Aaron Brockett • Growth Track • 1 Peter 4:10-11
Series: Growth Track
Pastor: Aaron Brockett
1 Peter 4:10-11
Study Guide (PDF)
Alright, well we are in our fourth and final week of this series we have been in all month long called Growth Track. The big idea behind it is we want to help you figure out what the next step is for you for greater connection and spiritual growth. Right now I want to look into the camera and greet all of you, whether you’re joining us from our North campus, Downtown, West, online, and those of you from Northwest. You look at me on the screens anyway. I just want to say hello to all of you. It’s good to have you today. As we roll out week number four, here is the question I want you to consider today: Have you ever been faced with something you felt totally unqualified to do?Anybody? Is anyone married who is not qualified to be married? “I don’t have the skill-set for that.” You bring a child into the world, “I don’t know what it takes to be a parent.” You start a new job, “I don’t have what it takes.’ You are a student on a new campus, and you don’t feel qualified to do this. You feel out of your league, in over your head, or whatever phrase you want to use to describe, “I don’t know that I have what it takes to do this thing.” If that’s you, and if you are honest it should be every single one of us, you’re in good company. That’s what we’re going to talk about today. There have been a number of times in my life when I felt that way—just unqualified for the task in front of me. Maybe the most memorable though was years ago when my wife Lindsay and I were dating. She has two younger sisters and her middle sister was a big soccer player. It was her senior year of high school and she was getting ready to start varsity soccer and their soccer coach quit a week before the season started. I was over at their house and she was complaining about it. She was like, “We don’t have a coach. If they don’t find a coach, they’re not going to have the season.” She looked at me and she gave me this look. Do you know the look? Like, “Say, you’re stupid enough.” She was like, “You played soccer in high school, didn’t you Aaron?” I was like, “No, no, no, there is a difference between playing and coaching. There is a difference between being on the field and actually being on the sidelines coaching, let alone teenage girls. I don’t know what I am doing.” I said, “No, no way am I doing that,” and she wasn’t very happy. The next day the athletic director called me and said, “We got your name and number from someone.” I wonder who? He said, “We were wondering if you’d pinch hit and step in as an interim volunteer. We’re actively searching for a fulltime soccer coach. We think we’ll find one in just two or three weeks. So it’s just a couple weeks of practice, maybe one or two games at best.” I became the girls’ soccer coach that whole season long. I remember I was trying to decide whether or not I should do it, and my soon to be sister-in-law would beg me. She was like, “Aaron, please, if you don’t step up and actually volunteer for this they are going to cancel the soccer season of my senior year in high school, which is then going to ruin my senior year of high school, and ruin my life. I’m going to be prone to depression, heartache, and dysfunction for the rest of my days.” She was twisting my arm to do it. We lost every single game that season, and it was not because of the girls. It was because of me and my inability to coach. Every now and then I’ll have somebody say, “What prepared you to do what you’re doing today? To be a pastor of this church?” I’m like, “That. That’s one of those experiences.”This is what we want to talk about today. When you look at the pages of Scripture, here’s one of the interesting qualities of God. God never asked anyone to do anything they felt qualified to do. Not once. Not once did God come to somebody and say, “I want you to do this task,” and they stepped forward and said, “I feel totally qualified to do that.” It’s always the opposite. There is a very specific reason God calls the unqualified to do what only he can do in and through them. That’s what we’re going to talk about today, so if you have a Bible or a Bible App go ahead and turn to or power up to Exodus 3. We have been in this series called Growth Track, and real quickly because it’s our final week let me walk you through each of the steps of Growth Track. Start following Jesus and be baptized.I’m not going to assume everyone is in the same place spiritually. Maybe you’ve come from a different church background. Maybe you have a church background, and maybe you don’t. Connect with others and join a group.We learn in rows, but we grow in circles. And then last week was this. Grow in your faith, in a group, and through daily spiritual disciplines.And then this week is: Go. Go discover your purpose, join a team, and make a difference.In October we will be running Growth Track classes at all of our campuses on Sundays. It will just be a place where people can go and take their next step, wherever they may be. If you’ve been here for all four weeks of the series, if you’ve engaged with us by filling out that card, then there is no need for you to go through the class again because we’re going through it as a church together. Listen, all this is a tool for us to help you take your next step. That’s all it is. And we’re actually seeing some pretty amazing results. On week one, we saw 140 baptisms. We’ve got roughly another 60 or so today at all of our campuses so about 200 baptisms for the month. Then on week two, I challenged you to get in a circle and roughly 2,000 of you said you wanted to get into a group. We’re still following