Women’s Fellowship Annual Address 2011

Women’s Ministry In Christ’s Strength for the Church

Thank you for allowing me to come and share with you this afternoon. As Paul reminds us in Romans 1, we are mutually blessed by each other, and as I’ve been so blessed and strengthened and encouraged by so many of you, I hope that what we look at today from God’s Word will be a blessing you and our Women’s Fellowship as well.

At our last meeting, it was suggested that I speak a bit about how Women’s Fellowship fits into the overall ministry of the church, its role, etc. As I prayerfully reflected on this concept, I thought it might be best for us to first remind ourselves about what Jesus’ ministry, how His ministry instructs the Church’s ministry, and then lastly how our Women’s Fellowship and you as women in our congregation might live and serve for His glory from these truths. When we do that, I think we see that Christ is really our strength and our life for empowering all of our ministry in His Church.

Jesus’ Ministry
Well let’s start then by first reminding ourselves about the distinctives of Jesus’ ministry for what He was sent to do by the Father. You know, I’m working with our 9th grade catechism students, and this year it just happens that all of them are girls, and their mentors are moms and women here at the church. So I’m the only guy in there! And there are times when I think I’m going to have to leave the class; too much estrogen! But one of the things these girls have been struck by time and time again as we’ve worked through the Gospel of Luke is how Jesus’s actions are so completely against what the world expects, but also so contrary to what “good,” religious people expect as well.

For example, Jesus’ puts the priority of His ministry on teaching and preaching rather than on miracles.

Luke 4:42-43 he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.”

We can understand why the people were so desperate to keep Jesus around; the previous context shows Jesus performing miracles at every turn: healings, restoring health, and casting out demons. We would think that this is the good life, to be rid of the evils of living in a fallen world, but Jesus has his sights set on proclaiming the Good News. Continue reading

Church Ministry and Spiritual Gifts

Dear Zion,

We have enjoyed our time with you this summer, and now as we turn toward autumn all sorts of new activities will be starting at the church.  Pioneer Club, New Life, Confirmation, Bible studies… there is a lot to keep everyone busy!  Of course, the fall also means that we will be electing new officers and leaders in various new capacities – consistory, Sunday school teachers, and Bible study leaders, etc.  So what ties all these things together?  Spiritual gifts!

Spiritual gifts are what the Holy Spirit gives to believers to empower and enable them to serve in the life of the church.  1 Peter 4:10 – 11 says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another… whoever speaks, speak as if you were speaking the oracles of God; whoever serves, serve in the strength God supplies, that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”  Sometimes the topic of spiritual gifts can become divisive, but this passage clearly shows that we are to use our gifts from the Spirit to serve the body of Christ to the glory of God!

Spiritual gifts are one of the things that Jesus purchased by His blood in His death on the cross (Ephesians 4:7 – 11).  The Spirit of Christ then distributes those gifts as He pleases through the body of Christ, the Church (I Corinthians 12:11).  All believers – whether young or old, new Christians or mature in the faith – are given spiritual gifts.  You don’t need to have a special experience or be a certain kind of Christian to receive spiritual gifts.  Simply trusting in Jesus supplies you with everything you need!  In fact, God commands all Christians to zealously seek the highest gifts (I Corinthians 14:1).

So what gift do you have?  There are several lists of gifts mentioned in Scripture: Romans 12:6 – 8; I Corinthians 12:8 – 10; 12:29 – 30; and Ephesians 4:11.  They range from gifts as technical as apostles and pastors to as common as “helping” (I Corinthians 12:28) and “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:2, 15).  And don’t forget how important the “fruit” of the Spirit are; they’re yet another manifestation of the Spirit’s gifting in our lives (Galatians 5:22 – 23)!  All believers are gifted and empowered by the Spirit to serve the body of Christ.

So as we prepare for this fall kick-off season, be praying about how the Holy Spirit has equipped you to serve your brothers and sisters in Christ.  Pray that we would elect those whom the Spirit has gifted for that type of service.  Encourage people to use the gifts that you see evidence for in their lives!  Do you have questions about what gifts you may have?    Do you know where you would like to serve but have questions about how your gifts fit in at Zion?  I’d love to talk with you about how the Spirit is at work in your life!

I’m excited to serve with you in this upcoming year, and I’ll be praying that – as we go forward as a church – the Lord would send His Spirit in power on Zion to guide us forward with all of the gifts that we need for service and ministry.  If we serve in the strength that He provides, it will keep us dependent on our God, so that He may receive all the glory!

Praying that we would serve one another with our spiritual gifts,

Pastor Brian