Stewarding Grace

We are constantly trying to make sense of the world around us. Our lives are a journey of discovery. “Who am I?” is a question we’re consistently asking and this leaves us searching for our identity wherever it might be found.

When we stop and think about it we find that circumstances are perfect for us to adopt our gifts as our identity and to forget that we did nothing to merit them. But the gifts we’ve received are what God has called us to use to serve Him and to serve one another, not tell us who we are. 1 Peter 4 tells us they are a reflection of God’s multi- faceted grace. When we steward our gifts we are stewarding grace.

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As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
— 1 Peter 4:10 & 11

Because it’s so hard to determine sometimes where our gifts end and we begin it’s intensely personal to offer our gifts back to the One who entrusted them to us, as if to say, “These gifts are not my identity. My identity is found in You alone. You are the One who gives me value and worth. Therefore the grace I’ve receive is the grace I’ll extend with everything I have, with every gift You’ve given.”

Here are some signs that you’ve surrendered your gifts to the Gift-giver:

1. You’re happy for the success of others in your area of giftedness.

In other words, the success of others doesn’t intimidate you. It’s understandable to feel a tinge of frustration when you see people move ahead and you seem to be standing still, but reminding yourself Who you’re doing this for should realign your heart to the One who graciously gave you the gift in the first place.

2. You don’t dwell on past mistakes.

God has already seen where you’d fall short and He called you anyway. You have to give Him your failures and trust Him with them. He is the redeemer of every lost opportunity and every missed chance if we will let Him be.

3. You can surrender your idea of what using your gift means.

Our culture paints a very specific picture of what using our talents is supposed to look like and it has snuck it’s way into the church. Do you trust God enough to let Him lead you down whatever path He chooses, whether it looks like what you envisioned or not? We sometimes put a ceiling on how far God can take us because we think it needs to look a certain way.

4. You steward your gift faithfully no matter what.

Whether you’re having an opportunity to use your gift publicly or not, if God gave it to you He is telling you to steward it. You steward that gift for Him because He is ultimately the One you serve.

5. Jesus is enough.

If everything changed tomorrow and by the world’s standards you had amazing success, if God asked you to, would you leave it all behind because Jesus is enough? If you were called to disciple the people on the stage rather than be on the stage yourself would you do it because Jesus is enough? If God asked you to use your gift in a place where no one would ever know your name would you do it because Jesus is enough?

If you have a gift, use your gift. Walk it out in the fullest expression possible. God will make up where you lack because He’s to One who is glorified, even in our weakness. ALL the glory belongs to Him. He invites us to be partakers in that glory but not for one second are we intended to try to take it for ourselves. When we find ourselves deceived into thinking this might all be about us, the Holy Spirit mercifully reveals that no amount of achievement or notoriety will bring the kind of satisfaction that offering our gifts back to God could ever bring.

The satisfaction we all long for is found in the Gift-giver, not the gift itself.

You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
— Psalm 145:16
 

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Other Good Reads

Partnership: The Joshua Blueprint

Over the past 6 months or so, God has been re-prioritizing some things for We Are The Vigilant. We’ve been in contact with our community, sharing the heart behind where God is directing us. Now, we want to share more of the story with you and anyone that would listen, really.

In short, We are the Vigilant exists to connect Kingdom-minded creatives who want to reach a hurting world with their unique resources.

We believe that as creatives, God has equipped us to give what we can. This means that even if we don’t have the dollars we can still offer our time and our talents to those who don’t have access to the opportunities we often take for granted.

We also feel strongly that as creatives, it is incumbent upon us to use our creativity to help people see things in new and challenging ways. We’ve been asking God to open our eyes so that we can, in turn, use creative means to help other people see. Calling ourselves “vigilant” is really a statement of faith. We’re asking God to help us stay awake and aware of what’s going on around us. 

One of the ways we intend to do this is by highlighting people and ministries who embody what it means to use their unique resources (or talents) to reach a hurting world.

Joshua Blueprint is the ministry of Ray and S’ambrosia Wasike.

I (Casey) met Sam in college. We were a part of the same campus ministry. While I was the worship leader for our group, I constantly made her play instruments she wasn’t all too comfortable with, like drums, for instance. Granted, as a leader I had no idea what I was doing, but she was willing to try whatever crazy thing I asked her to do and I loved her for it.

