Dear friends and family,
Thanks for your prayers. Great news! I have received my third bag—your prayers are answered. This has been a minor distraction. We have seen God’s hand provide. Megan and I retrieved the bag from the Bole Airport last night right here in Addis. Glory to God, He is powerful and He is worthy to be praised.
It is so wonderful for me to be back in Addis. Thank you for your prayers and financial contributions that have made this trip possible. We are serving God here because of the Purpose Driven Seminar commitment made to teach six sessions. We are teaching session five on spiritual gifts. Today’s session talked about how God has made us unique. So many of us know this truth, but very few of us actually live it out. Here’s what scripture says:
“You (God) created every part of me. You put me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13 (GN)
“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous.” Psalm 139:14 (LB)
You are exciting and unique, wonderfully complex, shaped for a purpose. God has a plan for why He created you just the way you are. When we understand how God has shaped us for use in His kingdom, we are able to understand ourselves better. Knowing ourselves helps us realize our response to authority, how we deal with confrontation, how we handle power and freedom, even how we make friends. If we choose to build our lives around how we are created by God (understanding our spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, and experiences [S.H.A.P.E.]), we find there are several benefits.
Our spiritual gifts reveal God’s plan for our lives. Spiritual gifts show how God wants us to serve Him; knowing them shows how we should focus our lives. Understanding how God has gifted us show our self-worth, our God-confidence. When we know and serve God from the basis of our spiritual gifts, we find fulfillment and success and can contribute to building God’s kingdom.
“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works in all of them.” I Corinthians 12: 4-6
All human beings have the desire to accomplish something, to make a significant contribution, to make a difference with our lives. When we use the spiritual gifts God has given us, we are not only productive, but we also enjoy it. The root word for gift and for joy come from the same root word in the Greek: charisma. “Charis” is the word for grace that involves God giving us the desire and power to accomplish His will. We find real joy in taking the gifts that God has given us and using them for His glory.
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” Phil. 2:13 (NLT)
The first seminar completed, we heard testimonies from some of the attendees. Praise God for the way His word went forth to strengthen the Ethiopian church. Here are some of the comments:
An Ethiopian pastor said, “In the past two days, we have benefited for ourselves and our churches. We know it’s about training leaders. The seminars are supplementing the training at the college. Even all the Ethiopian churches would benefit from this training. I praise God for what He has taught us.”
And another pastor said, “The training here is new and deep and will really help the church. What really touched me is about how to use my spiritual gifts. This should go out to all ministries, to help us serve God better.”
From a women’s ministry leader: “I praise God for the opportunity to lead the women’s ministry. I was supposed to attend a funeral yesterday when my supervisor released me to attend this seminar. This has helped me so much, God has been talking to us about how to know our gifts, to serve Him better, so we can help our people to do the same. I am so thankful to God for His provision for me and my women for such a time as this.”
A woman serving in ministry said, “I discovered our spiritual gifts are precious, like a diamond. I realized I have been taking them for granted. We have learned to recognize them and use them. We have been able to see what we haven’t seen. Thank you for sharing such practical applications with the personalities and help for working with other people. I am so encouraged. I am praising God.”
“This is how my Father is glorified—in your becoming fruitful and being my disciples. I have told you this so that you can share my joy and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:8 – 11 (PH)
Thank you dear friends for your prayers. We travel today to Hawassa. Pray for strength, encouragement, fellowship, and preparation. I appreciate you and love you. I am praying for you!
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