Division of Duties
Read Acts 6: 1-7
Jewish Christians of different ethnic backgrounds were living in Jerusalem, and some disagreements split along ethnic lines. The leadership of the early church resolved these differences in a fair way.
A point of contention arose among the early group of Christians over an important issue. Church leaders sought to honor God and gave a wise solution to the problem.
Who are the people you know who appear to get along well with others?… The people I know who get along with others are enjoyable to be with. They show genuine interest in others. When they are with you, they are really with you.
I think of a man I know who is very gracious, friendly, and refined in his dealings with people, whether they are his friends, his co-workers, or the waiters who serve him. His pleasant manner is not put on; it’s genuine….
A man who encourages and builds up others, he is compassionate and empathetic, touching people in times of joy and sorrow. He fits the description of a likable character I read about recently in a novel. This man was described as “large-hearted with everyone.” The way my friend treats the people in his life is how most people want to be treated.
Do these qualities describe how you would like to be treated? Are these qualities evident in your dealings with others? It takes time to develop the qualities I find in my friend. I’m still working on them in my life. Fortunately, we all have the capacity to learn them and put them into practice.
(From How to Get Along with Almost Anyone by H. Norman Wright)
When disagreements with other Believers come up, work for solutions that help both sides, respecting opinions that differ while maintaining unity.
The early church had problems just as we do today. All churches have problems. If your church’s shortcomings distress you, ask yourself: “Would a perfect church allow me to be a member?” Then do what you can to make your church better. A Church/individual does not have to be perfect to be faithful.
Each person has a vital part to play in the life of the church. If you are in a position of leadership and find yourself overwhelmed by responsibilities, determine your God given abilities and priorities and then find others to help. If you are not in leadership, you have gifts that can be used by God in various areas of the church’s ministry. Offer these gifts in service to him.
This administrative task was not taken lightly. People who carry heavy responsibilities and work closely with others should have these qualities; full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. We must look for spiritually mature and wise men and women to lead our churches.
In the early church, the chosen men were ordained or commissioned (set apart by prayer and laying of hands). Laying hands on someone, was a way to set a person apart for special service.
The word of God spread like ripples on a pond where, from a single center, each wave touches the next, spreading wider and farther. The gospel stills spreads this way today. You don’t have to change the world single-handedly – it is enough just to be part of the wave, touching those around you, who in turn will touch others until all have felt the movement. Don’t ever feel that your part is insignificant or unimportant.
What principles here could help you free the church for a wider mission?
Read Luke 9:10-17
If you could have a day off right now, how would you spend it?
As you think of the needs in your own life and the needs in the world around you, how do you feel?
What is it going to take to get you off your duff?
How would you cope if God gave you a new challenge?
Jesus welcomed the people and ministered to their needs. How do you see people who interrupt your schedule – as nuisances, or as the reason for your life and ministry?
Do you think God would ask you to do something that you and he together couldn’t handle? Don’t let your lack of resources blind you to seeing God’s power.
Jesus does not ignore needs. He is concerned with every aspect of our lives – the physical as well as the spiritual. As we work to bring wholeness to people’s lives, we must never ignore the fact that all of us have both physical and spiritual needs. It is impossible to minister effectively to one type of need without considering the other.
Why do you do what you do?
This is an important question. It is especially important that all of us ask this question of ourselves as Christians who seek ways to share God’s love and concern in this world. This lesson – module will help us to explore how we answer this vital “why” question. This in turn should give us a better understanding of how God enables us to be Christian leaders and how solidly we are grounded on God for his motivation and help.
Why Help Lead?
Professional Christian Leaders often press clients to delve into their motivation – to explore in depth what beliefs, attitudes, or philosophy of life causes them to act inn a certain way. When they are similarly pressed to consider their own motivations, the results can be enlightening.
People in therapy, frequently begin by dealing with more or less purely psychological or psychiatric issues, but eventually move into the realm of the religious or spiritual. This echoes the observation made by Carl Jung in Modern Men in Search of a Soul:
“Among all the patients in the second half of life that is to say, over 35 – there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life. It is safe to safe to say that everyone of them fell ill because he had lost that which the living religions of every age have given to their followers. And none of them has been really healed who did not regain his religious outlook.”
You can Help People
“You may never have even thought of yourself as someone who could significantly help anyone else, yet as soon as you say, ‘Ah, well, here’s what I think…’ you are giving counsel. God has opened a door for you to help someone, perhaps working through you as a channel of divine guidance, using you in a way that you had never considered possible.
“I is only natural that we seek the advice and counsel of those who know us and are closest to us. After all, we are comfortable with our peers and can easily relate to them. We are not embarrassed to talk with them about intimate and personal needs, especially when we are relatively sure that they already have some idea of what we are facing. With friends we are not intimidated by the stigma that is often attached to making appointments and going to an office for help.
“I am convinced that you do not have to be a psychologist or a clinically trained psychoanalyst to help people. You do not have to be able to interpret dreams or read inkblots or recognize profound psychological insights. Most of the counseling dispensed today is given out by people who have had little training, if any, when it comes to counseling” (Coffee Cup Counseling – Harold Sala).
You have a Mandate to Help People
Writing to the Galatians, Paul instructed, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently” (Gal. 6:1). The word Paul used for sin, paraptoma, means “false step, transgression, sin.” In the context of life today it means a wrong decision, a poor choice, a relationship which is bound to end in disharmony and suffering. It’s a strong word. But the action required to help save a person from his fate is gentle but firm, and only those who really care are willing to take the risks of engaging in the process of helping another.
Long ago the psalmist wrote, “The godly man is a good counselor because he is just and fair and knows right from wrong” (Ps. 37: 30, 31).
You are a child of God who has his feet planted on the Rock, Christ Jesus! You don’t have to be Mother Teresa or a Billy Graham. If you have a clear vision to see what your friend cannot see because your judgment isn’t clouded by emotional entanglement, you are one through whom God can work.
As part of the family of God, we have a responsibility to each other. A family is a series of interlocking relationships, and it is the quality of the relationships that affects the quality of family living.
The Bible stresses that we have a responsibility to help brothers and sisters make good decisions. At least fifty-eight times we find “one another” phrases in the new Testament, all expressing some kind of obligation or responsibility we have to each other in the body of Christ. Among the many, you will see we are to:
Love one another
Pray for one another
Bear one another’s burdens
Encourage one another
Exhort one another
Admonish one another
helping people through leadership is part of what Paul urged the Galatians to do in bearing each other’s burdens and thus fulfilling the great law of love (see Gal. 6:1-5). It is time to begin assuming our responsibility for each other.
