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Spiritual Gifts

God has given each Christian a spiritual gift. 

First, you are to do as commanded in 2 Timothy 1:6: “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you.” 

Second, you are to do as admonished in 1 Peter 4:10: “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” 

We encourage you to prayerfully consider completing the spiritual gifts survey found here: https://gifts.churchgrowth.org. It will help you identify your dominant spiritual gifts.

The Bible states there are many gifts. This survey covers the nine (9) team or task-oriented gifts used in daily life to do the work of Christian ministry. 

Evangelism

Prophecy

Teaching

Exhortation

Shepherding

Showing Mercy

Serving

Giving

Administration

Begin to discover and understand how your spiritual gift relates to your life, other people’s lives, our local church, and the body of Christ as a whole. 

The Growth Group Team would love to hear what you find out. After completing the survey at the link above, email us at info@cbcbrantford.ca and share your name and dominant spiritual gifts. By better understanding and exercising the gifts God has entrusted to you, you will press forward with joy to do what God has gifted and called you to do. May your daily service bring glory to God, and may His name be praised.

~ Central’s Growth Group Team

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep?

Challenge Central: a CBC devotional

By: Laurie Korstanje

Have you ever woken up in the night and then not been able to go back to sleep? I think the younger you are, the more likely you’d answer, “Are you kidding? I could sleep till noon every day.” It seems more likely to happen to older people and women in particular. This is not from a scientific study, more from talking to friends.

Prayer is always a good thing to engage in while lying awake. If you are in for an hour or two of insomnia, you can pray for many people. One of my favourite things to do if I find myself struggling to get back to sleep is to pray the Lord’s Prayer and the 23rd Psalm. They both have a calming effect and can help switch gears in your mind. If you have insomnia, you’ll know what I mean.

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.

 I am not saying prayer will cure my insomnia; instead, praying puts you in front of the Lord Almighty. You can lay yourself at His feet. He listens to what concerns you. Prayer is a better way to spend your awake time; it will bring you to still waters and restore your soul.

He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

The mind is a fascinating piece of equipment. At 3 a.m., it has a way of remembering all the lyrics to the most annoying commercial on television, including phone numbers within said commercial. It will remember that you forgot to water your plants. It will wonder why people are driving down your street at that hour. It will worry about ________. Fill in the blank. You get my point.

What is ‘nothing’ during the day becomes mind-obsessing in the middle of the night. I have come to realize that if I have things on my mind—good or bad—they will wake me and keep me awake. Some of it started when my children were of the age when I listened for them to come home at night. Sometimes I laid awake for so long that even when they came home and were safely tucked in bed, sleep evaded me as if my mind got its second wind.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Lying awake can be very lonely. During the day, there is always noise around us, especially if children are in the house. But at night, you listen to quietness. There is no one to talk to; you are alone with your thoughts. But the Bible reminds me that God is with me even in my most tired state.

He understands that fatigue makes us vulnerable to unfounded worry.

Prayer can check that worry and put it in its place.

He loves me. He will not leave me. He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies. He is my comfort and strength when I am at my weakest.

I hope each of you reading this can lay your head down each night and sleep comfortably. I hope whatever pain you experience each day can take a holiday at night and let you slumber. If you find yourself awake, pray and ask for rest.

Church Politics or Family Talking?

Challenge Central: a CBC devotional

By: Pastor Lars Janssen

“I don’t like church politics.”

Over the years, I’ve heard some people in our church family make this statement. I think I understand the sentiment behind the statement. It’s something like, “I don’t like the disagreements that occur in church life and leadership.” It’s very understandable not to like disagreements, but consider the implications of referring to church life and leadership as ‘church politics.’

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘politics’ as the art or science of government; concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy or winning and holding control over a government. The sense behind this term, politics, is to convince others to do things my way by making rules and exercising authority. Is this an accurate reflection of church life and leadership? No, it isn’t.

The Apostle Paul pressed the Ephesian church leaders by saying, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which He obtained with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). He also described church leaders as servants, stewards, the scum of the world, the refuse of all things, and fathers (see 1 Cor. 4 … “scum of the world, the refuse of all things” is a direct quote from verse 13).

