This session began with an invitation to people to share what from yesterday's input resonated most with them.
God speaks to the community and He speaks through the community.
Things can be very unfair and unjust, and that's real, but we have to avoid a victim mentality. Remember the bear in the cage? We have to change how we see ourselves.
Some years back Jim met a girl who had been very badly treated for 7 years by her mentally ill mother, chained up and neglected. He asked her, 'How did you forgive your mother?' She answered him by pulling her sleeves back to show the damage still remaining on her arms and wrists and said, 'If I did not forgive her, I would still be in her chains'. This girl became a person of forgiveness and mercy. It is not easy to do. It doesn't mean forgiveness is easy to do. We need grace from God to do it. The only influence we have is on our own hearts.
Do you remember the 3 beliefs from yesterday: Restoration, Role, Providence?
Principle no.1: God is number 1. Either God will do it, or it isn't going to happen.
Principle no.2: The reality of opposition. Ultimately God always wins. Hold onto that.
God is calling you and I to build. 'Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain'. Psalm 127:1
Stop doing things for God. Start doing things with God.
If you think of any New Testament miracle, you would be hard pressed to find one that didn't require the practical assistance of others.
We see the obedience of the servants in filling the water jars at Cana, and we see faith as they bring the dipper to the boss of the wedding feast. When did the miracle happen? Was it after the jars were filled, or was it when the dipper was being taken?
Then with the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes to feed some 40,000 people, the 2 fish and 5 loaves didn't belong to Jesus. He blessed and broke the loaves and fishes, and handed them to the 12, who each walked out to the groups who sat ready.
When Jesus goes to raise Lazarus from the dead, someone has to roll back the grave stone, and others have to unbind him.
There are a few exceptions.
Jesus prefers to work in the context of His people.
God wants us to be part of His work.
We need the power of vision to do the work of building. The book of Zechariah contains many visions, promises and hope for that purpose. I encourage you to read Zechariah and Nehemiah.
Nehemiah showed a special motivational gift in his speeches to the people. Some people have this gift of giving vision to others.
A modern example is how Churchill spoke to the people of England when things were bleak indeed in 1940, 'We will fight them on the beaches….' etc. This gift changed the situation from bleak to determined and hopeful of victory. Napoleon put it another way when he said, 'a leader is a person who deals in hope'.
We need to restore vision in 3 ways.
•The vision of God: Many have a distorted vision of God, so we need to share with them the true vision of God.
•The vision of self: People need a true vision of who they are in Christ. Treat them like a child of God, whether they see it or not.
•The vision of the world situation: Most people don't really get it that they are in a massive battle between Light and Dark.
Nehemiah's vision enabled the people to rise up and start building, and he brought order and teamwork to the process. He set one group clearing the rubble. He set another group rebuilding the north gate. Another group were sent to rebuild the south gate and to watch out for lurking enemies. Another group were given the task of getting the eastern wall up quickly.
Everybody had a specific job to do, which allowed them to focus on their own job and to do it well. We need to marshal our resources like this. The gift of administration and organisation is far from mundane.
This concept of the diversity of work in the re-building means that we don't have to worry about the other projects that the designated groups are doing.
Everyone has a gift, something to give and to contribute to the work of restoration.
And it doesn't have to be a charism.
On a trip to the Middle East, and an Islamic country, I came across men with a 1967 Ford Galaxy. We were able to bond over our shared love and appreciation of this car. They were surprised that a Christian was as car-mad as they were, and this was a 'meeting point' the Holy Spirit used to enable me to talk to them about Jesus.
You are more than your charism; your personality, your temperament, your hobbies, your work can all be 'meeting points' that the Holy Spirit can use to bring people to God.
Each person is essential, not only for what you do, but crucially for what you are.
………………………………………………………………………….When all the talks are transcribed and blogged, a printer friendly version will be provided.
God wants us to work with Him. It is His preferred way of doing things. But of course, we have to wait for Him to initiate and invite us in. It doesn't work if we start off ourselves and expect God to catch up.
Isn't it a breath of fresh air to hear how important gifts of wise administration are, and how they help the other gifts to work at premium capacity?!
As long as there is a God gifted person in the leadership/gift-co-ordination role, then that frees those called to do works of mercy to concentrate on assisting those in need, while the evangelists do the outreach and the teachers and pastors do the discipleship.
It might also stop us loading each other with guilt for not being gung-ho at everything. Have you noticed how evangelists want everyone to be great evangelists, and prophets want everyone to be great prophets, and preachers want everyone to be great preachers?
It is OK to not be the same. It is OK to have different callings from God. We should be helping everyone to find their unique God-given calling; and not assuming that if God has been calling me in this particular direction that God is calling you in the same direction too.
Every gifting has levels: there's the ordinary level that God can call upon anyone at any time to exercise; there's a ministry level or area where a charism is frequently used by God; then there's an office level for gifts recognised by the community as having far more than local reach and authority (city, regional, national, international)