NEW BOOK! Your Reasonable Service

Cover_m.jpgYour Reasonable Service, Understanding Your Motivation for Ministry (WestBow Press, 2017), is published and now available.  You can order the book from TREAD Ministries, PO Box 1910, Monroe, GA 30655.  The cost is $20.00 per book plus $5 shipping.  Make check payable to:  TREAD Ministries, Inc.

CREDIT CARDS PURCHASES ARE NOW AVAILABLE!  GO TO OUR NEW ONLINE STORE …

Purchase here, click on this link >>>>     TREAD – SQUARE ONLINE STORE

For purchase of more than one copy contact us at TREAD for pricing and shipping.  Questions?  Contact us at tom@terush.com

The book is also available on the WestBow Press site (best option) and on Amazon and Barnes and NobleJust put the title in the search box.

ENDORSEMENT FROM DR. JERRY VINES!  –  “Dr. Tom Rush has given us a very biblical, thorough and practical presentation of spiritual gifts. He does so in a way that is unique and very helpful. His excellent volume is a biblical corrective to the abuses of the modern charismatic movement. The insights in the book aid believers as we all seek to be useful to Christ in and through the local church. I found his familiarity with the Greek text especially helpful in understanding spiritual gifts. I commend this volume to all believers and pray it will have a wide readership.”— Jerry Vines, Pastor-Emeritus, First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida; Two time President of the Southern Baptist Convention

Read the Introduction to the Book:

Introduction

The very mention of spiritual gifts can cause some Christians to run and hide. Many of God’s people are confused about the gifts, either assuming that somehow they may have been left out, or perhaps they simply have never been taught how to discover their gift. Some think that when spiritual gifts are discussed, they refer only to what are sometimes called the sign gifts, such as tongues and healing. Since they do not understand such gifts, or perhaps have a fear of them, they avoid the topic. Others, because they do not think they have a gift or believe they are not worthy of one, also avoid the topic.

To others, it is more than confusion. It is a controversy. They have heard pastors tell them that in order to demonstrate that they are saved, or that they have the Holy Spirit indwelling them, they must evidence it by speaking in tongues or some other mystical manifestation of the power of the Spirit. On the other hand, they have heard pastors tell them that such manifestations are either fake or demonic. They have been told such gifts have ceased and are no longer a part of the spiritual-gifts inventory.

The controversy rages in some churches. The phenomenon of “charismatic”[1] practices have crossed denominational lines for many years. Practice of the sign or revelatory gifts common in Pentecostal churches came over into fundamental and evangelical churches with varied acceptance and success. Many are the evangelical churches that have split over the issue. But the controversy has taken its toll in more ways than just splitting churches and causing disagreements between pastors. Because of the controversial nature of the spiritual gifts, many pastors, churches, and individual believers have chosen just to ignore the subject.

Sometimes it seems that the work of the Holy Spirit has been left to the Charismatic Movement; and the rest of the church has, in a sense, allowed them to steal much truth from the church while they progressed onward in their errors. Baptists became scared of raising a hand in worship or expressing their emotion in any way whatsoever for fear of being thought too “charismatic.”

Thankfully, there has been a renewed interest in the gifts over the last few decades. More believers are interested; more churches are providing teaching and tools for their members to discover their gifts. This renewed emphasis on the gifts should be welcomed and will be of great help to the church, provided it maintains a biblical balance.

One major area of confusion in the study of the spiritual gifts is that vast difference you find in various authors about how many gifts the Bible makes available. Some say seven, some eighteen, and some thirty or more! We will address this concern and try to bring some biblical balance to the question.

Another issue that clouds and confuses the understanding of the spiritual gifts even further is the modern tendency to combine the study of the spiritual gifts with studies of human personality traits. These approaches often speak of the need for “self-discovery” and lead one down a long path of researching their personality, human abilities, life experiences, and even one’s “passions” (meaning, what one is passionate about in life). The popularity of such systems is immense, and they are used in many churches. I am not questioning the sincerity of those who have built these systems. I believe that many of them have a strong desire to see believers discover their gifts and use such gifts in faithful service to the Lord through the church. What I question is the biblical foundation of such methods.

