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10 Gifts of the Holy Spirit

I don’t think it is too far fetched to think that there might be 10 gifts of the Holy Spirit or even more. Paul refers to the nine gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 as manifestations of the Spirit. Could there be other manifestations that we could add to this list or is this the complete list?

Photo by Ken’s Oven on flickr

There are certainly a number of other lists of the gifts. Some refer to spoken contributions when we gather as church. Others include more natural abilities that can be used in serving such as administration. Others list roles in the church such as apostles. Many of these lists overlap and none may be exhaustive.

This is probably the most famous lists of gifts of the Holy Spirit, certainly in charismatic circles. It is through these gifts that we know the Holy Spirit is with us when we gather together and when we are sent out in mission. However some of the gifts are better understood than others.

1 Corinthians 12:8-12

For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.

Before turning to speculation about the tenth gift of the Spirit I want to define each one of the gifts in this passage in turn and look at how they work especially in relation to mission. What are they? How do they work? How do they help us fulfill God’s mission? Of course the purpose of the gifts is to build each other up as the body of Christ but the impact of these gifts also overflows to others.

1. A word of wisdom

This is when God gives someone insight into how God is working out his purposes so that they can speak into a situation enabling someone to make appropriate sensible decisions.

The word of wisdom can be seen as an inspired application of a supernaturally revealed insight into a certain situation. Like many of the gifts this may come in very natural ways in conversations and provide practical help in situations leading to level-headed and successful responses.

Wisdom

Wisdom by zigazou76 on flickr

So is a word of wisdom just God planting a seemingly random thought into our head of what do in a certain situation? Or it is insight about how to apply the truths about God’s ultimate purpose of sending Jesus? Looking at chapters such as 1 Corinthians 2 I get the feeling that it is it is more likely to involve the latter.

In Know Your Spiritual Gifts Mark Stibbe points out that it is not surprising that Jesus – wisdom incarnate – astounded people with his wisdom, such as when he answered his accusers’ questions about eating with sinners or when he said of the woman caught in adultery, ‘If any of you is without sin let him be the first to throw a stone’. Such insights were fundamentally theological but spoke about God’s purposes into situations in very practical ways.

A word of wisdom, then, is God helping us to apply our insights about God’s purposes into the ever the changing situations around us. Perhaps it can involve God helping us to listen to others and to really hear what they saying. The Spirit might bring to mind the questions that we need to ask or a story that might have some bearing on the situation that brings such insight into what is being discussed.

Though the context of 1 Corinthians 12 is the gathered church I see no reason to limit it to church conversations. God also speaks as we are involved in mission. Many of the words of wisdom spoken by Jesus are in conversations with people other than his disciples.

Let us look for God to guide our conversations with everyone so that we may demonstrate God’s wisdom to the world.

2. A word of knowledge

I tend to see the definition of this as ‘God given insight into God’s heart and mind’ that is given by teachers such as Rodman Williams and Mark Stibbe as being the most biblical. But the idea of this being specific knowledge of a situation that God reveals has been popularised by preachers such as John Wimber and is often what people mean when they use this term.

In the 1980s John Wimber popularised the term of a ‘word of knowledge’ as a supernatural insight into a person’s heart or situation. In practice what it often meant was someone getting up in a worship gathering and saying, “There is someone here with…” and describing a certain illness or injury. It is still often used in this way today.

What does the Bible say?

But is this popular idea really what the Bible describes as a ‘word of knowledge’? We can read stories such as Jesus and the woman at the well where God reveals facts supernaturally but what reason do I have to call this a word of knowledge?

Apart from 1 Corinthians 12 the phrase ‘word of knowledge’ doesn’t appear in the Bible. So in order to answer this question two authors I have much respect for Mark Stibbe in Know Your Spiritual Gifts and J Rodman Williams in Renewal Theology both look at the immediate context of what Paul meant by knowledge.

To Paul knowledge didn’t involve finding out about other’s people’s secrets. It involved receiving insight into God’s secrets now revealed – into the “unfathomable depths of God’s grace”, the wonderful truths about “his gracious gift of his son”, this grace that is now available to us his church.

This is not to say that God doesn’t speak supernaturally to people about situations just that they can’t see any justification for calling that a word of knowledge. They both suggest it would be more Biblical to call such experiences prophecy as Bible passages indicate that this is how the prophets spoke and never use the term ‘word of knowledge’.

