Archive for the ‘Serve’ Category

Stop Shushing and Start Serving

Two blind men were sitting beside the road. When they heard that Jesus was coming that way, they began shouting, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy one us!”


“Be quiet!” the crowd yelled at them. 

But they only shouted louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Matthew 20:30-31 NLT

Two men society saw as broken.

According to my Google dictionary, here are the first two basic definitions of broken:

1. having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order.
“a broken arm”
2.(of a person) having given up all hope; despairing. “he went to his grave a broken man”

The crowd following Jesus probably viewed these two men as exactly that. Their loss of vision made them broken physically and the fact that they were on the roadside should have compounded that to also make them mentally broken.

Broken men, crying out to Jesus from the side of the road, and probably creating a scene.

How embarrassing.

Isn’t it bad enough that they had fallen on bad times, but now they had to go and draw attention to themselves. Someone that low, that bad off, trying to get Jesus’ attention.

How shameful.

So, the crowd did what any respectful follower of Jesus would do.

“Shhh. Don’t bother him now. This is Jesus. He’s too big a deal to be bothering with this…with you. Hush now and be respectful.”

Two men crying out to Jesus and the Christ followers, Christians, shushed them.

This wasn’t a one time occurrence in scripture. Do you think it still happens today?

I wonder how many times people walk into our services and they don’t look like us, or dress right, or use acceptable language, and we shush them because they’re making in scene in God’s house.

I wonder how many times someone comes in our doors with a need we could meet, immediately, but our bulletin dictates a schedule. So, we shush a need for now and make intentions to get back to it after we worship. I’ve fallen into that trap myself, and guess what I usually forget about after service?

I wonder. What would Jesus do in these situations?

Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

“Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”

Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed Him. Matthew 20:32-34

Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem to fulfill prophecy. Nothing could stop Him from becoming our sacrifice. Yet even when His religious followers tried to shush the broken men, Jesus Himself stopped and asked what they wanted Him to do for them.

I ask students that question a lot. When someone comes and tells me something, I respond with, “Ok, and what would you like me to do?”

Let me tell you, it’s obvious that kids haven’t been asked this before. The look of confusion on their face is almost comical. And it happens every time I ask the question. I always have to explain what I mean.

“Here’s what you told me (and I repeat what they said). Now, I need to know. What exactly are you asking me to do in response? How are you expecting me to meet your need?”

I have an idea that if no one has asked my students this type of question before, then the same is probably true for their parents.

When is the last time you truly looked at the broken person right in your path and asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Let me be transparent here. I never intended for this post on shushing the broken men to go this direction. I really intended to focus on the broken men, but apparently something else needed to said to someone today. Maybe just me.

However, I’ve been one of those broken men.

No, I’m not blind. Physically, or even more importantly, spiritually. My salvation is secure.

But while crying out for Jesus I’ve been shushed by some of the most religious people in the crowd. 

Shushed.

Folks, Jesus didn’t come to heal the healthy. He didn’t come, and won’t return expecting, to find a church full of perfect people, putting on a perfect service, without the need for a Savior. 

I think He expects to find us out on street ministering to the very ones our flesh wants to shush. 

Stop shushing and start serving. 

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” Matthew 25:40 NLT

Until then, I’m going to keep crying out. Lord, here’s my Broken Hallelujah.





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Wallow or Worship; Solve or Serve?

I do not know what motivates people to intentionally cause such tragedy as seen today in Boston. I do not feel led to spend countless days and hours trying to figure that out.


I do know that I am to use my time to lift up, inspire, encourage, and motivate others.

I may not ever understand why people behave in such evil ways, but I can do my part to fill the world with love and kindness. I can do my part to lead the world to Jesus by loving them the way He would.


And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22


My job here on this earth is to encourage, to warn, to comfort, to uphold, to be patient, and to pursue what is good both for myself and for the group as a whole.

Friends, you to have a job on this earth. It is your choice to do good or evil. And you get to make that choice every minute of every day.

