Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, the brother of Moses, took God’s power into their own hands, thus being consumed by fire. In John MacArthur’s “Strange Fire”, he examines the dangerous practice of grieving the Holy Spirit, while building up your knowledge of true spiritual gifts, and the fruits of the spirit.
At some point in everyone’s life, they think about a transition into something better. Whether its changing careers, or just advancing themselves, there is that exploratory period. Bob Buford had one of these points in his life. This is where Halftime happened.
Buford arranged the book perfectly. There are three parts that break out each point in what your life could look like. The first half of your life, your halftime, and the second half.
Part 1 answers a lot of questions and talks a lot about his personal experiences through the first half of his life. You’ll find yourself going through his struggles and journey. You’ll also find yourself relating to a lot of those struggles and journey. There was one point where I thought I was reading an autobiography.
Part 2 takes you through the concept of halftime. Halftime is that transition period that could be a few weeks, a few months, or even a few years. He encourages you to be patient, pray about it, and seek what God has in store for you. At that point, he encourages you to act on it quickly, all while telling his story of what he went through.
Part 3 then shows you what the rest of your life will look like. Finishing well and enjoying the benefits of life doing what you were intended to do. Letting God execute his plan can be a scary proposition. Reading Bob’s story and listening to his advice is reassuring and comforting.
One of the things I liked best about this book was the length. It isn’t long, but it’s not short either. There is nothing missing, and there’s no shortage of scripture, stories, or advice. I also appreciate the honesty in his words when he tells you to get out of your comfort zone and act on what you feel God wants you to do. I also appreciate his honesty that your second half may not be what you initially think it will be.
Halftime is a winner. Maybe even perfect. You’ll get sound, biblical based advice that will help you understand your restlessness. If you’re feeling like you need to be doing something different, or something more, this book is for you.
Revision as of 3/6/2018.
Spiritual gifts are a topic that I hadn’t heard or read much about. Sure, they’re laid out in the bible. I’ve heard about people learning to speak in tongues, and have met people claiming to have visions. I’ve heard the stories of people casting out demons. In the back of my mind, I knew had gifts of my own, but didn’t think of them outside of the things I seem to be good at.
Out of a recommendation that I take a spiritual gifts test, I began looking for a good book on the topic. That is when I came across Peter Wagner’s “Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Grow Your Church”. A book more than just learning how to grow a church. It takes you through an in-depth study on all of the spiritual gifts, along with a good history lesson on various groups throughout history.
I appreciated his history lesson when it comes to the Pentecostal movement. I’ve always been leery of people who claim they can speak in tongues. I don’t quite understand the point of trying to learn a gift that you don’t have. I also never understood why its limited to 1 or 2 things. This gave me a new perspective and a background to associate those questions with. Wagner also gives you a look inside other groups to compare them too, and a good biblical challenge to read and study the bible.
As you journey through what he has broken out to be 28 spiritual gifts, you’ll be met with real-life stories from him and other people he met along his life. He’ll use real-world examples to help you understand each spiritual gift, how to identify the ones you have, and how to understand ones you don’t have.
I didn’t always agree with his definition of a specific spiritual gift. He talked a lot about gift projection, and I felt sometimes he was stretching into that arena. He tried to be biblical about it, and I didn’t feel that he was inventing them, but I found a couple to be a little bit of a stretch. Then again, I am not the one giving out gifts, so maybe his feelings were valid.
From an attention span and ease read angle, this book was perfect. I couldn’t put it down, and found it smooth and easy to understand. Like all writers, he used some words that I considered “big” and had to refresh my memory on, but overall he didn’t try to sound intentionally intellectual for the sake of fancy literature.
The “Can Grow Your Church” section is good for anyone, but specially, he talks to Pastors. Not being a Pastor, I found it valuable from my own perspective. It gave me great insight into how a Pastor might approach the arranging of his congregation in different tasks around the Church. This was a perspective I appreciated.
Something to take with a bit of skepticism is his definition of apostleship. Wagner believed he had this gift, and broke down the difference between holding an office and having the gift. While I agree with him in that sense, apostleship comes with three very specific rule. You must have witnessed Jesus Christ. You have to be appointed by Jesus Christ. You have to prove your apostleship with signs and wonders. You can read all about these requirements throughout Matthew, Mark, and Acts. Wagner believed he was good at planting and growing Churches because he had this gift, but not the office. I would have simply told him “You’re just good at administration.”
Another thing that gave me the willies was his wife’s gift of healing. Although he doesn’t go into detail, his criticism of the Pentecostal movement made me wonder a little bit what he was talking about. I am not sure if he ever took to a stage to perform mass healing, or if she simply sought out sick people and prayed over them. Still, I think the only one that has the true gift of healing these days is God. We as the body of Christ are to always be praying, especially for our sick. I just have to wonder why anyone would misread the writings surrounding the Holy Spirit, and think they can summon him on their command and heal people.
