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Maximizing Your God-given Strengths

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Ecclesiastes 10:10 NIV
10 If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.
It’s not enough to WANT TO be successful in your life… marriage… careers… etc.
Desire is not enough… dedication is not enough… prayer is not enough… The bible says that skill will bring success and until you learn the skills that will enable you to be successful, you will not be successful.
We want to give you skills for life and work every Sunday. I like to preach practical messages that you can use this afternoon and tomorrow in your life.
Skill 1 - Ignoring the Doubters
Skill 2 - Recognizing what matters most
Skill 3 - Learning to be both Fast and Slow
Today 4th skill - How to Maximize Your Strengths
This has to do with discovering how God shaped you. As life goes on, you will need to do more of what you are good at and less of what you are not good at. To do that we have to learn our shape.

1. God shaped you for a purpose.

Jeremiah 1:5 The Message
5 “Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations— that’s what I had in mind for you.”
Circle shaped… he knew all about you and had a plan for you before you were born.

2. Your shape reveals your purpose.

If you want to know what you are here to do, look at your shape. Shape reveals your purpose.
In architecture, form follows function. If you want to build a building, the architect will ask, what do you want to do with this building? He will then design a building to do what you want it to do.
In humans, its the opposite.... function follows form.
IOW if you want to know what your purpose… your function in life is supposed to be, you look at how God formed you.
ILL - we don’t live underwater because we have lungs without gills… We were not made to fly aroudn because we don’t have wings… it’s why we have planes.

3. God planned your life before you were born.

You are not an accident. God had you in mind. He planned everyday of your life.
You are made is God’s image. Mind: Reason Will: Make choices Emotions: feel
Psalm 139:13–16 NCV
13 You made my whole being; you formed me in my mother’s body. 14 I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well. 15 You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother’s body. When I was put together there, 16 you saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old.
Write this down...
God was intimately involved in my birth.
when yoiu were born, God didn’t go, Oh no… not another baby… what am I going to do with this one? NO God had a plan for you long before you were born.
Listen: We don’t get to choose the timing of our birth or our death. It’s God’s timing. Some choose their time of death and that’s playing God and it’s wrong!
Not wanting to be political, but we will always oppose abortion, assisted suicide, etc. on moral grounds.
Rick Warren developed an acrostic for the Five Elements God uses to shape our lives.

5 Elements God Uses to “Shape” Your Life

S - Spiritual Gifts

when you became a believer the HS began to live in you and gives you gifts and abilities.
1 Corinthians 7:7 NLT
7 But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. Yet each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another.
These are special abilities given to you to help you fulfill God’s purpose for you!
Every Christian receives these. Some of you don’t think you have spiritual gifts, but that’s because you have never unwrapped the gift that God gave you. God has given you amazing spiritual gifts and way too often we put them up on the shelf.
How do you unwrap them? Easiest is to start serving in ministry…
If you don’t have a spiritual gift, it’s because you haven’t asked Jesus into your heart to be your Savior.
Every believer has at least one gift...

H - Heart

This is your motivation. It’s what gets you out of bed and keeps you up late. It’s the core of who you are.
some love football… some don’t…
We are all created differently with different passions. cooking - eating… sports… music…
Have you ever noticed that some things really grab your interest and others bore you to death?
We are all different with different passions.
Proverbs 4:23 NLT
23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Why Guard our hearts? There are people in this world that will look at your passions and look at your dreams and they’ll want to dismiss them. They’ll want to belittle them. They’ll want to deny them. They might even try to destroy them. And God doesn’t want that for you. God wants the real you to be able to stand up and to step up in ministry and to serve him.
Satan will whisper in your ear to try and persuade you to give up your passions… he is a liar. If we all had the same heart this world would be boring.

A - Abilities

Natural abilities you were given when born.
Romans 12:6 The Living Bible
6 God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, then prophesy whenever you can—as often as your faith is strong enough to receive a message from God.
Some people seem to have a natural ability to do different things. numbers… words… sports .... mechanical… musical
We don’t all have the same abilities.
We often lie about this. We even lie to our kids.
IE- we tell them, just tell me what you did… you won’t be in trouble...
We lie to them when we tell them they can be and do anything they want to do. Have you ever watch American Idol? Some of those folks should have had a friend that told them they could NOT sing.
Instead of telling our kids ore evne ourselves that they can do anything they want, we need to tell them that they can be and do anything God wants them to be and do!

P - Personality

All of us have different personalities… some of you are more different than others...
1 Corinthians 12:6 NLT
6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.
Psy say there are 16 basic personality types, but within each of those are hundreds of variations.
Let’s take a quick test… Let me ask you some questions...
When you go swimming, do you jump in or wade in?
You love to be organized / organization cramps your style
You like tried and true methods / you like to try new things
Change: You like routine / you like variety
Do you make decisions with your gut or reason?
Introverted or extroverted?
God made us all different

E - Experiences

Deuteronomy 11:2 TEV
2 Remember today what you have learned about the Lord through your experiences with him. It was you, not your children, who had these experiences. You saw the Lord’s greatness, his power, his might,
God uses your experiences … even the painful ones.
Romans 8:28 The Living Bible
28 And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans.