Sometimes my attitude gets the best of me and I find myself saying and doing things that God wouldn’t have me do. Then in light of an event like today, I’m reminded of just how important, how crucial, one positive word, gesture, or effort could be to an individual who is contemplating evil.

Rejoice always.

I can get caught up in the depression that is tied to today’s events. It crossed my emotions. This type of senseless attack is so devastating to so many. It saddens me greatly.

However, if I allow myself to sink into depression, I won’t be lifting others up. I will be wallowing in the pits of despair. The evil will have won. Instead, I’ll rejoice that today’s tragedy wasn’t worse. That so many people survived.

Pray without ceasing.

I’ll lift up those affected by today’s events. Including the ones who caused the tragedy. I’ll pray that this type of event doesn’t happen again. That God’s people will have such an influence over the world that evil will be stopped in it’s tracks.

In everything give thanks.

I’ll thank Him for every opportunity He’s presented me. Every trial, every tear is simply another opportunity to serve Him and to grow.

We can wallow or we can worship.

We can attempt to solve or we can simply serve.

Friends, the time has come to drive the evil from our lands. The best way to fight the darkness is with the Light. Want to end hatred? Drown it in love.

Jesus is the Light and He is the Love that the world needs.

 
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A Tomb for Jesus: Serve in the Moment

Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. That day was the Preparation day, and the Sabbath drew near. And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment. Luke 23:50-56



Jesus has been crucified. Signs and wonders are being beheld. People who mocked Jesus are now coming to realize who He was. And His followers are still dispersed.

But even though things were bleak, hope seemed to be lost, and no one seemed sure what to do next, there were still good people in the world.

Joseph from Arimathea stepped up. “May I take His body and bury it?”

Risk.

Usually the bodies were left for the animals to clean up. Joseph was a believer. He was opposed to what had happened that day at Golgotha. Now he wanted to see Jesus at least buried properly.

Where was Jesus’ inner circle? Still in hiding. Still afraid to be recognized as one of His disciples. Still confused about what had just happened. Those who should have known Him best and been prepared were confused, hurt, and lost.

Joseph calmly stepped up and dealt with the formalities of death. He claimed the body, prepared the body, and laid the body in his own tomb.

Joseph didn’t serve Jesus by making grand statements, grand gestures, or doing something outlandishly huge. Joseph served Jesus by meeting a need at the moment it was necessary.

So many times we get caught up in calendars and planning and building the next BIG event that we forget to serve in the moment.

Jesus doesn’t need your intentions for grandiose plans; He wants your service in the moment.

Sometimes the risk in the moment is just as great as the risk in the grandiose plans.

What are you willing to risk by serving Jesus in this moment? Are you willing to risk your grand plans?

Jesus risked everything for us. What are we willing to risk to serve Him?

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Time to Be Present


So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12


Time.

It’s more valuable than money, you know.

Time.

There never seems to be enough of it to do all the things that need to be done.

Time.

I can’t seem to find a way to balance it between the things I have to do, the things I need to do, and the things I want to do.

Time.

I’m not killing it; it’s killing me.

Time.

Slower than molasses when I need supersonic speed, and faster than a speeding bullet when I want to hold on for just a while longer.

Time.

Something I recognize as valuable, and yet don’t always do a very good job investing and protecting.

Time.

No better time than the present, and time is the best present.

Today’s prompt is about our most energized time of the day, but that’s not where my mind is going today, so I’ve decided to go with my mind.

Time is on my mind today.

I had a phone call yesterday to ask me to serve on a committee. It is customary for the individual in my position to hold a seat on this committee. Since it’s the first year I’ve been in the position the committee chair called to tell me and verify that I would take the seat.

“Sure, I will. Oh! Wait! What exactly am I committing myself to? I mean, how much of a time commitment are we talking?”

Yep, that’s exactly how I responded.

See, I like to serve. I like to volunteer. I like to be in know. It was absolutely natural for me to just say, “Sure!”

As soon as the word left my mouth though, I was already thinking about my prior decisions to stop saying yes to everything just because.

See, last spring I got really stressed out over a lot of things combined. Nothing was actually wrong, just too many things going on at once.