As G. K. Chesterton once said, “Christianity has not been tried and found lacking; it has been tried and found difficult.”
Why do I do what I do?
Anyone involved in training needs to ask “Why do I do what I do?” For Christian trainers, the answer to this question is quite a distinctive one. God the Father, in His attempt to show His understanding of His human children, set his son into the world to live and breathe, to suffer and love, to minister and care – and finally to die.
Through his church Jesus continues to extend his ministry of love and training. Christian training then is keyed on not only in what we do, but why we do it. As the message of God’s love grips Christians, we are filled by the Holy Spirit, who moves anxious Christians to use our God – given gifts for others. He makes cared-for Christians into caring Christians.
While it is important for you to see clearly your basic Christian motivation, it is not always necessary to share this with the person whom you are training. Youu must gain the right to share your faith, with another – by your perception of the other’s needs, by the depth of your relationship with the other person, or by the other person asking you.
In Dylan Thomas’s play, Under the Milk Wood, Eli Jenkins blesses his small Welsh town every morning as it wakes up and every evening as it settles into sleep. His voice is their voice; he is their advocate. His personal psalm over his home town is a song of praise that gives voice to the faith and hope of its citizens. It is a faith that is sometimes joyous, sometimes desperate, a hope that can be as innocent as children and yet grounded in the stony reality of daily work.
Paul gives advice to his friend Timothy, to keep alive the flame of the Spirit. This gift is one of courage, strength, love, and wisdom. he is to guard the “deposit of faith,” and take Paul himself as a model for sound teaching.
The call to being a “Trainer” is a call from God, and a call from the community. It is a summons to be the community’s voice in the shaping of its longings toward joining with it’s God. It is a call to service, to be the community’s leader and guide in the things of God.
The community looks to its trainer as a person who has heard the Word of God, dwelt upon it, and elected to take the risk of following it like Timothy.
The courage of Timothy is the courage to take the journey inward where the human spirit meets God to face oneself in God’s love, and return to help others along parallel paths.
The wisdom of Timothy is the knowledge of self and of life itself that comes from listening closely to the Word of God in our experiences, in the community in the Scriptures. It is a wisdom of the depths, one that grows out of love.
And this love that Timothy knows? It is God’s – God’s love for all creatures, especially that human Child of God family that is seeking him. It ministers to God’s children.
Sharing Your Motivation
To help you determine when it would be appropriate necessary, and desirable to share the ultimate reason for your training, I offer these basic guidelines:
Evaluate the other person’s needs. Make sure when you share your basic motivation, it is what the other person needs to hear, not simply what you want them to hear.
Consider the relationship. perhaps the relationship has reached such depth that it is natural for you to share your spiritual motivations. Your relationship might have reached the point where you are impelled to share your faith to go further.
Answer questions when you are asked. When someone asks a question of you then an open door is provided for your sharing.
Your ultimate motivation for training is your membership in God’s family. He provides purpose and power so that your training relationships are transformed by his love. Knowing this will affect your identity, attitude, confidence, and perspective as a trainer.
The Training Process
When you set out on a journey by automobile and you are unsure of your way, you take a road map, something which can guide you toward your destination. In a very real sense, God has given us a road map for our lives.
When a person has gotten off the right road, and you know the geography, you say, “You can’t get where you want to go from here. You need to go back and take another road.” When you are familiar with Scripture and can look at a trainee’s problem objectively, You have some idea of what the person needs to get back on the right track.
Four objectives serve as goals, and though progress never takes a straight line, you move toward them as you would geographic landmarks in the distance. You can observe progress in getting back to the right road as you pass through these phases of the helping process. The following may help you see what I’ll be discussing in the rest of the lesson.
The Four Goals of Training
Identify the problems
Analyze the available options and the consequences of accepting or rejecting each one.
Help your trainee discover and choose the will and program of God for his/her life
help the trainee to stay with the program (discussed in other lessons)
The training process is like a time-line through which a person must pass if a problem is to be effectively resolved.
As you work through problems with someone, You will find that these four phases of the training process are not marked by specific boundaries any more than the passing from youth to middle age. But the process involves a transition which is necessary to resolve the problem.
Phase 1 – Exploration
During this period you listen, evaluate, question, ponder. Like a physician who examines a patient for the first time, you are trying to get the picture clearly. You understand that initially the person who comes to you for training is deciding if you can be trusted. At the same time, his or her feelings may be all mixed up. Life doesn’t come to us in neat little packages, and you may get the story in bits and pieces.
The first phase of training may take an hour or two, or several weeks. After all, you may be the first person that your friend has ever talked this problem over with, and as you listen, you may only gradually begin to see the picture develop. You have to see the problem clearly before you can help your friend look for solutions. The first phase of training relates very closely to goal 1 – Identifying the problem. This is such a critical part of the training process that we will talk about how to accomplish this in this lesson and the one to follow.
Phase 2 – Encounter
Once the problem is clearly identified in your mind, you want to help your friend to see the options and the consequences of accepting or rejecting each one. it is in this phase that both of you really come to grips with the issue. This leads to the next leg of the journey.
Phrase 3 – Decision
At the beginning of this phase, the person you are helping makes a decision. From the options, he accepts the fact that God does have direction for him or her and that this is the path that needs to be taken regardless of how easy or difficult it may be.
Phase 4 – Reconstruction
Here your big task is to provide loving support and help your trainee follow the one who has come for help is strong enough and mature enough to handle the problem alone, you have worked yourself out of a job.
Now let’s go deeper in considering how to help the person who has turned to you for training.
The first goal of training: Identify the problem
You may be thinking, “Isn’t the problem really obvious?” What may be totally obvious to you may not be obvious at all to the person you are trying to help. And what may be obvious to him may not be at all clear to his wife or girlfriend. long ago the wise man who penned Proverbs 16:2 recognized this as he wrote, “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes…” The word translated “pure” in the New King James Version also means, “upright” or “just.”
Quite often we tend to magnify the faults of others and minimize our own: when a problem occurs we tend to see ourselves in a different light than others do. Actually, there are three perspectives which confront the person you are training – how he sees himself, how his mate or the other person sees him, how God see him.
Until the person who has come for training gains these three perspectives, he will not see the necessity of moving into the second phase of training.
How is this accomplished?
Through penetrating questions!
How does God view what has taken place?
i should point out that what the Bible says is in conflict with some theories which are embraced in secular counseling disciplines. Before I describe the four major secular counseling models, let’s make sure we understand what God does say about responsibility.
