In this message, we learn that our gifts and talents are meant to be used to serve.
Well, hey, friends, welcome to Valley Creek. So good to see you. Let’s give a big round of applause to the Denton Campus, to the Venue Campus, to the Flower Mound Campus, and everybody else who’s watching us online, wherever you’re at, we’re glad that you’re here with us. All right, so we continue on and we will be finishing up the Back Door series today. And has it not been an amazing series so far? It’s been so good. We’ve learned a lot about what it looks like to be — did I just say a double negative when I said, “Has it not been,”? Is that — because I don’t even know if that’s correct.
But okay, we’ve been learning so much about what it was like, to live, as a servant, just like Jesus did. So the bible tell us that Jesus came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life, as a ransom for us. And so Jesus was a servant, that’s what he was, so, serving is what he did. It was a natural outflow of what he was. Just to kind of take a look back on where we’ve been. In week 1, we talked about the fact that greatness is found through the — not the big lavish front door of self-promotion, but through the back door, the smaller, humble door, of servanthood.
In week 2, we said that serving positions you for promotion, so you don’t have to worry about self-promotion, because God is your promoter, he will lead you to a promotion. In fact, if you want to be promoted to the front of the line, you have to spend time serving at the back of the line.
And then last week, we talked about the fact that a servant’s heart is love, on display for the world. That Jesus had a servant’s heart, and a servant’s heart is a secure heart, it’s secure enough to serve other because it knows who it is, and what it was created to do. And a servant’s heart is a heart that’s willing to look foolish to serve other people. We did a story where Jesus had knelt down to wash the feet of the disciples, everybody else walked past the water basin, Jesus was willing to look foolish to serve others. So this week, we’re going to learn about something, that sometimes, difficult to understand, but is so, so good. Spiritual gifts, spiritual gifts. I mean everybody loves a good gift, right? One that’s wrapped nicely, that’s thoughtful, you get to be encouraged thinking about what’s going to be on the inside of it, is it the gift that you were hoping for? Is it fun to watch people open their gifts, and the joy that comes out when little kids open gifts? Everybody loves a good gift.
Now, if you’re like, you may have at least one person in the family, that sometimes gives a little bit scarier gifts. And they have well intentioned hearts, but every once in a while, when you get picked by them during Christmas time, you’re a little nervous about the gift that you may receive. My wife and I visited Big Bear Lake, California, and got to visit her grandma one time. And her grandma, she was super sweet, but just like my grandma, was born in the depression era. And so some of the gifts were maybe second hand, and maybe you didn’t quite know where they came from, but you know, you hope for the best. So she gave us, when we were in Big Bear Lake, California, matching sweatshirts.
And the matching sweatshirts had Big Bear Lake, California, and then, in kind of a puffy print, like you know, the print that’s like puffs up out of the shirt, it had like a nature scene, and then the nature scene was two bears walking down a river. Sounds good so far.
So the bear on the front of the shirt, like the one that was front and center, had a salmon in its mouth, it was biting the salmon in half, and blood was pouring out of its mouth. And so as you can imagine, my wife was not too excited to wear that sweatshirt. Now, I want you to know, if I still had it, I would have worn it today, because that would have been awesome. But that was a gift that we, you know, matching sweatshirt is just not really our thing. And then my grandma, also so sweet, and loved to give gifts, but sometimes, you didn’t know where they came from, gave a gift to my dad one time, so his mother-in-law. And she gets so excited about the gift that when she handed it to him, as he started opening it, she went, and she like, helped pull it the rest of the way out of the package.
And she ends up pulling out a pair of underwear, and she goes, Tim, I got these for you, and she pulls it out, and everybody’s looking at it, and the dad’s like, wait a minute, why aren’t those in a package? So yeah, if you ever get gifts like that, then I can understand why you might be nervous about a conversation on spiritual gifts, but don’t be nervous, because our father is a great giver of gifts.
