Posted tagged ‘Biblical Counseling’

Spiritual Gifts Inform Us of Our Neediness

February 28, 2012

We do not have an exhaustive list of gifts of the the Spirit in the Bible, but we do have a lot of them.  These gifts are sovereignly distributed by the Spirit for the common good and edification of the church.  When each member is working properly, the body grows and is built up in love.

In the wisdom of God, He has designed that we are all ministers to one another in various ways through a variety of gifts.  Have you considered what God is saying about us with the equipment of so many gifts?  We are a needy people! You are a needy person. We do not realize how profound our spiritual needs are, but God does, and He has made provision for our needs through the gifts of His Spirit exercised through the lives of His people. For example:

When the Holy Spirit intends a person with the gift of giving to be useful in the church, what does it say about us? We are in deep need of the generous benevolence of others, and God is intentional about providing that financial or practical through others.

When the Holy Spirit intends a person with the gift of exhortation to be useful in the church, what does it say about us? We are in deep need of encouragement and proper motivation, and God is intentional about providing people in our lives to stir our hearts and direct our steps in paths that honor God.

We could extend this exercise through the various lists of spiritual gifts, the point God is making to us is this:

1.  We have profound needs in multiple areas of our lives
2.  God has made provision for those needs to be met by the gifts of His Spirit
3.  Members of the body of Christ supply the needs to one another through exercising the Spirit’s gifts

This is another significant reason for being a covenant member of a local church and meaningful participant in gospel community.  As a needy person, you will feel tempted to address those needs through unspiritual means. But when you understand how God ordered the church, you know that God intends that each member would “have the same care for one another” (1 Cor. 12:25).

Lone-ranger Christians are at best disobedient and dysfunctional. They are disobedient because numerous commands of Scripture require us to be in regular contact with other believers (“one another” commands). They are dysfunctional because the needs they have are not being met by the God-ordained means of gifts of the Holy Spirit through each member of His body. Perhaps what exists behind of this is a denial of neediness–a determination of making it by self-determination and independence. Sadly, this state of existence is far too common in the church today.

God knows what we need before we ask Him. God has made provision through the distribution of the Spirit’s gifts through the work of ministry when each member is equipped and working properly. As we have our needs met through the ministry of others, we are also meeting the needs of others by the gifts given to us for their good.

20 Books to Foster Life-Change

March 18, 2009

One of the things I have focused on of late is to focus on knowing certain books really well.  There are some books that I read, and there are other books that I read, outline, analyze, and refer back to time and again.  The latter are books that are generally rich in theology but also really useful in ministry.  During the last month, Grace (Baptist) has focused much on gospel and community, and in particular our responsibility to preach and apply the gospel to ourselves and seek to bring life-change together as we all consecrate ourselves to Christ and concentrate our lives on fulfilling His mission.

Consequently, a couple of weeks ago I did an informal polling question on Twitter asking folks about which books have resulted in the greatest life-change among either themselves or those in their congregation (or are discipling).  A pretty good listed was formed, and together with my own, I wanted to pass along a list of books that are worth reading, applying, and sharing in community with others to bring about the ongoing transformation that is inherent with the call to follow Christ. If there any others you would recommend, please pass that info along in the comments.

1. Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul David Tripp
2. Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper
3. Religious Affections by Johnathan Edwards
4. Living the Cross-Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney
5. Trusting God by Jerry Bridges
6. Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
7. God Is the Gospel by John Piper
8. The Prodigal God by Tim Keller
9. Holiness by Grace by Bryan Chappell
10. The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges
11. The Gospel for Real Life by Jerry Bridges
12. Holiness by J.C. Ryle
13. Renewal as a Way of Life by Richard Lovelace
14. The Cross-Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney
15. The Valley of Vision by Arthur Bennett
16. The Peacemaker by Ken Sande
17. Humility by C.J. Mahaney
18. Desiring God Trilogy (Desiring God, Pleasures of God, Future Grace) by John Piper
19. When People Are Big and God Is Small by Ed Welch
20. Spiritual Depression by Martyn Lloyd-Jones