Don't Waste Your Gift

Exploring The Question, "What Are Spiritual Gifts?"

Eric Estes
May 1, 2022    1hr 3m
Spiritual gifts are abilities given to believers by the Holy Spirit to enable them to exceed the limitations of their humanity in order to serve others and glorify God. If you want to understand your Spiritual gift, pray and ask God to show you, ask those around you, and step out and watch what God does. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

David Parker: [00:00:07] You can be seated. Today our scripture comes from First Corinthians, and what's unique about it in this particular morning is that we've been investing in Vision 2025 and translation for the Dyula people in Africa, and so this morning's translation is coming from them. A new translation that we funded through your giving and through God's grace. So let's catch the screen and enjoy the Scripture this morning.

Eric Estes: [00:02:06] We get scripture read over us this morning that we got to be a part of being able to translate that into their language. I think that is so cool. Let's go to God in prayer before we start. Lord, thank you for who you are and your goodness and your gifts. Lord, you are a giver of good gifts, and we just thank you for that. I pray today that you'd open our eyes to be able to see your goodness, to be able to see the gifts that you've given us. And, Lord, we just pray that you would, as we open your word, that you would open our hearts, we would be able to fall more and more in love with you, and that we would walk in the goodness that you've given us. Lord, we thank you for who you are, and it's in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Eric Estes: [00:02:48] Well, many of you are familiar with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, it's a book, or many of you have seen the movie. And as a family, this was one of our favorite books that we read multiple times. And in the book, there are four kids that get sucked out of our world and put in this magical world called Narnia. And in there they have to face the evil character, which is the white witch. And so as they're journeying to face this epic battle with the white witch, they encounter someone named Father Christmas, and Father Christmas gives each of them a gift, he gives each one of them a unique and a different gift. Like to one, he gives a sword. To another one, he gives a bow. To another one, he gives a bottle of healing potion. And each of these gifts is different, and each of the kids has to learn how to use that gift. And it's only by learning how to use that gift and putting it into play that they can work together to be able to accomplish what God calls them to do.

Eric Estes: [00:03:47] And the same is true for us, as followers of Jesus, we each have been given a gift, sometimes multiple gifts. And when we learn how to use that gift, we find that that gift that God has given us, we're able to take part in our part of the story that God has written for us, our part of what we're called to do. It's only by putting all these multiple gifts together, that we as a church, and that we as the body of Christ, can do what God has called us to do. And then individually also, it's by identifying and using the way God has gifted us that we can live out the calling that God has on our lives.

Eric Estes: [00:04:28] John Piper says this, he says, "Nothing is more thrilling, joyful, meaningful, and satisfying than to find our niche in God's eternal unfolding of God's glory." Boy, when I hear that, it just stirs my soul. I just go, yes, what is my niche? I want to find my niche; I want to be a part of that. But if I'm honest, I've kind of struggled over the years with really understanding, like, what is my Spiritual gift? How has God gifted me? What is my purpose and how has he done that? And even as I kind of say, okay, well, I think he's gifted me in this way, God, how can I use that gift? Oftentimes I felt like, oh, you know, there's just not a way that I see that I could use that gift for his glory, what does that look like? And I think many of us have struggled with these things over different periods of time in how do we use our gifts?

Eric Estes: [00:05:21] Today, we're going to be in First Peter chapter 4 verses 10 through 11, and we're going to see what Peter has to say about our Spiritual gifts. Last week, Ross took us to First Corinthians 12, and we looked at the human body, the metaphor that's used for the human body, that all these different people with different gifts each have a different role to play. And if you missed last week, you might be asking, what in the world is on your shirt, right? So I encourage you to go catch last week's replay because you'll understand and kind of know, at a big picture, what is this idea of gifts that God has given us.

Eric Estes: [00:05:58] Today, as we get into First Peter, we're going to take a deeper dive into those individual gifts. We're going to spend a lot of time actually going through different lists and other places in Scripture to see what are the gifts that God gives and are available to us so that we can find the gift that God has given us. What does it look like to live out in the gifting that God has given us?

Eric Estes: [00:06:21] So as we look at First Peter chapter 4, here's what we're going to see, we're going to see that you have a gift and we're not to waste that gift. We're to use our gifts to serve others and to glorify God, that will be the big idea. And like I said, we'll kind of then explore what that looks like and all the different gifts that are available to us as we go through all of these different gifts.

Eric Estes: [00:06:47] You see for many of us, everyone who's a follower of Jesus has been given this gift. And for many, we haven't unwrapped the gift, we don't know what our spiritual gift is. What does that look like? I don't know, but I've got this gift and it's really cool, but I don't know what it is. So maybe today's a day where you'll unwrap that gift and kind of get a glimpse of what it is, and how God has uniquely gifted you and wired you. Now, for others, you've opened your gift, but it's still in the box, right? I'm not really sure how to use my gift, how to put it into play. And maybe today we'll be able to kind of wrestle through and explore some of those types of things. For others, you've seen your gift and you're using your gift and incredible ways to bless others, to minister to others. There are lots of different places that people are in here. Some of you may not even be a follower of Jesus, and we're glad that you're here, and maybe this is a time where you can kind of get a glimpse of what it looks like to follow Jesus, what it looks like to give the gifts that God has given you, the energy that He's given you, and live for something bigger than ourselves, but to actually live for him and the joy that comes with that.

Eric Estes: [00:08:00] So today we'll be doing that, and we're going to take it, we'll go to start in First Peter, and then we'll go through all these other scriptures. And we're going to spend a lot of time looking through this list of all these different gifts to try and identify what is the gift that God has given you, and then how can you live that out as we move forward?