The Bible stresses individual, personal responsibility. From the very beginning of time, mankind has sought to blame someone else, or circumstances over which he has no control, for his failures. Remember that Adam evade responsibility for taking the fruit by blaming Eve. “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate” (Gen. 3:12).
Adam was saying, “Look, God, it’s partly Your fault because You put her here in the garden with me, and she took the fruit. All I did was innocently eat it.” His reply to God’s question about eating the fruit was a far cry from the truth, “Yes, I took the fruit of my own volition, and I am completely responsible for my actions!”
A passage which is often used to establish personal responsibility is Ezekiel 18:20-23:
“The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself.
“But is a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live: he shall not die. None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him… Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live.”
When it comes to infidelity in marriage, several Scripture passages speak clearly. You need to know where these are and be able to turn them. Note the following passages: “It is God’s will that you should be holy: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen…” (1 Thess. 4:3-5).
Jesus denounced adultery saying that if a man even lusted after a woman, he had committed adultery with her in his heart. (Also see mark 10:1-12 and Luke 16:18 for parallel renderings.)
People often blame their physical chemistry. They blame the environment or society. They explain away their conduct, excusing themselves because of social pressures. But God says you are responsible for what you do!
Another passage which is often helpfu to establish moral responsibility is the story of David and Bathsheba. God sent the prophet Nathan to David to confront him with the enormity of his sin. Nathan told a story about two men, a rich man who had flocks and herds, and a poor man who had only one little ewe lamb, which was his children’s pet. The rich man seized the poor man’s lamb, killed it, and prepared a meal for a traveler who had come to him. David burned with anger and vowed that the man who did this must surely die. “Then Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man!'” (2 Sam. 12:7).
Establish responsibility by asking questions. Yes, you can tell someone how wrong they are or what a stupid thing they have done and generate a considerable amount of guilt (or anger), but what you want to do is help the person accept the full responsibility of his actions.
Undoubtedly, David had pondered the circumstances surrounding his affair, but he had tried to keep it quiet. God (through Nathan) said, “You ‘did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun,” (2 Sam. 12:12). Once David had taken the step of passion, there was no turning back. He didn’t intend for the nation to know that he had engineered the death of a faithful and honorable man so he could take that man’s wife to bed.
It hit him with a tremendous impact!
“I have sinned against the Lord, ” cries David. His repentance and deep sorrow for what he had done were sincere. David tells of his remorse and anguish in Psalm 51. He cries, “I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight…” (v. 3, 4). At this point David saw himself as God saw him, as he really was, and as others saw him. Only then was he prepared to face the implications of what he had done and experience the reconstruction process that followed.
Identifying the problem leads to accepting the responsibility
Dr. Frank Pittman is a psychiatrist who specializes in why people become involved in relationships outside marriage. In his book Private Lies: Infidelity and the Betrayal of Intimacy, Pittman tells of interviewing 100 couples who describe in detail why they got involved with someone else. “It was not sex but a lack of intimacy that had compelled them to have an affair,” says Pittman.
Marriage is a husband and wife’s commitment to try to meet each other’s needs, and those needs go far beyond sexual needs. While most men think only in terms of environmental needs (food, shelter, and clothing), a woman’s needs are far more complex.
A man who accepts responsibility for his family must also make provision for the needs of his wife just as she must meet those same needs in her husband. Paul had strong words for husbands who give little thought to the needs of their wives: “If anyone does not provide for his own… he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8).
When needs are not met, our sexual lives are first to be negatively affected, and when a reluctant or insecure partner does not meet the sexual needs of a mate, a vacuum is created that another person may satisfy.
When you sense that this situation may exist, you may ask, “Could you have been partly responsible for your mate’s actions by your indifference? By failing to meet his or her sexual needs? By a lack of interest in his or her world?” Or, “Have you attempted to view this situation from your husband’s or wife’s perspective? Tell me honestly – what would you have done if you had been in his or her shoes?”
meeting each other’s needs is vital. A few years ago a young man named William Glasser was in medical school preparing to become a psychiatrist. He began to reject many of the premises of modern psychiatry, especially Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis. By the time Glasser finished his evolution of thought, he had pioneered a new approach to meeting the needs of people which he called “reality therapy” (his book bears this title).
Glasser believes that every person – whether a gray haired grandmother or a tiny baby – has tow basic needs: the need to love and be loved, and the need to feel worthwhile to one’s self and to other people. When these needs are met, believes Glasser, people act in a responsible fashion.
Glasser doesn’t attempt to correlate what he believes with what the Bible teaches, yet those two needs – love and fulfillment – are definitely within the broad framework wof what the Bible says about our lives. The Bible, however, goes beyond these in asserting that every person has a third need – the need for security, which is met through a vertical relationship with God.
Along with Glasser many other psychiatrists today are also saying what the Word of God has been saying for centuries: “You are responsible, and you can change.” though most of them do not accept the biblical concepts of sin and redemption.
The Bible lays down very clear moral guidelines, and God has commanded us to serve others, not ourselves.
The second goal of training: Analyze the available options and the consequences of accepting or rejecting each one.
During the first phase of training you are trying to get the picture, but seeing the picture clearly doesn’t change anything. You have to move into the second phase: encounter.
here you want to explore the available courses of action. You must confront your trainee whit the consequences of his or her action, as hard as it may be to face them. The past ceases to be important. The future is everything, and the present decides what the future will be.
The big question with which you must confront your trainee is this: “Where do we go from here? What plan do you have?”
The question is usually greeted with a response of, “I don’t know!”
Then you should ask, “What options do you see? Let’s start making a list of the options, and then, once we have the list, let’s consider what would happen with each choice.”
You can usually come up with the options yourself but don’t do it. You want your trainee to face the options him – or herself, and, even more importantly, to recognize what is going to happen as the result of his choice.
What are the consequences of these options?
The third Goal of training: Help the trainee to discover and choose the will of God for his life.
In the second phase of the training process, the issue of wrongdoing must be faced. Glossing over sin, or excusing it on the basis of our human weakness, offers no hope for removing it and overcoming it. But acknowledging it – calling it what it really is – opens up the path of restoration, which is the third phase of the training process.
As you analyze the consequences of the options, you then have to bring the one you are helping to a phase of confrontation with the will of God for a person to continue in any sinful relationship or situation.
The concept behind the Greek word hamartia, usually translated “sin” in the New Testament, is that of missing the mark, of falling short of the target. Acts of wrongdoing have taken your trainee outside of God’s will and plan. To right the wrong requires positive action, which means breaking habits that have become comfortable and perhaps enjoyable.
