Stewarding Your Gifts

 

February 5

 

Click here to read the transcript of the podcast

 

Read Ephesians 4:8-13

Therefore it says, “When He ascended on high He led a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men.” (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that He had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heaven that He might fill all things.) And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…

 

Reflect

Who has God placed in your life to equip you, build you up, and help you mature in your faith?

 

I don’t know about you but when I look back on my faith journey from the beginning until now, I realize just how many people God placed in my life for the purpose of equipping me and helping me grow up in the faith. I have benefitted from the ministries of my pastors, Sunday school teachers, college professors, Bible teachers, etc. The list of people who used their spiritual gifts to build up my faith goes on and on. I would probably not be a pastor today if it were not for those who worked to equip me for ministry.

 

At this point in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul says that when Jesus ascended to heaven, He gave the believers gifts. Through the Holy Spirit, all believers have been given spiritual gifts from Jesus. But your spiritual gifts are not about you. They are for the purpose of serving others. They are intended to build up the body of Christ.

 

The good news is that we have not been left on our own to learn how to use our spiritual gifts. Paul states that Jesus specially gifted the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip us for ministry. It is the job of these gifted leaders to help members of the body prepare for service, steward their gifts wisely, and grow in their faith.

 

What is the goal of this growth? Paul says that we are to be growing and maturing, building up and unifying the church until we all attain “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Paul means that the church should become more and more like Christ. Each and everyone of us is to be growing spiritually until we reach full maturity. Perfection. Christ is the standard that we are all to measure up to.

 

But how? How can we be perfect? If you are in Christ, the process has been started. We are told to pursue holiness and grow up in the faith. We have been empowered by the Holy Spirit and given the gift of spiritual leaders to teach and equip us in this process. But this process will not be complete until Jesus returns. Until then, it is each member’s responsibility to use their God-given gifts to build up His church. How are you sharing your gifts with the body of believers? Are you sitting under godly and gifted Christian leaders who are helping you grow?

 

Pray

Jesus, I want to be perfect. I want to be holy and blameless as You are holy and blameless. But I am not there yet. Help me continue to grow. Help me become more like You. Equip me for Your service and use me to build up Your church. Amen.

 

~ Pastor Nat Crawford

 

 

