Lord, put me into the game!

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About 10 adults gathered around a table at the church where I serve as pastor last night.  They are people who  are on the team.  How I appreciate their efforts, their friendship. Yesterday had brought some the normal stresses that come to any organization; the challenges that demand solutions, that cannot be ignored.  Driving from one location to the other, I prayed for wisdom, for insight, for resources. The Spirit reminded me of the people who are doing life and who share my love for His Kingdom and people. Then, listening to their triumphs and trials in ministry at our meeting, I heard the Spirit say, “I am at work.”

Jesus invites you, me, to be part of His team – the Church. Without any hesitation, I will affirm that Christians who want to be effective for God, who want to enjoy the best that the Church offers, will be those who serve. The call into Christ’s Body runs head-long into our treasured independence, our belief that we must be free to “do my own thing.”  Serving is the antidote for the poison of consumerism that causes thousands to drift from church to church in search of a new experience, a message that entertains and/or comforts, a place to get ‘lost in the sauce’ so that there is little accountability. The happiest Christians I know are those who have learned to serve as part of His team.

God asks us to commit to His team, to adopt the goal of building up God’s kingdom, discovering our calling, to mature in the Spiritual gifts He gives to all, and to celebrate the success of the church.

Faith Discovery Church, where I have served for 18 years, is a place of multiple serving teams.  At Good Shepherd Christian Academy, (http://www.gscacademy.com/) our Christian school, there is a genuine team in place. The goal of creating a school where children can learn life skills while being discipled in Christ’s ways, where they can see the Lordship of Jesus modeled in everyday life, brings together a group of people who give of themselves. I am amazed at the diversity of our team there, people for whom ministry supersedes the need to be a star, to earn a big salary, or to enjoy individual recognition. Go team!  One of our newest team members told me yesterday, “I’m home here!”

Our small church has so many other teams- men who care for the grounds, women who organize a pantry to feed those in need, musicians who offer up their skills for worship, those who love and teach our children, those who wrestle with budgets and dollars, people who give, those who pray … it’s a long list … as it should be in a healthy church.

Are YOU a serving Christian?
Do you faithfully and regularly give of yourself, your resources, asking the Lord to use you in a way that demands a renewal of the Spirit day by day?

The Word says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25, NIV) There are key truths wrapped up in those few words.

First is this – “Consider!” The word is about taking time to think it through. Team unity and effort must be intentional.  We have to purposefully seek to build a team.

Second is “Spur one another on.” We are not in a mutual admiration society where we only say nice things that cover mediocrity! Those who are on a team give each other a ‘kick in the behind’ when necessary, not because of selfishness, but to urge the highest level of participation!  Healthy teams constantly challenge each other to higher levels of achievement.

Third is “Meet together.” We give priority to the group and to coming together to strengthen our ties to one another.

Fourth is “Encourage one another!”  We for one another what God, Holy Spirit, our ‘Advocate, Comforter‘ does for us. We affirm, support, and love to each other with the purpose of urging a maximum effort in the work of God.

And why do we do this? It is not for a trophy, not for a certificate of recognition, not to satisfy our ego. Peter says we do it to win an eternal crown of glory that fadeth not away.” The Kingdom of God, when built on His Lordship, shaped by the Gifts of the Spirit, and oiled by generous amounts of bold love, brings amazing blessings to humanity

Here’s a word from the Word. Think deeply on it today. “If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.” (Philippians 2:1-3, The Message)
__________

Abba, I am grateful for the privilege of being ‘in the Body,’ Your church.
Raise my eyes, often, to appreciate those who serve alongside of me.
Free me from pride that wants to be first, to be recognized, to be coddled.
Help me to humbly, faithfully, and joyfully take the place for which
You have prepared me – by experience and Gifts of Your Spirit.

When I am tired, grant me strength to remain faithful.
When I have lost sight of the ‘why’ of service, renew my vision.
When others seem only to criticize, let me hear Your affirmation.

May I seek to honor Jesus only,
To be a servant, not of human approval, but of You.
In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen

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