Serving – I Will Go: Colossians 3:12-17

I want everyone today to dwell on this section of scripture, Colossians 3:12-17. This passage is instruction on Christian living and can be directly applied to how we interact with others, especially in the context of serving.

If you’ve served in local or international missions for any length of time, undoubtedly you experienced a frustrating moment with those you were serving. Perhaps you’ve allowed anger to consume you and make you bitter or worn-out in serving, but this passage reminds us to forgive as we have been forgiven, to love one another as members of the body of Christ, and virtues to reflect in our serving. There is also instruction for serving and teaching in God’s wisdom and a reminder that we are ambassadors for God in all that we do.

I encourage you to take some time now, to read and reflect on this passage regarding how you serve.

12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father

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Serving- I Will Go: Personal Growth

Hello everyone! We’re going to be in our series on Serving again today, but we’re going to take a look at serving from a different angle. So far we’ve discussed the call to serve, the importance of avoiding the desire to be the “fixer” of others, and how some people don’t want to be served. Every post so far has touched on this theme of serving not being about us. I’m hesitant to say this next phrase, but sometimes serving is about us.

We shouldn’t serve out of selfish desires or with any unhealthy motives and when we serve out of God’s call in our lives we may not experience any worldly rewards. However, if we’re listening, God is often speaking to us as we serve and in this sense, it is about we who are serving as well as those who are being served. All day long God is guiding and shaping us and He doesn’t stop when we’re serving.  In fact, it’s when serving others that we may see some of our biggest deficiencies. God can open our eyes to areas we need to grow in, but we need to be paying attention.

Sometimes we can over-correct and in efforts to not serve others out of selfishness or a paternalistic mindset, we can make serving too much about those being served and forget that those doing the serving need to grow too.  Often God uses these experiences to shape us to be more like Him; and often, the areas He wants to grow us in reflect virtues such as the fruit of the spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Galatians 5:22-23a

Let’s apply this verse to how we approach serving. How often do we fully live up to each of these characteristics? Now, take some time to reflect on when you’ve volunteered or gone on a mission trip: what did God teach you, did He show you personal weaknesses in any of these virtues? How did He grow you through that experience?

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Serving – I Will Go: When Help Isn’t Wanted

One of the hardest things we may experience while serving others is when they don’t want to be served. Last week we addressed the “Savior Complex” when serving, which is when someone takes on an unhealthy level of desire to fix situations or people. When coming from this mindset, bitterness can creep in if someone doesn’t want to be “fixed.”

Sometimes people aren’t in a place where they are ready to make a change, accept ownership of their situation, or even feel they need any assistance. For some, they truly may not need the help, we simply assume they do. Others may really need assistance, but not be ready to accept it. This is okay. We cannot take on other people’s problems to the extent that we become bitter if they choose not to engage in a solution with us.

Moreover, we cannot become discouraged when people reject our help because we are doing it in the name of Jesus.  The teachings of Jesus weren’t easy for people to follow when he was on earth and they aren’t any easier today because they requires submission to God and his instructions. In John 6:60 we see people choosing to not follow Jesus because of this: “Therefore, when many of His disciples heard this, they said, ‘This teaching is hard! Who can accept it?’”

Another great passage about this is 2 Corinthians 4:1-5

4 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

When serving we should keep presenting the Gospel message and ministering in truth and love. We do this with the understanding that some will reject us, some will accept Christ as their Savior, and some may not be ready to accept God’s truth right now. That’s okay. We serve out of obedience; the outcome of our service is in God’s hands (1 Corinthians 3:6). We will keep serving others, loving and respecting them as image bearers of God, even when they don’t want to be served.

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Serving- I Will Go: The Savior

Hello everyone! Today we will continue with our series on serving and address a common term in the social service world, “The Savior Complex.We’ll look at how we should approach helping others with the power of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

“The Savior Complex” is a term often used in helping professions and describes someone whose service is born out of a mindset of needing to help everyone, always having the solution, or expending an unhealthy amount of time and energy on other’s problems and taking pride in doing so.

While these desires may seem to come from good intentions, they often result in harm to ourselves and others. Servers/Saviors may experience burnout, resentment, and frustration because of unmet expectations. Those being served, may feel disempowered and deprived of their God-given dignity and worth as they’re prevented from being active in their own solution.

What is left out in the secular explanation of this term, however, is that we do have a real Savior and it is through Him that we find true salvation!

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

Indeed, if we succumb to the false belief that we can do what only God can do, we will not last long in any compassion ministry.  This is not to excuse us from serving others, for we have been commanded to make disciples, care for the poor, and love our neighbor. We must, instead go about these acts of service remembering in whose name and power we are serving. Acts 4 is a great example of a healing performed by Peter and John, done in the power of the name of Jesus and resulting in glory given to God. 

10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed…… 13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:10, Acts 4:13

4 Such confidence we have through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:4-6

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Serving – I Will Go: Isaiah 6:8

Hey everyone! Our next series is going to expand on the foundation of SERVE 6.8 and start with a post about our second founding scripture, Isaiah 6:8.  The name SERVE 6.8 makes our mission clear: we are here to mobilize the Church of Jesus Christ to serve the poorWe take our dual mandate to care for those serving and those being served seriously. This series is intended to grow those of us who are actively engaged in serving and volunteering.

Our two founding scriptures are Micah 6:8 and Isaiah 6:8. We kicked off our series about poverty with Micah 6:8 and will start with Isaiah 6:8 for our series on serving. Let’s first review Isaiah 6 and then explore how we can apply this to obeying God’s call to serve.

The title for Isaiah 6 is “Isaiah’s Call and Mission,” and we need to understand this whole passage so we can apply meaning to Isaiah 6:8.  Verses 1-7 are some of the most powerful verses in the bible about what a holy God we serve. When Isaiah saw the Lord he was filled with awe of God’s majesty and holiness and faced with how unholy he was. Then God gives his call to action to Isaiah:

“Who should I send? Who will go for Us? I said: Here I am. Send me.” Isaiah 6:8

Isaiah has opened himself up to God and His mission, but verses 9-13 then lay out the plan, which fully displays the wrath of God upon those who have turned from Him, the wrath we each deserve, but are spared from because of our Savior Jesus Christ.

As Isaiah learned,  when we‘re called to serve, it isn’t always in a way that’s easy or expected.  Serving is fun when it just makes you feel good or fits your vision, but what about when God calls you to something bigger, harder, and that you don’t understand? Why would you say, “Here I am. Send me?

We follow those calls because of what we see displayed at the beginning of Chapter 6, a God that is so big and powerful that we fear being in His presence. We serve to not be fulfilled, not to take glory for ourselves, but to love and lead people back to the Creator and His Son, who can now bridge the gap from our unworthiness to God’s holiness. When we shift our serving mindset away from being about us, toward it being about God, it drastically changes to what mission we will say “Here I am. Send me.”

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