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Pastor Chris Paavola:

Well, hey everybody, good morning. Great to be with you guys. Thank you for loading the kids up on the snowmobile. I appreciate it for getting to church today, this inclement weather. You guys are the smart ones though. I think you guys waited for the sun to come out. The people at eight o’clock, they were just enduring the blazing wind and the dark, and at least you guys got the sun. So you’re the smart ones. But thank you for being here and obviously many of you guys decided to join us online today, so welcome to you as well. We look forward to being back with you and we’re grateful for technology, it lets us be together. We pray that you guys are staying safe. We are in a series. I got to get right into it today because there is a ton to get to. We’re in a series where we’re talking about discovering who God made you to be, and in particular we’re talking about your shape, but this is not like your shape. Get in shape for the January New Year’s resolution.

This is the shape of who you are distinctly and wonderfully made. Who you are as different to anybody else, not just in this room, not just in this church, but in the planet. You are uniquely and wonderfully made and different than anyone else. And it all comes down to when you look to scripturally, one of the things that make you distinct, make an acronym, SHAPE, spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality and experience. And all these things brought together and total together make up you for who you are. And today we are talking about spiritual gifts. So anytime you start talking about spiritual gifts, people are like, “Wait, what is this whole thing?” And it brings up all sorts of images and thoughts in your mind of other churches or Hollywood movies and maybe you’ve seen the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts and you’re like, “Wait, is that us? Do we do that? I don’t know what’s going on.”

And so today I want to kind of describe spiritual gifts and provide a framework and then we’re going to actually get into the spiritual gifts. But first of all, the spiritual gifts come by the Holy Spirit. So we don’t have time to get into who the Holy Spirit is and what he does. We had a sermon back in the fall during our Trinity series where we talked about the Holy Spirit specifically. You can go back and listen to that in our archives and our website and just kind of figure out who is this Holy Spirit and what is he doing and stuff. But basically the idea is just that we all have the Holy Spirit. And then when he moves into your heart, he’s got bags with him. He has gifts that he brings and he gives to each of you, every one of you, gifts that are from him that either you did not have before, and he gives you the supernatural ability or something that was in you before and he elevates it and redeems it for the good and the growth and the glory of God’s kingdom. As we will see.

The word spiritual gifts then kind of brings to minds images like I talked about, but it’s helpful to kind of just break it down. The word gifts in Greek, you didn’t know that you knew this, but you know Greek, the word gift in Greek is charisma. Charisma. So if somebody has charisma, they’ve just got this gift, they have a way about them and everyone is attracted to it, right? But it means the word gifts. And actually by the way, parents, if your kids talk about how that person has rizz, it’s charisma. So translation. Now when you’re … am I wrong? Am I wrong? No, I’m not wrong. Just the teenager is just like, “Oh my goodness, he is so not cool.” I don’t have rizz right now. Do I have rizz? I don’t have rizz.

Response: Yes!

Chris Paavola: Thank you. I got rizz! Charisma is where this comes from. That’s what the kids are saying when they say it, moms, dads. All right. So anyway, charisma. And then that’s where we get our word charismatic. Now, really cool, in the word charisma or charisma the root word is made up of the word charis, which is the Greek word for grace, which gives us an understanding of why grace is seen as a gift from God, something you haven’t earned. It’s a gift. God’s gracing you with this thing. So charisma, And so that’s where the word comes from and why you hear the word charismatic churches, you hear this because these are churches who not only have a special focus on the Holy Spirit, but they have an emphasis and they look for the gifts, the charisma, of the Holy Spirit. But don’t misunderstand this, the Holy Spirit is all present in this place.

He is up in here. The Holy Spirit is present and strong. Everything that’s been happening at St. Mark since I’ve been here, the last 18 months or 20 months or so, everything that’s been happening is because the Holy Spirit is rocking and rolling, kicking butt and taking names. The Holy Spirit is present in this place, 100%. We just sang about him. And so it’s not like he’s not here and if you want the Holy Spirit, you have to go to charismatic churches. I also think this is a good chance as any, and I probably should, describe the difference of charismatic churches and St. Mark and what kind of our understanding of when we read scripture and how we believe the Holy Spirit works in spiritual gifts. And I have friends, one of my good friends, a guy named Josiah, we’ve had a lot of conversations about the Holy Spirit because he is Charismatic.

He goes to a Charismatic church. And so we talk about these things and I want him to understand and where I’m coming from and I want to understand where he’s coming from. And honestly, we’re buddies. And on the last day when we’re standing before God’s throne, and if one of us is wrong, I’ll be happy to apologize. He’d be happy to apologize. This is just how I understand things. A lot of Charismatic churches, they’ll talk about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and expressions of the Holy Spirit, great. But in my experience, they require or they ask for a second baptism in order to receive those gifts, namely the gift of speaking in tongues, and maybe you’ve seen when you’re on TBN like scrolling through and you’re like, What did that guy just do?” Like the speaking in tongues thing. So in Charismatic churches that gifting and many of the giftings require a second baptism.

And when I’ve talked to my friends about this who are Charismatic, I say, “Guys, I don’t see a second baptism in scripture.” The baptism we give here is the one that Jesus commands. “Go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the triune God.” Boom. Anytime we see a second baptism in scripture, namely in the Book of Acts, it’s people who received John’s baptism, but they didn’t even know there was a Holy Spirit or they weren’t baptized in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So they received a baptism in the complete Trinity. But nowhere do we see the reverse. Nowhere do we see people receiving just a baptism in the Holy Spirit. And maybe you’re going, “Well, why would this matter?” Well, let me just say guys. Scripture says to guard your life and doctrine closely.

And scripture also says, “In the last days, there will be false signs and false wonders leading people astray.” And this is really, really important. And there will be false prophets that will lead people astray. And so we have to understand because there is abuse regarding spiritual gifts as we’ll get into, for sure. And there’s a lot of confusion and disorder regarding spiritual gifts. And part of the reason I think there’s so much confusion regarding spiritual gifts is because I think the enemy knows how much power and potential there is when a church fully harnesses and leverages and utilizes the gifts of the Holy Spirit. So of course he’s going to work against it. Of course, he’s going to sow seeds of confusion and disorder, of course. So anyway, in a Charismatic church, you would receive a second baptism. But I just see one baptism commanded in scripture.

And actually another really good verse to consider is from Ephesians 4:4. This is the apostle Paul writing to a church in Ephesus and Ephesians 4:$. He says, “There is one body and one Spirit just as you were called to one hope when you were called, one Lord, one faith, say it, one baptism and one God, Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in all. And in all this is why this matters. One body, one spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God. There is one baptism. It’s not like when you were baptized in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you received a divided God is not divided, right? You didn’t receive a portion of God or one third of God, and then you have to go back and get a special portion of the Holy Spirit to be able to do all of these gifts.

That’s just not scriptural. And I would say that to my charismatic friends, and when I’ve talked to them about it, they’re like, “Yeah, that’s really something for me to consider. I don’t know.” The second thing that I would say is that there is a potential and a danger when you have an intense focus on spiritual gifts. You start chasing after the gift rather than the giver. And so you’re chasing after this, ‘What can God do for me?” Rather than for God himself. And we all know as when you give a gift, it’s about this relationship that’s established between you. And so to just understand as we talk about spiritual gifts and as you consider spiritual gifts, this is about your relationship with the giver, not necessarily just the gift. Now, there is also something really important to consider with regards to the spiritual gifts.

This is not elitism. So if somebody has this really obvious gift of the Holy Spirit or this thing that nobody else can do, then all of a sudden it creates this elitism and this hierarchy in what is otherwise a very egalitarian church where you’re just like, “Wait, wait, wait. That person does that special thing and I’m just little old me.” But that’s just not the case. Paul talks about we’re one body, many parts and every part has its purpose. And then take a look at these verses that talk about the gifting of the spirit. The gifts of the Spirit are given to say it, each person for the good of the congregation, or two chapters later in first Corinthians, 14 verse 12, “Since all of you are eager for the gifts of the spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.” And then Peter jumps on this train and in his letter he says, say it with me.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others.” The point being that every single one of you not only has the Holy Spirit, you have the giftings that come with the Holy Spirit. That’s why Paul, if you heard in our reading earlier, he said, “No one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” So if you’re in this place and you believe in your heart and confess through your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, he’s the Son of God, crucified for you, lived a perfect life, died for your sins and rose from the grave, if you believe that, if you confess the words of the Apostles Creed with us, that’s the Holy Spirit within you giving utterance to that thing. No one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit. And if you have the Holy Spirit, not only Jesus, he give you faith, but he gives you gifts to each person, to all of you, to each of you.