up with you. A little more than half of you have been followed up with. So if you haven’t yet, thank you for your patience. It takes a lot of time and energy to follow up with 2,000 people. And we’re out of leaders. So last week I just said, “Will you volunteer to be trained as a leader so we can get people in groups?” And about 50 of you stepped forward and said you’d be willing to be trained as a leader. So thank you for that. Here’s another thing to celebrate. Last week 844 of you said you would start tithing. You said, “I’m going to try the tithe.” I think that is incredible. It is amazing that many of you would trust God in that area. Now this week we want to talk about God working in and through you to make a difference in the lives of other people. I think—when it comes to serving others, stepping forward and figuring out what our purpose is and how God might want to use us—I think most of us understand the importance of it. But there are a number of things that cause us to be hesitant to be used by God in that way, or to maybe be a bit reluctant. That’s what we see in Exodus 3. We see an example of a conversation between God and an unlikely leader by the name of Moses. And God is asking Moses to do something Moses is not qualified to do. God was asking him to lead. I think maybe Moses’ hesitation was rooted in the fact that when he thought about a leader there was a picture he had that came to his mind, and he didn’t match that picture. And I think for many of us, when we think about leadership… There are a number of you in the room, and I would guess it is a smaller percentage of you, who would actually see yourself as a leader. But for the vast majority of us, when we think about a leader we’re like, “I’m not a leader, because a leader is somebody who has all the answers.” Or, “A leader is somebody who knows what to do next.” Or. “A leader is somebody who stays cool, calm, and collected under pressure and I don’t think I’m a leader.” But God’s definition and description of a leader is far easier to attain than ours. God’s definition of a leader is anyone who makes themselves available for God to use, anyone who steps up to make a difference. So God comes to Moses and says: Moses, I want to use you as a leader. And Moses is really hesitant because he doesn’t feel qualified. So look at this conversation beginning in verse 7, “Then the Lord told him, ‘I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt.’” He is talking about the Israelites who are enslaved in Egypt. “‘I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land.’”So up to this point it sounds like God’s got it covered. It sounds like God knows what the problem is. It sounds like God is saying: I’m the one who is going to step up and lead them out. “‘It is a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live. Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them.’” Now, here is where God’s going to throw Moses a curve ball. In verse 10 he says, “‘Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.’” And to that I’m sure Moses was like: I thought you had this covered. You were the one who seemed like you knew what you were going to do. You were going to lead them out. Why are you involving me in this?” One of the amazing qualities of God is that God always involves imperfect people like you and me in what he is doing in and around the world. God is about the furthest thing from a control freak that you can get. And God has every right to be a control freak. God could say to us: Just move. Don’t make a mess. Sit down in the corner and don’t try to complicate what I’m trying to do around the world. Instead God takes the opposite posture and God says: Actually, I want to involve you in what I’m doing in and around the world even if you mess it up. And we will. God says: I want to equip you. I want to empower you. I want to do something in and through you to affect the lives of other people. I want to ask you to do something you don’t feel qualified to do. Here was Moses’ response. Maybe this is your response as well. I know it has been my response at times: “But Moses protested to God.” He argued with him. By the way, you never win. He protested to God and said, “‘Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?’” Do you hear what he is saying? He is saying: God, what makes you think I can do this? I don’t have the skill set. I don’t have the qualifications. I don’t have the degree. I don’t have the experience to do what it is you are asking me to do.Has anybody ever been in that situation? Even if you would not call yourself a follower of Jesus, you can probably relate to that. Maybe you’ve been faced with a responsibility or request and you’re like, “I don’t know that I have what it takes to do this.” And hear the way God responds to Moses when he answered him: “God answered, ‘I will be with you.’” Of all the things God could have said to him… God could have said: You are being too hard on yourself. Actually, you’re a lot better than that. God could have said: Moses, you’ve been give so many gifts. You just need to leverage those. God doesn’t say any of that. God says: I will be with you. Here is what God is saying. God is saying: What makes you think this has anything to do with you? What makes you think you are actually the X factor in all of this? Moses, this actually looks like humility. This looks like it is rooted in the same thing our pride comes out of. You are thinking about yourself too much. It isn’t about what you can do; it’s about what I can do through you. It isn’t about what you bring to the table. It’s about what I want to do in your life and through your life. If you could do this on your own, it wouldn’t be that spectacular. It would just be an ordinary day. God specializes in doing extraordinary things through ordinary people like you and me. God does amazing things through average days. He says: Moses, I just wanted you to be available to me. But Moses is like so many of us. He just doesn’t see it yet, so he protests again. His first objection was inward focused. His next objection is outward focused. “But Moses protested again, ‘What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The Lord never appeared to you’?’” This is the fear of man. This is the fear of criticism. This is the fear of people thinking, “I think you’re a fraud. I don’t think you can do it.” I love this and you can read this for yourself. In verses 2 through 9 God says: I’ll tell you what to do if people don’t believe you. Moses, you see that staff that is in your hand? Throw it on the ground. He throws it on the ground, and it turns into a snake. That’s pretty amazing. He’s like: Now, pick up the snake again, which I would have never done but Moses does. He reaches down and picks up the snake and it turns into a staff. He goes: Moses, do you see a perfectly healthy hand? Yeah. Stick it in your coat pocket. He does. Pull it out. He pulls it out and it’s covered in leprosy. He says: Stick it in your pocket again, which I totally would have done. He sticks it back in his pocket and pulls it out again and it is healed. God goes: If people don’t believe you just do those tricks. Just show them those two things and that will prove to them you’ve been with me. So Moses goes from protesting to pleading in verse 10, “But Moses pleaded with the Lord, ‘O Lord, I’m not very good with words.’” In other words, he is assuming a leader needs to be eloquent in speech. “‘I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.’” God says to him in chapter 4, verse 11: I made your mouth. And, once again in verse 12: I’ll be with you. Then Moses pleaded again and this is my favorite one, “But Moses again pleaded, ‘Lord, please! Send anyone else.’” I don’t want to do it. I’m out of excuses and I just don’t want to do it.God’s response to him is: You don’t need to go alone. You actually have a brother named Aaron. Aaron is gifted in ways you are not and you’re gifted in ways Aaron isn’t. Why don’t you guys come together as a team? As partners? And why don’t you go together. And Moses, to his credit, obeys God and goes and walks up to Pharaoh and says, “Let my people go,” and God uses him in incredible ways. It wasn’t an easy road, but God takes Moses’ abilities and does something really extraordinary in and through him. God was asking Moses to be a leader, and Moses didn’t see it. I think that is one of the greatest qualifications for his leadership—that he didn’t see it. If Moses would have been really quick to agree when God said: Moses, I want to ask you to go to Pharaoh and free my people from the Israelites— if Moses would have said: It’s about time you realized my leadership qualities. That would have immediately disqualified him. The fact that Moses didn’t see it was one of the primary reasons God said: That’s a heart I can use. I want to give you this definition of a leader that makes it as accessible as possible. Here is how God sees leaders: A leader is anyone who steps up to make a difference.A leader is anybody who just says, “God, here I am. Use me. God, will you please take my ordinary, it isn’t much but it’s all I got.” And God says: That’s all I need. I just need your ordinary and watch me do extraordinary things with the ordinary things you make available to me.If we were to walk back through this passage and give labels to some of Moses’ objections, you might be able to relate to one or all of these. I know I can. The first one is simply this: Who am I?I can’t be used by God. Who am I? This is really a question of insecurity. Moses was insecure about his abilities and he was also fearful of some of the things going on in his past. Here’s what Moses wasn’t good at, and here is what Moses was ashamed of. Moses had some kind of speech impediment. That’s about all we know. He stuttered. He couldn’t talk clearly. He was like: If I’m going to be used in this way, I’m going to need to be really, really good at public speaking. The second thing was that Moses had something in his past that he didn’t want everyone to know about. In fact, if you know anything about Moses’ upbringing he was an Israelite and Pharaoh had issued this decree to kill and murder all the infant boys. Moses’ mom put him in a basket and put him in the Nile River. He floated down the Nile. Pharaoh’s daughter finds him and adopts him as her own son, which is totally ironic. God takes him and places him in Egypt where Moses has an upbringing as an Egyptian. But when Moses becomes older he realizes his history. He realizes who he is and sees an Israelite, somebody who is one of his people, being mistreated by an Egyptian and Moses looses it. He’s got a temper. If you remember the first time he came down Mount Sinai with the stone tablets and he saw what the people were doing, worshiping the golden calf, what did he do? He threw them down and they shattered. I’m sorry God. I know you worked hard on those. The same temper caused him to actually murder this Egyptian and he is ashamed of it: People are going to find out about that. It disqualifies me. I’m not very good at what I do. My guess is that maybe for you, the thing that is causing you to be hesitant to discover your purpose of what it is God has called you to do is that you focus on what you’re not good at and your past failures. You disqualify yourself before God can ever use you. And God actually specializes in taking what you’re not good at and