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So What?: Putting to Use Our God-Given Gifts

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
July 20, 2021 3:00 am

So What?: Putting to Use Our God-Given Gifts

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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July 20, 2021 3:00 am

What if you had a son who really liked to work on cars, and so you bought him a nice tool set. But months later, there it was in the original box, still shrink-wrapped. Or you gave a pallette of paints and canvases and brushes to your daughter who liked to paint. But they went untouched. Disappointing, huh?

That may be how God feels with the spiritual gifts He makes available to you and me. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us put those gifts to good use.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Our place in the church, we want to be faithful, serving the Lord until Christ comes again. What if you had a son who really liked to work on cars, so you bought him a nice tool set. But months later, there it was in the original box, still shrink wrapped, where you gave a pallet of paints, canvases, and brushes to your daughter who liked to paint.

But they went untouched. Disappointing. That may be how God feels with the spiritual gifts He makes available to you and me. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us put those gifts to good use. What if every Christian was just like you? Would services be attended faithfully?

Would pews be empty or full? What if everyone prayed like you prayed? Would we be a praying church? What if everyone worshiped like you? Would we be a worshiping church or would we be a silent church? What if everybody evangelized as often as you evangelized? Would we be a church reaching a lost culture? What if everybody gave as faithfully of their finances as you give? Would we have a church that had the needs met or would they be neglected? You see, the church is made up of all of us together and we either contribute to its strength and growth or to its weakness and decline but every one of us plays a role in the church. Well, you know, people are seeing things like, no, I don't know. I'm so over the church.

Really? I mean, seriously? Where would this world be without the church? Where would this country be without the church? I mean, I mean, where do people turn when crisis hits? When a marriage is unraveling. When you're having problems with your kids. Oh, they come to the church.

Trust me. We see them all week long. Where do people go when a loved one dies especially if it was unexpectedly? They come to the church. Where do they want this service to be done for that loved one even if they didn't attend church? Oh, they want it done in the church. When your child is having struggles maybe with addiction, your teenager, where do they go?

They go to the church for help. Where did you meet your husband or wife? Good chance you met them at the church. Where do you want to get married? Oh, probably at the church and that's good.

We're here to serve you. I mean, where else are you going to go? The YMCA? The gym? The spa? The mall? Retail therapy? It does it every time.

Will it? Oh, how about the bar? Pour your troubles out to the bartender. Oh, the movie theater. That'll solve it. See a good film.

No. The movies can't help you. The bartenders can't help you.

The yoga teacher can't help you. But the church can and God has raised up the church. Listen, it's the only organization Jesus ever started.

We all need to be a part of the church. Okay, now with that in mind let's look now at the words of Jesus in Matthew 25. This is a parable that he told me. You know what a parable is, right? A parable is a story.

It's an illustration. It's been defined as an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. So to make his point, Jesus would tell a story. We all love a good story, don't we?

We remember stories. Jesus illustrated his messages a lot and told stories to bring the point home. So Matthew 25 is one of those stories showing us how we are to live as we wait for the Lord's return.

Matthew 25 starting to verse 14 and I'm going to read from the New Living Translation. Jesus says again the kingdom of heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a trip. He called together his servants and gave them money to invest for him while he was gone. He gave five bags of gold to one, two bags of gold to another, one bag of gold to the last, dividing it in proportion to their abilities.

Then he left on his trip. The servant who received the five bags of gold began immediately to invest the money and he soon doubled it. The servant with two bags of gold went right to work and doubled the money but the servant who received the one bag of gold dug a hole in the ground and hit the master's money for safekeeping.

After a long time their master returned from his trip and he called them to give an account on how they used their money and the servant to whom he entrusted the five bags of gold said, sir, he gave me five bags of gold to invest and I doubled the amount. The master was full of praise. Well done my good and faithful servant. You've been faithfully in handling the small amount. Now I'll give you many more responsibilities.

Let's celebrate together. Next comes the servant who received two bags of gold with a report. Sir, he gave me two bags of gold to invest and I doubled the amount. The master said, well done, good and faithful servant. You've been faithful in handling the small amount. Now I'll give you more responsibilities.

Let's celebrate together. And then the servant with one bag of gold came and said, sir, I know you're a hard man. Harvesting crops you didn't plant and gathering crops you didn't cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money so I hid it in the earth and here it is. So look at how the master deals with this one irresponsible servant. He says, take the money away from this servant.

Give it to the one with the 10 bags of gold. To those who use well what they're given even more will be given and they'll have an abundance but from those who are unfaithful even what little they have will be taken away. Interesting, in God's kingdom the redistribution of wealth has a different meaning doesn't it?

