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  • Eric Marshburn

Eric's Ethereal Cereal - August 2021

How often have we referred to someone as having, “charisma”? We generally are referring to a person having a winsome personality, or being an eloquent communicator. Maybe we are thinking of the positive influence certain persons seem to exhibit in their life or work. But “Charis” is a Greek word, found in the New Testament, which means, “gift.” “Charis-mata” refers the divine gifts present in a group of Jesus’ followers which enable the believers to fulfill their callings or vocations. As Bishop Will Willimon notes: “Christians are not simply saved. We are sent.”

Those receiving these gifts are to be “good stewards of God’s varied grace” 1 Peter 4:10, especially in terms of their ministry and life as members of the Christian community. The gifts of the Spirit are for the “up-building” of the church and the spread of the gospel. In other words, the varied gifts of the Holy Spirit (charismata)—see 1 Corinthians 12:4-11—are present in the church, and are utilized by God to strengthen every member; particularly in sharing the good news of God’s love for all people in Jesus Christ. In other words … “Don’t just invite people to church … invite them to lunch; invite them to your table or patio; invite them into your life.” None of us have all the gifts needed to accomplish this on our own; we share in the gifts with each other. There is no other way.

So how do we “steward” these gifts in a way that help everyone become their true, Christ-like selves? In short, it begins by everyone coming together, regularly; and then, by living and moving together in ways where true relationships are nurtured and nourished. John Wesley created “bands” or “classes” that sought to help the early Methodists help one another live day-to-day in ways that honor Christ Jesus and in doing so, bring purpose and meaning to every day life.

“Our vision is to partner in spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. Our mission is to work together in ways that promote healthy congregations and effective leaders in every place, making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” ~The United Methodist Church

Life in Christ is life abundant! It is possible to know this joy even in the midst of turmoil and suffering. The enduring practices of scriptural reflection, prayer, worship, and guidance within the community of faith help us discover and live these spiritual truths personally and corporately … Christians are called into a community of mutual servant-hood, and … each of us has a unique gift to offer to others. ~Companions In Christ: Embracing The Journey

.… let us think of one another and how we can encourage each other to love and do good deeds. And let us not hold aloof from our church meetings, as some do. Let us do all we can to help one another’s faith, and this the more earnestly as we see the final day drawing ever nearer. Hebrews 10:24-25


Pastor Eric

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