Develop Your Spiritual Gifts to Build Up God’s Team!

BELIEVE   Develop Your Spiritual Gifts to Build God’s Ultimate Championship Team!

Believe.  What do you believe?  Why do you believe it?  How do your beliefs guide and empower your life?  Today – dig in to what do you believe about the gifts of the Holy Spirit?  Who is the Holy Spirit?  Does the Holy Spirit have a gift for every believer?  Are all of our gifts from the Holy Spirit important to build the winning team God wants?

God wants to build a winning team – with you and every other Christian in the world on His team.  We all like to win right?  At the Super Bowl tonight – we’re going to get a fresh look at what it takes to build a winning team.  This morning – I want to encourage you to consider that God’s team is involved in a much more important contest than a Super Bowl Championship.  We are God’s partners working together to do everything we can to win the eternal souls of men, women, and children.

So, this evening we all know there’s going to be a big football game in Minnesota.  We’re not sure which team is going to win.  But we do know for certain – there will only be room for one winner.

Fortunately, God has a much bigger and better plan for the world.  God shows us that everyone can be a winner – when they join God’s team.  And that together – we are able to win a victory that is much more important than a Super Bowl.

Each Person Was Created to Be a Masterpiece For God! 

Let’s think about what we can learn from Football Coaches – Doug Pederson from the Philadelphia Eagles and the most winning coach in NFL history Bill Belichek from the Patriots.  To build a winning team – Coaches show us that you have to be able to see the value and potential of each player – and you have to be able to develop and bring out the full potential of each player.

God helps us to see the value of each human being – by looking at Genesis 1 and seeing that God’s Holy Spirit was hovering over the earth helping to create life.  In Genesis 2:7 we see how God’s Spirit breathed life into dust and created humans.  Think about how powerful that is.  Scientists are now able to do some amazing things in creating life through cloning – but no scientist is able to take dust and breathe life into it.

Psalm 139 helps us to see how God works through the Holy Spirit to breathe life into us by knitting us together in our mother’s wombs.  God wants us to consider very carefully – that no human life is an accident.  Every person is a marvelous display of God’s extraordinary workmanship.

Psalm 139:13-14 (NLT)    LORD, You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it! 

God’s Holy Spirit at work – breathing life into us through our mother’s wombs.  God shows us in Ephesians 2:10 – no one is an accident or worthless.  God offers new life in Christ to everyone to help them become the Masterpiece God wants us to be.

Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)    We are God’s Masterpiece.  God has given us new life in Jesus Christ, so we can do all the good things He planned for us long ago.

If you want to build a winning team – you have to be able to see the value of each person.  We don’t always see people as wonderful works of God, or God’s Masterpieces.  It is way too easy for us to give up on people.  They’ll never amount to anything.  They’re just worthless trash.

Recently our nation and our world – got a powerful reminder of someone who was able to look beyond the problems to see God’s potential in every person.  You might have heard about  Officer Ryan Holets — Adopting Hope.  His slogan has become, Everyone needs Hope!

If you haven’t heard about Officer Holets or Hope – I’ll give you a summary.  On September 23, Officer Ryan Holets was training a young officer on the streets of Albuquerque. They responded to a possible theft at a convenience store. That call turned out to be a false alarm, but as Holets was leaving the scene he spotted a homeless couple sitting on a patch of grass appearing to be injecting themselves with some kind of drug.  Holets flipped on his body camera and walked up to the pair holding a needle, and that’s when he noticed that the woman, Crystal Champ, was pregnant. It turned out she was eight months’ pregnant. Holets was stunned and heartbroken.

“Why do you have to be doing that stuff?” Holets can be heard saying to Champ in the body camera footage. “It’s going to ruin your baby. You’re going to kill your baby.”  Champ, 35, immediately breaks down into tears. Champ says heroin and crystal meth, at that moment, had absolute control over her life.  “I’m the first one to know how bad my situation is,” Champ told CNN. “I know what a horrible person I am.”

Holets says a crazy idea started to bloom in his mind.  A voice, he says, told him to offer to adopt the unborn child and that’s what he did.  Holets says he showed Champ a picture of his family, which included his wife, Rebecca, and their four young children.  “I’ve gotten so tired of seeing so many situations where I want to help but can’t,” Holets told CNN. “And in that moment, I realized I had a chance to help and to heck with the risks.”

