Category Archives: Gifts

A Promise is a Promise

Spiritual Gifts | Devotion #6: A Promise is a Promise
Holly Boston | Women’s Director

Have you ever broken your promise? Have you ever been on the receiving end of a broken promise? My father died when I was six months old. Years later, my single mom would send my sister (six years old) and me (4 years old) to the community pool to swim. This was obviously almost 50 years ago because no responsible parent would send two little kids alone. Every day we would play with this really nice man at the pool. We introduced Jim to our mom, and eventually, they married. I remember my dad putting me on his knee and telling us he wanted to be our dad and that we would be a family. Not many people can say they introduced their parents. In 1993, my dad broke his promise. After 30 years of marriage, he decided he no longer wanted to be married, I had no father, and my family was changed forever. Sadly, broken promises have become all too common. But there is One who never breaks His promise. 

There is One who promises: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5), to “supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19), and “equip you with everything good that you may do his will” (Hebrews 13:21). His truth tells us that “…all the promises of God find their Yes in him” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Simply put, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead; you are saved” (Romans 10:9). Bible Gateway declares that there are 5,467 promises in the Bible. I do not know if this is an accurate count, but as a believer, we have the privilege of claiming each one.

The most important promise is the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13 says, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, And believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the Guarantee of our inheritance…” When we receive Christ, we become one of His, guaranteed a home in Heaven, and the Holy Spirit resides in us forever (John 10:28). The gift of the Holy Spirit makes us the recipient of all other promises through the work of the Spirit who is in us. He convicts us of sin (John 16:8), guides us into all truth (John 16:13), strengthens us in our weakness (Romans 8:26), and provide us with the power to live a righteous life (Romans 8:2). We have everything through Him.

Today, as I write this, it is October 31st. Two days ago, a lady in the Church said, “I got all my Christmas shopping done today.” This sent me into a tailspin, wondering what will I get family and friends and how will I afford Christmas this year. Now as I reread my devotion to make sure all the “i’s” are dotted and every “t” is crossed, I realize I already have the only gift they need. Let us determine to be led by the Holy Spirit and share His gift to all in our sphere of influence.

Jesus Christ + the Holy Spirit = God’s Promises

Prank Box

Spiritual Gifts | Devotion #5: Prank Box
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor 

Recently, my wife and I purchased some prank boxes for our son, daughter, and my dad. The idea is that you put a meaningful gift inside a box that describes some kind of absurd item. We gave my dad “the cheese printer that can print pictures on slices of cheese.” It reminded me of the infamous eBay sensation of Mary on a grilled cheese sandwich that sold for some $28,000. My son was given a “dream griddle alarm clock,” which he associated with the TV show The Office and Michael Gary Scott. Finally, for our daughter, we gave her the “pet butler – a serving vest for her dog.” The idea behind it was the dog would wear a vest that had a serving tray attached to it. Your dog can roam the room during a party while serving your guest tasty appetizers. Their responses were priceless. My daughter admitted that as she opened the gift, she decided to give it to someone else and she already had picked the person. 

God gave us the Holy Spirit. He is the perfect gift! Jesus told us that the Gift was coming. John 14:16 (KJV) says, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” John 15:26 (KJV) adds, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.” John 16:7 (KJV) continues the thought, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” God has offered the perfect gift. Jesus announced it several times, so we would not miss Him. 

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines comforter as a long narrow usually knitted neck scarf or a thick bed covering made of two layers of cloth containing a filling (such as down). It adds that it can be one that gives comfort. However, if it is capitalized, it is the Holy Spirit. The Comforter is the Holy Spirit, and His soothing touch and embrace can bring a calmness and peace, “which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

Chances are you are stressed and anxious about something. The cookies, chips, and half a gallon of ice cream did not meet the standard we expect of “comfort foods.” Those around you seem to have their own battles. You sit alone in a crowd, and all you hear is white noise. Look to God. He wants to comfort you.

In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, we read, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

The gift of the Holy Spirit includes comfort. God comforts us, and as an added bonus, He strengthens us so we can help others. We all struggle, and God is offering the solution.

The Holy Spirit lives within all believers. He is a gift from God announced by Jesus. Have you put the gift on the shelf? Are you ignoring the power of the gift? Have you forgotten you have Him? It might sound too good to be true, but He is alive and will never leave you nor forsake you!

Gifts That Do Not Get Old

Spiritual Gifts | Devotion #4: Gifts That Do Not Get Old
Ben Kirkman | Associate Operations Pastor & Facilities Director

This time of year brings back all kinds of memories from past Christmases. As a child, one of my favorite things in all the world was Christmas morning. I loved the anticipation of what awesome present I might unwrap. One of the best was a replica of our family barn handmade by my dad. It was perfect for storing all my toy tractors. I enjoyed everything about the whole day: time with family, yummy food including all the pie and desserts I could handle, but especially the presents. I remember thinking, “I wish this day could last forever.”

However, going to bed on Christmas night was probably one of my least favorite things in all the world. Seemingly every year, I would lie in bed bummed out that the day was over, thinking, “Aw man, 365 days until I get to celebrate Christmas again.” I knew those new, exciting gifts would get old and break and let me down, leaving me wanting another round of presents by February (at the latest).