Eric Estes: [00:08:17] So each one of us the first thing I want to say is we dive into First Peter 4 chapter 10 is that you have a gift, so don't waste it. Verse 10 says this, "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s grace." He's pretty clear here, right, we don't need to really analyze the Greek or anything else. It's pretty clear, he says each of you has a gift. So if you're sitting there thinking, I don't really have a gift, I don't know what you're talking about. Know that according to Scripture, you have a gift, and hopefully today we can kind of flesh that out and maybe look at what that might look like.

Eric Estes: [00:08:58] When we talk about the Spiritual gifts, what in the world are we talking about? I think it's helpful, Sam Storms gives this definition, I think this is helpful. He says, "Spiritual gifts are capacities or abilities imparted to Christians by the Holy Spirit to enable them to exceed the limitations of their finite humanity in order to serve other believers to the glory of God." See, these Spiritual gifts that we're talking about are different than our natural talents. Although God oftentimes uses our natural talents as He gives us these Spiritual gifts, and God gave us those natural talents, so we're to use those to glorify him? But Spiritual gifts are specific in that, that these are things that we have to depend on God and the Holy Spirit working through us in order to do, it's beyond what we can naturally do and it requires God to work through us in those ways.

Eric Estes: [00:09:49] So when we look at this, he tells us that in verse 10, he says, "Each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's grace." And I think we need to understand this idea of steward. A steward was someone who oversaw a household in ancient times and took care of all the resources that that took, ran the business of the household, and did all of these things. They took the resources and they multiplied them, they made them work, and they invested in them in order to be able to accomplish whatever that household was trying to do. You can kind of think about it in today's terms as a financial planner. Oftentimes we'll give our money to a financial planner and say, hey, would you invest this for me? I want you to multiply it, to make it work for me.

Eric Estes: [00:10:38] What would happen if you took it to a financial planner and that planner said, oh, I've got a great plan for you, I'm going to take your money and I'm going to shove it in my mattress. What would you say? Like you're out of here, no, that's not what I want you to do, I want you to invest it, I want you to try to make it work, right? And that is the same as what God is saying to us. He's given us these gifts, he doesn't want us to shove them in our mattress, he wants us to use them to be good stewards, to invest these gifts in other people.

Eric Estes: [00:11:09] So what are we talking about when we talk about these gifts? Let's get super practical as we look at this, and if we go to verse 11, Peter's going to give us a couple of categories, and I want you to use these categories to dive into specific gifts. And we'll go through these gifts to try and identify what are the gifts that God's given us. So in First Peter verse 11, he says, "Whoever speaks as one who speaks the oracles of God, whoever serves as one who serves by the strength of God." Did you catch the two categories? There are speaks, and there are serves. And we can kind of categorize these gifts in these ways, there are the gifts that we use our words to minister to others, and there are gifts where we use our activities, or we do things for others. There are speaking and serving gifts.

Eric Estes: [00:11:59] Now, as we look at these lists of gifts, we're going to now kind of jump into other places of Scripture to look at these. There are four primary places where we see the gifts listed. We see them in First Corinthians 12, we see them in Romans 12, we see them in Ephesians 4, and we see them here in First Peter four, that's where they primarily list them out. Now we need to understand is these lists aren't exhaustive, it doesn't mean that I've got to check one of these boxes, otherwise, I don't have a gift, right? He uses other ways and other gifts, these are examples for us to use for Spiritual gifts, but oftentimes these categories are really helpful as we identify how has God gifted me?

Eric Estes: [00:12:40] The other thing we need to see when we look at these Spiritual gifts is we can't use these as a copout. A lot of these gifts are not just gifts, they're also commands. For instance, he gives us the gift of evangelism or giving, but yet we're all called to give, we're all called to evangelize. So as we look at these gifts, we need to make sure that we understand that some of them we are also commanded to do this. And so we can't say, oh, but I don't have the gift of evangelism, so I'm not going to share my faith. Now, some are gifted especially, and God uses them in a special way using that area, but we're all called to do several of these gifts. And oftentimes, when we go into a situation, if we'll pray, God can give us that gift for that situation. And so we need to be aware of all of these gifts and what's available and really be seeking God to see what is the gift that you've given me, but yet being faithful to walk and do all the commands that he calls us to do.

Eric Estes: [00:13:37] Okay, so let's dive in. We're going to start with this speaking gift, and we're going to go through each of these different gifts and we've got 20 of them, so so we're going to have to move fairly quickly. But I think it's really critical that we get a grasp on what these gifts are so that you can identify yours. When you came in, you should have gotten a little piece of paper that has all these different gifts listed on it. And here's what I want you to do, as we go through and as I explain what that is, if this is something that you feel like maybe his is a way that God is gifted me, just circle it and come back this week and kind of pray through that and wrestle through that. And then also if I say something and you go, oh, that sounds like Joe. Write Joe's name down next to it, and then this week, reach out to Joe, encourage him, text him, call him, and just encourage them that, hey, I think you have this gift. Because oftentimes we don't see our own gifts, and we need people to call those out in us and encourage us in our gifts.

Eric Estes: [00:14:35] All right, let's dive in. So the first two we're going to look at in the speaking gifts are words of wisdom and words of knowledge. So words of wisdom, we can find both of these in First Corinthians 12, words of wisdom are the ability to advise or counsel others, to bring wisdom to a situation. To read a situation and be able to speak into it with wisdom. People with this gift, they can kind of see beyond what's right in front of them, it's an insight into the affairs of life, the general daily life things, bringing insight to that. Think about Proverbs, it's a book of wisdom and it deals with daily life, and it brings God's wisdom. And that's really what wisdom is, it's seeing things from God's perspective and being able to speak that into just normal daily activities.

Eric Estes: [00:15:23] Many of you probably know someone who is just a wise person. I know I used to work with a guy who, we would be in these meetings, and we would go back and forth on all these different things, and this guy would just kind of be quiet most of the meeting. And then someone towards the end would say, hey, Nick, what do you think? And he just kind of sit back, be real quiet, and he'd say something that was just so simple. And everybody was like, Oh, yeah, gosh, why don't you do that upfront, you could have saved us 2 hours in this meeting, right? You probably know these people who kind of speak wisdom. And specifically, here, it's God's perspective being spoken into a situation. So who do you know that has that gift of wisdom?