The purpose of this book is to bring clarification to the issue of spiritual gifts. It will be my purpose to answer a number of important questions about the subject. At the foundation of these questions will be an honest attempt to discover what the Bible says about the gifts. How many spiritual gifts are there? How do I discover my gift? Can I have more than one gift? Should I have all the gifts? Can I have all the gifts (as is taught by many in the charismatic movement)? How can I most effectively use my gifts? Do my personality traits or natural human abilities have any bearing on my giftedness? What is the purpose of spiritual gifts—in other words, why were they given? How can I know how other Christians are gifted, and what does that mean for me? What impact does a proper biblical understanding of the gifts have on the local church? What significance do the gifts have in my family?

If the purpose is to bring clarification, the goal is to provide a tool that pastors, churches, and laypersons can use to determine God’s design for their service to the Lord. The church of today is weak and inept, often overrun by an enemy of ignorance and indifference, especially when it comes to the work of the Holy Spirit. I will readily admit that this book in no way purports to be a definitive work on ministry of the Holy Spirit (other and more capable men than me have provided numerous such works[2]). But one area of the Spirit’s work that surely needs emphasis in the church today is the work that God desires to do through His church by the exercise of the spiritual gifts given to each and every saint.

The bottom-line objective is to help each believer, each church member, discover their Holy Spirit-given motivation for ministry. As we will discover, that motivation is your spiritual gift. God the Holy Spirit gifted you to motivate you toward a ministry that He would bless. It is His desire to use you in the service of your Savior, to advance the cause of the kingdom, and to be a blessing to your fellow believers. The truth is, we have all been called into ministry. The work of the ministry is not solely the work of the pastor or the paid church staff (Eph. 4:11-16).

A great motto for a church would be, “Every member a minister.” Of course, for that to happen, the pastor and membership would need to get serious about understanding and discovering the spiritual gifts of each member. I believe that any Bible-believing church would find the results of such an effort to be a tremendous blessing. For most churches, the time comes around every year when the nominating committee, deacons, or elders begin the labor of filling all the positions of service needed in the church.

In theory, if all the members knew and practiced their spiritual gifts, there would be no need for a nominating committee! People would be much more satisfied and fulfilled in their work in the church! There would likely be a waiting list to serve. Rather than begging someone to teach a Sunday school class, for example, a person would come to the pastor and say, “I have the gift of teaching, and I’d like to teach a class.” He would then respond, “We’ll put you on a waiting list!” Or he might make them an assistant teacher or have them start a new class. There is no question that the church would be blessed and more effective in ministry if all the members were serving just as God had gifted them.

“Now we must all ask ourselves, do we truly encourage the Holy Spirit to work in our churches today? Are we truly teaching that each born-again Christian is gifted for service by the Holy Spirit to bless their local church and to be an effective member of that church for local testimonial effect for the Gospel and to spread the Gospel, both here and abroad?”

—Dr. James I. Stewart, Immanuel Bible College

Your reasonable service” (cf. Rom. 12:1-2) is to present your body as “a living sacrifice…to God.” God saved you in order to use you in His service! In Romans 12, Paul shows us clearly how we can be the living sacrifices He desires through discovering and using the motivational spiritual gifts we have been given by the Holy Spirit. That will be the aim of this book, to help pastors and church members discover their gifts for the glory of the Lord, the furtherance of His kingdom, and the good of the church.

 

[1] There is a proper and biblical use of the term charismatic, but in this work, I shall use the term as it is understood in the modern church to refer to the “charismatic movement” with its overemphasis on miracles, unknown tongues, and prosperity.

[2] Works on the Holy Spirit that might be useful to the serious Bible student include The Baptism and Fullness: The Work of the Holy Spirit by John R. W. Stott, The Silent Shepherd by John MacArthur, and Holy Spirit Power by Charles H. Spurgeon.

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