That’s what we see in scripture, but it’s more than that. Look at this emphasis. If you notice each of these also points out that these gifts are given for the good of the congregation, for the building up of the church, for serving others. And this is another danger that you can see in Charismatic churches, is that they will pursue these gifts for me and my state of euphoria, and my feelings, and my sense of elation, and it’s all about me. But when you look at scripture, the gifts are given for the church. You are given a gift to build up the people around you. It’s not about you. And this is so important to consider. It says, we are thinking about spiritual gifts. This is something God has given to each believer by His Holy Spirit, and he’s gifted you for the good of those around you.

Do you see, and I’ve had these conversations with my friends, and again, if I am wrong, but this is my understanding is I look at the totality of scripture and this thing called the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. Now, before the service, I handed out some numbered envelopes. So if you got one of those, come on up. I was wondering how many people would be here today. So I’m glad that there are 17 of you, and let’s do number one on this side line up in order. Let’s see how good you guys are doing this on your own and organizing yourself. One down here, 17, all the way there in front. Okay, so when you read scripture, there are four different sections that talk about gifts of the Holy Spirit, four different sections that talk about gifts of the Holy Spirit. You didn’t want to do it, you gave it.

You just like, “Here you go, honey.” My goodness, my goodness. Okay, I’m getting to you later. All right? Goes around and comes around. I’m just saying, okay. Anyway, there’s about four different sections in scripture that outline different gifts of the Holy Spirit. None of them is the exhaustive list. They all kind of describe it in different parts and kind of arrange it and everything like that. Some of them use synonymous terms, but there’s anywhere from 14, 15 to 20 or 17 or so spiritual gifts. I think this is just to get us thinking about who we are. And so these are now the spiritual gifts, and we’re going to read them in alphabetical order that we see in scripture starting all the way, can you go in front of the pulpit, stand in front of the pulpit, and then move down? And then John, you two just, there you go.

Come on guys. So don’t be afraid. There you go. We’re making room because Andrea’s falling off the stage over here in the far end. Come on, down, come on. All right, and Andrea, thank you, Jack. Andrea, inside. So keep your envelopes contained, but Andrea, you can go ahead and take yours out. And then when the person in front of you takes theirs out, you can open yours. The reason I wanted to put these in envelopes is to reinforce the idea, this is a gift, like a gift card. You’re opening a gift from God, and this is the gift that God has given you. So Andrea, read the title and then the description. Go ahead.


Speaker 1: Gift of administration. I like organizing and planning things.

Chris Paavola: Okay. Gift of administration. This is really, really important. As a church begins to grow, the bigger it gets, the more organization. It’s not like things get more complicated, it just requires more organization. It’s not like you reach a new level, it’s just there’s more people involved. You see this right away in the early church, by the way. The apostles are trying to feed the hungry people in Jerusalem and everyone’s going, “Hey, you’ve got to preach too.” And they’re like, “Set aside for us those who have this gift of being able, deacons, waiters, serving others and distributing gifts according to each need.” And so they set up people with the gift of administration to care for the rest of the needs of Jerusalem. So we see this in the church. As we continue to grow, we need people to help organize things and create layers and efficiency. And so there you go. That’s the gift of administration. Next, please Laurie, and then Don, you can open yours. Yep, go ahead.

Speaker 2: All right. Gift of apostleship. I like starting new ministries.

Chris Paavola: Okay. The word ‘apostle’ means to send. And so the apostles are the sent ones. When I was planting a church in St. Louis, before I did so I took an inventory assessment and they wanted to make sure that I had the gift of apostleship, that entrepreneurial start something from scratch kind of spirit. Can you go into a place, start pioneer something, start something that’s there. And now there’s a church in St. Louis that was not there before because I in some part have a gift of apostleship. And as you hear these, by the way, you’ll be like, “I’m that one. Oh, I’m that one. I got a little bit of that. I got a lot of that.” You don’t have one gift. These are spiritual gifts, plural, for a reason. Okay, Don.

Speaker 3: Gift of discernment. I often can tell what’s true in a situation.

Cris Paavola: And again, this might be something from outside of you, and then all of a sudden you’ve got this ability or something that was already in you, and God is redeeming for the good, the growth and the glory of His church. But the gift of discernment is somebody who … they’re able to, you’re smiling, but they can see behind the mask and they’re like, “Oh, something’s going on.” And they’ll ask you, “Is everything okay?” And you’re like, “I was trying to hide it.” But they’re the ones, they don’t get snowed. They see what’s going on.

