Tag Archives: service

Good Works

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Something that has been on my heart for a long time has been serving where you are, no matter what that service looks like. It also means serving even if you never receive any positive feedback. Really, it’s about obedience.

I have always had a hard time accepting facebook and blogging. First because you lay yourself out there for all the world (or at least your circle of friends) to see. Secondly because it can become a trap for pride and self-promotion. Vulnerability and Pride aren’t my two favorite things in life, so I often avoid facebook (plus, I just don’t feel like I have anything clever to say most of the time). Now blogging. This is another story.

I went to a conference in which I learned about a very important perspective concerning ministry. It had to do with expanding your ministry through…drumroll please… blogging! I’m not saying this is for everyone (although it seems that everyone is blogging), but I had already had a sense that I should be writing. So what’s a girl to do, but obey? Even if it means I get no feedback. Even if it means I might be putting myself in some uncomfortable situations of vulnerability.

So what about you? Perhaps your service is to your family, something that’s very behind the scenes and certainly gets little to no feedback!

Be obedient.

Maybe it’s to serve someone at work who doesn’t know Jesus from Paul McCartney.

Be obedient.

Your service may be a full time job in ministry (and I’m sure that sometimes you wish you DIDN’T get feedback since it can often be negative or discouraging).

Be obedient.

Whatever it is, think of these service opportunities as ways in which your Father has specifically designated you to help fill needs for His church and for the lost. Think of what you’re passionate about as you minister and realize that your passion comes from Him. Yes, you’ll get discouraged when you don’t see immediate results. Or when people don’t get as excited about what you’re passionate about. Or when you feel under-appreciated or invisible. But take heart in knowing that He has ordained you for this service.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

Your service = good works. Good works = the glorification of your Father. God prepared you for these good works, and He will make sure you have all you need to accomplish them.

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Up is Down

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Artwork by Tony Damico

Following on the heals of my last post, I decided (or more like have been undergoing sculpting by the Potter) that the issue of service deserved further attention. Two weeks ago I sat in a Bible study watching a Beth Moore video in which she asked us to write a letter to Jesus telling Him what we seek (what we want from Him…and I’m not talking a fully furnished home and a Rolls Royce). Some of my letter was practical. “I want my baby to be born AFTER my house is completely built.” “I would like to settle into a church home before Your second coming.” You get the picture. Other parts involved spiritual requests. A few were typical “Give me faith to trust You even when things are hard.” “I want to be a woman of courage.” But then I got to this one issue.

Perhaps you’ve done this, and perhaps you felt as sheepish as I did after being brutally honest. Let me shoot straight, you want to ask Jesus to change someone else so that things would be easier for you. Yeah. I did that. The real issue for me is that there are people who are easy to serve and then there are “those other people.” You’d rather suffer through boils all over your skin than to stoop down and just serve those other people. It’s not that you’re opposed to serving, it’s just that those other people have a sense of entitlement (that you should be serving them), and this attitude makes your skin prickle all over. It makes me jerk my head in defiance honestly. I feel like those people don’t deserve to be served. Am I striking a chord with anyone? Am I the only one who does/thinks this? Bueller?

But like a good girl, I asked Jesus to give me a heart of service anyway because I OBVIOUSLY need it. It’s like asking for patience. We all know what happens when we ask for patience. We are placed in situations in which we must learn to be patient, right? So that means if I ask for a heart of service then I’m likely to have LOTS of opportunities to serve those who are hard to serve. And isn’t this exactly what I don’t want to do? Ugh. I’m really speaking with tongue in cheek here. I trust that God will chisel away at the places in my heart that don’t reflect His character. But the chiseling still hurts…

I had to start thinking about the scenarios that Jesus might have encountered as He walked this earth. He certainly came across countless people who had difficult personalities. He did not pick and choose whom He would serve based on how nice they were or how appreciative they would be or how deserving of the service they were. Jesus told the Twelve, if anyone wants to be first (greatest), he must be last (least) and a servant to ALL (Mark 9:35). This statement came from His mouth right after the Sons of Thunder (James and John) were arguing about who would sit at his right hand in the Kingdom of God! They learned that if you want to be great, you have to learn to be the least person. Up is down. No more thinking you’re important or powerful or in control. You get down and serve, and that is what Jesus calls greatness.

