Super Hero Training Part 2

Last week we looked at some of the basic super powers God has given every believer. This is the default setting for all believers, yet to each church God gives special gifts to accomplish His Capttask and purpose (Eph 4:12). Sort of like the Avengers team, these gifts must all be used in the proper order. Hulk is good at smashing, Captain America is good at leading and to reverse these roles or trade gifts would be disastrous.

This team principle is exactly what happened in Acts 6:1-6. The Apostles were truly gifted at studying, preaching, and praying, but there were some serious physical needs in the church. So God brought up some men with “super powers” specific to the need of the church.

When our A-Team runs into problems is when we start working in areas that we have no super powers (Hulk starts thinking). We continually look at people through the lens of our own super power. “If they were spiritual they would teach a Sunday school class like me…. If they cared about church they would have people over more often….” And we forget that some have the gift of teaching while others the gift of hospitality.

That which upsets us most in our relationships is probably someone else’s gift shining through.

Another aspect that often happens in churches is the gift of God is never exercised (I Tim 1:6). If your gift is not used, it is impossible to stay attentive at church, and you will get restless and eventually frustrate others. Think about it, if God sent you to a church according to Ephesians 4:11-16 you are there to serve the A-Team. Anything else but service, is selfishness and the whole team suffers.

The team will suffer in many ways. First they will not have your specific talent, so either the important task will go undone or someone who is not qualified or gifted will have to fill your place, both are disastrous.

Secondly, you will start getting restless.  The Spirit that indwells you and gifts you will let you know that you are squandering His gifts.  There will be no peace for a believer that refuses to submit and serve (Eph 5:18, Phil 4:7).

As restlessness steps in, the very next step will be a spirit of criticism and disunity.  Instead of seeing the benefit of playing together, we will expect everyone to “pass us the ball.”  We become individuals instead of a team as we seek confirmation for our own abilities and perspective.

Finally, if the gift is not exercised, we will feel lost and out of place.  Instead of putting on our work boots and seeing the skills and talents we all posses, we will live in isolation.  Soon we will feel like nobody understands us, and find a need to justify our lack of service.

The worst side effect of isolation is that we cut ourselves off from the gifts of the body designed by God to help us grow, and doom ourselves to immaturity.

God has given us all gifts and talents and expects them to be used for Him and His glory.

So to make it personal, what tasks could you do at your specific local church?  What special talents do you have?  How could they meet the needs of your A-Team?

What Happened to My Family at College?

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Summer break! A time to relax from the intense pressure of homework and the ever watchful eye of professors and hall monitors. A time to catch up with family in between work, church, and play. Summer break, a time to feel awkward about relationships…. Let’s be honest, relationships are messy and family relationships over summer break can sometimes be the messiest of them all.

The awkwardness of relationships often starts with parents. Chronologically they are the first relationships we all have and therefore have the most history. From day one, your parents had dreams and plans for you, many of which you do not have for yourself. This can cause some tension, but not nearly as much as the awkwardity of the transitional period of adulthood. This transitional period has many factors.

The first factor is that as a college student for nearly 9 months you were in control. You controlled your schedule, you controlled your entertainment, your study, your habits…. The person you reported to from homework to eating an extra pepperoni pizza @ 2:00 in the morning, was you. Now you are back in your little room with family members and parents who are not used to the way you have run your life. This combination is like miracle grow for tension. My suggestion is, talk it over with your parents. (Not while you are leaving the house and they ask, “Where are you going?”) Ask them about their summer schedule, and share with them some of the things you would like to do. A good rule of thumb, would be, treat your parents with the same respect you would your summer boss.

The second factor is the transition from teen to adult. If you remember back when you first hit puberty everything was different. Your desires and goals jumped from adult to kid and bounced around like a freshmen boy’s voice. That transition from kid to adult was difficult, and in a way that same transition is happening again on an emotional, and spiritual level. After experiencing life as an adult (in a dorm or apt), you feel ready to stretch your wings and fly, but the problem is, you are still in the nest. (For those of you who may be reading this at midnight, your parents are paying for the mortgage, mom is still preparing food, and you are diligently chirping for more freedom.)

When you kinda feel like an eagle being asked to go back into its shell, you have two options. You could sit your parents down and demand they show you some respect or else you are going to pack up all your things and camp out in your 1992 Corsica, or start proving to them you are an adult by showing them respect. Many times college students seem to view break as their time to relax. Realize that part of being an adult means that you don’t get time to relax. Explaining to your parents why you didn’t have time to clean your room, or pick up the Cheese Nip box in the TV room is not going to impress your Dad who puts in 50+ hours.

