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Forming (in) Community – The Practice of Servant Gifts (1)

Listen to the audio teaching of these notes:

Recap Forming (in) community: its Four Practices. The second core value in following Jesus daily, both individually and corporately as church, is forming – and being formed in – Jesus’ local community. This value becomes real and is lived out to the extent we practice four priorities, what we call spiritual skills and disciplines:

  • Relationship: church is God’s family, not a social club for paying members
  • Healing: church is a hospital for sinners, not a hotel for saints
  • Servant Gifts: church is the organic Body of Christ, not a franchising organisation
  • Equipping: church is a school of life, of spiritual formation to live God’s kind of life, not a place of entertainment or spectator sport.

Servant Gifts

Over the next weeks I will teach on the what? and how? of servant gifts. The essential message is: we must see Jesus’ family, the local church, as the organic Body of Christ, as Paul discovered (in Acts 9:4-18) and taught (e.g. 1Cor 12:12-31). That simply means – the first key point – church operates organically via God’s enabling gifts functioning in and through each member of Christ’s (local) Body. Church is not an organisation or business operating by appointments, titles, position, power, hire and fire. This does not mean we don’t need certain kinds or levels of organisation and structure to facilitate organic life: the skeleton enables the body-life; the wineskin enables the wine-flow (Mark 4:22). But even these are gifts… of “leadership” (Rom 8:8), “helps and administrations” (1 Cor 11:28). Paul’s Greek word for gift is charisma, God’s enabling grace”. Grace (charis) is pure gift, not merited, nor deserved. The grace-gifts (charismata) are not for ourselves, but for each other. They flow through us to each other as we make ourselves available to serve… graciously! Continue reading Forming (in) Community – The Practice of Servant Gifts (1)

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“Come Holy Spirit!” Report on Today’s Pentecost Service

We had a wonderful experience of the Spirit’s outpouring in this morning’s service at Following Jesus. Many were touched by God in various ways, some filled or baptized with the Spirit for the first time – especially our young people – while some reported to me that they didn’t feel anything consciously happening, despite having hands laid on them.

I’ve been teaching a series on Being the Beloved – A Year of Spiritual Formation, and had planned to do the next teaching today on the discipline of the Word. But during last week three ‘indicators’ came to me from different people: I should put aside my planned teaching and focus the meeting on Pentecost – receiving a fresh baptism in the Holy Spirit. I decided it was the Lord, so I tweeted it and also sent email to our church encouraging everyone to come prayed up and prepared to celebrate Pentecost. The responses I got were interesting and instructive. Continue reading “Come Holy Spirit!” Report on Today’s Pentecost Service