At this point the relationship you have with your trainee is tremendously important. Sometimes simply being there – encouraging, loving, and reinforcing with out condemnation – is the additional strength that a person needs to do the right thing, especially when your trainee know’s what is right but lacks the courage to take the first step toward the will of God. many Christians whose marriage fail fall into this category, and the input of a trainer could make the difference in helping to restore a troubled marriage.
What is necessary to bring healing to a broken relationship?
The process of reconciliation can be thus illustrated:
Confession of sin before God and the one who has been hurt is necessary, but a recital or cataloging of transgressions before the offended party is not necessary. I do not believe that every morbid detail has to be reviewed in the presence of a mate. God knows already, and the husband or wife knows that he or she has been betrayed.
Once the sin has been confessed, it is necessary for the offending spouse to ask forgiveness of the one he or she has hurt. It is always a joy to pray with someone who confesses his wrongdoing before the Father and then does the same before his mate. And for healing to take place it is essential for the one who has been hurt likewise to extend complete forgiveness.
It is never enough for the offending person to say, “I have done (whatever) and I am sorry that I have hurt you.” He or she must also ask, “Will you forgive me for what I have done to you?” the transaction is not complete until the one who has been hurt says, “Yes, I will forgive you.”
I repeat: it is necessary for the offending person to ask for forgiveness and just as important for the offended person to extend forgiveness.
Repentance must also be met with reconciliation, or restoration. No matter how repentant the offending person may be, if the offended party will not really extend restoration to that person, genuine healing cannot take place: the wound continues to fester and will eventually destroy a relationship.
It is very easy for the offended person to remind his or her mate of the wrongdoing. Yes, I understand that once the wall of trust has been broken down, rebuilding it is a long and painful process. But it must be undertaken.
Writing to the Ephesians about the importance of forgiveness. Paul used the analogy of God’s forgiving us as a pattern which we must follow in forgiving each other. “Be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).
Jesus said, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matt. 6:14, 15). Surely the answer must be the high cost which He sustained in giving His son to be crucified at Calvary, providing a means for Him to forgive us.
Maintaining a “Holier than thou” attitude destroys the restoration process, and often results in further infidelity.
Before we move on and begin a new lesson, I’d like to close on a positive note. Though, as Jack Pittman has observed, “Infidelity is the primary disrupter of families, the most dreaded and devastating experience in a marriage, and the most universally accepted justification for divorce,” unfaithfulness doesn’t have to end in divorce. When people will forgive each other, seek God’s healing power, and rebuild the bridges of communication, a broken marriage can be helped.
The Crises in Training
As we move through life, most of us behave in fairly consistent ways. There are emotional and spiritual ups and downs, of course, and at all times we must exert extra effort to deal with emergencies or unexpected challenges, but as we approach adulthood, each person develops a repertoire of problem-solving techniques based on one’s personality, training, and past experience. We use these techniques repeatedly and thus are able to meet the challenges of life successfully.
At times, however, situations arise which are most severe and thus threaten our balances. Theses situations, or life events are also known as crises. They may be expected or unexpected, real or imagined, actual (as when a loved one dies) or potential (as when it appears that a loved one might die soon).
Several writers have pointed out that the Chinese word for “crisis” involves two characters. One means danger; the other means opportunity. A crisis is a danger because it threatens to overwhelm the person or persons involved. Crises involve the loss of someone or something significant, a sudden shift in one’s role or status, or the appearance of new and threatening people or events. Because the crisis situation is so intense and unique, we discover that our customary ways of handling stress and solving challenges no longer work. This leads to a period of confusion and bewilderment, often accompanied by inefficient behavior and emotional upsets including anxiety, anger, discouragement, sorrow, or guilt. Although this intellectual, behavioral and emotional turmoil often is short lived, it may persist for several weeks or even longer.
Crises, however, present people with the opportunity to change, grow and develop better ways of coping. Since people in crises often feel confused, they are more open to outside help, including the help which comes from God and that which comes from a trainer. What one does with this help and how one resolves the crisis has:
… considerable significance for the future mental health of the individual. His new equilibrium may be better or worse than in the past…. He may deal with the crisis problems by developing new socially acceptable, reality-based problem-solving techniques which add to his capacity to deal in a healthy way with future difficulties. Alternatively, he may, during the crisis, work out new coping responses which are socially unacceptable and which deal with difficulties by evasion, irrational fantasy manipulations, or regression and alienation – all of which increase the likelihood that he will also deal maladaptively with future difficulties. In other words, the new pattern of coping that he works out in dealing with the crisis becomes thenceforward an integral part of his repertoire of problem-solving responses and increases the chance that he will deal more or less realistically with future hazards.
When doctors talk of a medical crisis they often refer to that crucial point in time when there is a change, either toward improvement and recovery or toward decline and death. Emotional and spiritual crises likewise are unavoidable turning points in life. To live is to experience crises. To experience crises is to face turning points which will bring either growth and maturation, or deterioration and continuing immaturity. The Christian leader/trainer is in a vital position to influence which direction the crises’ resolutions will take.
The Bible and Crisis Types
Much of the Bible is concerned with crises. Adam, Eve, Cain, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, Samson, Jepthah, Saul, David, Elijah, Daniel, and a host of other figures faced crises which the Old Testament describes in detail. Jesus faced crises (especially at the time of his crucifixion and so did the disciples, Paul , and many eaarly believers. Several of the Epistles were written to help individuals or churches meet crises, and Hebrews 11 summarized both crises which had happy endings and those which resulted in torture, incredible suffering and death.
Contemporary writers have identified three types of crises, each of which has both modern and biblical examples. Accidental or situational crises occur when there is a sudden threat or unexpected loss. The teat of a loved one, the onset of a sudden illness, the discovery of a pregnancy out of wedlock, social disruptions such as war or economic depression, the loss of one’s house or savings, a sudden loss of respect and status – these are all situational stresses, many of which were seen in one Old Testament man, Job. Within a short period he lost his family, wealth, health and status. In addition, his marriage appears to have been strained and he experienced considerable confusion, anger and inner turmoil.
Developmental crises happen in the course of normal human development. Starting school, going away to college, adjusting to marriage and then to parenthood, handling criticism, facing retirement or declining health, and adapting to the deaths of one’s friends can all be crises which demand new approaches to coping and problem-solving. Abraham and Sarah, for example, coped with moving, criticism, many years of childlessness, family stress, and even the command of God that young Isaac should be sacrificed. We might wonder how an elderly couple like Zacharias and Elizabeth handled a son as unique as John the Baptist, or how Mary and Joseph were able to raise one so unusual and brilliant as the boy Jesus. Surely there were developmental crises – turning points which demanded prolonged periods of wise decision-making but which also led to increased growth.
