Sunday, March 31, 2013

Mar 31 - EASTER - Mark 16:7

… and Peter
Mark 16:7

My favorite two words of the Easter Gospels are “and Peter.”

In Mark 16:7, the angel tells the women at the tomb, “go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'"

Wait … Go and tell who?

Why is it significant that Peter is mentioned by name? Because think of the last time we saw Peter in the Gospels. Three times in the courtyard of the high priest, “the Rock” cursed and swore and lied. Three times he denied that he’d ever know Jesus. Then the cock crowed, and as Luke records, Peter went out and wept bitterly.

Peter betrayed Jesus.

Judas did too.

The consequence? When this second disciple, the son of Iscariot, realized the weight of his betrayal, scripture tells us that he hanged himself.

What about Peter? What was his destiny when he realized the weight of his betrayal?

On his own, Peter might have sunk into darkness, despair, and a slow wasting death, akin to suicide. But on that glorious Easter morning, the words, “and Peter,” reconciled a broken sinner to the hope and life of the kingdom.

Whatever sins you’ve committed in your life can be reconciled through the hope of Easter too.

Christ is Risen!

In Christ’s Love,
a redeemed sinner
who joyfully calls back,
“He is Risen Indeed!


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Mar 30 - I Thirst

I thirst.
John 19:28

Fully God and fully human.

Those are the two most important things to know about Jesus.

From the beginning, he’s been eternally God. Lest we think he came into being at his human birth, John begins his Gospel by reminding us that Jesus was involved in, at, and before Creation! He is eternal.

Nevertheless, in Philippians 2, Paul reminds us of our Savior’s humanity. Jesus “emptied himself” to come in human form. And nowhere is the lowliness of God-become-human more visible than at Jesus’ birth and death.

At his birth, he was born of human mother, amid all the very earthy smells of a barn.
At his death, he sweat great drops of blood fell as he prayed in anguish for this cup to pass.
His skin was torn apart as they didn’t just whip him, but scourged him. (Sharp shards of bone and metal, were tied to the ends of the whip, pulling away chunks of flesh as the whip was applied and drawn back thirty-nine times.)
After the beating, he was too weak to carry his own cross.
And from the cross, he cried, “I thirst.”

Think about it … God emptied himself. He came in human form. He submitted to the conditions of a world broken by our sin. And while he could have called upon legions of angels to rescue him, he made only one request: I thirst.

And the world gave him vinegar and gall to drink.

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who remembers today
another “person’s” final words --
the Wicked Witch of the West
who said in death,
“What a world, what a world”

Friday, March 29, 2013

Mar 29 - My God, My God

My God, My God,
why have you
forsaken me?
Matthew 27:46

These words upon the cross are not original.

Even on the cross, Jesus is honoring both his heavenly Father and his Jewish heritage. In crying, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?,” Jesus is echoing the first verse of Psalm 22.

Some say that saying the first verse of a Psalm is a form of Jewish shorthand. “Pray the first verse, and you get credit for praying the whole prayer.” If that’s the case, Jesus is praying three things …
  •      When Jesus cries out with a sense of forsakenness, these, to me, are the most agonizing words in history. At this moment, God is removing his – what’s the right word? – protection(?), presence(?), power(?), from his own Son. That’s what “forsaken” means – desolate and utterly alone. How can God-the-Son be utterly abandoned. I cry with him.
  •      But that’s not all that’s in this cry. This Psalm starts with agony … but it ends, as many Psalms do, with hope and victory. Therefore, if Jesus is praying in shorthand; then this prayer, which starts with despair, is ultimately a prayer of victory too. Indeed, it is a prayer of “31 deliverance to a people yet unborn.” Which means that on the cross, Jesus was praying for you and me and our deliverance. Wow!
  •      Finally, Jesus’ cry of forsakenness is painful and real. But if he was also praying the whole prayer, he was pointing to all of the Psalm 22 prophecies being fulfilled in their midst. Listen to how Psalm 22, written a thousand years before the birth of Jesus, describes precisely the events of the cross …
  •      6 I am … scorned by others
  •      6 I am … despised by the people
  •      7 All who see me mock at me
  •      8 [They mock me saying,] "let him rescue the one in whom he delights!" [Remember the cry, “If he is the Son of God, let God save him.”]
  •      9 Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother's breast. 10 On you I was cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me you have been my God. [Think of his birth and of his mother, Mary.]
  •      12 Many bulls encircle me
  •      13 they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.
  •      14 I am poured out like water
  •      14 all my bones are out of joint;
  •      14 my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;
  •      15 my mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws
  •      16 a company of evildoers encircles me.
  •      16 My hands and feet have shriveled;
  •      17 I can count all my bones.
  •      17 They stare and gloat over me;
  •      18 they divide my clothes among themselves
  •      18 for my clothing they cast lots.
  •      19 But you, O Lord, do not be far away! 
  •      21 Save me from the mouth of the lion!
  •      23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
  •      24 he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him.
  •      28 For dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.
  •      29 To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, and I shall live for him.
  •      30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord,
  •      31 and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it.

