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The Gifts That Keep Giving | God Can Use You

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
June 6, 2024 3:00 am

The Gifts That Keep Giving | God Can Use You

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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June 6, 2024 3:00 am

Great things rarely happen when we’re deep inside our comfort zones. No one’s ever heard of the great LazyBoy Revival, or the evangelistic Hammock Crusades! No, somebody’s got to get up and do somethin’! And today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us some good news: God empowers and equips those He calls into service. You may already have a special God-given talent you’re not even aware of. Today, we’ll learn how to identify and use those abilities.

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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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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org He says the Lord may equip you in some special ways. Maybe you're a great visionary, but you're not great at nuts and bolts.

Then again, you might be more of a detail person. Everyone has a role to play, a gift given to them by God. Great things rarely happen when we're deep inside our comfort zones. No one's ever heard of the great Lazy Boy revival or the evangelistic hammock crusades.

Somebody's got to get up and do something. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us some good news. God empowers and equips those He calls into service.

You may already have a special God given talent you're not even aware of. Today, we'll learn how to identify and use those abilities. Let's think now a little bit about the gifts of the Spirit. Let's go over to Romans 12 and see what Paul says. Romans 12 verse 6. In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.

If God has given you the ability to prophesize, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you're a teacher, teach well. If your gift is encouraging others, that's a gift of exhortation. Be encouraging. If your gift is giving, then give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take that responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

I'll stop there. Certain terms bubble up here. Do it well, generously, gladly. Take this responsibility seriously. The gift of teaching is mentioned here. And if you're called to teach, He says teach well. It's an awesome responsibility to be called to teach. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 2.15, we should know how to handle the Word of God correctly.

And then James 3.1 says, brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. You know, people have asked me, what's it like to stand up there on that stage at the Crusade? That must be a real ego trip for you, right?

No, not at all actually. It's kind of scary. And it's kind of an awesome responsibility. Because I recognize I'm speaking for God. I know that there are certain people that will be there that may never come to an event like that again.

They may never go to a church again. So I don't want to misrepresent God. It's a lot of weight.

And there's a lot of spiritual warfare involved in it as well. I'm not asking for your sympathy. I'm just telling you, there's responsibility that comes with teaching. And I spend a lot of time in preparation before I speak.

You probably can't tell, but I do. Because the Bible says, study to show yourself approved unto God. One that doesn't need to be ashamed because he rightly divides the Word of God. You need to learn how to exegete a scripture, which is a theological term that simply means to see what the text is actually saying. You need to interpret in its proper context.

And then you bring the application and so forth. But here's what I don't get. Some people think they're called to be teachers or maybe pastors. And they're boring. How can you take the action-packed, powerful, living Word of God and make it dull? That's on you. Not on the Bible. And it's not on God. It's on you. Some preachers are so dull watching paint dry is more entertaining. Right? Maybe you have gifting in another area.

You need to find that area. The funny thing is me being called to teach is laughable because I was the worst student. I was always getting in trouble in school. My grades were very low.

I'll tell you that up front. My grades literally were like D, D, C. C was a victory. C. D, D, F. Yes, F, F, F. By the way, I learned a little trick. If you put one line in an F, it becomes an A.

Just make sure you use the same colored ink or they'll know you did it. And then I'd have one A. Art.

That's it. Everything D, C, D, F, D, C, A. Back to D's and C's. And I was always getting in trouble in class. I was always being disrespectful to the teachers. And there was this one teacher I had in my class. And then there was a class right next door. And this teacher heard about what I used to do in the class to disrupt it. She announced to her class one day, I would like to take Greg Laurie, bury him up to his neck in the sand in the blazing sun and watch ants eat him alive.

She literally said this. And some of the kids came up to me and told me what she said. And I thought, that's kind of cool. See, that's so twisted.

I like that. And they wanted to expel me and my mother would be with the principal and say, you expel him, I'll sue you. So I stayed in school. No one would have ever thought I'd become a teacher.

