It is a beautiful day at the Ponderosa. I am still pondering the equipping ministry of the Holy Spirit. After the original apostles and prophets had done their part in laying the foundation for the church (Ephesians 2:20), God brought in the rest of His construction crew who are still building on the foundation today.

There are workers with the gift of faith (1 Corinthians 12:9). These believers are equipped by God with an over-the-top ability to trust Him regardless of the turmoil that is happening around them. They take God at His word regardless of apparent odds against them. Other believers weak in faith observe their ministry and follow their lead and in the process learn that God is faithful and they grow in their faith.  During the time when our lives are in jeopardy is when those with the gift of faith shine.

Those with the gift of teaching (Romans 12:7) have an insatiable appetite and ability to study the depth of the Word of God and have the capacity to communicate its meaning to others who have the desire to know. The Bible is their textbook, not a quarterly. New believers have the chance to grow in grace and knowledge of the truth because of the ministry of these gifted believers.

Helps (1 Corinthians 12:28) is the gift of serving the body of Christ behind the scenes. The person with this gift makes an excellent deacon, serving unselfishly. The work is often tedious and thankless.

The gift of administration (1 Corinthians 12:28) is the ability to organize the local church ministry. Those with this gift are God’s efficiency experts. They have a desire that God’s work be carried out decently and in order (2 Corinthians 14:40). They go about their business with such love and reverence for the Lord that they are a blessing to everyone.

The gift of exhortation (Romans 12:8) is the gift of encouraging. The word literally means “to call to one’s side.” This is a great complementary gift to teaching. The teacher brings one to the point of saying, “I see that.” The encourager brings him to the point of believing, “I can do that.”

Those with the gift of giving (Romans 12:8) are able to give to the Lord’s work consistently, liberally, and cheerfully. They go far beyond what they feel God requires. The giving is done without any secret reluctance or false pretense. There are people who give as long as others know that they are giving. This is not Biblical giving at all, and it is certainly not the gift of giving. The gift of giving is not reserved for the wealthy only.

The gift of mercy (Romans 12:8) is so necessary yet so misunderstood. Mercy is not justice. Justice is to give one what is felt to be deserved. Mercy is to give what is not deserved. Expectations are not placed on those who receive mercy from those with this gift. If the recipients in some way deserved acts of mercy shown them, it is not mercy.

Those with the gift of evangelism (Ephesians 4:11) have the ability to present the gospel of God’s grace with extreme clarity to anyone, anywhere, at any time. They also have an overwhelming desire to do so.

The gift of shepherding (Ephesians 4:11) is the ability to guide, feed, and guard the church of Jesus Christ. This is the ideal gift for a pastor.

The motivation that drives all of these gifted people is the conscious awareness that they are serving not only the sheep but its Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is continuing to build His “living temple” through these construction workers.  The only prescription given in the entire Bible for the growth of the church is found in Ephesians 4:15-16: “Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” Most of the organizations today calling themselves churches are trying every worldly method under heaven to grow a congregation. These schemes draw crowds, but they will not call sheep, feed sheep, nor build the flock. As soon as the unbiblical methods wear thin, the crowd will leave. On the other hand, when the last member of the true body is in place, the Head—the Lord Jesus Christ—will return and remove His church from this planet (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58).  Stay safe and stay tuned.