3-step formula for using your talents for ministry

Lincoln Presbyterian Church

We all have so much we can give to God. First though, we must give Him our life. Once you do that a whole new world of opportunity can open up. It is just a matter of how much of what He has given to us in the way of time, talent, and goods we are willing to give back to Him.

Ever since I first invited Jesus into my life there has been a yearning to serve in some sort of ministry. Early on I went to school at a Christian college because I wanted to go into vocational ministry. Life took on the normal twist and turns and I didn’t finish college, and never went into vocational ministry. That’s okay. I am discovering that it was all part of God’s plan for my molding into what He planned for me.

Everyone seems enamored with formulas these days, so here is a 3-step formula for using your talents for ministry.

Develop your talents

A few weeks ago I became the Website person for my church, Lincoln Presbyterian. This comes after retiring from working in Website development. Before that, I taught myself the basics of coding. At the time I wasn’t waking up every day thinking how great it was that I was being prepared for future ministry. It was just a job.

Photography is the another area I am blessed to be able to use for ministry. It fits well with the Website work, and enables me to create for others.

Moses spent forty years in obscurity on the back side of the desert as God prepared him to release Israel from bondage. You may not have as grand a responsibility as Moses, but that’s not the point. God was molding Moses, developing his character and talents. It is particularly interesting that Moses had already developed into a leader as a member of Pharaoh’s court, but He was placed in obscurity until God was ready to use him to deliver Israel from bondage.

Give your talents to God

Using the gifts God gave me was something I always wanted to do. Developing those talents by working in a cube coding pages, and practicing photography was His way of preparing me for the next step; giving those talents to Him to use as He willed. This didn’t mean they couldn’t be used for business or as a creative outlet. It simply meant that the talents He was developing were available when he called.

So I prayed and asked Him to reveal to me how I could give back to Him and use the talents. It doesn’t normally happen overnight. It could, it just isn’t the norm, and in my case it was over many years. Be patient. When you are ready He will provide opportunities, and often in ways you don’t expect.

Use your talents for His glory

Whatever talents, abilities, and gifts God has given to you, give back to him. How you do that is completely up to you, but keep in mind that whatever we say, whatever we do, it is to be done for His glory with thanksgiving (Colossians 3:17).

These are three things I came up with for using your talents for ministry. If you have others to suggest, put them in the comments.

About the Image

This is the front view of Lincoln Presbyterian Church in Stockton, California. The Lord has blessed me with a ministry of doing their Website and photography. It is great to be part of a church where I can use my gifts to bless others and grow the Kingdom. Check out the Website and come visit if you are in the area.

Posted in Faith, Leadership Tagged , , , , |

3 Lessons from the Potter and Clay

Potter and Clay
Photo Credit: Miah Oren, Lightstock.com

Thoughts on the potter and clay

This morning I’m thinking about being clay. It only seems reasonable since that is all I am, all we are. Clay in the hands of the potter.

Imagine if the clay said to the potter, “You have gifted me in such and such an area, so that is what I will be.” Or, “This is where my natural talents tend, so mold me for use as…”

That’s what we do, isn’t it?

We tell the potter how we are to be made, how we are to be molded. “Don’t push so hard here. Make a nice design there. Give me a little more on this side. Take away that over there.”

That’s not the way it works. He, our sovereign God, is the potter. We are the clay (Isaiah 64:8). How dare we give him direction and tell him how we are to be molded and fashioned. We are his workmanship, created to do the good works He has prepared for us. The Potter knows our strengths and weaknesses, our talents and liabilities. He created them within us, along with our passions. Trust Him. He will surely mold you into a vessel that is fit for what He created you to be.

The purpose of clay is to be molded

Clay has one purpose. To be molded.

Imagine now if the clay said to the potter, “Have your way with me. Make me what you will that I may do that which you have prepared me for.”

Clay that does not submit to molding is of no use. In order to be what we are meant to be in God’s grand design, the Potter and clay must work together in the the potter’s hands. This requires submission from the clay. It involves being molded and formed to the potter’s will. Squeezed and broken, reshaped and reformed, until eventually the perfect vessel is formed. Then the clay is subjected to the fiery kiln. The intense heat of the kiln hardens and strengthens the clay to make it fit for the Master’s use. The result is a vessel pleasing to both the potter and clay.

God is not limited to working with our strengths (2 Cor. 12:9-10). He is able to mold us into that instrument he desires so that we may accomplish what He wants as obedient vessels filled with the Holy Spirit.

Are you ready to be molded?

I have three thoughts about the potter and the clay as I close.

  1. We tend toward missing out on the Potter’s best by telling Him what to make us into.
  2. Clay’s singular purpose is to be molded, and if clay does not submit it is rendered useless.
  3. As we submit to the Master’s touch, we are made into beautiful vessels for His purpose.

I will ask again: Are you ready to be molded? Feel free to leave a comment and continue the discussion.

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A year in the life of a spiritual journey

Embarking on a spiritual journey

This morning I reached for a devotional book-slash-journal that has been sitting on my shelf for a couple years. It was rescued from a box of books that was left behind by my father-in-law when he moved to heaven. Every year at Christmas my wife and I would give Bill a new devotional book. As long as I knew him, he would rise early every morning to spend time with the Lord in prayer and study with whatever book we had given that year open next to his Bible. His consistent devotion to God is the thing I most admired about Bill. It was quiet and humble, but I always knew he walked closely with the Lord and cherished his relationship with his creator. His journey through life was a spiritual journey.