working in and through that so it shows you and others the power of God. When I look at what I am doing today it is laughable to me. I grew up hating public speaking. Don’t tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He laughs at me every week. When I say I hated public speaking, I’m saying my youth pastor used to drag me up in front of the youth group just to force me to pray in front of the group. I didn’t want to do it. I literally got Cs and Ds in speech classes. I hated public speaking. Periodically people say, “Do you get nervous when you speak?” I am like, “Every single time.” It’s not like I have this natural ability to do this. I could be a car salesman or a preacher. I could just go do this. No God actually says: Where are you weak? Let’s focus on that.Do you want to know how Scripture says it? It says this in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” Did you hear that? Whatever you think you’re weak in, God says: Good, let’s focus on that because my power works best in weakness. So, now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so the power of Christ can work in me. God will put you in a situation where you have to face your insecurities so you can feel the power of his presence even more. The next objection Moses has is this: What if they?This is an issue of fear. He’s like: What will people think? What if they criticize me? What if they talk behind my back? I know some of us never step up to make ourselves available because we are fearful that we might get criticized or face some resistance but that just comes with the territory. Dr. Sam Chand, in his book Leadership Pain, which is a book I highly recommend, says this. “All leadership is a magnet for pain, which comes in many forms. We catch flak for bad decisions because people blame us, and we get criticism even for good decisions because we’ve changed the status quo. When people suffer a crisis, we care deeply for them instead of giving them simplistic answers. We ‘carry their burden,’ which means at least some of the weight of their loss and heartache falls on us. “We suffer when our plans don’t materialize or our efforts fail, and we face unexpected new challenges when our plans succeed and we experience a spurt of growth. Along the way, we aren’t immune to the ravages of betrayal by those we trusted, and then envy of our friends, and burnout because we’re simply exhausted from all the struggles of leading people.” And Dr. Chand actually says in that book, “If you want to lead effectively just increase your threshold of pain because if you’re not in pain you are not leading.” For some of us, maybe there was a time in your life when you said, “Aaron, I remember I served one time in church,” or, “I stepped up and took a risk, and I got hurt, burned, criticized. You know what? Never again.” Maybe for some of you, you went limping off the field and sat on the bench and you’ve never gotten back in the game because you got hurt. It happens a lot in the church. I remember years ago when I was contemplated going into the ministry I was talking to a mentor of mine. I was like, “I feel like God is leading me into fulltime ministry.” I was full of optimism and excited. He looked and me and said, “I think that is great, but you’re going to need to ask for three things if you are going to go the distance.” I was like, “What are they?” He was like, “You’re going to need to develop the courage of a lion, because you are going to have to make difficult decisions at times and you are not going to have all the information. You’re also going to have to develop the skin of a rhino because people are going to shoot at you. And then you’re going to have to develop the heart of a teddy bear.” I was like, “What are you talking about.” He said, “You’re going to have to keep your heart soft toward people.” You’ve got to have the courage of a lion. You’re going to have to develop the skin of a rhino, and you’ve got to develop the heart of a teddy bear. Why? Because people are mean and they are messy. If anybody steps up to say, “I’ll be used by God in a significant way,” if you are willing to take that risk, then you’re actually placing yourself in oncoming traffic. And God says: No, I need you to be courageous, but I also need you to develop a thick skin because you’re going to take lots and lots of arrows. Moses certainly did. But don’t let the wounds that are inflicted from others cause you to grow bitter and cynical toward others. Keep a soft heart. Moses’ next objection was this one: I have never.I’ve never done this God. I don’t know what I am doing. I’m in over my head. And this is an issue of inadequacy. Once again, God will often ask you to do something you’ve never done or you don’t think you’re very good at to keep you dependent upon only what he can do. Eleven years ago I was 31 years old and I was facing the opportunity to maybe come and serve this church as a pastor. I remember Lindsay and I were praying through it and I was trying to seek lots and lots of council. I was 31 years old at the time and the pastor who served here before me, his name is Howard Brammer. He served here for 24 years and he is a wonderful man, did an incredible job. I was always given this council by people older than me. They said, “Aaron, if you ever get the opportunity to follow a long-tenured, well-loved pastor—don’t, because you’ll never live up to people’s expectations. They will compare you to him and they won’t like what you change.” It scared me. I remember there was a bit of an age difference between me and Howard. I was young. The biggest church I had ever pastored up to that point was 180 people and Traders Point was about 1,600 people at the time. It