God has given every one of us at least one spiritual gift. And those gifts aren’t just for our own benefit; their purpose is to bless the entire Body of Christ. When you discover your spiritual gift(s) and use them in your local church, you’ll see amazing growth take place for everyone in your congregation.
When the teaching on Christian Stewardship kicked off during the ETS, it was soon evident that most people in the audience were seeing their individual gifts and talents as their own. Something that God has endowed them with and was for their benefit. But when they were told by the Director of LHM Liberia that we were all caretakers of God’s gifts and material wealth, it was like a lot of people found themselves at fault.
Know that your spiritual gift (or combination of gifts) determines your purpose in Christ’s Body. Spiritual gifts are special attributes given by the Holy Spirit to every member of the Body of Christ, according to God’s grace, for use within the context of the Body. A spiritual gift is not a natural talent (everyone has natural talents, but only believers have spiritual gifts), a fruit of the spirit (all Christians should develop the same fruit, whereas only certain Christians receive particular spiritual gifts), or a role. Ask God to help you discern true spiritual gifts from counterfeit ones that come from Satan.
Never use a spiritual gift to acquire personal power, gain wealth, take revenge, or exploit fellow believers. Don’t exalt any particular type of gift over another; realize that in God’s eyes, all are equally valuable. Don’t project a gift you have onto another person to whom God may not have given that specific gift. Give other people the freedom to exercise their own unique gifts.
Through the process, take note of what gifts you seem to have – and those you seem not to have. Examine your feelings to see if the work you’re trying out excites you or not. Evaluate your effectiveness by seeing if your church gets positive results from your work. Know that when true gifts are in operation, whatever is supposed to happen through them will happen. Look for confirmation from other people in your congregation that you have a particular spiritual gifts.
Whenever we forget that God is the owner and we are only the manager, the story of King Nebuchadnezzar in the Book of Daniel should be able to serve as reminder.
The Lutheran Hour Ministries Liberia was honored late December to host Rev. Gary Schulte , LCMS Area Facilitator for West and Central Africa. Rev Schulte haven taken over from Rev. Dr. Dave Erber, was visiting the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Liberia for the first time. Rev. Schulte and Wife Staphanie were accompanied at the Liberia Ministry center by President Amos Bolay, President of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Liberia and ELCL officials. Rev. Schulte and wife had lunch at the Ministry center and they were also gowned as a formal welcome to Liberia by the ELCL.
Rev.Schulte during remarks praised the Church for the work being done in Liberia and thanked the Lutheran Hour Ministries Liberia for being at the heart of that work. He said that it was his prayers that the Lutheran Hour Ministries Liberia’s work expands and that the Gospel reach out to every soul.
Fellowship with other believers is a resource that offers a lifeline of support to many. How often do we overlook fellowshiping and sharing with people within the body of Christ? No struggle of family issue is unique to any one person. There are others within the body of Christ who have already endured similar experiences. These fellow brothers and sisters can pray for you, encourage you, and give godly advice to help you overcome difficult circumstances.
Philemon 4-6 “ I thank my god, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgement of every good thing which is in you in Jesus Christ”.
Sharing of our faith can be as simple as telling someone what a difference Jesus is making in our life. Trust the Holy Spirit to guide you. Begin to pray for individuals with whom you share Christ. Trust God to provide opportunities to talk with them and the wisdom to know what to say. As you spend time with these friends and show them that you care about them, you might not even know what means is there to breakthrough with the Gospel of Christ. During our visit to Gbarpolu, western Liberia, we had the opportunity to talk with some important community leaders. As we talked about our work with the kids in the community, they created a broader interest in the ministry’s activities in their region, a predominantly Muslim region. At the activities, we were surprised that Muslim parents sent their kids along.There were about 50(fifty) Muslim kids attending the activities. We had the opportunity to minister to them and their parents through sharing the Word of God ,Gifts and hot meals.
Talks of establishing an ELCL congregation in the region was initiated. It is our prayer that the talks initiated will germinate and the plan of using LHM as a vehicle to establishing an ELCL congregation in western Liberia will come to fruition.
As we try to welcome and introduce our Lord to others this festive season within a modern context, let us not be in danger of missing the purpose of His life. He is born unto us. For many people he is just so much that they cannot mention. Certainly, He was a teacher and social revolutionary, a healer and a leader- but he was so much more. An angel directed Joseph to name Mary’s infant son “Jesus” meaning , “The Lord saves,” because he would save his people from their sins(Matthew 1:21).
To fully understand the reason why he was born unto us, we need to have a realistic understanding of the human condition. Each one of us is separated from the Holy God, because each has turned away from him.The Bible refers to that act of turning from God as sin(Roman 3:23). The inescapable punishment of sin is death, or eternal separation from the one true and loving God(Romans 6:23). Without Mary’s child, we are lost, held in slavery, groping in darkness and living without hope! But with him, we have a great good news of peace and joy and restoration(Luke 2:10)-He came to set us free from the bondage and penalty of our sin by dying on the cross in our place. Infinitely more than a teacher, counselor, revolutionary leader, healer, friend or brother , Jesus-God in human flesh is the savior of the world. He is born unto us.