In fact, James 1:17 says, “Every good, and perfect gift is from above. It comes down from the Father.” Good gifts for you, perfect gifts for you, and perfect gifts to meet the needs of the world, through you. The father is a great giver of gifts. It’s an interesting think about gifts because you don’t get to choose which one you get. You just have to choose whether or not, you’re going to receive it. And we don’t get to choose which gifts are given to us, we got to decide if we’re going to not use it, put it on a shelf, return it, what will we do with the gifts that have been given to us.
So what I want to ask the church is just to be able to open your heart, and let’s receive everything that Jesus has for us today. Are you excited to learn about spiritual gifts? Alright. Let me give you just a couple of thoughts on spiritual gifts and how they relate to serving our way to greatness. Here’s the first one. We’ve been gifted by Him, we’ve been gifted by Him, our father that great giver of gifts gave us the most amazing gift when he gave us Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the greatest gift the world has ever received. And you know this verse in John 3:16, it says, “For God so loved the world that he…” say it with me, “gave — that he gave,” he gave, giving is in the Father’s nature. So, it’s in our nature, we were born to give gifts away, we were born to be givers at heart, because that’s what the Father is. He gave us Jesus, and then Jesus is also a giver.
He gave us the gifts of the Holy Spirit, in fact, he talks to his disciples, he says, hey, guys, it’s better if I leave you, because if I leave, and even better gift is coming in the Holy Spirit. And now, instead of just me in Jerusalem, the spirit of me can be everywhere the believers are. I’m going to give you the Holy Spirit. In John 20:22 it says, “And he breathed on them and said, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. And so he was the giver of that great gift. But the Holy Spirit, also gives us gifts. He also gives us gifts and in 1 Corinthians 12:4, talks about this, it says, “There’s different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same spirit is the source of them all.” There’s different kinds of service, but we serve the same lord. God works in different ways, but it’s the same God who does the work in all of us.
A spiritual gift is given to each of us, so that we can help each other. Translation? You’ve been gifted to serve. You haven’t just been gifted so that you can have a gift and keep it yourself. You’ve been gifted to serve others.
And so your gift is only being fully made alive, it’s only being fully realized when it’s used to serve other people. This is the cool think about the concept of serving others, and I really, really — I’ve appreciated thinking through it this week. So when you’re giving your spiritual gift away, you aren’t just giving away, like a complement or a one-off gift, of some kind of a second-hand gift, you’re literally giving the grace of Jesus. So the word for spiritual gift is the word, “Charisma,” and it means a move of grace. It’s a gracious gift that moves from God the Father, through us, to other people. So you’re giving the charisma, the move of grace from God, from the Father, through you, to other people.
This is the cool part. The front half of the word charisma, like think of the word, charismatic, is the word, charis, and that’s the word for grace, and we know that grace is not just a concept, it’s not just a word, it’s a person. Grace is the person of Jesus Christ. So what that means is, when you’re giving away your spiritual gift, you’re literally giving people a little bit more of Jesus.
I don’t know about you, I could use a little bit more Jesus in my life. I know that people in the world could use a little bit more Jesus. Your neighbors could use a little bit more Jesus, your co-workers could use a little bit more Jesus, the people you go to school with, could use a little bit more Jesus, because what you’re giving when you give a little bit more Jesus, is, hope to people that are hopeless, you’re giving freedom to people that have been in bondage, you’re bringing light to dark situations, you’re giving life to dead things, you’re giving the world a little bit more Jesus, and Jesus is so much more, the world could use a little bit more Jesus. So when you give your charisma, your spiritual gift to others, that’s what you’re handing them, a little bit more Jesus.
Okay, great, so here’s the elephant in the room. How do I know what my gift is, like I don’t have a clue, I don’t know what my gift is, I don’t know how to figure it out. Here’s what I would say to you, you just start serving, and your gift will be revealed. You just start serving others, and your gift will be more fully revealed, because here’s the spiritual principle. When we start moving, Jesus moves with us, he follows us and helps us continue to move. When it came to the disciples, Jesus didn’t say to them, see everything, and then you’ll come. He actually said, come, and then you’ll see, it’ll be revealed more fully.