The Holets say they see many in the world around them who desperately need stability.

“We feel God has called us to do this,” his wife Rebecca Holets said.

Crystal Champ and the baby’s father, Tom Key, agreed to have the Holets family adopt the baby.  Hope, a girl, was born on October 12.  Ryan Holets’ dedication didn’t end when the adoption of Hope was finalized.  After the CNN story first aired, several rehabilitation centers offered to help Champ and Key.  In December, an interventionist came to Albuquerque to convince the couple to leave the streets behind and seek treatment. The rehab team arrived at the airport with the couple, but the grip of heroin and drug addiction was so strong that they both unraveled inside the airport and refused to get on the flight.  But a week later, Crystal and Tom left their life in Albuquerque and checked into the Mending Fences rehabilitation center in Florida.  The road to recovery will be long and uncertain, but Ryan Holets and his family say they vow to support Hope’s birth parents every step of the way.  Because everyone needs HOPE.

This morning – as we think about what we believe about how the Holy Spirit of God is at work in our lives and in our world – I think it is important to consider carefully what does it take to build a winning team?  God gets our attention – by seeing how the Holy Spirit is involved in breathing life into dust, knitting people together in their mother’s wombs, and transforming lives through Jesus into Masterpieces.

To build a winning team – you have to be able to see the value of each person – and you have to be able to get all of the team members to work together.   

The Holy Spirit Gets Every Part of the Body to Work Together

How do you get team members to work together – instead of competing against each other?  On a football team – everyone knows that the most important player is the Quarterback.  So it’s natural that everyone wants to be a Quarterback.  But what would happen to a team that only had a great Quarterback?  Quarterbacks are important – but you need more than a great Quarterback to build a winning team.  You also need Linemen, Running Backs, Receivers. Etc…  And you need them all to work together to bring out the best in each other – instead of competing with each other to see who will be the top dog.  

Romans 12:6-8 (NLT)    Through His Holy Spirit, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.  …If your gift is serving others, serve them well.  If you are a teacher, teach well.  If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. …And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Remember how important it is to pay attention when the Holy Spirit shows you that your gift is Serving, Teaching, or Encouraging.  Don’t be jealous of other gifts.  Learn how to celebrate how awesome it is when all of our gifts are working together – just like all how important it is for all of the parts of our bodies to work together.

1 Corinthians 12:13-22 (TLB)    The Holy Spirit has joined us all together into the One Body of Christ.  Yes, the body has many parts, not just one part, and each part needs to be valued.  …Suppose your whole body was one big eyeball…  What a strange thing a body would be if it had only one part!  …The parts that seem weakest and least important are really the most necessary.  

We might think that our eyes or hands are the most important parts of our bodies – and we might think that it’s OK to ignore other parts of our bodies that seem weaker and less dignified.  But take a second look – and ask yourself – what would happen if some of those parts that seem weaker and less dignified stopped working?

I had a Colonoscopy last week.  I can tell you that it’s not fun to think about our colons.  But what would happen to your body if your colon stopped working?  Big trouble.  You could die in less than a week.

As you consider what you believe about the Gifts of the Holy Spirit – God wants to make sure that you know what He thinks.  Quarterbacks may be important – but you can’t build a winning team just on Quarterbacks.  Pastors and Teachers are important in the church – but you can’t build a winning church just on Pastors and Teachers.  You need to remember that every person’s Spiritual Gifts are important – and that the key to building a winning team is to treat every team member as important, actually essential, to the whole team’s success.

1 Corinthians 12:27 (NLT)    All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is an important part of it. 

I want to help you think about why every member of the team is important this morning, by sharing the story of a boy named Tony with you.  Tony grew up in a town that loved music.  Most of all – his home town loved Vocal Music.  Boys Choirs were all the rage when Tony was growing up.  But, even though Tony tried as hard as he could to learn how to sing well – it just didn’t work.

So next, Tony tried taking violin lessons, but he was so bad that the neighbors persuaded his parents to make him stop.

Yet Tony still had a dream in his heart to make music.  His friends gave him a hard time because his only talent was whittling wood.  When Tony grew a little older he began serving as an apprentice to a violinmaker.  His knack for whittling grew into the skill of carving and his hobby gradually became his craft.

Tony worked patiently and faithfully. By the time he died, it is estimated that he produced 1,116 instruments, of which 960 were violins, each one bearing a label that read, “Antonio Stradivarius.” They are the most sought-after violins in the world and if you Google it, you will find the selling price goes between $3 to $16 million.

