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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
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Thursday, April 27, 2006
When Pigs fly
Pigs are heavy and wingless, and not terribly aerodynamic. If you should chance to see a pig suspended in the ether - hovering as it were between earth and sky - trust me my friend, you are not seeing a flying pig - you are seeing a falling pig.

If pigs had fallen in the same manner as Adam, I expect that they would not be content with being pigs - wanting more for themselves than God had given them. Continuing this supposition - if these same pigs were able to daydream and imagine various scenarios for their lives - I expect that some swine somewhere would look to the bird and pine for wings - that he too should swoop through the blue.

This same pig, being fallen, hasn't really placed much value in the way God has made him - and rather than relish and delight in the plan of God, he is disappointed in it. "Why have I know wings?" he muses - why am I not like the thing I admire?

Now, some of these fallen pigs might not care that they don't have wings - flying, they say, has nothing to do with wings and whatnot - it has to do with desire - and if we desire to fly, we will fly. So the particularly persistent pigs soon learn that they can jump out of planes (with parachutes) or be shot out of cannons into waiting nets - and for a brief time, approximate through much effort, what God has allowed others to do naturally.

I am talking about spiritual gifting in the church.

If you are a preacher/teacher - you cannot help but preach and teach. There is no real effort in it, you simply have a God given hunger to learn, and a God given capacity to preach and teach - in fact you have a deep concern for God's church, knowing that His people perish for lack of knowledge.

If you are an evangelist, you cannot help but share the gospel, it burns inside you - you see everyone in an eternal light - and your hunger is to see Christ glorified by redeeming them - you don't generate this or work to make it happen - it is as much a part of you as your own arm.

If you are a leader, people follow you.

If you are generous you love to give.

If you are hospitable you love to get Christians together for fellowship.

The list goes on, but the point is that some of us are like the pig that wants wings. We look to someone else's gifting, and wish it were ours - failing to delight in how the Lord has gifted us.

In particular, I am thinking of those people who want to preach when they are not gifted in that way. I remember hearing Swindoll speaking of a fellow he had known in Seminary - whose father was a pastor or something like that, and his mother really, really, wanted him to go be a pastor too, but it was plain to everyone except the fellow and his family that he did not have a speaking/teaching gift. In the third year of Seminary he was finally taken aside and encouraged to learn what his gifts were and also he was encouraged to serve the Lord in the strength of those gifts that God had given to him personally (as opposed to trying to serve the Lord contrary to the Lord's provision.) The fellow was insistent however, claiming that he did indeed have a speaking gift - to which the professor who had taken him aside replied - "if that is so, then none of us seem to have the gift of listening" or something like that.

Now, you don't need the Spirit of God living inside you to be a persuasive speaker. You can learn to be an effective speaker, and even a great speaker - without having the Holy Spirit. Surely, Hitler was a charismatic speaker.

But being gifted as a teacher means that God has divinely bestowed on you his own desire to see others learn about Him. You are not the nurse who looks after the sick child for your wage - but the mother whose very heart is expressed in caring for the child. It is a matter of motive more than technique. It is a question of why you want to preach as much as it is a question of can you preach effectively.

I confess, there was a time in my life when I was petrified at the thought of speaking in public. But when I gave my life to the Lord that disappeared entirely. If I feel anything when I preach, I feel the awesome weight of standing before God - His messenger, speaking His message - a part of me often wants to second guess whether what I am about to say is entirely of the Lord, or if some of it might just be from me - but I am never afraid to speak publicly.

As a leader in my church, one of the first things I look for if a fellow wants to teach or preach is whether this person consistently comes to prayer meeting or not. I can't imagine a man who is called to preach who has not also been called to pray.

I guess what I am saying is that I shudder to think that there are men in the pulpit today who want to preach but were never called to it. They hurt themselves because they are laboring to do what they are not gifted to do, and they hurt the congregation because they are not doing what they were gifted to do - and all for the sake of their own glory.

Now, I took preaching as the main thrust here - but the same point is made for all the gifts. If you want to minister in the strength God provides - minister according to your gifts. Most of us fall quite naturally into that - but some have to be coddled.
posted by Daniel @ 11:34 AM  
14 Comments:
  • At 12:32 PM, April 27, 2006, Blogger Even So... said…

    Amen.

    It can be a tough thing for a pastor to take a church member's zeal and help them focus it in the right direction. We may have a hard time knowing how to speak to them, because we don't want to discourage them, but they are "all over the place".

    So often people just want to say or do something, and it comes off like "READY, FIRE, AIM", all out of order and missing the target.

    BTW, I never liked the "gift surveys" or inventories, but is that what you think would work best? Or if not, what then?

     
  • At 1:08 PM, April 27, 2006, Blogger Gayla said…

    Hi Daniel - I popped over here via Rose's blog. Just wanted to say that your comments were spot on. You have a very articulate way of getting the truth across.

    Thanks again~

     
  • At 1:32 PM, April 27, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    E.S. - I remember clearly the day my wife's best friend (our former pastor's wife) conversationally mentioning (what seemed quite obvious to her) my wife's gift of encouragement.

    I was floored because I had never really noticed it before - yet upon hearing it spoken so matter-of-factly, I suddenly saw how painfully obvious her gifting was.