In Isaiah 31:21, it says, whether you turn to the right, or to the left, you’ll hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” catch that. You turn, you make a move, then, he tells you where to go from there. So you just start serving, and your gift will be more fully revealed. I’ll say it like this, your movement inspires God to move, and your movement to serve on their behalf, inspires God to move on your behalf. Another example of that is when Jesus was walking down the road and the 10 lepers were saying, hey, master, master, have pity on us, heal us. And he says, okay, go show yourselves to the priest, and it says, “as they went, they were cleansed.”
So as they started moving, that’s when they were healed, as you star serving, that’s when your gift is revealed. At Valley Creek Church, we believe you discover your spiritual gifts through serving, because the road that leads you to serve others, is the same road, that will be the road to discover your spiritual gifts. Sometimes, it will take like a spiritual gift survey, or an assessment online, and will be, well, let’s try to figure this out. And here’s what we would say, don’t just simply focus on securing your gift, focus on serving others like Jesus did, like you don’t have to worry about just trying to figure it out all the time, you just start serving, and more of it will be revealed to you.
When you reveal God’s love to others, he will reveal your spiritual gifts to you, what a great exchange. In fact, this is a great story of my friends, Todd and Hillary, they had served in this church probably for like, seven years, and the whole time that they’ve been serving at the church, they served in different areas like they served with kids for a little while, they served in groups that helped in the pathway. And they started this sense in their hearts that maybe, God was raising up their spiritual gift to teaching.
Well, now, they’ve had more opportunities to kind of walk into that spiritual gift, but that opportunity came to them, because they were serving in a completely different area than teaching. So they just started serving, and now, their gift has been more fully revealed. I believe the same will be true for you. If you’re interested to know the gifts that God has placed into you, you just start serving others, and he will reveal that. So that’s the first thing, is that, we have been gifted. And here’s the second one, we can serve like him, we can serve like him. 1 Peter 4:10, “Each of you should you whatever gift you have received, to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” There it is again, grace, the movement of grace through you, to others.
If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. So when you’re speaking, when you’re serving, you’re doing it like Jesus. If anyone serves, they should do it with the strength that God provides. So that all things, God may be praised, through Jesus Christ. So a spiritual gift then, is a gift of empowerment. It’s simply the empowerment to do what Jesus would do in any given situation. When you do use your spiritual gift, you’re doing what Jesus would do, in any given situation.
Like, do you guys remember, do you remember those WWJD bracelets, like What Would Jesus Do bracelets? Like, hey, WWJD man, ABC123, I don’t know man, I don’t know what you’re saying. Well, the WWJD bracelets, were great at reminding us to think about well, what would Jesus do, like, in this situation? So when you’re using your spiritual gift, that’s the question that you’re asking, what would Jesus do? That’s the spiritual empowerment. I’m not going to be able to give you all the examples of the spiritual gifts that are in the bible, there’s lots and lots of them, and there are infinite amount of spiritual gifts because our God is infinitely big, and gives an infinite amount of gifts to us, but let’s go through a couple of examples of what Jesus would do.
So let’s say that Jesus had, and was using the gift of leadership. Well, we know that Jesus was the greatest kingdom leader in the history of the world, right? He started the most amazing movement, in the history of the world, leading 12 guys. So if Jesus was using his gift of leadership, he would bring heaven to earth, today. And he would see a vision, and he would go first in carrying that out, and he would develop others, and he would be willing to make it happen, like he’d do the hard work to make that happen. And then he would take the next steps and invite other people to follow him in those next steps. That’s who Jesus would use the gift of leadership. Let’s do another one. What if we’re talking about the gift of prophesy. Well, we know that prophesy is simply hearing from God, and speaking to men. So hearing from God, and speaking to men.