Eric Estes: [00:16:03] Now, knowledge is just kind of a different animal. If you think of wisdom as kind of the street smarts, knowledge is the book smart piece. It's someone who has an insight into the mysteries of God, specifically through Scripture, knowing how Scripture fits together, knowing different pieces of Scripture, knowing theology, and what we understand about God. These are all parts of the gift of knowledge, and you can see how these two gifts work together really well. Think about a life group scenario, where we're talking about life situations and someone with a gift of wisdom can speak and say, well, did you consider this, or what about this, here's what I think God would say about that. Or the gift of knowledge, where we're reading scripture together and so we go, oh, gosh, I don't know what that means. And someone can kind of connect the dots for us and go, oh, but that refers to this over here, and when we understand that, then this is what it means in Scripture. It plays out in so many different areas, in life groups, also, just think about all the different places that as you're in day-to-day conversations where we can use these gifts and exercise these gifts, certainly in our life groups, but also in our student areas and our kid's areas, what a time to bring wisdom to them. Also in biblical counseling scenarios, where you're walking with people who are just going through a hard time. We've got a team of people that that does that, and maybe that's a way to exercise this gift, to be able to speak wisdom into their life. And in all these areas, wisdom and knowledge, in our kids, and students, and Creation Land, and all these places, we can use those gifts to bless others.

Eric Estes: [00:17:40] How about the next two, prophecy and discernment? Now, prophecy is one that this is oftentimes misunderstood, because when we think of prophecy, what do we think of? We typically think of telling the future, right, kind of Nostradamus. Or we think of someone reading tarot cards, or someone kind of fortune-telling, or someone who, we have heard this more recently, someone who speaks truth into existence, speaks things into existence, right? That's not what prophecy is, the idea here about prophecy is this idea of applying God's word in a way that hits home. If you think about what the Old Testament prophets did, yes, they did foretell certain things that were going to happen that God told them, but most of what they were doing was forth telling. They were saying, hey, this is what God says that you're messing up, right? This is what God says, it's going to be okay. This is what God says, let's get on board with what God says. Someone with a gift of prophecy speaks boldly and is able to apply God's word to those situations with a conviction, right, with a boldness, with an encouragement, in a special way. Oftentimes, people with this gift speak boldly, but then also they tend to think more in terms of black and white, they have a justice focus, those are marks of the gift of prophecy.

Eric Estes: [00:19:07] And then what about discernment? Discernment is necessary to go along with this gift of prophecy. Because discerners are those who really try to discern, is this the will of God? See, God tells us that if someone speaks to you as a prophet, we're not to just blindly agree with what they say, we're to discern if this is from God or not. And so the people with the gift of discernment are able to discern those things, they're able to discern motive, they're able to discern, is this truly from God or is this of the world, what is that?

Eric Estes: [00:19:40] One particular person, Steve Mills, is part of our church, and he serves with our elders. And I've watched him do this multiple times, as that group is meeting to discuss something, and maybe the discussions going a certain way and he'll say, hang on a second, something doesn't feel right here. Let's take a step back and kind of assess it, and kind of rethink this. Is this truly God's will, is this what he has for us? So those are examples of the gift of discernment. If you have this gift, also, you can see how that would play out in a life group scenario as we're trying to discern what should we do, how should I do this in my life, and someone to speak that discernment. But also in students and kids, what a great place to be able to use that. In caring for others, walking with people in hard places, oftentimes in all of those groups, when they're bringing something like, here's something I'm struggling with, what they're saying isn't really the issue, you have to discern what's kind of underneath that so we can apply truth to what's really going on in their life. That's the gift of discernment, to be able to discern what's really going on, is this from God or not?

Eric Estes: [00:20:47] The next one, this is a fun one for everybody, right, tongues. The gift of tongues. What are we going to do with the gift of tongues? This one, I think most people probably know there's a lot of disagreement about this one, even within Bible-believing Christian churches. And some people would say that, okay, tongues, that was a first-century thing that doesn't exist anymore. Others would say, yes, it's still in operation today. Some would say that tongues is referring to supernaturally speaking a foreign language, a known language, some would say no tongues are a heavenly language. So if you're really interested in this topic, in kind of tongues, let me give you some good news and some bad news for you, all right? The good news is we're going to talk about it, the bad news is we're not going to talk about it today. We've got 20 of these gifts to get through, and we really need to spend some time on this idea of tongues, and what that is, and what we see in scripture. So here's what we're going to do, starting on May 31st during our summer Bible study, Tuesday nights, we're going to work through the book of First Corinthians. And guess what? In the book of First Corinthians, Paul talks about the gift of tongues in Chapters 12 through 14, he's kind of dealing with this issue in the Corinthians Church. And I got to tell you, I've just really enjoyed, as I'm preparing to work through First Corinthians, not only does he tackle hard theological topics like tongues and stuff like that, but it is just such an immensely practical book, where he gives these principles that we can apply to everyday life. So I just invite you to join us for the Summer Bible study, Tuesday nights starting May 31st, and I'd love for you to come as a life group, or if you don't have a life group, we will get you in a life group as part of that group. So we're not going to be spending more time on tongues with that, but that's something you can explore further.

Eric Estes: [00:22:39] Apostleship, now, this one, we need to really be careful with apostleship because there's a difference between the role of an apostle and the gift of apostleship. So the role of apostle, an apostle is someone who spent time with Jesus, it's that inner circle of people who spend time with Jesus and Jesus sent them out. Oftentimes what we see from the apostles is a lot of what they wrote is in our scripture, right? They speak with an authority that we don't have living among us today. The authority we have now is here. So there are no more apostles, but the gift of apostleship is a little different. The gift of apostleship, you can kind of think about it in terms of a spiritual entrepreneur. Think about Paul, he was an apostle, he went out and started new things. So we think about apostleship, it's this idea that someone you could think about, a church planter, or someone who goes into another culture, a missionary, or someone who starts a new ministry, those are all examples of apostleship. And oftentimes what they'll do is they'll start something, and they'll raise someone up to lead it, and then they'll move on and they'll start something else. That's what apostleship looks like.

