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7 Heart-wired Spiritual Gifts

GiftsSpirit 2Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with]liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.     (Romans 12:6-8)

WE HAVE GIFTS THAT DIFFER (illustrated by the animal metaphors below) as the Lord hard-wires each of our hearts with a couple of dominant gifts… sprinkles in bits of the other gifts… all of which makes us each unique and heavily impacts our perceptions, attitudes, conversations, and approach to life, until we grow in Christ-likeness when we will reflect more of the gifts.  What are your two dominant gifts?

Eagle 21   PROPHECY-Eagle.  Declares the black & white heart truths of God.  Born Leader;  Visionary.   *  Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord.”  (Acts 14:2-6)

 

tiger 22   TEACHING-Tiger.  Explains the comprehensive Biblical insights of God. Lifelong learner; Multi-layered.  *  “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food… solid food is for the mature….”  (Hebrews 5:12, 14)

 

 

Dolphin 13   EXHORTATION-Dolphin.  Motivates the Body of Christ to apply God’s truths. Life of Party; Joyful!  *  “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together… but encouraging one another….”  (Heb. 10:24-25)

 

Ant 24   ADMINISTRATION-Ant.  Organizes & mobilizes the Body of Christ for ministry.  Looks ahead; Detailed. * “Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, Which, having no chief, officer or ruler, Prepares her food in the summer, And gathers her provision in the harvest.” (Proverbs 6:6-8)

 

squirrel 4  SERVICE-Squirrel.   Performing tasks backstage for others, and for God’s glory. Joyful worker; Projects; Private.  * “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

 

bee 56   GIVING-Honey Bee.   Distributing the tangible gifts of God to others in His name.  Generous; Alert; Humble. * “Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over….” (Luke 6:38)

 

Dove67   MERCY-Dove.   Comforting & reassuring others of their high value to God.  Sensitive; Compassionate. * “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord… though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy….”  (I Timothy 1:12-13)

The more we understand, embrace, and respect our own and other’s giftings, the better we can work together as we appreciate the differences instead of being threatened or frustrated by them! []

— Dr. Mark Gonzales * pastormark@markpg.org * Ft. Myers, FL

8 Degrees of Biblical Support

Preaching 4Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.   16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness…”    (II Timothy 2:15-16)

IT IS NOT UNCOMMON  for preachers and teachers to fall prey to implying or insisting a premise has a Biblical mandate by tacking on a few verses.  To rightly divide and use the Scripture is to understand to what degree the Bible does support a premise… or not.  Consider:

1    Black & White Commands.    Clearly stated directives that are to be universally applied.  This is the strongest degree of Biblical support for a premise.  Those that follow are progressively weaker.

2    General Life Principles.  Broadly stated truisms (Proverbs) designed to set general parameters and therefore guide us in personal decision making.  This leads us to “personal convictions” that are relative, rather than “universal applications” that are absolute– the main point of Paul’s brilliant explanation in Romans 14: “Let each man be convinced in his own heart and mind… one eats as unto the Lord… the other does not eat as unto the Lord.”

3   Models in Narrative Passages.  Biblical illustrations that inspire imitative attitudes & behavior. Abraham walked by faith, so should we.   Paul did great mission work, so should we, etc.

4   List of Texts to Prove a Premise.   Listing verses with related or identical terms like “child,” “woman,” or “saved,” to support or proof-text a premise, though the word definitions and/or purpose in using the term may vary from passage to passage.  May be valid or not.  Negative example:  a male chauvinist could list texts about Eve, the witch at Endor, Jezebel, Michal, and Sapphira to try and prove that “women are all trouble.”

 5   One Text Theology. Using one text as the exclusive or preeminent guideline to draw or support a premise.  One writer astutely     reminded us that “one verse does not make a theology.”  It is a worthy caveat to keep in mind as we properly search for the clearest texts in Scripture to shed light on the ambiguous  or fuzzy texts in Scripture.

6   Implications from the Text.  Seemingly logical deductions that may or may not be accurate An easy negative example would be treating Exodus 1:15-20 this way:

[]   Midwives let male Hebrew babies live.

