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Posts Tagged ‘Serve’

How would he take you out?

May 25, 2012 5 comments

I was faced with a serious question the other day.  It was from an article I stumbled across while on a Christian leadership website.  I’m going to ask you this question…and you need to answer personally and honestly.  I’m then going to ask you the same question in a couple of different contexts.

* How would our common enemy, Satan, take you out, rendering you unable to serve your family and your community?

That’s a very personal question.  But how would he take you out?  What gimmicks would he use?  What are your weaknesses?  This question isn’t just a “how are you tempted most?” question.  How would he take you out?  How would he destroy your service to God?

*How would our common enemy, Satan, take out our church family, rendering us unable to serve each other and the people around us?

This changes things just a bit because now we’re pushed to take a peek inside our local church family.  How would our enemy try to destroy our church families?  How would he get us off track?  What lies would he tell us?  What goals would he give us that are not what Christ wants at the top of our families’ agendas?

*If he could stop or hinder our discipleship process, our raising up of active believers in Jesus and his purpose, how would he do it?

This question makes one assumption…that we’re active in making disciples as Jesus instructs in Matthew 28:19-20.  Our purpose isn’t just to receive our ticket to Heaven and then decide to sit back and ride life away as though there are no expectations.  Maybe you haven’t looked at Christianity like this.  Satan loves to let Christians sit by without a feeling of daily purpose.  In this strategy, we lose the possibility of influencing others to choose Christ as well.

Bible focus: 1 Peter 5:8   Control yourselves. Be on your guard. Your enemy the devil is like a roaring lion. He prowls around looking for someone to chew up and swallow.

This stuff is tough!  I’m convicted.  When we forget we have an enemy that wants us to forget about God’s purpose for our lives, we tend to also forget about God.  Peter tells us to be aware that Satan loves for us to forget about him.  He encourages us to be on guard.  Being on guard means we’re also on purpose.

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

Ed

Article referenced, written by Mike Breen, can be found here:

http://www.vergenetwork.org/2012/02/02/obituary-for-the-american-church-mike-breen/

But how can I serve?

December 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve.  You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “The Drum Major Instinct” Delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, February 4, 1968

Serving Secretly in Plain Sight

May 14, 2011 1 comment

Matthew 6:1-18

Hiding in Plain Sight

A distinguished minister and two elders from his congregation attended an out-of-town meeting that did not finish until rather late. They decided to have something to eat before going home, but unfortunately, the only spot open was a seedy bar-and-grill with a questionable reputation.

After being served, one of the elders asked the minister to say grace. “I’d rather not,” the clergyman said. “I don’t want him to know I’m here.”

Hiding in plain sight.  That’s the spot the minister in the joke was in.  Haha.  And I know that most all of us have been in the same exact position he thought he was in.  We all know what the trouble with the argument is.  God’s all seeing.  But the focus for this weekend isn’t about doing wrong things in secret thinking no one will see.  It’s a little bit of the opposite.

Jesus had a particular battle he was thrust into while in ministry for three years.  There were a group of religious leaders that loved the spotlight.  Many of the Sadducees and Pharisees loved to be the center of attention.  They were the rulers.  They carried the big books.  They were able to hand down consequences if rules from the books were not followed.  They had power.  They had followers.

Reminds me of something we’re all beginning to see on TV and hear on the radio.  We’re on our way to the 2012 elections.  It’s campaign season.  We will hear a lot about what people have done, the money they have, the power they wish to gain…or already have taken, and the influence they want.  Character will be talked about, but it will not be center stage.  Reason is, character is all about who people are when no one is watching or when no one cares.  We will hear people talk about values and morals and ‘religion’ and such.  Many of these people will become known as someone who wants to be seen and heard.

Jesus has an opposing view.  He saw people of that day either following wannabe leaders, wanting to be those guys, or cowering in fear around those guys.  Not good.  Not the way of the Kingdom.  Jesus spoke up about this in Matthew 6 when he basically said, “Don’t be like those guys.”  ‘Those guys’ were not happy with the way they were called out.

Jesus said to do your good deeds in secret.  Serve quietly.  Love your neighbor and don’t announce it in the local paper.  Help the local needy without fanfare.  Give without expectation of being given anything in return from those around you.  Give because you love to give.

