“Inspire Hope: Discernment” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

February 6th,2020 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Beloved Church,
I hope this week you are experiencing God’s hope for you in inspiring ways. For me this community is the hope I see at work and for that I am so grateful. This hope is growing as well. Have you noticed? We have been growing every week and that is in no small part due to our members seeing God in new people and at work in new ways. Look around this week, introduce yourself to people you don’t know. Ask them what they are passionate about? Ask your friends what is new in their life. Grow God’s kin-dom through relationship both new and established. What a gift this community is. We have new ways to engage relationships this week that we hope you will join. YASS is this Sunday. Soul Food Fellowship is next Sunday, and Inspired Dialogue is the Monday after that. And of course, worship at 11 every Sunday (or whenever you want for our online community!). We are called to work because God is at work. And what a job we are called to do.

I know we talk a lot about our unique gifts and that is because they are important to name and share. But sometimes we don’t always see the gifts that we have. Community helps us stay accountable to what God has given us and reminds us to use them to build the kin-dom in ways only we can. But some of the hardest work we are called to do is to discern for ourselves what gifts we have that we are not called to put energy into. Discernment is a conversation with God that points us toward spiritual guidance. It can be hard and feel unending. But the result can also feel like an opening in the dense forest. That is why I really love this week’s scripture. Paul and Sosthenes wrote this letter together, and within it found the need to remind people that while we may have many gifts, some deserve more time and energy than others. This is part of the discernment of our faith lives. Let’s read together and see what Paul names as his gifts for use in community.


10 I beg you, siblings, in the name of our Savior Christ Jesus, to agree in your message. Let there be no factions; rather, be united in mind and judgment. 11 I have been informed, my siblings, by certain members of Chloe’s household, that you are quarreling among yourselves. 12 What I mean is, one of you is saying, “I belong to Paul,” another, “I belong to Apollos,” still another, “I belong to Cephas,” still another, “I belong to Christ.” 13 What—has Christ been divided into parts? Was it Paul who was crucified for you? Was it in Paul’s name that you were baptized? 14 Frankly, I’m thankful I didn’t baptize any of you, except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that none of you can say you were baptized in my name! 16 Oh yes, I did baptize the household of Stephanas, but no one else as far as I can remember.
17 The point is, Christ didn’t send me to baptize but to preach the Gospel—not with human rhetoric, however, lest the cross of Christ be rendered void of its meaning! 18 For the message of the cross is complete absurdity to those who are headed for ruin, but to us who are experiencing salvation, it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:10-18)

Fill in the blank “My spiritual gift called to action for this time is______.” It’s hard right? It’s meant to be. Paul had a lot of time to discern what gifts God was calling him to use to grow and sustain the church. It’s not that Paul can’t baptize – he has done so and shared as much- but that is not his primary gift called to action. He has discerned that sharing the gospel through preaching is his primary gift called to action in this time. For him, that is the point. But preaching is not for everyone – that is why our gifts are varied and abundant.

Friends, what is your gift (or gifts) called to action? If you know, great. If you don’t know, great- let the church help you. Because we cannot do this work without you and the gifts that God has placed in you. Sometimes we just need help from the community to see these gifts and to know how to use them. So, this week- discern. Name your gifts. Pay attention to which ones feel relevant, powerful, unique, etc. And then put some passion, energy, and action behind it.

What a gift it is to build the kindom with you.

Shalom Y’all,
Rev. Stephanie

A quick prayer for your week: God, I am thankful for my many gifts. Show me which ones to use now, for your good work. Amen