Existential crises, which overlap the above, come when we are forced to face such disturbing truths as the realization that:
I’m a failure
I’m too old to reach my life goals
I’ve been “passed over” for a promotion
I’m now a widow – single again
My life has no purpose
My marriage has ended in divorce
My illness is incurable
I have nothing to believe in
My house and possessions are all gone because of a disaster
I’ve been rejected because of my skin color
These, and similar realizations, take time and effort to assimilate. They are changes in self-perception which can be denied temporarily but which in time must be faced realistically. After a great spiritual victory, Elijah was chased by Jezebel and ran to the wilderness where he concluded that he was a failure. Jonah had similar thoughts as he debated with God and surely after his calamities. Job struggled with the question, “What has become of me, and what will happen now?”
The Bible speaks to all three of these crises and gives direction both to the trainee and to the trainer who is concerned with crisis intervention. In the lessons which follow crises of all three types will be discussed in detail, but there are training techniques which apply to every crisis situation. These should be understood by any Christian trainer before we turn to more specific challenge areas.
Crisis training has several goals:
to help the person cope effectively with the crisis situation and return to his usual level of functioning;
to decrease the anxiety, apprehension and other insecurities that may persist after the crisis has passed;
to teach crisis-solving techniques so the person is better prepared to anticipate and deal with future crises; and
to consider biblical teachings about crises so the person learns from the crisis and grows spiritually as a result.
In helping face their crises, individual differences must be recognized. People differ in their flexibility, customary ways of coping, ability to learn new coping techniques, physical and spiritual strength, and level of spiritual and emotional maturity. keeping these differences in mind, the trainer can help in several ways:
1. Make Contact. people in crisis don’t always come to a trainer for help. More often we must go to others and show our warmth, understanding and genuine interest. One should expect that crisis training may take time, and that the trainee’s point of view needs to be understood before other suggestions for action are made.
Sometimes the person in a crisis slips into a state of daydreaming, fantasy, or deep thought, and must be pulled back to reality. Whether or not this happens, it is often helpful to make eye contact, since this can be reassuring to the trainee and helps to keep the person in touch with his or her supporters.
Touching can be another way to make contact and give reassurance. Even without words, touching and other forms of physical contact can bring great comfort, although in America we seem to have strong taboos against touch. It is acceptable to shake hands, to ‘slap” a friend on the back, or to hug athletes briefly after the team scores, but hand holding or putting your arms around a person in crisis is usually discouraged in training. This is because trainees sometimes misinterpret the physical contact and see it as having sexual overtones.
For many people there is also a fear of intimacy and this makes touching seem threatening. Realizing the value and risks involved in touching, the trainer in each training session should decide if physical contact really will help the trainee, and whether it is likely to be misinterpreted. Ask also, what is your own motivation for touching? Is this more likely to meet your sexual and affiliation needs, rather than the needs of the trainee? Touching can be an excellent way to make contact and give support, but perhaps it should be guided by the rule: if in doubt – don’t!
2. Reduce Anxiety. The trainer’s calm, relaxed manner can help to reduce anxiety in the trainee, especially when this calmness is accompanied by reassurance. Listen patiently and attentively as the trainee describes his or her situation, provide reassuring facts (“There are ways to deal with this problem”), state your approval when something is done effectively (“I think that was a good decision – it shows you’re on the right track”), and when possible, offer a prediction about what will happen (“I know it’s tough but I think you can handle this OK”). At times you may want to encourage the taking of deep breaths, the conscious tension and relaxing of muscles, or the periodic use of other techniques for reducing muscle tension. The calming effect of Bible verses such as 1 Corinthians 10:3 can also be helpful. Each of these anxiety reduction methods can be overused, causing the trainee to feel trapped or smothered, but each can reduce the effects of stress and make it easier to deal constructively with the crisis issues.
3. Focus on Issues. In times of crises it is easy to be overwhelmed by what appears to be a mass of confusing facts and challenge situations. Help the trainee decide what are the specific issues which must be faced and problems which must be solved. Try to focus on the situation as it presently exists rather than on what might happen in the future.
4. Evaluate Resources. The trainer’s willingness to help is one important resource for the trainee in crisis, but there are others.
Spiritual resources include the indwelling presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit, along with the comforting words and promises of Scripture. These can be a source of great strength and direction during crises. Some trainers use Scripture as a hammer to push or manipulate trainees into doing what the trainer thinks should be done. This is neither helpful nor ethical. Instead, Scripture should be presented as truth with the expectation that the Holy Spirit will use it in the trainee as he desires.
Personal resources include the trainee’s intellectual abilities, skills, past experience or learning, and motivation. Be careful, once again, to be realistic, but remember that a simple listing of trainee strengths and a reminder of past successes in coping can be both reassuring and helpful.
Interpersonal resources refer to people – friends, family members, community and church members who could help, and often would help eagerly if they knew of the need.
Additional resources can include money and other tangible help that might be available, time that remains before decisions must be made, and the availability of legal, medical, psychological, financial, educational and other community helps.
5. Plan Intervention. Having evaluated the problem and considered available resources, it is helpful to decide on a course of action which asks “Specifically, what will we do now?” The trainer and trainee together can look at the available facts and list alternative courses of action. How realistic is each of these? Which should be done first, second, and subsequently?
Some trainees will have difficulty making these decisions. Our goal is not to put more pressure on the trainee by forcing them to make decisions, but neither do we want to encourage dependence and an attitude of letting someone else solve the problems. Gently, but firmly, the trainer can help the trainee to make plans and, if necessary, think of better alternatives when an earlier plan is unsuccessful. One writer has suggested that “the golden rule for the therapist in crisis intervention is to do for others that which they cannot do for themselves and no more!”
6. Encourage Action. It is possible for people to decide on some course of action but then be afraid to move ahead with the plan. The trainer, therefore, must encourage trainees to take action, to evaluate progress, and to modify plans and actions when experience would indicate that this is wise.
Taking action always involves at least some risk. Ther is possibility for failure or later regret, especially if the action involves major life changes such as moving or changing jobs.
It also should be recognized that in some situations, the crisis can never be resolved completely, even by taking action. When one loses a loved one in death, discovers the existence of an incurable disease, or fails to attain an important promotion, the crisis may bring permanent change. The trainee then must be helped to face the situation honestly, acknowledge and express feelings, readjust his life style, realistically plan for the future, and rest in the knowledge that God, in his sovereignty, knows our pain and cares. In all crises, but especially in times of permanent change, it helps if people are surrounded by sincere, concerned, helpful, praying friends who are available to assist whenever and however they are needed.