How Do I Maximize My God Given Shape?

1. You have to discover your shape.

Until you begin to live your shape, you will be frustrated with your life… work… ministry… It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
How do we discover our shape?
We discover our shape by examining our past.
Galatians 3:4 TEV
4 Did all your experience mean nothing at all? Surely it meant something!
One key to knowing God’s will for your future is to look at your past.
God has been working in your life since you were born… might not feel like it, but he has. He has given you interests and abilities…
Look at your past… where you have been and what you have done.
Galatians 6:4 The Message
4 Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others.
Make a list of your accomplishments both large and small. Did you enjoy them… did you do them well?
Try to list at least 5 enjoyable achievements … what abilities did I use?
Romans 12:3 The Living Bible
3 As God’s messenger I give each of you God’s warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you.
We discover our shape by experimenting with different tasks.
Try different ministries… Tech, kids… youth… greeting… outreach ministries like Nursing Home, Festival, calling, Fuel the Future...
Your SHAPE is often seen by others before you ever realize it. You can discover your SHAPE faster when you are active with a church family.

2. You have to accept your shape

Unfortunately, too many people reject what God has given them and wish they were shaped like someone else. They spend their lives trying to be something they are not… and they wonder why they are unhappy and unfulfilled.
There are 2 traps we typically fall into… Comparing and Conforming
Comparing leads to pride or discouragement.
Conforming robs you of your uniqueness.
When we fall into comparing, we become preoccupied with other people abilities… I wish I was like… We overvalue what we are not and we undervalue what we are.
If you are dissatisfied with the SHAPe God has given you, you are rejecting God’s design and listening to the Devil.
Anytime you reject how God created you, you are rejecting your creator.
Romans 9:20–21 NLT
20 No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into?
Spend more time asking yourself what you do well and less time focusing on what you don’t don’t do well.
ILL - Heredity -
We live in a day of epidemic depression. Why? Confused identity.
People try to deny what God made them… Gender identity… dark skinned trying to be light…
Be yourself… who you were created to be.
The other trap is conforming.
Don’t know if you have noticed, but other people have plans for your life too.
If you want to be who and do what God wants YOU to do, you must stop filling some rolls others have expected you to fill. They don’t know who or what you are supposed to be
BEETHOVAN'S music teacher- said he was hopeless as a composer.
EDISION'S teacher-told him he was so stupid he'd never learn anything!
EINSTEIN's math teacher flunked him
WALT DISNEY was fired by a newspaper editor because he said Walt had no creativity!
Knowing your shape allows you to say NO without guilt.
1 Corinthians 7:17 NLT
17 Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you. This is my rule for all the churches.

3. You should enjoy your shape

Ecclesiastes 5:19–20 NLT
19 And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. 20 God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.
3 Results of fulfilling your shape.
You will be energized. You have more energy when you are doing something you enjoy. You feel alive and you are having fun. We are rarely effective at tasks we do not enjoy.
You will have confidence. con fideo - with faith. The solution to low self worth is being what God shaped you to be.
You will have satisfaction. You will feel fulfilled when you are what God made you to be and doing what God created you to do.
Success is being what God shaped me to be.
Philippians 2:13 NLT
13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

4. You need to develop and use your shape

Your talents are like muscles… use them or lose them. ILL - me when I would do my first assembly of the year.
You will spend the rest of your life discovering and developing your SHAPE. The clearer it gets the more focused your life will become and the better you will understand your purpose.
2 Timothy 1:6 NCV
6 This is why I remind you to keep using the gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. Now let it grow, as a small flame grows into a fire.
1 Peter 4:10 The Living Bible
10 God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings.

What holds us back?

What holds us back? FEAR

Matthew 25:25 NLT
25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

Why do uou need to maximize your strengths?

Because you are accountable to God

Psalm 33:14–15 The Message
14 From where he sits he overlooks all us earth-dwellers. 15 He has shaped each person in turn; now he watches everything we do.
You may think that no one sees what you do so it’s not important. WRONG! Never mistake anonymous with insignificant.
The most important accomplishment you can achieve is beginning a relationship with Jesus!
2nd is discovering your SHAPE and then fulfill your life’s purpose.
Every great achievement has come through someone’s giftedness. On the other hand, all the destructive things are a result of mis-used talent.
The difference - Our gifts have to be dedicated to the Lord. Have you done that?
Each of us have talents and God wants us to dedicate those to Him. When you do, you will lose that feeling of dis-satisfaction and replace it with a feeling of satisfaction.
Romans 6:13 NCV
13 Do not offer the parts of your body to serve sin, as things to be used in doing evil. Instead, offer yourselves to God as people who have died and now live. Offer the parts of your body to God to be used in doing good.
Prayer
God gave you a mind that you might know him… emotions that might feel his love and express that love back … a will that you might choose to follow him.
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