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Monday, June 13, 2016

#24 - Rediscovering Our Spiritual Gifts - Charles V. Bryant

Title:  Rediscovering Our Spiritual Gifts
Author:    Charles V. Bryant
Genre:  Non-Fiction
Category:  Spiritual
Rating:  B
Published:  1991
Dates:  5/16/16 – 6/8/16

Subtitled Building up the Body of Christ through the Gifts of the Spirit, this small book with a huge message was just the thing I needed for this summer.  Although I think I know what my gifts are, there’s always more to learn about oneself and I’m usually nosy about such things. James K. Wagner, author of Blessed to Be a Blessing, offers a forewarning in the forward.  “This book could revolutionize your concept of Christianity, make a positive difference in your commitment to Christ and the church, and protect you from ‘spiritual burnout’.”  In the introduction of the book Bryant shares his own experience about his decision to give up the ministry.  He was miserable.  Then something happened.  He listened to a testimony of a businessman who, at the age of 52, had been reclaimed by God and restored.  After much soul-searching Bryant, also 52, became transformed and felt led to explore with others their God-given gifts.
With each of 32 gifts, Bryant provides supporting biblical citations.  He lists the gifts alphabetically beginning with Administration and ends with Wisdom.  One of his suggestions in using the book is to do so in a group setting.  He tells us that the word obey or obedience pops up in connection with the use of spiritual gifts (see Romans 11:29-33; obedience and disobedience are used there four times.)   The acrostic, O.B.E.D.I.E.N.C.E., helps as a guide to discovery.  Obey the calling.  Begin a study.  Examine feelings and fantasies.  Discipline(d) belief.  Investigate the gifts of others.  Experiment with the gifts.  Never doubt God’s promises.  Censure all notions of pride or defeat.  Expect God to produce the results.   
Next, in the Grace-Gifts Discovery Inventory, Bryant suggests that if you’re doing a group setting that you rank 160 statements with either Much (3), Some (2), Little (1), or None (0) according to how the statement describes your experience of strong inclination by first taking turns reading the gifts’ definitions from the Biblical References.  Though I’m not in a group setting this is where I am now – spending time each day for the next few weeks reading aloud the references for each of the gifts.  It will work well to spread out the reference readings over a 32 day period.
When I’m done I’ll use the Inventory Scoring Chart by plugging in the number of times I score a 3, then a 2, and so on from the numbers I’ve assigned to each of the 160 statements.  The sum ranges from 0 – 15 per gift.  Then I’ll look for which gifts have the highest totals.  If I score a high total for the gift of evangelism, for example, I would pray for ways God can best help me to operate the gift and then re-read the section about that gift.  I’m excited and curious to know what comes out of this endeavor.

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