Looking back and thinking about the Christmas presents that I have received over the years, there are very few that have lasted and I still value. But then I think of the greater gifts that were not in the bright paper under the tree. Gifts from God will never decrease in value.

One of the gifts that I greatly cherish is a mom who planted the Word of God in my heart and mind. I grew up in the country, thirty minutes from everywhere. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time in the car. Whenever we drove anywhere, my mom would teach us kids a Bible verse (I did not necessarily think it was a gift at the time). But she was filling our hearts and minds with God’s Word. She knew that Psalm 119:11 teaches, “I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” God gave the gift of His Word; my mom helped me store it in my heart from a very young age. I feel I cannot begin to tell you how extremely helpful this has been as I navigate through life in this sinful, fallen world. God’s Word stored up in my heart helps me with daily decision making. He helps me with questions like, “How would God want me to handle this situation? How should I respond to this person right now?” The Scriptures stored up in my heart come to mind when I need them. How does it happen? This is another gift from God. The Holy Spirit brings the right Scriptures to mind at just the right time. John 14:26 says “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” What an amazing gift that never gets old, worn down, or outdated; it never breaks or becomes boring!

I am forever grateful for a mother who helped me store God’s Word in my heart. Do you have children, grandchildren, coworkers, friends, or family that you could give the gift of God’s Word? Finally, are you storing God’s Word in your own heart?

My Favorite Teacher

Spiritual Gifts | Devotion #3: My Favorite Teacher
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

Well, Christmas is over. The planning, wrapping, decorating, baking, hosting, and all the programs are over. However, if you are like me, you will take a breather for a couple of days before you begin to reflect and evaluate on what next Christmas will hold. I remember the first year I had the opportunity to run the Toys 4 Tots program for Northern Oakland County; it was crazy! Our location in Holly became the main application, drop-off point, and toy pick-up destination for all of north Oakland County. However, there was one problem, we began three weeks into the program’s season. Needless to say, there was a considerable amount of running around between Lake Orion, Oxford, Clarkston, and Auburn Hills. I was loading up toys until l I could not see out the back window. Then when I got back to Holly, I would sort all the toys, only to get a call to go running back out for more. It was a crazy experience, but to see the impact these toys had as mothers and fathers were able to put gifts under the tree, made it all worth it.

In John chapter 14, Jesus tells His disciples (and us) about His departure from this earth. However, as He knows His departure is at hand, He already had a plan in place, so that we would not be left alone. That plan was the coming of the Holy Spirit, to dwell in us as followers of Christ. One of the amazing characteristics that the Holy Spirit takes on for us as followers is to be our teacher. Jesus says in John 14:25-26, “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” Here, Jesus is explaining how the Spirit will continue to reveal, improve, and guide us in our daily lives. 

Much like I continually evaluate on how to improve and learn from each year we take on Toys 4 Tots, the Spirit is at continual work inside us as followers of Christ. He is not dwelling in us just to catch us in our sin or point out our flaws. Just as Christ said, He is dwelling in us to teach us, reprove us, and remind us of all that God is revealing in His Word. I know for me personally, I am never done learning. There are always areas and events where I can improve upon or tweak, both at work and in my personal walk with Christ!

So, as the Christmas haze begins to settle and we etch closer to the New Year, I want to challenge you. Take some time to look back and listen. Maybe you need to evaluate the past month of your life or maybe this past year; were you a good listener? Did you do your best with the task at hand or did you try to do things on your own and ignore the teachings in God’s Word? It is always good to take a step back and evaluate. I encourage you to take some time this week to step back and listen, open God’s Word, evaluate, and let the Helper guide and improve you. 

The Gift of Serving

Spiritual Gifts | Devotion #2: The Gift of Serving
Isaiah Combs

The gift of the Holy Spirit (Ghost) is a commonly debated topic in the Church today.

There are many different beliefs on what the gifts are, how they are used and if we do or do not have them. I am not going to argue either way as I write this. I am simply going to talk about one of the gifts that is not written about in the Bible.

Romans 12:6-8 says, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”

One of my favorite sayings my Dad says is, “You were made on purpose for a purpose.” He says it all the time. He says it in sermons, to kids, teenagers, and people of all ages. The saying is very biblically based; you were 100% made on purpose for a purpose. 

Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

You are unique, and that also goes for the gifts you receive according to the grace given to you. The gifts Paul writes about in Romans are prophecy, service, teaching, exhortation, generosity, leadership, and mercy. There are other gifts of the Spirit the Bible talks about, but I am writing about the ones Paul writes about in Romans chapter 12. You may be blessed with one or more of these gifts. You were called to use these gifts to bring glory to God and spread the Gospel.

 I would like to talk about one of the gifts, the gift of serving. You who have the gift of serving are called to use it. That may sound simple but it true. There is an awesome lady in our Church who has three young adult kids. She does not know a ton about the Bible, and she will tell you that, but she for sure has the gift of serving. Every time she goes to a Growth Community, she brings some awesome food and will get there early and serve people and make sure they are all good to go, served, and loved. She uses the gift God gave her. It might not be the gift that is out in front of people and is seen by all. But it is a very important gift that Jesus has told us to use. Even at the Last Supper, Jesus gave us an example of serving by putting on a servant’s apron and washing the Disciples feet (John 13:1-7). 

Your gift was given to you on purpose for a purpose. Use it according to the grace given to you.

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