Archive for October 21st, 2013

Serving one another

from JO’s sermon tonight:

Jesus said, “if you want to be great in the kingdom, live a blessed life, you have to serve other people.”  he wasn’t talking about an event that takes place every once on a while, he was talking about a lifestyle where you live to help others.  you’re always  looking for ways to serve:  you’re helping a friend, volunteering at the hospital, taking care of a relative.  it’s not something you force yourself to do;  it becomes a part of who you are.  you’ve developed that attitude of serving.  that’s when you’ll have true happiness, fulfillment;  not living to get, but living to give.  this is the reason a lot of people are unhappy;  they’re only focused on themselves:  “my dreams, goals, problems.”  that’s going to limit you.  you were created to give.  God puts people in our path on purpose so we can be a blessing to them.  every morning, we should ask, “God, show me my assignment today.  help me to see the people that you want me to be good to.”  when you serve others, you are serving God.  when you do it for them, you’re doing it for Him.  Jesus said:

Matthew 10:42 (NLT)

42 And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.”

every time you serve, help others, go out of your way to pick up that friend, God sees it;  God is keeping the records.  nothing goes unnoticed;  He says, “you will surely be rewarded.”  that word “surely” means you can count on it;  have no doubt, it will happen.  the key:  don’t look for people to pay you back.  people may not say “thank you.”  you may not get the credit you deserve.  nobody may be giving you applause.  but let me assure you;  when you serve others, there is applause for you in heaven.  almighty God sees your sacrifice.  you don’t need people cheering you on, clapping for you;  you’re not doing it for people, you’re doing it for God.  He is the one that matters.  He sees every act of kindness:  He sees you volunteering at the hospital, taking the neighbor to their doctor’s appointment on your day off.  when you serve others, God promises you will be great in the kingdom.  you’re never too important, big, influential to serve.   it takes a big person to do something small.  it takes humility to say, “I don’t have to do this, it’s not required of me, nobody will fault me if I don’t do it, but I know in order to serve God I need to serve other people.”  if you want to have a great life, it doesn’t just come from success, having a bigger house, more accomplishments;   that’s all great, God wants you to be blessed, but if you’re going to be truly fulfilled you have to develop this attitude of serving one another.  you were created to make somebody else’s life better.  somebody needs what you have:  your smile, love, encouragement, gifts.  when you serve others, you will feel a satisfaction that $ cannot buy.  there will be a joy, peace, fulfillment that only God can give.

John 4:5-34 (ESV)

So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.[a]

A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.)

27 Just then his disciples came back…

31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.

he was saying, “I get fed by doing what God asks me to do.  my nourishment comes from helping people.  my food, strength, peace, joy, satisfaction comes when I serve others.  sometimes you can work all day, and naturally at the end you’re kind of tired.  but there are times when you serve others, you get up early to help that coworker, swing by the hospital and pray for that friend, you should be tired and rundown, but you leave reenergized, stronger, refreshed.  why is that?  because when you do the will of your Father, it doesn’t drain you, it replenishes you.  many of you today, you serve, volunteer;  you would think you would be tired, rundown, no, just like with Jesus, when you do what He asks you to do, you’re being fed:  strength, energy, joy, peace comes.  you should be rundown, but when you serve others, God recharges, reenergizes, refreshes.  you don’t leave down, you leave up.  God pays you back.  when you serve others, make somebody else’s life better, lift people, help heal those that are hurting, not only are they being blessed, but you’re being blessed, re-fueled, filled back up.  if you never have any energy, joy, strength, one reason may be because you’re not doing anything for anybody else.  you’ve gotta get your mind off of yourself;  go to the seniors home and cheer somebody up, coach the Little League team.  when you lift others, God will always lift you.

this should be something we do, not every one in a while, if we have some extra time, no, this should be a lifestyle, where it’s a part of our nature.  we’re always looking for ways to be a blessing.  it doesn’t have to be something big, it can be something small;  simple words of encouragement can brighten somebody’s day.   the scripture says, “kind words work wonders.”  all through the day, we can serve God by speaking kind words; giving a compliment, encouragement, “hey, I love you, you look beautiful, I believe in you, I’m praying for you.”  simple things can make a big difference.  this should start in our homes.  it’s great to serve people when you’re out in public, that’s important, but make sure you serve your own family.  husbands, serve your wife:  “honey, I’m going into the kitchen, can I bring you anything back?” “let me go get your car filled up with gas so you don’t have to tomorrow.”  be a blessing to your spouse.  if we would have this servant’s mentality, more of our marriages would stay together. if you want a wife, friend, lover, somebody to make your life great, you’ve gotta serve that woman, make her feel special:  bring her breakfast in bed, pick up your own stinky clothes.  it’s not a dictatorship, it’s a partnership.  “but, the Bible says the wife is to submit to her husband.”

Ephesians 5:22 (NIV)

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.

it’s the only scripture a lot of men know.  yes, but it also says:

Ephesians 5:25 (NIV)

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

Jesus modeled a servant’s attitude.  he had all the power in the world, the most influential person that ever lived, yet he bowed down and washed his disciples’ feet.  he could have hired somebody to do it, called an angel down from heaven and said, “wash their feet.”  no, he washed them 1 by 1, as an example so we would know we’re never too important to be good to people.  you’re never too high to where you can’t bow down low and serve somebody else.  the more humility you walk in, the more you serve others, the higher God can take you.  some of you, if you would start serving your wife, husband, you’d see that marriage go to a new level.  who are you serving, lifting up, being good to?  be on the lookout for ways that you can be a blessing.  God puts people in our path so we can brighten their day.  “God, help us to have compassion, to not be so busy, preoccupied with our own affairs, that we can’t serve somebody else.”  God is asking us today, “will you carry someone, help lighten their load, help make their dreams com to pass?  will you go out of your way to be a blessing to them?”  helping less fortunate people is the closest thing to the heart of God.  Jesus said:

Matthew 25:40 (NIV)

40 … whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

many of you are constantly being good to people, going out of your way to be a blessing, making sacrifices nobody knows about;  God sees what you’re doing, your heart of compassion.  nobody may be clapping for you down here, but up there all of heaven is cheering you on.  when you’re not being told thank you, getting the recognition, don’t be discouraged and think that you’re being overlooked;  your reward will be greater.  when people give you credit, that’s part of your thank you, your reward.  but when nobody is giving you credit:

Matthew 6:4 (NIV)

… your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

when it comes time for the rewards to be passed out, some of us that are in the front now are going to have to step back, and the people that were behind the scenes, volunteered year after year with no great applause, the ones that have given time, energy, $ that nobody knew about, those are going to be the greater rewards.  nothing goes unnoticed;  you will be rewarded.  the scripture tells how, when Stephen (the martyr)  went to heaven, Jesus stood up to welcome him.  Jesus is normally seated at the right hand of the Father.  but I believe there are times when Jesus says, “this one deserve a standing ovation.”  he will stand up to welcome you home.  there will be a celebration, reward.  you will hear a band playing like you’ve never heard before;  it will be the angels.  all of heaven will welcome you home.  many of you have been faithful, given, served, volunteered;  be encouraged, God sees every act of kindness.  nothing goes unnoticed. you will be rewarded.  remember, when you do what God asks you to do, you’re being fed, getting stronger, refreshed, reenergized.  so be on the lookout this week for ways that you can be good to people. if you’ll develop this lifestyle of serving, God says you will be great in the kingdom.  because you serve others, you’re coming into your reward, favor, healing, promotion, breakthroughs, new levels of God’s goodness.

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