7. Instill Hope. In all training, improvement is more likely if trainees can be given a sense of realistic hope for the future. Hope brings relief from suffering, based on a belief that things will be better in the future. Hope helps us avoid despair and releases energy to meet the crisis situation.
The Christian trainer instills hope in three ways (which are not necessarily listed here in the order that they would be used). First, there is the sharing of scriptural truths which can give reassurance and hope based on the unchanging Word and nature of God. This is an approach which instills hope by stimulating faith in God. Second, we can help trainees examine their self-defeating logic. Ideas like “I’ll never get better” or “Nothing can be worse” often enter the trainee’s thinking in times of crisis. Such ideas should be challenged gently. What is the evidence for that conclusion that “I’ll never get better”? What is the evidence for a more hopeful outcome? Third, trainers can get the trainee moving and doing something. Even minimal activity gives the feeling that something is being done and that the trainee is not helpless. This in turn, can arouse hope – especially if the activity accomplishes something worthwhile.
8. Environmental Intervention. Sometimes there is value in changing the trainee’s environment – encouraging others to pray, give money or supplies, give practical help, or otherwise assist the person in crisis.
Such community mobilization is beyond the scope of traditional training, but some Christian Leaders/lifestyle trainers may wish to intervene like this, nevertheless. In doing so, be sensitive to the trainee’s possible feelings about such help. Some people may have difficulty in accepting outside assistance. They may feel embarrassed by the attention, threatened by the implication that they need help, and become angry at the trainer who tried to do something nice. At times, the outside help encourages dependency and a “do-nothing” attitude in the trainee. It is important to discuss all of this with the trainee who, whenever possible, should be encouraged to seek help from others without the trainer’s assistance.
9. Follow-up. Crisis training often is short-lived. After one or two sessions the trainee returns to the routines of life and does not come for training again, But was anything learned? Will the next crisis be handled more effectively? Is the person getting along satisfactorily and have a better “Quality of Life”, that the major point of crisis is past?
These issues should concern the trainer, who often can follow up with a phone call or visit. Even when training is no longer needed such “follow-up” interest can encourage the trainee and remind him or her that someone still cares and remembers.
Sometimes we help trainees most by referring them to someone whose training, expertise and availability can be of special assistance. Referral does not mean, necessarily, that the original trainer is incompetent or trying to get rid of the trainee. In contrast, referral can reflect the trainer’s concern for the trainee, and can show the trainer’s realization that no one person is skilled enough to train everyone.
People should be referred when they are not showing signs of improvement after several sessions, have severe financial needs, need medical or legal advice, are severely depressed or suicidal, show extremely aggressive behavior, appear to be severely disturbed emotionally, stir strong feelings of dislike or sexual arousal in the trainer, or have challenges which are beyond the trainer’s felt area of expertise.
Trainers should be familiar with community resources and persons to whom trainees can be referred. These include private practitioners such as physicians, lawyers, psychiatrists, psychologists and other counselors; pastoral counselors and other church leaders/lifestyle trainers; service agencies such as the Retarded Children’s Society or the Society for the Blind; government agencies such as the State Department of Welfare or the Unemployment Bureau; private and public counseling clinics or hospitals; private employment agencies, suicide prevention centers; and groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. In considering referral, do not overlook the importance of church groups which often can give support and practical help in time of need.
Before suggesting referral it can be helpful to check with the referral source to be sure that a referred person can be accepted for help. In suggesting referral to the trainee, be sure to indicate your reasons for this recommendation. Try to involve the trainee in the decision to refer, making sure that you present this as a positive way to get further help and not as your belief that the trainee is too disturbed or too much of a challenge for you to help.
It is best to let trainees make their own appointments with the new counselor. Sometimes these new counselors will want information about the trainee but this should only be given if the trainee has granted his or her consent. When the referral has been made it is good to keep an interest in the trainee but remember that someone else now is responsible for the training.
The Future of Training.
Training covers three areas: challenge, preventive, and educative. Challenge training involves helping people to deal with the existing problems of life. Preventive training seeks to stop challenges from getting worse or to prevent their occurrence at all. Educative training involves the trainer’s taking the initiative to teach principles of the Christian lifestyle which provides a better Quality of Life. It is impossible to estimate the percentage of training involvement in each of these three areas, but it is probable that challenge training takes the vast majority of trainer’s energy and time.
We should put greatest emphasis on educative training, and secondary emphasis on prevention. None of this assumes that challenge training will fade from the scene. Probably it will always be present and needed.
In a very real sense, however, Christianity has been ahead of the trends. Since the time of Christ, the church has been concerned about all three. Christianity has always focused on individual helping, but the larger role of educating people and helping them find a better “Quality of Life” through spiritual growth.
The lessons which follow have attempted to reflect these three areas. The lessons are written (10 to convey an understanding of each challenge area, (2) to present guideline for helping those who are experiencing challenges, and (3) to suggest ways in which Christians can be educated so that the challenges can be prevented in the future and thereby establish a better “Quality of Life”.
Christian training is a difficult but challenging task. In involves development of therapeutic Christian traits, the learning of skills, sensitivity to people, and understanding of the training process, alertness to the dangers involved, an in-depth familiarity with the Christian faith, and a sensitivity to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Christian Leadership/lifestyle training can be discussed in a course but it cannot be learned completely from a course. We become good Christian Leader/lifestyle trainers through commitment to Christ through training and through the experience of helping people through challenges. It is to these challenges that we turn in the following lessons; and prepare our own life for the Holy Spirit to work through.
Quality of Life
How God Develops Leaders.
The greatness of an organization will be directly proportional to the greatness of its leader. It is rare for organizations to rise above their leaders. Certainly leadership involves some specific skills, but ultimately leadership is more about “being” than about “doing.” leadership development is synonymous with personal development. As leaders grow personally, they increase their capacity to lead. As they increase their capacity to lead, they enlarge the capacity of their organization to grow. Therefore, the best thing leaders can do for their organization is to grow personally.
The question is: how do people become leaders? George Barna conducted a survey of senior pastors from across various denominations. When asked if they believed they had the spiritual gift of leadership, only 6 percent responded yes. The fact that 94 percent of the senior pastors surveyed did not believe they were gifted to be leaders may explain the sense of desperation many church leaders express as they examine their ministry and its current effectiveness.