My God, my God, why do I deny your presence and your power.

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who’s overwhelmed
by Christ’s love and foresight
in the midst of his agony

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mar 28 - Receive My Spirit

"Lord … receive my spirit."
Acts 7:59

Are the words above some of the seven last words of Jesus upon the cross?

Yes … and no.
  •      In Luke 23:46, Jesus says, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

But that’s not what I quoted, today …
  •      Acts 7:59 talks about the very first Christian martyr: “While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ 

And lest you think that Stephen’s paraphrasing Jesus was a coincidence, the first martyr echoed Jesus once more. As “55Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God,” he said, “Lk23:46Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Wait, those were Jesus’ words on the cross. What Stephen said was, "60Lord, do not hold this sin against them." Hear the echo?)

Here’s the point …

Discipleship is conforming our lives to the pattern of Jesus. Wouldn’t you like to look so much like Jesus that even in your worst moments (like getting stoned to death), your life would wonderfully be an echo of his?!

Again, this is not an occasion for guilt! Some people hear stories of saints like Stephen and think, I could never be like that. Consequently, they give up. As Winston Churchill said, “Never, never, never give up!”

Jesus is not dead. And the Living Savior can work his life into you – more and more fully – whenever, however, and wherever, you give him room.

This week, as Christ is crucified again in our commemorations, we are encouraged to crucify a little more of our sinful selves. Bit by bit. Day by day. It’s a journey that’ll never be complete. Therefore, don’t be discouraged. Rather, celebrate that Jesus is with you and in you today!

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who starts that journey
with Stephen’s words:
“Lord … receive my spirit”

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mar 27 - Father, Forgive Them

Father, forgive them, for
they do not know what they do.
Luke 23:34

For the next few days – at the tail end of holy week – we’ll be focusing on some of the last words of Jesus.

Our first word, for this week, is actually the final word regarding the life and death of Jesus.

Why did he come? At his birth, the angel told Joseph to name him “Jesus.” Why? “Because he will save his people from their sins" (Mt 1:21). He came to forgive us … and save us.

And when he died, he had this same purpose on his lips – forgiveness.

If Jesus’ life and death are ALL about forgiveness, then our reflections during the next few days, ought to start and finish with confession.

Not the kind of confession  that’s terminally guilty and beats you up again and again. We flame-out in guilt and grief whenever old sins sprout again along the branches we thought we’d already chopped off months ago. (Have you ever gone back, frustratingly, to an old sin, old habit? Of course you have. Me too!)

It’s because we keep cutting off branches … not digging up roots. This Holy Week, do the one who died for you a favor. Examine the roots of your sin – not in perpetual guilt, but understanding that Jesus’ love for you is so immense that he wants to help you grow something new and glorious in place of the old patterns and old hurts.

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who better
start digging

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Mar 26 - DAY 42 - The People-Pleaser Trap

Day 42
The People-Pleaser Trap

For we are God's masterpiece.
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so that we can do the good things
he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10 NLT

The final, final chapter of Rick Warren’s book is another trap – The People-Pleaser Trap.

Again we ask, Why after watching people for ten more years after this bestseller’s first publication, did Rick Warren feel need to add this particular chapter? Why? Because trying to please people is one of our biggest barriers to pleasing other people.

