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I heard people whistling out there. That was pretty funny. It’s pretty catchy. All right. Good morning.

Good morning.

My name is Chris Paavola, senior pastor here. Great to be with you. I love that reading we just heard from Pastor Jack from Samuel, anointing King David. Because there’s just so much about it that is insightful, and you can spend time with. He lines up all of his sons and he’s got the brightest, and the best, and these tall kids. And God’s like, as He often is, “It’s not the tall guys, it’s the short guys that I choose as my instruments.” But He’s like, “I don’t look at outward appearances. I look at the heart.” And He considers who David is, his character, his disposition, his personality. And that somehow qualifies him. And then also his experiences, he’s out with sheep tending a flock.

And something about caring for the flock and choosing the right pasture for them to be at and considering the weakest sheep and the strongest sheep, and something about fighting off wolves. This prepares him to be a king. And God’s like, “He is the one. The one. Not one of many, not one of a few. He is the one I have chosen to be king.” And part of the reason I love it so much is it’s true for you too. God has specifically chosen you for a very distinct thing. It may not be king. Well, it’s not king. God has not chosen you to be king, I promise you. But He has chosen you for something. Very distinct and unique to you. And He looks at you and says, “You are the one. Not one of many, you’re the one I have chosen for this thing.” And that’s really what I want you to discover today. And in the series that we’re in called SHAPE, where we’re discovering who God made you to be in.

And the SHAPE is actually an acronym. Spiritual gifts, heart, ability, personality and experiences and we’ve kind of walked through this. If you haven’t taken the SHAPE profile yet, if you haven’t filled this out, please, please, please. Today’s the last chance to do so, this in Worship. Please, please do so. We’ve got hard copies at the hub and the lobby out there that you can fill out and turn in right there. Or if you’re watching online right now, you can just scan the QR code on the screen and use your smartphone. Or you know what? If you haven’t done it yet and you’re sitting here in Worship, I won’t even be offended if you just scan the QR code right now and fill this out during worship. I ain’t mad at you. It’s important to get this filled out because this is quite honestly how we are going to engage people in ministry moving forward. We want you to be serving in the right place as God has gifted you. We don’t want you being disgruntled workers. We don’t want you serving imperfectly and inefficiently where you could serve perfectly and efficiently.

And so we want to figure out who God has made you to be so that we can leverage you and mobilize you for the life that God wants for you. But each week through the series, we’ve looked at different things. So spiritual gifts was week one and we talked about how you’ve been created or… When you believe in Jesus Christ is Lord, the Holy Spirit is in your heart, and He comes bringing gifts. And so it’s something, a soft skill that serves the church. It’s either something supernatural but something that you didn’t have before that now, you have once you became a believer. Or something that was in you that He’s elevated to new heights. And so that’s the spiritual gifts, we talked about that. Then in week two for heart, we talked about, what are you hurt for? What breaks your heart? What’s your holy discontent? What’s the thing that makes you go, “Oh, my goodness. This is not okay.” The people group or the issue that you hurt for.

And then in week three we talked about your abilities. What you do so well? Whether you’re a generalist or a specialist, there are things that you can do that I can’t and vice versa. And we want to find that. And then here we are now, week five. Wrapping this up with personality and experience. And honestly, this is a great ending because the further along we go in this, the more nuance we’re getting. And the more into the fine print we’re getting for who you are. And just a couple things before we get into this. Socrates, he said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” And then right after that they executed him. But the point being, the unexamined life is not worth living is a really important point. And that would then stand to reason that the examined life is worth living. And I want to invite you today to kind of examine your life, your personality, and your experiences. Not just on a surface level, but with your permission to go a little bit deeper and a little bit more personal than we normally would.

Because I want to help you examine your life so that you’re able to say yes to the right things and no to the wrong things. And we’re going to go surface level, and then we’re going to peel the onion back a layer and let you go a little bit deeper. Starting with personality, everyone knows what personality is. Personality is your disposition, it’s who you are, a little bit of your character. As the French say, ” gene se qua”. I’m not even French so I can’t even say it right. Gene se qua, I don’t know what it means. Anyone French know what that means or speaks French? Gene se qua. Okay, anyway, y’all took Spanish in high school. Okay. But the word personality actually means, like the etymology of it, the suffix, ality is like this ability to relating to person. So a personality is how you relate to other people, to another person.