So it's not take it from the guy who has a lot and give it to the guy who doesn't have anything. In this story it's take it from the guy who didn't do anything with what he was given and give it to the man who is faithful with what the Lord gave him. So maybe we need to be thinking about what God has given to us because as I said he's given to us gifts. When you become a Christian and you ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit the Bible promises that he gives gifts of the Spirit to Christians.

In fact Romans 12 says we have different gifts according to the grace that's given to us. If your gift is prophesying then prophesy according to your proportion of faith. If your gift is serving then serve. If your gift is teaching then teach. If your gift is encouraging then encourage. If it's contributing to the needs of others then give generously. If it's leadership then govern diligently.

If it's showing mercy do it cheerfully. We have different gifts but the gifts don't come fully developed. You have to take that gift and you develop it through use. It's even a talent can be compared to it though gifts and talents are different in many ways. But maybe you have a musical ability but you get good at what you do through practice. I'll tell you these musicians they practice.

They work hard at what they do. And if you have a gift in another area you work at that. Well in the same way God gives you these gifts of the Spirit so you develop them. Here's what the Bible says 1 Timothy 1 6 stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of hands. Stir it up. The word stir means to fan into full flame. It's sort of like when you go camping you know you want to build that fire. And then when you're done camping you extinguish the fire. The problem is some of us are extinguishing the fire when we ought to be building it. Because the Bible also warns to not quench the Spirit.

And that word quench can be translated extinguish. You know don't extinguish the work of the Spirit. Don't take a gift that God has given you and bury it in the ground like the foolish servant. God has given you certain gifts.

Maybe you have a burden for lost people. Maybe you're called to be an evangelist. You know you don't have to have a pulpit to be an evangelist. You don't have to preach in a stadium to be an evangelist. Some of the best evangelists I've ever seen go out one-on-one and share the gospel with people. And when I'm around them I'm in awe of their abilities. You say but Greg aren't you an evangelist? Yeah but they're a different kind of an evangelist than I am. And they have abilities that I don't have.

And see I have to push a pulpit around everywhere now on wheels. It's weird. No I don't. But my point is that some people have that gift one-on-one.

I've watched it. But then again maybe your gifting is different. You might find that that you always see things that need to be fixed and things that that need to be corrected. So maybe you have the gift of complaining. No you have the gift of helps. You ever heard of that gift?

The gift of helps. That means you see a problem and you fix the problem. I'll have people come and say well I don't think this is right or that's right. I'll say okay what are we gonna do to fix it?

You have any ideas? Don't come to me with problems. Come to me with some ideas and well I thought if we change this thing well let's do that. In fact why don't you do that? Well I just kind of like to complain more than actually. You might be one of those detail people. See I'm not a detail person. Everyone that knows me knows I'm not a detail person. But there are people who are detail people and thank God for them they're into minutiae.

You know they're into the smallest that's oh good we need those people too. Maybe you like to encourage people. You like to encourage people to reach their potential. Maybe you have the gift of exhortation. Hey maybe you like to take people into your home and feed them and bless them. That's the gift of hospitality.

Guess what? That's a real spiritual gift. And I know people that have it.

Man I go over to their home and they just have a way of making you so comfortable and they take care of you and you're refreshed in every way after spending time with them. That's a real spiritual gift. You know people are talking about well yeah but do you have the gift of tongues?

Do you have the gift of prophecy? Yeah those are gifts too. What about the gift of helps? What about the gift of hospitality? What about the gift of exhortation? They're all gifts of the spirit that God gives. And guess what? You've got some of those in your life.

So what are your gifts? Well I don't know. Well then it's time to start finding out and just start volunteering and seeing what God will do in your life. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. You know sometimes we can't always make it to church but here's the good news. Church is coming to you.

It's coming to you on your tv screen or on your tablet or your computer or even your phone. We do it every weekend and it's called Harvest at Home. We have worship, we have a message from the word of God.

If you want to find out more just go to and join us this weekend for Harvest at Home. Well Pastor Greg continues now with his message about spiritual gifts. A message called So What. Sometimes someone else can help you identify your gift better than you can identify it yourself. They come and say you know I think you have a gift on this earth. No not me. No really you do.

You think you know maybe they're right. Leonard Bernstein you've probably heard of him. Famous composer and conductor was once asked what is the most difficult instrument to play in the orchestra.

His answer was surprising. He said second fiddle. He said I get plenty of first violinists but to find someone to play second violin with as much as enthusiasm or second French horn or second flute that is a problem. See I want to be the person in the spotlight. I want to be the lead guitarist. I don't want to be the rhythm guitarist.

I want to be this guy not that guy. Well how about if we just be the guy or the girl that God calls us to be. And how about if we just be faithful in the little things because if you're faithful in the little things God will give you greater opportunities right. So these folks that were faithful with the bags of gold and multiplied them more was given to them. No they have enough.

