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Early Thoughts: What do you do with your gift?

Holy Spirit dove window
Image by hickory hardscrabble via Flickr

Yesterday, I was asked to preach at a service at a Uniting Church. Although Initially being asked to preach in April, due to other commitments, it’s been moved back to June, and the day that I’ve been given just happens to be the day of Pentecost. Now, the sermon is a long way off, but I still have some ideas on what I may speak on.

For those not in the know, Pentecost is the day that the Holy Spirit descended in the form of flames, and allowed the disciples to speak in other languages. One of the readings for the day is 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13, which says:

No one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

There are varieties of gifts – but these all come from the same spirit. Varieties of services, but the same lord. Varieties of activities, but the same God who activates them. It doesn’t matter what gift you have, they are all important, and they are all from the Holy Spirit.

The important thing to take away from the day of Pentecost is that we have been given this glorious gift – the Holy Spirit. Now that we have this gift, what are we going to do with it?

Below is the Parramatta Songsters doing an awesome version of Send the Fire. The last line of the first verse always gets me: “We need another Pentecost! Send the Fire today!”

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God’s Love

God is patient, God is kind. God does not envy, God does not boast, God is not proud. God does not dishonour others, God is not self-seeking, God is not easily angered, God keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NIV, Paraphrased by me)

I love this passage, especially with this paraphrasing. I preached on this passage last year at a youth service. The basic premise of it was that God is Love, and when we look at the passage above in that light, we see what God’s love for us is like. God is patient – he will wait our entire lives if necessary to share in the joy of us accepting him as our Lord. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. But the most hope-filled verse comes right at the end: God never fails.

When you trust in God, and fully rely on God, how can you not be full of hope, because you believe, just like I do, that God never fails. He can do the impossible, and the improbable, and the unexpected. How can anyone be filled with anything other than hope when they know that?

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