Serving is not just something that we do, it is an action that reflects who we are.
Can we just pray for just a moment? God, thank you so much. Thank you so much for speaking to us and being present in this place. Thank you that you give us promises that you don’t, that you don’t reverse God, that you come through on your promises. We thank you. Amen. Amen. Amen.
Can we just celebrate for just a moment?
So much. You guys can have a seat. Hey, my name’s Archie. I’m one of the pastors here. It’s great to see you and I just want to really walk them. You welcome to all of you watching online and in the family viewing room. I am really excited to bring this message to you because as pastor Cal said earlier, we have been in a season in our church for about 12 weeks now. Normally we do a teaching series, it’s about four weeks around a topic, but we really sensed God earlier this year challenging us to kind of turn the ship slowly. And so we’ve spent the last 12 weeks kind of on the same topic, which is spiritual disciplines. And this was such a big deal for us that all of our language services were studying the same thing at the same time. That was the first time that’s really happened for us in a long time.
So for the last 12 weeks, all of our language services, if you’re new with us, you may not know that there are four other language services happening at this same time. All here in the building. And so we were all studying the same subjects, all of our small groups, all this 12 weeks we’re studying, talking about the same things because this was such an important thing for us to turn the ship, to be faithful, to follow God a little bit closer. So that’s what we’re doing and we entitled it flow because there’s a verse that talks about as we trust in Jesus, out of us will come rivers of flowing, of rivers, of flowing life. And so living water. And that’s why we entitled it flow. But it also kind of represents flowing with the spirit of God. And so that’s what we desired to be as a church, as a church that’s in tune with the Holy spirit following the Holy spirit.
And so that’s why we spent so much time on this. And so if you ever asked yourself, why do I come here? If you ever asked that, why do I do this? Why do I do this? Why do I do this on a Sunday? For some of us, the reasons are to experience the presence of God. Some of us, it’s to hear from him and worship and express our worship back to him. Some of us, it’s to be instructed in the ways of Jesus on another level. And it’s totally okay if some of us, it’s to see friends and to meet new friends. But for all of us, we need to know that this is also a part of something. When you come here you’re also a part of something that’s bigger than yourself and I just want you to look around the room for just a moment just to look at the people that are here.
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I know it’s a little awkward if you’re sitting like right next to somebody that’s so weird, but look around the room. A lot of times when we come here we feel like I’m just attending. This is like a show or like this is like a movie in a sense. I just come in and maybe like next year will allow you to like reserve your seats like they do in the movie theaters now, but when you come here you’re also part of a group. I think there’s something in our American culture that says I’m an individual. When I come I come here individually. I worship, I listen, I leave. But as you come here, you are part of a group. You are a church and I just want you to look around and see the other people in this room. You are part of a church. And you also need to know that this is a global phenomena.
I don’t know if you know this or not, but there are other churches in town doing the same thing we’re doing right now. Did you know that? So I know at churches we kind of ignore that because we’re afraid you’re going to go to one of those other ones or something. I don’t know. But there are lots of churches doing the same thing that we’re doing. And the latest research told tells us that there are none. One I went to to get these numbers right? 2.5 billion Christians in the world right now. Yeah. Yeah. That’s awesome. And that’s exciting to me. I think what’s more exciting to me is that 3.8 million new people become Christians every single year. That’s incredible. That’s incredible. And I just need you to know that you are a part of something bigger than just what happens in this one little building for an hour on Sunday, that you are part of a movement.
You’re part of a movement, a global movement, and movements move. And if you’re just being honest, I’ll be honest. How many of you feel stuck in one area or more in your life right now? How many of you feel stuck in some area of your life? Yeah, and that is why we’ve spent the last 12 weeks working on spiritual disciplines and that is why I personally have given my life to this as a vocation along with the other pastors on our staff that we’ve given our lives because we’re passionate about being in our community and in the world and leading people, leading you guys to become all that Christ has made you to be, and that’s why this church exists. That’s why we spent last 12 weeks trying to help you to be all the God has created you to be. Now I have some bad news for you though about spiritual disciplines. The last 12 weeks have been a waste of your time. The last 12 weeks of studying spiritual disciplines have been a waste of your time.