“What distinguishes them is their clarity and persuasiveness of their ideas, the depth of their commitment, and their openness to continually learning more.”
Clearly, people’s life experiences can greatly affect the kind of leaders they become. Oldest children are more likely to lead because they are generally given more responsibility by their parents and they often have a greater sense of affiliation with their parents than their younger siblings. Their superiority in size, strength, and knowledge compared to their younger siblings gives them confidence and enables them to begin exercising leadership in their homes at an early age.
Home Life. The influence of a leader’s childhood home cannot be underrated as a major factor in leadership development. While some great leaders grew up in wholesome, supportive environments, many did not. It seems that growing up with an aloof, abusive, or absent father figure often inspired people to strive for greatness as a means of enhancing their battered sense of self-esteem. Some of the world’s famous leaders were raised in homes where fear for their own safety was a constant reality. This motivated them to gain power as a way to control their environment and escape their feelings of insecurity.
Nurturing, supportive families provide an environment conducive to the healthy personal growth of leaders. A wholesome background can build a strong sense of self-esteem and effective people skills that enable people to become healthy leaders. Leaders born into dysfunctional homes may also rise to prominence, but their past can sometimes hinder their ongoing growth and success as leaders.
A significant number of well known Christian leaders grew up in dysfunctional homes. Many of these leaders have experienced God’s healing grace, which has transformed them into healthy, successful leaders. others, for whatever reason, are unwilling or feel unable to allow God’s grace to free them from their troublesome pasts. These people emerge as adults with feelings of inferiority, inadequacy, and anger, all despite their outward success.
Failures. Failure is a powerful force in the making of a leader. For true leaders, failure will not destroy them but will, instead, further develop their character. A high percentage of famous leaders suffered dramatic hardships and failures during their early years.
Crises. Events beyond a person’s control can have the same effect as failures. They can either crush an aspiring leader or they can develop the character and resolve within the emerging leader that enables him/her to reach greater heights in the future.
Personal Struggles. Surprisingly, many of history’s famous leaders experienced difficulty in public speaking as children. It is intriguing that so many great leaders suffered severe romantic heartache as young people.
Success Through Hardship. So many of history’s great leaders suffered major failures, crises, and disappointments in their development as leaders that these traumas almost seem prerequisite to leadership success.
It would be a mistake to conclude that hardship and failure always produce successful leaders, just as it would be simplistic to assume that good leaders emerge only our of adversity. Everyone experiences some form of hardship, as well as some degree of prosperity. Everyone experiences both failure and success in life. The key to leadership development lies not in the experiences, whether good or bad, but in peoples’ responses to those experiences. When some people face hardship, they become bitter or fearful and they quit trying. Others suffer similar set-backs, but choose instead to learn from their crises and to become stronger for the experience. The distinguishing characteristic of leaders is that they use their experiences as learning tools and they get renewed motivation from their failures. God can use adversity to build certain qualities deep within one’s character that could not be fully developed in any other way.
God Gives His Holy Spirit
Although childhood experiences, physical strength, failures, successes and even birth order can impact general leadership abilities, there is an added dimension to the growth of a spiritual leader that is not found in secular leadership development. That dimension is the active work of the Holy Spirit in leaders’ lives. Spiritual ends require spiritual means, and spiritual means come only by the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit’s presence, people may be leaders, but they are not Christian leaders.
God Sets the Leader’s Plan.
The fact that God can bring character development and personal growth out of any situation is conditional on people’s willingness to submit to God’s will. God is sovereign over every life, but those who yield their will to him will be shaped according to his purposes. When God directs a life for his purposes, all of life is a school. No experience, good or bad, is ever wasted (Rom. 8:28). God doesn’t squander people’s time. He doesn’t ignore their pain. he brings not only healing but growth out of even the worst experiences.
Robert Clinton, a professor at Fuller Seminary, wrote The Making of A Leader, in which he puts forth a six-stage model of how God develops leaders. Clinton believes God matures leaders over a lifetime. God uses relationships and events in leaders’ lives as two primary means for growing people into leaders. The six stages of leadership development in Clinton’s model are:
Sovereign Foundations involves God’s activity during life’s formative years. Parental love, birth order, childhood illness, prosperity or poverty, loss of loved ones, stability versus constant upheaval – these are all factors over which children have no control.
Inner Life Growth is the period in which people develop their character as well as their spiritual life. It is during this stage that people experience conversion. Once people have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, they are no longer subject to the whims of fate but are in a position where they can be systematically transformed into people who think and act like Christ.
During the Ministry Maturing phase people make their earliest attempts at spiritual leadership. They may volunteer to lead a church program, or they may venture to share their faith with someone. Through such experience God teaches them more specifically what it means to be Christian leaders. When people first attempt to exercise leadership, they often fail or experience great frustration. It is as they develop leadership skills, as well as a resume of experiences, that people begin to understand their strengths and weakness. At this stage the focus is more on who leaders are rather than on what they do. What leaders learn from these early experiences will largely determine how they advance in leadership ability.
The Life Maturing period is when spiritual leaders begin to focus on their strengths and to find leadership opportunities in which they can be most effective. Whereas until this time, God was working primarily IN the leader, now God begins to work THROUGH the leader. Again, much depends upon the leader’s reaction to the life circumstances through which God brings them. positive responses to these circumstances will guide the person into a more mature level of leadership.
During the Convergence phase, people’s ministry experiences and their life experiences converge into a specific job or responsibility wherein they draw on all they have learned in order to enjoy maximum effectiveness. This will be the job or role for which leaders are best known and in which they experience their greatest success.
Afterglow or Celebration, is a level of leadership Clinton says few people achieve. it comes after one has successfully led others for a significant period of time. For Christian leaders this phase occurs after they have faithfully allowed God to accomplish his will for their lives as well as for their organizations. This is also a time for teaching the next generation. Others respect them not because of their position of influence, or even because they are continuing to lead, but because of who they are and what they represent.
God Gives the Assignment
People may become leaders by responding in a healthy manner to all they encounter in life, but they will not become Christian leaders unless God calls them to this role and equips them for it. Secular leadership is something to which people can aspire and train for. Christian leadership, on the other hand, is not a role for which one applies. Rather, it is assigned by God. God determines each person’s assignment. Historically, God has chosen ordinary people, most of whom were not looking for a divine assignment. Nevertheless, God saw something in their hearts that led him to assign particular tasks. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to experience God working powerfully in one’s life, those wishing for God to use them mightily should not pursue leadership positions in God’s kingdom (1 Tim. 3:1). They should seek God with all their hearts and wait upon his will. The greatest area of concern for Christian leaders should be their hearts. When God sees people with righteous lives, he may exercise his prerogative to show himself strong in their lives in order to accomplish his divine will.