Rick Warren asks it simply and profoundly: Whose approval are you living for?
  •      I’ve watched adults be paralyzed as they’re still living for some parent’s reluctant approval.
  •      I’ve watched teens be blown about in hundreds of harmful directions as they seek the approval of peers.
  •      I’ve watched young girls give themselves away to the first person who even hints (often disingenuously) that they love her.
  •      I’ve watched employees stab a co-worker in the back to curry a boss’s favor.
  •      I’ve watched girls starve themselves half to death trying to look like the pictures in the magazines.
  •      I’ve watched boys slip into depression when they don’t measure up to the (often athletic) standards that seem to define young men.

Therefore, Rick Warren asks, whose approval are you really living for?

One of my favorite lines is …

Live your life for
an Audience of One!

Another is …

If God has already justified you,
why do you spend so much energy
trying to justify yourself before others?

God loves you. Just the way you are! Do you know how I know that? He created you!!!

When we realize that we are God’s masterpiece, then we start looking for his approval rather than the world’s approval.

Make a list today: Who’s approval do you still seek in this life?

Chances are, if you’re still seeking that person’s approval, then either you don’t measure up in their judgmental eyes … or you don’t measure up in your own insecure eyes. If a judgmental person is your standard, then you have the wrong standard. And if you’re insecure, it’s a matter of faith (or faithlessness, or unforgiveness – indeed being unable to forgive yourself).

It’s time to trust God. Trust that he loves, forgives, and is not judgmental. He loves you the way he made you! (And in those ways that the world “unmakes” us, he’s literally dying to restore us. Just think of the cross.)

In Christ’s Love,
a guy for whom it took
a lot of years (and
eventually a lot of faith)
to be comfortable
in his own skin
… and now I can
live with joy and purpose

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mar 25 - DAY 41 - The Envy Trap

Day 41
The Envy Trap

O give thanks to the Lord,
for he is good;
for his steadfast love
endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:34

After writing one of the bestselling books of all time, why do you think – in the tenth anniversary edition – he adds a chapter called,  “The Envy Trap.”

My supposition is that he’s studied people for ten more years and this is one of the biggest barriers to joy and purpose that he still finds.

We can’t be happy If we’re
comparing ourselves to others.

There’ll always be someone taller, faster, smarter, better looking, and lighter in weight than us. There’ll always be someone who has a bigger house, newer car, and better job. There’s only one “best” in any category, and most of those folks are totally average in a million other categories.

What envy does is rob us of satisfaction.

But it’s even more insidious than that. Envy essentially causes us to spit in God’s face. (Whoa! That sounds harsh, but think about it …) Rather than being grateful for the way we’re created and for the gifts we’ve been given, we spend our lives complaining about the things we don’t have.

Children do this to their parents. In our society, all our kids have gifts and possessions than they’ll ever really need (even most very poor American kids are very rich compared to the world’s and history’s standards). So what do parents do when our kids complain about what they don’t have. At first, we roll our eyes. They’re being childish. But what happens when that complaining turns into their view of life. They’re dissatisfied with life and angry at you for not providing exactly what they want.

Have you ever had your kid essentially “spit in your face,” complaining about their gifts and “needing” more and bigger and better and different. We sure have. (Fortunately it occurred frequently enough and at an early enough age that our boys learned – through raised voices and strong consequences – not to complain! It always brought them worse results.)

I got mad as a father at complaining kids. How do you think our heavenly Father feels about the poison of our envy. If it’s rare, he’ll roll his eyes at our childishness. If it becomes a pattern, he’ll grieve.

The antidote to envy is thanksgiving. If your soul ever seems heavy, make a list of your blessings.

In Christ’s Love,
A guy who’s favorite
thankfulness song
is from Bing Crosby …

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mar 24 - DAY 40 - Living With Purpose

What’s your purpose statement? That’s Rick Warren’s final question – at least in the old edition of the book.

I developed my purpose statement for ministry a dozen years ago. It is …

Deeper Faith
Joyful Community
Reaching More

Is that my personal purpose statement too?

Yes. A pastor’s personal life is inextricably connected to his ministry. It’s hard to know where ministry ends and life begins.

That’s how it should be with EVERY life, though. Life should be ministry. And ministry should be life.

As I look at Rick Warren’s five purposes, they fit nicely into my own purpose statement:

Deeper Faith is Worship and Discipleship
Joyful Community is Fellowship
Reaching More is Service and Evangelism

Now … rarely do I hold all five in perfect balance. I’m better at some than others. And in various seasons, one tends to get emphasized more than another. The goal of my life is to balance all three (or really five), because when I’m unbalanced … I’m unbalanced!!!