The gift of prophesy is not telling you that the world is going to end next week. That’s called the gift of scary, okay? That’s not what it is. The gift of prophecy is just hearing from God, and speaking to man. So if Jesus was using that gift, it would be this amazing mixture of grace and truth. And it would always encourage, and it would encourage the hearts to move forward, into the thing that God was speaking to them. So the gift of prophecy, if Jesus was speaking it, would be the good things into people’s lives, the things that would bring them encouragement, and help them move forward on their journey.
How about this one, if Jesus was using the gift of hospitality, what would that look like? Well, Jesus loved a good party, and the really interesting thing about the gift of hospitality for Jesus is, he didn’t own a home, he just loved — he loved to be hospitable. And I’m pretty sure that Jesus, when he was hospitable, would not worry about things like, if kids spilled juice on the carpet, of if somebody banged a hole in the dry wall, he would just love people well, and be glad to have them come to his home.
There’s a great story in John 2 in which Jesus was helping to host a party, he’s actually going to help them make more wine when they’ve run out of wine, at the wedding of Cana. Here’s the interesting part of the story. His mom says, “Oh man, we’re run out of wine. What are we going to do?” And his response back to her was, “Well, my time to reveal myself has not yet come.” But then, he goes on, he does it anyways.
So what was Jesus showing us there? Well, I believe that he was showing us, A, I honor and respect my mom, I love to help her through a party, and, there’s never a perfect time to be hospitable, because every time, is the perfect time, to be hospitable. Even if my time did yet come — had not yet come, it’s still worth it, to spend the time to love and serve others. We have so many examples of using the spiritual gifts within the Valley Creek family.
I could tell you about my friends Janice and Stephany. Each of them is amazing at praying powerfully. They can intercede on your behalf, in prayer, and when they pray for you, it’s like Jesus is coming down and giving you a hug, like, “Here you go, I’m going to give you a hug.” And you really, really feel his spirit in you when they pray for you. That is an amazing gift. I’m so glad they’ve used that gift to pray for me. I’m so glad that I’ve been the recipient of that gift.
I could tell you about Tony and Gene. Tony and Gene have the gift of administration, they’re able to bring order from chaos, they’re able to make excellence from disorder, they help us count items to help restock, to help prepare for classes, they’re great at administration. What’s so great about it, is they do it with the joy of Jesus, while they’re doing it. So they have that gift. I’m so thankful that they faithfully and joyfully serve in this house with that gift. But what could we say about you? What would we say about you in the spiritual gifts that you have been given? Because here’s what I believe Jesus would say about you.
I believe Jesus would say, “I believe in you so much, that I gifted you to serve just like I would. I believe in you so much, that I believe in you to serve them, just like I did. I believe in you so much, that I’ve gifted you to serve them just like I currently do.” So really, the question isn’t what would Jesus do, the question is, what will Jesus do, through you, because you’ve been gifted to serve. You’ve been gifted by him, to serve like him. You’ve been gifted by Jesus to serve just like Jesus did.
You’ve been gifted by the God who loves people the most, so you can serve them in love, the most. What an amazing opportunity. So there’s a caveat to all of this, you’ve been gifted by him, so you can serve like him, but the gift is not for us, our gift is for them, our gift is for others. This is what Romans 12:4 says, “Just as our bodies have many parts, and each part has a special function, so is with Christ’s body, we are many parts of one body, we all belong to each other.” We all belong to each other.
So our gift is for each other, it’s not just for me, it’s not just for you, it’s for them. Think back on like a Christmas morning, let me give this example, so when you walk down on a Christmas morning, and you get excited about the gifts, and there’s wrapper — paper flying all over the place, and little kids are you know, all smiles, because they know there’s going to be cool things they’re going to get to open, the ones they’ve been hoping for.
What I believe is that, when you come to Valley Creek, and when your part of this church’s family, every time we come together, is like a Christmas morning, it’s a gift exchange. And part of what we love, is that we’re actually exchanging the gifts with one another, we get to experience that gift exchange when we come together, like when the worship team worships, and they invite you to experience the presence of God, and they draw you close to him, and you feel them in your heart and you’re excited, and you know that it’s Him speaking to you, that’s them sharing their gift.
