Welcome to a Renaissance staff meeting: several of us arrived at Ryan and Katie’s house on the south side of Decatur. Ryan and Katie are a couple who are high in energy and enthusiasm. They are the parents of two beautiful little girls and a bounty of puppies and kittens. Their home has this extra-large kitchen that is perfectly constructed for hosting lots of people and I must say we filled it out well. We got to catch up with one another and feast from the grill. Collectively, we were all fascinated by the story of Pastor Kool’s recent tooth extraction. That will be a story for a later blog, his own of course.
As deserts were rolling out we began to discuss where we could expect to head in this course. Oh, which reminds me, my Salted Brownies didn’t make it. I thought I had plenty of time to bake them following a power-walk and a shower that afternoon. One of the woes of living with a delightful culinary student is always being surprised to find the ingredients you saw in the cupboard one day to then mysteriously disappear the next. So, mini lemon cupcakes from the Wal-Mart Bakery were the best I could contribute this time around.
We started with the 3 basic categories of gift lists in the bible. There are gifts from the One Who descended and ascended, meaning Jesus. He gave us gifts of church leadership called: apostles, prophets, evangelists, teacher, and pastors (Eph 4:10-12). These are leaders given to the church by Jesus to: plant, build, fill, instruct, and care for God’s people. Then we have gifts that come and go like the wind that the Holy Spirit gives: words of wisdom and knowledge, words of prophecy, prayer and praise in unknown languages with interpretations, discerning of spirits, gifts of faith and healing as well as miracles (1Cor 12: 7-11). I know, it sounds like an exciting culture to be apart of, right? It’s called Heaven on Earth.
The third gift list is the one we will be concentrating on in the coming weeks: gifts given by the Father (Rom 12: 3-8). This is an awesome list of gifts because you don’t have to be called as a leader to have one nor do they come and go like the wind. These are the gifts we possess like we possess DNA. They were woven into our nature and are easily detected through our personalities.
I believe gaining in the knowledge of our giftings is an act of recovery. Consider Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you..” It is here that God clues us in. Before we were in our mother’s womb He was thinking of us. I can only imagine that when He created Adam and Eve He wrote into their posterity all future generations, which included you and I. Think about it. Before the foundations of the earth God planned you. From the foundations of the earth your life was conceived within the Father’s heart. YOU were His dream come true … long before you ever took your first breath you were already worth the love He spent on you. Even if your parents didn’t plan you, He did. Your conception may not have been the picture perfect product of a love between two parents, however, you were conceived in love nonetheless. Let’s look at Psalm 139: 13-16:
“For You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret [and] intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depths of the earth [a region of darkness and mystery]. Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them.” (AMP)
Listen to that language, “intricately and curiously wrought, as if embroidered with various colors.” Seriously? Talk about intention. Talk about purpose. Talk about a love that hovers over you with jealously and intensity. You are one serious investment of thought-filled passion, time, and precision. Within the elaborate threads that have painstakingly colored and formed your inward parts lay the gifts that best express the Father’s image on the earth. These gifts are wired throughout your many parts. You were never your own. Everything original about you has always been a consequence of the Father’s love. Recovering your original image in Him simultaneously recovers the Father’s image on the earth.
It’s hard for us to grasp since we are all born with a sin-bent nature and into a sin-filled world. What had been the original blueprint of our lives, etched within the Father’s heart, slowly and surely loses its original intention as we live out our lives apart from Him. Being born-again is so much more than being reconciled back to God the Father; it’s also about recovering our original design. The will of God for your life is simple, it’s to know Him and to know Him intimately. The callings of God on your life are the adventures you take into knowing Him and those adventures result in the recovery of who He had originally made you to be. His calling upon your life will change many times over but His will never will.
I posted this quote on Facebook yesterday, “The Lord is restoring innocence to His people … what would it feel like for your if you had never sinned in your life? What would it feel like to have never been sinned against? You have legal access to these emotions … (because of Jesus) we are free to live as if we never sinned. B. Johnson.” I so believe this is true and interestingly enough a funny thing has been happening to me over the last few months. I am repeatedly captivated by the innocence of children’s faces. I work in retail and children skip by my cosmetic counter daily. I catch myself getting apprehended by the awe of their innocence framed within their lil faces. It’s beautiful and I have a brand new yearning to be beautiful, just like them. I believe that’s where we are all headed, we are returning to innocence one “yes God” at a time.
I pray you become overwhelmed with the awe and wonder of your birth! The Romans chapter lists seven gifts. Each gift is a facet of the character of God Himself. We have been created in His image and therefore we each will have a measure of them all. The exciting part is that you will find yourself majoring in one of them if not two. You will soon learn you aren’t weird after all. The Father has wired you in love, congratulations! Coming up next? Stacey picked out the first of our seven gifts, the prophetic. It stirred an interesting conversation and you won’t want to miss it!