But who knows, you know? God has a sense of humor, doesn't He? I wasn't the teacher's pet.

I was the teacher's monster. But the Lord called me to do this and maybe He's called you to do something you never thought you would do. Then there is the gift of encouraging others.

Look at verse 8. If your gift is to encourage others, I love this, be encouraging. If this is actually your gift then be an encouraging person. Some people are not encouraging. They're discouraging. I jokingly call them Debbie Downer and her boyfriend Bobby Buskill.

Right? They always bring you down. Always negative. Always critical. Critical. Critical.

Critical. Never a compliment from these people. Well the gift of exhortation, or the gift of encouraging, does include correction at times. But it also includes encouraging. And I think when you have to speak to someone critically, the Bible says in Ephesians 4.15, speak the truth in love. We should keep each other accountable. If we see a Christian friend going the wrong direction or making the wrong decisions, we might say, hey you shouldn't do that. The Bible says thus and so. But before you correct, try to compliment.

Jesus modeled this for us when He spoke to the church of Ephesus in the book of Revelation. In this paraphrase He says, I know you guys are discerning. I know you're hard working. I appreciate all these things about you, but I have this against you. You have left your first love.

So remember therefore from where you have fallen and repent and do the first works quickly. I love that. Compliment. Doing this well. Doing that well. Doing a good job over here, but there's this one area. So let's talk about that.

That's the right way to do it. Deposit a compliment before you make the withdrawal of a criticism. Married couples listen to what I'm saying. Because sometimes it's always critical, critical. He doesn't do this right. She doesn't do that right.

Always sniping at each other. When's the last time you complimented your husband? When's the last time you complimented your wife?

Remember again. Deposit a compliment before you make the withdrawal of a criticism. Otherwise it's destructive criticism when it should be productive criticism. We need people to teach us and we need people to exhort us. See teaching tells me what the text says. But the gift of exhortation makes me want to do what the text says. Sometimes people are gifted with both of those skills.

But you can think of some teachers. You heard a message. Wow that was very helpful.

I learned a lot theologically. I never understood that. That was great.

But then you hear someone else. You're just all fired up. Oh man I want to pray more. I want to serve more. I want to show the gospel more.

Whatever it is. Now these gifts are all important but exhorting is something we should all do. Hebrews 10 24 says consider one another to provoke each other to love and to good works. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is. But exhorting one another daily and so much more as we see the day of the Lord approaching. Then there's the gift of giving.

Romans 12 8. If your gift is giving then give generously. Why is it that when we talk about money in the church people recoil? Probably because there's abuse. There are times where it's used wrongly and people are guilted into giving.

And there's too much pressure put on people. But if we throw the baby out with the bathwater we're missing the blessing of giving. Every Christian should give of their finances to the Lord.

Every Christian in my opinion should tithe. It's a joy. It's a privilege.

It's an opportunity. It's an investment in the kingdom of God. Because you should be doing your giving while you're living then you're knowing where it's going.

Right? And God makes a promise in the book of Malachi where he says put me to the test on this one. Bring your tithe into the storehouse and watch if I will not open up the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that you won't even have room enough to receive it. It's a happy thing to give. Because Jesus said blessed are those who give. Or it's more blessed to give than it is to receive. And the word blessed means happy or happy making. But that's not what this verse is talking about. Every Christian should give but there's a supernatural gift of giving.

So he says if you have this gift do it with simplicity and generosity. The person with the true gift of giving probably would never tell you they have the gift. And you wouldn't even know all they're doing because they would do it kind of quietly. They wouldn't blow a little trumpet or drop hints I just gave this much to.

No, no they'd just do it. But everyone would have a story about that person. Oh yeah they helped me here and they helped me there and I've never told this story before but when I was in need they did this for me. That's a person with the gift of giving.

And guess what? You don't have to be wealthy to have the gift of giving. I know some people who are not wealthy at all who are very generous people. And it's not just generosity with your money. It's generosity with your time. It's generosity with everything. You're just one of those giving people.