You can’t have a personality by yourself. This is all how you relate to people, that’s interesting. And it would make sense. I mean, if God who made us as we would confess and believe. God who is in relationship with Himself, Father, Son, Holy Spirit relating to Himself then makes us in His image. And we now, are in relation with God and then in relation to each other. And so we have a personality, this is how we relate to one another. And a couple things about personality, it’s kind of who you are. And your personality can change over time, mine has. I mean, I’m not who I am in my 40s that I was in my 20s, but it’s steering an ocean liner. It’s a slow turn and things can happen to change your personality, but it takes time. We’re not jet skis when it comes to our personality, we’re ocean liners.

And then it kind of just brings up also, most likely you are called to serve in something that fits your personality. Sometimes you’re called to things that are outside of your personality. But as you listen and think about these things, most likely, you’re called to something that lines up with your personality. Now, you can take a bunch of tests to find your personality. There are really scientific ones, like Myers-Briggs or StrengthsFinder or Enneagram. Anyone taking a Enneagram before and found their number, or their chart, or your reading, or whatever it might be. You can take really scientific ones or you can take really unscientific ones like you find on Facebook. Take this quiz, find out which Star Wars character you most resemble. Don’t act like you don’t take these quizzes, Bill Coons. You’re terrible at this, man. He’s always posing.

Anyway, yeah, so this is who you are according to Star Wars or something like that or your Harry Potter character or whatever it might be. And that’s fine. But that’s all just trying to help us relate to people. For our SHAPE profile, we decided… There’s only a few things that we really need to be able to figure out how to position you for ministry. And they’re kind of on spectrums and you’re somewhere along the spectrum. And so the first one there, introverted, extroverted. That means you like just being with a small circle of people, or you’re fed off and you’re energized by being with a large group of people. Introverts are the one who when we have a meet and greet time, stand and greet your neighbor, they turn and greet their spouse and they think that counts. It does. And then the extroverted people are the people still shaking hands during the first verse of the next song.

Okay. So this is a good spot to mention this too. There’s no right or wrong with these, honestly. There is no right or wrong when it comes to your personality and how you serve. However, there is a right and wrong with where you might serve because of your personality. So it’s not like saying, “Oh, it’s wrong if you’re an introvert or wrong if you’re an extrovert.” But it is important to know your personality as you try to figure out your place of ministry. Somebody who’s introverted, in ministry, that would be somebody who’s working with our facilities team. And doing handy things and they’re painting a wall by themselves. Somebody who’s extroverted, man, you should be on the greeter team. You should talk to Nate or Jackie and join the greeter team and be… ‘Cause you love being around people, and you love welcoming people, ’cause you’re extroverted. So there you go.

Routine versus variety. Routine is the person who knows what’s coming in three weeks and exactly what they’re going to do. Variety is the person with a pile of mail on the counter. They’re just going to, “Yeah. I’ll get to it when I get to it.” Right? By the way, this is me and kind of highlights the importance of knowing this. When I was read out of college, I worked at Thrivent Financial. Actually, with their Habitat for Humanity Department and helping build homes. And I thought at first glance, “Oh, hey. I’d love this.” Because I like caring for people, building homes, compassion, all that kind of stuff. This makes sense. But then when I got into the details of the job, it was so routine. It killed me. It was just brutal. Every day was the same and it was just very routine for my personality. And I did it slowly and I procrastinated. And when I quit, my boss was happy. It was one of those things.