And then also with regards to discernment, they’re often weighing that against God’s word. This person often is paired with the gift of knowledge that we’ll get into in a moment, but they just have a deep understanding of God’s word and they’re discerning, “What’s going on? This looks good to everyone else, but God’s word says this.” And they’re looking at everything through the lens of God’s word. So that’s what discernment means, and they’re discerning like, “This is not from God, or This is not what God wants for us.” And there’s just this sense of caution that they have. Go ahead, Gavin.

Speaker 4: The gift of encouragement. I often see the potential in others and enjoy telling them how God wants to use them.

Chris Paavola: This is not like people who are hurting and you comfort them. Encouragement in this regard is like somebody who gives a loving swift kick in the rear to somebody to get engaged into the ministry. “You can do this thing. I see this potential in you.” And so they speak that and they love encouraging or challenging people to take that step forward. They see the God-given potential that you have. Okay, next big guy, here we go.

Speaker 5: Gift of evangelism. I like talking to non-Christians about faith.

Chris Paavola: Okay, gift of evangelism. Now, this is a good spot to mention this, a good a spot as any. Everybody is required to talk to people about Jesus. This does not mean you are exempt from talking to people about Jesus if you don’t have the gift of evangelism. Just like as we see other gifts like helping or mercy or compassion or whatever it might be, this does not mean you are exempt from doing that thing.

However, there are people who just, they are naturally gifted at this. They can talk to non-Christians about Jesus in a winsome and conversational way that doesn’t turn into an argument. I think I have this, I think you’ve heard my preaching enough that you know that I’m always kind of leaning into those who are on the outside and inviting them into the household of faith. I’m always turning our eyes to those who are yet to come. And people with a gift of evangelism, you can’t go to dinner with them without them witnessing to the waiter or the mechanic or wherever. And it drives my kids crazy, like every conversation, “Oh my gosh.” But it’s this idea that they’re always trying to introduce people to Jesus because they have the gift of evangelism. Go ahead.

Speaker 6: Gift of faith. I often believe God to do big things.

Chris Paavola: Often believe. So everyone again has the gift of faith. We’re all required to have faith in God and do believe in God, but these are the people who believe in the big things. When you’re praying with people who have the gift of faith, they make you uncomfortable because they’re going, “Oh Lord, we ask you to move the mountain in Jesus name.” And you’re like, “Goodness, can you throw ‘if it be thy will’ in there? Like holy cow, you want to temper it?”

And they’re the ones that are just bold stepping out. These are the people taking new ventures all the time. I think Peter, the disciple, had the gift of faith. All the other disciples are in the storm, they’re in the boat, they’re sitting, “I’m going to stay in the seat.” And Peter’s like, “Lord, call me out in the water.” And he wants to walk on it too. This is the person who steps out in faith. And then later on in Peter’s life, we see him with remarkable acts of faith. “In the name of Jesus, stand up and walk.” And you’re like, “Holy cow.” That’s the gift of faith. This often is accompanied by somebody with the gift of healing as well. Okay, next one, go ahead.

Speaker 7: Gift of giving. I love giving above and beyond what’s expected.

Chris Paavola: Once again, we all have the gift of giving or we’re all called to give. We say around here, the goal or the gold standard for us is that we would all be tithers. Giving a 10% of our income. The word tithe means 10th, however, and we should all be taking steps to get closer and closer to that, whatever that means for you in 2024. People with a gift of giving, however are above and beyond. They’re sacrificial beyond that.

They love inconveniencing themselves by the lavishly giving to other people. This is the person, there’s some of us, when the bill arrives at dinner or at lunch or whatever, you get alligator arms, you’re like, “Oh, let me get that. No, no, no, no.” But the person with the gift of giving is like, go gadget arms. “I got this.” And they love grabbing the bill. They love leaving a big tip. This is the person who buys really expensive gifts for your kid and you’re like, “Oh my goodness, that’s more expensive than the gift I got them. And I’m their parent, grandma, what are you doing?” So that’s the gift of giving in action. Okay, go ahead.

Speaker 8: Gift of healing. When I pray for those with medical issues, I often see healing.

Chris Paavola: I almost needed a medical issue right there. I almost took a gainer off the steps and I needed somebody with a gift of healing to come forward and heal me. Gift of healing. So we all are called to heal. I think this one is actually present a lot in St. Mark, I think a lot of you care about medical issues. We see the prayer requests. A lot of them deal with medical issues, but a person with a gift of healing isn’t just saying, “God, we ask you to be with this person who’s suffering.” The person with the gift of healing is like, “Lord Jesus, we ask, would you please remove this cancer in Jesus name?” And you’re just like, “Wow.” I’ve seen miraculous healings in my lifetime. I’ve seen healings that defy and stupefy the doctors.

