Category Archives: Gifts, Calling & Purpose

Ask God About Your Gifts And Purpose

Ask God About Your Gifts And Purpose...He is your artist and author.

Ask God About Your Gifts And Purpose

This past week we talked about how you have to look for and discover your gifts. It’s kind of like you’re a detective on a case trying to solve a mystery. One of the steps of the search process is to ask God about your gifts and purpose. After all, He’s the one who created you! If anybody would know what your gifts are and how you are supposed to use them it would be God.

I guess you could liken it to inquiring about a painting. Who would you ask if you had questions about the details of a painting? The artist, of course. What about a book that has left you with some questions? Who would you ask if you wanted to know more than what was on the surface? You would ask the author! The creators of the works have all of the knowledge and the inside scoop. They knew what they had in mind when they created their work.

God: Artist and Author

Similarly, God is your creator. God is your artist. You are His Masterpiece.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

God is the also the author who has already written your story. Because of that, He already knows how it ends!

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 (KJV)  

Therefore, when you have questions about yourself and how you were made, Continue reading

Become a Detective to Discover Your Gifts

You may not automatically know what our gifts and purpose are. However, it is your responsibility to discover them! It’s going to take some craftiness though. You’ll have to start a process of self-discovery and searching. In a sense, you will need to become a detective! You will need to start looking for “clues” to solve your case—the case to discover your gifts.

Become a Detective to Discover Your Gifts

We’ve talked off and on lately about how God has given each of us gifts and how to discover your gifts. I recently spoke at a women’s conference about this very subject. This week, I’d like to share with you some of the first steps to discover your gifts that I shared with them.

You may not automatically know what our gifts and purpose are. However, it is your responsibility to discover them! It’s going to take some craftiness though. You’ll have to start a process of self-discovery and searching. In a sense, you will need to become a detective! You will need to start looking for “clues” to solve your case—the case to discover your gifts. 

Now, I will tell you that it’s not something that is quick, nor will you discover your gifts overnight. It’s going to be a process that takes some time. You also may not get the full picture right away, maybe only bits and pieces at a time OVER time.  Much like a detective doesn’t always solve a crime right away.

Become a good detective

First of all, to be a good detective, you have to document everything. You have to write things down and go back to them to look for clues, patterns, and themes. A detective can’t remember everything. Therefore, a notebook is extremely important in order for them to document their journey and solve the case.

This is no different for you when you are on the case to discover your gifts. Like a good detective, YOU will need a notebook or a journal to write your discoveries down. You need to take notes along the way, and answer questions.

Discovering your gifts journal

Discovering Your Gifts Journal $9.50

You can definitely just go to the dollar store and grab a notebook or journal. However, I also wanted to offer you a resource Continue reading

Do You Love Your Neighbor? Your ACTUAL neighbor?

Do you love your neighbor? Your ACTUAL neighbor?

“Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”” Mark 12:29-31 (NLT)

Do You Love Your Neighbor? Your ACTUAL neighbor?

This past weekend, I had the opportunity and privilege to put the “love your neighbor” commandment into action alongside 2000+ other members of my church during Love Day (#loveday16). People participated in over 70 different outreaches throughout the Tulsa, OK Metro area. As a part of the larger Serve Day 2016, we joined 307 other churches across the globe to love our neighbors. I hope each of you were able to find your own way to love your neighbor too this weekend! More than at Love Day, I was able to love my neighbors…my ACTUAL neighbors…this past week as well. 

Do you really love your neighbor, your actual, literal neighbor?

Leading up to Love Day, I mentioned that I have been doing a group book study on the book Servolution and some personal individual study on how to love your neighbor. There has been some great practical advice about reaching out to love others around you. Something that stood out and was a bit convicting for me was to love my ACTUAL neighbors.

I’ve lived in my neighborhood for 15 years now, and do you know that up until this past week I’ve never even met or talked to at least half of the neighbors on my street. It’s kind of embarrassing. Or maybe you can relate? It’s so easy, and honestly more convenient, to just keep to ourselves. We don’t have to deal with the awkwardness or messiness of dealing with strangers and their potential “issues”. However, in keeping to ourselves we might be missing out on not only obeying Jesus’ commandment to love your neighbor but also the joy that comes with it as a byproduct.

It’s rewarding to love your neighbor

After my reading and studies on how to love your neighbor, I’ve tried to be more purposeful about it. I’ve especially tried to step out and show love to the people right here in my own neighborhood. It’s taken a lot of prayer and getting out of my comfort zone. Can I tell you though…It’s been so very rewarding. I had such a great week this past week!