You’ve heard me mention Jesus’ method of ministry – UP, OUT and IN.
  •      He spent the morning pointing UP in prayer (worship and discipleship).
  •      He spent the afternoon pointing OUT in service and evangelism.
  •      He spent his evenings gathering back IN with his disciples (fellowship and more discipleship).

Those are two ways that I seek to fulfill the five purposes. What’s yours?!!! In fact, please send me your personal mission statement! Let’s celebrate how God is working in your life.

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who’s UP too early
OUT too late and
IN too little
… ahhh …
now I’m reminded
to rebalance!
(That’s what a purpose
statement is for!!!)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mar 23 - DAY 39 - Balancing Your Life

Day 39
Balancing Your Life

Jesus answered,
"You shall love the Lord your God
with all your heart, and with all your soul,
and with all your strength,
and with all your mind;
and your neighbor as yourself."
Luke 10:27

Today, Rick Warren starts with an interesting phrase: “Blessed are the balance; they shall outlast everyone.”

His reasoning? Like a pentathlete, we need to succeed in all five events – all five purposes – if we’re going to win the prize.

Greatness is not about winning and earthly prize. (In fact, in yesterday’s devotion, I wrote briefly about a disgraced Olympian.) Greatness comes from doing the most important things greatly.

And what’s most important? Two things that Christian tradition calls “great”: The Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
  •      The Great Commandment says 1) Love God (heart, soul, strength, and mind) and 2) Love Your Neighbor as Yourself.
  •      The Great Commission adds two more purposes: 3) Go and Make Disciples, 4) Baptizing them, and 5) Teaching them.

Rick Warren tells us that in these two simple statements is a summary of how to accomplish all five of life’s purposes. 1) In loving God, we worship. 2) In loving neighbor, we serve. 3) In going and making disciples, we evangelize. 4) Through baptism, we create community (fellowship). And 5) in teaching, there is discipleship.

After thirty-nine chapters, the “to-do list” could get overwhelming. But Rick Warren is saying, “Stop. Relax. Life is really pretty simple. Just worry about doing two things: follow the great command and fulfill the great commission.”

Now, those two things are big enough to fill a whole, big, wonderful life. But they’re really not that complicated. Love God and others. And the more you love God, the more you’ll want to learn about him. And the more you learn about him, the more you’ll want to tell about him. And finally, the more you love other people, the more you’ll simply want to help (and serve) them.

Near the end of the book, I found today’s reflections very helpful. “Don’t be overwhelmed. Just love!”

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who wants to wear
his heart on his sleeve

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mar 22 - DAY 38 - Becoming a World Class Christian

Day 38
Becoming a
World Class Christian

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.
2 Corinthians 4:18

Rick Warren’s theme for today is “Becoming a World Class Christian.”

That title reminded me of a friend. He was giving an important talk. He wrote it months ahead. He came up with great illustration. To powerfully describe character and perseverance, he decided to use the example of a world class athlete.

Just days before the speech, he cut the illustration, however. Why?

He was going to talk about an inspirational athlete from 2012 Summer Olympics, who ran magnificently even though he was born without legs.

You probably know why he cut the illustration.

While Oscar Pistorius was a world class athlete, he turned out not to be such an inspirational person! A few days before the speech, the “blade runner” allegedly murdered his girlfriend in a fit of rage.

What does it really mean to be “world class”?

We live in a culture of hero worship. We seem to always have sports idols and music idols and teen magazine heart throbs. But world class is more than being “famous” or being the “best” at something.

In fact, being world class in God’s eyes is really the exact opposite of being famous. It’s being humble.

Rick Warren says, “[to become] world class … shift from self-centered thinking to other-centered thinking.” “Humbling yourself,” “taking the lowest seat,” “serving rather than wanting to be served” – Jesus’s principles – are the art of becoming “world class.”

Furthermore, what world class really means is caring for the world in a very passionate way. And we care for it best when we are sharing how to be saved from this broken world – how to know Christ and earn a “ticket” to heaven.

“World Class,” then, is really being “Heaven Class.”