Eric Estes: [00:23:54] Next, we have teaching, teaching is instructing others by explaining the things of the faith, right, that's not too hard. But I think oftentimes, what we think of is teaching, is like this, right, it has to be in a large group area. And that's not it at all, oftentimes, teaching can be in a large group, teaching can also be in a small group, that's typically how it most often plays out here, and it also happens one on one. We need to differentiate too, between teaching and public speaking, right? Public speaking has more to do with the speaker, it's about what are they saying and how are they saying it? But teaching, those who have the gift of teaching, the focus is more on the student. it's on the audience who's involved in that. Someone who has the gift of teaching is always thinking through, how can I make this extremely clear to them? How can I put this in a way that they understand it? How can I put this in a way that they can use it in their lives? That's the gift of teaching. People who have the gift of teaching love to learn oftentimes. and they're always thinking, okay, as they learn something, how can I turn around then and make this clear? How could I make this to where if it's someone else, this person understands it, that is the gift of teaching.

Eric Estes: [00:25:06] And if you think you might have that gift of teaching, there are lots of ways to explore that in different venues and areas. Here, obviously, in our life groups is the place where a lot of that happens. But then also in our student area, our kid's area, our Creation Land area, in small groups and large groups, there are opportunities to explore this idea and this gift of teaching and how to pour into others in a way that helps them to grow and understand.

Eric Estes: [00:25:34] All right, the next gift is that of exhortation, some of your Bibles might say encouragement, which is a good translation also. The word literally means to come alongside someone else, that's what exhortation is. So it's being able to empathize with them, and it's being able to encourage them, to literally, speak courage into them, that's the idea of exhortation.

Eric Estes: [00:26:02] And so, it looks a lot of different ways, when I think of exhortation, it's being able to encourage others. There are a couple of different people I think of, one of our life group leaders, Doug Sanders, every time I see him, during the conversation, the conversation turns back to me and he's encouraging me, and I love that. I see that gift play out, too, with our students, Thane [inaudible] is one of our student leaders, and he takes this group of boys, and he encourages them. He doesn't just encourage them to move forward, but he stirs them to move forward, he pushes them in their faith. And I love that, that's the gift of exhortation being played out. And could you imagine a group of people that need that encouragement in that exhortation more than students right now, those teenagers who are in difficult places and with all that the world is throwing on them to be able to encourage and exhort them? What a great way to utilize that gift of the Holy Spirit.

Eric Estes: [00:26:57] Other places that that gift really plays out is obviously in a life group scenario, to be able to encourage people. In day-to-day life, to be able to encourage and exhort and help people, help stir people to move forward in their faith. And then also in different counseling scenarios and care scenarios too, to be able to just kind of encourage people when they're going through a hard time, be able to stir them, to not stay there, but to help move forward in whatever they're struggling with. That's the gift of exhortation.

Eric Estes: [00:27:24] And then the last gift that is in the speaking category is that of evangelism. All right, we kind of talked about this a little bit in that the gift of evangelism, it's a gift, but it's also a command. So we're all commanded to share our faith, the word literally means bringer of good news. But some, God uses it in extraordinary ways to be able to really reach a lot of people. And those with a gift of evangelism tend to they tend to be thinking and see things through the lens of those who don't know Jesus, they want to interact with them. They want to meet with them, they want to talk with them, and they want to try and make every conversation kind of bring it back to Jesus. That's a gift of evangelism, to try and help people and know those lost people and help use what God has given them to help them to know Christ. And I just want to encourage you, if you don't have this gift, find someone who does, spend time with someone who does. Because it will bless you and encourage you, and it will help stir you to do what God calls you to do and to share your faith. When you see other people do it, it becomes contagious. You see how they do it, and it's really helpful as we share our faith with others. That's the gift of evangelism.

Eric Estes: [00:28:37] All right, so we've made it through the speaking gifts, those kinds of word-based gifts. Now let's talk about the serving gifts, these are the more doing gifts. And so as we look at these, the first one that we see is helping or serving. These are a couple of different words that are used in Scripture, with similar meanings. One of the words literally means a table waiter, and these are the people that just want to say, hey, I just want to serve, I see a need and I meet it.

Eric Estes: [00:29:05] When I was preparing for this over the last couple of weeks, I've been asking a lot of people, hey, what is your spiritual gift? And this is the one that I hear more often than anything else, I hear people say, I've just got the gift of serving. I want to serve others, and it doesn't really matter where what that looks like. People with this gift are kind of the utility players of the church right, they are like just put me in coach wherever you need me, and that is such a gift in so many ways.

Eric Estes: [00:29:30] Many people have a skill of some sort that they use, and then they use that to serve others. So if you think about some people behind the scenes, some of our media people that that do sound and lights and video and all that kind of stuff around here, they oftentimes have some skills, but they just want to serve and use those skills to serve others.

Eric Estes: [00:29:51] There's a group of people who have carpentry skills or certain, they're just handy they can fix things, and they're on a team called our community care team. And this team is able to, just when there's a need, maybe a widow or someone who physically can't take care of their house or financially can't take care of the house, they can come in and they can help people in our community with the gifts that God has given them, with the skills that they give them, they're just willing to serve. So if you have an interest in that, join that team, and use those skills and the gift of serving in that.

