We Are The Music Makers


Arthur O’Shaughnessy once wrote, “We are the music-makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams, wandering by lone sea-breakers, and sitting by desolate streams, world-losers and world-forsakers, on whom the pale moon gleams: yet we are the movers and shakers of the world forever, it seems.”

When the ark of the covenant was brought into Jerusalem, David told the Levites to appoint their relatives as musicians. The singers were to sing joyfully while the harps, cymbals, and lyres played. Seven priests were to go before the ark playing trumpets. A celebration was about to take place. David was going to dance before the Lord. There had to be music. And Chenaniah, who was skillful in music, was selected as the musical worship leader.

“Chenaniah, the leader of the Levites, was to direct the music because he was skillful.” 1 Chronicles 15:22 HCSB

Chenaniah was the music maker for King David that day. The entrance of the ark just wouldn’t have been the same without him. Today, those of us entrusted with the musical and artistic worship of the church are the music makers. We have been selected to lead the people of God in celebration of His new covenant with us.

That means several things:

We must strive to be skillful.

The body of Christ needs us.

And it wouldn’t be the same without us.

The Permanence of Spiritual Gifts


“For God’s gifts and His call can never be withdrawn.” Romans 11:29

Devotional Thoughts

I know a Christian lady who moved to New Orleans after her marriage fell apart. For years, she had lived a holy, set apart lifestyle. However, upon her move, she decided to embrace the ways of the sinful world. She stopped attending worship services and life groups and started frequenting bars and night clubs. Late one evening, while in a bar on Bourbon Street, she was approached by a man who offered to buy her a drink. In the midst of their conversation, the man smiled and asked, “What are you doing here, Honey? There’s something good shining out from you and you’re trying to cover it up.”

Once the Holy Spirit enters us, He is there working in and through our lives even when we’re purposefully trying to sin.  In a similar fashion, the spiritual gifts we receive from the Lord are alive, working through us from the time of our salvation to bring about the purposes of the Lord. They are within us, working to accomplish the Lord’s will even if we are not purposefully activating them. In other words, the spiritual gifts we receive from the Lord are permanent. They cannot and will not be withdrawn, rejected, stolen, spoiled, re-gifted or returned.

Follow-Up Activity

Write out a prayer to the Lord, thanking Him for His constant presence in your life and for the permanence of the spiritual gifts He has given you.

Prayer Focus
Lord, it is comforting to know the permanence of the spiritual gifts You give to us. Help me to always use them to serve others and to glorify Your name.

(This devotion is featured in today’s HOLY OTHER Devotion Series at Celebration Church. If you would like to subscribe to this devotion series Click Here

The Holy Spirit Decides Which Gift(s) I Receive

Holy Spirit

“It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.” 1 Corinthians 12:11

“But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where He wants it.”

1 Corinthians 12:18

Devotional Thoughts

When I was a new Christian, I took a spiritual gifts assessment which was supposed to indicate my top spiritual gifts. One of my top gifts, according to this assessment, was Voluntary Poverty. I was so surprised, I cried out, “I don’t want that gift! I’d rather have the spiritual gift of Prophecy. That one sounds pretty good to me.”

Fortunately, I don’t get to decide which Spiritual Gifts I receive. Neither do you. The Holy Spirit decides on spiritual gift assignments and distributes them accordingly. The Lord has the big picture of His own purposes for our lives, our church and our world. Through His perfect management and distribution, He keeps the church in perfect order and balance.

Follow-Up Activity

Find a friend, family member, or life group member who is participating in this devotional reading. Ask them to share their spiritual gift with you as you do the same with them. Discuss how these unique giftings can benefit each other, the local church, and the worldwide body of Christ.

Prayer Focus

Lord, You know what’s best for me. Help me to use my spiritual gifts wisely. Thank You for giving me a spiritual gift which benefits Your kingdom.

(This devotion is featured in today’s Celebration Church HOLY OTHER Devotion series. To subscribe to the series of devotions based on different aspects of the Holy Spirit, Click Here


Every Christian Has at Least One Gift

“Yet each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another.” 1 Corinthians 7:7b


Devotional Thoughts

The man looked me right in the eyes and said, “The Lord must have missed me when He was handing out spiritual gifts.”

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

“I just don’t see any evidence of any of the spiritual gifts in my life.”

I smiled at him, reflecting on how he must feel.  “Think about what you are saying,” I replied. “Do you seriously believe the God who created everything, who gave His life for you, who lives within you, who guides and empowers you, simply forgot to give you a spiritual gift?”

“I’m not certain,” he replied.

Paul clearly writes in 1 Corinthians 7:7 that “each person has a special gift from God.”  Since the Holy Spirit inspires all of the Bible, we can be assured that He also inspired that verse. God doesn’t forget anyone in His distribution of spiritual gifts. It doesn’t matter if we’re popular or outcast, rich or poor, slow or smart, handsome or homely, He has given every Christian at least one spiritual gift for use in ministering to others and fulfilling His purposes.