Sometimes it seems like when you try to help others, you end up getting more out of it than they do. By stepping out of my comfort zone recently to talk to my neighbors, I have received loads of unexpected benefits. I’ve made some new friends, both young and old. I got some history lessons (I love history!), and I even learned what a Dogtrot house is! I also ended up with some fresh eggs from one of the neighbor’s chickens! Most importantly, my heart and soul were happy and full at the end of the day. 

On a mission to love our neighbors

Love your neighbor--Storm cleanup in our yard

The boys had to get pretty creative to get a rope around a broken limb hanging about 40 ft over our drive!

This past week our community suffered a severe storm with tornado strength winds and the accompanying damage. Thankfully we had no damage to our property. We only had a couple trees and several limbs down, a 2 day power outage, and a big mess to clean up. Many of my neighbors were not so lucky. There were several trees on top of houses.

As a result, the kids and I decided it would be a great opportunity to serve! The day after the storm we set out on a mission to Continue reading

We Can Use What We Have To Serve Others

We Can Use What We Have To Serve Others...What is YOUR Olive Oil and Wine?

“And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”” Mark 12:30-31 (NLT)

We Can Use What We Have To Serve Others

I mentioned previously in the post about taking steps of incremental obedience (as opposed to “leaps of faith”) that I was reading the devotional plan “How to Neighbor” by Pastor Craig Groeschel from Life.Church on the YouVersion Bible app.  I started the plan because it goes along nicely with my current studies of serving others. One of the things I’m learning is that some of the steps we need to take in serving others is to use what we have at our disposal. We don’t need to wait until we have what we THINK we need.  We first need to step out and start serving where we can. 

Servolution by Dino Rizzo

My church is preparing for “Love Day” which is part of a National Serve Day in which over 275 churches across the globe are taking part.  As part of our preparation my church small group is reading through and doing a study on Pastor Dino Rizzo’s book, Servolution.  So far it’s a great book and an easy read with excellent anecdotal stories!  It really will get you excited about following Jesus’ example and instructions of serving others, as does the “How to Neighbor” plan and sermon series.  Both give some really good, practical ideas for serving.  You know me…I love practical steps! 😉 I’ve already stepped out and tried a few of the ideas myself!

Use what we have in order to serve…like the Good Samaritan

In part of our study of the book, we read through the story of the Good Samaritan. Here’s the story…

“Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.

“By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.

“Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’

“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”” Luke 10:30-37 (NLT)

Olive Oil and Wine Continue reading

Incremental Obedience … God Leads in Steps NOT Leaps

Incremental Obedience … God Leads in Steps NOT Leaps

Incremental Obedience…God Leads in Steps NOT Leaps

The phrase “leap of faith” is commonly used in Christian circles.  I’ve probably even used the term myself.  But did you know that this phrase is actually unscriptural.  God leads in steps NOT leaps.  We’re not frogs.  We’re humans.  Humans walk, not jump.  We need to learn how to practice incremental obedience via steps that God gives us. 

I’ve recently been reading through the devotional plan “How to Neighbor” by Pastor Craig Groeschel from Life.Church on the YouVersion Bible app.  It’s an excellent 10 day plan!  I highly recommend it.  In part of the plan Pastor Craig is talking about Esther and her pivotal role in helping God’s people.  He mentioned that Esther had to take steps of incremental obedience…

“As a teen, Esther pushed back darkness and risked everything for her neighbors because Mordecai, her adoptive father, reminded her why she was alive “for such a time as this.” Think about this. Esther, and every other person who’s ever done anything valuable for God, basically just took incremental steps of obedience.

The frequently quoted scripture, “Perhaps you were made…for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14) can apply to our lives too.  We will have “for such a time as this” moments throughout our lives.  Those moments will require steps, not leaps, of incremental obedience leading up to them.

Esther’s steps of incremental obedience

Continue reading

Your Gifts Are Intended to Point People to God

Your Gifts Are Intended to Point People to God

Your Gifts Are Intended to Point People to God 

Last week we discussed how your gift will make room for you.  We also mentioned that our gifts should advance the kingdom of heaven.  One of the primary purposes of our gifts is to point people to God.  Through our gifts, people will see God in us.  People will see that God gave each of us a variety of unique talents and abilities that could have only come from God.  Our gifts can serve as an avenue to reach people for God or to speak into the lives of others.

So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11, 12 (NLT) 

Unfortunately, you CAN use your gift without acknowledging God.