When the host team hosts you, and you’ve been flustered, you’re trying to figure out how to get in the door on time and you just hope that your kids have the same two shoes on when they’re walking on the building, when you come in like that and you feel frazzled and they say, “I’m so glad you’re here, welcome to Valley Creek you guys,” and they exude the love of Jesus, that’s them sharing their gift. When you — when VCC Kids takes your child from you and you know they’re going to be safe and they’re going to have fun and learn about God and they’re going to be so encouraged, that’s them sharing their gift. Every weekend at Valley Creek Church is like a gift exchange, and we get to be part of it. That’s so awesome, that’s part of what you love about Valley Creek, you’re getting to be part of the gift exchange. Now let’s switch it. Let’s say that you’re eight years old and it’s Christmas time. Eight years old, some of you are going to be thankful for the throwback, okay. So you get to be eight years old again, I’m sorry that you have to go through junior high again. You’re eight years old.
So it’s Christmas time and you have a gift that you have been hoping for. It’s one that you’ve been giving not so subtle hints to your mom and dad regarding and you’re thinking, “Okay, I’m going to try to kind of throw it in, slip it in maybe a note here and a conversation here,” it’s the bicycle that you so desperately wanted. It’s the dollhouse that you liked. It’s the Red Ryder BB gun that you — you already bought your safety goggles so you can — they can buy it for you, it’ll be okay. It’s the gift you’ve been hoping for. Well, during our gift exchange, when you come down and you see the wrapping paper flying all over the place and people are excited and they’re happy to be there, there’s lots of joy in the room, I believe there’s people that walk down the stairs and think, “I wonder where my gift is. I wonder if the gift that I’ve been hoping for is here right now.” Do you think they put it in the backroom or maybe they built the bike and it’s in the garage and they’re going to bring it out last and then it’ll be really exciting because it’s going to be my favorite present?
And then they start to get more and more anxious like an eight-year-old would in that situation and maybe they start to feel almost desperate, almost like, “Where’s my gift? Where’s the one that’s just for me?” Because I think every weekend, there’s people that walk into church and think, “Okay, this is the first and maybe the last time I’m ever going to walk in here and quite frankly, if God doesn’t show Himself in some way, maybe I’m just going to be done with the whole thing.” I think there’s people that walk here and think, “I just need somebody to speak some kind of word of love in some way so that I can break down my ungodly belief that I’m not worthy of love, will somebody just speak to me in love? Where’s the gift that I’m desperate for?” I think people walk down in all the time and think, “Man, I’m desperate for the wisdom of God to come into my life. I just need somebody to speak wisdom into my situation because I don’t know if we’re going to finish this marriage thing, I don’t know what my job situation’s going to be, I just need somebody to speak into my life. I’m starting to get desperate.”
So during our gift exchange, there’s people that walk in here desperate for the gift they’ve been hoping for and the amazing part it, God has gifted you so that you can give it to them. He trusts you enough and He’s gifted you with that gift that they may be so desperate for. I’ll say it to you like this, what if the gift that someone is desperate for is the very gift you have or more specifically, what if your gift is the answer to their prayers? God believes in you so much, He’s using you as His charisma, from the Father, through you, to other people, He’s using you as His charisma and He entrusts you to be the one to give them that gift. Here’s a really crazy thought. What if the gift isn’t just in you, what if the gift is you? Listen to this, Ephesians 4:11, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers to equip his people for works of service, so the body may be built up.”
He gave literally the people, the apostles, the prophets, the pastors, what if the gift isn’t just in you, what if it is you? Because when you lead others, the gift is you. You are God’s gift to them, we are God’s gift to each other because we build each other up. Remember, we walked about that, the word “equip” is the word that means to mend or repair fishing nets. So literally what that means is when we are acting out in our spiritual gifting, we are helping to mend and repair the holes in people’s hearts. That’s amazing. You are God’ gift to them. By the way, the church has every single gift we need within the body. The question isn’t whether we have it, the question is whether you will release it. Because you see, a gift is just something in a box until you actually give it to someone.