Take away. No no more was given because they showed they're faithful with opportunities and resources. The Lord says I'm going to open up more doors for the person that hoards and holds on to it all. God says man I'm taking away what you already had because you're not using what I gave you. Everyone had an ability but God does not expect the same results from every person but he does expect the same effort. Listen God doesn't compare you with anybody else. He compares you with you.

This is all about you just reaching your potential. We're not competing one with another. I am not your opponent. You're not my opponent. My opponents if you will are the world, the flesh, and the devil. I'm not trying to beat anybody. I'm not trying to you know beat some other pastor or church is better than your church. You know you win okay. So shut up. Who cares. Let's just do it for the glory of God you know.

Not who has the biggest one or who has. Hey let's just be faithful with what the Lord has given to us and run our race well and remember who the real enemy is. Notice Jesus calls the unproductive servant lazy and wicked. It can be a sin to not use what God has given you. Let me repeat that. It can be a sin to not use what God has given you.

You say I don't understand that. Well it's a sin of omission. See a sin of commission is doing what is wrong. I know this is wrong but I do it anyway. But a sin of omission is knowing what's right and I don't do it. And the Bible says to him that knows to do good and does not do it to him it is sin.

See you're blessed to be a blessing. So the Lord might be nudging you to take a little step of faith. Maybe he's shown you at your work you know there's some other Christians there and he's been nudging you. Why don't you start a little Bible study with your co-workers. Oh I can't do that.

Why not? Well I'm not a Bible scholar. Well you don't have to be a Bible scholar to lead a little Bible study. You can just read a few verses and share what God's shown you in them and do some preparation before you get there.

Well I could never do it. Why don't you take a little step of faith and see what the Lord will do. You don't know what God has in store for you. But to blow this off can actually be a sinful thing. We want to find our place in the church.

We want to be faithful serving the Lord until Christ comes again. You know sometimes people study Bible prophecy almost as a form of entertainment. They'll be into all the latest information and get all excited about it and sort of miss the point. Oh there might be a war breaking out in the Middle East. Yeah.

Well wait no. We're not supposed to get excited about wars in the Middle East. Yeah but Jesus is coming.

Yeah but people could die in the war. So let's keep perspective and let's not be thrilled and oh there's an earthquake. Well yeah. Well signs of the times. Yeah.

But wait a second. Let's have a little compassion for people that are suffering too. And it's not just about exciting us. It's about affecting us in the way that we live as followers of Christ. So that's the focus of this parable. As it's been said earlier tonight we all want to find our place in the church and we all want to have skin in the game. You know no one had more skin in the game to use that expression than Jesus Christ. I heard a story of a little boy that was very scared one night because it was a lightning storm happening and he called out to his dad, dad I'm scared come into my room. The father said son I'm trying to sleep. God is with you. A little boy paused for a moment said dad I need someone with skin on right now. That's who Jesus was.

He was God with skin on and he walked among us and showed the father's love for us and his love for us by going to the cross and dying in our place because he loves each one. And actually we're told in the Bible that husbands should love their wife as Christ loves the church. And let me come back to the church one last time before we wrap this up. You want to get on my bad side insult my wife. You and me we're not going to be friends much longer. See because I love my wife. So don't diss my wife.

Okay in the same way you want to insult God. Diss his bride. Who's his bride? You're his bride. I'm his bride. We're his bride. Some of you guys are saying I don't want to be a bride.

Get over it. You're a bride. You're the bride of Christ. Noah's church is not perfect. Noah's church is not flawless. But he loves his church. And he died for us. And not just the church but he died for the whole world.

And that's because of his love. And I wonder if there's not some of you here tonight that that have come with your troubles. You know I talked about where people go where when they have difficulties in life they go to the church.

I mean where are you going to go? You know bartenders are not going to help you. Drugs aren't going to help you. Alcohol is not going to help you. Your fitness regime is not going to help you. Your wardrobe is not going to help you. Your cool car is not going to help you. Your house is not going to help you. Your education isn't going to fix it. Your friends aren't going to fix it.

In fact they may have walked out on you already. So here you are church feeling pretty bad. I think you should feel pretty good because you just came to the right place. I want you to think of this as the emergency ward. That we're here to help you. The church as I've said many times is not a museum for saints. It's a hospital for sinners.

As I said earlier if someone's overtaken in a fault our job is not to kick you to the curb. It's to lift you up and help you get on your feet spiritually again and get right with God. And if you don't know God yet we want to tell you how to come to Christ. Because this hospital does one thing no other hospital does. This hospital people get raised from the dead here. And by that I mean they're brought to spiritual life.