The church is not a community to be governed through human politics. We are those who have been “obtained with his own blood” and each of us should grow to see the value in God’s blood-bought children. There is great value and joy in working together with God’s people. Psalm 133:1 gladly shouts, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”

C. S. Lewis wrote this about getting together with his friends:

“In a perfect Friendship this Appreciative Love is, I think, often so great and so firmly based that each member of the circle feels, in his secret heart, humbled before all the rest. Sometimes he wonders what he is doing there among his betters. He is lucky beyond desert to be in such company.” (C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves)

This kind of unity among Christians is precious beyond words—certainly beyond being described as ‘church politics.’ I’ve been in several church meetings lately and there has been joy in spending this time with my brothers and sisters. I sat beside Joel, Brenda, Jer, Alan and Wade. I sat across from Barb, Wayne, Christine, Ed, Gary, Andrew, and Casey. These are just some of the names of my friends in Christ—my brothers and sisters in Christ.

These meetings should never be moments of political maneuvering between government agents. These are opportunities for brothers and sisters to enjoy each other and work with our Brother, Jesus, to bring the Father glory.

This week, I challenge you to join Jesus in living out his prayer:

“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their [the Apostle’s] message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:20-21).

The church is no place for politics. We’re just family talking.

Be Honest With Me in 2023

Challenge Central: a CBC devotional

By: Pastor Jeremy Heikkinen

A couple of weeks ago, in my sermon, I shared the phrase that came out of a conversation with my wife Jessi, “Be honest with me in 2023”. When I got home that Sunday, Jessi encouraged me to clarify what I meant by that. It was not that we had been hiding the facts about the circumstances of our lives, it had more to do with being honest with how our hearts were responding to the facts of our circumstances. We had been having a discussion the day before about all that was going on in our lives and

how this has been one of the most difficult seasons. From the isolation of Covid, the ups and downs of foster care, and the toll of sleepless nights and sickness, we are both exhausted! But underneath the external exhaustion there are disappointments, deep sorrows, and unmet expectations that last beyond the moment of circumstance.

I am not very good at sharing what is going on under the circumstances. I often just put me head down and ‘go to work.’ So, what are we to do with our disappointments, deep sorrows, and unmet expectations? Soldier on!? Suck it up buttercup!? Fake it until you make it!? Many of you know me enough to know the question that is coming next… “what does God’s Word say about this?” Well, Eph. 4:15 tells us that it is impossible for us to grow as an individual and a church without “speaking the truth in love” to each other. Paul goes on to discuss the life changing hope of being taught and learning about the truth that is in Jesus in verses 17-24. In verse 25 it says, “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbour, for we are members one of another.” Speaking the truth not only includes the facts about what is happening but also my heart’s response to what is happening, the emotions that are attached to the facts. Jessi and I have been through the same circumstances, but our responses are different. So what does it sound like to “Be Honest with Me in 2023?” Well, here are some great examples to follow:

David:

– Psalm 13 (“How long, O LORD…”?)

– Psalm 31:9-24 (“Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress…my eye…my soul…my body…my life…my years…my strength…my bones…”)

Paul:

– 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (despairing of life itself)

– 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (accepting weakness when dealing with a chronic ailment)

Jesus:

– Matthew 23 (Lamenting the state of Jerusalem and its unwillingness to turn to Him)

– Matthew 26:30-46 (Foretells of Peter’s denial and praying alone in the garden)

Which one do you resonate the most with? Here is your challenge, what area of your heart do you need to be honest with someone this week? Now, remember, Ephesians tells us to speak the truth in love. This is not a license to be brutal, cynical, or sinful. It is an invitation to be honest with your heart’s response to your circumstances and, thus, an invitation to grow to become more like Jesus! Take the passage that resonates with you the most and share why it resonates with a friend or family member. Don’t text about it, don’t put it on Facebook, don’t send it in an email. Talk to someone face-to-face about it. Let me know how it goes.