The Gifts of His Grace
My grandad is a sheep farmer and called me the other day ecstatic with over 70ml of rain having fallen overnight south of Goulburn overflowing his whole water tank for the home. His joy and delight reminded me of God’s promises to rain and snow down from heaven, watering the earth and making it bud and flourish (Is. 55:10). And it is the gift of his gracious presence that amazes me, time and time again each April, as Soul Survivor gathers to worship God as one family.
One of Soul Survivor’s grandfathers, John Wimber described the Holy Spirit’s “manifestations” (1 Cor. 12:7), as “the dancing hand of God”. The Holy Spirit is always at work, moving both in and through His people another gifts, with everyone getting to play, revealing both His love, and His power. Every year my heart is moved by what He does, as space, honour and time is given at each gathering, to let His will be done, not ours.
In fact, Paul says, “There are different kinds of gifts (charisma), but the same Spirit distributes them (1 Cor. 12:4)”. Interestingly, the word charisma comes from charis, which means grace. This is the very grace that saved us all, through the love of Jesus and his sacrifice for all. Therefore, the charisma, are the “gifts of his grace” that flow from the cross and resurrection, to make his name, and his nature, known throughout the world.
God’s grace and his gifts are flowing and dancing down from Heaven, we simply need to learn to be come aware in each moment, of each day, what he is doing in us, through us and around us.
A favourite moment that I had at our Goulburn conference was the joy of witnessing was a year 10 boy receive a word of knowledge and prophecy. I watched it speak precisely into his heart, future and family situation. His face shine with the revelation that he was known by God, filled with awe and wonder at God’s specific love, and plan for him.
The apostle Paul commanded the Corinthian church to, “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy” (1 Cor. 14:1). When I first reads these words, they were like honey. So sweet, yet so simple. Walking in love like Jesus was always obvious for me as a believer, but to thirst for his gifts and especially the prophetic - now that was a combination that stirred my heart. What a vision of how we can live!
Why especially prophecy? Shawn Bolz teaches two key reasons; first that it connects people to God’s heart for their precious lives on earth, and second that it connects people to eternity from an incredible heavenly perspective affecting us in the here and now.
One of my favourite pastors, Graham Cooke, writes, “Love people too much not to share God’s heart for them. It is never about us. It is only about who God is for us, in us and through us. Pursuing spirit gifts earnestly is code for practicing loads!”. There are 168 hours a week, and we sleep for around 56 of them.
The question we have to ask then is… for how many hours each week are we pursuing and practicing the gifts of his gracious spirit? And are we hungry to reveal His love in both natural, and supernatural ways? Especially prophecy?
I want to to declare over you that it is ok to desire more of God, more of his grace, and more of his giftings. Jesus came to give us an abundant life, that we may be fed and fuelled by him, and minister from a heart that is overflowing.
Another testimony we heard came from a young girl at Coffs Harbour; she shared her life went from fear to freedom, receiving deep emotional healing from a family split and lies of insignificance, now to feeling safe, loved, bold in worship, and even prophesying before her whole youth group the first week back.
Finally, another favourite moment came after a main meeting in Canberra, I met a hungry group of teenagers keen to pray in tongues. We prayed for half an hour, some in english, some in tongues, others discovering boldness to pray in gift of tongues for their first time. Throughout this time, we debriefed constantly, asking what God was doing and what was he revealing. Finally, the rare but beautiful gift of interpretation was encountered, both with words, and even prophetic picture interpretations. My mind was blown by such an encounter of God’s supernatural love speaking. All of our faith was increased that night.
I’d like to suggest when people experience the supernatural gifts of his grace, especially the nine manifestation gifts in 1 Corinthians 12, the focus is far less on us then more natural giftings, and instead, on God’s ridiculous power.
From this place, faith increases.
It is this kind of experience and demonstration, that sent ripples through first Jerusalem, then Judea and Samaria, and finally all the way to ends of the Earth, aka. Australia (Acts 1:8).
Imagine the life of your week if you became aware daily of His dancing hand, whilst seeking earnestly the gifts of Jesus’s grace, and all while witnessing to others his supernatural power and love.
To grow your thirst, check out Translating God, or God Secrets by Shawn Bolz, and Everyday Supernatural by Mike Pilavachi and Andy Croft. ◼︎