So how should we define ‘word of knowledge’?

Perhaps it would be more accurately to use the term ‘word of knowledge’ to describe the sharing inspired insights into God’s purposes and grace with those we talk to.

3. Faith

The gift of faith is when God encourages you to hold onto him in a difficult situation even if you can see no way out. People’s faith may be stimulated by stories of answers to prayer – particularly of healing and miracles – or even of others being saved – but we need to ensure that these are cautiously stated and are factual and true or people will become cynical. Ultimately it is God that gives the faith it isn’t something you can whip up.

Faith

Faith by 4thglryofgod

The ability to move mountains

In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul says ‘If I have a faith that can move mountains but have not love, I am nothing’. This is a reference to what Jesus said about mountain moving faith in Mark 11. These verses show that the gift of faith is a supernatural confidence that God will remove any obstacle that gets in the way of us his purposes.

What, all the time?

I don’t agree with much of the Word of Faith teaching sometimes referred to as the ‘faith movement’ that is popular in some Christian media such as the God Channel. They imply that we are called to live in such mountain moving faith all the time. This sort of teaching can get people into serious financial trouble.

No, not all the time

In reality we pray and do not always see the answer come. We may be convinced that it is what God wants but still God does not do it. We also have doubts and we should not be made to feel guilty about that. A friend of mine David Matthew has written this article on this inspired by his own situation of praying for his house to sell.

But yes, sometimes

I believe that on occasions God does give us a confidence to see an obstacle overcome to further the purposes of his kingdom. This is the gift of faith.

4. Gifts of healing

Healings occur when God enables you to supernaturally bring about wholeness and relieve someone’s suffering in response to prayer. Healings may also come in response to you commanding sickness to leave or you commanding a healing to come as we see Jesus and the early apostles doing. But I think we need to take care that we do this in a gentle yet authoritative way.

Any believer can pray for the sick

The Bible says that elders are specifically called to pray for the sick. But it also shows that others may pray for healing too.

Writers such as Mark Stibbe and J Rodman Williams point out that the use of the present continuous tense here indicates that anyone who has been used in healing may expect to be used again in this way.

Of course they would agree that there are no guarantees. Perhaps that is why Paul does not use the term ‘healer’.

Let us pray with faith

The gifts of healing do appear to have a link with the gift of faith. When faith is present healing can happen and lack of faith can inhibit it.

We shouldn’t blame others or ourselves for lack of faith when healing does not occur. This sort of faith is a gift from God as much as the healing is. I don’t know why God doesn’t always heal. But I still keep praying for people and expect them to get well.

Don’t just pray for the sick in church

Of course we pray for each other to be healed when we gather as a church. We may even do that with the laying on of hands. But the Book of Acts shows us that this gift also has an important place in mission.

‘Healing on the Streets’ – a missional project that I looked at earlier this year – follows the Biblical pattern of speaking to the sickness in an authoritative yet gentle way, often also with the laying on of hands and sometimes anointing people with oil. But I don’t believe that street outreach should be the only or even the main outlet for this gift.

Offer to pray for your friends

In everyday conversation if someone tells us about an illness we can offer to pray for them. We may offer to pray for them audibly in front of them and lay hands on them but we don’t have to. We can offer to pray in our own devotional times or suggest that we ask our small group or church to pray.

We can be hesitant sometimes because we fear that God may not heal them. But even if God does not heal them, people will often be grateful for our prayers. So let’s take the opportunity and offer to pray anyway. We might be surprised at the result!

5. Miraculous powers

These are when God enables you to meet the needs of others in amazing and unusual ways. The way this term is often used gives much overlap with healing – but another important aspect of this God given provision. We need to take care to distinguish needs from wants and not be led astray by materialism. I am thrilled when I hear of God providing money and resources when it clearly demonstrates God’s care for the poor.

picture by jczorkmid on flickr

Miracles are powerful sudden and undeniably supernatural works of God. They may include sudden healings or unexplained provision of needs. As a charismatic I believe that miracles continued throughout history and do occur today although by their very nature they are not a common occurrence.

Miracles build our faith

Stories of true miracles are thrilling as they show God at work and bringing his grace and mercy to needy people. It is so encouraging when a friend or colleague tells us of something amazing that has happened as a result of our prayers. This can increase our confidence in praying for the needs of our friends.