Eric Estes: [00:30:24] I've got to tell you, I absolutely love this church, and one of the things I love about this church is just how many people have this gift and this there's just this culture of serving. I can't tell you how many times I've been leading something or doing something, and then by the time I'm kind of wrapping it up, I'll say, let's pray, and I'll say amen. And by the time my eyes are open, there are four people stacking chairs already. I mean, it is incredible to watch people serve over and over again and just, hey, what can I help? What can I do? Lots of different places for that to play out in each of our ministry areas, every event that we do to reach the community or to do whatever, there's a team of people that's just there to serve, to set up, to tear down. If you have an interest in that, and you just say, you know, I don't know what my gift is, but I can lift heavy stuff, then come on, we'd love to have you as part of that team. Serving is one of those gifts.

Eric Estes: [00:31:17] Another one, kind of related to that, is hospitality. Hospitality is just the ability to be able to help people feel welcome. And so many of you, you love to entertain people in your house, and maybe that's the gift of hospitality. And what a great way to have people come into your house and make them feel welcome, so that you can then help kind of lead them over subsequent conversations to what does it look like to follow Jesus. to know him. I do not have this gift of hospitality, I am great when people come over and hey, let's throw some lawn chairs in the living room and we have hot dogs. Right? so I don't have that gift, but many of you do, and what a great way, another way, to exercise that gift is many of you open up your homes to your life groups. And what a gift that is to the leader of a life group to say, okay, look, I'll make everybody feel welcome, and that allows you as a life group leader to just be able to lead them, to be able to shepherd the group, what a gift that is.

Eric Estes: [00:32:19] When we look at hospitality, there's also hospitality that happens here every Sunday morning when we gather for different events. When you think about when there are people in the parking lot, there are people at the doors, there are people inside the doors, and there are people serving coffee, there are people who help you find your seats, all of them with the idea of trying to make you feel welcome. That's the gift of hospitality playing out, that happens in all of our ministry areas. So we've had the gift of hospitality.

Eric Estes: [00:32:46] All right, next, we've got the gift, two gifts, administration, and leadership. What are those? Administration is the organizing gift, alright, people with the gift of administration, they love highlighters and sticky notes and label makers and systems and processes, right, these are the organizers. The word literally is a nautical term, and it means the helmsman of a ship. And the helmsman of the ship was the person who was in charge of making the ship go in a certain direction. He wasn't the guy that said, hey, we're going to go to Portugal. He was the guy who said, okay, if we're going to Portugal, here's how we get there. They like to bring order out of chaos. They figure out how to make things happen to where they go, where they're going.

Eric Estes: [00:33:31] The other gift, the leadership gift, is that guy that's the captain of the ship, right, he's the one who says this is the direction we're going. The gift of leadership is about being able to provide clarity, a clear, compelling vision, and that people follow you. One mark, if you have the gift of leadership might be, are people following you? Do you have a compelling vision that people are coming along with? That's a way to look at the gift of leadership. I love seeing how this plays out, I've seen it play out really cool ways in different life groups. I think about how those two gifts work together, if you have one who has the gift of leadership and says, hey, guys, here's where we're going, this is what it looks like, let's all get on board, let's challenge each other, let's do life together, let's grow in our faith. And then someone else you can come alongside and say, I've got the gift of administration, here's how we're going to do that. I'll send out the emails each week. Someone else is in charge of cooking and bringing the meals each week. Here is what we're going to do for our social event, here's what the calendar looks like, right? Think about how those two gifts work together in so many ways.

Eric Estes: [00:34:36] We see it here as a church too, each of those gifts, throughout the week, there are people who come up here and use their gift of administration in so many different ways. Bev Pickard and Vickie Carnes are two, they come up here each week and they organize, and they get all the supplies gathered for the leaders when they come in on Sunday in 121 Kids and 121 Creation Land so that when they come in, all the supplies are ready and they are ready to go. With Vicki and Bev, they're able to use their gifts to allow the leaders to use their gifts to serve and teach your kids each and every Sunday, that's an example of the gift of administration and how that works.

Eric Estes: [00:35:19] We have several people who are strong leaders, and they're leading in different ministry areas and different events, those are different ways we see the gift of leadership play out all throughout the body of Christ.

Eric Estes: [00:35:31] All right, next, let's look at giving. This is another one where we see that, hey, this is a command and a gift. It's a gift in the sense that some people have this kind of just, they love to see a need and meet it. That they want to give, they have a steward mindset, which just means that they understand that this is God's money, that God has given it to them, and they're just a conduit to pass it on, that's the idea of the gift of giving. Now we oftentimes get in the trap of thinking, well, that's a gift for wealthy people, right. they have the gift of giving. But it's not the gift of earning, it's a gift of giving.

Eric Estes: [00:36:13] And so when we think about this, as matter of fact, the example Jesus gave was not a wealthy person. Jesus talks about the widow, when everybody was giving their offerings, the widow put two pennies in, and Jesus said she gave more than anybody else because they gave out of their excess, she gave out of her need, out of her poverty. So the gift of giving isn't just for those who give a lot of money, it's not about the amount, it's about the heart behind it, it's about the mindset behind it. And some, just have that gift of like, I want to give. And there are so many people in this church who are incredibly generous, I love being a part of this church, and I love whenever there's a need that comes up, there's just someone who comes out and says, hey, I got it, I want to meet that, I want to finish that, I want to fund that, I want to pay for that.

Eric Estes: [00:37:02] I love watching, even like as camp season comes up with students and kids and, and even our retreats a lot of times, people will give and say, hey, I want to give scholarships to kids because I know there are some kids who can't afford to go to these camps, or some students, and I don't want them to miss out. And so we're able to offer these scholarships to different students to be able to get them in because of someone who's got the gift of giving. And they may never know what their gift does, or how it impacts lives, but it does in so many ways. That's the gift of giving.

