Saturday, October 26, 2013

Simple Servanthood

This summer we had the privilege of revisiting a church in Western Minnesota.  The first person to greet us that morning was David, a gentleman in an electric wheelchair.  Then Ruth came, a bubbly little lady who normally greets us upon arrival at this church.  She welcomed us by name and asked if we’d like a cup of coffee.  While Ruth went for our coffee, David told us that he lived close to the church and is so happy that he is able to just “scoot” over those couple of blocks for services.

When Ruth bustled back with our coffee, she proceeded to tell us how she and David met.  One day David came into the store where Ruth works.  They visited a bit when Ruth noticed that David’s shoes were untied.  She asked if he would mind if she tied his shoes and then squatted down to do just that.  As she was getting up, David asked “Where do you go to church?”   From that point on, David has been “wheeling” to Ruth’s church every Sunday.  

Look how that small gesture on Ruth’s part made a great impact on David; he recognized that she was different--she was being a servant.  Help me to be respond to "every opportunity."  We do not have to do any grandiose deeds to proclaim God’s love to others.  It may even just be tying someone's shoes, giving a kind word or a smile to shows a person that you care—and so does God!

Colossians 4:5-6 says:  Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”


Saturday, October 19, 2013


2 Corinthian 4:13-18 – “It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

I have run into a lot of people who are afraid.  Not all fear is bad; fear motivates us to do certain good things (i.e. fear of the cold motivates us to chop wood).  It says in Proverbs 1:7 that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

People are afraid of a lot of things.  I checked lists on the internet and talked to people and I believe our overriding fear today is the “fear of living”.  With the advent of easy and accessible, abundant minutia and trivial information, we are worried and afraid of everything.  We are raking leaves wearing protective helmets—come on!

Do you travel anywhere without your cell phone?  If you did, how would you feel?  How did we travel before?  I am not against cell phones but in many ways it makes us “worry warts.”  Studies on the internet tell us it is healthy to eat nuts…wait, wait here is another study that says don’t eat nuts!  We twist in the wind.  Which way is it?  Should I eat nuts or shouldn’t I eat nuts?  Don’t worry, we’re all nuts so who cares?

We will have adversity in this life.  We are fearful when we have a lot of decisions to make; sometimes we will make proper decisions, other times not. Guess what, fear is a normal part of life.  Go forward, get involved, pursue a mighty calling, do a simple act of love—whatever.  Our joys will be mingled with tears, laughter, and pain.  Don’t live a fearful, shriveled life. 

Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."

Be alive—dance; God is with us.



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Being a Servant

Matthew 20:24-28 – When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers.  Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,  and whoever wants to be first must be your slave--  just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

An old timer told me a story which ended like this, “we like the idea of being a servant until someone actually treats us as one.”  Wow! That is a lot of truth in a few words.  We pontificate and speculate about what Christ has said.  Some of the things Jesus says are much harder to put into practice than to just talk about doing.  When we serve other people, we sometimes are exposed for our true selves; a side of us we don’t want others to see.

In living life, engaging in the lives of other people, ministering to other people can be messy.  This serving can rankle us or flare to life a smoldering resentment or anger, i.e., like actually being treated as a servant.  It is much easier to talk about being a servant.  It is harder and personally more challenging to keep our head when we have to clean up our couch after a drunk vomits on it.

Jesus, in Revelations (Rev. 3:15-17) spits out people.  Who does He spit out?  The lukewarm ones of us;  the ones who talk about being a servant but smolder underneath when they have to serve…or when they are treated as a servant.

Forgive me Lord.  Amen




Tuesday, October 08, 2013

We are not called to be comfortable

2 Corinthians 1:6 – “If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.”

Inga and her husband grew up in South America.  I do not know her life story except that she is the mother of four children.  This story was related to me as I was not at the church meeting where a discussion was held regarding increasing a certain area of the building because people felt the space was small and made people feel “uncomfortable.”  It was then that Inga stood up and said, “We are not called to be comfortable.”

When I heard the story, Inga’s words cut to the heart.  We are (as Christians) not called to be comfortable.  God comforts; we should feel safe and secure, but not necessarily comfortable. 

            James 1:2-4 says:  Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

                 John 10:27-18 – My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”

Matthew 11:28 -- "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

I think the bottom line for our desire for comfortability is self-centeredness and complacency.  Comfortability coupled with complacency and self-centeredness is a recipe for a church not on the march but a church that becomes stagnant.  Stagnant water stinks; so do stagnant and comfortable people and churches. 


Recommended reading:  “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan.