Why is this important?
Have you ever looked at your friend’s toy and really, really wanted to have it? Or listened to what someone did on holiday and thought “I want to do that too!”?
We all look at things and imagine doing or having it, it’s why there’s so many adverts on TV - they know they can make people want the stuff they’re selling.
We are the advert for a relationship with God and that could be a sneak peak of what the Kingdom of God might be like. When people look at you, for example, how you treat someone else or how you speak about ourselves shows how God affects your life.
What do you think it looks like, when you are finding something difficult, but know you can always ask for God’s help? What difference in you do you think people might be able see?
Play detective! (You could find a notebook to keep your secret detective notes in)
Pick a person who you think is ‘good’, someone you would like to be like when you grow up.
Pay close attention to them, you could do this over a couple of weeks. What do they do? What senses can you use to notice how they live their life?
What things can you observe about their behaviour - When they’re being quiet? When they’re helping someone? When they’re listening?
If you notice that they are doing nice things for you or other people, it’s a really healthy thing for you to say “thank you” and express your gratitude.
You were made to be just like God. That’s your blueprint, your template. All sorts of things get in the way of us being like God. If we’re scared, angry, focussed on something we think will make us happy, at any cost. They can stop us seeing what’s around us, other people’s needs or how our behaviour might hurt or push people away.
What do you think God is like? What Jesus showed us about God? Like when a jeweller refines a precious stone, the journey we go on in our relationship with God allows the bits that hide who we were made to be to be removed or polished.
Say to God, ‘polish me’...and see what God helps you see that you could change or do to become so that, when people look at you they are dazzled by how lovely you are.
Why is this important?
You are infinitely and wonderfully made! God created you in God’s own image, and yet you are unique. No-one benefits when you making yourself smaller than God created you to be, or when you conform to someone else’s ideas of who you are. Instead by being your truest self, people see God’s love shine from you.
It might be when we make the most of the talents or gifts that we have been given. Or when we live in ways that are generous or kind. Or when we help people to see how we can help make a fairer, greener world. Living our lives in ways that are honest to ourselves and to God will help people to know more about God.
What would your friends or your family say that you are good at? When you do things that you feel you’re talented at, or which you believe are important, how do they make you feel? In what ways do you think other people might see God shining from you?!
We’re often better at recognising other people’s gifts than our own! Message a friend to say why they make the world a better place and what particular gifts you think they have.
When you feel you are making yourself small or are scared of being who you could be, pause: breathe in slowly and remember that you are fearfully and wonderfully made; breathe out and pray that God’s love will shine out through who you are.
Why is this important?
We can all express our faith by the way we live out our lives. We can show the love of God to others by our words and actions. We can live out a way that will draw others closer to God.
We are all made in the image of God and made fearfully and wonderfully. We are all unique and have our own personalities, gifts and skills to bring.
Romans 12: 6-8
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Was there ever a time that someone saw giftings in you, but you doubted your own ability?
Get or create some people shaped templates. Give one template to each person.
Get each person to write their name on the template and decorate one side to look like themselves.
Next pass the template to another person so that everyone has a template that belongs to someone else. On it, write something nice about the person. What are the good at? What gifts do you see that they have? What fruits of the Spirit can you see in them? What do you like about them? Why are they your friend?
Keep passing the templates on and repeating the process till everyone has writing something about each person.
After everyone has written something, return the correct template to the correct person. Allow them to read and reflect on what has been written.
Then move into a discussion.
Were any of those messages a surprise? Did other people see qualities and gifts in you that you don’t see in yourself? Others, including God, often see things in us that we don’t see.
How can you use your gifting to live out your faith and help others draw closer to Jesus?
Listen to the song ‘Shine from the inside out’.
Pray using tea lights. Let each person light a candle and as they do focus on God.
Ask God to show you ways to share your gifts and let your faith shine brightly. Ask for courage and guidance when it is needed.