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Connect | Grow | SERVE

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as 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 slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45 NIV)

The Kingdom of God operates by right-side-up principles that seem upside-down to the world. My worldly nature seeks to be first. My fallen heart wants glory and honor for myself. In selfishness, I seek position and power and wealth and fame. All of this is upside-down in the Kingdom of God. The greatest in the Kingdom of God are those with the deepest servant hearts.

Love serves. In the classic movie, The Princess Bride, Westley the stable boy expresses his love for Princess Buttercup by serving her every request with a simple, "As you wish." And more importantly, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Jesus set the example Himself. The Son of God left the glory of heaven and humbled Himself to live the life of a simple carpenter and Rabbi. He cared for the poor and broken and hurting. And He went to a Roman cross and laid down His life as a ransom for the lives of all humanity, making the perfect sacrifice for our sins. And God exalted Him to the highest position of King of kings and Lord of lords.

Love serves. Greatness in the Kingdom of God is measured by servanthood. I believe there are two main Biblical reasons for this. The first is that the one who is meant to get the glory from my life is not me, it is Jesus, who created me and redeemed me. If I accomplish anything in my life, it is only by His gifting and grace. All the glory goes to Him. He is the Master (Lord) and I am both His beloved child and His willing servant. Like Westley, my love for Jesus is expressed in my serving Him. "As you wish, Lord Jesus. As you wish."

Love serves. The second main reason greatness in the Kingdom of God is measured by servanthood is because serving reveals Jesus to the world. Serving serves as a witness to the reality and transformation and love of Jesus that fills His followers' lives and flows from believers' hearts. The world has this so upside-down, that many of us respond to someone doing something nice for us with a suspicious, "I wonder what they want?" In worldly values, one only does nice things for others to get something from them. Love that expresses itself in kindness and serving disarms the objections people have about God and the church and Christians in general.

Love serves. Love looks beyond whether or not someone is deserving and simply serves. In His haunting parable in Matthew, chapter 25, Jesus tells of the King who separates people in the final judgment like a shepherd separates the sheep and the goats. To the sheep, He says,

Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. (Matthew 25:34-36 NIV)

When those who served the hurting and the broken ask, "When did we do all that, Lord?" the answer is simple: "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:40 NIV)

To serve others is to serve Jesus. To serve others is the epitome of Christlikeness. To serve others is to glorify God and to find the very purpose of life.

Love serves. And loving service, connected with simply telling others the story of what Jesus has done in our lives, doubly serves. When we serve and connect the serving to the love of Jesus that fills our lives, we serve as witnesses. The church of Jesus Christ is called to serve, and we are called to go beyond being a social service agency to meet the deepest spiritual need for redemption, in addition to the physical need of hunger or thirst or healing.

The vision of Grace Church (where I serve as Pastor) is simple: Grace Church is a caring community where people can CONNECT with God and others, GROW deep in faith, and SERVE as bold witnesses. We connect with God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. We grow deep in faith by allowing sanctifying grace to transform our lives to be more and more Christlike. Out of Christ's love, we serve as bold witnesses for Jesus to our family and neighbors and coworkers and community and world. It's who we are and what we do as Christ followers.

The result is astounding. Through our lives of simple, but sold out love for God and for others, the Kingdom of God comes "on earth, as it is in heaven." We find a deeper, richer life in Christ than money and fame could ever give. And people come to Jesus Christ to find the purpose in life they are missing in worldly pursuits. To God be the glory!


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