If you were thinking about spiritual disciplines as just things to check off a list to get closer to God, that’s called religion. That’s called religion. And that’s not what this place is all about. This place is about relationship. It’s about leveraging those disciplines as a means of allowing God to come in and speak to us. So God has given us disciplines a means of receiving grace so that God can use them to transform us. I want to look at the scripture as we get started here. This is out of Galatians six and it says, what a person plants, he will harvest the person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others, ignoring God, harvest a crop of weeds and he’ll have to show for his life his weeds. But the one who plants and response to God, letting God’s spirit do the growth work in him harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.
That’s pretty awesome. That’s a pretty awesome message. But maybe you didn’t go to seminary and maybe you’re immature like I am and you enjoy memes and you would prefer to see this in a meme. So let’s see that meme real quick. Some of you remember this. There we go. So human effort, I’m going to do the work to get closer to God. And then you pull the mask off of what is there God’s grace and we would’ve gotten away with it if a warrant for those pesky disciplines. Right? So all the work that we’re doing, all we’re doing in all these disciplines, it’s important for us to know as we’re kind of wrapping up this whole season as a church, that the work of disciplines is simply to place ourselves in a position to have God transform us. We can’t do the transformation on our owns on our own.
So the real quickly, if you’re new with us today and you don’t know what I’m talking about, where we’ve been, or maybe you missed a couple of these, you can go back and you can watch them online, listen to them online, on our website or on the app. Real quickly, let’s look at the 12 that we’ve been through as I introduced the next one. So some of these are really challenging and you can go back and listen to him if you missed any of those. But as we go today, the last one I just want to kind of point out there for, we go to the next one today. Last week, pastor Cal did an amazing job on simplicity and if you miss it, I just really want to encourage you to go back and listen to that. I think it’s a really, really well balanced look at simplicity.
He doesn’t encourage you to like throw your phone in the toilet and go live in a cabin or anything like that. But it’s a great view. And so now I have to follow the, I have to follow behind that today. So, Oh, today we’re going to talk about service or serving. Each of those disciplines that we listed up there are challenging in their own way. They’re all a little hard. Maybe the probably the one that we don’t like the most is fasting, but the next most difficult one I think is this one that we’re gonna talk about today, which is serving and sometimes it really rubs us. We like serving when it’s happening to us. We like to be served. We don’t always like to be the one doing the serving. Some of us are uncomfortable when somebody serves us, but really that’s, that boils down to pride and feeling small and feeling out of control.
But I think that we can all all agree that in society in general serving is kind of out of the norm. Wouldn’t you agree? Except for when you go to Chick-fil-A and you ask for a ketchup packet and they tell you it’s their pleasure to give you to get your packet right. That’s the only place that we let serving really stands out in our culture. Right. And it stands out because it’s out of the norm. So I think that we can all agree that we live in a self centered, selfish, self-serving, self-promoting culture. Would you agree? Yes. Okay. So I did a quick Google search about self promotion. Self promotion nowadays is actually considered to be a good thing. So here are the titles of a couple of articles that I found online about self promotion, the art of self promotion, six ways to get your work noticed.
Forbes tells us that self promotion is a skill that five ways to step up your self promotion skills. The next one, maybe some of us need to read this one 40 ways to promote yourself without being a jerk, so it’s out there in the world tells us that self promotion is a skill and that we need to get better and really, really good at it because we need to let everybody else know how awesome and incredible we are. In fact, if you ask teenagers today what they want to be when they grow up, this is somewhat telling. If you ask teenagers what they want to be, this is the aspiration of what they want to be when they grow up. 54% said, I want to be a celebrity in either the arts or sports. I want to be a celebrity or a YouTube star. Now they call them influencers.