Right after that, I went to be a worship director at a church with tons of variety. Every week was different music and I thrived in that. Again, knowing who you are and what makeup you are. In ministry here at St. Mark, our altar team, people serve in our altar team. They tend to be introverted, but they also tend to like routine. You’re just setting up the communion elements every week or every time we have communion. That’s what you do. And then there’s people who like variety. If you like variety, may I suggest our children’s ministry? Holy cow. It’s a jungle down there. Every week is like something completely different and, “Oh, this is happening today. Okay.” And kids show up in different moods and you got to realize, it’s… Right, Lindsay? I mean it’s variety. It’s the variety show down there.

Then thinkers and feelers. Thinkers are those who are like, “Ready, aim, aim, aim, aim. Fire.” Feelers are like, “Fire. We should maybe aim now.” And that’s ready, aim, fire personalities. Both are appropriate, actually. You can aim after firing too. So in ministry, thinkers, we have a constitution review team that’s been going all year through our constitution line by line. ‘Cause it just kind of needs to be brought up to date. We need a bunch of thinkers in there. One of the guys on there is a CPA, one of the guys on there is an insurance agent. You hope that those people are thinkers. I think. And then you have feelers, that’s our whole worship team. You hope that they feel something and they evoke some kind of emotion in us when they lead us in worship. Then you have those who working alone and working in a team. This is also called the cooperative to the competitive spectrum. In my marriage, when we play board games, one of us plays to win.

One of us plays, so everybody has a good time. Which one do you think I am? No, really. Which one do you think I am?

Win the game.

You play to win the game, right? That’s why we’re playing, right? There’s rules so we can beat each… Anyway, you know me so well. So anyway, but working alone or working in a team. Maybe again, if you like working alone, there’s certain roles in the tech team. There are like very much, “This is your role.” But if you like working on a team, there’s a lot of opportunity to do that in the church here. We have an entire children’s ministry where you can serve with a team of people.

And then we have structure and freedom. It’s a little bit different than routine and variety. You can have routine, freedom, or structured variety. But a structure and freedom is just like this is a very specific way to do things. And then freedom is like, “We can do it any different way.” Our care ministry or our upcoming Steven’s Ministry, which cares for those who are hurting and shut-ins, that’s a lot of freedom actually. You look at the person and try to assess their needs, who you are and how can I meet their need. But somebody like structure, well, that’s the people on our accounting team. We are doing the same thing every single time, and this is the way to do it. So anyway, there’s all of the personality types that we really need to think about. So here’s what we’re going to do. I want you to turn to the person next to you, even if you didn’t show up with them or come here with them. Name one of those that is most definitely you. Turn to the person next to you and name one of those that is most definitely you. Go.

Congregation talking to the person next to them.

Okay. Now, flip it. Especially, if you know this person well, name one that you think they most definitely are. Okay? Tell them what they most definitely are. Faithful are the wounds of a friend.

Congregation talking to the person next to them.

Did you just say the whole left side? Wow. He just said you are the whole left side. That is hilarious. Okay. Because I know you guys like these kind of quizzes. Here are the personality types of every office character. Here we go. So just so you know, some of y’all are Dwight’s, some of y’all are Michael’s. I’m a huge… I love the office. Okay, so then speaking of occupations, then we… The next side of this kind of going deeper into ourself, more into the minutia and fine print of ourself is our experiences. And this reads like a resume because in some ways it kind of is. So in the SHAPE profile, we ask you these three things. What are your occupations? How about your education? And what’s your ministry? And let me give you some examples of how each of this play out in real time, okay? And why we’re doing this, why this is so important.

Occupation. Are you a plumber? Are you electrician? Are you a nurse? We need to know these things. A month and a half ago, we had a young couple that wanted to buy a home. And so they reached out to the church and they said, “Hey, do you know anyone in the church who’s a realtor?” And we couldn’t think of one. I promise you a realtor goes to this church, but we didn’t know it. And that’s why in our database, it’s so important to be able to go realtor. And pull them up and then we could send them a reference of people that they would trust. Huge, huge. And then with education. High school, trade school, undergrad, grad school. But what is your degree in, what did you specialize in? In accounting, or I specialize in behavior science, or I specialize in some kind of child education. A real time example of this for us was last summer, vacation Bible school was rolling around. We have 100-plus kids come on our campus and have a rocking time. It’s awesome.