What Jesus was pointing out was what is at the heart of the matter…the heart.  The religious leaders would fast on the street corners…loudly…drawing attention to themselves.  Purpose?  So people would give them praise.  This is not pure giving or pure sacrifice according to Jesus.  In fact, He said that they have received their reward in full…the praise of men.  They’re power came from what man gave them.

It’s completely a motive thing with Jesus.  The question for us is simply this.  Why do we serve?  Do we serve and love and sacrifice so other people will give us ‘pats on the back?’  Do we serve and love and sacrifice so people will consider us ‘good’ people?  Do we serve and love and sacrifice so that we will be lifted up as ‘approved’ or ‘worthy?’  Yes.  Many times we do that.  Our motives were not in line with how God unconditionally loves people. You see, unconditionally loving other people goes two ways.  We can unconditionally love someone…someone who hasn’t been nice to us, or who doesn’t do anything to help themselves, or who doesn’t appreciate our attention.  But we also love unconditionally because we aren’t receiving anything in return…from them or those that see or hear about us.  Jesus wants us to love without the condition that we hear clapping hands, receive gifts or gain fame from people around us.  Jesus wants us to love because God loves.  That’s it.

Our light will shine brightest to the ones we serve.  Those we serve will see God when we serve as Jesus taught.  We do not let our light shine for ourselves.  We shine our light so that others will be able to ‘see’ in the darkness that surrounds them.  The ‘light’ Jesus was talking was not self light.  It is the light shining through us … God’s light.

I love the story about how George Washington became a leader in  the army and as president.  He was called.  He didn’t go out of his way to campaign for the positions.  He was asked.  He was sought out.  People knew his character before he even had the chance to explain it publicly to anyone.  He served and moved with wisdom not because he wanted people to see him…but because it was just the right thing to do.  Paraphrasing, his response when asked to be president went something like this, “This is not something I want or something I’ve searched after, but if you think I’m the man, I’m ready to serve.”

One word.  We hide in plain sight because of humility.  Without humility, we are lifted up.  With humility, the light of God is shown brightly.

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

Ed Barnes

Questions that can lead to change if you let them:

  • Does your personality lead you more to being center of attention or a background person?
  • Jesus created us with our specific personalities.  Why do you think some of us struggle more with wanting to be heard and seen?
  • Is it possible to be a leader and be humble?  Examples that you know of?
  • What should our response be when we do receive the praise of men?…when our actions and behaviors and service is noticed by men on a public platform?
  • Who has served you in secret?
  • What are you going to do this week in secret? Plan it out.  We can talk about this…but if we’re not proactive about the planning…well…it might not ever happen.  We will have only had a good talk.
  • Why is this approach important as we are living in the Kingdom of God?

Little Platoons


Some quotes that you may want to put in your cranium:

•”Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t.” ~Richard Bach
•We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. ~Mother Teresa
•Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. ~The Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 4:7-11

There’s a bunch of us out there. We are Christians and we are all over the planet. Some of us are nearly living by ourselves simply because there aren’t many of us in a giving region. Some of us see each other daily because there are thousands of us living freely to express our faith in our city. Some of us express our love for Jesus underground because our personal ministry to our village would end with our death. Some of us are missionaries to a tribe who’s language has not yet been translated. Some of us have mission fields called office spaces, classrooms, manufacturing plants, recovery rooms and Tupperware parties. Some of us have children that we’re raising in the faith. Some of us are discovering untold mysteries in a lab and others of us are changing diapers and giving the feeling of security and love to not only infants in child care but to parents as well. We are called Christian and we are all over the planet building the Kingdom of God.

“The end is near…” is what Peter says. There is a day that God will say, “It’s over. Let’s close up shop Son.” We have as much knowledge about that day as Peter did. But for all of us, as each day goes by, we are one day closer to the end. Therefore, where ever we are, we need to serve and love others into the Kingdom. We are an army that is not to go unnoticed. We are not undercover agents for God. We are meant to be seen and heard and questioned. We are positioned in different areas and in different families for different purposes, but all for the same goal.

Our goals is to add to the Kingdom. To love people into the Kingdom. To help others know the saving love of Christ. We are all part of smaller groups, maybe groups of 20’s or 100’s or 1000’s, but we all have our little platoons in one vast army that have great parts to play in God’s grand plan.

Love-Serve-Spread the Word, ed

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