So influencers means basically you get paid to like open presence, serve some weird stuff on on YouTube, but you’re getting paid to do it. I want to be an influencer or if you come from the world of sports, I want to be the goat. How many of you know what the goat is? He’s still kind of cool. Yeah, the goats for those that don’t know what the goat is, help your neighbor out. I want to be the greatest of all time. The goats. I want to be the goat. So we live in a completely self-promoting, selfish, oriented culture. And the problem with that is, is that if you want to follow the life of Jesus, the teachings of Jesus, self-promotion is completely opposite of the teachings of Jesus. If you listen to Jesus, he says, if you wanna follow me first, you have to die to yourself.
Pick up your cross and then follow me. And Jesus says, if you want to be great, if you want to be the greatest of all time, here’s how Jesus says to be great. The greatest among you will be your servant. And as a Christ follower, Christ doesn’t encourage us toward selfishness and self. What he does is he encourage us into selflessness in taking on the very nature of a servant. So here’s one of the big takeaways from, from today’s, from today’s message. In other words, serving is not just something that we do. Serving is an action that reflects who we are. Let me say that again. Serving is not just something that we do. It’s an action that reflects who we are. It touches our identity. It’s about our identity. I read a book earlier this year called atomic habits by James clear, and it’s a really terrific book if you’re looking to make new habits or break new habits.
And he talks about how the brain is structured around that. But his whole idea is that when you take on a habit or try to get rid of a habit, the habit lives in identity. So the example that stuck out to me in the book was two people trying to quit smoking. One of them, they both go to a party. They’re both offered a cigarette. One person says, no, no thanks. I’m trying to quit. The other person says, no thanks. I’m not a smoker. Do you see the difference? One talks about effort and one talks about identity. And for us at our core, serving is who we’re called to be. And so I’d like to look at it this way. Maybe you can say this with me. I am a servant of the most high God. When I serve others, I am serving Christ. So could we try that together and we repeat after me, I am a servant of the most high God.
When I serve others, I am serving Christ. Okay one more time like you mean it. Okay, I am a servant of the most high God. When I serve others, I am serving Christ. When serving is that your identity? It just comes out of your life. Who you are, whether it’s serving or something else, as your identity, who you are will creep out of your life. And so if this is part of our identity as Christ followers, then how do we put this into play? The last thing that we want to do at this church today or ever is just give you more information. We want to actually put these things into action. So if I just told you that serving is part of our identity, then how do we do it? So maybe you’re sitting there and you’re saying, I can’t, I can’t sing like Aaron and Nina and Stephanie.
I can’t play awesome guitar like Jonathan or get up on the stage and preach, preach a sermon, and maybe some of the new Testament examples of like making clothes and distributing to the widows. You know, that’s not you. So, so what do we, what do we do with that then? So I’m going to keep this super simple today and I’m going to give you three practical examples, three stories from scripture that will define and hopefully be memorable and inspire you to serve. And it’s really simple. Here they are. You can bring a lunch, you can offer a ride, or you can carry a towel. So the first example of this is King David. Most of us in the room have heard of King David as it relates to, you’ve probably have heard of David and Goliath, right? We’ve all heard that story. Well, what happened was when back in his time, he was one of the first Kings of Israel, but he got his start in this great battle with Goliath and he Rose to notoriety.
And so he was so admired that women would line the streets as he would come back home from the battle. Women would line the streets and sing songs to him as he came back. Can you imagine that Kevin kind of attention after like a presentation in the boardroom? Chuck, he’s our man. Can you imagine that? That’d be amazing. I’m still kind of waiting for Rebecca to sing me a song when I come home, but it hasn’t happened yet, but maybe, maybe one of these days. But here’s the thing. People loved David and you would ask, well, why? Why, why was he so great? And most people would answer, well, he won the battle and that’s why he’s so great. But I would challenge that and say that he was great long before the battle ever took place because he brought a lunch. Let me say that again.
His greatness didn’t start when he won the battle. It started way before that when he was working in the unseen, doing things behind the scenes, making the right decisions when nobody was looking, playing the harp for, for Saul, all that started before then, this man was promoted in the kingdom of God because he had a heart of a servant. So what do we mean by bringing lunch then? So David was the youngest of eight brothers and his older brothers were already at the Battlefront getting ready to fight and his dad said to him, I’m going to need you to do something that seems really unimportant, but it’s really important to God. And so he takes, here’s what it says in scripture. One day Jesse, David’s dad said to David, take this basket of roasted grain and these 10 loaves of bread and carry them quickly to your brothers and see how your brothers are getting along and then bring back a report on how they’re doing.