I was teaching (and it was almost standardized test time) in a public school, coaching varsity softball as head coach for the first year, teaching the high school/college Sunday school class at church, serving as Youth Director in the midst of youth trips, serving as Associational VBS Director, serving as our church VBS Director, serving on a SERTA (MSTA) committee, applying for administration positions for the next school year, and then in the midst of all that I had to miss my oldest child’s high school registration because I was either being a coach or teacher that night.

And I started realizing how little time I had left with my own kids. Add to that the incredible levels of stress over having to draw a line between the me that showed up at church and the me that showed up at school…I was never the same person…it was confusing to me, it was confusing to students, and it was tearing me up from the inside out. Add to that my dreams about serving in full-time ministry…missions…some kind of huge amazing work for God, and I realized that I didn’t have time to do amazing things for God because I was too busy being busy.

All these Christian people around me were starting ministries, going on amazing mission trips, adopting kids, stepping out in faith, and all I was doing was getting stressed out, gray hairs, and more and more frazzled by the minute.

All the sudden I realized just how much my minutes counted.

So I quit.

Everything except my paying job (& my VBS responsibilities. They’re short-lived.).

I took a break, a breather, a time-out.

I recognized the fact that busyness had taken over my life. I decided I was going to spend more time with my family doing family things. More time doing effective personal ministry work. More time living my life instead of running from one meeting or responsibility to the next all the time.

It’s almost a year since I made those changes. Since I reclaimed all of my time.

Guess what I’ve done with all that time?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

I’ve read a little more. I’ve, recently, taken the time to do some of the writing I’ve claimed I want to do, but other than that I’ve done nothing.

The truth is I crave busyness because I need the structure.

I want to do the things I mentioned about. But I don’t want to do them alone. I want to do them with someone. And doing them with someone requires THEIR time.

That’s what I’ve come to realize lately. The biggest gift someone can give another human is their time.

Give me your undivided attention. Share a task with me. Talk with me. Not to me, not at me, but with me. That takes time, and no interruptions or disruptions.

Time is limited. We do not know how much we are allotted. It is up to us to make to absolute most out of each moment. I do not believe God desires for us to waste our moments, but to sweetly anticipate each moment and live it to the fullest.

For me, that means sifting through the busyness to find true meaning in the moments I say “Sure I will!” too. It means being present without the distraction of music, tv, or social media when I’m spending time with my family. It means making my time on this earth count instead of simply counting my time here on this earth.


 

A Call to Reap

Is thinking crazy thoughts. I cannot lie. My train of thought is moving away from self, away from programs, away from the pretences I hide behind.

Where are these thoughts going? Love. Pure and simple, love.

Tonight I have acknowledged this need, this desire, that has been building up in my soul over the past months. I am amazed, and yet I shouldn’t be. Tonight while losing myself in some Bible study a thought was deposited in my mind.

You need to be ready. Do you still remember the Romans road? You need to be prepared.

I have a new desire, a deeply seated desire, to see souls saved.

Perhaps this surprises you. Perhaps you can’t believe that I haven’t felt that way for years. Perhaps you can’t understand how I could be a Christian for so long and yet just be saying this TODAY.

I have had the undeniably AWESOME experience of leading a soul in a prayer of salvation.

A soul. One.

I will NEVER forget that day, that girl, that conversion, nor the proof I saw later.

Where did that desire go?

I don’t know. I won’t make excuses. I don’t know.

What I do know is that now, all of the sudden, I feel this crazy, strong urge to seek out that experience.

2 Corinthians 6:1-2 We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For He says: “ In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

TODAY is the day of salvation.

I can’t look back at the things I haven’t done. I can’t look forward to the things He MIGHT have me do in the future. I have been called to be ready today.

John 4:35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.

Are the very fields in front of me white for harvest?

Luke 10:1-2 After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also,[a] and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

I want to be a laborer. I am praying that God will lead me to the harvest He has prepared and guide my with His Spirit as I answer the call to service.

Will you go with me?