One of the best things about Jesus is that He lived this out. He didn’t come to be served but to serve and give His life for us (Mark 10:45). You’d expect the King over all creation to have a grand reception in which He would be waited on hand and foot as soon as He made His entrance on this earth. But no. He didn’t even have that mindset.

http://alisonfurminger.blogspot.com/2010/04/scriptrix-scribblings.html

Artwork by Alison Furminger

He took the form of a servant (ESV translation) and humbled Himself to die a criminal’s death. If God did this, what’s my excuse?

If I’m going to truly obey His word, He leaves me with no excuse but to bite my tongue and quietly serve (and trust me, there are lots of times I just want to smart off with some corrective or telling statement). It may always be the case that person “x” never learns to appreciate your service. The point is that you’re doing what you’ve been called to do regardless of how person “x” responds. You can leave their issues in the hands of Jesus (who is likely to be chiseling away at person “x” too if that person is a believer). I want to be great in His estimation. If that means to get down, so be it. (Just don’t expect me to like it…at least for a while…and don’t think I won’t have trouble serving because I will.)

A Guide for the Unsettled Seeker

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From CreationSwap

Here we go again. Off to another church. Will this one have Sunday school or just “Lifegroups”? Do they have a women’s ministry? What about for men? What do they say about certain doctrines? Does the pastor preach topically or expositorally? What is their worship service like? What can I expect from their children’s ministry?

You may have been in this situation before and have asked some of these same questions (or should have asked them!). You move to a new town or simply determine that you want a change in where you worship. You get this feeling that you’ll never quite find that place to call “home.” Why is this such a big deal?

I thought it would be challenging to feel “settled” as we wait to move into our new home, but I never knew how unsettled I would feel as we church hop each week. It is that same feeling I wrote about in my post on Craving Connection. We want to feel connected to the Body of Christ not only for our benefit but for our desire to serve in the Body.

Here are a few things I’ve learned through this small journey to finding a “church home”:

1) It’s incredibly hard not to compare former pastors with these “potential” pastors at each church we try. I’ve decided we were rather spoiled at our former church because we had a pastor who faithfully preached the word in a dynamic way so as to keep our attention while at the same time challenging us to think and to live out what he preached. It was no fluff, let me tell ya. My litmus test these days, unfortunately, is whether or not I can stay awake (and trust me, I NEVER fell asleep at my old church).

2) Closely related to my first point, it’s important to let your pastor know how he’s impacted you in the way he serves your church. A lot of people sitting in the Sunday morning pews have no idea how fortunate they are to sit under the teaching of a well-rounded pastor. Can we just clone the good ones? Is this too much to ask?? (Note to everyone at IBC: You should go tell Dr. Fisher how much you appreciate him. Go.)

3) It takes time to find where you should serve. This is true of you even if you already have a church home. What is more, you should be asking yourself this question if you aren’t serving somewhere already. Does the church have ministries that you are already interested in (women’s, children’s, missions, etc.)? Is there a need in the church for someone to lead a particular ministry (service, reaching singles, college)? It’s a fine balance to determine what you want from the church and how you can serve in the church.

4) There are far too many churches that are going with “trendy” rather than “truth“. Like I alluded to above, I’ve heard a few “fluffy” messages…ones that have very little substance. This tells me something very alarming about church-goers today–they like the fluff. UGH. I’m not ok with this! This also tells me something about the pastors–they’re either lazy and don’t take the time to prepare a really great sermon, complete with illustrations and packed with the Word of God OR they have lost the purpose of being a pastor…preach the Word faithfully, guide and protect the flock.

I’m sure I could go on for eons about what I’ve learned, but because that part of me that says I have to have a point is yelling at me, I must stop here. I challenge you who are searching for a church home, think and pray about what kind of message you’ll be getting every week. Also research what the church offers for you and as a way for you to serve (what you can offer to the church).

For you who already have a church home, I encourage you to consider how you can serve as a part of that Body. It will look different for you than it does for your best friend…and this is ok, that’s how it’s supposed to be. Also take a good hard look at the messages that your pastor presents. Is the Word of God primary or is it an afterthought? Does he jump from topic to topic without a seeming goal in mind or does he have a plan for your church as he goes through a sermon series or book of the Bible? Do you fall asleep? (ha! just kidding…that could be your problem, you know.) May you never be satisfied with “fluff“, my friend.