was a huge jump. I remember just seeking advice and counsel from as many people as I could. I’ll never forget calling one of my mentors who has known me since I was a little kid. I called him up and said, “Hey, I’m praying through this decision. I need you to be honest with me right now. I don’t want you to be nice to me. I need the truth, don’t sugar coat it. You know me better than anybody. Do you think I am too young and inexperienced to become the lead pastor at Traders Point?”And I’ll never forget his answer, because he didn’t even stop to think. It was just immediately out of his mouth, “Of course, you are too young and inexperienced to go serve at Traders Point.” I was like, “You didn’t even have to think about that. Thank you for that encouragement.” It was kind of silent on the other end of the line. That was all he said. I was like, “Is there a yeah, but or what?” After like several awkward seconds of silence, I’ll never forget what he said to me next. He goes, “But Aaron, look at the pages of Scripture. Everybody God used was either too young or too inexperienced. And look at history, the people who create a lot of change oftentimes are too young and too inexperienced.” And then he said this, and I’ll never forget it. He said, “If God calls you to it; he’ll qualify you for it.” And the exact same thing is true for your life: If God calls you to it; he’ll qualify you for it. Many times we feel like we need to flip these. Well let me get qualified for it, and then if God calls me to it I’ll be ready. But God actually says: No, would you be willing to take a step of faith and let me qualify you as you go? So God says to Moses: Oh, you have a speech impediment and you’ve got this massive failure in your past? You’re perfect. I’ll use you as a leader. God says to this guy named Paul who actually murdered Christians: You’re perfect. I’ll use you to write most of the New Testament. God says to a young, unwed teenage girl: You’re not ready to be a mom? You’re perfect. I’ll actually use you to be the mother of the Son of God who has come to take away the sins of the world.He says to a Samaritan woman at a well: You’ve got five failed marriages? You are perfect. Just let the power of God come into your life and I’ll actually use you to be a missionary in your home town. God is not as interested in your ability as he is in your availability. Moses is out of excuses so the last one he uses is this one: Use someone else!This is an issue of reluctance. What this looks like is when you feel compelled or called by God to do something, and you keep putting it off. You are saying, “I’m too busy,” or, “I’m not ready, maybe in a different season of life when things settle down.” You’ll never find a perfect season of life. And your spiritual growth will only go so far if you remain inward focused. There comes a time in each one of our journeys as we’re walking along with Jesus where God says: I need you to get externally focused. You’ve been spending a lot of time focusing upon your own growth, your own problems, and your own issues. It’s not that that’s bad. It’s just that it’s only going to take you so far and you’re going to need to begin to look up and get externally focused. That will unlock your spiritual growth. Why does God invite us into what he is going in and around the world? Well Moses was totally focused upon his problems, the things that were maybe causing him to say: I’m not qualified for this. And God wanted him to focus on his purpose. I said this last week. We can either live our lives trying to eliminate problems, which is not a bad thing to do. You should try to work on your problems but if that’s where you spend all your time… Problems are like weeds. They just keep coming back up. And what will happen is it will be a sad day when you get to the end of your life and realize, “All I did was try to eliminate and manage problems,” and you never went after your purpose. What ends up happening is when you go after your purpose, whatever it is God has called you to do, it’s not that your problems go away. It’s just that they get smaller. God says to us in 1 Peter 4, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” That’s like, “I’m going to pull my head up and stop looking at my own life. I’m going to look at the lives of others.”“Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ.”So why should you serve? You serve not just to fill an empty role or to perform a function, but you actually serve so that you can show others the goodness of God. It says this in chapter 2 of 1 Peter, “…for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. ‘Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.’” So what that is saying there is you’re not just directing traffic out in the parking lot. You are showing others the goodness of God by the way in which you serve. You’re not just watching kids in Kids’ Ministry, you’re actually showing them the goodness of God by the way you are impacting their lives. You’re not just greeting people at a door. You’re showing others the goodness of God. You’re not just picking up trash in the hallway or in a bathroom. You’re actually showing others the goodness of God by the way in which you serve. So let me just get real honest with you. When it comes to your experience with a church, whether it’s this one or another one, eventually there will come a day when the honeymoon period will wear off. What I mean by that… Maybe some of you are here, you’re brand new to the church and you think this is the greatest church ever. I would say, “Just give it a year or less.” Eventually what will happen is maybe the newness wears off, maybe something changes whatever it could be. Maybe you get