Though I am skeptical of hype

Unfortunately if we search the internet for stories of miracles today we find stories of healings in big meetings surrounded by hype. God may well be at work in some of the situations but I must admit to being skeptical.

There are also cases of miracles such the appearance of gold fillings in people’s teeth or gold dust falling from the ceiling. I cannot see why God would do this as I can see no real benefit to the people involved.

I am sure that there are true miracles today

I am thrilled by personal accounts of God answering the prayers of people I know.

I also love hearing stories that are often ‘off the radar’ so to speak. It is great to hear stories of God providing for people, especially in poverty stricken countries, healing people or even bringing them back from the dead in places where access to medical care is limited. Here I can see God’s hand meeting people at a point of need.

Yes, despite my skepticism of the hype I believe that God can and does move today. These are Gifts of miracles!

6. Prophecy

When God speaks to you so that you can show others what he is saying. This doesn’t need to have the trapping of ‘Thus says the Lord…’. You might just want to say that you sense the Holy Spirit is emphasizing something that you go on to explain. It might be about God’s nature or purposes or specifics of a situation. Though some may refer to revelation about specifics of a situation such as insights into someone’s health problems as a word of knowledge – the Bible appears to refer to this as prophecy.

What is prophecy?

As a charismatic I believe that God still speaks today. God speaks through the Bible and the Spirit may emphasise certain verses to us and show us how these apply. This is the beginnings of prophecy.

Christian prophecy should never contradict what the Bible clearly says but it will be more than just someone explaining what the Bible means. It is someone speaking God’s perspective on a particular situation that may include facts that God reveals and even predictions of what God will do.

God may bring ideas to our minds as we focus on him either to be spoken right away or to be meditated on and then spoken at another time.

How should prophecy be worded?

In the Old Testament prophecy was mainly spoken in the first person as if God was actually dictating the message word for word in the prophet’s mind.

Interestingly in the New Testament we see prophecy said as ‘the Holy Spirit says that…’ rather than ‘Thus says the Lord…’ I have heard prophecy today in both formats but I must confess to feeling more comfortable with someone explaining what they feel God might be saying than saying ‘God says…’

This more conversational approach leaves us room to weigh what God is saying. It allows people to take what is good without worrying if they think that one or two phrases were not of God.

Where do we prophesy?

Prophecy may be for each other as we gather together in each other’s homes or in larger gatherings but also it may also be for others outside the church.

It could be that God gives a prophecy that is very relevant to a non-Christian who is visiting our meeting. But it could also be that God speaks to you with something to say to one of your friends or colleagues. If so we could end up prophesying anywhere – in a cafe or in a pub.

I wonder if raising a topic in conversation may prove a more fruitful way to explore what God is saying than saying ‘God told me this…’ especially if you are talking to someone who isn’t a Christian.

Whoever the prophecy is for whether the gathered church or individual friends or colleagues we need to pray for an opportunity to speak it out – and then go for it!

7. Distinguishing between spirits

The gift of discernment may give you insight into what is actually happening in a given spiritual situation. For instance, when someone is apparently responding to God in an unusual way is this really the Holy Spirit moving being embraced with humility or is it an emotional response as the result of human hype or showmanship or are their even evil forces at work here?

Spiritual discernment is telling the origin of a word or action. Is it inspired by God? Is it just someone’s good idea i.e. from their own spirit? Is its origin from some evil forces? As Christians this should be carried out with a charitable attitude. We need to take care that our seeking of the truth doesn’t end up making us angry and bitter mud slingers. Too often have I seen internet discussions between Christians go this way.

Discernment inside the church community

When a prophecy, teaching or an idea is brought to the church or Christian group it is important to discern its origins. Paul says that prophecy should be weighed. If the group is small enough a good way to do this is through questions and discussion. In a larger church situation this conversational approach may be more difficult. But however it is done the final responsibility of sifting what is said rests with the elders. However if God gives this gift to others they can express their feelings on this to the elders.

Discernment outside the church community

It could also be we need to be aware of the forces at work in our community, workplace or wherever we are trying to reach. I am aware that some charismatics have some quite bizarre ideas about how the devil works and how we should deal with him. We often need to be discerning about our approach to discernment.

Nigel Goring Wright’s Theology of the Dark Side gives a helpful and balanced understanding of how these forces may work. See my review of his book here.