And that's a gift that God perhaps has given you. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We're thrilled when we hear from listeners that join us from every background, every profession, every age. Pastor Greg, I'm a seventeen year old dairy farmer in southern Wisconsin.

Although I've been a Christian for most of my life, I've not always lived like one. Thanks to you I realize that God can help me and also forgive my sins. I appreciate you and try to listen to your podcast as I work in the morning. I love your story of how you overcame so much in your own past. It gives me hope that I can live for Christ more than for myself.

Thank you. We're so grateful to hear of the changed lives through Harvest Ministries. And if you have a story to tell, write Pastor Greg an email. Send it to Greg at harvest dot org.

Do it today while you're thinking about it. Again, that's Greg at harvest dot org. Well, we're considering the way God makes gifts available to his children for the works he calls us to do. Pastor Greg continues now. One last gift we'll look at, the gift of showing kindness and mercy.

That's an actual gift. Should every Christian show kindness and mercy? Yes. But do some people have a supernatural ability to do this on the next day?

A supernatural ability to do this on the next level? Again, yes. Romans 12 eight. If you have a gift of showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Do it gladly. There are people who have an extraordinary supernatural ability from God to show mercy and compassion and kindness to those who are in need. I'm amazed at people that work in care facilities. People that are involved in hospice care. People that will hold the hand of someone that is sick or old and can't help themselves. And I just marvel at the patience and the love and the compassion of a person like this. It's a gift of mercy. My wife, Kathy, has this gift. You want someone to show you compassion and mercy? Talk to Kathy. You want a sermon or a lame joke?

Come to me. It's different gifting. So if you're in a hospital bed, do you need someone with a gift of teaching or evangelism?

Maybe. But what you probably really need is someone with a gift of mercy that would come and just take you by the hand and sit there with you and not try to explain everything to you and just be a loving Christian and walk with you through it. You may have that gift. And you didn't even know you had that gift.

Here's the bottom line. Just start taking bold steps of faith and see what the Lord will do. I found out I wasn't called to be a musician some years ago at Calvary Chapel in the days of the Jesus movement.

All these bands were forming all the time. Love song. Blessed faith. Country faith. Mustard seed faith.

Lots of groups with the name faith in them. So I was at this little home Bible study and there was a man there who was a good guitar player and singer. And he wrote a song because I wrote this song. And he sang the song and we're all singing along in the home Bible study with this new song. And then there was this very talented flautist.

Someone who could play a flute beautifully and they're playing it. So I'm sort of keeping percussion on the little coffee table. So someone said let's form a band. Next thing I know we're booked at Calvary Chapel to perform. So here's this packed out church.

I remember it vividly in my mind. Here's the guy who can play guitar. Here's the guy who can play the flute. And I'm up there with a conga drum.

And they start playing. I realize I really don't have that great of a sense of rhythm. And why am I here and I don't want to be here.

Okay good. Process of elimination. I'm not called to conga drums. It was later I discovered what I was called to do.

But sometimes again it's process of elimination. But here's what I'm saying. You'll never know what your spiritual gift is until you take some steps of faith. Some have musical and artistic talent. Some have more of a technical talent like crunchy numbers.

Well that's not spiritual. We don't need anybody to you know balance the budget. No you do. You need all these people to do their job. Maybe you're a great visionary but you're not great at nuts and bolts. Then again you might be more of a detail person.

Everyone has a role to play. A gift given to them by God. Be a risk taker and watch what the Lord will do. Again the Bible says don't neglect the gift that is in you.

Whereas another translation puts it again. Keep your gift dusted off. Here's something to think about in closing. You're never too small for God to use. Only too big. Does that make sense? You're never too small for God to use.

Only too big. So you think oh God could never use me. Oh actually you might be more qualified than you think. Because God goes out of his way to find unexpected people to do unexpected things. God chooses the foolish things of the world the Bible says to what? Confound the wise. So then someone will say there's no way that person is called to do.

Yeah they are called to do that you see. So just be available to the Lord. The church is a family.