And I think of how we’ve had prayer circles and for people with big medical issues and then miraculous healings, and that can only be attributed to people who have this gift of healing. Gift of healing is often paired with, in my experience, the gift of mercy as we’ll get into because they’re always seeing the hurting. And so if you frequently are thinking about the hurting and your heart breaks at those who are in the hospital and you’re always filling out prayer requests for sick people, might I suggest you should take a step forward in developing and growing this gift of healing by starting to pray a little bit bolder prayers and growing in your gift of faith and starting asking God with a question mark for really big answers for healing. All right, next one.

Speaker 9: Gift of helping. I notice others in need and tend to do a kind act of service for them.

Chris Paavola: Okay, gift of helping. We have this in spades here at the church too. The Holy Spirit is called the shy member of the Trinity, kind of referred to as that because he’s always in the background. He’s always deferring and referring to God the Son or God the Father, and he’s always wanting to draw attention to them. That’s what the Holy Spirit does. And so it doesn’t surprise me that one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit also has this shy nature about it.

People with the gift of helping are always in the background. This is the entire altar team. They would rather set up the altar, but nobody knows that they do that. This is people though who just see a need. They’re the ones taking out the trash when no one asks them. They’re the ones who are mopping up the floor when no one asks them. They’re the ones who are shoveling their neighbor’s driveway when the neighbor was away. They want to bless others with acts of service. That’s the gift of helping, and that is from the Holy Spirit because it should startle us. It’s the kind of help that, “Whoa, I didn’t deserve this.” It’s this grace, this gift, this help that I didn’t earn. Okay, where are we at? Okay, by the way, you guys as are up here, don’t lock your knees, just you’re standing a long time. So anyway, go ahead.

Speaker 10: Gift of hospitality. I love going above and beyond to make others feel welcomed and love and loved. And I notice new people or those who feel locked out.

Chris Paavola: So hospitality, think of a party. If you’re throwing a party at your house and you’re the host, people are coming over, you want everyone to have a good time. And so the person with hospitality has that sense of ownership about the church. They’re kind of looking around, “Okay, you got food? Okay, is your drink filled? Okay, can I get you a refill? And then have you two met and you’re not a part of the conversation, come on and include you.” And just trying to make everyone have a good time. And that’s the Spirit and the sentiment and the disposition we need here at the church. So this is not just welcoming, this is making sure that everybody feels included. So last week I was talking to a family just about something that was kind of important. I’m at the table right back there in the cafe talking to this family, and I noticed there’s a brand new couple to our church, and they’re standing in the side and they’re doing this.

And you can always tell if somebody’s new, they’re standing in the cafe just kind of looking at the bulletin and just staring at the cover because they’ve got nothing else to do. By the way, if you see that person, go introduce yourself. And so I noticed them and I was like, “Oh my goodness.” And so I went up to one of our leaders and said, “Hey, I’m going to finish this conversation here. Can you go introduce yourself to those people? I think they’re new.” And he’s like, “Oh yeah, absolutely.”

He doesn’t have a gift to hospitality. So it wasn’t like he would notice this right away. And as he’s walking towards this couple, he gets intercepted by somebody from our church, praise God, who has the gift to hospitality and was like, “Hi, I don’t know if you go to another service or if you’ve never been here before. I’ve never seen you at the service. My name is so-and-so, so great to meet you. What brought you to St. Mark?” That’s the gift to hospitality in action, making sure that a brand new person felt included. And we need this as we continue to grow. All right, next one.

Speaker 11: Gift of knowledge. I often understand and know scripture in ways others don’t.

Chris Paavola: Yes, you do, Adam. So here’s how the gift of knowledge works. This is like somebody who they have a retention, a depth of insight into scripture. I think my brother Mark over here, he’s got the gift of knowledge, and I can see it in him. I’ve got a pastor buddy of mine. When I’ve got a deep theological question, I will call him up and be like, “Hey, Navi.” That’s his nickname. I’m like, “Navi I’m confused about something.” Explain it to him, and he will come back with some obscure scripture from the Old Testament to consider. I’m like, “Oh, I’ve never thought about that.” And that’s the gift of knowledge at work. And that’s different than other gifts than we will see. But that’s what the gift of knowledge is. And again, that gift is paired with often discernment and teaching, as we will see. Go ahead, Sabrina.

Speaker 12: Gift of languages. I can learn languages quickly and even speak languages I do not know.