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I found a ministry connecting with widows in our church.
Thank you pastor nat Lord help me equip me to be like you help me to spread your word
Amen and Amen Please Jesus help me by your spirit🙏🏽
Hope this helps
*HELP ME BUILD YOUR CHURCH; THANKYOUJESUS*
My Lord my God, thank you for your loving ❤ kindness towards me. The past has passed. The present is a gift 🎁. Tomorrow is an if. Use me as a beacon of light in this world 🌎 for your Glory.
God you have brought many in my life some for a season and some just passing through but Lord their was a reason and a lesson in it and I thank you lord for each and everyone.
Thank God for every person that God brought in my life at a particular time and circumstances. These were angels in my life.
Thank you for the encouragement! Yes, there are "debated" passages that are important to discuss "in house." We don't need to divide over "grey" areas. There are some bigger, essentials we should debating and fighting for. Iron sharpens iron, so let's do it with humility and grace!
Amen! I pray this for you and me too!
Yes, in March and April we will be looking at Spiritual Formation and the important elements of Christian doctrine. A worthwhile discussion. So I look forward to interacting with you then!
Thank you, Chaz! All we have and all we do is for the glory of God! That's why we are all important in the mission and each gift is beneficial. So let's link arms as we move for the gospel!
Amen! Me too! I was raised in a Christian school. I went to church since age 4. I decided to follow Jesus at that point. But once I hit my 20s I lived like a prodigal. But thanks be to God for breaking me and calling me home. Whom He loves He disciplines. And inside this loving discipline, we are His children with unconditional love and forgiveness! Amazing!
Thank you for the passionate comments. This is a debated passage for sure. When I study the Bible I read commentaries and do word studies like any pastor. I don't fit in any one "box" for theology, but I do look for the historical understandings and interpretations. So, this is a "grey" area where I tend to land in a conservative understanding. But we can disagree and still lock arms for the sake of the gospel. I appreciate your insight and will continue to wrestle with these passages. I encourage you to as well. God bless!
Sunny, I am so sorry. There is a lot of pain in the world and my heart breaks for you. I am sorry, but God's forgiveness and grace and provide a way for healing. I pray for that healing and supernatural forgiving power.
I pray for that boldness with the faith of the gospel! Romans 1:16-17! We have the power, because He has power!
I am praying for healing. Coughs are horrible! God please send relief.
Thanks for so much thought into this, Bill. I'm traveling now, but I'll interact with this more when I return to BttB!
Amen!
Great thoughts and application! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you my dear Lord for giving us love and patience and all you're blessing 🙏
You have called us and provided us with gifts, Lord Jesus. Help me to understand what you have called me to do for the body of Christ and to do it with all my might. Continue to lead as I follow after You, Amen.
Lord thank you for another day of blessing! Waking up and having time talking to you through prayer is one of the best gift that we have. Lead , guide and direct me in every decision that I will do. I need you in my life Lord. Lord Jesus i pray for the health of my family, relatives, friends and all the people around the world. Praying for good health, love and peace in Jesus mighty name amen and amen.
Lord Give Me Strength to Grow in Jesus! Amen!
Lord help me to grow in understanding your word and hiding it in my heart to bring it to others attention as you lead me to witness. Give me the boldness and the words to speak when opportunity arises so they will decide to follow your Son Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior. In Jesus name. Amen
Hi Pastor Nat after reading of the comments and prayers below it is clear there are some real confusion to today's coaching. In that being said what is most important is that we realize we are "One" Family not two but "One". That we are those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ into our heart following with being baptized in Jesus Holly Name there in being filled with Him through The Holly Spirit. God wants us to all thing with His Love first, when we did it is then we grow becoming a disciple for him. It allows His Light to shine bright within us for all to see. When sharing God's Truth Word we must be careful not to push His Word but Lovingly delivery His message. We must read God's word daily then study those words to better understand through meditation or meditating on them. I heard your coaching clearly as I do daily or when I receive it. As you know I read only KJV and NKJV. I know you said you the version you do because it is more clear or better understanding. Pastor Nat get ready for some Guidance so you can coach to the below. This i do know yes we should always reach out to believers and non to remind and to share. Just by listening we can hear what they need in our prayers for them. May God continue to Coach you to deliver His word in coaching others. Heavenly Father I Praise You and Thank You for each new day leading us teaching us through Your word and through those You Father use to Uplift in Your Truth and Light. Lord Please remind us we are one family we may not agree on how Your Word comes to us but never let us stop trying to always share and Uplift in Your Truth to bring others to You our Mighty Savior Jesus Christ! I Thank for Back to The Bible and the Family continuing to grow within You Lord. Please Bless us Father to always Uplift and not tear down each other as that is abundantly clear in Your Word. I Love You Lord and Praise You to see so many come together to Glorify Your Name. Thank You Father in Jesus name Amen
