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Intro to Shape

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My ministry is determined by my shape.

What God made you to be determines what he intends to do. You will understand the purpose you have been made for, you will understand the kind of person you are. This is the secret to knowing God’s will for your life.
God would not give us inborn talents and temperaments, spiritual gifts, and all sorts of life experiences and then not use them! By reviewing and studying them we can discover the ministry God has for us… the unique way God intends for you to serve him.

The two results of discovering your shape and using it to serve God: Fulfillment and Fruitfulness

Let’s Look at

How God has Shaped you

Job 10:8 TEV
8 Your hands formed and shaped me, and now those same hands destroy me.
circle formed and shaped.
God formed and shaped you in the womb before you were born.
God has been molding and shaping you since you were born.
Psalm 139:14–16 The Living Bible
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it. 15 You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion! 16 You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!
Even before you were born, God knew that on this day, you would be sitting right here listening to me. He knows every day of your life before you were even born.
Write this down
I was shaped for a purpose.
I am unique
There is no one else like you in the world. If you don’t do the ministry God designed for you to do, no one else is going to do it because God made you unique and has things for only you to do.
I am wonderfully complex
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?
Paul is saying that who are we to argue with God about how he made us. Sometimes we wish he had made us differently… taller, thinner, more gifted, more talented, better looking…
Paul is saying who are we to argue with God because God made each one of us in a special and unique way with the background and abilities that we have for a purpose. He has given each of us a specific design and intent.
In ministry, function follows form. It’s the opposite in architecture. You build a building to fit the purpose you need. But when it comes to people… to ministry, it’s the opposite. He designed you and the function follows the form he made you in.
You shape is determined by several factors

Factors that determine your shape

1 Corinthians 12:4–7 TEV
4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. 5 There are different ways of serving, but the same Lord is served. 6 There are different abilities to perform service, but the same God gives ability to all for their particular service. 7 The Spirit’s presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all.
Underline spiritual gifts. That’s one factor. He says there are different “ways of serving” … he’s talking about your temperament, your personality...
There are different abilities and the Holy Spirits presence is shown in some way by the different experiences we have in life.
We say that SHAPE determines our ministry. What is your shape? There are 5 factors that determine your shape for ministry.


S - Spiritual Gifts

What are you gifted to do?
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.
Everyone has at least one gift the Spirit has give them and the first thing we need to do is discover what we are gifted at.

H - Heart

What do you love to do?
Philippians 2:13 NLT
13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

A - Abilities

What are you natural abilities? These are things that you seem to have a knack for. Things that come natural.
natural talents and vocational skills are different from Spiritual Gifts.
1 Corinthians 12:6 TEV
6 There are different abilities to perform service, but the same God gives ability to all for their particular service.
Exodus 31:3 NCV
3 I have filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God and have given him the skill, ability, and knowledge to do all kinds of work.
These are vocational skills. god gives people abilities.
2 Corinthians 3:5 NLT
5 It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.
The third question to ask yourself is, What natural talents and skills do I have? What vocational skills have I learned?… been give by God? God didn’t give these to you for no reason… he has given you talents and abilities for a purpose and it’s not to waste them.

P - Personality

Ask yourself, Where does my personality best suit me to serve?
This is the fourth thing we will look at. We are all different and we all have different personalities and blends of temperament.
1 Corinthians 2:11 The Living Bible
11 No one can really know what anyone else is thinking or what he is really like except that person himself. And no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit.
So we will ask the question, Where does my personality best suit me to serve?
If you are an introvert, you probably don’t need to be a greeter. If you serve in an area that you have a heart to do, but not the personality for it, it will bring you stress.

E - Experiences

What experiences have you had in life?
Ecclesiastes 2:24 NLT
24 So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God.
Your experiences determine the direction you should move toward in ministry. God did not bring you through those experiences to waste them.
Your ministry will be most effective and fulfilling when you are using your gifts and abilities in an area of your heart’s desire in a way that expresses your personality & experience.
This is all through scripture. Let’s look at Paul. We are going to look at how God used these 5 areas to shape Paul’s ministry.


Paul’s Spiritual Gifts

2 Timothy 1:11 NLT
11 And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News.
He was a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher. We know of these three for sure… probably others.
Apostolic - ability to start new churches… He always said he wanted to build where no-one else had built.

Paul’s Heart

Paul tells us where his heart is in several verses.
Romans 15:20 NLT
20 My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else.
We see two things here. First, we see he wanted to preach the Gospel to unchurched and lost people who had not heard the gospel. Second we can get from this is that he wanted to preach to the Gentiles.
Then he says,
Acts 20:24 The Living Bible
24 But life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about God’s mighty kindness and love.