8. Speaking in different kinds of tongues

Speaking in tongues is when God enables you to speak to him in languages you have never learnt. As with all the gifts you are still in control but if you receive this gift unlike other gifts you can operate it at will especially to use in their own devotions. Though sometimes the first gift someone receives we cannot say that without this ability someone is not Spirit filled.

The gift of tongues or the gift of languages is the supernatural ability to speak in a language that you have never learnt. Although it can be an earthly language, as it was on the day of Pentecost, often it is a heavenly language that is unintelligible to human hearers unless it is interpreted.

Are tongues the sign of baptism in the Spirit?

In Pentecostal circles speaking in tongues is often understood to be the initial sign of baptism in the Spirit. Baptism in the Spirit is not automatic upon becoming a follower of Jesus. It is a definite deep spiritual experience accompanied by some outward sign. My own experience was that I did speak in tongues but I cannot see from the scriptures that tongues are necessarily the sign of baptism with the Spirit.

How should we use speaking in tongues?

Personally I have found that praying in tongues silently in this way can be a real help as I go about my daily life. It strengthens me enabling me to be confident enough speak out or help someone when I need to and it opens up a channel through which God can guide my prayers.

Also in many charismatic circles there is a practice of everyone speaking in tongues at the same time. It appears that Paul tells the Corinthians that this isn’t the way to use these gifts. It is selfish and will course any guests or visitors to doubt the sanity of the group.

Paul indicates two ways to use tongues. Either one person at a time should speak in audibly tongues and someone else should interpret so that the rest can understand what is said or they should be speak in tongues silently holding the words inside their head.

I have discussed some these points on speaking on tongues before on my previous blog here.

9. Interpretation of tongues

The Bible indicates that speaking in tongues when we come together should involve each person speaking in turn and that someone should then explain to others what someone who just spoke in tongues actually said. I would only speak in tongues in this way if I felt specifically prompted by God and I believe the result would be a prayer from the Spirit that sums up some or all of the people’s hearts. When I hear such tongues or speak them myself I often sense that I understand them and so give the interpretation.

Generally tongues are languages that cannot be understood by the hearer. However Paul talks about tongues being explained to everyone by an interpreter. Many years ago I asked God for the gift of interpretation and began interpreting tongues.

Tongues should be interpreted as prayers

Paul argues that the purpose of speaking in tongues is to speak to God. This indicates to me that an interpretation will not be in the form of God speaking to us. Rather the interpretation will be in the form of a prayer. In my experience this isn’t so much a personal prayer but a prayer that gives insight into the heart of his people towards him – our longings and frustrations, our rejoicing and thanksgiving.

How I began interpreting tongues

After seeking God for the gift of interpretation I found that often when I spoke in tongues I began to understand what I was saying. It wasn’t that I now knew the language and could now translate anything I heard in it. But when I spoke I felt that I intuitively knew what it was about.

In my own devotional times I began to speak in tongues and then speak out what I felt I had said. The next step was to speak out in tongues when we came together as a church and then to interpret that tongue. Also as I listened to other people who spoke in tongues I found that I had similar experiences of understanding. So when people spoke out in tongues I started to also come forward directly after they had and speak out what I believed they had said. It was great to be in a church where there was freedom to do this.

Can we use interpretation in mission?

I have already found that speaking in tongues throughout the day helps guide my silent prayers. I wonder if the next step is to offer to pray with my non-Christian friends when they have a need. Praying silently in tongues to myself first and then praying out the interpretation.

What’s number 10?

Paul refers to these nine as manifestations of the Spirit. There are a number of other lists of the gifts. Some refer to spoken contributions when we gather as church. Others include more natural abilities that can be used in serving such as administration. Others list roles in the church such as apostles. Many of these lists overlap and none may be exhaustive.

In looking for a candidate for the tenth gifts I think we need to consider how the distinction between roles and manifestations is blurred by the way they are mixed in other lists back in 1 Corinthians such as 12:29-31 that lists:
• apostles
• prophets
• miracles
• healing
• helps
• administration
• tongues
• interpretation

So here are some possible candidates for further gifts of the Holy Spirit:

Gifts of ministry

If we refer to Ephesians 4: 11 we see that apostles and prophets appear to be more like offices in the church with the people themselves being the gifts to the church.

However someone may have a gift of evangelism though not have a leadership office of evangelist – perhaps it is still right to see them as an evangelist but not as a leader. Perhaps we can all be endued to some extent with these gifts for example some people may tend to be more prophetic than others or some more pastoral. After all ministry means serving rather than leading and we are all called to serve.

