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Archive for Ephesians

Sep
23

Mission Ahead: Equip! (part 2)

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Ephesians 4:11-16 gives us the pattern for equipping in the church. I’m going to express that pattern in three progressive steps.

First, we must Discover our S.H.A.P.E. This language is borrowed from Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Church. S.H.A.P.E. is an acronym that describes the five essential tools in our personal ministry toolbox.
S = Spiritual Gifts
H = Heart (passion)
A = Abilities (skills, natural talents)
P = Personality (introvert or extrovert)
E = Experiences (positive and painful)
God has hard wired us to serve him. He doesn’t waste anything.

Next, we must Develop our Strengths. The best way to do this, of course, is to get out of the bleachers and onto the playing field. Classroom settings may help us to discover our S.H.A.P.E., but the fact of the matter is that all of the classroom experiences in the world will not make you an effective disciple of Jesus Christ.

Finally, we must Deploy our Service. The goal of equipping is not the activity of equipping itself. The goal is focused on end results. The church is to be a missional training center that is deeply committed to multiplying leaders. The objective is to have the right person in the right place for the right reason. When a church is committed to leadership development, it can anticipate four outcomes:
1. Ministry (Ephesians 4:12, we “do his work”)
2. Muscle (Ephesians 4:12, “and build up the church, the body of Christ”)
3. Maturity (Ephesians 4:13, “This will all continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord”)
4. Measure Up (Ephesians 4:13, “measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.”)

Are you prepared? Or will you stand at the point of need and call for help? It has been said that God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. My prayer for each of us is that we will all become developed so that we can be released into the work of the Kingdom of God.

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Sep
22

Mission Ahead: Equip!

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Several years ago I was having lunch at a restaurant with a friend. During the course of our conversation, we suddenly heard a crash from a booth across the room. It sounded like a server had dropped an entire tray of food. When we looked over we saw a man sitting at his table struggling to breathe. He had both hands up to his throat and it was obvious that he was choking. Two servers ran to the table and started asking for help. My friend jumped up and went to the choking man. He lifted him up out of his seat and began to perform the Heimlich maneuver. After several sharp thrusts the food was dislodged and he was able to breathe again. Those of us who witnessed the act stood and cheered.

My friend was a hero. The restaurant paid for our meal. Several people came over to congratulate my friend on his quick thinking and clear headed response. His appropriate reply was, “I’ve had some first aid and CPR training.” While the witnesses were impressed by hiss speedy response, the bottom line is that he was prepared.

In his book Unfinished Business, Greg Ogden remarks that the first reformation returned the Bible to the people of God, and the second reformation returned the ministry to the people of God.
The biblical pattern of Ephesians 4:11-16 instructs gifted pastors to equip the members who in turn are to do the work of the ministry. Pastors deploy their gifts so the body can discover, develop, and deploy their gifts their gifts.

So how do we go about this? Tomorrow I’ll share three steps in our strategy to equip the people of God that we are doing at Ashworth Road.

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