Monthly Archives: April 2012

We Serve Because He First Served Us

What would you do if you suddenly realized you had the freedom to do anything…maybe even the power to do anything?  What would you do? 

Some of the thoughts that went through your mind might have been pretty selfless.  You thought about helping others, ending world hunger, achieving world peace. 

Yet many or your thoughts were probably all about your comfort, pleasure, entertainment and stuff you want.  I know what I’d probably do.  I’d probably spend a lot of the power I had to fix my own life.  I’d get rid of my college loans and mortgage.  I’d fix my injured back.  (Maybe get my hair back) I’d get many of the things I’ve always wanted.  I’d do many of the things I’d like to do.  Sure I’d help people out, but they’d probably be my family and friends. 

 Jesus had the power to do anything.  It says at the beginning of John 13,

“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God…”

Jesus had the power to do anything.  Think about what Jesus could have done.  He could have devastated his betrayer, Judas, the guy who claimed to be his friend but stabbed him in the back.  Jesus could have come down on him with an unstoppable blast of his divine wrath.   He could have made his enemy, the devil, and all his demons appear right in front of Him and immediately defeat him in a flashy, fiery, confrontation.  He could have defeated all his enemies. 

He could have created the grandest palace he should have been eating the Passover meal in.  He could have called any luxury into existence.  He could have created the greatest pleasures, the most amazing musicians to play for him, the most succulent food to eat, the finest clothes to wear, the most gorgeous women to tend to him.  Yet he does none of this.  He doesn’t do the things we would naturally do.

Rather John says that when he “knew the Father had put all things under his power,”  he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist” and began to serve others.  Though he had the powers of the king of the whole universe, though he was God, he humbled himself.  He made himself nothing and took on the posture of the lowest servant.  He wrapped a towel around his waist and began to wash his disciples’ feet. 

It wouldn’t be all that pleasant to wash a dozen people’s feet.  Yet when Jesus did this for his disciples, their feet were more than just sweaty.  The disciples wore sandals and walked streets of dirt, they walked the same streets that donkeys, horses, cattle, and camels walked.  And they continually stepped in all the stuff those animals left behind.  The streets were caked with it.  So the Holy, pure and spotless king of the universe knelt down and washed feces and urine-caked mud off of the feet of his disciples.

So Jesus washes his disciples’ feet one-by-until he gets to Peter.  Peter objects…because he couldn’t imagine washing any of his fellow disciples’ feet.  Notice nobody stepped up to do that.  They all thought that smelly job was below them.  Peter didn’t even offer to wash his Master’s feet.  So when his Master, Jesus, offers to wash his feet, Peter says, “No this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.”  If anything, we should be washing your feet.  Jesus turns their world upside down.  In their world, the wealthiest, the most important and influential people would never serve others.  They were there to be served. 

Jesus states that “unless I wash you, you have no part of me.”  Jesus isn’t saying that unless I wash your feet you’re fired as a disciple.  He’s talking about a much deeper cleansing.  Jesus’ washing of his disciples’ feet points forward to an act of cleansing something much worse than animal sewage from our lives.   

He’s talking about washing away all the times we’ve chosen us over him, all the times we’ve chosen our ways over his ways, all the times we thought we were smarter than God.  He washes away all the hurtful and ugly things our mouths have said,  all the despicable things we’ve seen.  He washes away all the times we’ve hurt others and have been hurt ourselves.  He washes away all the holes that were left when we didn’t do what we could to help others, all the times we’ve neglected to do the right things.  He even washes away those regrets. 

Jesus’ washing of his disciple’s feet points forward to his death on the cross where he washed away all the junk in our lives we call sin.  He washes away every mistake, every sorrow, and every hurt.   ” He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).   He has cleansed us with His Blood. 

As he cleanses them, Jesus tells his disciples. 

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” 

Now I recognize that you don’t have all authority as Jesus did, but you do have a lot of power in your life.  You have more freedom, more money, and more time than any generation that has come before you.  You’re richer than 99 % of the people who have ever lived.  So, what are you going to do with it?  Who are you going to spend it on?  Will it be on yourself, or will you spend it on others? 