Therefore, the first truth in leadership development is this: God’s assignments are always based on character – the greater the character, the greater the assignment (Luke 16:10).
Character building can be a slow, sometimes painful process. But the person willing to allow God to complete the process will know the joy of being used by God. Even better, those who submit their lives to God’s refining proccess will experience the profound joy that comes with knowing God in a deeply personal way.
Character building takes time. There are no shortcuts. two factors determine the length of time required for God to develop character worthy of Quality of Life – trust in God and obedience to God.
God builds character through the ordinary experiences and crises of life. Often these events are situations are beyond peoples’ control – events that require people to place their trust in God.
Significant character development occurs as God redeems leaders from their mistakes. The best leaders know themselves well. God uses life’s experiences to teach leaders what they are really like. Wise leaders allow God to make the most of their mistakes. Those willing to submit themselves to the leadership development track of the Lord have the potential of growing into the leaders God wants them to become.
messages from God
2 Chronicles 16:9
1 Samuel 16:7
Exodus 34:7; Deuteronomy 5:9; James 2;23
O Lord, open my eyes to those areas of my life, where it is foolish to tread. Protect my steps and lead me in the ways of righteousness and truth. Amen.
1. The thing I appreciate about you is?
2. The gift that the class gives me in sharing was?
3. How can we help you in prayer?
4. You are going to do some brainstorming. The key to brainstorming is that you throw ideas out as quickly as possible, without evaluating them at all. In fact, discussing or criticizing ideas is not allowed during the brainstorming session. You need to enter them in on the discussion page, every idea you come up with.
Come up with a list of every motivation you can think of for helping another person, brainstorm any and all reasons you can think of why anybody might want to help somebody else. Remember, don’t discuss or evaluate now. Just get as many as possible down. Take about five minutes for this.
Now go over your list and mark each idea you have with one of three symbols.
S = Mostly selfish
U = Mostly unselfish
B = Both selfish and unselfish
If a motive seems to be mostly selfish, mark it with an S. Write the letter S. If the motive seems mostly unselfish or altruistic, write a letter U next to the motive. If it seems to have elements of both selfishness and unselfishness, mark it with a B. If you can’t agree on a marking, skip it. We only want to take about five minutes for this so keep moving.
Go throughthe same list of motives and make a second mark.
Put an H for Humanitarian if the motive would most likely be characteristic of a humanitarian who did not believe in God. Put a C for Christian if you think the motive would probably be purely Christian. Put an E for Either if the motive would as likely be true of either. Okay, begin. We’ll take five minutes.
Now, during the last part of this exercise, see if you can agree on the most important thing you learned from this exercise. When you agree on that one most important thing, enter it in.
5. God with Us
Time 10 minutes
Use your imagination. Close your eyes and relax. Breath deeply for a few seconds; get yourself calm and collected in any way that works for you.
now think back to the last time you tried to provide training, t provide some sort of significant help to another. let your mind go back to that time. What was happening? Think now of that period of time right before you made the decision to help, when you realized that the need for help was there, but before you had definitely decided what to do about it. Think back to your decision to provide the training. Try to remember what you were feeling, what you were thinking. We are going to cover some motives most of us have, at least in part, when we decide to help another. Pause after each one. Examine yourself to see how the motive mentioned might have played a part in your decision.
How about self-importance? To what extent did you help in order to puff yourself up/ It sounds bad, but it is a very common motive. How true is it for you?
How about that deeper personal satisfaction a person gets when one helps another? How much of a motive was this?
Sometimes we involve ourselves in helping others in order to avoid dealing with our own problems. How much of this motivation do you see in yourself?
Sometimes we help out of compassion, because we feel sorry for those in need. Was this partly your motive?
How about specifically and distinctively Christian motivation? To what extent did your willingness to train another stem from your realization of God’s love for you? Does what God has done for you in Jesus Christ have something to do with your willingness and your ability to pass Christ’s love on to your trainee?
Now, picture Jesus inside of you. Try to feel his presence.
You may want to thank the Lord for what he has done for you. In your mind, respond to him in any way that seems appropriate.
Take a few moments to share what God is saying to you?
A Variety of Gifts
Read 1 Cor. 12:7-27
All Christians have faith. Some however, have the spiritual gift of faith, which is an unusual measure of trust in the Holy Spirit’s power.
“Prophecy” is not just a prediction about the future; it can also mean preaching God’s word with power. “Distinguishing between Spirits” means the ability to discern whether a person who claims to speak for God is actually doing so, or is speaking by an evil spirit. No matter what gift(s) a person has, each gift is given by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit decides which gifts each one of us should have. We are responsible to use and sharpen our gifts, but we can take no credit for what God has freely given us.
Paul compares the body of Christ to a human body. Each part has a specific function that is necessary to the body as a whole The parts are different for a purpose, and in their differences they work together. Christians must avoid two common errors: (1) being too proud of their abilities, or (2) thinking they have nothing to give the body of believers. Instead of comparing ourselves to one another, we should use our different gifts, together, to spread the Good News of salvation.
T he church is composed of many types of people from a variety of backgrounds with a multitude of gifts and abilities. It is easy for these differences to divide people, as was the case in Corinth. But despite the differences, all believers have one thing in common – faith in Christ. On this essential truth the church finds unity. All believers are baptized by one Holy Spirit in to one body of believers, the church. We don’t lose our individual identities, but we have overriding oneness in Christ. When a person becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit takes up residence, and he or she is born into God’s family. “We were all given the one Spirit to drink” means that the same Holy Spirit completely fills our innermost beings. As members of God’s family, we may have different interests and gifts, but we have a common goal.
If a seemingly important part is taken away, the whole body becomes less effective. Thinking that your gift is more important than someone else’s is an expression of spiritual pride. We should not look down on those who seem unimportant and we should not be jealous of others who have impressive gifts. Instead, we should use the gifts we have been given and encourage others to use theirs. If we don’t the body of believers will be less effective.
We are called to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. To often, unfortunately, we are jealous of those who rejoice and apathetic toward those who weep. Believers are in the world together – there is no such thing as private or individualistic Christianity. We shouldn’t stop with enjoying only our own relationship with God; we need to get involved in the lives of others.
6, how is the diversity of the gifts related to the unity of the Father, Son, and Spirit?
7. Which gifts would you like more information?
8. Of the gifts listed here, do any have your name on it?
9. Please affirm any of your classmate gifts?