Archive for April, 2010

True Servanthood

This Sunday we’ll be exploring one of the most forceful passages of Scripture that describe our new identities as servants. What I’ve realized through studying and preparing is that it’s important that we see servanthood as an identity more than as an action. In other words, we don’t just serve — we are servants.

Consider the following teaching taken from our Membership Packet on servanthood:

1. The essence of being a follower of Jesus is to become more and more like him.
This is the goal of sanctification, which Wayne Grudem defines as, “A progressive work of both God and man that makes Christians more and more free from sin and more and more like Christ in their actual lives.”

Romans 8:28-29 – And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Luke 6:40 – A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.

2. One could make a strong biblical case that the essence of Christlikeness is being a servant.

Mark 10:45 – For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ran-som for many.”

John 13:12-17 – When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

3. Not only did Jesus serve, but he had the heart of a servant. He thought like a servant.

4. Servants think more about others than themselves.
This is true humility: not thinking less of ourselves but thinking of ourselves less. They are self-forgetful. When we stop focusing on our own needs, we become aware of the needs around us…We can measure our servant’s heart by how we respond when others treat us like servants. How do you react when you’re taken for granted, bossed around, or treated as inferior?

5. Servants base their identity in Christ.
Because they remember they are loved and accepted by grace, servants don’t have to prove their worth. They willingly accept jobs that insecure people would consider “beneath” them. The more insecure you are, the more you will want people to serve you, and the more you will need their approval. When you base your worth and identity on your relationship to Christ, you are freed from the expectations of others, and that allows you to really serve them best.

6. Servants think of ministry as an opportunity, not an obligation.

, , ,

3 Comments

Dying to Self

Yesterday at Second Mile we talked about that “true living comes through constant dying.” Here’s the extended quote that we finished with:

When you are forgotten, neglected, or purposely ignored and you don’t sting and hurt with the insult of the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ, THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When your good is evil spoken of, your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinion ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take it all in patient, loving silence, THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder and irregularity, or any annoyance; when you stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility, and endure it as Jesus endured, THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When you are content with any food, any offering, any climate, any society, any clothing, and any interruption by the will of God, THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good works or itch after praise; when you can truly love to be unknown, THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances. THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart, THAT IS DYING TO SELF.

ARE YOU DEAD YET?

,

5 Comments

Louie Giglio on Praying for Blessing

This Sunday I shared that I’ve been recently encouraged by a series of messages by Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta, related to prayer. A number of people indicated that the lesson I passed along was valuable, so I thought I’d point you to the specific message that I found so encouraging.

It’s called: “Who’s Blessing Whom?”

You can also watch the video here.

, ,

Leave a comment

It Was Finished on the Cross

Our church experiences the rare and tremendous blessing of having an extremely gifted songwriter, Kristie Braselton, who writes original songs that we sing together on Sunday. Kristie writes a variety of excellent songs, but her “wheelhouse” seems to be writing modern hymns (including “Wondrous Things” and “Christ Has Conquered All“). This Sunday we’ll introduce her latest song and I trust that all who hear and sing it will be wonderfully blessed. Even reading it will encourage your soul. Here you go:

It Was Finished on the Cross
By Kristie Braselton

Once we all stood as captive slaves
The bonds of sin and death our chains
But he with blood our freedom bought
It was finished on the cross
It was finished on the cross

The weight of sin, the sting of death
Were swallowed up by righteousness
Vanquished by the Son of God
It was finished on the cross
It was finished on the cross

Chorus
And we rejoice in victory
We lift our eyes to Calvary
Before the battle has begun
By Jesus’ blood it has been won
It was finished on the cross

And while our hearts have turned from sin
This flesh is waging war within
Though sin remains, our guilt is gone
It was finished on the cross
It was finished on the cross

His gift of grace our heart betrays
With urge to merit or repay
We need not live to pay the cost
For it was finished on the cross
It was finished on the cross

, ,

2 Comments

Ministry Updates That Need Your Prayer

This past Sunday I shared a brief ministry update that highlighted a few key things we’d like you to pray about:

  1. Long-term ministry facility – We’re praying about God’s direction for a facility that we could use for worship on Sundays and ministry to the community during the week. Pray that God would lead us and provide something above and beyond what we can ask or imagine.
  2. Church-planting – We’re praying about the location, timing and direction of our first church plant. We intend to be a multiplying church that saturates the Southeast Valley with gospel-centered churches and are seeking God’s direction on where to begin.
  3. Leadership Development – In order to use our facility well and send out a healthy team to plant a church, we have to develop more and more leadership. We want to see men and women grow in their understanding of the Bible and their ability to use it in ministry so that many lives can be touched on a daily basis through our ministry. We’ve begun a system for developing leaders, and you can read more about it here. (Right now it’s just for men, but we are quickly exploring how to make this available for women as well).

Will you please join us in praying for God’s direction and blessing in these key areas?

, ,

2 Comments

Remember Jael’s Nail

This past Sunday we took a look at true freedom from sin and saw that one of the aspects of sin is that it is deceitful. Like a skilled fisherman, sin offers something shiny and enjoyable but ends up killing us in the process. This made me recall a biblical illustration from Judges 4:17-22:

But Sisera fled away on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. And Jael came out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord; turn aside to me; do not be afraid.” So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. And he said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a skin of milk and gave him a drink and covered him. And he said to her, “Stand at the opening of the tent, and if any man comes and asks you, ‘Is anyone here?’ say, ‘No.’ ” But Jael the wife of Heber took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand. Then she went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple until it went down into the ground while he was lying fast asleep from weariness. So he died. And behold, as Barak was pursuing Sisera, Jael went out to meet him and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.” So he went in to her tent, and there lay Sisera dead, with the tent peg in his temple.

Sin offers us a warm blanket and a refreshing glass of milk, but in the end drives a tent peg through our skulls.

May we remember Jael’s Nail and watch out for the deceitful promises of sin!

,

5 Comments

The Secret of Change

I’m currently reading an excellent book by Tim Chester, You Can Change. I hope to write more about it in coming weeks when I finish, but I couldn’t resist posting this quote:

“The secret of gospel change is being convinced that Jesus is the good life and the fountain of all joy.”

Pray with me that we would see Jesus as the fountain of all joy in such a way that we would joyfully forsake the fleeting pleasures of sin.

, , ,

Leave a comment