Chris Paavola: Okay, so we’ve been flying, I’ve got to press pause here and describe this. This is going to take me a little bit of time, but this matters, and this is important, and this is the watershed kind of thing between Charismatic churches and St. Mark. So the word in Greek is Glossa. And what makes this confusing is that in different sections of scripture, it will be interpreted or translated as languages or tongues. And in no other scenario would we ever translate it as tongues other than the pages of the Bible, right? We don’t talk about how many tongues can you speak. We talk about how many languages can you speak, right? So in no other scenario would we translate it like that. Glossa. I hearken back to the beginning of the message here where I was talking about Ephesians four, one baptism. Could it be that God gives you some supernatural language that you can speak to God with this supernatural language, this Glossa, this tongue?

Absolutely. I just don’t think you need a second baptism to get it. Because why would God give you some kind of special gift, but ask you to do something that goes against his word in order to get it? That’s my understanding of this. So could it be that God does this? A hundred percent, just I would throw a flag on the play and ask that you follow God’s word in order to receive God’s gifts. That’s just my understanding. Now, the word Glossa is used throughout languages in Acts one, Acts chapter one is the first example of this. The church gathers together in the city of Jerusalem. They’re all standing in Jerusalem and they’re waiting. And then the Holy Spirit is poured out in Pentecost and enables them to speak different languages. And right away the first example of tongues that we see is other human languages. And why? It’s for the building up of the body of Christ, the expansion and growth and good and glory of God’s kingdom.

It’s not about you. And so there’s a guy there who’s Hebrew first language, and he suddenly starts speaking German or Portuguese or Egyptian. Why? Because there were Germans, Portuguese and Egyptian people there, and he’s telling them about how Jesus Christ was the Son of God, lived a perfect life, died a perfect death, and rose again from the dead for the forgiveness of our sins. And they’re able to understand the gospel because it’s spoken to them in their own language, this is huge. Later on apostle Paul talks about how, “I thank God, that I speak in Glossa more than all of you.” Languages, tongues more than all of you. Well, why would Paul say that he’s not speaking in multiple different supernatural languages? The reason I think when I read that, that Paul is saying that is because he goes on five different missionary trips, plants churches all over the known world.

Of course he can speak Galatian, of course he can speak Jordanian. Of course he can speak Spanish. He’s speaking this language as he’s planting churches all over the known Roman worlds. That’s what I think. Now, could it be that God gives you a supernatural language? Absolutely. But I just don’t think you should get a second baptism in order to speak that language. That’s actually something we see in other religions, is people speaking unintelligible languages, Buddhism, Hinduism all have examples of this. Now, I’ll also note, and I would share this if my Charismatic friend was here, we’ve talked about this til we’re blue in the face. When angels speak and the Bible, they’re speaking Hebrew. Now maybe God will give you a supernatural language, but all of the other spiritual gifts are about building up the body of Christ, but suddenly he gives a gift that’s about some supernatural language that you speak with God?

I will also say this. I have seen the gift of languages firsthand. I was on a mission trip with a bunch of kids right out of college. I was leading a high school youth group, and we went down to Mexico to build homes in Mexico. And while we were building homes, we also had a VBS program in this town in kind of central Mexico. None of us spoke Spanish, but we had an interpreter. And so we’re leading this mission trip, and we were at this moment in this VBS program that we’re doing, we were playing Duck, Duck, Goose. Remember it was [foreign language 00:31:27]. Duck, Duck, Goose, and we’re all playing VBS. And then after that, we were supposed to tell a story of Jesus and share the gospel with these kids. Our interpreter had to leave in an emergency. So the interpreter left, and there’s the small group of us and none of us can speak Spanish.

And in that moment, one of the members of our group suddenly began to tell the kids how to play [foreign language 00:31:58], to give them instructions of playing in the game. The game got over, and then they started sharing a story of Jesus in Spanish, and then giving the kids the good news and giving them the gospel in Spanish, a language they did not. And we’re all watching this going, “You didn’t tell us you spoke Spanish.” Once we dismissed the kids, they couldn’t even say the word banjo.

They couldn’t tell you where the bathroom was in Spanish. They no longer had the gift. God gave it for a very specific purpose, a very specific time, to a very specific person for the purpose of what? Building up the body of Christ. And I believe in that moment, I saw the gift of tongues first hand. It remains to this day, one of the most miraculous things I have ever seen in my life. That to me is Glossa the gift of the Holy Spirit giving the gift of tongues. Amen. Go ahead. I don’t even know where we are anymore. Here we go. Keep going.

