imagine.

Discovery, Exercise, Employ, Follow – These are a recipe for a dynamic, awesome relationship with Jesus Christ. I encourage you to find you gift. Not just for yourself, but for those who He wants to minister to through you. You've been missing out carrying your unopened present around day after day. Get the lead out! Start discovering.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Putting God in a Box

One of the main themes in this season of my life is the gifts that God has so graciously given me--not just spiritual gifts, but also gifts of talent. I’ve known what my gifts are for a long time. Before I had even heard the term ‘spiritual gift,’ I knew what God had given me and how I was supposed to use it. That’s not to say that I have used it well or wisely or really that much at all, but I’m working on that area of my life. (That’s a different blog for a different day.)

My gifts are teaching and knowledge. My talents are dancing and writing. Teaching is a hereditary trait in my family. 90% of the women on both sides of my family work in education. Writing and dancing are the two things I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember. I didn’t really play much growing up: I taught dance class to my dolls and neighbors, and I wrote stories. That was my childhood.

As well as I know what my gifts and talents are, I know even better what they are not: I am not a musician in any shape or form. As a young child, I was convinced that I would one day voice a Disney princess. One afternoon, I recorded myself singing a song from “Beauty and The Beast.” Let’s just say that I was horrified when I played the tape back. I laid down my dreams of being a singer then and there. In high school, my drama coach insisted that I try out for the part of Marty Maraschino in “Grease.” She just knew I was perfect for the role. Well, bless my heart, I probably was--until the vocal part of the audition. I won’t ever forget the look on my drama coach’s face as she tried over and over to have me sing on key. She finally gave up, and I was assigned the comedic role of Jan. Unfortunately, our coach didn’t read the script correctly, and I had to sing anyway. I won the award of Best Comedic Role that year, and it was based on my singing voice! I wasn’t even trying to be funny!!

I’ve never been more aware of my lack of talent than since I married my musical genius of a husband. People have always assumed that because he is a musician, I am, too. My husband, along with everyone else close to him, was sure that the Lord would give Him a fellow worship leader as a wife. He even tried his best to turn me into one. Finally, he gave up and told me, “You just don’t hear music like normal people.” I guess I don’t.

During the fast, the Lord really began dealing with me on my lack of use of my gifts and talents. I sat down in my prayer time and surrendered them to him one by one, up until the last one--dancing. I explained to Him, “Lord, I’m in a Baptist church. How on earth am I going to serve you by dancing?”

He reminded me of one of my favorite weeks of the year--Vacation Bible School. Each year on the Sunday following VBS week, I would join our Children’s Pastor on stage and lead the children in motion and sign language to the music. The first year I participated, I was beside myself! Being able to express myself through motion in worship was like nothing I had ever experienced before. It has been one of my favorite days in my walk with God so far. I remember telling my husband, “This must be what it feels like for you every Sunday.”

The next week I spoke with our Children’s Pastor about taking on a bigger role in our upcoming VBS. A few weeks later, I found myself sitting in a room with VBS volunteers from across our region who would also be functioning in the same role as I. We started with prayer, and then our leader looked to me and asked, “So, what role do you have on your church’s worship team?” I suddenly realized that I was surrounded by worship leaders, team members, children’s choir directors---people with musical talent. “I’m just here to dance,” I told her.

She spent the next hour explaining the importance of teaching children to worship. As a mother, I felt that. I felt it deeply! She then turned to me and quoted 2 Samuel 6:14: “‘David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might.’ Worship isn’t just about the music; it’s an expression from the heart. That’s what these kids need to know.”

On the way home, I called my husband and squealed, “Babe, you are not going to believe this, but your wife is going to lead worship.”

I realized that I had put God in a box. I thought I knew the parameters of my gifts and talents. I was sure that I knew the places He could take me and the places that were impossible--even for Him. He didn’t give me a musical talent, but that doesn’t matter, for nothing is impossible with God.

Do you have a dream or desire that seems beyond impossible? Don’t lose heart; our Father is full of surprises!

‘For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

-Sunni Scott

Friday, March 5, 2010

Wonders how do you carry your spiritual gift? Do you have a designer bag?

Several weeks ago, I walked around holding a gift bag which contained a number of small, wrapped gifts. I took this bag to each of the ladies in my small group and asked them to take one. Some pulled the first available. Some saw and chose a box bigger than the others. And then when I told them I wanted them to carry it not only home but to church and to work, the ones with larger gifts exchanged it for smaller ones. Then when I told them there was really something in the box, some with smaller boxes wanted to exchange their gift for one in a larger box assuming there must be something better in a larger box.

This whole process has intrigued me. I'm really curious to know how many of the ladies are carrying their gift to work. I wonder if they are carrying it inside their homes. I wonder if anyone has asked them yet why they continue to carry around this unopened gift.

In all of my wondering, pondering, and thinking, it dawned on me that my ladies are treating the unopened gifts a lot like many Christians treat their true spiritual gifts. Once a Christian realizes they have received a spiritual gift from our heavenly Father, they begin wanting to exchange it for another gift of a different variety maybe. Then some Christians will carry their spiritual gift around, but it is hidden in the depths of their "spiritual purse" never seeing the light of day unless they decide to take it to church. Some Christians exercise their gifts occasionally at church but not necessarily at home or work. Rarely do we see the Christian who takes their spiritual gift out and use it, so it will benefit the body of Christ like He intends for us to do.

I can't wait for the ladies to open their gifts. We still have several weeks before this happens. Maybe I'll ask my ladies where they are carrying their gifts or if they've had any conversations. Either way, I think is very fascinating.