    Surveys can be somewhat subjective as well - women, for example, typically score high in the "pastoral" gift, not because they are gifted pastorally, but because women are by nature more "mothering" - and shepherding is not unlike mothering. etc.

    So while surveys can be useful, I wouldn't regard survey results as anything other than a possible indicator - the bottom line is, when someone is gifted one way, everyone else seems to know it long before they do - and that is significant, and perhaps useful information when trying to determine gifting.

     
  • At 1:33 PM, April 27, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Gayla - Welcome to my blog! If I managed to explain something well, it usually means I struggled with it myself for a time. ;-)

     
  • At 2:04 PM, April 27, 2006, Blogger Rose~ said…

    Hi Daniel,
    When pigs fly - that is when I will be able to stand up and speak before a group of people! Good post - very important. We can't all be a head or a hand or a foot.

     
  • At 2:47 PM, April 27, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Rose - hey, thanks for dropping in again! I haven't been around the blogosphere much lately - so it has been pretty quiet over here.

     
  • At 6:54 AM, April 28, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Hey - I changed my face today!

    That is what I look like when I wake up!

     
  • At 7:24 AM, April 28, 2006, Blogger Even So... said…

    Go back to sleep!

     
  • At 8:57 AM, April 28, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Daniel,
    Do you think there is a difference between 'natural human abilities' and 'gifted or called by God to..'?
    When we do for God what comes easy for us in our human strength, we are less likely to spend the time in prayer we must when we are having to rely on God.
    Of course that doesn't mean 'deciding' what WE want to do - singing when tone deaf, or preaching when there is no speaking ability.
    Then again, perhaps the more time we spend with God, the more we realize our inability to represent Him adequately in our 'natural ability'. I know that sends me to my knees every time I am called to serve Him in some way.
    Eunice

     
  • At 10:46 AM, April 28, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Do you think there is a difference between 'natural human abilities' and 'gifted or called by God to..'?

    Yes I do. Concerning Spiritual gifts, God does not want us to be ignorant (c.f. 1 Corinthians 12:1), in the book of Hebrews (2:4) we read that the gifts of the Holy Spirit bear witness to the truth of the gospel.

    I could prooftext it, but I am sure you are already familiar enough with the scriptures that this won't be necessary. The Holy Spirit indwells believers, and only believers. The gifts of the Spirit are for believers only, and are not there before one is a believer, otherwise they could hardly bear witness to the gospel: (Johnny spends 20 years learning how to play guitar - then he is saved and uses that carnally developed talent to play in the "praise and worship" band at church. There is nothing spiritual about this talent - it is not a Spiritual gift, and no one coming into the congregation and knowing that Johnny has been playing guitar for 20 years prior to his salvation is going to imagine that the Holy Spirit gifted him with the ability to play.

    We have talents - and we are supposed to use them for God's glory - but that is not in the same category as Spiritual gifting.

    Spiritual gifting, is at its heart - a sharing of the 'heart' of God. If you are gifted as a teacher, it comes in the form of being suddenly endowed with God Himself's desire for you to not only know the truth but to share it with others. If you are gifted with mercy, it is because God has tuned your heart with his own mercy - and you partake of it, showing having a capacity for mercy that comes from God's own heart.

    I blieve that every gift is, essentially, a sharing of the nature of God. Not a talent, but a divine enabling that comes to us through the sharing of that divine Spirit. Some are more in tune with one of God's traits than another - the Holy Spirit decides who gets what - and I believe it is entirely possible to ask and receive more, if you are coming to the throne to feed others and not yourself.

    I might be a "gifted" musician in the sense that God has pre-designed me with the wherewithal to pursue a musical discipline and succeed. But this is not the same thing as being Spiritually gifted. This is a natural gifting that God gives to every person - and isn't associated with Christianity per se.

     
  • At 11:03 AM, April 28, 2006, Blogger ThirstyDavid said…

    I shudder to think that there are men in the pulpit today who want to preach but were never called to it.

    You are so right! I was almost one of those men. I cringe thinking of it.

     
  • At 11:13 AM, April 28, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks Daniel. It confirms much of what I have come to believe. I have seen so much promotion of - and testing for - 'natural talent' in the church which I don't think is always best for the Body.
    "I blieve that every gift is, essentially, a sharing of the nature of God. Not a talent, but a divine enabling that comes to us through the sharing of that divine Spirit."
    Wow! that puts it into great perspective for me. What an awesome responsibility - sharing the divine Spirit. Understanding that must drive us to our knees in humility - I must jot that line in my Bible.

    Eunice

     
  • At 2:58 PM, April 28, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    David, I reserve my opinion - thinking (as I do) that you are gifted as a leader and a teacher. ;)

    Eunice, I didn't understand the whole "gifting" thing when I first was saved - but I -was- always certain about what it wasn't. It took a few years, and lots of time with scripture, but eventually I came the place where I would describe gifting as I have. I expect that people who spend more time with the Lord would be able to give an even better explanation than I have - and with much greater clarity.

    I should like to read something on the topic written by someone who isn't trying to sell a Spiritual Gift survey - but just explaining in plain English how it all works - I would love to have an edifying work that I could point people to.

     
  • At 6:11 PM, April 28, 2006, Blogger ThirstyDavid said…

    Well thanks, Daniel, but as Wil Anderson (played by John Wayne in The Cowboys) said, "A big mouth don't make a big man."

     
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