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It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
Today's Wild Card author is:
and the book:
Whitaker House (June 26, 2012)
***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling of Whitaker House for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Visit the author's website.
SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:
In Know Your Ministry: Spiritual Gifts for Every Believer, renowned Bible teacher Marilyn Hickey with her daughter Sarah Bowling collaborate to present an enlightening overview of the seven foundational gifts of the Holy Spirit found in Romans 12. They demonstrate how the passage offers insights on discovering one’s gifts and calling from God through personal examples, biblical illustrations, and practical application, and lead the reader to discover his or her primary gift. Once identified, the authors explain how one’s core gift relates to and works in tandem with other gifts and how it fits into God’s purposes in the wider Body of Christ. The authors offer direction and encouragement on how to apply and act in one’s area of giftedness, how to renew enthusiasm for serving others, and how to be being fruitful while carrying out God’s purpose in life.
List Price: $11.99
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
The Foundational Gifts
For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
Know Your Ministry: Spiritual Gifts for Every Believer will help you to discover your purpose and destiny. You may think that is a bold statement, and it is. But I can make it based on the Word of God and on my own experiences through the years, as I have applied this enlightening teaching about the foundational gifts to my own life and also taught others how to apply it to theirs. Likewise, I can make this statement with assurance: reading this book will be a very personal experience for you as you learn more about who God has marvelously created you to be.
Most people want to know their purpose. Nobody wants to just stumble around in life. At some point, we all wonder, “What am I meant to do on this earth? What direction am I supposed to take?” If you don’t know where you are going, you won’t know when you get there, and your life will be out of sync.
To answer the above questions, we must understand that we have a corporate purpose, as well as a personal one. As believers, “we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another” (Romans 12:5). God has called each of us to a special role in the body of Christ, for the mutual benefit of all. Confusion over their unique roles is a primary reason why people lack purpose.
Uncertainty About Our Callings
Many times, we try to operate in areas of ministry or vocation to which we have not been called. We may try to imitate ministries we admire because of our uncertainty about our own places in the body of Christ. The results can be devastating: we become frustrated and discouraged and do a disservice to the people to whom we are trying to minister.
For example, have you ever come across a particular ministry and decided, “I’m going to do exactly what they are doing”? Many years ago, my husband, Wally, and I were assistant pastors at a church in Amarillo, Texas. Every morning at 9:00 a.m., several of us met to pray. One woman in particular was a true intercessor. After an hour of prayer, the rest of us were ready to stop—but she was just warming up! I admired her so much that I—not God—decided that I had a similar calling on my life. One day, I said to her, “God has called me to be an intercessor—just like you.”
But, to my surprise, she replied, “No, He hasn’t. You respect me, so you’re trying to latch onto my position in the body. Marilyn, you need to pray and ask God what He has really called you to do.” That was very wise spiritual advice that I am glad I listened to.
At other times, we may try to compete with other Christians. Before Wally and I entered the ministry, I met a woman who was a great soulwinner. She would go to a hospital to minister and end up leading ten to fifteen souls to Christ. I thought, If she can do it, I can, too! She won fifteen souls to Christ, so I’ll win twenty! Was that desire spiritually motivated? No. Actually, it was “carnal”—I was thinking according to the fallen nature rather than according to the Spirit. (See, for example, Romans 8:5–10.) I was trying to compete with my sister in the Lord. Why did I do that? Because I didn’t know where I belonged in the body of Christ.
At still other times, we may wonder why we don’t feel comfortable in the roles others expect us to fill. Before I understood the foundational gifts, I felt out of place, trying to fulfill a role that was not in line with the gifting God had given me.
My husband and I had started a church in Denver, Colorado, and the congregation had certain expectations of me. People often assume that a pastor’s wife ought to carry out specific functions in the life of the local church, and, sometimes, that was troublesome for me. For instance, many pastors’ wives seem to be musical. I am not. I didn’t play the piano or the organ, and I didn’t sing well. But the people thought I should lead the worship. Well, if I had led the worship, nobody would have worshipped! In addition, I was called upon to lead the women’s missions projects, which involved rolling bandages, making certain items for people who had leprosy, and sewing blankets for infants and children. These activities involved a lot of sewing, and I couldn’t sew well. Frankly, even though I knew such projects were very worthwhile, I found them boring.
What did I like to do? I liked to teach the Bible. So, I taught an adult Sunday school class. I also led home Bible studies, giving women an opportunity to invite their neighbors who were not Christians to meet and study the Bible over a cup of coffee and a cookie—and people would get saved!