And you have a seat at the table. We are not a perfect family. But there is no such thing as a perfect family. The church is a dysfunctional family.

Right? It's true. I came from a dysfunctional family and now I'm the head of a dysfunctional family. But I try to put the fun in dysfunction. Look we're flawed. What are you looking for? What do you expect?

We're flawed people working together. But you have a place at this table. You see before I was a Christian I wanted a family. Because I didn't really have one. My mom was gone every night out working.

I was just home alone. She gave me enough money to go over to a place called the snack shop. Later to become Coco's. Later to become Ruby's on Pacific Coast Highway.

Same location. I would go there every night and I would buy a hamburger, french fries, and a vanilla shake. Every night hamburger, french fries, and a vanilla shake.

I have to admit I was pretty happy with that as a kid. But after a while I got kind of tired of eating by myself. Even though it was a hamburger, french fries, and a vanilla shake. So I would tell my friends this is what I eat every night. They would say you're so lucky. We have to go home and sit with our family.

I would say yeah. One of these kids invited me over to his home one night for a family meal. And I kept going back. And the food wasn't even good.

I actually kind of missed the hamburger, french fries, and vanilla shake. But I liked this idea of a family. There's a mom. There's a dad.

Wow. Brothers and sisters talking together. But they ate things I don't like. I don't like peas.

They had peas. But I liked family. And I think deep down inside we all long for family. Maybe some of you came from a broken family.

Or a messed up family. And you've never had family. You have a family now. You're with your family.

This is the family. We're the church. There's a place at the table for you. There's room at the cross for you. As the old song says.

Though many have come, there's still room for one. There's room at the cross for you. If you're not in our family. If you're not in God's family.

You can join right now. Maybe I'm talking to somebody right now that feels unloved. Unappreciated.

Unnoticed. I want you to know that God loves you. God appreciates you. God notices you. Some people think God is mad at them.

No. God is mad about you. I love that blessing that the priest would pronounce over the people recorded in number six. They would say this over and over again to the people of Israel. Like as a reminder.

And they would say, you know it. The Lord bless you. The Lord keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon you. The Lord lift his countenance upon you and give you peace. That tells me a lot about God.

How does it start? The Lord mess your life up. Is that what it says? It says the Lord bless you. God loves to bless you. God wants to bless you even more than you want to be blessed. The Lord bless you. The Lord keep you.

We worry about our future. What if this happens to me? What if that happens to me? What if I walk away from my faith?

Excuse me. The Lord bless you. The Lord keep you. He'll keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon you.

What does that mean? That means when you walk in the room God's face lights up. He loves to see you.

And to have his countenance shine upon you means you have God's full attention. Sometimes little kids are trying to get the attention of their mom or dad. They'll say mom, mom, dad, dad. And mom and dad looking at the phone or doing something else.

And I've seen little kids like take the face of the parent in their little hands. Mom, you know. And sometimes we may feel that way with God. Lord, Lord, are you listening? Yeah, he's watching. You have his full attention.

He's interested in you. And he loves you. And he cares about you. That's God. Some people have an opposite view of God. But God loves you. And he loves you so much he sent his only son Jesus to die on the cross for your sin.

Why did that even have to happen? Because you and I have broken God's commandments. You and I have sinned against God. But the Bible says why we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Christ died for you so you could have a relationship with him. And I want to close with a prayer.

If you're not sure if Jesus is living in your heart, if you've not yet joined the family of God, if you want your sin forgiven, this is your opportunity to do it right here, right now. Let's all pray. Father, speak to those that do not know you. Draw them to yourself.

Help them to see their need for you. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. Amen. And if you feel you need to make a change today in your relationship with the Lord, Pastor Greg Laurie wants to help you do that before today's edition of A New Beginning wraps up. So please stay with us.

That's just a moment away. Well, Pastor Greg, do you have any idea how many people have viewed the Ben Born Again, the Adventures of Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog at this point? Dave, I'm happy to report that well over a million kids have seen these cartoons. Now we're putting them on all of our platforms, on our social media platforms, on our television program and streaming app. And by the way, if you have not downloaded the Harvest Plus streaming app, do that immediately. You can download it for your phone, for your tablet, on your TV set.