Hello: if I may you need not get out to stay or draw neaier to The Lord. Here you have The Family that will pray with you, coach you, Uplift you in God's Truth and Light. Try texting, emailing, write a letter send it. As you know you are never alone! Jesus is alive in you at holding your hand at is right side. Just close your eyes breath in and out feel His Presence with You. May God continue to guide you keep you rising for Him and fill you with His Mercy's and Grace. Father I pray You will give and fill Your child with he/she needs which is You Lord. Give her the Blessings of feeling You near, please keep lifting them to rise up in you Amazing Grace to know family is right here but most of all Father You are right there. In Jesus Mighty name Amen
I should care to kelp them to Jesus Christ, and Share with thwm on the Path of righteousness.
Father, I need Your help. Continue to lead and guide me in the direction You want me to go. Help me be a beacon of light to allow others to see You in me and want to get to know You. Thank You for sending people in my life to prepare me. Father, I want to make godly decisions and grow spiritually. With You Father I know it is possible. Thank You Father. I pray in Your Son Jesus name, Amen.
Lord help me with the strength to get thru everything going on. Help me to continue to read your words. Please help me to get my family to also trust and also to believe in you Lord.
Dear Lord, help me continue to grow in Your Word. It's hard now with the virus, I can not get out, But, I am still studying your word. Continue to equip me for Your service. Help me to become more like You.
Great job pastor! Although my take is slightly different. I believe you made a great point. Bless You In one of your future sermons would please expound on the purpose of Being Baptized and how and when you know you are ready for that great step. I believe that a lot of your young readers could use some guidance on the subject.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit is for others in need; prayers,Healing, setting the captives free ! Learning speaking in tongues edifies your spirit. Teaching us to love not hate to forgive and to grave from your heart to those in need.
Thanks nat, What you say , the gifts are not about us.I never thought about it in this way. It’s always been discovering we each possess and how “we” can use them. When you said they aren’t about us It makes more sense to me in how we respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit. I been out of fellowship for sometime And your pastoral gifts are a God send for this man and I rejoice in Christ for your gift. Y B I C. Chaz
After reading your comment I thought about it and have come to the conclusion to say, that I suppose, we can debate many different points and they will always end up with more debates. In the pastoral letters Paul’s advice to Timothy is to avoid such debates as they are unprofitable. This is one of the things He’s talking about...unless, it’s dealing with a core belief , the cross, salvation thru Christ alone , the forgiveness of sin, Jesus as our intorcessor high priest, his deity, God in the flesh . Just to mention a few things dealing with Christ . All else only leads to ungodlyness and he makes it clear it is for both parties. May the lord bless you in your journey. May the peace of God that transcends all understanding be yours In Christ Chaz
I can't find where Nat said " no where does it say the apostles and prophets are no longer" I think u are reading into something thats not there? I read the print 4 times and if he did make an error give him some grace to fix it. Bill
Thank you for sharing. I grew up in a Bible believing and teaching church and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior at about age 7. The problem for me came that people assumed I knew what to do next in my life with Him. I went to church, prayed, went to Bible college, etc. But in my early 20's I drifted away and that lasted about 30 years. The path back came when God allowed my non-believing but wonderful husband to die suddenly. Thank God He didn't give up on this prodigal daughter and He showed me about intimate relationship with Him and my faith has grown by leaps and bounds the last 10+ years. So thankful for His mercy, provision, and protection that I now share with others.
We are praying for healing and for strength to continue shining His light!
Nat i think you need to read the scriptures you quoted again!! "And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God", no where does it say the apostles and prophets are no longer. In fact it says "until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God" unless for some reason you believe that we have all attained the unity of Christ which obviously is not the case. Too bad you are misunderstanding the scriptures and leading others in your misunderstanding