[]   Midwives lied to Pharaoh about it

[]   “God was good to the midwives”

[]    Therefore: God blesses lying. (We know this logical implication cannot be true because later  we have a Black & White command that specifically prohibits lying (Exodus. 20))

 7   Metaphorical or Allegorical usage.  Taking a general image and  “poetically”  expounding on it to illustrate or try to prove a premise.  Very tricky and dangerous.  Comes across as Biblical support, but it really isn’t. Abuses of this abound in history.

 8   Arguments from Silence .  Since the Scripture doesn’t prohibit or mention it one way or the other, it must be okay.  This has no more weight than pure conjecture and imaginative speculation.

May we use His Word as carefully, skillfully, and wisely as surgeons use their scalpels, and always with a goal to bring healing. []

— Dr. Mark Gonzales * pastormark@markpg.org * Ft. Myers, FL

 

 

25 Keys to Unlock Scripture

Bible Keys 1From childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;  so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.  (II Timothy 3:15-17)

THE LORD LOVES TO UNLOCK His Word for us as we seek His heart through the Scripture, and He has written it in a way that draws us to use our head and our heart in balance to reveal His deepest truths.  Here is a quick reference checklist to get you started…

Balance 6FOR THE HEAD

Interpret in light of…

1   Bible infallibility (II Timothy 3:16)     The Bible is God’s word about man, not vice versa.

2   Spirit illumination (I Corinthians 2:14)     “Natural man” cannot interpret Bible.

3   Chapter context  (multiple texts)     Israel: People? United K.? Northern K.? Spiritual?

4   Biblical context (Eph. 2:8; James 2:21)     Salvation by faith (Paul) or works (James)?

5   Genre analysis (Gen.; Psa.; Dan.; Rom. Rev.)     History? Poetry? Prophecy? Didactic? Apocalyptic?

6   Figures of speech (If eye causes you to sin…)   Hyperbole; Simile; Metaphor; Literal vs. “letteral”

7   Biblical typology (Colossians 2:17)   OT illustrative “foreshadowing” of NT realities/truth

8   Author & setting (multiple texts)   Heart of the author, needs of recipients, culture…

9   Grammar/tense (Isaiah 6:3; Rom. 7:14-25)   Hebrew superlative: Holy, Holy, Holy; Historical Present tense to express past event with present tense verbs to make the account more vivid.

10   Scripture vs. Experience (Tongues; Sp. Gifts)       Scripture interprets experience, not vice versa.

11   Propositional vs. Mystical/Existential      Bible truth trumps “God told me” (rhema)

12   Parables vs. Allegory     One main truth vs. symbols for everything

13   Interpretation, then Application (see E)     Truth discovered, then truth applied to life.

14   Laws vs. Principles (10 Commandments vs. Proverbs)     Rigid commands vs. general guidelines

15   Universal vs. Particular   Timeless truths vs. truths for a particular time/place

16   Explicit vs. Implicit (Hebrews 6:4)    Let clear (explicit) texts interpret fuzzy (imp.) texts.

17   Prescriptive vs. Descriptive (I Cor. 12; Acts)    Instructive texts (Paul) trump narrative texts.

18   Progressive revelation vs. OT/NT unity     NT progressive light/truth Interprets OT “shadows.”

19   Exegesis vs. Eisogesis (Matthew 4:5-6)     Drawing out of the text vs. reading into the text

20   Antinomies and Caveats (Eph. 1; Matt. 4:7)     Beyond a paradox; “On the other hand…”

Balance 6FOR THE HEART

 21   Memorize the Word.    With all my heart I have sought Thee; Do not let me wander from Thy commandments. Thy word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against Thee.”  (Psalm 119:10-11)

 22   Meditate on Scripture. I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words. My eyes anticipate the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word.”  (Psalm 119:147-148)

23   Personalize the Word.  Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”  (Psalm 51:10)

 24   Proclaim/Confess the Word. What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”       (1 John 1:3)

25   Apply/Do it!  Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them,  will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.”  (Matthew 7:26)