It is completely possible to operate in your gifts and use them well but still not point people to God.  Unfortunately, we see it every day in the secular world.  You don’t have to be Christian to be gifted—God has gifted EVERYONE.  You also don’t have to be Christian to figure out that you can use your gifts to become prosperous.  There are droves of celebrities worldwide that are not Christians.  They have discovered their gifts and have used them to get wealth, fame, honor and influence.  God MEANT for our gifts to do this…but that’s only half of their purpose.  Additionally, God intended for our gifts to direct others back to Him, to point people to God which is where the gifts came from in the first place.  We need to keep in mind that someday God will hold us accountable for how we used our gifts too.

God is absolutely big enough and powerful enough to not only use our gifts to bless us but to point people to Him without it removing any of the benefits.  We will NOT suffer if we use our gifts to glorify God.   Continue reading

Your Gift Will Make Room For You

Your Gift Will Make Room For You

Your Gift Will Make Room For You

God gave us our gifts and our talents for a couple of purposes.  One is to point people to Him, which we’ll talk more about later.  Another purpose of our gifts is to bring us prosperity, honor, influence and happiness.  Pretty cool, huh?!  The bible says that your gift will make room for you.  I’d like to encourage you today that God does want you to be Happy, Healthy & Prosperous, and He will use your GIFTS to help you accomplish that!

Your gift will make room for you…your gift is designed to prosper you, to make you money and bring you wealth, and to provide for you. Your gifts were designed to help you make a living.  They will advance you in life and move you forward.  God wants to bless you through your gifts.  In turn, your gifts will be a blessing for other people too.  Your gifts will meet a need, and consequently you will be compensated for that.  It’s a win-win!

It’s pretty cool to me that I actually get to do what I love (teach, write, speak) and get paid for it!  I think for so long I felt like I was just going through the motions in life, in my jobs, and in my roles.  I lacked a sense of purpose.  I think a major factor in that was that I hadn’t discovered my gifts yet and wasn’t fully using them.  I was frustrated because I was operating outside of my gifts.  When I started to discover my God-given gifts and started to use them, joy was an automatic by-product.  Knowing that I was helping others with my gifts and getting paid to do so was a huge bonus!  The proverb that your gift will make room for you started to make a lot of sense to me. 

YOUR GIFT WILL MAKE ROOM FOR YOU MEANS THAT IN ADDITION TO ADVANCING THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, YOUR GIFTS & PURPOSE ARE MEANT TO PROSPER YOU AND BRING YOU SUCCESS AND FULFILLMENT.

“A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.” Proverbs 18:16 (AMP)

“A present [gift] is a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor; Wherever he turns, he prospers.” Proverbs 17:8 (NKJV)

“But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” Deuteronomy 8:18 (NIV)

When we faithfully operate in our gifts the way God intended (to serve Him and His people), those gifts will bring promotion into our life.  If used right, Continue reading

You Are More Important Than You Realize

You Are More Important Than You Realize

You Are More Important Than You Realize 

On the topic of your gifts and your purpose, I think it’s notable to mention that it is highly likely that you are more important than you realize.  I would venture to guess that your gifts and the roles that you play probably hold far more weight in the kingdom of God than you probably give them credit for.  One day when we stand before God and give an answer for how we used our gifts and fulfilled our purpose, it will be exciting to see the magnitude of our influence here on this earth.  I believe that God thinks that YOU are a pretty big deal! 😉 

You see, God has given each and every person here on this earth a unique set of gifts and a purpose to fulfill.  Each gift and purpose is vital to God’s plan.  In fact, the bible uses the analogy of a body and its different parts to demonstrate this point.  Each part of the body is necessary in order for the body to function properly (as God intended), and each God-given gift, role, and purpose is necessary in order for God’s kingdom, or the “body of Christ”, to function properly.

We are the body of Christ, and just as a body has many parts, so does the body of Christ.  The parts are placed exactly where God wants them (1 Corinthians 12:18).  Our gifts are part of this body.  There are a lot of them, and they all have different functions.  They all work together as part of a whole.  Every part is necessary.  We need all of the parts, just like God needs all of our gifts.

“Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well…” Romans 12:4-6 (NLT)

I think sometimes it is so easier for us to look at the gifts and roles of others and compare and shortchange our own gifts and roles.  We shouldn’t compare ourselves and our gifts to those of others, and we shouldn’t discount our own gifts that we’ve been given.  In fact the bible says it’s foolish and unwise to do so… Continue reading