Speaker 13: Gift of leadership. People in groups often look to me for direction.

Chris Paavola: Follow my example and ask me for direction. So this is people you’re talking and everyone’s looking at you like, “What are we going to do?” And you’re like, “Oh wow, I guess I’m going to make it.” And you’re the one who’s unafraid to go first. I think most pastors should have the gift of leadership, but I don’t think everyone with the gift of leadership should be a pastor as we’ll get into in just a second. Okay, next one, Mr. Ben.

Speaker 14: Gift of mercy. I often notice those who are hurting or in need and am often moved to help.

Chris Paavola: Okay, gift of mercy. This is the person who, so again, this is paired often with the gift of healing. You see someone who is struggling in the hospital, you want to visit with them and care for them. About a year ago, Jack and I asked the elders to do some hospital and shut-in visits. So our elders were like, “Sure, we’ll do this.” Some of our elders have the gift of mercy, some of them do not. So they all went and visited these people in the hospital. But wouldn’t you know it, there was a bunch of these guys who went back again, and again, and again, visiting with these people in the hospital, taking meals to them, and eventually bringing them to church because they had the gift of mercy. This is the good Samaritan lived out. We have a Stevens ministry that’s a ministry specifically geared towards those who are hurting, those who are shut-ins. And we need people with the gift of mercy to step up and step in and be a part of that ministry as it grows. Lauren.

Speaker 15: A gift of pastoring. I like leading groups of people in matters of faith.

Chris Paavola: With rizz. No rizz, okay. Gift of pastoring. I like leading groups of people and matters of faith. So a pastor, the word pastor means shepherd. You’re a disciple maker. Pastors, yes, we’re doing mercy. Yes, we’re helping. Yes, we’re teaching. But pastors also are making disciples, right? They’re equipping the equippers, they’re encouraging the encouragers. They’re leading the leaders, they’re helping the helpers, they’re lifting up these people. They’re encouraging and spurring others on to do the work of the ministry. Pastors are always about, they have a sense of direction of where they’re going, but the general sense of a pastor is they’re trying to build up the flock, to build up the herd. The idea of being a shepherd and you’re trying to do what’s good for the group and leveraging the gifts that are in a person to accomplish that end. So that’s the difference between a pastor and a leader. Go ahead, John.

Speaker 16: The gift of prophecy. I am often bothered by sinning and have a sense of what God is going to do.

Chris Paavola: So if we were going to say prophesy about something, this is like the idea of predicting the future. And this one is abused, a hundred percent abused. And we’re a lot of abuse in churches and especially, and I’m just calling it out. Especially in Charismatic churches because they’ll say to you, “God has told me to give me your car. God has told me you need to give another $10 in the offering plate.” Who are you to go against the man of God? Like who’s saying this thing? He’s a prophet, and this is where the gift of prophecy can be abused. Is there a gift of prophecy? Obviously, yes, but I think it needs to be put in some context. First of all, prophets in the Old Testament were calling out sin. A lot of prophets I hear today, or people who say that they’re prophets, I don’t hear a whole lot of calling out sin. I hear about calling about God’s favor. And year 2024 is going to be a year of blessing and year of prosperity.

I don’t hear a calling out of sin. And when you look at John the Baptist all the way to Moses, man, they are calling out sin in God’s people. And that’s one of the things a prophet does, and that’s one of the reasons prophets were killed often because they are calling out sin first. Second, there’s a verse in Hebrews one, this says, “In the days of old God spoke to his people through the prophets. But now in these last days, he’s spoken to us by his son.” There’s a sense that prophets, yes, they talk about what’s coming in the future, but they’re pointing forward to Jesus. And then after Jesus, the prophets point back to the person and the work of Jesus.

Okay, so this now gives us three questions that we can ask. If somebody comes to me and they have perhaps the gift of prophecy, I need to submit to that, but they come to me and say, “God has told me we need to start a food pantry at St. Mark. And be like, “Well, there’s one at St. Peter’s.” “No, but God told me that you’re supposed to do this.” Well, I’m going to find out if this is a false prophecy or true prophecy by testing the spirits, which is what God’s word says to do. This is what God’s word says to do. And so three things that I encourage you to use when somebody comes with you or you find yourself in a prophecy situation like this. One, what does scripture say about it? Does it go against God’s word? Well, then that’s not from God.