May you treasure the truths the Lord gives you through His infallible, reliable, and totally sufficient Word … the sword of the Spirit… and His love letters to your very heart. []

— Dr. Mark Gonzales * pastormark@markpg.org * Ft. Myers, FL

 

 

8 Lenses to See God’s Will

Lenses 3“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”  (Colossians 3:1-2)

THE LORD IS SO CREATIVE, reducing our search for His will in our lives to a single feeling, impression, or Bible verse is tempting, but misguided.  To keep us seeking after Him, He gives us a few glimpses of Himself and His will in a variety of ways, so here are a few “lenses” to help us seek, see, and confirm His will more clearly…

1    Personal Covenant in Christ.    Getting saved or “married” to Christ is the first and most important step to seek and see God’s will for your life.    For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.”  (Ephesians 5:31-32)

2    Praying for Wisdom.   There is something about stopping to humbly ask the Lord for wisdom that opens our spiritual eyes to see His will more clearly… He can’t resist the humble!   But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”  (James 1:5 )

3    Precept in Scripture.   The Word of God is the litmus test of truth and  things we perceive to be the will of God as He reveals His heart and ways through it, and for us.  “From Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.”  (Psalm 119:104)

4    Perception in Spirit.   It is the Holy Spirit and our communion with Him that opens our eyes and hearts to accurately discern and deeply receive God’s will as we pray through impressions and study His Word.  “ Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.”  (I Corinthians 2:12-13)

5    Proper Counsel.   Anyone can build an airtight case in the vacuum of their own thoughts, but testing our conclusions with the air of counsel from those we trust is crucial to verify our sense of the will of God.    “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,  But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.”  (Proverbs 12:15)

6    Providential Circumstances.    God loves to allow and even orchestrate unusual circumstances to nudge us toward His ultimate purposes in our lives, so look beyond your immediate plight to His ultimate goals.  But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place?   20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. ”  (Genesis 50:20)

7    Pro-active Waiting.   Waiting God’s way is to do what He has told us to do as of today, even as we wait for the next wave of His insight and instructive will for our lives.   “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves...  218 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”   (James 1:22; 2:18)

8    Peaceful Assurance.  Just as hurricane winds have minimal impact on fish swimming the depths of the sea, so can difficult circumstances have minimal impact on those who swim the depths of the Lord and His peace while seeking and confirming His will.   Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:6-7)

Seeking, seeing, and doing God’s will is not a one-time template or formula to apply per circumstance or decision, rather, it is an on-going conversation and adventure as we abide in Christ!  []

–Dr. Mark Gonzales * pastormark@markpg.org * Ft. Myers, FL

17 Nuggets for Great Parenting

Family 4When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when  I became a man, I did away with childish things. * The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.   (I Corinthians 13:11;  Proverbs 29:1)

THERE IS A TON OF FOOL’S GOLD out there when it comes to parenting, but when we think through how the Lord parents us, and what He has to say in the Scriptures, several nuggets emerge…

Thumbs down 1

 

5 COMMON REASONS FOR PARENTING WOES

1   IrresponsibleSelf absorbed instead of  engaged with kids.

2   Ignorant.  Unaware of the Biblical principles of parenting.

3   Insecure.    Afraid of their kids anger and rejection.

 4   Inconsistent.  No inner convictions or standards, thus indecisive.

5   Inflexible.    Failing to adapt to   4 Stages of Parenting Well…

 

Thumps up 1

 

4 KEY STAGES OF PARENTING WELL

1   Captain stage.  Birth – 10: Always wear the captain’s hat!

2  Coaching stage.   Ages 11-14: Encouraging to do their best!

 3  Counseling stage.   Ages 15-19: Using Q & A’s  to point the way!

 4  Consultant stage.   Self supported singles  or married:  Offering insights &   supporting their decision

 

8 BASIC REASONS WHY KIDS DISOBEY

Child corner 11   Physiological Hindrance.    Psalm139:14; II Corinthians 4:16

[] Check nutritional (high sugar) and medical issues that may be at play,  such as poor hearing, hypoglycemia, ADHD, Asperger’s, Tourret’s, etc.    [] Seek help from nutritionists, alternative or traditional medical specialists.