And what you may or may not know at this moment and why this is significant, is that at this point as a kid, David had already been anointed the King. He’d already been anointed the King. He actually had the right to say to his dad, dad, you do it. He could have because he was already the King, so here’s David laying down his, his, his title, his status, and he is working in the unseen. It was almost as his dad was saying, David, if you want to fight in the battle first you have to bring a lunch. First you have to do what may seem insignificant and that is unseen by others. The way that you’re promoted in the kingdom of God is never by self promotion. It’s always by serving and Jesus said the greatest among you is a servant and I just want to say, I just feel like this is a word for somebody in this room that some of us want to be out front.
Some of us are called to great things in our lives, but there’s also an element of God. Maybe God saying, I can’t trust you with that moment yet I can’t. You won’t be ready for that moment. You won’t be able to lead people in that moment until you are ready to do the hard heart work of working in the unseen, working behind the scenes, being a servant. And then one day when you are ready that that time will come. Your obedience and the opportunities that are down the line for you will get there. Start when nobody is watching and you have to make the hard choice to show up when nobody is looking where nobody sees it. And I just want to say to you that God sees it, that God sees it. Maybe some of you feel stuck in your career, you’re just, you’re just spinning your wheels.
It feels like behind the scenes doing the right thing. Nobody notices it. Nobody sees it. I just want to tell you that God sees it, God sees it so you can bring them lunch, which is serving behind the scenes or you can offer a ride. This next example is really cool and so Jesus is coming to town and he’s about to fulfill a 500 year old prophecy. Now we don’t get prophecy in our day. We don’t really operate in that language. The closest example that I could think of it is like when you go to a Marvel movie and you stay after the credits to see what that little scene is going to be, right? And you’re like, that looks really cool. I don’t know what any of that means. They found something in the dirt. There’s some guy named fantas us. We haven’t a yet.
There’s like, I don’t know, but it’s for telling of something that’s going to come. And so this same thing happens in scripture. 500 years before Jesus was ever born, the entire country is waiting for the Messiah, which just means that the person that’s gonna come and save mankind. So this guy named Zachariah heard from God. You wrote it down and he said that when the Messiah comes, the King is going to ride in on a donkey. Now that’s really weird because that would have blown your mind if you had been alive at that time. Because for the most part, everybody expected the King to come in on a white horse with the flowing robe and a crown and a Sceptre, a person, a position of power, or in our culture would be like he would come in on an escalate or in a stretch limo and the paparazzi would be everywhere.
But no, he says the King would come in on a donkey and our equivalent would be like the King will come riding on a moped. So if you see it like it’s out of place, it’s out of place. So what happens is Jesus comes to town and he tells his disciples, I need you to secure a donkey. And this is what it says in scripture. If anyone asks you, why are you on tying it? Say the Lord needs it. Now that worked for Jesus, I dare you to go try that with somebody. Tesla, the Lord needs it, right? So it worked for Jesus. It might not work for us, but in this case, he’s fulfilling a prophecy. And here’s what we know about this. We don’t know about this story. We don’t know the person’s name that lent him the donkey. We don’t know if this person had one five, 500 donkeys and we don’t.
We don’t know. We do know he was probably a business person because it was a luxury item to have a donkey back in those days. But I want you to notice what he does not say. Sometimes what is said is important, just as important as what is not said. And look what he does not say. He doesn’t say when they went to go get the donkey that had never been written before. He doesn’t say, Oh, wait a minute. Sorry, I didn’t realize you were going for my never written low mileage donkey. You know, that’s going to cost you a little extra. This is not your, we’re talking about. This is the upgraded donkey, upgraded hoops and all that stuff’s gonna cost a little bit more. This is the best of the best. No. What he simply said was, yes, you can take and use what I have if and I’m willing to offer what I have because I am a servant of the most high God and I will offer my stuff.
