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Showing posts with label Serving Others. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Serving Others. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

9 Acts of Service


Service is an attitude of the heart, but it is an attitude that's lived out through tangible acts.  Here are nine practical kinds of service you can give throughout life. (These are based on Richard Foster's book, The Celebration of Discipline.)


  1. Secret service. We are all given many opportunities to serve in ways that no one else sees. There is great blessing in secret acts of service, whether large or small.
  2. Small acts of kindness. We don’t always have to do big, important stuff. Bringing someone a drink, cleaning up a spill, giving someone a ride, stopping by the store to pick up some milk for your spouse. Nobody is too important to do the menial tasks of life. And those who think their time is too important to be wasted on small acts of kindness may think too highly of themselves. 
  3. Guarding someone’s reputation. There is real wisdom in the old adage: “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.” Be someone who builds up others instead of tearing them down. Don’t participate in gossip and urge others to stop as well. 
  4. The service of being served. Many people are like Peter, who didn’t want Jesus to wash his feet. Don’t steal someone else’s blessing by refusing to let others serve you. 
  5. The service of common courtesy. In our fast-paced, socially disconnected age of technology, common social customs are even more important. Be polite. Remember to say “please” and “thank you”. Hold the door open for ladies and your elders. Be sure to RSVP promptly when requested. Don’t be rude by neglecting common courtesies as outdated. 
  6. The service of hospitality. Hospitality is making people feel welcome and comfortable and seeing that their basic needs are met—especially when they are away from their home. Don’t get so caught up in the details of hospitality that you lose sight of making people feel loved. 
  7. The service of listening. One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is just to listen. Give people your undivided attention. Put down your phone, turn off the TV, and focus. You don’t have to have the right answers. Just listen and care. Listening to others also quiets and disciplines the mind to listen to God. 
  8. Bearing one another’s burdens. It is a great act of service to
    offer care and compassion when others are going through troubles. Send a sympathy card. Offer a meal. Sometimes we don’t know what to say. That’s ok. Just say you don’t know what to say, but that you care. Sometimes, I’ll that’s needed is to be there and say nothing at all. 
  9. Sharing the Word of God with one another. We are all part of the Body of Christ. It’s not just pastors and Sunday school teachers who hear from God. God speaks to us all and moves in all our lives. When we keep it to ourselves, we cheat the rest of the world. One of the greatest gifts of service can be simply to share what God is doing in you or saying to you with others. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

A Kingdom Not of This World

Introduction
Last week, I shared that everyone who believes in and follows Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior is a king or queen in God's Kingdom.  I hope that knowledge gives all God's people great confidence.  We have dignity because God chose us to be His royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's very own possession.  It is a profound revelation that we are that important and loved by the God of the universe.  


Today, I want to share how we should live as royalty in God's Kingdom.  I thought I might get some insights by looking at how royal families on earth live.  So I did some research into the royal family of England.  I found some interesting facts about royal etiquette, but unfortunately, I don't think it will be very helpful in the Kingdom of God.  For instance:



  1. The royal family of England cannot be touched by non-royals (bummer--no hugs).  
  2. They are not supposed to eat shellfish  (apparently there is a fear of food poisoning).  
  3. All Royals must enter a room and sit at tables in order of  their royal rank.
  4. No one may eat after the Queen has finished eating.
  5. Royals cannot sit with their legs crossed.
  6. Royals must hold their eating utensils in the correct hands.
  7. Royals must hold a tea cups properly.

England is a limited monarchy.  There role of the royal family is mostly ceremonial.  However, in the past, there were absolute monarchies.  In an absolute monarchy, the king or queen has absolute power over the people.  The monarch can issue decrees–the quick, unchallenged creation of a law.  They can also impose unchallenged punishments or pardons.  Regardless of whether the royal decree, punishment, or pardon is fair or even makes sense, it must be obeyed because the king or queen has absolute authority.  I'm glad America is a democracy and not an absolute monarchy.  It isn't wise to let a mortal and fallible king or queen have absolute power.  We know of several examples of absolute monarchies and we can see the trouble they get into.  Israel in the Old Testament started out as an absolute monarchy.  The Roman Empire in Jesus' day was an absolute monarchy.  Even today, Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy.  

In the Kingdom of God, Jesus is an absolute monarch.  He created everything and He owns it all.  He is supreme and the only one worthy and able to rule with justice.  He is the King of kings and Lord of lords.  But if we who follow Jesus Christ are kings and queens, how then shall we live?  Well, let's study what Jesus said.

