Tag Archives: stewardship

Our Gifts, His Glory

The internet is a funny animal. It allows you to “meet” people you wouldn’t normally know and be friends with them without ever having hugged them or shared a coffee or heard their voice. One of my best “friends in the box,” as I call them, is Katie McNemar.

This girl is THE AWESOME, and she’s embarking on the great American Christian Adventure, by listening to God’s call to return to her home state and wait for further instructions. I’m in a perpetual state of admiration for this girl, whose blog you can read here and whom you may follow on Twitter here. You should, of course, leave comments here for the beautiful KatieMc.


We have different gifts, according to the grace given to us. -Romans 12:6 NIV

When I was younger, and before I knew Jesus, the gifts I had to give to the world were superficial, empty, and sparse.  I knew deep inside that I had a purpose.  I didn’t understand it at all, but I knew that I was born for something big.  Knowing that, but not knowing how to make it happen made me feel overwhelmed and unqualified at every turn.  Every time I looked at myself I couldn’t imagine that anything great could be done through me.  I didn’t even know how to answer a simple question like, “What kind of books/music/sports do you like?” I was an empty vessel, floating through the stormy seas of life without a Captain and without direction.

My life didn’t change drastically the day I got saved.  It took me another 3 or so years until I was really ready to give it all to Jesus and follow Him wherever He led.  The beginning of our journey was a little rocky, because I had a hard time identifying and feeling confident in using the gifts that God had given me.  Ever since I could hold a pencil I loved to write, but I stopped trying at some point because I didn’t think I was good enough.  It was so hard for me to start writing again; especially when I was writing about God.  I didn’t feel qualified to write about Jesus at all.  But I did it.  And shockingly enough to me, people read what I had to say and liked it.  Even through the fear, God gave me a peace to keep on going.

I’ll never forget when my Pastor gave me the opportunity to speak in front of the whole church one day.  I couldn’t understand why he would have ever been foolish enough to give me a microphone.  That day was a turning point for me.  I realized that the thoughts I had about myself were totally wrong.  I felt alive with that microphone in my hand.  I didn’t feel scared.  I loved speaking in front of people. It felt…right.  The same started happening with my writing.  The more I used the gifts that God gave me, the more confident I felt in them and the more effective I was. 

Eventually I started opening the first and second services at my church, having a book club at my apartment, and helping my brother and sister-in-law with the middle/high school ministry.  The opportunity I was given to use my gifts, allowed me to see the authority I had as a child of God.  Someone just had to give me the chance to do it even if I wasn’t perfect or if I messed up.

If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.- Romans 12:6-8


We need to be more willing to let loose of our control and give people the opportunity to use their gifts.  I am sure that the first few times I had to get up in front of the whole church, my voice was shaky and I probably said a few silly things, but I never would have been able to get better if someone wouldn’t have believed in me and let me keep trying.  We need to be good stewards of the gifts that God has given us, and we also need to be willing to let other people step out into the unknown and use their gifts.  The world needs us to use our gifts with a bold confidence that can only come from the Holy Spirit.  The closer we are with the Spirit, the more easily we are able to use our gifts.  If you are unsure of what gifts God had given you, all you have to do is ask Him.  He is faithful to show you and grow you in them.  After all, our gifts are all for His glory. 

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. -1 Cor 12: 4-6


What are your Spiritual gifts?  How did you know what your gifts were?

If you have a few minutes, and are curious, this gifts survey might be enlightening: http://www.churchgrowth.org/cgi-cg/gifts.cgi?intro=1


Deathbed Confessions

Life, so I hear, is a sexually transmitted, terminal disease. Paradoxically, when life begins, so does the process of death. These are happy thoughts, yes? I apologize for that, but I’ve been pondering stewardship of time, and, truth is, you can’t get around the fact that your days on Earth are few.

This week, I read a former professor’s blog post about his cancer diagnosis and the inadequate questions that someone facing their mortality might ask, namely, “How could this happen?” and “Who said life is fair?” Both questions, ultimately, misrepresent the agent. Death is an “organic process,” Myers said. Our reaction to that process is what counts.

Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. – Psalm 39:4


We have all received a terminal diagnosis. We can mourn each and every setback, indulge in self-pity regularly as trials come. Or, we could revert to nihilism, in which blessings and curses are arbitrarily assigned.

Still, there is another choice left to us, we can choose to maximize our days.

While someone with cancer or lymphoma or AIDS might have a more precise indication of when their lives will end, we can all live like today might be our last, and make our last disclosure.

