Tomorrow I will be assisting with, Lord willing, in an outreach headed by a friend of mine who was a pastor. There is going to be a kick off BBQ tomorrow night and the Bible study begins on Saturday. My friend will be teaching through the book of John, over the course of several weeks, to those invited from near by apartments who decided to attend. Another friend of mine did the hard work of inviting everyone she could from her apartment complex to come. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.
While that is going on I am going to begin exercising my spiritual gift(s) and begin writing lessons on the book of Romans. Once that is completed, the book of Matthew. Depending on whether the lessons are used, I will consider doing the same with the book of Hebrews and Isaiah. I also want to complete Bible lessons that go through the major themes of the Bible which could be used for the benefit of Christians and for evangelism purposes.
Since it is a topic that I am passionate about, I am continuing to study on the subject of spiritual gifts. I just completed reading D.A. Carson's book, "Showing the Spirit". The book confirmed to me many of the convictions I have concerning the spiritual gifts including the idea that there is no Biblical warrant for writing off the gift of tongues completely. Carson made the point that the gift of tongues is primarily a gift used in prayer, since it is addressed to God. This seems to address the fact that there seems to be more than just the former International Mission Board President that spoke a "private prayer language" in their devotions. The anecdotal evidence seems to be that there are those who speak tongues primarily in prayer. The book addressed the idea that God sovereignly distributes spiritual gifts but that Paul also encourages believers to seek the gift of prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:1). This reminded me of Jesus' admonition, "seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be open to you", in that we are commanded to pray diligently and ask Him of things even though He is sovereign and already knows what He is going to do. I believe that all Christians have permanent spiritual gifts but that we may ask God for some gifts to be used on a temporary basis. The distinction between permanent and temporary gifts was not made in Carson's book but it seemed to be hinted at. Anecdotal evidence also seems to suggest that Christians may use gifts on a temporary basis. I believe that I am an example of a Christian that had some gifts on a temporary basis. It seems that my permanent gift is the gift of teaching. I seemed to have had the gift of discernment and prophecy on a temporary basis since I have not used the gifts in a long while. I have always been passionate about exposing false teachings even to this present day. There has not been any time recently when the Lord gave me the words to say to encourage any church I attended since my first church. I ask for gifts since I have this burden to be useful in contributing to the spread of the gospel, and I believe that my calling to "preach the Lord to everyone" is still valid. Perhaps the gifts I presently have are all I need to fulfill the call.
Lately I have been reflecting a lot on what I long for the most, having a more intimate relationship with the Lord. I am thankful for everything He is doing to free me from the false ideas I had about Him, for example, thinking that He does not want to be as close to me as He would other believers. I am still struggling to trust that He loves me as He say He does, but there are times when I am more aware that He is actively at work in my life to open my eyes to see Him for who He is more clearly. He recently freed me from a bad job situation very rapidly, causing me to thank Him for hearing my cries for mercy and quickly coming to my aid. The way that the situation went also caused me to fear Him more in that He takes does not take it lightly when professing believers refuse to hear His words.