Eric Estes: [00:37:34] And then the next one is acts of mercy. Acts of mercy are ministering to the sick, the needy, those who are hurting, and those who are struggling. There's an incredible amount of patience required with this one and being able to empathize and just walk alongside someone in hard places, many of you might just find yourself that people like that are drawn to you, and maybe that's God that has given you that gift of mercy. We have a team here of care, a men's care team, and a women's care team, and Jessica Howard leads those teams. And if you might feel like you might have that gift, reach out to Jessica and start to explore that. Even if you don't have the skills, you don't feel like I don't really know how to do that, we can teach you the skills, but what we can't teach is the heart and the gifting to be able to walk through some of these difficult places with people. But man, what a gift that is for that person who's struggling and going through hard times. Which, by the way, we're all going to go through hard times at some point.

Eric Estes: [00:38:38] All right, just a few more left, shepherding. What's the shepherding gift? Some of your translations may say pastoring, I like shepherding better because when we think of a pastor, we think of a paid staff person, but that's not what this gift is at all. Shepherding is just what it sounds like, it's a shepherd, it watches over a flock. And so shepherds watch over a flock of people, they care for them, they help them grow, they help them to flourish, they help move them forward in their faith, that's what shepherding is. Obviously, the natural tie to that would be life group leaders, or student life group leaders, or kids’ life group leaders to be able to have and care for a group of people that you can then kind of help move forward in their faith. What a critically important role this is as we help everybody to try and move forward in their faith, maybe that's what God's called you to is a shepherding role.

Eric Estes: [00:39:30] All right, the next one, I've just got a few left, faith, when we look at faith, we've got to just really understand, because it's not talking about a saving faith. If you're a follower of Jesus, you know, part of that is you have a saving faith, but this is a kind of a faith to another degree. It's to be able to be someone who believes in the impossible, whether that's physical healing, or missionary movements, or provision, or whatever it is. It's the ability to trust God to a heightened degree, kind of this extreme confidence that God's going to provide, he's going to do it.

Eric Estes: [00:40:05] George Mueller is an example, some of you may have heard of him, he started and ran a whole lot of orphanages in England a long time ago, and he was he would never take money, he would never ask for money to run those orphanages. He would always just pray to God and God would provide; he had this incredible faith. As a matter of fact, one time, people have told the story about how there wasn't any food in the orphanage. And they said, George, what are we going to do? And he said, well, let's pray. And then he said, let's wake the kids up, get them seated because God will provide. And so these kids are seated at the table waiting, it got to be a little awkward, they prayed. And then, sure enough, knock on the door, the milkman says, hey, my truck just broke down in front of your house and all this milk is going to spoil, can I give it to you? Like, yes. And then a little while later, the baker comes by and says, hey, I baked some extra bread, why don't you all take it today. And this is an example of George's, just his extreme faith in that.

Eric Estes: [00:41:09] The last two gifts that we'll talk about are healing and miracles, and these are harder ones, there's some disagreement on kind of how that plays out, and I think that's okay. On one side, some people would say, hey, these gifts have stopped, that was a first-century thing, and we don't see those play out anymore. On another side, some people would say these gifts not only are still going, but they should be normal, we should be seeing these things every day, if not, we're doing something wrong. But then there's kind of another group in the middle, that is where a lot of people fall, is that these gifts are still operating, but they're extraordinary gifts, we don't see them as often anymore, but God is still using them in incredible ways. And so wherever you kind of fall in the midst of that, what we need to understand is, and I've struggled with this a little bit, because some of these gifts, part of it is just our own experience. I haven't seen these gifts play out, and I've seen people abuse these gifts. So it could be natural for me to go, I don't know, I don't know about these gifts. But just because I haven't seen them, or just because it's been abused, doesn't mean it's not real.

Eric Estes: [00:42:19] I think we need to be really careful not to discount these gifts. We hear stories all the time about people on the mission field, especially, in those far places where there is darkness and God is doing a new work, and how God uses specific people to heal people and how that starts a movement and a mass of people come to Jesus because of one person being healed, and another person, and another person. So, we don't want to discount these gifts, and what does that look like in our midst? So I would just encourage you, with these gifts, faith, healing, and miracles, if you think maybe this is how God has gifted you, I want to encourage you to join one of our prayer teams to be able to pray for people and to watch God work in incredible ways, to be able to ask God for more than we could ask or imagine and watch him work in the midst of that.

Eric Estes: [00:43:10] All right, whew, we did it, 20 gifts, we're doing all right. All right, but it takes a lot of time to go through these gifts, but I think this is really important to be able to really understand what these gifts are. And my hope is that you found maybe a couple that you'd go, yeah, maybe God could use me in that, maybe God has given me that gift. But it still raises the question, how do I know? How do I know what my gift is? I'm still not sure.

Eric Estes: [00:43:37] Let me give you a couple of thoughts. First of all, we're going to do a workshop this afternoon at 2:00. I'd invite you to come, we're going to dive deeper into this, give you some tools to kind of wrestle through and identify what are your gifts, and then how do we use them. But let me give you three thoughts right now today that you can kind of think through on Spiritual gifts.

Eric Estes: [00:43:55] The first one is, if you want to understand your Spiritual gift, pray and ask God. It seems kind of obvious, right? But as you pray, pray through these scriptures that we saw God, what is it? And don't just ask him to tell me the gift, ask him to show it to you, ask him to put you in situations where you have no choice but to rely on God and watch him work in incredible ways that you couldn't do on your own. And then as you see a pattern in that, you'll start to identify, ah, maybe this is my Spiritual gift.

Eric Estes: [00:44:26] The second thing I want you to do is to ask those around you. This is really important, who knows you best? Who has seen God work through you? Ask them, ask your life group. I would encourage all life groups to spend a couple of weeks talking about, how has God gifted each person there. We did this with our leaders, our life group leaders a few months ago, and it was such a rich time. They started calling out things in each other, going, you know what? Yeah, I see that, but I see this too. Or, you know what? I don't see that as much but let me tell you what I do see in you, and it was a time to build up and encourage. And we need to be doing that more and more, encouraging each other, building each other up, calling out those gifts in each other.