But we knew we had some kids registered who have special needs and we had some kids register who have sensory needs. And we’re like, “Oh, we need help with these kiddos.” And we pulled out our hair trying to find people who were trained and qualified to be their shadows and buddies all week long versus just getting in a database and saying, “We need somebody who specializes in childhood trauma,” or whatever it might be. Huge, huge. And it would be so much easier for us if you just told us how you were educated. And finally, then, with ministry, just like what ministry experience do you have. This is obvious, but have you been a worship leader before? We would like to know that. Have you been an elder before? Did you come from another ministry? All of this matters.

Okay, so this reads like a resume. All right? But this is where I want to peel back the layer, go a little bit deeper, if you don’t mind. And to ask you a few things that are not on the resume. That aren’t necessarily things that you broadcast and would enter into a database, but things that you need to think about, and examine, and be introspective about your experiences so that you can say yes to the right things, no to the wrong things. And understand how God is calling you and saying, “You’re the one.” And this starts to get more personal, but let’s talk about your relational experiences and your personal experiences. And these are a lot like achievements. Like relationally, I’m married or I’m single, I’m a newlywed, I’m a empty nester. But then there’s a lot of pain with relational experience too. Did you grow up in a home with divorce? Are you divorced? Do you have a broken relationship with your kids?

That relational experience matters. It makes you who you are and this makes you distinct, but God wants to use that too. And then we get to personal experience like, “Sure, did you win the spelling bee?” Or “Sure, are you an Eagle scout? Okay.” But what about your other personal experiences? Your personal experience of overcoming cancer, your personal experience with racism, the lived experience you’ve had growing up in foster care. That matters, you guys. ‘Cause God wants to use all of you, all parts of you to serve all parts of the church and to reach all parts of the world. All of you. He wants to use and redeem the good and the bad. What you’ve been through, it’s what you’re called to. What you’ve been through is what you’re called to. Your past so often becomes your pulpit.

This is how you become an ambassador for God’s promise, an advocate for God’s purpose, and agents of God’s power. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people who have been through bankruptcy become a great finance advisors. Or people who have overcome addiction, lead others towards addiction recovery. Think about this, this is what people experience in small groups and those of you guys who are in small groups can testify to this. But don’t you think your divorce is a wealth of knowledge for that newlywed couple sitting in the other side of the living room, in your small group. Huge. And they would love to tap into that wealth of knowledge that you have seen. “Guys, guys, if I could go back and do it again, here’s what I would’ve done differently.” Whoo! What you’ve been through, it’s what you’re called to.

And do not sit there and tell God, “Well…” I mean, ’cause then you start thinking about the other ways that you’ve fallen short and the other ways you feel Him. The habitual sin that you can’t overcome or the addiction you can’t break, and you start to disqualify yourself. You’re like, “This is a reason that you shouldn’t call me. This is the reason you shouldn’t use me.” And God’s like, “No, no, no, no, no. Just open the book and read.” Let me just read a few of these. I just wrote this real quick and I was just going chronologically through the Bible of how jacked up and broken the people in scripture are that God chose to use. Noah was a drunk, Abraham was a liar, Moses had a speech impediment, Elijah was suicidal, Job was bankrupt, Gideon was a coward, Samson was hot-tempered, Rahab was a prostitute, David was deceitful, so as Jacob. Jeremiah was moody, Peter was overly competitive, John was overly emotional, Martha was a worrier, Zacchaeus was greedy, and Paul was a murderer.

So who are you to tell God that He can’t use you because of your experiences or that your experiences are off limit to Him? We see the flip. Actually, it’s not that God uses you in spite of your brokenness, in spite of your experiences. We see the opposite. He uses you because of your experiences, my friend. And this is how He wants to use you. This is your SHAPE for ministry. What you’ve been through, it’s what you’re called to. I’ve seen it again and again and again. Actually, Paul, the murderer, I was just talking about, he was worse than that. He was a racist. He was judgmental. Thought he was better than everyone else. He was like über, über, über, religious. Just a hateful guy. But then he met Jesus, Jesus wrecked him. And he absolutely came undone. And he stopped hiding, he stopped pretending, and he got honest with who he was with God and with other people.