Our movies that we offer are in 4K. We have our cartoons on there. It's just a fantastic app.

So easy to navigate. It's sort of like a Harvest Netflix, if you will, with all of our content. We have a very large library too. And so a lot of kids have seen these cartoons and we're producing more and we're excited about the response to them. Well, some parents, they may not know what a great resource this is in bringing spiritual values right into their home. I mean, a cartoon, you think, oh yeah, that's fun for the kids and at least it's wholesome, it's safe and all that kind of thing. But these kids really learn spiritual principles and not only is the cartoon series conveying those principles, we have a new resource that expands upon the spiritual growth of these youngsters.

That's right, Dave. These cartoons always have a Bible story in them. They have scriptures in them. And we explain the truths of the Bible to the kids in a way that they can understand. And we also do that in this new resource we're offering.

Now maybe you've heard of this before, but this is a reboot, a refresh, a redo, whatever you want to call it. It's a brand new version of what we call the Ben Born Again New Believers Growth Book. So this is basically a resource designed to help children get grounded in their faith. After a child has asked Jesus to come into their life, Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog tell them the things they need to know. Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog tell them how to read the Bible, how to pray, how to know the will of God, how to resist temptation, and much, much more.

It's engaging, it's understandable, it's biblical, and it's new. And it's something we want to get into the hands of as many kids as possible. And that's where you come in because as you invest in our ministry and in this new resource and sort of the Ben Born Again universe, if you will, you become a part of this in reaching kids.

And maybe you have children, maybe you have grandchildren, or you have nieces or nephews, you have your neighborhood kids, you know. There's just kids out there that need to hear the truth of the gospel. And so many of them are not hearing it. They're not being taken to church as they should be. They're not being exposed to God's word. So let's get God's word to them.

Let's drop it right in their lap. You could order more than one of these and have them on hand to give to kids. So our resource this month is the Ben Born Again New Believers Growth Book designed for elementary age children. And we'll ask you to be generous so we can continue to reach this young generation with the only message that can give them the meaning of life on earth and prepare them for the afterlife. And that would be the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Yeah, that's right. And we hope you'll get in touch right away for this new Ben Born Again New Believers Growth Book. It features the new Ben Born Again and Yellow Dog design. It helps kids get well-grounded in the Lord.

It's engaging and understandable, but more than that, it's biblical. When you give, be sure to ask for the new Ben Born Again New Believers Growth Book. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24-7 phone number, 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California, 92514.

Or go online to harvest.org. And then here's Pastor Greg once again. Let me close with this thought. Would you like Jesus Christ to come into your life? Would you like your sin forgiven?

Would you like to fill the hole in your soul? Would you like to go to heaven when you die? If so, just stop what you're doing and pray this prayer with me. You can pray it out loud if you like. You can pray it in the quietness of your heart if you choose, but pray this prayer. This is a prayer of asking Jesus Christ to come into your life. Pray these words.

Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I turn from that sin now, and I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer and answering this prayer. In Jesus' name I pray, amen. Hey, did you just pray that prayer? If so, I want to congratulate you and be the first to say welcome to the family of God.

Yeah, that's right. And listen, we want to help you get started in this new walk with the Lord. We want to send you Pastor Greg's New Believers Bible. It's in an easy-to-understand translation and it features hundreds of helps, especially for new believers.

It'll answer many of your questions and help you build a strong foundation for your faith. We'll send it free of charge, so get in touch and ask for the New Believers Bible. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300.

Call any time 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California, 92514. Or go online to harvest.org and click Know God. Well, next time, Pastor Greg highlights those characteristics that reveal if we've been spending time with Jesus.

It's good insight. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Lord. This is the day, the day when life begins. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life, share your story, leave a review on your favorite podcast app, and help others find hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-06 05:31:54 / 2024-06-06 05:44:02 / 12

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