Gifts that amplify natural abilities

Would it be right to put a natural ability alongside these manifestation of the Spirit?

Just as helps and administration are listed in 1 Corinthians 12: 29-31 natural abilities and supernatural endowment are combined in Romans 12:6-10 that lists prophecy alongside:
• serving
• teaching
• encouraging
• giving generously
• leadership
• showing mercy

So perhaps it would.

Gifts of generosity

10th gift of the Holy SpiritCould giving generously be our tenth gift? Another list in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 again blurs the distinction between the nine manifestations and natural abilities and again mentions giving:
• tongues
• prophecy
• faith
• giving generously
• hardship (or martyrdom)

Showing mercy in Romans 10:12 and even hospitality in 1 Peter 4:9-10 may all be kinds of giving generously. For some believers giving of monetary resources may lead to hardship or even giving to the extent of giving our lives in martyrdom in some places today.

As well as martyrdom another gift that might not be too popular today could be that of celibacy. If you look at Corinthians 7:7 this might be another candidate for us – thankfully alongside marriage. Perhaps this could be another an aspect of generosity implying a giving up of our time to the extent of not spending it on raising a family.

To minister or to serve is just one manifestation of giving generously. And though someone may naturally give even if they are not a believer yet God can empower giving in amazing ways. So if I had to nominate a tenth to add to complete this list of the ten gifts of the Holy Spirit personally I’d choose gifts of generosity.

What do you think?

Are their only nine manifestations? I know there are only nine in I Corinthians 12:8-10 but God is such a creative God, surely there must be more? Perhaps you can think of others – either in the Bible or in your own experience. Which one would you nominate as the tenth? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

Further Reading

Here is a good summary of Mark Stibbe’s out of print book Know Your Spiritual Gifts summarised by Alison Morgan

A friend of mine Scott Lencke is blogging about these gifts from 1 Corinthians 12 in his own blog Prodigal Thought and in a related team blog called “To Be Continued”.

Scott Lencke has started a series of posts over on Prodigal Thought on ‘What is Prophecy?’ Part one is here.

Discerning of Spirits another a post by Scott Lencke on Prodigal Thought.

Related posts on CharisMissional

What Are Your Spiritual Gifts?
What Does Charismatic Mean?
When I Spoke in Tongues at Greenbelt
How Often Do You Speak in Tongues?

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November 12, 2013 at 6:00 pm Comments (3)

When I spoke In Tongues at Greenbelt

At a small session called the Charismatic Contemplative Experiment run by Molten Meditation I went to front and spoke in tongues and interpreted what I said. Now Greenbelt is not known as a gathering of charismatic Christians. But I am a charismatic who sometimes does go to Greenbelt. So when I saw this in the program I was intrigued.

Molten Meditation is Robin Vincent who creates some wonderful ambient tracks and records spoken words of scripture over them. In this session he encouraged us relax while the music played and he spoke. Robin also encouraged us to make contributions such as prophecies or tongues. I felt that there was something from God that I could contribute so I prayed in tongues and interpreted, as I am used to doing in my own church meetings.

This was back in 2008. I did do Robin’s session this year too. And just when looking through Molten Meditation’s website I found Robin’s account of the incident. This is how he described me:

…one guy did come up – he had a bit of a crazy man shuffle to him that made me think “oh crikey – what’s going to happen now” and in my lack of faith i hadn’t put out a microphone or anything. Nonetheless he leaned into my mic and spoke in tongues really softly and beautifully, and then interpreted himself saying about peace and how God’s peace is such food for the soul – even through my nervousness it was very lovely. Unfortunately no one else could hear him.

Yes I was the only one. I had assumed I would be the first of a few contributors but after that, to my embarrassment, everyone remained seated. It was me. Just thought I’d own up Robin!

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September 5, 2011 at 6:00 pm Comment (1)

What Does Charismatic Mean?

Charismatic Christianity is about followers of Jesus using the gifts of the Holy Spirit today. It is about being empowered in a special way by God’s Spirit to say and do things that appear to beyond their natural ability. It also about receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit himself in order to be empowered in this way in a similar way to when the early church were first baptised in the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.