If you are in Christ, He has washed you, cleansed you, and has forgiven all of your sins.   He has served you to the full, now you are freed and empowered to Serve others.   “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Ro 5:8).   “We love, because he first loved us” (1 Jn 4:19).  We serve because he first served us.   

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Missional Training #15 – The Importance of Showing the Gospel Through Service

In this Short 3 Minute Video below, Jeff and Caesar talk about how to make disciples.  What they have to say is really important to starting, sustaining, and growing Missional Communities. 

We’ve spoken before about inviting people into our lives before we invite them to our churches or to our MCs.  Jeff and Caesar encourage us to invite them into the life of the disciple before they even become committed followers of Jesus. 

  1. Why is it important to connect our acts of service to the people who we’re making disciples of? 
  2. How does leading people in the ways that Jesus tells us to help open the doors to Gospel Conversations?
  3. How are you and your MC serving the unchurched around you and serving with the unchurched around you? 
  4. Think of the neighborhoods, the people groups, the organizations in which your prospects live, work, and interact.  How can you serve in those contexts and how can you invite others along?

Share God’s Story This Easter

Holy Week, especially Good Friday and Easter, is probably one of the best times to invite someone to a gospel presentation of some sort or to attend church with you. 

In our Mother Church, we handed out bible tracts to all of our members.  Each tracts simply told the story of Easter and why it is important.  In each of those tracts was an invitation to one of our Good Friday or Easter Sunday services.  We could have advertised over the radio, in the newspaper, or in mass mailings, but most people give a church a try because someone personally invited them.  We encouraged each member of our church to hand that tract and invite to someone they know who was dechurched or unchurched and invite them to come to church with them. 

Since we are in the process of starting a church and haven’t started formal services, I encourage you to invite some people to attend church with you at St. Paul.   You could use the bible tracts if you’d like, but all of you know the Story and have been trained in telling it.  You could share the tract or simply invite them to church.  At Some point, be ready to tell the Story.  Remember what can happen if you’re not prepared to tell the whole story.  Telling them “Christ is risen” is indeed the central message of Christianity and Easter, but if you don’t expand on who he is, why he had to die, and what his resurrection will bring, the Easter Story won’t make much sense. 

Again, Follow a Creation –> Fall –> Redemption –> Restoration pattern

Explain the God Created everything Good.  The world was as it should be.  Everything was perfect.  We lived with God, others, ourselves, and creation in perfect relationships.

In the Fall, humanity joined in the rebellion of God’s enemy.  They rejected God’s love and protection and sought life elsewhere.   Their rebellion, called sin, broke all the perfect relationships we had at Creation.   All creation began breaking down.   Pain, suffering, natural disasters, war, violence, sickness, and death were all a result of our rebellion. 

Yet God sent His Son into the World to Redeem all of Creation.  He loved us so much that he was willing to carry all the burdens of our rebellion and to experience the worst of it as he died an excruciating death on the cross.  He died the death we deserved and we receive an exchange.  He took on our guilt on the cross so that we could take on his right standing with God.  We are considered innocent because Jesus stood in our place and took our punishment as the guilty party.  Jesus rose from the dead on Easter morning and proved he had defeated death.  Now we have the assurance that because He lives, we’ll live also. 

Jesus ascended back to His Father in Heaven, but before He left he gave us His Spirit.  Through His Holy Spirit, Jesus now dwells in us.  He has begun to restore us to the people we were meant to be as we have a new relationship with God and he has chosen to use us to start restoring in part the world around us as we display God’s goodness in our actions and share the good news of what He’s done with others.  One day, God will bring all things to a full restoration.  All the bad things of this world will no longer be remembered.  God will restore all things as they were meant to be.  The world will be perfect again.  We’ll live in pleasure forever in the presence of God. 

We all have this great hope.  Make sure you share it with someone this Easter.

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