One of the books we had given to Bill, and the one I am reading now, is Experiencing God Day by Day by father and son authors Henry and Richard Blackaby. In the preface I read that one ought to use devotional books as a “journal for your walk with God through the years,” to be treasured by your children.

Richard Blackaby writes,

Note the date when God speaks to you or specific prayers are answered. Let this book guide you as you walk with God; then leave it for your children as a record of their parents’ spiritual journey.”

Bill had filled every page of the book with underlined passages and handwritten notes. He indeed left a written record of his spiritual journey, at least for that year of his incredible life. I feel privileged to follow and learn from his spiritual journey, and where appropriate, make it my own. What will I find nestled away in his distinctive scrawl? How will it help me to be a better person, a better husband and father? This is literally a journey of a lifetime as I wander through the pages of his recorded thoughts each day.

Keep a journal of your own

For some time now I have kept a journal. There had been long stretches of nothing, but as it developed into a habit, I have been more consistent. Rarely does a day go by that I do not record something.

I encourage you. Start your own journal. Leave for others a record of your own journey of faith, of lessons learned, of victories won. It should be hand written. It becomes more personal when it is in your own hand, and you feel a deeper connection to your story. Keeping a spiritual journal will help you grow and it will help others in ways you can not tell.

My own journey through this book is just beginning, and I am looking forward to where it will take me. What will I learn about Bill? More importantly, what will I learn about God and experiencing him?

Thanks Bill…

I’d like to hear your thoughts on this post, so please comment.

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One of My Secrets for Growing a Business

Opening a book - growing a business

Update: Eric Worre posted about this same subject on his Website and dished out some great advice. Thanks Eric. Watch the video and see if you don’t agree.


Look at the picture above and you will discover that it really isn’t a secret all. Still, I’m sure it isn’t done enough.

Reading.

It’s not just for growing a business. Reading is critical to growing in every area of life. And I don’t mean reading social media feeds or snippets of articles thrown all over the Internet. Don’t get me wrong. There is a lot of great information out on the Web. There is a lot of bad information out there too, and we read differently and retain less when we read from the Internet.

Now, before I get too far off track, let me ask you a question…

When was the last time you took time to read a book?

That is my secret. Read more.

Pretty simple.

Some of you may be reading this and thinking, “But I don’t have a business.” Okay, fair enough. Read anyway.

Read to grow your life, your leadership, your family, yourself. Read to grow your world view. Read to open your imagination. Read.

It was two years ago that I started my own business. I had absolutely no prior experience in business, so I chose a type of business that would be easy and inexpensive to start up. The company I partnered with provided training to get me off to a fast start, and ongoing training to grow, but there is only so much they can do. So I decided I needed to get back to something I had left behind a few years ago. Reading.

I currently have a list of around thirty books to read this year. Some are business related. Some are not. All will help me grow as a person, a leader, and a business person.

And there you have it… one of my secrets for growing a business.

Here are some book recommendations to help grow your business and life. Interested in finding out more about my business? Visit my page to watch a short video, or email me.

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My view of the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade

Featured Image

Tournament of Roses Parade

Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena, California

Here they are! The long awaited pictures from the Tournament of Roses Parade. The full size pictures are posted in the Rose Parade 2017 gallery. I am posting a few at a time as I finish editing and processing.

Marcie and I spent a cool and overcast New Year weekend in Pasadena doing Rose Parade stuff. There was the threat of rain, but if you know anything about the Rose Parade, you know it has only rained ten times on the parade. The forecast was for no rain, but I was hoping for clear skies. Didn’t happen, but the rain held off. It was cold, and we watched the parade from our seats in the bleachers surrounded by hundreds of new friends packed tightly into the stands. Not necessarily a bad thing on this chilly morning. It is amazing how much heat a tightly packed herd of people give off.

Placing roses - Rose Parade float Marcie, Rose Parade float At the top of the page and the pictures to the right is the banner float. Marcie and I took advantage of an opportunity to volunteer to decorate with Kiwanis International. Marcie is the president of the Stockton Kiwanis. Our assignment was to work on the banner float. Our shift was the morning of the day before the parade. For the most part they were all finished, so we were responsible for helping out with the finishing touches, some detail work, and filling in so everything was coming up roses. (Couldn’t resist.)

The picture above doesn’t show our finished work. Our assigned workspace was on the other side. We spent our morning putting greenery over a layer of foam, then stuck individual roses in vials of water into the foam. More interesting and fun than it sounds.

Judging

Late in the morning the floats were moved outside for judging.

Monkey King

CalPoly float

Literacy float

There was a carnival-like atmosphere with vendor booths set up along the street next to the Rose Bowl. Hundreds of people watched the judging and cheered loudly for their favorite floats.

The Tournament of Roses Parade

Then came Monday and the parade, followed by viewing the floats on Tuesday before heading home. Have a look at the pictures as I post them in the gallery. The detail in these floats is incredible. Enjoy.

Angry birds

Leave a comment. I’ll reply. You can also use the contact form or subscribe to get updates. When you subscribe I will send you a download link for one of my Rose Parade pictures, once I get them all posted.

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