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It's 5:25 a.m. in Irvine, California. I'm awakened, thanks to the mercies of God ... and also to the rumbling of the Amtrak train passing within ten feet of our hotel window. It's a great place to stay, which we do often, in spite of the early morning trains. Wide awake now, I am reviewing in my mind the details of the current series I am sharing with our local church in Goodyear, Arizona. I recall my respectfully direct attack on the scientific theory commonly known as "The Big Bang". Simply defined, it's a theory that deduces – from observed expansion, cosmic background radiation, abundance of the elements, and the laws of physics – a cataclysmic birth of the universe. As much as I can appreciate the sincere efforts of the scientific mind to explain the awesome creative capacity of our almighty God, I strongly disagree with this theory and in turn adamantly support the creation story so brilliantly portrayed in Genesis 1:1-31. I love the line in the final verse of this chapter as it is rendered in the Common English Version of the bible: "God looked at what he had done. All of it was very good. Evening came and then morning–that was the sixth day."

I haven't studied the Big Bang theory extensively, but as I look at all of creation in it's splendor and complexity, I find it easy to believe the idea of a custom designer and more than difficult to attribute all of this to the result of an explosion in the atmosphere. How each planet appears so perfectly round; a rose, lovely in beauty and fragrance; eagles gracefully soaring though the air and majestic animals that roam the earth. And finally, there is the human being. So complex, so magnificent, yet so vulnerable. These observations move me to support the creation story far more than the theory of cosmic explosion. Yes, I confidently believe in God and I believe that he has created you and me.

So, here we are. And it is the events of the sixth day that awakens me; the genesis of humankind that promotes me to thought. We were created by the hand of God, while all other things were spoken into existence. When deciding on a purchase, have you noticed the additional value placed on things that are hand-made? Although he had the ability to speak a man into being, just as all other things, he patiently and lovingly created man with his hands and breathed into him his very life. Suddenly, man became alive. Not just blood, flesh and bone, but alive: spirit and soul. Male and female, them, they, the both of us, breathing, moving, analyzing, loving and all of us also creating from the things created by the master creator himself. Mankind became alive! It is this alive state that moves me to write this morning. The ability to write and to think – as humans we are innovative, intuitive, creative; we are gifted. I will then join with a host of others who have stated the same before me: we who are alive are not here to exist only, but to live. In the master plan of God, he has gifted us all with a unique contribution to offer at the table of humanity. As one of those individuals, I know there is great purpose and gifting inside of me. At this place in my journey, I find myself blooming more and more with each passing season. In the same manner, there is a purpose inside of you; assigned to you, woven into your core, wanting to bloom, and to shine more and more. The gift God has planted within you, when accepted and activated, will bring such fulfillment, enjoyment and enlightenment to yourself and to those who see, hear, and experience that gift within you exposed! The exposure is not always over-the-top, and often not seen by many at once. However, throughout an average lifetime the results of one life in the world will be immeasurable; and if you are in touch with God, the results can be eternal.

We should recognize that we are unique individuals, created and gifted on, and with, purpose; determined by our creator to bring something extra special into this existence. In spite of the several mistakes we've made in our lives, this fact yet remains: it is amazing how God can ultimately use our imperfections to help perfect others and visa-versa. If we are paying close enough attention, we'll notice the opportunities to become greater through both the good, and the bad we've received in this life. After coming through good and bad events, great and small, our gift to others becomes our ability to offer support and insight to them on recovering from the negative and capitalizing on the positive.

It is also imperative to understand that although we are the bearer of the gift, it is just that ... a gift! You didn't give it to yourself, it was given to you and therefore you become ineligible to take credit for it, or display any levels of selfish pride for what it accomplishes! You can only allow a gift to do what is does best: be given! Actually, a gift does not come into itself unto it is given. More accurately stated, it is acceptable to receive thanks for the administration or stewardship of the gift, but you cannot receive credit for its existence.

Finally, allow me to suggest that the gift was given not only for your use but for you to give away. Its purpose is not solely for display, or for hiding away – give it away! Be it love, a smile, a talent, an attribute or the ability to bring kind words or counsel to a hopeless situation. To teach or to listen, to share or support, from ability to infinity, give it all away and offer life to others. Often the more you expose it, the greater it becomes. At times it may bring you money, however it is not a money maker. Allow the gift given to you to help you be the best you possible. Freely you have received, freely give. God saw everything he made, which includes you, and he says you are very good! Then there will be evening and there will be a new day!.The gift is you, live it out everyday with someone, every chance you get!

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