Discover Your God-Given Strengths

Dear Friends,
 
There was a story written by George Reavis in 1940 about a group of animals that got together and decided to start a school. The curriculum consisted of running, climbing, swimming, and flying. All of the animals were required to take all of the subjects. Well, as you would imagine, the duck excelled in swimming but really struggled in running. The rabbit was excellent in running, but struggled in flying. The squirrel breezed through the climbing class, but failed swimming. The eagle was always getting into trouble because he insisted on doing things his own way. In climbing class he beat everyone to the top of the tree because he flew to the top! Their animal school eventually closed down because the animals were all struggling with the curriculum.
 
This summary of this classic story is a good introduction to the importance of discovering our own strengths while considering how we are using them in our daily lives. More specifically, it is a good introduction to a book study that I’ll be leading in September entitled, “Living Your Strengths: Discover Your God-Given Talents and Inspire Your Community.”
 
This study will help you discover your Top 5 strengths and will offer thoughts on how to use them throughout your life and especially within your community of faith at First UMC. This is important work as it will help match the congregation’s needs with your gifts. The Church talks a lot about “being involved” and not as much about “being engaged.” There is an important distinction we’ll discuss as part of this study – the difference between involvement and engagement. Simply stated, many are involved, few are engaged. Involvement is a person filling a need with little or no consideration of the person’s strengths or talents. Involvement often leads to burnout. Engagement is a person filling a need with intentional consideration given to the need and the person’s strengths or talents. Engagement leads to joy and satisfaction.
 
It’s intentional that this book study will coincide with our fall preaching and worship series, “Together: Created for Community.” In order to most effectively be the community God has created us to be, it’s important that our individual strengths and talents are known and utilized within our community. It would not be effective at all to have the rabbits trying to swim or the ducks trying to run. We want everyone at First UMC to run like rabbits, climb like squirrels, swim like ducks, and soar like the eagles – as they are naturally gifted to do. We want to celebrate those strengths of yours as we continually imagine how God might be wanting to use you in our community.
 
The study will take place on Wednesday nights (9/12, 9/19, 9/26) at 6:00 p.m. and Sunday mornings (9/16, 9/23, 9/30) at 10:30 a.m. in the Church Lounge. The book will need to be purchased and the online assessment of your strengths will need be completed prior to our first meeting. The book can be ordered online or a few copies will be available in the church office. An online access code is included with the purchase of the book. Find out more.
 
Looking closer ahead, as I prepare for this Sunday, August 12, the Jews, in the preaching text (John 6:35; 41-51), are complaining, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?” when he claims to offer bread of life and to be the Bread of Life. They are struggling to think or comprehend that someone as ordinary as Jesus could be gifted for great things. I’ll explore a bit more about how God uses ordinary means (Jesus, Mary, Bread, Water, Wine, etc.) for extraordinary purposes. This will tie in nicely with our call to discover our God-given gifts and how we, though ordinary, can make an extraordinary impact within our community of faith, broader community, and world. Just the way Jesus would have it 🙂
 
Also, this Sunday, we have a short Temple Talk during the announcements by Dick Berglund and Dave Freemore. They will sharing their experience doing mission in Costa Rica and promoting an another upcoming mission trip to Costa Rica in January. They will both be available to answer questions after worship during the fellowship hour.
 
Don’t forget to sign up to pack meals for our Mission of the Month, “Feed My Starving Children” on Saturday, August 18, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Email me directly or contact the church office if interested.
 
See you in Church!
 
Pr. Dale