A Charismatic Christian experiences the Holy Spirit

It is now thirty years since I first experienced the Holy Spirit myself. In a small prayer meeting in my local Pentecostal Church I began to speak in a language that I had never learnt.

This was explained to me as ‘speaking in tongues’. I didn’t really understand what I was getting into. To tell the truth I didn’t even believe everything I was told about it at the time. But the result of this experience was one of overflowing joy and a desire that everyone could experience this too.

There wasn’t any mighty rushing wind or fire but I would see my experience as similar to what happened to the early church at Pentecost. Of course not everyone’s encounter with the Holy Spirit should be a carbon copy of mine but I do believe that God wants to fall on all his followers in a special way.

Some churches have been very dogmatic about what constitutes baptism. Some Pentecostal churches and others see speaking in tongues as essential sign of baptism in the Spirit.

Many Charismatic churches outside of the Pentecostal denominations appear more aware of individual diversity. I would tend to agree with these that are more open to such diverse experiences. I don’t think you can argue that someone has not experienced the Spirit simply because they haven’t spoken in tongues.

But I do believe that the Bible indicates that there is a clear experience of ‘receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit’. Being a gift it is freely given. As believers all we need to do is ask.

A Charismatic Christian believes in spiritual gifts

In a way receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit opens wide the door to moving in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Even if you feel God has used you in the past in some ways like this I believe that there can be more you can experience. I would encourage you to keep seeking God for his gifts too.

These gifts can be expressed very naturally as part of our authentic relationships with each other. I am glad to say that I often find that the way people speak nowadays is much more down to earth and less hyped than it used to be. I don’t tend hear of people whipping up the crowds as much as they used to. I wonder if generally we are more sceptical of hype.

There are many gifts listed in the Bible and I don’t think any of the lists are exhaustive but the ones in 1 Corinthians 12 are probably associated most with Charismatic Christianity.

You might find God giving you supernatural wisdom in a situation or you find you gain knowledge and insight into a particular scripture that helps in a situation. You might find God increasing your faith to pray for something.

You might lay hands on someone praying for their healing and then find they have recovered when it didn’t appear possible. God might miraculously provide for you, your family or your friends when you had no idea where the money you needed could come from.

You might find God bringing to your mind words or phrases that are particularly helpful to someone or to some group of people. God may give you insight into something someone else is saying. He may show you that it is a God inspired thought or he may prompt you to question it.

Also be open to speaking in tongues and even allowing God to show you what someone is saying when they speak in tongues.

A Charismatic Christian uses these spiritual gifts

Gratitude is a natural response to receiving a gift. And gratitude often results in generosity. If we are invited to someone’s house for a meal we may take a bottle of wine and on a later date invite them to ours. We may even copy our host’s role model and start inviting others into our home.

Spiritual gifts are primarily for the benefit of others. In order to use them we must give them away. And so we serve each other and we serve the world. It is what we as Christians do. Over the years I have come to realise that using our gifts to serve like this is a mark of the Spirit at work.

Whenever Christians gather it is an opportunity to use our God given gifts to serve each other. This may mean praying for each other or speaking God’s word to each other. And actually it involves far more. We share our lives together. We share food. We share our possessions and even our money when the need arises.

There are many gifts we can bring to each other both inside and outside of our worship gatherings – our time, our energy. I feel that we are now on a verge of beginning to use people’s gifts in more creative planned activities within our gatherings and in our life outside the church both in specific mission activities and in our daily life. We just need to ask God and to think more creatively.

Thirty years ago I received this gift of the Holy Spirit and God enabled me to begin to give to others in a way that I’d never really done before. If you haven’t already received this gift I want to take this opportunity to encourage you to ask God that you might experience him in this way and move more in the gifts of the Spirit. My prayer is that as a result God’s giving will be multiplied through you.

It would be great to hear your experiences of the Holy Spirit and his gifts.

Related Posts

10 Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Baptised in the Spirit

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August 5, 2011 at 1:32 pm Comments (5)

Becoming CharisMissional

Finding God

At the age of eighteen I was searching to find the meaning of life. I had read a number of books on spirituality and a number of different religions when I decided to read the Bible. I then started to visit a nearby church. I wanted to learn more so I kept going every week and decided to go to their midweek prayer meeting too. It was there that first experienced the Holy Spirit. I heard people speaking in strange languages and began to speak in a language that I didn’t know too. I didn’t really understand what I was getting into. To tell the truth I didn’t even believe everything I was told about it at the time. But the result of this experience was one of overflowing joy and a desire that everyone could know about Jesus and experience the Holy Spirit too.