2   Inattentiveness.   Proverbs 4:1 ; 2:1

[] They may just be lost in their own world while we give “drive-by” orders.    [] Kneel, get eye contact, hold up your index finger to softly and carefully  say: Honey, I’m going to say this once, only once. Got it?

 3   Childish Forgetfulness/Distraction.   Proverbs 3:1-4

[] Kids, like us, can easily get distracted by a toy on the way to a chore.    [] Turn chores into games together (or spot check) w/ a timer and reward.

   Dominant Enthusiasm.   Proverbs 25:16, 17 ; 10:19

[] Some kids are like Tigger. They act first, think later, and ricochet in life!!    [] Use the game/timer thing to teach them bounce and no-bounce times.

 5   Slothful Apathy.   Proverbs 26:14, 16 ; 19:15, 12:24, 27

[] Some are lazy and whine about being tired, sick or “That’s not fair.”    [] Say: “Actually, life is never going to be fair, which is why we help each  other.” Start chores together. Then move to progress/reward charts.

 6   Temporary Testing Mode.   Proverbs 15:10, 1-2

[] Sometimes they will test your limits, while other times be very compliant.    [] Give clear warnings and consequences of crossing the line (time out; lost privilege; grounding; fining), and calmly but firmly issue it if they cross it.

7   Over-powering Temptation.  Proverbs 23:31-32, 27

[] Some are like Curious George or get seduced into crossing your lines.    [] Limit peer-only time by having more family fun times. Also listen to  stories of those rescued from rebellion, drugs, sex, alcohol, and crime.

 8   Willful/Deceptive Rebellion.    Deuteronomy 21:18

[] Jaw-set defiance and rebellion are a showdown of wills. You must win.   [] EVERY defiant act MUST result in some kind of corrective consequence.   (Child: time out or spanking; Teen: lost privilege, grounding, fining)   [] If you spank, do so privately, calmly, and correctively like this:

  1. Query: “What did you do that was wrong?” Make sure they know.
  2. Submission: “It’s time for you to bend over the bed.” Never force it.
  3. Brokenness: Paddle with firm repetition until they cry/soften/apologize.
  4. Reassurance: Hold and hug them saying: “I love you so much…”

[] If rebellion is continual, separate for a season w/ goal of restoration.    [] If still continuing, let them be subject to the law/jail time (Romans 13:1-7).

May this brief list of nuggets get you into the ball park of good parenting as you continue to seek Him and His wisdom, and winsomely pass it on to your children!  []

— Dr. Mark Gonzales * pastormark@markpg.org * Ft. Myers, FL

 

 

5 Quick Guides…

It’s a jungle out there… so to help you get your house in order, and to protect yourself and your church in our challenging journey through a post-Christian culture, here are printer-friendly versions of…

5 Quick Guides on 5 Hot Topics:

Constitution & Bylaws Guide

Setting Things in Order

7 Church Leadership Models

2 Paradigms for Church Planting

Autopsy of Deceased Church

The items above are what we covered in our most recent Pastors’ Round-table as we compared notes and shared hearts about what the Lord is up to these days in our association and convention.

Feel free to print them for your church family or send them the link to stay up to date as we link arms to build His Kingdom!

— Pastor Mark

God’s Hand in Royal Palm…

2015 ANNUAL DINNER/MEETING GUEST INTERVIEWS                God’s Hand through Royal Palm – 2015

FBC, Naples:  Hayes Wicker, lead pastor; Todd Stearns, worship;  Steve Hayes, counseling; Larry Rigley, senior adults;  David George, Hispanic ministry; (Bob Shubring, Protected Harbor)

New Pastors:  Gary Merkel, Interim specialist; Timothy Pigg FBC, Immokalee;  Gray Harwell. Olga BC; David Pleasant, CityGate (FBC, Ft. Myers);    In 2016:  Mitch Bradshaw, Lee Blvd. BC, Lehigh;  Chris Butler, North Naples BC;  Mardo Jimenez, Estates BC, Naples;  David Gold, Crossroads BC, Ft. Myers;    Open pulpits:  McGregor BC, Ft. Myers; Caloosa BC, LaBelle; Copeland BC, Copeland.

