Archives For service

I’ve always loved Colossians 3:23-24, and have aspired to live my life according to its instruction. “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.” It’s both a challenge and a frustration because I know too often I fail to live out this simple command.

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Yet, if we take it to heart, it has the potential to reshape our perspective, our attitude, and every interaction we have throughout our day. How might our lives be different if we determined to do everything we did with enthusiasm and as an act of service to God?

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This entire blog is predicated around becoming a disciple of Jesus. But what does discipleship look like? How do we know if we are getting closer to the mark? I would say first, discipleship is a standard to be pursued, not a target to be hit. There will never be a day when you can sit back and exclaim, “Ah! At last I’ve reached discipleship!”

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Being a disciple of Jesus is a process that will consume your entire lifetime. To be a disciple signifies nothing ever will mean more to you than desiring to live a life mirroring the life of Jesus. Discipleship is the total dedication of your life to His calling and purpose. To be a disciple is to be daily engaged in the mission of Christ.

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Each of us possess an unconscious bias towards others. Some bias is the result of past experience, some the way we were brought up, and some the result of our culture and environment. Regardless of the source, we all look at the world through a lens colored by our unconscious bias. The problem is, our bias generally does not reflect the way God looks at people.

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He has a very conscious bias with which He looks at every soul on the planet. God’s bias is love. What I want to do as a disciple of Jesus is replace my own unconscious bias with His conscious decision to value people and always seek to serve them. I wish this were as easy as it sounds, but an unconscious bias is difficult to recognize and harder still to tame.

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As a year wilts away behind us, another blossoms on the path ahead. There’s something beautiful and fragrant about new beginnings. A new year heralds an opportunity for a fresh start. What was is no longer, and what will be is largely up to the choices we will make. This is our chance to shape what lies ahead in ways totally honoring to God. My theme for this year is “Move the Needle”, and nowhere will this be more important than in my walk with God.

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Everything revolves around and springs from my relationship with Him. Moving forward into a deeper knowledge of God necessitates doing something different than we’ve done before. If this is your desire for the new year as well, there is one thing I know. If we want to move the needle in our connection with and understanding of God, we can’t stay here.

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I love this quote from Christine Cain: “If you can’t serve God here, you won’t serve Him there because once you get there it will be here.” How often have you thought, if only God would put me there, or give me this, then I would truly be able to serve Him? We all fall victim to thinking we could serve God better if our circumstances were different.

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But the truth is, if you can’t serve Him where you are, with what you have, you won’t be able to serve Him regardless of where you are or what resources you have at your disposal. God calls you to serve Him right where you are, just as you are.
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I recently heard Andy Stanley speak about goals and resolutions. His premise was instead of making plans how we can improve ourselves over the coming year, we should instead determine how we might improve the life of someone else. That’s a great shift to get our thinking off of ourselves and onto others. I guarantee you will have better results and greater happiness in your life if you consistently focus on serving others more than yourself. It’s the model Jesus taught, and therefore the one we were created to live. Everything we do should be with the goal of helping others, and our New Year’s resolutions or life goals should always be formed with this in mind.

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Part of the fallout from modern Christianity confusing following Christ with pursuing the American dream is the rise of ‘Suburban Christianity’. This is the expression of our faith that is steeped in the illusion of serving others while really hiding behind a veil of safety and selfishness. Having spent the past ten years living in suburbia, I have found myself leaning into this mentality from time to time. We convince ourselves that we are the part of the body that supplies the funds for those working closer to the real problems. I am not disputing there may be some truth in that way of thinking, but at the same time we must be careful to not use that as an excuse to remain sheltered in our safe, comfortable,  and predictable worlds.

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Unfortunately, rarely does a day go by where you don’t read or see a story where a “Christian” is saying or doing something that impugns the character of Christ. I hope they meant well by their actions, but the reality is they make Jesus less attractive to the public. A lot of this can be traced to some really bad theology taught in the last couple hundred years. Ultimately the blame rests on we who swallowed the teaching without ever bothering to test the validity of it. We are all imperfect beings and we all have our own issues. But we must never forget that the reason for our existence is to reflect the love and beauty of Jesus Christ.

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New chapters are always exciting. I can’t count the number of nights I’ve stayed up too late because I couldn’t wait to see what the next chapter would bring in the book I was reading. There is an excitement in wondering where the story will lead next. What unexpected twists might we encounter when we turn the page? Our life is an ever unfolding story, and just like a great book, new chapters present exciting opportunities if we only dare to turn the page. New chapters are like new beginnings. We have put the previous ones behind us and there’s no going back. We must move forward to discover how things will play out.

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Keith Green once said that, “This generation of believers is responsible for this generation of souls.” I would also argue that this generation of believers is responsible for modeling how to live for Jesus to the generation that is following us. I saw this displayed beautifully today. A single mother of five children had her tire blow out on a busy freeway. Because her spare tire was flat, she ended up walking miles (literally) to get to a phone, where she reached out to a pastor and his wife with whom she was acquainted. She needed help, and she needed a friend.

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