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who doesn’t own
any pedestals
(it’s dangerous to put
oneself or anyone else
on them … because they fall)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mar 21 - DAY 37 - Sharing Your Life Message

Day 37
Sharing Your Life Message

Be ready at all times
to answer anyone who asks you
to explain the hope you have in you,
but do it with gentleness and respect.
1 Peter 3:15-16 TEV

“One more for Jesus.”

That was the final cry of Rick Warren’s dying father. His passion – even at the end of his own life – was “one more.”

Think about it … in death, this old pastor was going to a place where only one thing on earth mattered – Did you know Jesus … or not?

The name of the book we’ve been reading – subtitled on the first edition, almost the title on the second edition – is “What on Earth am I Here For?” And indeed, the only thing on earth that really matters is, “Do you know Jesus?”

Then … once you’ve checked that box, only one other thing really matters, “Are you making him known.”

That’s actually the official mission of many churches: “To Know Christ and Make Him Known.” (In fact, that’s not a bad personal mission statement either: “What on Earth am I Here for? To Know Christ and to Make Him Known.”)

Now, if you’re following along with Rick Warren, so far I’ve been covering yesterday’s chapter, haven’t we? Today’s focus then is the beginning of “How?”

Let me encourage you to do something today. I obviously spend some time writing these devotions for you. I want you to spend some time writing a devotion for someone else.

A testimony is “the story of how you began a relationship with Jesus.” Write down your testimony. Tell how you came to know the Lord. (It doesn’t have to be big and dramatic. For many of us, it was slow and gradual.) But tell how you came to know God and what’s the difference he makes in your life.
  •      You do this first for you benefit. It’s practice for sharing the story if and when God gives you the chance. 
  •      Second, practice telling it … even among your closest church friends. You’ll see in their eyes the parts that resonate. And with practice, you’ll learn to tell it simply, quickly, and powerfully.
  •      Finally, start praying about the first person you will share it with. You may have a person in mind. Or God may have a person in mind that you’re not even aware of yet.

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who couldn’t
come to know God fully
until he was fully humbled,
and doesn’t want others
to have to be humbled
before they know God

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mar 20 - DAY 36 - Made for a Mission

Day 36
Made for a Mission

Jesus said,
As the Father has sent me,
I am sending you.
John 20:21 NIV

“God wants you to have both a ministry in the Body of Christ and a mission in the world.”

Look close. What’s the difference between ministry and mission?

Ministry is pointed in – in toward the church. And it’s critical. If the body of Christ is to function, the church desperately needs people to use their gifts. Some teach and other lead songs. Some fix church toilets and others balance the checkbook. Some care for the children; others love to visit the sick and elderly.

Scripture tells us that we each have gifts to bless the church. This is “ministry,” and as Rick Warren says, “God [definitely] wants you to have … a ministry in the Body of Christ.

“God [also] wants you to have a mission in the world.” What’s mission compared to ministry. Well, if ministry is “in,” then mission is “out.”

Rick Warren tells us that mission comes from the Latin roots that mean “sent.” Jesus tells us to go – to “go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples” (Mt 28:19). History calls these words – which include, “teach [the people of all nations]” – the Great Commission.

Lutherans are not always comfortable with mission – especially when we call it evangelism. Ethnically, Lutherans are from cold weather countries. We’re quiet, stoic, and humble.

In general, we’d rather let our actions speak for themselves. This can be a valid start to evangelism. And historically the Lutheran church has done some great things. But mission is also personal. Who are you telling? Who do you need to tell?

At the beginning of this week, that last question is a good place to start: “Who do you need to tell?” Starting today, begin praying for them. Praying and praying and praying.

In Christ’s Love,
A guy who loves the old saying,
“Before you talk to your friend about Jesus,
talk to Jesus about your friend.”

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mar 19 - DAY 35 - God's Power in Your Weakenss

Day 35
God’s Power in
Your Weakness

God purposely chose … what
the world considers weak
in order to shame the powerful
1 Corinthians 1:27 TEV

I used to play basketball.

In sports, the leader is not the smartest person on the team. It is not the person with the most traditional leadership traits of vision and motivation. It is not the most vocal or best communicator. The leader is simply the best player.

He may be a jerk, but everybody defers to him. You pass the ball when he demands. You move to where he positions you on defense.