Because of these two points, I have chosen to take the rating down to a 3/5. This will most likely spark some discussion some day in my court, and that’s ok.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking to begin exploring spiritual gifts. If you’re curious about your own spiritual gifts, this is a good book for you. You’ll learn to identify your gifts, including his spiritual gifts test at the end of the book. Wagner does a nice job with the layout of the book in that you have a boxed out section each time he explains what a gift is. Those boxes have biblical references, examples, and definitions. I found that piece of the book the most helpful.
All Christians have spiritual gifts. They are used to make up the body of Christ. They’re not limited to learn to speak in tongues, or putting on a show about healing. Some of them have not been given out since the apostolic age. Gifts are very real and dynamic. This book will teach you about them and how to find your gifts.
I was recently asked if I had ever taken the spiritual gifts test. Spiritual gifts are given to Christians after they accept Jesus Christ. Everyone has at least one gift, and some have more than one.
I hadn’t really heard much about them growing up. The only things I ever heard was “Everyone has gifts!” and “Charismatic people are wrong!” I found that both are a little bit true, and a little bit off.
Romans 12:1-2, “1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (NKJV)
This tells me that I need to be living in a way that is honoring to God, and keeping my mind fresh and renewed from the things of this world that might drag me down. In doing so, I then open to doing the will of God, rather than doing my own will and wrong doings.
Paul continues teaching us that we need to stay in tune to God and that the body of Christ has many parts.
Romans 12:3-5, “3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” (NKJV)
The analogy to a “body” is one that we can relate to as humans. Our body is more than just one arm, or two legs, or just a brain. Everything is attached, working together, to accomplish the tasks that we need it to do. If we break an arm or a leg, we’re hindered.
The same is true of the body of Christ. If one part isn’t operating properly, the rest will struggle. We all have different talents, roles, and gifts. In the sense of gifts, we should be using those unique gifts to operate our piece of the body.
Romans 12:6-8, “6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” (NKJV)
Paul then takes us through the first few spiritual gifts. He’s intentional in his writing to us that we need to be intentional with our gifts. If we have the gift of teaching, we need to teach. If our gift is ministry, then we need to minster. If our gift is serving, we need to serve.
Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people starts with being proactive. Dave Ramsey teaches that to get your finances under control you need to be intentional. So here does Paul teach through words that we should be intentional and go out and put our gifts to work, rather than waiting for them to come and get us. They’re already in you and part of your life. Why not make something happen with them?
As you start to explore your spiritual gifts, you first need to discover what they are. There are several tests and books out there to help you. My favorite author on the topic is C Peter Wagner and his book called “Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow“. You need to get in word, and pray about them.
Once you start to discover what your gifts are, think about the things you’re drawn too. Do they relate? I found mine did, and it explained a lot about another “strengths” test I had taken for work. From there you can start to do your part in the body of Christ, and accomplish good things.
Discovering your spiritual gifts can be enlightening, but you have to make sure you’re not confusing gifts with your personal goals and desires. You aren’t going to have certain gifts just because you want them. Pray heavily asking the holy spirit to reveal your gifts. Read scripture. Talk to your Pastor, friends, relatives, etc. Take a spiritual gift test. In the end, you may even need to fast on it. Ask God to help you recognize your gifts, and where he wants you to use them.
Spiritual Gifts are just that. Gifts. Take then without question and put them to work.
For more on the Spiritual Gifts, see 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4.
If you’ve ever watched a sporting event, you’ve most likely seen the John 3:16 signs being held up by spectators during timeouts and half times. But just what does it mean?
John 3:16, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (NKJV)
This is one of the most important verses of the Bible. You could even say it is the most important verse. Let’s break it down.
God loves us enough that he sent His only son to die for all sin before and forever after.
God gave us this gift freely. Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, but to save it. He bled as a lamb, and all we have to do accept the gift.
If we believe, we will spend eternity with Him. We’re all going to spend eternity somewhere. The question you should ask yourself is “where?”
Accepting Christ and living as a Christian is more than just straightening up and praying a prayer. It is accepting Christ’s gift and believing.
Are you ready to accept Christ? Pray thanking him for dying in your place. Let him know that you believe in Him and want to spend eternity in His kingdom. Then go out and tell others what you’ve discovered.
I wanted to give our sales people some notifications from customer offers. It seemed a bit more personal to set these as coming from the customer, with the information they sent, while tying it into a Magento 2 template for easy modification. This brought me to the transport builder part of Magento 2’s framework.
Over the weekend I did some brainstorming and decided to do a personal assessment of my skills. Last week I opened myself up for freelance work. This is something I haven’t done in a couple of years. There are some new front-end methods and frameworks that have become popular that I have started to dive more into. My initial thought was I need to compete. Then my inner competitive nature told me that I should strive to be among the best.
A few years ago I set out to build a portfolio. I started out my career as a PC technician and technical support rep designing and building web sites on the side. I then got more into application development and the software engineering aspect of things. After that, system administration. The last few years I’ve found myself back in the web site world. I feel a bit more rounded and its time to take on more freelance work.
Here’s what I can take on right now:
- Beginning PHP
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- Flash Game Programming 101
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- Special Announcements
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- State of the Blog
- Story Development
- Thursday Small Group Notes
- Time Management
- Video Games
- Web Browsers
- Web Development
- World Development
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