Eric Estes: [00:45:10] So ask God, ask others, and then the last thing is to step out and watch what God does, you will never find your gift standing on the sideline. Right? Picture a football player standing on the sideline going, oh, yeah, that's my gift right there, I'm a quarterback, that's my gift, right? He's never set foot on the field, that's ridiculous, until you get on the field and start playing, you don't know what your gifts are. So I would encourage you to step onto the field, step into a place to serve, step into other people's lives, and see what God does in the midst of that, see how he works, how he gifts you. There are lots of opportunities within the body, within this church, to serve in different areas, there's a table out right out here where there's a team of people that can help you identify places where you can start to serve. And even if you don't know your gift, that's fine, get in there and start serving somewhere and I bet you'll get to see God start to use you in certain ways and you'll go, oh, maybe that's it. It may be that you go, you know what, I've figured one thing that's not my gift. And that's okay, then we try something else, but the idea is to keep moving. If we stay in our comfort zone, we'll never identify our spiritual gift.

Eric Estes: [00:46:25] You can kind of think about it as an airplane, if you looked at an airplane, you wouldn't really know what it was made for unless you're an engineer or someone like that, right? But it's only when that plane is moving forward, what happens? It starts to lift, and you identify, oh, that's what it's for, that's what it was made for. And the same thing for us, when we're moving forward, that's when we get to see what we're designed for, what we're made for, and how God has gifted us, it's only when we're moving forward, so let me encourage you to do that.

Eric Estes: [00:46:56] All right, as we kind of start to move towards the end of our time, I want to take us back to First Peter. I told you we're going to anchor it First Peter, but we're going kind of go all over the place to look at these gifts. I want to show you two more things in First Peter before we wrap up. The first thing, starting in verse 11, I want us to see that gifts require dependence. In verse 11, he says, "Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies," Speaking, we're to speak God's words, serving we're to use his strength. What we tend to do is we tend to gravitate toward our natural abilities. But he's saying here, no, step out and rely on him, it's only when we're dependent on God that we can really start to see him work through our Spiritual gifts.

Eric Estes: [00:47:46] I know when I first started preaching here, the first couple of times I would come out and I would do pretty good on the first service. And then for whatever reason, the second service was just, it was flat, it just wasn't one there. I don't know what it was, it wasn't good. And so I wrestled with that, and I prayed, and I realized that during the first service I was really dependent on God, I was dependent on the Holy Spirit, I was nervous, I was scared, I reached out, I called out to God, I just asked him, and I was depending on him to show up. But by the second service, I was like, all right, I've got this, and I was trying to do it out of my natural abilities, and my natural abilities weren't enough for the task that God had called me to.

Eric Estes: [00:48:35] So when we look at these gifts, we have to be dependent on God, fully dependent on him, in order to be able to use the gifts that he's given us. And that's really the nature of our Christian faith, isn't it? When we trust in Christ, when we become a believer, we initially have to put our dependence on God and say, I can't do anything to be made right with you, God. I can only be dependent on what Jesus has done for me, that he lived the perfect life, he died for me, and that if I depend on him, trust in him, then I can be made right through him. that's the Christian faith. And then after that, all our Christian life is really just that kind of pulling us back and continuing to depend on him again and again, because our natural tendency is going to depend on ourselves and we've got to pull ourselves back, no, it's not me, it's God's strength. How can I depend on him more and more and more? That's what we're called to do, especially as we look at these Spiritual gifts.

Eric Estes: [00:49:36] The last thing I want to see in verse 11 is, the gifts are for his glory. Verse 11 says, the last part says, "In order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." Why did God design these gifts so that we have to be dependent on him? So he gets the glory. These gifts he gives to us, but they're not for our glory. When we're trusting in him, when we use these gifts, they should be glorifying him. So you ask yourself these questions, if you're using your gifts and you're getting glory by using these gifts. Just ask yourself the question, who are these gifts for, are they for you or are they for God's glory?

Eric Estes: [00:50:30] How about if you're hesitant to use the gifts he's giving you because you're like, I don't really want to do that, that's not really what I want to do. Even though I'm kind of good at it, I think I might be gifted in that, I don't want to do that. Ask yourself, who are these gifts for, are they for your glory or are they for God's glory? You have been given a gift, use it, and don't waste the gift. Step out into uncomfortable situations, depend on him, and then watch what he does. Watch him use you in incredible ways that you had no idea he could do. Watch as he uses you to do incredible things that change people's lives all for his glory.

Eric Estes: [00:51:26] So you've been talking about these gifts, we want to end our time today by watching a video. And Ross laid this out at the beginning of the year and said, we're going to go hard at these different things that God has called us to. And then in May, we're going to come together, we're going to celebrate what God has done. And so this video is a way to kind of celebrate some of the things that God has done, but as we watch this video, also notice that this is a lot of different people using different gifts that God has given them. And as we watch this, we should be grateful and celebrate what God has done. but then also, we should look and see, hey, how can I get in on what's going on here and what God is doing here? Let's watch that video.

Eric Estes: [00:52:14] Prayer is the only entryway into genuine self-knowledge, it is also the main way we experience deep change, the reordering of our lives. Prayer is how God gives us so many of the unimaginable things He has for us, indeed, prayer makes it safe for God to give us many of the things we desire. It is the way we know God, the way we finally treat God as God. He says prayer is simply the key to everything we need to do and be in life.

Ross Sawyers: [00:52:45] Would you mark this Friday at 7:00 to be in this room for a night of prayer and praise? We started that this past Friday night, and it was just an incredible time of being enveloped in God's word and praise, and really just enjoying him and being together and seeking him out.

Eric Estes: [00:53:04] We're to pray with our eyes wide open, for doors wide open, openly investing in others.