How can you practice the discipline of serving and make a difference? You can bring a lunch which is serving behind the scenes. You can offer a ride which is offering up your stuff or you can carry a towel and carrying a towel. This last one, this last example I think is one of the most significant examples of selfless service in the entire Bible and there’s a meeting going on in an upper room and Jesus is sitting around with his disciples. He they’re about to eat and Jesus knows in this moment that he is about to fulfill the entire reason why he came to earth in the first place that he’s about to die. He is about to suffer and a big time way and an argument breaks out among the disciples and do you know what they arguing about? Who’s the goat? Who’s the going to be the greatest of all time?
And that really is taking place. Here’s Jesus about to die. And these guys are arguing about who’s going to be the goat. And it’s almost like you can imagine like them pitching their different parts. I can imagine John John saying, I’m, I’m obviously the greatest of all time because I am the disciple that Jesus loved. Do you realize how annoying John is? John writes in second person and says, John, the disciple that Jesus loved and you know that had to get on Peter’s nerves. So Peter’s like, no, you’re not the greatest of all time. I am the greatest of all time. I mean, when Jesus was walking on water, I’m the one that got out of the boat. Where were you? You’re sitting on your buck because you were afraid. And then someone else said, well you took three steps. And he’s like, well, you know you, you told me about it.
He pulled me out of the water cause I’m his favorite. And then Bartholomew is like, no, no, no. I am the greatest of all time. And Bartha like everybody else’s, like Bartholomew, we didn’t even know you were a disciple. No one’s going to remember you. You know, and then he shuts up. So, and then all of this is going on. Who is going to be the goat? Who is the greatest of all time? And here’s Jesus. He just sitting at the table knowing that he did not come to be served but to serve. And he looks around the table and he sees proud hearts and dirty feet. And so what does he do? He gets up from the meal. This is in scripture right here in John 13 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing and wrapped a towel around his waist.
And after that he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples feet. Now if you had been there, this would have been the most scandalous act ever. It doesn’t make sense to us, but this would have been the most scandalous act ever. Everybody is like, no, Jesus, you can’t do this, not you and not to me. You’re not going to do this to me. And so we don’t get this because it doesn’t really fit in our culture. So like what’s the big deal about washing feet and here it was just a way to be polite. Like if you were to come to my house today, I would take your coat, I would offer you something to drink. And in this culture they would, they would take your coat, they would offer you something to drink and they would wash your feet because you know the roads are made out of dirt.
You walked a long way to get here. But the clue here is that the host would never wash feet. They’d always ask a servant to come and wash feet. And in our culture it just doesn’t fit. I mean, like I would never say, Hey, can I take your coat? Can I offer you a drink and can I give you a pedicure, bro? No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t fit. And it’s like why? And feeder nasty. And so like even my wife hates feet. She hates looking at him. He doesn’t want them touching her. She tells me all the time, you’re handsome and I love you. I love you. From the top of your head to the bottom of your ankles. Feet are nasty, feet are nasty. So here is Jesus who shouldn’t have been doing this. This is a slave’s job or a servant’s job coming to wash their feet and Jesus looks around the room and sees proud heart and dirty feet. And then Jesus puts on a slave’s apron and he bends down and he washes feet.
Who is Jesus? He is the son of God. He is the bread of life. He is the Prince of peace. He is the living water. He is the great high priest. He is the light of the world. He is the [inaudible], the lamb of God. He is the righteous judge. He is the living stone. He is the living vine. He is the King of glory, the chosen one. He is the King of all Kings. He is the Lord of all Lords. He is the alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. The first and the last. He is our Redeemer, our righteousness, our sanctification, our rock, our Lord. And he bent down and got a basin and took up a towel and he washed feet. He didn’t come to be served. He came to serve. And how do you become great and practice the discipline of service?
You can bring a towel, you can bring a lunch or you can offer a ride. You can serve behind the scenes. You can offer up your stuff or you can give up your status and serve because serving is not something that we just do. Serving is who we are. I am a servant of the most high God and when I serve others, I’m actually serving Christ. When I serve others, I am actually serving Christ well. You’d say, well, how does that make sense? How does that work out? Because Jesus told another story in the book of Matthew. It says that one day, all of us, you, me, all of us, all of humanity is going to stand before Christ and what scripture says, he’s going to separate us. He’s going to put on one side, he’s going to put the sheep and on the other side he’s going to put the goats.