     If you want respect, you must give it out. Respect your parents by going the extra mile and showing them by your actions you are an adult. Look for ways to add to the family dynamic. If you know your mom is heading on a trip, fill up and vacuum out the car. Surprise your parents by finishing the dishes or making a meal and doing clean up. Volunteer to take the younger kids to swimming lessons or practice.

If you are not an asset, you are a liability.

Awkwardness can also result from sibling relations. While you were gone, it may seem like your younger brother must have taken Sarcasm 101 at night school, and what on earth made your younger sister decide to go all Goth? Obviously, it is up to you as the older, wiser, college student to unveil their stupidity and amaze them with your wisdom. Regarding younger siblings, there are a few things to remember.

First, remember that, “Only by pride cometh contention.” A soft answer will defuse tension before it  begins, but if you insist on showing your sibling how much wiser you have become during college, tension will explode and you may lose a valuable friend for life.

Second, remember that you have just come back into their territory. Your reign as older sibling matters about as much as the top 10 pop artists from the 70’s. You may be able to bully them into getting you your pop during a movie, or forcing them out of “your” chair, but you were never elected into your royal position.

Third, remember they have also gotten older. They may not look it with braces or a Mohawk, but they are many months closer to adulthood. Listen to their thoughts and ideas. Don’t cut them off mid-sentence or explain the ludicrousy of their ideas, for it is during those times that they are sharing their souls. Don’t let your pride cause you to put them in their place or cut them down. Determine to build them up and look for ways to genuinely compliment them.

Fourth, remember that they have had a life while you were gone. You may feel like everything is the same, but it is not. While you were away, your siblings won awards, performed in concerts, succeeded or failed in many areas. Ask them about their life. Nothing smacks of arrogance like the assumption that you know all about another person without asking.

Fifth, remember to spend time with them. You may not have many more opportunities to spend time with your younger siblings before you or they are out of the house. If they have the same interests as you, great, but make sure you invest time in doing things that they are good at and enjoy.

Sixth, remember that you are a huge influence. Younger siblings can be annoying, and who better to teach them how to grow up than their older siblings? As we discussed, this is not done mainly through words, but actions. Influence is not really an option, the direction, however, most definitely is.

I pray that you will be able to try out some of these suggestions. Let me know how they work, or share ways you may have invested in your family.

Why Date?

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Unless you are content to hypnotize yourself with a controller in your hand, in star wars pajamas with Cocoa Pebble stains on them, I am going to assume you are favorable to the idea of being in a relationship with a significant other. We could spend a lot of time focusing on the wrong reasons people start relationships (to meet emotional needs, to boast confidence, to fit in, etc.), but it would seem to be more practical to start at the beginning.

Many people find a person of interest and immediately start a relationship without ever asking the most basic question, “WHY DATE?” As Confucius should have said, “He that tests the depth of the water with both feet is a very dumb man.” If you are in or contemplating being in a relationship and do not have a firm, scriptural answer to that question, you should schedule some time for major pain and disillusionment in your near future.

God expects believers to submit dating to the same principles of Scripture as any other area, “Whether therefore ye eat or drink, do all to the glory of God.” (I Cor 10:31) This helps direct us in our dating relationships and answers the question, “Why date?” Dating is not about you…. or them…. it’s about Him. So how can one date to the glory of God? I am excited to begin this journey with you, as we look at God’s practical answers for searching believers.

As I prepare to put together a series on dating and relationships, I feel balance would be a aussi-stop-sign-1443865-mkey word to remember. I realize that even though I am writing primarily to a near graduated or college age audience, many of these questions and topics span generations, while some are much more specific. Therefore, I feel it would be wise, to attach a few disclaimers to this series.

I am expecting you to think and search Scripture (Don’t simply take my word for it.) This series will include many general principles. It is my desire that the principles come from Scripture, yet I realize some of the application of the principles may not be all inclusive or applicable in every situation.

I realize that there is quite a bit of debate regarding the meaning of dating versus courting, so for sake of clarity, I am defining dating as: “The mutual pursuit of marriage possibility.” I view dating in the same way I use the subway, the only reason to get on is to arrive at a predetermined destination. This idea stems from the principles found in (Luke 14:28) and the many purpose filled commands of Scripture.

I realize that even though guy/girl relationships are beautiful before God, it may not be God’s plan for every one of His children to be in a relationship, and singleness is not a curse from God.

My prayer is that many of these articles will help you prepare for a wonderful relationship based on our first and highest relationship.

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