Ross Sawyers: [00:53:11] If ever there was a time that we need to be seeking God in prayer in the life of our nation and in our world, today is it.

Unknown: [00:53:36] It's February and we're down here in New Braunfels on a fly-fishing trip, it's one of the 121 outdoors fishing trips.

Unknown: [00:53:51] That's a really cool thing to get outside to unplug. It's a good reminder of just how powerful that is.

Eric Estes: [00:54:03] But what God has led our leadership to do, is to really kind of focus on outside as the theme for 2022. And so what that looks like is it means, first of all, for us to get outside the walls of the church, not just to gather here, but then also what are we doing to get outside, to serve others, to live out our faith, to have those conversations with outsiders who are outside of these walls.

Jermaine Arphul: [00:54:40] All right, this year we have Jason Bennett as our speaker, he has been with us a couple of years now, I think, and he's been blessing us on Wednesday nights and also last year's, Live.

Courtney Chandler: [00:54:58] We got to watch God just start with a vision, and then carry that all the way through and just watch him just pour out his Spirit, revelation of more of who he is, and students just being moved by the Holy Spirit. So Live was super cool this year, plus there was like a rapper there and lots of fun outdoor stuff, so we just had a good time this year.

Jessica Howard: [00:55:29] So some of the feedback we received on the women's retreat this year would have to be our Friday night time outside, that worship night was so sweet. Being outside Saturday morning, that was a very rich time for our women to be able to spend time with the Lord in their solitude time with him. It was just such a sweet weekend, being able to see women meet with the Lord and having their lives changed.

Unknown: [00:56:05] Principals like Lisa Padilla of O.C. Taylor Elementary are no stranger to kids calling out due to COVID. But what happens when it's the teacher?

Eric Estes: [00:56:13] We needed 147 times and we only have 81.

Unknown: [00:56:18] Wow, that means on Friday alone, Grapevine Colleyville ISD still needed another 66 substitutes.

Eric Estes: [00:56:24] Back in January, when the Grapevine Colleyville schools had to shut down because of teacher shortage, they didn't have enough substitutes. And so as a staff we said, hey, let's get in there and see if we can help, and so we got certified and we went into the schools to substitute teach. And it was just so cool to get in there and see some of the students that are part of our church, and they loved seeing us there, and they would start to tell... As a matter of fact, at one school I was in, in the hallway, I saw one of our students and she went and told her teacher. And so by the second period at the break, you know, the teacher asked me, like, I hear you're a pastor, what are y'all doing? And it was just so cool to be able to tell them, hey, this is what we're doing. We know there's a need in the community, and so we're jumping in and helping out, and this is an opportunity for us to be in the schools. And it was neat to be able to just talk to different teachers and encourage the teachers and the staff at the schools because they've got a hard job. And so to be able to actually be in there and encourage them and encourage the students, it's been a great, great experience.

Jermaine Arphul: [00:57:23] Act like you're working. All right ready, so as a church staff, we've been substituting all across GCI for about a month now. And wow, it has been so cool to be in their world.

Courtney Chandler: [00:57:39] It has just been eye-opening in seeing more of their world and knowing more about how we can pray for them, and then just being a presence, bringing the light of the Lord into these schools and just loving on them a little bit more. So subbing has just been such a cool experience for me.

Elvis Gallegos: [00:57:55] I found myself in the hall with three other teachers and just really hearing a little bit about the struggles and challenges that they've been going through. And we ended up, with about four other teachers coming into a classroom with just me being able to hear and listen, and them just expressing the challenging times that is right now of being a teacher and educator. And so to be able to pray for them and connect with them and then hear them, but also see that, hey, there's a church, there's a group of believers that are behind you and are here for you, I think meant a lot to them. So it was just a really great time for me to be a sub in that school that day.

David Parker: [00:58:29] So as a 121 staff, once a month we're doing a serve day, and today we're moving furniture that's been donated and given to our new mission house that's being refurbished and ready for all of our global workers who are coming to stay and just have a nice place to rest.

Elvis Gallegos: [00:59:21] This year was the eighth year that we've done our spring break sports camp. On day one there were about 30, on day two it doubled with people seeing the Chick-Fil-A and different loud music and worship music going on. So that was really powerful for us to expand into a new area of Grapevine, and it was just an incredible time with people within the community sharing their faith and testimony, and just good fellowship time, meeting new people that are just moved to the area, but then also seeing the kids that have come for three, four or five years just growing up and seeing the work that God's done in their lives.

Travis Muscatell: [01:00:07] It's Wednesday today, we're getting ready for everything this weekend. So right now we're programming everything for tomorrow night for the wonderful cross service. So we're finishing up stage designs and set designs and lights, and then from here, we'll move on to start programing everything for the Saturday and Sunday Easter services. So we're just building graphics and lights and doing all the behind-the-scenes production work before the big weekend.

Diana Parker: [01:00:57] Bev and I are getting ready for Easter Sunday. Yes, getting all the baskets ready, all the supplies for all the services. We are also getting ready for the egg hunt, so we're counting eggs and making sure they're all stuffed.

Pam Nichols: [01:01:12] So, so far, we have about 6000 eggs and we've probably got another 1500 in the trough, so we have at least 8000 eggs. And we're also getting our Sunday morning and Saturday Easter crafts together because you have to have something fun for these guys to do on Easter Sunday and Easter Saturday.

Evan Halferty: [01:02:02] We're so excited for this weekend, it was super exciting to get all the work done that we did for the Thursday night, worship night, and the Easter egg hunt, we're so excited.

Ross Sawyers: [01:02:21] When I stand before God, I won't say to him I earned it, but I will say with the calm in my heart, that I believed it and I received it, thank you. The only reason I can stand before you, God, is by Your Grace, and if there's any good that ever came out of me, it's only the good that you produce. Therefore, you're the only one that gets the glory today, because you're the only one that's good.

Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051