The Greatest Gift….YOU!

Single Gift White

We all are faced with the commercialization of the Christmas Holiday Season.  We have seen the Facebook posts and emails arguing over the political correct verbiage vendors use to market their goods.  This season set aside to celebrate the Birth of Jesus the Christ has now become simply a paid holiday vacation for many.  The season of Glad Tidings and cheer is choked out by Black Friday, Cyber Monday and a barrage of commercials focusing on all the latest “must –have” gadgets and toys.  But the greatest gift is not something that can be purchased or acquired online.  It is not found in department stores or even wish lists.

The Greatest Gift is found within you.  To be more specific, the Greatest Gift is YOU!

Contrary to popular belief, it is not he who has the most toys or “stuff” who is successful.  Rather, it is he who has emptied himself on others who is truly successful and happiest of all.  Deep within, people are not satisfied with material possessions.  Well, they are for a while…until the newest upgrade comes out and then they chase after the upgraded model.

It has been said that the wealthiest place on planet Earth is not the stock market and banks.  Rather, the wealthiest place on Earth is found in the Cemetery.  A cemetery is filled with books that were never written, songs never sang and inventions never created.  These individuals never released their gifts and talents entrusted to them.  Many never pursued these efforts because they felt that what they had to offer was not good enough or too small for anyone to appreciate.  And because their fear was greater than their faith, they never attempted to pursue the possibilities.

We have become the product of our environment.  We have been taught that you will spend a lot of money on a gift if you truly want someone to feel special.  Because we listen and are influenced by our environment, we often give good gifts not always for the right motive.  Sometimes we give a good gift because we want to receive a good gift.  Of course you and I know that the Ultimate Gift is that of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ which produces a transformation in our individual life.  Yet within you is resides the Greatest Gift that can be given.  You posses a great wealth of knowledge gained from life experiences.  Within you are also spiritual gifts that have been deposited to be released into the lives of others as well.  Your gifts and talents are needed not only within the Body of Christ, but also within your community and circle of influence.

Perhaps you have convinced yourself that you have nothing to offer anyone.  I tell you that is a LIE from Satan to keep you silenced and trapped within yourself.  Satan would love nothing more than for you to die having all these gifts bottled within you.  That MUST BE BROKEN!

You posses three valuable gifts that I want to call to your attention.  These three gifts are valuable and needed within the Kingdom of Heaven, but also serve as a threat to Satan.

TIME

There are many latchkey children growing up within the United States who come home from school to an empty house- just the way it was when they left earlier that morning.  They are not orphans but home because both of their parents are away at work trying to make ends meet for their family.  In the midst of all the stress trying to pay the bills and survive within the economic climate of the current day, we must not loose sight of our greatest and most valuable commodity….our TIME.

Our families need us to find times to step away from our work mode.  Sometimes we need to step away from our ministry mode, get unplugged from FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube and Pintrest and simply spend time with them.

This will not be another “cost” that will show up on your credit card bill or bank statement, but rather an investment into a healthier family relationship.  Your time IS your greatest investment.

TALENT

You also possess talents that need to be released.  I do not mean to suggest that everyone can sing or play an instrument.  But your talent may be sports, or crafts, woodworking, hunting, fishing or maybe even Scrabble.  When you share your talent with others, you find a release while others are able to enjoy the talent you share with them.

There is something mutually special when I am blessed to lead worship.  I experience the presence of God in powerful proportions, yet people are blessed and their lives impacted while they receive from my talent being released to the Lord.  The really cool thing is that many of them experience a divine download while in that atmosphere of worship.  Thus, every is blessed and impacted because I release my talent.  This is how God wants to work in your life when you release your talent.

TREASURE

Immediately, when we hear this word TREASURE, we think of money.  And although this is the case for some, not everyone thinks that way.

Michele loves to shop at Thrift Stores like Goodwill, Disabled American Vets, etc).  We have often heard it said, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”  Based upon some of the amazing discoveries she has found, I believe it.  Many of you have seen some of these great treasures when she wears them at Throne Zone.

As a side note:  The next time you clean out your closet or garage or attic, please entertain the thought of gifting it to others….provided that it is still in workable and proper functioning condition.

But your treasure also includes your wisdom and learning.  You have gone through life experiences that others have never journeyed before.  Your wisdom shared can help ensure they will complete their journey and not fall as a casualty of the trip.

You are the Sum Total of all your life experiences.  You hold a piece of the equation that can help someone who is desperately searching for that particular piece of the puzzle.

Many were in search of the Messiah who would come to overthrow the Roman Empire and fix all the mess the government had created.  Because they were searching for the wrong thing, they missed their appointed time with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Jesus gave of his time by learning the craft/trade of Joseph, attending Temple and Jewish Holidays and Feasts.  Yet, when He was launched into His ministry, he still gave his time to others.  He shared this in the parable of the Good Samaritan, in talking with the woman at the well, with the woman caught in the very act of adultery, and with spending time with Mary, Martha and Lazarus.

Jesus flowed with His talent as a teacher and prophet illustrating the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven.  He worked signs, wonders and miracles while at the same time using his talent to teach so others could discern and learn how to become citizens of this Kingdom of Heaven.

But the treasure that Jesus was the sum total of His very being. His treasure was life everlasting.  His treasure was becoming sinful man, paying the ultimate price for our sin so that we could walk in the forgiveness of our sins and experience eternal life.  His treasure is and will always be, free to all who receive Him as their Lord and Savior!

In this busy Holiday Season of Christmas and New Years, be sure to keep Christ in Christmas.  Remember Christ is the Ultimate Gift, but YOU possess within you the Greatest Gift you can give…..YOUR TIME, YOUR TALENT AND YOUR TREASURE.