Even though I loved teaching, I felt out of sync because, again, my abilities weren’t in line with those of many other women who were married to pastors. I thought I wasn’t a good pastor’s wife, and I felt very unspiritual. Yet my life was totally turned around when I learned about the foundational gifts. I saw what my gift was and how satisfied I was when I was operating in it, and I didn’t try to function primarily in the other six gifts, even though I did learn to operate in them more as I grew in my faith. I thought, I see who I am in the body: I’m a teacher. There is nothing wrong with my wanting to teach the Bible. I was so happy to see that God had made me that way. Before the foundation of the world, He planned to give me certain talents and abilities to use for Him. (See, for example, Psalm 139:13–16.)
This knowledge gave me a confidence in what God had prepared for me to do, as well as an ability to trust in the grace He had given me to accomplish it. It also released the measure of faith that God had already placed within me to function in my gift of teaching the Bible. (See Romans 12:3.) I realized that I wasn’t out of place; I wasn’t some “crazy” pastor’s wife who was going to hurt her husband and his ministry. On the contrary, I was going to be a blessing to my husband and to the church.
Seven Blessings from God to the Church
In order to be effective as we minister to others, we must know where we truly belong in the body. When you understand your spiritual purpose and recognize the spiritual power contained in that purpose, life is just awesome. It is encouraging and comforting. Why? Because you don’t have to compare yourself to anybody else or try to be somebody you are not. You will become the person God created you to be.
In this book, we’re going to discover the seven wonderful “foundational gifts” God has given the church: prophecy, serving, teaching, exhortation, giving, organization, and mercy. Seven is the number of completion, and the Bible says that we are complete in Christ. (See Colossians 2:10.)
I’ve been able to apply the truths of these foundational gifts to my life in exciting ways, and I’m eager for you to apply them to yours, too. I know they will help you to discover your God-given purpose and direction in life, just as they did for me.
And, as you study the foundational gifts, you will not only be able to identify your own gifts, but you will also gain insight about and respect for other people in the body of Christ. You will see what motivates your brothers and sisters in the Lord, and you will clearly understand how much you need them. In fact, when you observe the seven gifts in operation throughout the body of Christ, you will see Jesus’ complete ministry. Sometimes, we want to be the “Lone Ranger”—we want to ride into the sunset, calling, “Hi-ho Silver, away!” In other words, we want to do it all. But we need each other; and, if every gift is not in operation, we miss the completeness of Christ.
You may be thinking, Is it possible for me to have more than one foundational gift? As you study the gifts described in the following chapters, you may—and probably will—recognize that certain traits of more than one gift are operational in your life. Most of us are used in a number of ways when we make ourselves available to Jesus for His purposes. But there will be one gift (possibly two) that you will identify with most closely and be most comfortable exercising, and through which you will obtain the most success in ministering to others. This gift is your greatest strength. Whether it is prophecy, serving, teaching, exhortation, giving, organization, or mercy, it is your foundational gift.
At the end of this book, there is a gifts assessment test, entitled the “Foundational (Motivational) Gifts Evaluation,” which we have used successfully at Marilyn Hickey Ministries for many years. It will help you to confirm your primary foundational gift. It will also indicate your secondary gift—the one in which you are the next strongest.
When you see what your primary gifting is, you will begin to recognize and understand God’s purpose for your life. This is why knowing your gifting is vital. And, once you have identified your gift, you will notice how it flows through all your spiritual activity within the body. For example, if you counsel others, and your foundational gift is mercy, you will be a merciful counselor. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you in this study of the foundational gifts. He will reveal your perfect position within the body of Christ.
Through the seven foundational gifts listed in Romans 12, God has shown us in a beautiful way that each of us does, indeed, have a divine purpose and destiny. What is your purpose? What is the power for living and for ministry that He has placed in your life? It is found in one of the foundational gifts explained in the following pages. I invite you to pray now that you will come to recognize your gift as you read Know Your Ministry: Spiritual Gifts for Every Believer.
Dear heavenly Father,
I thank You for giving me a unique foundational gift. I realize that it is not through my own works, but through Your grace, that I have received this gift. Father, I promise to be available to minister in my gift whenever You call me to do so. And I promise to keep my mind renewed to Your Word, so that I will know what Your perfect will is. Now, Father, as I study the various foundational gifts, I ask that Your Holy Spirit would reveal to me the identity of my unique, special gift. In Jesus’ precious name, amen.