Pastors’ Networks:  Rony Prophete & Daniel Garcon- Haitian Pastors’ Network;  Hector Gomez & Dax Urbina- Hispanic Pastors’ Network;  Kevin Taylor- Student Pastors’ Network

Church Planting:  Kevin Bradley, New Life Church, Bonita-Sponsor church;  Kevin Fletcher, Connect Church, N. Naples- New church;  Nolen Rollins, Legacy Church, Estero- 3 Church Plants and GPS Life Journey

Best Practices:  Jim Wigton, FBC, Cape Coral- Sat. nights services;  Phil Simcosky, East Naples BC- Community partnering;  Ron Smith, Connection Church, Cape Coral-Relocation & Build-outs;  Shawn Critser, Beach BC, FM Beach- Retreat & Food panty ministry and SonCoast Coffee.

Partner Ministries:  Jim Wendorf, Faithful Life Publishing; Les Morgan, Royal Palm Counseling;  Tony Kerns, Life Touch Directories; Paul Hatfield, Biblical Stewardship

Children’s Ministries:  Kathy Miller & Melanie Musick, Lifeline Family Center, Cape Coral;  Rita Massey, McGregor BC, SW Florida Children’s Network/Chosen Conferences;  Amy Wiggins, Florida Baptist Children’s Home; Paola Quintero, SW Florida

Florida Baptist Convention:  Wayne Briant, S.W. Regional Catalyst; Mike Rhine, FB Financial Services;  Cindy Bradley & Carol Clark, Florida Baptist Women’s Ministry/Missions

Innovative Global Missions…

During the Wednesday morning “Sending Celebration” of the 2015 Southern Baptist Convention,  our newest missionaries of the International Mission Board (IMB) and North American Mission Board (NAMB) were commissioned for ministry in a very moving time of prayer and dedication.  Then,  new IMB president, David Platt, unfolded an incredibly innovative strategy of how to increase our missionary force from 4,700 to 100,000 with little cost and higher impact in the years ahead!  How?

1  Continue our fully funded force of 4700  missionaries overseas.
2  Inspire Christians to go as bi-vocational missionaries overseas.

3  Inspire youth to go as university students/missionaries overseas.
4  Inspire retirees to leave leisure lives to be missionaries overseas.
5  Inspire pastors to recruit folks to support or be one of the above.

The IMB will provide preparation, training, strategic placement, and networking with our current missionary force to tremendously strengthen and expand what we’re doing… while businesses, university scholarships, social security, and pensions pay for the expansion!  Brilliant!

A new day is not dawning in the SBC… it is already here, my friends. []

(View  Dr. Platt’s 11 minute message here: http://live.sbc.net.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/ondemand.html   Scroll the down arrow to Wednesday morning.  Scroll left and right arrows to select video entitled: “International Mission Board.”)

 

Which one is Sunrise?

Sunrise spectrumWhich of these actual photos, unaltered by Photoshop, was taken at sunrise?  The answer is… all of them… just at different days and hours during one of my daily prayer walks with the Lord last week.  On the foggy morning, He reminded me that even when we can’t see it, the sun is still there and it is still shining.

The obvious analogy is how our hearts and lives can get so foggy at times that it feels like the Son is not there, or if He is, He is certainly not shining on us.  But He is… always.  Whether it is a circumstantial fog, which may or may not clear up in time, or our own attitudinal fog which needs be cleared up, our Wonderful Counselor and Shining Son is right there.   That’s why He tells us to walk by faith, not by sight.  We just need to follow His gracious voice and look for Him with spirit eyes… both of which can pierce right through the fog.