I spoke at my friend Steve Swisher’s church, Essential in Virginia Beach, a while back and I thought, “some other church may need this message”. So, I am putting my notes, along with some extra commentary, for anyone who would like to use it with their congregation, youth group or small group.
You can watch my full message below if you’re interested in the tone of the message, etc. or of you are wondering. “How can I get Paul to come share with my youth group or congregation?” you can always drop me an e-mail at email@example.com
Message: Serve Like You Own It
The word serve or service is part of the dna of our vocabulary.
(start off with the bold and let the audience finish)
Police officers protect and serve
To soldiers we say, thank you for your service
Mailmen, and others, are called civil servants
When you go to Chick Fila they say, “How may I serve you?”
When it comes to church we ask, “what time does service start?”
When something is not working we say It’s “out of service”.
This is the problem with many Christians when it comes to serving. They are out of service, either because they are broken and are hampered by inner issues or they are just not spiritually prepared to serve when the time comes.
It’s interesting, the Apostle Paul tells the Ephesians that when someone comes to the Lord, he says,
Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Ephesians 4:28
The Apostle Paul does not say join a small group (although small group are important) and he does not say look up every verse about not stealing (although bible study is important), not the Apostle Paul says to take immediate action, start being productive and serving others. Where you stole before, now you must create for the sake of others.
In three of the four gospels, Jesus is recorded as saying, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
The disciples tried to position themselves to be closest to Jesus. Jesus was having none of that and told James and John, and the rest of the disciples that this kind of greatness positioning was a page out of the Pharisee handbook.
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 10:41-45
My wife out serves me. To my shame. Guys, we’re competitive with everything except in loving and serving others, especially our spouses.
Illustration: I hate driving to a gas station and a majority of the pumps are out of service. I hate going to a store where many of the self serve check out lines are out of service. I hate walking to the hotel vending machines and finding them out of service. We want these things but are disappointed when the thing we want is inside a thing that is out of service.
We, the church, Christians, should never be “out of service”. If you currently serve in a ministry in this church, you ought to serve like you own it. You should say “This is my role, my responsibility to my brothers and sisters in Christ. I will not be out of service today”
Ownership – My Tire Story – He served me like he owned my car. (share your own)
Whatever we do for the Lord, and for others, we should do it like we own it, like it’s our responsibility. Whatever role in the church we have we have to say, “this is my parking lot, my nursery, my youth room, my kids room, my section to usher,” etc.” This is our role in the church, but we should also accept responsibility of serving others who are not in the church building. In fact, most of us have more opportunity to serve people outside the church than in.
Let me offer you three people we should be looking to serve like we own it,
Serve those who cannot offer anything back- Jesus’ ministry (woman to be stoned, the leper) was not self serving. He did not give to get. He gave with no expectations.
Serve those who don’t know/follow Him – Zacchaeus was a tax collector and the thief on the cross had only known Christ a few hours.
Serve those who don’t deserve it. Jesus washed the feet of two traitors and ten cowards. Jesus knew what it meant to serve those who did not appreciate what he was doing.
I hate this next verse, because it challenges my heart and my bias against wicked and ungrateful people. They don’t deserve it (my love, my help, etc.)
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Luke 6:35
The thing is, we were or are the ungrateful and the wicked and God serves us regardless, no bait and switch, no expectations. It is by His kindness that he draws us.
The whole process of sanctification, separating ourselves from the old way of life and allowing the Holy Spirit to renew our hearts and mind is so that we can be ready to serve.
Those who cleansed themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. 2 Timothy 2:21
Closing: Give the group/congregation time to reflect or fie them a chance to act (sign up to serve, receive Christ, etc.)
Song: With Every Act of Love by Jason Gray
I’d love to come speak at your church camp, retreat or D-Now. I also do youth team training on Becoming A Successful Youth Ministry, How To Grow Your Youth Ministry Faster and Discipleship Strategies For Youth Ministries.
E-Mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up for The Youth Ministry Round Up Newsletter and receive a free youth bible study.