At first, Tony’s hometown didn’t think he was going to amount to much – he couldn’t sing and he couldn’t play the violin.  But because a Violin maker was able to see Tony’s gift – he was helped to develop his gift and become one of the most skilled makers of violins the world has ever seen.

God is eager to help us see that every person’s life is a gift of the Holy Spirit – reflecting God’s marvelous workmanship and reminding us that everyone was created to be a Masterpiece of God.

God wants to help us understand that just like we need all of the parts of our bodies to work together – Eyes, Ears, Arms, and Legs – we also need to encourage everyone to use their Spiritual gifts.

Will You Use Your Spiritual Gifts to Help God’s Team Win?

Tonight at the Super Bowl – there will be millions of people who desperately need exercise – watching 22 men on the field who desperately need rest.  The Super Bowl is a big reminder that in many ways – we have become a nation of spectators.  God wants to make sure that we all know – there are no spectators on His team.

After Jesus conquered death through the Resurrection – He came back to them and reminded them that He had a mission for them to go into the world and make disciples.  Then Jesus breathed into them the power of the Holy Spirit – so that they could go and get the job done.  

John 20:20-22 (NLT)    After His resurrection, Jesus …showed the disciples the wounds in His hands and His side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord!  Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent Me, so I am sending you.”  Then Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

God shows us that every single one of us has been given the power of the Holy Spirit and a gift from the Holy Spirit.  None of us were saved by Jesus to be spectators.  We were all saved to get up and get going to help God’s team win.

1 Corinthians 12:7 (MSG/TLB)    A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.  Each person has been given something to do that shows the world God’s love and power in action.  Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits.  Through the Holy Spirit, God’s power is at work in each of us to help the entire church and all people!

 

I started this message on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit – by celebrating the fact that we all love winners and we all want to be on a winning team.  The Super Bowl and Football claim that there can only be one winner.  God says that everyone can be a winner – when they join His team and use the gift of the Holy Spirit that has been given to them.  I’m going to close by encouraging all of us to keep in mind that the greatest gift of the Holy Spirit is love.  It’s a gift that we have all been given – and it is a gift that we need to keep on developing.

1 John 4:12-13 (NLT)    No one has ever seen God.  But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.  God has given us His Holy Spirit to show the world that we live in Him and God lives in us.

Some people think that the greatest mark of success would be winning a Super Bowl Championship ring.  God says that the greatest mark of success is showing the world the power of the Holy Spirit at work in your life through the gift of love.

Some of you might remember Eric Liddell — The Flying Scotsman who was made famous by the movie Chariots of Fire.  Eric Liddell was a Scottish rugby player who ran for England in the 1924 Olympics in Paris.  Many people thought he was throwing his life away when he decided to go to China to serve as a Christian Missionary.  But running was not Eric Liddell’s most important gift from the Holy Spirit.

Eric Liddell’s most important gift from the Holy Spirit was his ability to minister to the boys and young men that he taught at the Chefoo School run by the China Inland Mission. The boys called him Uncle Eric and he poured his life into them.

During WW 2 the school was turned into a Prison camp by the Japanese Army.  The suffering in the prison camp was horrible.  Yet, Eric Liddell’s love continued to shine through.  One fellow internee Norman Cliff described Liddell as “the finest Christian gentleman it has been my pleasure to meet. In all the time in the camp, I never heard him say a bad word about anybody”.

American theologian Langdon Gilkey, also a prisoner, said: It is rare indeed that a person has the good fortune to meet a saint, but Eric Liddell came as close to it as anyone I have ever known.”

Eric died of a brain tumor in 1945, just months before liberation. Gikey’s final comment: “The entire camp, especially its youth, was stunned for days, so great was the vacuum that Eric’s death had left.”

Today, as we think about the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  I’d like to encourage you to think about one more aspect of building a winning team.  Super Bowl Championships are very impressive – but how many people are going to receive eternal life in heaven because of a Super Bowl Championship?  Compare that to how many people are going to be in heaven because people like Eric Liddell and hopefully you too – committed their very best to using their gifts of the Holy Spirit to share the love of Jesus Christ with out world.  God is inviting you to refuse to be a spectator – and to make the most of the gift the Holy Spirit has given to you.

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