bored, distracted, life throws a curve ball. Our church is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. You’ll come to this place eventually, speaking as a person who has been in church my whole life, where you just sort of feel like you’re in the spiritual doldrums. You’re like, “I’m just in a valley. I can’t get out of that. I feel I’m on a plateau and God’s not doing anything in my life.” For many of us what will end up happening is we’ll think, “Maybe the church is the problem. I need to bounce to another church,” and maybe so. God not only calls people to churches, he calls them through them. But before you bounce to anther church, why don’t you say, “You know what God? Maybe what needs to happen is I’ve been so focused on my own needs. Let me get externally focused and focus on the needs of others.” Take a lap with that and see what God might do. A young lady who attends one of our campuses is new to our church and got baptized on week one of Growth Track, so everything is brand new to her. Last week she was on Facebook and noticed a post come through her feed from somebody she didn’t know. This lady was saying, “Our family is looking for a church to go to. Does anybody have any recommendations?” So she invited them. She doesn’t know them—imagine that. She is friends with somebody on Facebook and doesn’t know them. She said, “Hey, you can come with me to my church.” “Oh, that is great. What service?” They set up all the times communicating back and forth. She never met her before. So she shows up at the campus last weekend. She is in the lobby waiting for this lady and her family to come. All she has to go on is the lady’s Facebook profile picture. So she is looking around. The service is getting ready to start. So she goes into the auditorium and walks up to the greeter and shows the profile picture and says, “If this lady and her family come in, I’m sitting right down here. Just bring them in and sit them down right next to me.”So she goes down and sure enough a few minutes later the greeter comes down and seats this family next to her. She said she experienced the service totally differently because she had invited somebody to come. She wanted them to be moved by it. She was hoping the message would be applicable to them, all those things. She wasn’t totally focused on herself. When the service got done, she looked at the lady and the lady said, “Thanks so much for inviting us.” She said, “If you want to come back next week you can sit with me again.” The lady looked at her and said, “Oh for sure, we’ll be back next week,” and turns and leaves. This young lady was in tears. She said to the other person she was talking to about this, “That was amazing. That experience changed the way I see church.” What was happening was she was making herself available for God to use. There is something that can happen in all of our lives. When you don’t make yourself available for God to use you, if you just kind of attend church, after a while what ends up happening is you become a churched person. And speaking as a churched person, churched people have a habit of seeing what happens here on a weekend as something for us, like a bless me club.But never is your spiritual maturity determined more than when your focus is upon other people, and never is that tested more than when you begin to serve others. You begin to say, “It’s not about me. Let me pick up a wash basin and a towel. Let me begin to wash the feet of other people. Let me begin to serve others.” This is the very reason Jesus came. In Matthew 20 two of Jesus’ disciples, James and John, were arguing about who had the seats of greatest honor next to Jesus. And Jesus and the rest of the disciples are put out by the whole discussion. And Jesus says to them: You are thinking like a worldly leader. A worldly leader tries to determine how his leadership can benefit himself. ”But among you it will be,” or it should be, “different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant…” And then Jesus says this, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” In other words: You are never more like Jesus than when you are serving others. So can I just ask you today is there something that God is asking you to do and a lot like Moses you’re hesitant because of your inability or your failures? God would just simply say: You’re perfect because I can actually do extraordinary things through your ordinary. Would you be willing to step up and serve him? We want to help you with that. On the card there are three big areas for you to serve in—Connections, Kids’ and Student Ministries, and Worship Arts. Are those the only ways you can serve around here? No, but those are three big areas I would direct you to. Some of you may say, “I serve outside of the church. I serve in the city.” That’s fantastic, but you can do both. And God may say: I want to just ask you to be willing and available today to do what only I can do in and through you. Let me pray for us together today as we commune with God and worship watching these baptisms. Father, we come to you right now and I pray you might take our availability and do extraordinary things through it. God, please, as we maybe wrestle with you a little bit on what it is you are calling each and every one of us to do, I would simply ask that you give us the courage to step forward and say, “God, I want to make a difference. Would you take my ordinary and do an extraordinary thing through it?” Meet us in this place as we spend some time reflecting on this message and what it means for us. I thank you for your goodness and your grace. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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