There's no hospital that can do that. But in God's church it happens every day and every night. I don't just mean this church. I mean churches all around the world doing the work of God. But we do it in this church too.

We call people to believe in Jesus and have their sins forgiven and have their eternal address changed and come into a personal relationship with God. Does that need to happen for you? Maybe you were brought by a friend. Maybe you didn't really want to come. But here you are. I'm telling you right now that God can change your life. And Christ can forgive you of your sin.

And listen to this. He can take that guilt away. That guilt that keeps you up at night. That guilt that drives you crazy. The guilt is just the symptom of a deeper problem. The guilt is not the problem. The sin is the problem. It's like having a pain and going to a doctor. And He treats the problem and then the symptom goes away. The guilt is just saying you have trouble.

So get the trouble fixed. And that's by coming to God and saying, Lord I'm sorry and I've broken your commandments and I've fallen short of your glory and I ask you to forgive me now. And I need Jesus. And if you'll do that He'll forgive you and give you a fresh start in life. And He'll forgive you and give you a fresh start in life. Jesus said, He that would come to me I would in no way cast out.

He'll forgive you and accept you. So we're going to pray now and I'm going to give you an opportunity to pray and ask Christ to come into your life. Let's all bow our heads. Father I pray for everyone here and folks that are listening this well who needs you.

Her spiritual need is so real. Help us to come to you now. In Jesus' name I pray.

Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important word of prayer. And if you'd like to make a change in your relationship with the Lord today, Pastor Greg will come back in just a moment to help you before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes. If you weren't able to hear the whole presentation you can listen again online free of charge at

Just look for the title, So What. And then we're excited to have Sally Lloyd-Jones with us today. We're making available her books called Near and Babies Carry Along Bible. Pastor Greg.

Well Sally thanks for being on with us again. It's always a joy to talk to you and I love these resources that you've produced especially this new book called Near. What inspired you to write a book really about the omnipresence of God? Well it seems as if it came out in the middle of the pandemic so you would think I wrote it because everyone wants to know that God isn't socially distant from us but I actually wrote it several years before because I thought what's the most comforting thing to know is that wherever we are God is with us. If it's a happy day, if it's a sad day, if we feel lonely, if we don't feel lonely. And I thought for children it's such a beautiful way to express God's love because you can show them all over the world.

They could be climbing a mountain, they could be going down deep into the ocean. So visually it's a very good psalm for children because it's so visual you know and concrete and for a child to know that they're never alone. I think a child is so small and vulnerable to know that they're never alone is it maybe even more important for a tiny one to know. Yeah and we want to send that comfort your way. It's in Sally's new book called Near and we'll also send a second resource, Baby's Carry Along Bible.

It's a sturdy board book a young child can carry with them just like mom and dad do on the way to church with comforting truths told in rhyme in Sally's own special way. So let us send both of these children's resources to you to thank you for your investment so Pastor Greg's teaching can continue to come your way each day. We so much appreciate your partnership. You can write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or call 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to And then Pastor Greg just before we go would you mind praying with that person listening who wants to make a change today in their relationship with the Lord. I'd be happy to Dave you know as you've been listening to this today maybe you've heard another voice by that I mean yeah you heard me say a few things but you heard God's voice speak to you deep in the recesses of your heart and it suddenly dawned on you this is what I need or to state it more accurately this is who I need I need Jesus and I want Jesus but maybe you don't know how to make that connection let me help you pray this after me right now if you want Jesus Christ to come into your life Lord Jesus I know I am a sinner and I am sorry for my sin and I need your forgiveness right now would you come into my heart my life as Savior as God as friend I choose to follow you from this moment forward thank you for calling me and accepting me and forgiving me in Jesus name I pray amen I know that was a relatively short prayer maybe you felt something as you prayed it maybe you felt nothing that doesn't really matter because God's word says these things we write to you that believe on the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life it doesn't say so you may think you have it or you may hope you have it if God's in a good mood no that you can know it and I want you to know if you pray that prayer and minute Jesus Christ the Son of God has come into your life so congratulations you're now a Christian now continue to follow the Lord yeah to help you as you follow the Lord we'd like to send you some resource materials we call our new believers growth packet it'll answer many of the questions you might have and get you started in your new relationship with the Lord so get in touch and ask for it we'll send it free of charge write a new beginning box 4000 riverside california 92514 or call anytime night or day 1-800-821-3300 that's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to and click the two words no god ever known a fair weather friend someone you could always count on until you really needed to count on them well next time we'll see God as our provider and comforter at all times but he wants our devotion on the same basis that's next time here on a new beginning hey everybody thanks for listening to a new beginning this is a podcast made possible by harvest partners so for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make him known to others or to learn more about how you can become a harvest partner just go to
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-21 07:03:49 / 2023-09-21 07:14:36 / 11

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