In Acts 17:26 Paul is heard making an argument to the Gentiles, in order to explain how God chose the very time and place where we would live. He is working into introducing Jesus to them,
and he is starting at the beginning of their lives, in time and place. You were born in this time and place so that you might discover God and know him, will be his logic. He is making it perfectly,
in the reasonable foundation he lays and the powerful words of an exhorter.
Let's stop here for a moment and think about Paul. Why was Paul sent to preach to the Gentiles to begin with? What was
it about him that was better suited to this kind of ground breaking, persuasive, argumentative, dynamic, logical, eloquent, and successful oratory and convincing preaching? We will discover, as we go, that his gift of exhortation was perfect for this
mission. The gift of exhortation is packed with the very things Paul needed for the job of world changer, shaker, and mover. He believed that nothing was impossible. Wherever he went, even after persecution of all kinds, he had the nerve
and the gifting to stand up and eloquently challenge the status quo, the random gods, the mindsets, and the traditions of another culture. There have been others, like Paul, who throughout history did that, and often they too, were exhorters.
God wants to be known by us, and to be experienced by us. He formed us, according to complicated patterns, that can seem simple, if it is broken down into something our minds can comprehend: the way He did all
of creation. It is mind boggling to imagine how infintely creative, how utterly dynamic, how minute and how vast, and how inexplicable all of the height and depth of creation is; and yet, when man has discovered a fragment of theory, it is logical
and mathematical and for the genuises among us, or for the humbly spiritual, almost comprehensible. It is intricate and marvelous and phenomonenal, and a dozen other adjectives, but in some other ways, predictable and it all rests on laws and even sequences
So it is with us. We are unique and wonderful in our uniqueness, and we know it. How many times have you heard someone express
the notion that they know they were made to do this or that, that they are searching for that purpose or destiny, the place of fulfillment they were meant to know. The search is built into our very foundations.
how could we be more different from each other and still the same in other ways? How is it that we can grow up in the same families with the same parents and environment, and yet see the world in vastly different ways? How is it that we live on
different sides of the earth and want much the same things to be satisfied in life? Or that despite language barriers and cultural differences, we can find a kindred thinker in another part of the world.
One of the reasons is the purpose of this site: one of the ways of our sameness and our uniqueness are the patterns, I am going to refer to as the Redemptive Gifts.
got this terminology from Arthur Burk, a researcher and a pioneer who has demonstrated a solid understanding of God and scripture, but who is also able to look at passages of scripture with an eye for discovery that has given us some profound ways of thinking
in our time. Much of what this study contains, came from revelation, and that is the reason that I think, it is astounding and life changing. No one had a bright idea one day and developed this theory. It is a foundational truth that is right
before our eyes, if our eyes are opened.
When I first discovered Arthur's work more than twenty years ago, I was seeking to learn all I could about the ways of
God. I had been in a church that did intercession, believed in prophesy, and sought to be, as the comedian Flip Wilson used to say, "The Church of What's Happening Now." There were good and bad times and as always, a lot to be learned from those
But this particular teaching, came along for me, and consumed me. It became a life long study and the way I approach most situations and understand
most relationships. It completely changed my relationship with my husband and brought me from a place of questioning his motives and actions and judging them in my prophet head, to a deep respect for what God made him: a giver. I began to
see everyone differently and it brought me into a place of deeper grace and gave me hope that we could learn to love and respect each other as members of the body of Christ, the way Paul said we could.
I have come to believe that is an essential teaching for several reasons. First we honor God by searching for His purposes and the intricate ways we have been created. It is another discovery worthy of awe and
wonder. Discovering part of it, gives us hope that we might achieve our destinies. And we improve relationships.
It is at the center of the identity God gave to each of us. He
placed a destiny in us, centering around seven gifts, and from those we look at the world and seek what we are called to seek, see the way we were designed to see, achieve what we were desinged to achieve.