Unwrap Your Gifts (Part Two)

Dr. Stephen Phinney


Then I said, "Alas, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, because I am a youth." But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am a youth,' because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak.” (Jer 1:6-7)

Shortly after I received the Holy Spirit into my life, I was asked to speak at church gatherings at sixteen years of age. However, I had a problem. Fear blocked me from accepting these invites. I suffered the type of fear that bound my tongue. Meaning I would stutter through my words as my body would shake in fear. In due time, when asked to speak, I required the church to have a podium that the audience could not see my shaking body, a glass of water on the podium, which my shaking hands made it impossible to drink. So, what did I do? I humiliated myself by stepping up to speak when fear ruled my body & mind.

I had no clue what “Not I, but Christ” was all about at the time. I also was functionally illiterate and could not read from the Bible as speaking. This resulted in speaking from the heart. As my wife would tell you, a miracle began to happen. Scriptures began rolling off my tongue without knowing where they came from. This phenomenon prompted my soon-to-be wife to teach me how to read – using the Bible.

Looking back on that difficult time of my life, I most assuredly looked down on my youth, thinking I had to be a seasoned preacher to preach. Boy, was I wrong!

I was given a gift through this weakness. My ministry in Christ started with full dependence on the Holy Spirit to preach through me. I had no other choice. Many years later, I discovered my Spiritual gifts. The primary gift given to me was Prophecy, which requires hearing the Holy Spirit’s words before writing or speaking. As odd as it is, this blessed method has remained with me to this day – in both speaking and writing.

Many people do not think they are mature enough to use their gifting! Most think they have not been saved long enough to use God fully and allow God to use them fully. Now in my mid-sixties, I know nothing could be further from the Truth. Once you have received the Holy Spirit upon salvation, you are qualified to be used by God. Furthermore, once your Spiritual gifts are activated by ‘laying on of hands,’ the believer goes from confidence to a powerhouse. I am a living example of this profound Truth.