When you look around you, I know we’re really good-looking. I know all of us are really good-looking people. Okay? You are. You’re good-looking. Own it. Okay? But we’re not as good-looking as we look. Some of us are just barely holding it together. We are broken people, messed up people, selfish, petulant, rude, arrogant, liars, cheaters. We struggle day after day after day. That’s why we’re here. And I want you to know, I know this is a phrase that people kind of rolled their eyes at, but this is a safe place to be who you are. A work in progress with other works in progress all around you. So that guy Paul met Jesus, life started changing and he got honest with who he was. That’s why confession matters, by the way. Why we take time of confession of our sins matters so much because we are really good at lying to ourselves and lying to the people around us about who we are. But confession forces us to just be stark and honest.

And Paul started being stark and honest with who he was. And over the years, near the end of his life, Paul was reflecting on who he was before Jesus, who he is after Jesus. And as he’s reflecting on his life, look at how he describes what God did in him. Take a look. It’s from 1 Timothy 1:15-17, “Christ, Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the worst. I’m the worst guys. But for that very reason, I was shown mercy. So that in me, the judgmental racist. In me, the alcoholic. In me, the verbally abusive. In me, the liar. In me, the worst of sinners.” Christ, Jesus might display His immense patience as an example for others, as an example. So they would believe in Him and be saved. And this week, as I was reading that, I started thinking like, “Oh, my goodness. I would love for all of us to be able to look at that and be like, ‘That’s me. That’s my experience right there.'”

And to be able to say these words for myself in all of my brokenness, and all of my weakness, and all of my pain, and all my failures. You know what? Jesus chose me, that I might be an example for others so they would believe in Him. That they might see… Oh, my goodness. Look at what God can do. If they can use them, they can use me. And that’s what Paul is saying. And I was like, “I would love for all of us people to say that.” And I was like, “Oh, it’s like a creed.” We could read that together as like… Creed is a statement of belief. Right? I believe this thing. And we do the Apostle’s Creed a lot around here and stuff like that. But we could read this as a creed for our experience, all of us together, one voice. And I was like, “You know what? We could do that for every letter in this series. We could have a creed about our spiritual gifts, a creed about our heart, a creed about our abilities, our personality, and our experience.”

Because every week we’ve had a verse that is a statement of truth, a statement about that thing, we could read those verses together as a SHAPE creed. That’s what I want to invite you guys to do. So please stand. Here’s what I want you to do. As we say this creed together, I want you to think about, all of you, your spiritual gifts. All of you, your heart. All of you, your abilities, your personality, experience as you think about just laying yourself open before the Lord saying, “Use me. This is who I am. This is my SHAPE.” Get it all in your mind. And then I think you’re ready to say this creed with me. And so I ask you, what do you believe about your spiritual gifts? I believe a gift of the spirit is given to all believers for the benefit of the congregation. 1 Corinthians 12, “What do you believe about your heart? I believe God comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the same comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

2 Corinthians 1, “What do you believe about your abilities? I believe I am God’s handiwork created in Christ, Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advanced to do.” And what do you believe about your personality? I believe God created my inmost being and knit me together in my mother’s womb. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. And what do you believe about your experiences? I believe I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ, Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for others, so they would believe in him and be saved.

Let me pray for you. Heavenly Father, I pray for each and every person in this room, each and every person listening and watching online, or each and every person who hears a sound of my voice later on. And I pray, God, that You would show them who have You made them to be and that You would get them off the sidelines and get them in the game and be engaged. Forgive us, God, for our complacency. Forgive us for our apathy. Mobilize us, equip us, engage us. And I pray You would use all of their spiritual gifts, all of their heart, all of their abilities, all of their personality, and all of their experiences for the good, the growth, and the glory of Your kingdom.

We pray now the prayer Your Son taught us to pray, saying, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.”