When I was young I was hurt badly. I only had myself and the Bible and I took it for exactly what it said. The meaning ,some not totally clear. Not sure just how to pray to reach out right to a mighty , awesome ,kind, and merciful God. Things were so bad around me, so negative I just lay on my bed and would cry out. Please God help me. I just wanted for him to come take me away. So much it made me have to go to the hospital. Ended up that I had to have a by pass on both in and out arteries to and from my heart plus a blood clot next to my heart also. Thanks be to God I'm alive today. Thank you Pastor Nat for your s programs they're teaching me the things I couldn't learn on my own. Thank you for being out there for us all that are believers and need a shepherd to guide us through today and forward on home to Father God with Jesus Christ our Saviour and the Holy Spirit to guide us home. Thanks again. A sister in Christ Jesus. Randy Byrd (Sunny)
God blessed all of you all for you are doing great work for the Lord and I know He looks down and smile on you all. God Bless Lela
I like it it is the truth and that the only thing will stand it God word and He has bless us to be able the read Him I thank the Lord for Salvation and I thank Him for saving me and filling me with the Holy Ghost back in 2011 God is good all the time Lela Hunt
Amen
Pastor Nat, thanks for your devotion and faithfulness in sharing the Word and encouraging us who are spiritually weak. I thank God for you the hope it brings to me. Please pray for me that I may become stronger and more confident in sharing my faith to others.🙏🏽
God has put some friends in my life whose example and conversations are encouragements to me to preserver daily.
I want to thank you for such a wonderful testimony!! and uplifting prayer!! . I am requesting prayer for a stronger walk with God!! and healing from this cough that i have after having covid 19 back in July 2020 .
Hi Nat,  been going all in w/ my trading setting aside these sessions. In the Lazarus and the rich man account  both ppl were deep in the earth one side Paradise and the other Hades w/ a chasm separating them.   We know Jesus descended at least to the Paradise side to release the captives into heaven, to the 3rd heaven where God sits on His throne.  The old testament saints were there for believing in the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob that's what saved them, it wasn't for believing in the resurrection of Jesus it didn't happen yet.  (Not saying u say that)  but that was however the Pre-Incarnate Christ.  The I Am that I Am at the burning bush and all the other accounts was the Pre-Incarnate Christ or He was the Word as 1st John 1:1 makes it clear.  I've listened to some preachers say Christ descended into hell after he released the captives from Paradise where Abraham's bosom was which made sense to me bc Jesus may have gone to hell for us (Took our punishment) but of course defeated death and hell.  I've also heard preachers say he didn't go into the hell part.  I really don't know which is it but I just know I won't be going there.  Amen to that, right. The blessings of Abraham is another good subject to get into for when a Christian can be obedient to the law the Ten Commandments. The law can only condemn us, show us our own frailness but the Spirit which gives us life can and does bless the obedient Christian.  To unwrap that more would take more space and time and I'm in a trade lol  ... I just got my target 5 points.. I ignore my position and let it run while I do this but w/ occasional peeks. This is Bill I noticed I'm in as a guest I still need to log in. :)
Thanks,Pastor for the great reminder ,we were left instructions,how to live and work in this world, especially to day.These passsge is exactly what we need today.I pray many believers would read and act on them. So Blesssed,thanks again!!
Amen
Yes! It is a journey becoming more like Him! Our wonderful Savior!
Thank God for giving us another weekend and I thank pastor Nat for the devotional Amen
Thank you so much. I enjoy the daily devotion very much it's a very important learning lesson and understanding of the word of GOD. I thank you much for the lesson
Amen Rose
Very much to contemplate and digest in these passages from Paul, but for sure the authority of the resurrected Messiah -The Christ - is revealed. Also, it reveals that this Christ is active and not some far-off passive ruler that sits on-high. He calls us, provides for us, teaches us, connects us with His Spirit and other people who help us on our journey towards Him and helps us to partake in a community of believers. These passages reveal that our lives as believers are indeed a journey of faith that isn’t fulfilled until we are all completely united (or reunited) with the Resurrected Messiah....words to live by! Yes, praise God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!
Amen!
Father, I need You. Continue to build my foundation with You. Amen.
Thanks I enjoy this please keep sening them
Thankyou, this was very helpful. Im so grateful that Jesus will finish the good work, He's begun in me. Phil 1:6. Many blessings in Christ 🙌
“Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭13:10, 14‬ ‭ESV‬‬ I just read these to verses and reflected on it below. Love and putting on Jesus will some day make us perfect like Him. Lord let it be soon! Hallelujah How do you love your neighbors? We must love for that is the fulfillment of the Law. We must be perfect like our Heavenly Father is perfect. God’s demands are extremely high to be His children. How can we love our neighbors as ourself? We must put on Jesus and make no provisions for the flesh. Putting on Jesus means believing in Him, obeying Him, receiving the Holy Spirit and depending on His power. We have to love Jesus and allow His love to love others. Lord give us the desire to love you today so we may put you on and love our neighbors and fulfill your Laws. In Jesus name, Amen.
Yes
Amen.
Yes and Amen !!❤️🙏🏽
Thank you Lord👍🏿
Amen!
Yes!