"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists,
and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for
the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."
The past two years have been incredible experiences of God's grace. When my nephew approached me during the invitation on Father's Day of 2016 to ask me to go with him to the altar, I knew that the Lord was going to do something new and fresh in my life. Since that experience I have been challenged often concerning my daily surrender to His leadership, and He has placed within me a strong desire to make His word known in a variety of ways. My focus remains locked upon Jesus. I am secure in His love, and I will praise Him for all that He is doing, and shall do, during the remaining years of my earthly life.
Years ago a dear pastor friend, Jim Holcomb, told me this: "Charles, you are a prophet. And with this spiritual gift that God has entrusted unto you, your journey will not be easy. Those who are prophets are often lonely, despised, and mistreated. You know this, you've read their testimonies in scripture. And I've seen the prophet in you time and time again. I've prayed with you when your tears would flow like a river for the lost and backslidden, revealing your tender heart of love and compassion. But I've also seen you stand firm against the lying tongues of those who misunderstood and hated you, displaying a backbone of hardened steel. You're a prophet. Life and ministry won't be easy for you, but always remember this: God loves prophets!"
This is somewhat like the word that Bill Stafford said in a conference when he was scheduled to preach following my message. It was the first time that he had heard me, and I'll never forget his words when he stepped to the pulpit: "My-my, Bro. Charles, what a message to the church. Amen! You know, son, I've been praying for you throughout my ministry. Yes sir, you are an answer to prayer. Amen! For years, YEARS, I've been praying that God would raise up someone that can make folks mad faster than I can. You're that man! AMEN! Yes sir, that's the message this modern, apostate church needs to hear. They don't want to hear it, but they need to hear it. Praise God! You're style of preaching, mercy, it'll knock the shout out of 'em, brother. AMEN!" For those of you who knew Bro. Bill when he was healthy, you can hear his voice and see his face, as he tells me this with that big, wonderful smile. I was subsequently blessed to travel around the world with this precious servant of God working in affiliation with the International Congress of Revival.
Ron Lynch, an evangelist friend, encouraged me years ago as I was entering into a season of itinerant ministry: "Charles, pastors need to hear you. They won't invite you to come to their churches until they hear you." This was long before the use of social media and internet sites made it so much easier to see and hear someone. But following a hard message I preached at a conference on revival, where we were sharing the preaching responsibilities, he said: "Charles, I've been telling you that pastors need to hear you. But I'm telling you, man, if they hear that kind of message, they're not going to have you!" I love these three men, and I have wonderful memories of fellowshipping and worshiping with all of them that I hope to cherish for the rest of my life.
What spiritual gift, or gifts, has God given you? I believe that there are twenty-seven gifts that are revealed in the New Testament that God sovereignly chooses to give His children. Charles Stanley believes that seven of these gifts are "perpetual" in nature, while the others are "seasonal." He teaches that the perpetual gifts are placed in a believer's life while they are developing in the womb, and these gifts stay with that person throughout their life. These seven are prophecy, service, teaching (which also includes pastoring), exhortation, giving, administration, and mercy. The seasonal gifts, however, come upon a believer when a basic need arises that needs supernatural attention. Examples would be evangelism, wisdom, hospitality, tongues, intercession, miracles, etc.
Although some might argue over the exact number of gifts, or take exception to the way Dr. Stanley puts them into two separate camps, the truth remains that all of God's children have been given certain spiritual gifts. And these gifts equips all believers to do the work of ministry, which results in the edifying, or building, or strengthening of the body of Christ. Therefore, important questions must be asked: Have you discovered your spiritual gifts? Are you developing your spiritual gifts? And are you displaying your spiritual gifts?
Do not be fearful, nor intimidated, to serve the Lord Jesus with the gift (or gifts) that He has so graciously given to you. Perhaps your gift will be a little more palatable than those who are gifted as prophets. But if He has given you a gift that will cause you to be misunderstood, or even despised when you use it in His power, do not be afraid, beloved, for He has promised to never leave you, nor forsake you. Praise the Lord!
Has agreed to allow Job2ten to pass along some of his words of wisdom. Be sure to go visit his blog to get to see all his content.