Early enthusiasm

I began talk to my parents and friends at work about my new found faith in Jesus and what I had experienced. This enthusiasm to talk to people about my faith continued despite me being naturally very introverted. At university I remember having deep conversations about even sometimes late into the night. Sometimes I wasn’t as tactful as I might have been and I wince now at some of the things that I said and I am sure that there were more extroverted Christians who talked about Jesus more than I did. Nevertheless I think like a lot of Christians that I would love to recapture some of that early enthusiasm.

Growing in God

Over the years the busyness of work as a college lecturer and more recently family life as well as getting involved in serving in the church has meant that conversations outside of my Christian circles took more of a back seat. But I have been no less passionate about my faith. I am someone who is never afraid to ask hard questions about my Christianity and so I am grateful for a church that has been so encouraging in my growth. As I have been stirred up to hear God more I’ve found myself able contribute in our meetings. And as I have learnt more about God I have begun to see how some of the ways I used to express ideas were oversimplifications or legalisms that may not always have been helpful. So that now, when I’m asked about my faith, I hope I sound a little less arrogant than I used to.

Missional projects

More recently I have been more involved in missional projects that are serving our local community here in the inner city of Birmingham in an area where there is massive unemployment and a significant number of refugees and asylum seekers. In our spare time my wife and I have set up a work club called WorkShop that meets every Thursday morning. We are working in partnership with Karis Neighbour Scheme – a local Christian charity, our church – Church Alive, and another local church – Church of the Redeemer who provides a room for us to use. Our church is also involved in ministry to the homeless and I have sometimes supported a Drop In Centre that at the moment works out of our little church building.

What about you?

I’m not claiming to know all about becoming CharisMissional. I’m still on a learning journey with this. Please feel free to share your experiences and what you have learnt about becoming CharisMissional in the comments below.

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August 3, 2011 at 3:43 pm Comments (0)

Why CharisMissional?

CharisMissional is a word made out of the two words blended together – charismatic and missional. It was coined by Emerging Grace (now blogging under the name Kingdom Grace). Along with Brother Maynard and Rob McAlpine she wrote a series of articles on this for the Porpoise Diving Life a number of years ago. These two terms represent two important aspects of Christianity that perhaps don’t always overlap as much as they should.

Charismatic

Charismatic churches are probably one of the biggest growth areas in Christianity. They emphasise experiencing the Holy Spirit and the gifts of Holy Spirit. Christians speak out what we believe God is saying to us, praying for people and sometimes seeing God answer in miraculous ways. People invited into gathering where such things are happening experience God for themselves and learn how to hear God and start to pray expecting God to answer. This is exciting stuff. Of course charismatic needs discernment. There has been and continues to be abuses of this. The answer to abuse is not disuse but correct use. Yet even where the gifts are used well the initial excitement with God can slowly disappear of the years. I wonder if part of the reason for this is that in all the excitement we have sometimes neglected the mission that God was equipping us for in the first place.

Missional

A recent topic that has been talked about a lot recently in Christian circles is missional living. There is a growing recognition that Christians are on a mission from God. Missional Christianity values rubbing shoulders with those outside the faith. It says we need to be serving our community and having genuine conversations about things that matter. Without this emphasis our faith can stagnate. The conversation around missional living has emphasised being true to ourselves and being relevant to our culture. In some circles people have been experimenting for decades with more creative ways to worship God. Others have been gathering more informally in homes sometimes having left formal churches that they found weren’t helping them grow in their faith. As some of these groups have reached out to people they have found people joining them feeling that they are ‘scratching where it is itching’ so to speak.

CharisMissional

My reason for creating this blog is simple. It is the conviction that these two aspects of Christianity can inform each other. We need them both. Those discussing missional living have neglected the Holy Spirit to some extent. I wonder if this is because of some of the extremes and abuses they have seen. Similarly those of us who believe that God speaks and move today sometimes don’t let the Spirit move beyond our own worship times. My aim in writing this blog is to stir us all up to be more outward looking, more relevant, seeking to transform our culture and to see the Holy Spirit move not just in our churches but also in our families, our workplaces and our communities.

If you would like more information on CharisMissional please get in touch through my contact page.

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August 1, 2011 at 7:57 pm Comments (0)