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Tools for the job

3 months ago

Jeremiah 2:21. ‘My people have committed two sins; they have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.’

I have been forcibly reminded in the last few weeks about the importance of the spiritual gifts and how easy it is to let them slip and get on with being church without the dimension they bring. We can too often try to be church and build church in our own strength and by our own efforts, thereby forsaking the One who is the spring of living water and building our own broken cisterns. However fine they may look they do not provide Living Water to our churches and communities. 

In a recent sermon on the gifts of the Holy Spirit from 1 Corinthians 12 I likened the gifts of the Holy Spirit to ‘tools for the job’.  DIY is not my strongest card but one thing I have learned through the years is that if you do not have the right tools, it is almost impossible to do the job. If we are to be church and to build church, then we need the tools God offers us in the gifts of the Spirit. We need to hear His word to us as individuals and the church whether this is through prophecy, a word of wisdom, a word of knowledge, or the interpretation of a tongue. How can we guide the church on His path if we are not giving Him space to speak to us? We need the gift of discerning of spirits to know if something is from God, from human wilfulness, or the enemy. We need healings and miracles and a faith that can move mountains not only to build up our own faith but as signs to unbelievers. 

Are our churches geared up to operate in dependency on God, or are we merely relying on our own abilities? Of course, the Lord does use our own natural gifts and talents. Strategy is vital but we need also to give God space as without the supernatural dimension of spiritual gifts there is a vital aspect missing. Opening up ourselves and our churches to the Holy Spirit is a scary thing to do. We have to relinquish control while at the same time exercising a higher level of leadership. We have to be prepared to work to God’s agenda, not ours, and guard against others using spiritual gifts to bolster their own agendas. 

It’s far easier and safer to rely on ourselves and our gifts, even if it leads to broken cisterns, but it’s not as effective, nor as much fun. When God is at work there is an excitement, a raising of faith and expectation, which few things can rival. I’ve experienced it before and hope to experience it again in the church where I now worship in retirement. There are signs that God is at work in a new way. 

We have a choice, to strive to be and build church ourselves, or open ourselves up afresh to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit and the gifts He bestows on each one as He wishes. He will never force us, but He does invite us into the adventure. 

Let’s be individuals who before meetings and activities stop and allow God to speak.

Let’s be churches which put aside time to listen to what the Lord is saying to His church. 

Let’s risk our own agendas being disrupted by God’s presence and purposes. 

Come Holy Spirit, pour out your gifts on your church. Come Holy Spirit, pour out your gifts on me. 


"I found the talk so uplifting and in tune with how I wish church would be, seeking the Holy Spirit more. I loved the way you drew us back into prayer, which for me brought a wonderful sense of calm & God's presence into my study, just by your quiet words and the action of holding out my hands."
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