Again, knowing God’s word really matters. Two, does what they say often come true? Have they done other? What’s their track record as a prophet? Have they said things that have come true? And then three. And that’s kind of hard if they say, how do you … “God told me we need to start a food pantry here at St. Mark.” If somebody said that to me, I would do the third thing, which is confirm it with other believers. I would verify it by going to other believers. I would go to somebody else who I believe has the gift of discernment, who had discernment. I’d go to Don with the gift of discernment, and I’d go, “Don, has God been putting on your heart that we should start any new ministries?” And see what Don says. Because it’s the same Holy Spirit in Don with her gift of discernment as it is.

Who is the gift prophecy? Who is prophecy? As the prophecy … It’s the same gift. Or I’m sorry, it’s the same spirit. So why would the same Spirit give one word to him and a different word to her? It’s the same spirit. You guys, this book right here. Let’s not pretend that these things stop and that it’s just in this book. I want to see God’s word lived out in our midst. Amen? And I want these gifts to come live in our church. So let’s not relegate this to something that happens between Genesis and the maps and back. I want the gifts of the Spirit to be lived out. But if it’s going to be lived out, we have to take this seriously. Think about these things thoughtfully, and take precaution and care of the gifts that are in you. Last but not least, here we go.

Speaker 17: Gift of teaching. I can make complicated and difficult concepts easy to understand.

Chris Paavola: So everyone that has the gift of teaching has the gift of knowledge, but not everyone with the gift of knowledge has a gift of teaching, at least I think so. The gift of teaching is somebody who has that innate ability to remember what it’s like to not know. They’ve not been deceived by the curse of knowledge. And they can make things understandable to a person who does not have the same breadth of experience and understanding. And they can make it memorable too. It’s not just can you teach it? Can you make it memorable? That’s a good teacher.

My father-in-Law is an electrician. And I ask him what light bulb I need. I will get seventy-five questions and a dissertation about amps and voltage. And he’s this really smart guy, and I’m exaggerating. But the point is, I just need to know the light bulb, what stick it. Has so much knowledge. A good teacher can make the complicated things simple. So this is everything you need to do a church. All 17 of you guys are equipped and ready to rock and roll, to start a church.

You have everything you need right there with all 17 of those gifts. Now, imagine you’re God and you’re the Holy Spirit and you’ve got all these gifts. Well, you could just give it all to one person. Here you go. But you wouldn’t be able … some of them would lie fallow. Some of them wouldn’t be used and you wouldn’t be able to hold onto all of them. Or you could make us need one another and you could give a different gift to each person for the good and the growth and the glory of God’s kingdom. And that’s what the Holy Spirit does. One of those gifts up there is in you. Many of those gifts that are up there are in you.

How has the Holy Spirit given you a gift? We were praying earlier, we pray every Sunday morning, me with a group of guys about today, about you, about the message, and one of them prayed about, “We don’t want our guests to …” It’s the parable of the talents. We don’t want our gifts to be buried. For God to go, “I gave you this gift and you never used it.” It’s like a kid on Christmas morning opening a gift and then leaving it in the box. There is a gift in you, child of God. If the Holy Spirit has given you for the good and the growth and the glory of God’s kingdom and the benefit of this church. So what gift is in you? I remind you of the scripture from first Corinthians 12 verse seven. “The gifts of the Spirit are given to each person for the good of the congregation.”

The gifts of the Spirit are given to you for the good of the people sitting around you. And this series is all about getting you off the sidelines and into the game. A hundred percent. So how do we figure it out? What do you have? Well, we have to ask you. And so we’ve got a shape profile here. You guys can come forward and start handing this out. It’s two-sided. We’re going to take a few minutes in worship. I know this is super unorthodox. Who cares? You guys are going to fill this out. You’re going to let us know your spiritual gifts, your heart, your ability, your personality, and your experiences. We’re going to do this today in worship. If you’re watching online, you can go to, there’s a QR code that’s going to be on the screen right there. You can scan that or go to our hub,, and you guys can fill it out.

All of you guys can go back to your seat. Let’s give them a hand. Thank you guys so much. You’ve done great. You guys can hold onto your gifts too. I don’t need them anymore. There you go. But yeah. And then ushers, can you make sure that all 17 of these people coming back are getting one too? Ms. Jinks and Mr. Nate, all these people who are coming back. We’ve got writing utensils and pens. Go ahead and start the music there, John. Honestly, just take a few moments, fill it out, let us know how you are gifted, and then when you come forward to communion, drop your gifts in this basket right here, and then come forward to receive communion from the bread and wine from one of our elders. So thank you guys so much. The time is yours.