Who do you want to be? I want to be the greatest of all time and Jesus is going to look at them and say, I’m sorry but we didn’t know each other and then he’ll say to the sheep, walk them into the kingdom that I have prepared for you and I just wanted to tell you thank you. I just want to tell you thank you because when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was locked out, you invited me in. When I was sick, he prayed for me. When I was in prison, you came and visited me and the sheep are going to look back in and say, I’m, I’m glad we’re getting in here, but I don’t remember that ever happening. When did I ever visit you or give you something to drink and Jesus is going to look back at them and say what you did for the least of these brothers you actually did for me.
When you visited that person in prison, you were actually showing love to me when you contributed to help somebody in another country get access to clean water by helping them get a, well you actually did that to me when you welcome somebody in that didn’t feel welcomed, you did that to me. So how do you become great and practice the discipline of service? It’s about by becoming less about you and more about him because serving is not just something that we do, it’s who we are. And then Jesus would look at a sheep and say, well done my good and faithful servants and but at this moment you may, you know I’m not, I get all that but I’m not great. A lot of stuff I can maybe do something small, something insignificant and I just want to tell you that in the kingdom of God, the small stuff, big stuff, the small stuff is the big stuff and how you become great is never about self promotion.
It is always about serving, always about denying self. And what if one day we could say I’m moving from, I’m doing good to other people. Just so I’d look good and moving to this place is saying I am serving because I am a servant of the most high God. So as we wrap up today, I just want to challenge you on a couple of things. The band’s going to come forward and we’re going to sing a song here in just a moment, but I just wanted to challenge you around this area of service. My challenge to you would be defined a consistent place to you to serve and to use your gifts. It could be here at this church, it could be in the community and the name of [inaudible] Jesus, but I just want to challenge you. I talk to people all the time. I asked them about their faith life and they said, Oh well my faith life is, it’s really private.
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It’s a, you know, it’s private. I just want to tell you that’s not even scriptural because scripture says that that faith without works is dead faith without doing anything besides living up here is dead and let’s be really honest. A lot of us for a long time have just lived up here and not done anything to show it, not done anything to show where our hearts really are in this. And so I just want to challenge you if you will just take out your programs. They’re inside of your program. We’re going to give you some action steps to, to respond to this as, as we can continue down down the next couple of months here. Our desire for every person in this room is to get into a group, into a small group and to join a serving team. Now you may have somewhere else in the community that you serve in the name of Jesus.
And so this is not a guilt moment, but I want to give you an opportunity to step up and serve. I know many of you are new with us, but there is also some of you that have been coming to this church longer than I have. And maybe at some point you served and you feel like I did my part and now somebody else. It’s time for somebody else to take the reins. But let me just tell you, we need you. We need you. We need all of us. As I said earlier, as we look around, this is your church. You are a part of this church. You are a part of this gathering. It’s all of us to pull, pull it off. And we’ve got people week after week that serve week after week to make this place happen for you. And now it’s time for us to step up and make this happen for someone else to come in and to receive grace. And so what we’re going to do is just give you a moment just to fill that out. If you feel, if you feel led to it, fill it out for just a moment, but write your name on there, a way to contact you and just Mark a box which you’re interested in serving. You can do something as simple as we’re going to decorate for Christmas in a in a week or so.
Amen. Amen. Guys as you, as you leave today, and maybe you feel felt challenged today’s respond on those sheets, and what we want to ask you to do with those sheets is as you leave, our ushers are waiting at the door for you. You can just hand them to, to the ushers as they leave, and then someone from our team will contact you this week to, to jump in, to serve. Then very lastly, if you’re new with us today, welcome again with love to just spend a few moments with you at our newcomers reception. It’s only about like 10 minutes. We’re on signing up for an hour or anything like that. Love to see you guys. Have a wonderful week and we’ll catch you next Sunday. [inaudible].