Here is my deathbed confession: I worried too much. I loved too little.  I spent too much time with my nose in a computer and not enough time holding someone’s hand. I was selfish and sometimes sullen and small-minded and seriously sycophantic when it suited.

What do you have to confess? What do you do to optimize your days?

What’s your excuse?

She’s 3.5 years old. She stands 41” tall. She weighs exactly 36 lbs and has a bicep measuring a whopping 6” around. She cries if you forget apple juice at snack, but here’s what she did for Jesus today:

She helped make and move boxes

Helped sort all the shoes

She laid out the shoes by size

And rubber band the shoes in pairs

Messiah had a shoe drive to benefit Soles for Jesus and our local Cypress Assistance Ministry. The church donated 340 pair of shoes, which needed to be divided, paired, boxed and shipped.

Command those who are rich in this world’s goods not to be haughty or to set their hope on riches, which are uncertain, but on God who richly provides us with all things for our enjoyment – 1 Timothy 6:17


Wendy, at 3.5 was so excited to help kids around the world with their soles (and souls), that she threw herself into her volunteer duties, and then cried when it was time to leave.

What you don’t see pictured is that she and I went to the store to buy more boxes, and she helped carry the packing tape. What you don’t see is that she lovingly packed boxes full of kids’ shoes to send overseas. What you don’t see is how she jumped on piles of cardboard before we added them to the giant, green recycling bin. What you don’t hear in the pictures is her utterly cheerful commentary as she moved among the shoes. What you don’t know is that Wendy has a heart for helping.

Let’s review the stats, 3.5 years old, 41” tall, 36 lbs and tiny little muscles. And she worked. She was a good steward of her time and energy, even though she has no idea what stewardship means.

What’s your excuse? What outreach programs are you a part of?


We have 7 days, multiplied by 24 hours in a day, which means 168 hours per week.

7 days, multiplied by 7 hours of sleep, means we spend 49 out of those 168 in bed.

7 days, multiplied by 3 hours spent preparing, eating and cleaning up after meals, means we spend 21 hours out of those 168 thinking about our stomachs.

7 days, multiplied by 1 hour getting ourselves and/or our children dressed means we spend 7 hours out of those 168 thinking about our appearance.

Subtract a 40 work week.

Minus 5 hours for commute (and I’m being conservative, here!)

In 2009, the average adult internet user spend 13 hours per week online. I’m pretty sure I have helped raise that average.

In 2009, the Dept of Labor Statistics reported that the average American watches 2.8 hours of TV per day, or 19.6 per week.

Take that total – 154.6 and subtract from 168 = 13.4 hours left.

That’s not including my child’s swimming lessons, soccer practice, our board meetings, waiting in line at school to pick up my daughter, watering my no-longer-green lawn, visiting with grandparents, helping with homework, housework or bathroom breaks. We’re always trying to squeeze at least 169 out of our 168 allotted hours.

But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well – Matthew 6:33


Notice, I didn’t mention time spent in prayer, time spent in the Word, time spent preaching or teaching or sharing or serving. Where do those fit in? Do they represent the firstfruits of your time? Are you putting the Kingdom of God first and letting God add the time for the rest, or, are you squeezing God into that invisible and mirage-like 169th hour?

How are your time management skills? How can we ensure that we’re being good stewards of our time?

How many hours do you spend “online” per week?

Star Search

How did April sneak up on me this quickly? I’m going to be using April (Tax Day, Earth Day, Easter, etc) to focus on Stewardship. I’ll be straight with you: stewardship has never been my favorite subject, mostly because I have a fear of numbers and I’ve always associated stewardship with money.

There’s so much more to stewardship, though, and during April, we’re going to take a look at all of them. An oft overlooked aspect of stewardship is talents. My buddy Jason asked last week if anyone had hidden talents. I have double-jointed thumbs (or something to that effect), and can cross each of my thumbs over the bottom knuckles of my hand, and while doing so, play do-a-deer on the piano, backward.

It’s not going to win the novelty category on Star Search, but, I did make a short video about my weird thumb-thing.

Now, how can I use that talent for God’s glory? I probably can’t. But, God has given me other talents that I’ve kept hidden. I sing. I’m not great, and I can’t hit all the notes that others have, but, I have a desire to sing, can follow along, learn new songs quickly and more importantly, want to use it to praise my heavenly Father.

Tell me about your hidden talent(s). Which one would make David Letterman’s Stupid Human Tricks segment? Which ones can you use for the glory of God?