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I sat in the freezing metal folding chair waiting. The elders paced, deciding what to do with me next. As they did they occasionally spoke the same gibberish sounding language.

The answer from me that threw them into indecisiveness was, "No." Their question? "Have you ever spoken in tongues? Been slain in the spirit?"

This posed a problem for them. Their belief was that regardless of how much money they'd paid me to be at their church that morning I could not take the stage and sing or speak to their congregation if I wasn't a Christian. And they believed a Christian - a true Christian - spoke in tongues and got knocked down by God's Spirit from time to time - at least once.

I didn't argue. I waited. I prayed. The pastor eventually entered the room and after being briefed on the situation rolled his eyes dismissively at his elders, cupped his heavy hand around my shoulder, raised me to my feet, said a quick prayer thanking God for my visit, amened and ushered me to the stage where I sang and spoke to his congregation about the God we have in common.

We know from Paul that Christians are supposed to understand what these gift things and this Spirit character are but we also know that in trying to figure them out we Christians can become prideful and arrogant (like the Corinthians), harming one another accidentally, erecting walls that shouldn't exist. So we have to be careful and prayerful don't we? Or we could just be ignorant, decide not to learn what the Spirit and it's/his/her gifts are. But then we'd always wonder what we missed out on wouldn't we?

Tonight at ikon Brian will help shed a little more light on all this while teaching 1 Corinthians 12, and hopefully we'll leave with a better idea of what these gifts are and why they exist and just how important or not important they should be to us. See you there.

Until then, here's some of what Paul had to say about all this...

"What I want to talk about now is the various ways God's Spirit gets worked into our lives. This is complex and often mis-understood, but I want you to be informed and knowledgeable. Remember how you were when you didn't know God, led from one phony god to another, never knowing what you were doing, just doing it because everybody else did it? It's different in this life. God wants us to use our intelligence, to seek to understand as well as we can. For instance, by using your heads, you know perfectly well that the Spirit of God would never prompt anyone to say "Jesus be damned!" Nor would anyone be inclined to say "Jesus is Master!" without the insight of the Holy Spirit.

God's various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. God's various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. God's various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful:

wise counsel

clear understanding

simple trust

healing the sick

miraculous acts


distinguishing between spirits


interpretation of tongues.

All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when." (1 Corinthians 12:1-12 from THE MESSAGE translation)


Anonymous Tunz4jesus said...

You could have shared with the group of elders that your gift was in the realm of proclamation, through music, but often we as people understand what we are comfortable and familiar with. It is all about God's glory. Thanks for sharing.


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