Paul’s Abilities

What were Paul’s abilities? In addition to his Spiritual Gifts, did he have any special vocational skills or talents? Yes Acts 18
Acts 18:2–4 TEV
2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, for the Emperor Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and stayed and worked with them, because he earned his living by making tents, just as they did. 4 He held discussions in the synagogue every Sabbath, trying to convince both Jews and Greeks.
His abilities were:
He had the ability to work with his hands… he made tents. Some of you have talents and vocational skills… where do you think you got that ability? Do you think that God gave it to you not to use for Him?
Paul also had the ability to debate. He was an incredible debater… a brilliant mind, a genius. To take on Paul was to take on a pro. He was smart and thought fast on his feet.

Paul’s Personality

What was Paul’s personality?
Galatians 1:13–14 NLT
13 You know what I was like when I followed the Jewish religion—how I violently persecuted God’s church. I did my best to destroy it. 14 I was far ahead of my fellow Jews in my zeal for the traditions of my ancestors.
He was a zealous person… a fanatic. He served the Lord with the same zeal he had served the devil. We need to do the same. He was more zealous that others…
Would you say Paul was an introvert or an extravert? Off the charts extravert.

Paul’s Experiences

Paul’s Educational Experiences (Acts 22:3)
Acts 22:3 NLT
3 Then Paul said, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, and I was brought up and educated here in Jerusalem under Gamaliel. As his student, I was carefully trained in our Jewish laws and customs. I became very zealous to honor God in everything I did, just like all of you today.
Gamaliel was the number 1 Jewish teacher in those days… the elite. Paul was saying that he was trained by the best Bible scholar there was.
Paul’s Work Experiences (Acts 18:1-3)
Acts 18:1–3 NLT
1 Then Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he became acquainted with a Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently arrived from Italy with his wife, Priscilla. They had left Italy when Claudius Caesar deported all Jews from Rome. 3 Paul lived and worked with them, for they were tentmakers just as he was.
Paul’s Spiritual Experiences
He watched Stephen be stoned to death. (Acts 7:54-8:1)
Acts 7:54–8:1 NLT
54 The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen’s accusation, and they shook their fists at him in rage. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 56 And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!” 57 Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him 58 and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died. 1 Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen. A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria.
He was converted on the Road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-20)
Acts 9:1–20 NLT
1 Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. So he went to the high priest. 2 He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains. 3 As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?” 5 “Who are you, lord?” Saul asked. And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! 6 Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 The men with Saul stood speechless, for they heard the sound of someone’s voice but saw no one! 8 Saul picked himself up off the ground, but when he opened his eyes he was blind. So his companions led him by the hand to Damascus. 9 He remained there blind for three days and did not eat or drink. 10 Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord!” he replied. 11 The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. 12 I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.” 13 “But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! 14 And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.” 15 But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. 16 And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.” 17 So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. 19 Afterward he ate some food and regained his strength. Saul stayed with the believers in Damascus for a few days. 20 And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!”
He spent three years maturing before he started his ministry. (Gal 1:18)
Galatians 1:18 NLT
18 Then three years later I went to Jerusalem to get to know Peter, and I stayed with him for fifteen days.
He had a special vision from God (2 CO 12:2-7)
2 Corinthians 12:2–7 NLT
2 I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows. 3 Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know 4 that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell. 5 That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. 6 If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, 7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
Paul’s Ministry Experiences
Read the book of Acts.
He spread the Gospel throughout the Roman Empire (Acts 13-28)
He brought the Gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 22:21)
Acts 22:21 NLT
21 “But the Lord said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles!’ ”
Paul’s Painful Experiences
Paul had both internal and external painful experiences.
2 Corinthians 12:7 NLT
7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
We have no idea what the thorn in his flesh was. If God had revealed it, everyone would have been trying to say they had the same thing so they could be more spiritual that everyone else.
Some have thought it was his eyes, epilepsy, unbelieving wife, depression… we just don’t know.
The fact is there was something that he had to deal with that kept him from serving God as fully as he wanted to.
2 Corinthians 11:23–27 TEV
23 Are they Christ’s servants? I sound like a madman—but I am a better servant than they are! I have worked much harder, I have been in prison more times, I have been whipped much more, and I have been near death more often. 24 Five times I was given the thirty-nine lashes by the Jews; 25 three times I was whipped by the Romans; and once I was stoned. I have been in three shipwrecks, and once I spent twenty-four hours in the water. 26 In my many travels I have been in danger from floods and from robbers, in danger from fellow-Jews and from Gentiles; there have been dangers in the cities, dangers in the wilds, dangers on the high seas, and dangers from false friends. 27 There has been work and toil; often I have gone without sleep; I have been hungry and thirsty; I have often been without enough food, shelter, or clothing.
Paul had a ton of external pain.
five times he was beaten 39 lashed
three times he was whipped by the Romans
Once he was stoned and left for dead
Shipwrecked three times
Fellow Jews trying to kill him
All fo these helped to shape Pauls life and shape for ministry.
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