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ACCELERATING YOUR SPIRITUAL GROWTH – PART 5
It’s Shocking to Serve!

New Salem, I don’t believe there is anyone among us who doesn’t want a life of significance. Each of us wants to believe that his/her life matters. How do you obtain a life of significance?  Did you know that success is not synonymous with wealth?  I learned a very long time ago not to set my sights on financial reward.  I want things that money can’t buy; things like health, peace, integrity, and joy.  Don’t get me wrong, I do have a ‘chase,’ dreams and desires. This ‘chase’ is in the pursuit of a life that counts.  What about you?  Today I have some shocking news for you.  The message is simple and clear.  The route to significance is paved with SERVICE!!!  This is a message than I need you to ‘get.’  Let’s look closely at our role model, Jesus Christ and what lessons we can learn from his life. 

1.  Jesus served.  He spent his life helping, healing and stopping to serve others.

2.  Jesus taught about serving. “… on the way they (the disciples) had argued about who was the greatest.  He (Jesus) sat down and called them around Him and said, ‘Anyone wanting to be the greatest must be the least – servant of all’”
Mark 9:33-35 (NIV). It looks more like prosperity in reverse!

3.  Jesus used stories/parables to illustrate serving.  We find a familiar story in Luke 10:33 –34

4.  Jesus stated serving as His existence. He gave his own life for ransom. In other words Jesus gave his life; that was the price paid for us.  What a tremendous act of service.  Church, are there any servants in this house today?

5. Jesus’ final examples – he modeled serving
He illustrates what he wants us to do

Selfishness is a fatal disease. If it’s always all about you, guess what? You will end up with you.  If you aren’t open to change and like things just the way they are, you will never grow spiritually. 

Let’s camp right here and rewind some 2,000 years ago.  During the time when Jesus lived, foot washing was part of the culture.  You might say, why feet?  I’m glad you asked.  Today we spend a lot of time and money on fragrance of the feet.  During that time, people traveled by foot and walked roads/paths covered with dirt, camel droppings, dung, sheep ‘stuff’ and who knows what else.  It was nasty.  So consider this; when I prepare to wash your feet, it requires me to shift my position from standing to kneeling, moving from a position of authority to a posture of serving.  When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, he got down to be lifted up.  Let me put it to you another way. God gets up off his knees to get to the cross. Service.

If you want to get deep and spiritual, stay right here and find somebody to serve.  To be most like Christ, you must serve. Why is service/serving so hard? Why do we struggle with serving?  It is nicer when people serve me.  I need you to get this, New Salem.  Sometimes serving is just being present it’s about being there.  I urge you to choose obedience and love over convenience.  God knows in advance what we will deal with. Refer to Matthew 4:19 – 22 (NIV) which says “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John.  They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets.  Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed.

If God is present in my life, I have access to power. Because I have God’s power I see service opportunities and move beyond my own nature to being Christ like. These brothers chose to leave what they knew best to follow Christ.  Let’s compare and contrast fishing as an occupation versus following Christ.  Fishing was a stable, family business, predictable and profitable.  Following Christ was an unknown.  They had no idea where they would sleep, how to live or what they would eat.  Yet the brothers left the familiar and their own physical father to follow Christ (son of the Heavenly Father).

What God plans for you is bigger than your dreams.  When it doesn’t make sense, it’s God.  God steps in the gap between positive and negative.  When it doesn’t make sense, it’s God.  God always has someone on the sidelines to say ‘ keep going, keep going, don’t just stand there.’

When this thing becomes a part of you, you will look for opportunities to serve.  Serve folks nobody wants to serve.  Be ever so careful whom you prejudge.  We will water dogs but won’t feed people. Where is the Christ likeness in that?  Remember Matthew 10:42 (NIV) “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”

What changes could be made in this community if we really got serious about service? How would serving impact our schools? 

Church, I need to be frank with you.  I am not interested in another person joining New Salem.  I am looking for some folks who don’t mind serving.  I’m not running for the largest church in Columbus.  I’m looking for folks who truly want to serve.  It takes a lot to be a real player on a team, not sitting on the sidelines as a spectator.  I wonder.  If the church had to go through fitness training to serve, what would happen? We might end up with 12 people, a small group, just like the disciples.

Watch out! God will send a ministry opportunity when I least have time to do it.  God can and will preempt your agenda with a storm, car incident, etc.  God will find someone else to do what you won’t do. I’m just looking for a few fishermen. Will you follow Christ by serving others? We are called to serve.  Aren’t you tired of pretending?  Are you ready to ask God what he wants to do with you because you have finally decided to make yourself available to serve?  Whose life is still dirty because you don’t pick up their trash?  The route to significance is paved with SERVICE!!!    

     
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