A gift is just something in a box until you actually hand it to someone, that’s when it becomes a gift. So let’s not be selfish in giving to others what Christ was selfless in giving to us. His gifts, his goodness, himself. We are God’s gifts to each other. All right, let me finish with this idea. This is last story here. By the way, I know that I’m giving a lot of Christmas examples and it’s in October and I just want to let you guys know Jesus told me to let you know that in the Bible, it says you cannot decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving.
I just want to be clear about that, so just — so there’s no confusion, that’s our theological stance for Valley Creek.Okay, so I’ll finish with this idea. At Christmas time, do you guy have the designated passer outers? The designated passer outers, usually the littlest one in the family gets to be the designated passer outer. They get to take the gifts from the tree and then look at the nametag and then pass that on to someone in the room, right?
So hey daddy, can I have just another one? Yup, here you go. Okay, let me look. Okay. This one’s for you. Okay. Daddy, I’m ready for another gift. I’m ready for — okay. And this one is for you. And there’s such joy in their hearts when they’re the designated gift passer outer. They experience such joy in doing that but here’s the wild part, they’re not the ones that even bought the gift. They’re like so thankful to give that away, that’s like the best job in the world, to be the passer outer. So catch this. We’re the gift passer outers, we didn’t even buy the gift, Jesus did, with his blood. And we get to partner with him. Daddy, can I have another one? Yup , here you go. Okay, this one’s for you. And Daddy, how about just like one more, can I have just one more gift, Daddy? Yeah. Yeah, you can.
I have a strong feeling this is the one they’ve been waiting for. Really? Yeah. Okay. Here, this one’s for you. Daddy says this is the one you’ve been waiting for. I’m so excited, I can’t wait to see what’s on the inside. See, the interesting thing about gifts, you don’t get to choose which one is given to you, you just have to choose whether or not you’re going to receive it. It’s an interesting thing about spiritual gifts, you don’t get to choose which one is given to you, you just have to choose whether or not you’re going to release it. Let’s pray. So let me just ask, what is the Holy Spirit saying to you?
Because the truth is you’ve been gifted by Him so that you can serve like Him. And maybe you don’t have a clue like I don’t know where to even start, I don’t know what my gift is, I’m not sure how to use it, I don’t know what’s inside of me. Here’s what we just say to you, don’t let that be discouraging, don’t let that unnerve you, you just start serving and your gift will be revealed. You just start doing whatever is the next thing He told you to do and He will give you and then reveal to you what your gifts are and what you were created for. I was actually thinking about this before this weekend, I really believe that the Lord is going to reveal so many more spiritual gifts that are latent within our body. They’re here, they’re just — they’re not being fully given away yet and I believe that he’s going to start doing that through you today. There’s going to be gifts that are even brand new and you’re going to say that word to them and you’re going to realize like, “Wow, that was actually — I was able to encourage them. I didn’t know I could do that.”
And you’ll have the courage to pray for someone and you’ll pray for them and what you pray is the exact thing they needed to hear and I believe that God will start to do that through everybody within our church body. We have every gift we need to be a very, very healthy body when we choose to release them. So we then now begin to ask the Lord, “Lord, what’s mine? What are the ones?” and then say, “Okay, I’m just going to act out and serve however I can and you just show me more and more and more and more. That’s what we’ll do, we’ll do that together, Jesus. We’ll move together.” Ask, listen and respond, see what He says. So Jesus, I even call out so many more spiritual gifts within our family, will you just make it a giant gift exchange, that they are passed on one to another, let the gifts of the spirit flow in the Valley Creek family as each of us choose to serve one another, let people be encouraged by those gifts, let them walk into them in a new way, let them believe that you’re going to move us forward with those gifts, God.
Everything we need, God, just let it flow through us so that those people that are desperate can come in here and they receive the gift they’ve been waiting for. They can receive through us your love for them. Jesus, we love you, we’re so thankful that you are the greatest servant and the greatest gift giver in the history of the world. We love you. In your precious name, amen.