Wednesday, October 21, 2009

God is Great, Beer is Good, and People are Crazy

There was a discussion on Facebook today about how some people think Christians are "whack jobs." Regardless, God is still great. I don't really know much about beer. I haven't had one in just about 30 years.

There are a lot of folks that consider themselves to be Christian. Some because they do good, and others because they have faith in God or are born again-- and others because they grew up in a Christian denomination. Far be it from me to decide who is in, and who is out. Some say we'll be surprised at who is going to be there, and others say who think they are in will be surprised when they are rejected at the Pearly Gates. Hmmm...

But let's say you are a real Christian who is feeling passionate about doing something for God. You know something beyond throwing a few bucks in the offering plate and trying to be a good person. The church calls it service or ministry, which could include such things as: reading scriptures on Sunday morning, planning a harvest party, serving communion, maybe going to the soup kitchen once a month, fostering neglected kids, or even a mission trip somewhere. Possibly you desire a job or position in the church as a pastor or worship leader, have a prophetic ministry, cast out demons, lead or host a small-groups, or do tent revivals. It's all service.

Today's blog simply asks the question, what is in your heart in terms of serving and how important is it? I know that's two questions-- I learned it from Jesus. When He was asked what the most important commandment was, he gave two answers in one sentence. Matthew 22:36-40.

The second question, "How important is it?" is the most important part. If it is not important, it is not likely to happen. The church is not a multi-level marketing scheme trying to get you fired up to find 10 that will find 10. If you are not going to love God with your whole heart, how then are you going to do something for Jesus that has any value? Just a thought.

Supposing that you do love Jesus, and it is important to serve Him some how, here is a great place to start planning for the big day. Try tithing your time-- giving 10% of your waking hours for service to the Lord. Of course that means that you need to budget your time for God (worship, prayer, fasting, study, and services), spouses, family and work-- which come first.

Did I mention that serving God takes some thought?

Luke 14: 28 Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29 For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30 saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'

Now. supposing that you have thought about what it is going to cost to serve God in terms of time, money, and passion-- what's next? (I am not talking about how to be a disciple of Christ-- HERE's a blog on that.) That's right-- being a disciple will have its benefits. Disciples live in community with each other and learn how to be like Jesus, so when someone asks the question WWJD? Someone points at you.

Passion has brought you this far, and I am sure you're ready to get rolling. There are still a few more things to consider. What is your spiritual gifting? It is a good thing to know in case you come across a sinner in the rest room while you’re cleaning toilets or handing out bread in the food pantry. They might ask you for help or prayer. Can you preach a simple gospel explaining salvation or give a simple testimony? Can hear God's voice while praying or offer a godly word of encouragement? The other question that probably should be settled at some point in time is this, "What is your calling?" There has to be a godly purpose to your service. Service that simply fills needs, but is not of God, ends up burning people out. Service that comes from the heart of God is energizing.

We all need to get started and there are lots of jobs in the church. From parking cars, to leading missions and running God breathed programs, you can fit in and serve God. But beware, "job" based ministry makes it hard to get promoted. Titles, even harder.

I believe that true service comes from relationship. Get in a relationship with someone and go along with them to worship practice, to an outreach or some other place where they serve. Get to know folks in the midst of serving; your gifting and calling will probably emerge. This is the beginning of mentoring. If you are serving, train someone to do your job. You'll either get replaced or promoted, or you'll stay training and equipping; which is the heart of Ephesians 4.

Did I mention that obedience is better than sacrifice? It is. Just another thought.

When you sign up for service-- remember that you are not a volunteer, you are working for God and He expects your very best. So show up on time and work hard. Maybe you'll be like Gideon and have to go in the enemy's camp. Or you'll be like Moses and have to speak when you think you are not good at it. It is possible that you'll be like Zebedee brothers; possibly having to drop everything to follow Him-- you job, your friends, your house-- everything. Some times the cost of following Jesus is brokenness and trial.

Just a couple of more things - I mean you've read this far.

Mark 8:34-35 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it."

I know, that's one thing, not two. Or you could go back to tossing a couple of bucks in the plate and trying to be good. Just a thought.


photogr said...

Heaven was not meant for good people. It was meant for the forgiven.

It is best to be forgiven before you reach the gates.

There is a fine line between serving the Lord and serving the church members. We have to be able to discern that.

It is our commission to serve the Lord in winning souls to Christ, tending to the poor and disadvantaged, Edifying the Lord, and exercising the spiritual gifts He has awarded us.

Ed said...

Some tough stuff there, Dave: thinking, showing up on time, working. After reading so, so, so much drivel from folks on FB who just want to be "blissed out," it is refreshing to read this post on your blog today.

Tough stuff, but good stuff.

Andy Wade said...

Good stuff to pray about here. I think all of this is important to consider.I feel service is very important but my definition of service has little to do with "church" but is serving others especially the unsaved.This was Christs example and is why so many were saved. We need to be careful in our service to the church.My church background has seen a lot of striving,driven people that use manipulation to bring God to the people.These are good people but deny the Holy Spirit a chance to bring what He wants.A burden I carry is I feel theres way to much focus by a majority of Christians on his or her church.Meaning church activities,meetings,teaching groups,and just serving in the church.These things may be necessary to some degree,but doesn't God define church as the body of Christ and not a group gathering in a building? Maybe some of what we define as church isn't even biblical.Going to "church" is important because God says we need to not forsake the gathering of one another so we can encourage and support one another,but I feel our focus needs to be directed off of our busyness and devotion towards our churchs and towards our calling we all have and that is to be a light in a dark world.I feel most sinners will never step foot in our churchs so why do we spend most of our attention and gifts towards serving our fellow Christians?If this was Christs focus few would have been saved.He sought out the broken & lost in his day to day life.I don't hand out tracks nor do I walk up to people and ask them if they know Jesus.My heart is to be a real person.Being transparent and honest about my faith and what God has done in me when the Holy Spirit shows me the people.These people are people at work,at a store shopping,family or anywhere.Thats where I feel we need to seek God the most and to bring revival and manifest signs and wonders and not just in the closed doors of our churchs.I wish I could walk this out more consistently and passionately but God is getting me there!I'm not disputing anything you've written.I just know the state of the church in america,so we really need to protect ourselves from our focus being taken off God and onto our church.I may be wrong on some points, I just don't know, but I feel God has put these truths in me.I hope what I'm saying makes sense in the context of what you wrote,I just want to accurately say what I feel God has put in me.Thanks for sharing your heart to others.Have a good week.

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