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Sam and I would get together regularly to pray for our campus and anything else the Lord might lay on our hearts. She was a leader even when she didn’t know she was leading. Her heart for the Father and willingness to be vulnerable in order to show people Jesus are two of the most beautiful things about her and they feed her creativity in incredibly moving and meaningful ways.

Although I’ve never met her husband, Sam would only marry someone who is as in love with Jesus and creative as she is. Ray is from Kenya and from our brief interaction over the phone and Sam’s blog I feel like I know him already. 

Next week Sam is going to be sharing more about the heart of Joshua Blueprint. But please feel free to check out their website and GoFundMe.

For the whole month of October we’ll be highlighting their ministry and discussing some of our biblical convictions about the direction God is leading us. We hope that you’ll come along!

 

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The Minister's Manifesto

The Minister's Manifesto

I don’t know how to be something I’m not. 

Most of us don’t.

Since I can remember I’ve loved 2 things: ministry & art. 

In the same way you like unique foods and your own manner of doing things, I can’t imagine not having a passion for these pursuits. 

For me, it’s a peculiar combination. 

Most of my life I’ve felt too “Christian” for the art world and too “artsy” for the local church. 

And so, finding a space to call my own has been a pursuit of discovery.

Its also been an intentional pursuit to carve out more space for others like myself...maybe for someone like you too.

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Dear Self

Dear Self

Now you’re in it.

You've set a plan into play and you’re watching it grow.

Maybe it’s just a trickle for now, but it’s been enough to peak your interest.

It’s enough to determine that what you’ve began you should at least continue.

This is just a plug, a nod, a nudge to tell you to keep going.

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7 Ways to Ensure You Don't Self-Destruct

Have you ever shared something you’ve labored over for a long time? 

I mean, have you ever really extended yourself to show the fruits of your labor in a way that’s almost uncomfortable? 

For several months now, I’ve been working on a side project, and now, it’s finally ready.

Let’s talk for a second. 

So, you exposed your ideas to the entire world, but have you ever had a conversation with yourself that went something like:

“Okay, time to write this paper!”

You sit down to write the paper…nothing. Crickets. The thought train has derailed and the memory bank is closed. 

 

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Why Creativity Matters So Much

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Student: “You don’t want me to draw that.”

Professor: “Oh, really? Why’s that?”

Student: “Because I don’t know how.”

Professor: “Art isn’t about learning to draw, it’s about learning to see.”

 

I had a college professor share these words with me once, and now, I’m sharing with you.

Because art, or more appropriately creativity, is not about learning to draw, it’s about learning to see.

 

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The Gift of Failing Forward

The Gift of Failing Forward

Failure is the greatest educator I know.

Nothing sticks or stands out as much as missing the mark. Wins in life are good. But, for me, as an achiever, it’s not long after a high mark that I start looking for another moment to conquer.

Failure, however, reveals ways that I’ve missed the mark. It gives me a chance to get better.

 

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Here is something that scares me...when people don’t understand.

People won’t always understand our actions.

Why did I do that? Why did I say that? Why did I write that?

It’s seriously frightening. Hands sweating as I type these words, frightening.

There’s a risk we take when we put it all out there.

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Sounds Like...

Sounds Like...

God has given all of us a passion. Something we just love doing. I love conveying that passion through music. I can be as vulnerable as I want to be. I let people see a side of me that I wouldn't normally be comfortable with. But, on the other hand, with music I never really felt like I fit in anywhere specific. I've got power when I want it but not a huge range. I feel like I stand somewhere in the middle of soul and folk. I can sing low and I can sing loud. Man, I can blow your hair back. But I don't always want to. I don't always want to be heard. 

I got a vocal scholarship for college, but I didn't really connect with classical training. So, because I'm a PK (pastor's kid) I found myself leading worship and I love it. There is nothing like leading people into a greater awareness of God and the reality of who He is. Although, I soon realized if I'm standing on a stage for people to see me, then the moment I leave the stage it's over. People may pat me on the back and say I did a good job but it ends there. Still, if I decide I have this one chance when I'm singing or speaking to move people; for them to leaving thinking, or inspired, or changed by God, it's then that I tap in to something eternal, something bigger than myself.

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