In the pros, sometimes even the coaches defer to the superstar – coaches are generally more plentiful and more expendable than a rare athletic talent.

In sports – and in much of the world – leadership is all about strength.

Not so in the kingdom of God!

God values weakness … humility … willingness … and submission.

Think about it … God is God. He can do whatever he wants. He can conquer nations with his pinky finger. He doesn’t need our service to change the course of history. And yet the Lord of all creation chooses to work through us.

With all this in mind, it’s not our strength that God needs. (He has strength to spare.) What he needs is our weakness, our willingness, our humility, and our submission. The Lord doesn’t compel us to act. Rather, he invites us on a journey. And when weak people open their hearts and allow God to work greatly through them, that’s when an unbelieving world finally notices the stirring of God.

When mild-mannered human beings do inhumanly wonderful and powerful things, God is seen through their weakness.

There was a time when I wanted to be strong. Nowadays, I realize than I’m stronger when I’m weak. I’m more useful when I’m submitted.

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who was never
the center of attention
on the ball court

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mar 18 - DAY 34 - Thinking Like a Servant

Day 34
Thinking Like a Servant

My servant Caleb thinks differently
and follows me completely.
Numbers 14:24 NCV

Do you remember who Caleb was? Here’s the quick and mostly familiar story …
  •       Out of their slavery, the people of Israel cried to the Lord for a deliverer, and God raised up Moses.
  •       After a mighty display of wonders, God led Israel out of bondage and set them on the path to the Promise Land.     
  •       It was supposed be a quick trip from Egypt to the shores of the Jordan. 
  •       The final preparatory step along this journey was sending twelve scouts – one from each tribe – into the Promised Land.
  •       According to all twelve scouts (spies), it was a land flowing with milk and honey.
  •       Nevertheless, ten reported that the people in Canaan were too powerful to defeat and advised against going into the land.
  •       Two of the twelve – Joshua and Caleb – said essentially, “Yes, the people are strong, but our God is stronger!!!”
  •       In other words, “My servant Caleb thinks differently and follows me completely.”

Thinking differently than the rest of the world is a good thing. “If God is for us,” ask faithful servants like Caleb, “who can be against us?” (Faithful servants like Paul ask these questions too – see Romans 8:31.) And faithful servants – like Joshua and Caleb … and Peter and Paul – get to see the Promised Land, rather than getting stuck forever in the wilderness.

In today’s reading from The Purpose-Driven Life, Rick Warren challenges us to think like a servant …
  •       A servant understands first who the master is. (God.)
  •       Then the servant looks to see what the master values. (Other people.)
  •       Then the faithful servant devotes himself or herself to these priorities. (In love.)      
  •       A good and faithful servant also and wisely patterns themselves after the best servant – Jesus.

When it comes to serving, what steps are you best at? What steps need more attention in your life?

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who wants to see
the Promised Land (every day
… and not just in the future)


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Mar 17 - DAY 33 - How Real Servants Act

Day 33
How Real Servants Act

Jesus said,
“If you give even a cup of cold water
to one of the least of my followers,
you will surely be rewarded.”
Matthew 10:42 NLT

In the first spiritual gifts class I led as a pastor was an eighty-year-old woman.

At an age when most people are slowing down, Joyce said she wanted to know how God could use her.

This made us laugh. Joyce was already one of the most productive servants we’d ever known. We figured that this grandmother must have spent every morning baking so she could spend every afternoon giving it away.

On election day, for example, I used to tease other people in church. “My polling place is better than your polling place.” “Why?” they’d ask. “Because Joyce was giving away cookies at my polling place.”

The only sad part of this was … that Joyce didn’t know already how big of a servant’s heart she already had. She carried a little guilt. “I ought to do more.” But that’s the way it is with many true, True, TRUE servants, she wasn’t proud. Her service was “unconscious” rather than “conscious.” Therefore, she felt like she should be consciously doing more.

In truth however, she naturally fulfilled many of Rick Warren’s characteristics of “real servanthood” …
  •       Real servants make themselves available to serve.
  •       Real servants pay attention to needs.
  •       Real servants do their best with what they have.
  •       Real servants do every task with equal dedication.
  •       Real servants are faithful to their ministry.
  •       Real servants maintain a low profile.

Does that sound like Joyce?

Does that sound like you?

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who wants
to be unconscious