Follow-Up Activity

Take time to discover or explore your own spiritual gifts.  You can do so in 3 different ways:

  1. Study: Read about spiritual gifts in the Bible, looking for ones that seem to describe qualities you may possess. For further study, register for the next SHAPE class being offered at your campus.
  2. Trial and Error: Get involved in ministry where certain spiritual gifts are necessary. If you are unsure how to do so, check with your life group leader or campus pastor.
  3. Insight from Others: Speak to mature Christians you trust about which traits of specific Spiritual Gifts they may see in you.

Prayer Focus

Lord, I know You care for me. Thank You for giving me at least one spiritual gift. Help me to further discover and develop my giftings.   

(This devotion is featured as today’s devotion in the Celebration Church HOLY OTHER Devotion Series. If you would like to subscribe to the devotion series, lasting from now through the end of October, Click Here )


The Gifts of the Holy Spirit


“Now, dear brothers and sisters, regarding your question about the special abilities the Spirit gives us. I don’t want you to misunderstand this.” 1 Corinthians 12:1

Devotional Thoughts

The Corinthian Church was in a mess. Many of them were argumentative, judgmental, and self centered. As He does with all Christians, the Holy Spirit had blessed each member with spiritual gifts, but they were not being used appropriately. Instead of being activated to minister to others and therefore glorify the Lord, they were being used for personal gain and selfish ambitions.

Obviously, one of the Corinthians had asked the Apostle Paul about spiritual gifts. Scripture doesn’t reveal to us the content of the question, but it does share Paul’s answer in 1 Corinthians 12:7. He writes, “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” In other words, a spiritual gift is a special ability, given by the Holy Spirit to every believer at their conversion, to be used to minister to others and therefore build up the body of Christ.

Satan probably enjoyed the chaos and confusion in the Corinthian church over spiritual gifts. He wants you to be confused as well about the spiritual gifts the Lord has given you. Do not allow that to happen. Whenever you are tempted to use what God has given you for selfish reasons, stop and pray immediately, asking God to give you wisdom to use your gifts in a way that builds up the body of Christ.

Follow-Up Activity

Read 1 Corinthians 12. As you make your way through the chapter, underline or highlight specific verses which could help a person’s understanding of the gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit.

Prayer Focus:

Lord, thank You for giving us spiritual gifts. Help me to fully use mine to honor You by building up the body of Christ.

(This devotion is part of the Celebration Church HOLY OTHER devotion series. You can subscribe to that devotion series here: Celebration Church HOLY OTHER devotions


I Am Greater Than You


I am greater than you.

We say it all the time, in many different ways to various people around us.

Kids say it on the playground.

Teenagers express it through segregation at lunchtime.

Adults express it when they drive off of the new car lot.

Pastors, deacons, teachers, and worship leaders convey it in their attitudes toward each other and toward others in the church.

I am greater than you.


Huge ministries sometimes fall because of leadership corruption and abuse, small church plants often begin out of spite, and confusing divisiveness invades the worship services, Bible studies, and prayer times of countless congregations. And all the while, the unchurched learn more about our vindictiveness and positional desires than our Christlike compassion and concern for their eternal destiny. What they see is Christians pointing fingers at each other, declaring to the world and the rest of the church:

I am greater than you.


Jesus had the same problem with His disciples. Shortly after His transfiguration, Luke reports that His disciples began arguing about which of them was the greatest (Luke 9:46 NLT).

I first heard this story when I was a child in the 70’s. I envisioned the disciples walking behind Jesus, acting like Muhammad Ali, saying, “I float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, and everyone knows I am greater than thee.”  Even as an elementary student, it seemed so childish and stupid to me that the disciples were standing right behind Jesus, God the Son, and they had the audacity to argue with each other and say:

I am greater than you.


I love how Jesus handled the situation:

But Jesus knew their thoughts, so He brought a little child to His side. Then He said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.” (Luke 9:47-48 NLT)

In Jesus’ day, children were not regarded as highly as they are today. This helps us see that He was saying that whoever welcomes and is willing to serve the lowest of the low welcomes and serves God Himself. It’s not hard to discern that this is not an attitude most often exhibited from those who want to exalt themselves over others.


The apostles learned this lesson when James and John asked Jesus if they could sit on His right and His left in the kingdom. The Bible reports that the other disciples were angry with these brothers because of their request.

“So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His live as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:42-45)

Jesus, the greatest person who has ever lived, took on Himself the attitude and position of a servant. He did this, even though He could have looked at us all and said:

I am greater than you.


If Jesus, the Son of Man, came not to be served but to serve others, shouldn’t we be able to do the same in our dealings with each other and with the world around us. If we do, we’ll be showing the world and other Christians that we believe:
He is greater than us