Many at times single individuals in the church take themselves as lesser people especially in the midst of couples. The feeling of not being a better Christian because of your unmarried status can be depressing especially in our part of the world where a married person is regarded as being more responsible than an unmarried one.
Some denominations and church pastors push young people into marriage when they are ill prepared causing them not to see the institution of marriage as a blessing but rather a curse. Just too many of these cases came up at our youth seminar during the month as the seminar was interdenominational.
While it is good to get married, your marital status does not mean that you are a better Christian. When you find yourself unmarried, it also does not mean that God regard you as a lesser child. You are also His child just as any other Christian is. While it is true that God honors marriage and he blesses it, it is not true that God will bless married people more than He will bless a singled person.
We need to maximize our singleness by trusting God while we await our future spouse if that is God’s will. Maximizing your singleness means to be content in the season that God places you. See James 1:17 and John 3:27. God is the giver of every good gift including a good spouse. We need to develop an eternal perspective on life. If the Lord calls you as a single individual, serve him with joy. If He blesses you with a partner, enjoy the wife of your youth.
Of our activities held in October, our point of interest came at Clay Ash-land where we went out to share the gospel of Christ to a rural community through home visits and sports activities. Pastor Nathaniel Goodly who was our host, assigned to us youths of the local Evangelical Lutheran church congregation in Clay Ash-land to show us around the community. We split the group into two so that we could reach out to more people in the space of time we had. Pastor Goodly pointed to a particular community and suggested that a strong team go in that direction because a lot of people in that community were members of the church before but for some strange reasons they have just stopped coming to fellowship and church activities. At that point, we just knew the kind of people we were going to meet: The Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman so to speak. Nicodemus, a respected leader who knew the law but did not know Christ, the Samaritan woman was barred by cultural laws and traditions from interacting with a Jew yet a Jew had the answers to her problems.
On the surface, Nicodemus had nothing to do with the Samaritan woman. Nicodemus sought Jesus out while the Samaritan woman sought out by Jesus. Nicodemus was a favored Jew and a religious leader, but this woman, she was despised and an outcast from decent society.
On a deeper look, these two individuals had a common need: to know God the father through Jesus, the son. Jesus looked beyond the surface to reach out to these people. He needed to overcome barriers to converse with them: gender, racial and social. Like Nicodemus, we came across people who felt they knew about Christ; they even knew scriptures. One old man told us I have been a lay reader in the church for years. I read the scriptures to People in the church. “I know Christ, I know God, just that I have stopped going to church for over 4 years now. But I am a Christian”. How is that possible, a Christian who has not been with fellow believers for over four years. We also came across an Imam who accepted us and listened to us quietly and asked some trouble shooting questions about the possibility of Christ being May’s boy and at the same time God: But this is the point: Sometimes it is easier for us to reach out to people like Nicodemus-people who to some degree look like us, talk like us and are at least as well -respected as we are. Our challenge as we strive to follow Jesus example is to step out of our comfort zones to interact with people who are radically different from ourselves. That is certainly one way in which we can follow in the footsteps of the Savior, and, when we are truly devoted to sharing the Good News with other, the Holy spirit will help us to overcome barriers.
“If you had known what these words mean, ” desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the son of man is Lord of the Sabbath”. Matthew 12:7-8.
One of the major theme of the book of Matthew is that Jesus is Lord. when the Pharisees were offended because Jesus’ disciples had seemingly ignored a Sabbath prohibition, Jesus reminded them of an incident in which the temple priests had been in violation of one of their rules(Matthew 12:1-14). Jesus made two radical statements. First he informed them that “one greater than the temple is here(verse 6)., thereby claiming that God’s presence was now with the people in human form. He further stated that “the son of man is the Lord of the Sabbath”.
In verse 7 of chapter 12 Jesus said”if you had known what these words means”. if you are to understand what you read, your will need to meditate upon it. Some passages of scripture lie clear before us, but there are deeps in which our mind might rather drown itself than swim with pleasure, if it came there without caution. Many of the veils which are cast over scripture are not meant to hide the meaning from the diligent but to compel the mind to be active. Meditation and careful thought exercise us and strengthen for the reception of the yet more lofty truths. We must meditate on the word so that we can receive the true meaning for our benefit.
As young people study the Bible correspondence courses around Liberia, our aim is not just for them to read and answer the questions therein as an academic exercise, but we strategize ways to help them go beyond the booklets. We organize Bible quizzing and debates and discussion groups so that each one can know what the other think about what is in the booklets and how we can all get the clearer meaning of the Holy scriptures. One such event took place on October 14,2016 at the Dale Federwitz Christian Children Home in the GSA community in Paynesville.