Merry Christmas!

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What is your “X” Factor?

In today’s society, it is growing more difficult to hear Merry Christmas.  You see Merry X-mas plastered on billboards, Christmas Cards, and throughout various advertising streams!  Many think that the “X” is a way to x-out Christ from Christmas which we know is the True Reason for This Season.  But this year, the “X” caught my eye in a different way.

This year, Simon Cowell introduced the “X-Factor” to the United States.  I must admit that Michele and I have been watching this first season.  The talent is absolutely amazing, and especially for those early teens that made it to the live shows.  Simon, and the other judges, are looking for that “X” factor- that something unique and special that causes one to stand out from the rest-  that special something that others do not possess.  Millions faithfully watch every week and cast their votes declaring who they think exhibits the true “X” factor.

But there is another way to approach this “X” factor.

Judah is now studying Algebra in school.  He has learned that “X” represents a number that is to be discovered.  He has learned many ways that “X” can be represented in an algebraic expression.  He has also learned that through a series of steps, he can discover the value of “X”. The greatest challenge is to simply discover the value of “X”. 

I believe that all three of these examples are true for you and me today.  I truly believe that the world is looking for the “X” factor within the church- that special something that causes us to stand out from the others.  They are looking for that special something that draws them to you and challenges their status quo.  Many people hope to utilize their talent, charm and charisma to demonstrate their “X” factor.  However, they have never truly discovered the true “X” which completes the equation of their life.  The true “X” is exactly what the world wants to take out of their advertising slogans.  The true “X” is Christ.  Christ within you, the hope of Glory!  It is the Christ within you that causes people to be drawn to you as they are searching for their own significance in life.  But there is an even greater meaning to the “X” factor for your life.  It begins with knowing Christ, but that is only the first step in the process.

I believe that the “X” represents your potential- that special something that only you possess that is to be expressed within the Body of Christ at such a time as this.

I am reminded of the parable of the talents that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 25:15-28.  In this story, “x” represents a talent. One was given 5 talents, another 2 talents, and the last individual was given 1 talent.  The real question of this text is this, “What are you going to do with that talent you have been given?”

I believe that God has gifted you with a wonderful and unique destiny.  It is one that no one can accomplish, and one which my destiny is dependent upon.  It is like a building block in the Kingdom.  God intended that our destinies complement one another.  He never intended our destinies to compete with each other.  I need what you are called to, and you need what I am called to.  And as we work together, we will see the Kingdom of Heaven established and expanding throughout the earth. 

Your “X” factor then is determined by what you do with the talent God has given you.  Will you reinvest it so that it multiplies?  Will you allow others to use it and watch as the interest is added to your account?  Or will you hide it being afraid of the gift and what might happen if you face rejection or discouragement or even possible failure?  Remember, we are ultimately the ones who determine whether our faith and potential will be multiplied, added to, or left alone as the status quo.

II Peter 1:5-7 gives us an equation that will help us develop our faith and potential.

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 

Verse 8 states, “if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Everything in life was created with potential and therefore possesses this potential principle.  An acorn possesses the DNA needed to produce a mighty Oak tree.  And you possess all you need to become a mighty man or women of God.  What you become will depend totally upon how you exercise your measure of faith.

That is why you and I must encourage one another to stretch our faith so we can release our full potential.  We must not hide in the dirt and simply wait for our master to return.  We must invest our lives in the Kingdom so that we can become all God has created and destined us to become, thus revealing our true “X” Factor.

Don’t settle for status quo.  God has created you with a unique purpose that none can accomplish other than you.  There are songs that need to be released by you; inventions that need to be discovered; books that need to be written and scientific explorations still to be realized and explained.

Don’t discount your gift or assignment.  Don’t forfeit the dream!  Keep walking toward your vision.  Keep dreaming the dream!  Continually contend for the prize within your heart.  You hold the key to your “X” Factor.  So, don’t give up or throw in the towel regardless of how you feel today. 

This year for Christmas, Michele and I pray for you to not be weary in your journey.  We pray for you to prosper and be in good health.  We wish for you joy and true happiness and fulfillment in your life as you are walking toward your destiny.

We are thankful that you are part of our lives and are investors in this ministry!  Your faithful giving helps to dig wells of worship for those who are dry and weary, allowing them the opportunity to soak in His presence, discover their purpose and find refreshment for their journey.

Your monthly seed also helps us to minister to others in ministry.  We provide a Monthly fellowship for ministers who feel isolated and alone and feel as though their “X” factor is a “0”.  It is a fellowship that provides encouragement, fellowship and accountability, something greatly needed for today’s minister.

The first Thursday of every month, we invite Sr. Pastors, Worship Leaders and Ministry Directors into our home.  Your financial gifts help us to provide wonderful food, roundtable discussions on problems and challenges today’s church is facing, and opportunities for them to move beyond status quo.  We provide guest speakers to mentor us in areas of leadership, personal development, and helping us address needs within our congregations.  We continue to endeavor to discover HIS CALL for not only our churches and ministries, but for our cities and regions.  Our fellowship continues to grow every month as we continue to build relationships and connect with those who simply want to know they are not the only ones facing challenges in these uncertain times.

I want to personally thank you for helping us to create this safe place for these ministers.  This is a place where they can be real and cry out for help and encouragement.  It is a place where they can find relationships, accountability and opportunity to discover their true “X” Factor.  We are so very thankful for you helping to make this much needed ministry possible!  All we can say is THANK YOU!

Michele, Judah and I speak love, blessings and heartfelt wishes for a Merry Christmas, and Happy and Prosperous New Year. 

What is your “X” Factor?