Welcome to our Spring Gather, we’re so glad you are here with us.
If you’re gathering with your own group, we’ve provided a link to the Gather Guidelines we use within our faith community. We share them with the hope of helping you create close fellowship.
If you’re ready, let’s dive in to discover what It is.
Father God, how grateful we are for the privilege of gathering with others in Your name, both in person and through digital media. We ask for Your blessing on this gathering and the ones to follow. Open our hearts to You as we pursue Your call on our lives. Amen.
Making Sense of the Title
The title of our Gather this spring is You Were Created to Gift It!
When you consider the title:
- What thought first comes to mind?
- What questions stir?
- Is there an emotion that rises when you consider not knowing exactly what the “it” is?
Read 1Corinthians 12:4-7
- How does Paul describe spiritual gifts, service, and activities?
Paul uses the word variety or various when he describes spiritual gifts, service, and activities.
Merriam-Webster defines variety as “a quality or state of having different forms or types.” In other words, God gives different forms or types of spiritual gifts, service and activities.
- According to 1Corinthians 12, where do the gifts and power to use them come from?
- For what purpose are the gifts given?
- What is given to every single Believer?
No matter our gift, service, or activity, God is the Giver of all good gifts, and He gives them for the common good of building up His Kingdom.
The spiritual gifts we receive are actually a manifestation of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Every Believer receives a unique way to reveal the Holy Spirit to those around them through the various gifts they receive.
The “It” in our title is the specific way the Spirit manifests Himself in your life for God’s glory and for the good of His people.
Read 1Corinthians 12:8-11
Paul’s list of gifts is in no way exhaustive. You may not find your gift within Paul’s list, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have one.
- Have you sensed a manifestation of the Spirit in your life through a call from God? Something which could benefit all His people?
- Have you taken the step to give “it”? Why or why not?
- Has there been a time when you attempted to use your gift and failed? How did you respond to the failure?
The world and culture we find ourselves in today desperately need us to manifest God’s Spirit by giving the “it” we’ve been given. These gifts, services, and activities are how we influence the world and share the Gospel with those around us.
It Is A Call
During this Gather study, we will reflect on the beginning of Gideon’s story in the book of Judges.
Read Judges 6:1-6
- What were the living conditions of the Israelites at this point in their history?
- How did they end up in this difficult predicament?
- What was their response?
The Israelites were oppressed and dominated in their own land by the Midianites. A difficult predicament of their own making because, on the whole, they did what was “evil in the sight of the Lord.” God gave them into the hands of the Midianites for seven years.
In response to their trouble, they hid out in caves. They tried to make a living but their enemies simply came and ruined or consumed the work they tried to do. Finally, the weak and impoverished Israelites cried out for help from the God they had denied.
Read Judges 6:7-10
- How did God respond to their cry for help?
God responded to their cry for help by sending a prophet to remind them of their relationship to one another. He reminded them who He was and what He had done for them. He reminded them of the covenant He made with them to obey Him as God. In a sense, He said: Why are you asking me for help when you know the answer? Obey Me.
- How do you feel about God’s answer at this point in the story?
- What does it reveal about God? about His people?
Read Judges 6:11-12
- What do we see God doing in these verses?
Even though the Israelites were responsible for their own condition, God in his faithfulness answered their prayer by designating a “mighty man of valor” to represent His people against their enemies. An angelic messenger appeared to Gideon to proclaim God’s call on his life.
The giving of gifts, services, and activities begins with a call. Most often it happens when we are growing in our relationship with God.
- What place did the angel choose to meet with Gideon?
- Where was Gideon when the angel called? Why?
The angel of the Lord came and sat under a tree that belonged to Gideon’s father, some translations call it a terebinth tree and some an oak, but the original language depicts a ‘large tree’ (Dictionary of Biblical Languages).
While the angel of the Lord called Gideon from under the shade of a large tree, Gideon was in a winepress threshing wheat. Do you notice something off about this? In an effort to hide his wheat from the Midianites, he was threshing in a place meant for pressing. Because of the trouble, he was doing his usual work in an unusual place.
Let’s pause here to consider what might be significant about the location where the angel of the Lord chose to meet with Gideon. As we read the following Scriptures, take note of what is pictured by a tree.
From the psalmist, we learn that people who live godly lives are like trees planted near a perpetual water source, they never wither and are fruitful in their season.
Isaiah uses the imagery of oaks of righteousness planted for God’s glory to depict Believers who have experienced the redeeming work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
And Jeremiah tells us that Believers who trust and hope in the Lord are like trees with deep roots, tapping into God’s presence continually. They live without fear and anxiety no matter what comes and they are continually fruitful.
From the use of trees in Scripture, we might easily conclude that the tree where the angel sat symbolizes something Gideon wasn’t aware of at that moment. Like a tree growing in arid land, he was growing strong under the oppression of the Midianites. He didn’t recognize who he was, but the angel did.
- What did the angel of the Lord call Gideon?
The name the angel called Gideon was exactly who he turned out to be: O mighty man of valor.
There are times our troubles overshadow who we are in Christ. We need a reminder, however it comes, that when we are faithful followers of God we are strong oaks of righteousness called to give, serve, and act on behalf of the King. Our identity is tied to our relationship with God.
We are going to imagine our own spiritual growth in times of trouble by spending a few moments in a guided meditation.
Take a minute to settle yourself.
Breathe in God’s grace. Breathe out any distraction.
Gideon was living in troubled times. Pressed in on every side. Hiding in a winepress threshing wheat in order to feed his family.
What trouble are you facing?
How are you feeling pressed?
Where are you hiding?
Is it possible God is using this trouble, this pressing to help you grow?
Maybe you can’t see it, but God does.
Imagine your faith development as a tree, what do you look like?
Take a moment to ask God how He sees you.
What does He see?
What keeps you from believing you are called by God for a unique purpose? that you are: O a mighty woman of God?
Now imagine God’s messenger sitting there by your tree.
What name does the angel use for you?
What “It” is God calling you to give? to manifest His Spirit in your world?
Consider journaling what you received during this meditative prayer. If you are gathered with others consider sharing with those in your group what you saw.
As a benediction for this session, prayerfully receive the words of Hillsong’s New Wine in preparation for your week of study.
The Week’s Study
Here is a link to a PDF of the week’s study to prepare you for the next session.
Be blessed.Stacy & Carol