John 18:36
Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”

So to start with, we see that the Kingdom of God is not of this world and so it doesn't follow the pattern of this world's royal families.  (Thank goodness, because I really like to eat shellfish!)  But what are the rules for God's Kingdom?  Again, listen to Jesus.

Luke 22:25-27
25 Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ 26 But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. 27 Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.

From Jesus' teaching, we can list 5 rules of Royal Etiquette in God's Kingdom.


Royal Etiquette in God’s Kingdom
Number 1 - The greatest kings and queens in God’s Kingdom are the servants of all.  
This first rule undergirds 
everything.  Jesus taught many different lessons throughout his ministry.  However, it was all founded on this one principle--servanthood.  Jesus was the greatest of all servants.  He left the glory of Heaven to come save us, even though we don't deserve it.  That is divine royalty and all the other rules of etiquette in God's Kingdom follow the first.

Number 2 - God’s kings and queens seek the glory of God.
Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords.  He is the only one worthy of glory.  Yet, Jesus didn't come to toot his own horn.  Jesus came to glorify God, not himself.  A king or queen in God’s Kingdom is loyal to God and seeks God’s will above all else.  They're not trying to get their own way, not seeking public approval or popularity, not wanting financial security or prosperity, not after power or influence.  God’s kings and queens are willing to lay down their life and sacrifice all for the sake of the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ.

Number 3 - God’s kings and queens are willing to sacrifice so that others can find true joy.
What is true joy?  True joy is to know Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior of the world.  Those who follow Jesus know that incredible joy and want the whole world to know it too.  So we go into all the world to make disciples of Jesus Christ.  We preach the Gospel and share the Good News so that as many as possible will lay down their selfish pursuits and come to know the source of true Joy.  And guess what?  This also brings glory to God (which is number 2)!

Number 4 - God’s kings and queens are willing to give up their own rights rather than hurt the Good News about Jesus Christ.
One of the greatest evangelists in God's Kingdom is the Apostle Paul.  He wrote most of the New Testament and shaped the early Church.  Paul wrote Galatians, an epic declaration of Christians freedom in Christ.  Paul was the great herald who preached about our absolutely free from all the rules and regulations of the Old Testament.  Yet look at how Paul lived.  He was willing to set aside his freedom for the sake of the Gospel.  Sometimes Paul chose not to eat or drink certain foods (not because he had to, but because he didn’t want to do anything that would hinder others from listening to his message about Jesus Christ).  For the same reason, Paul often refused the financial support he deserved from those he served; instead made his own living as a tentmaker and preached for free.  Paul would rather go hungry or dress poorly than be a financial burden to the ones he was trying to convert to Jesus.  The greatest evangelist was often beaten or was homeless or endured disrespect inside and outside the church for the sake of the Gospel.  And Paul even decided not to get married so he could devote all of his time to spreading Gospel to as many people as possible.  In the end, Paul died as a martyr.  We have great freedom and privilege as kings and queens in God's Kingdom, but we should be ready to set that all aside for the sake of sharing the Good News about Jesus with a dying world.  

Number 5 - God’s kings and queens aren’t worried about being in the spotlight or receiving recognition.  
Perhaps a wedding is a good illustration.  In a wedding, the bride and the groom are the most important people, but the matron of honor and the best man are important too.  The best man and matron of honor are honored as being very special people in the bride and groom's life, but the wedding is not about them.  They are there to assist the bride and groom and help everyone focus on them.  They sometimes share the spotlight, but they gladly give it up so that everyone can focus on the bride and groom.

Well, God’s kings and queens realize this life is not about them.  It’s about what we can do to shine the spotlight on others and ultimately on Jesus Christ—the only one who truly deserves to be recognized and admired.  Sometimes, we may share the spotlight with Jesus for a time.  It can be addicting; it is an amazing rush to stand beside Jesus and share in His glory, but God’s kings and queens realize the spotlight is not for us.  We graciously step aside when it’s time for us to get out of the way so the King of kings and Lord of lords can be seen more fully and receive all the glory.

Conclusion
If you follow Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are royalty in God's Kingdom.  It is an amazing privilege and honor.  As the royal family of God, we can live with confidence and dignity as we serve others, seek the glory of God, sacrifice for others, set aside our rights for the sake of the Kingdom's mission, and stop worrying about getting recognition.  Let's follow Christ's example--for the greatest in the Kingdom will be the servant of all.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Jesus and the 5,000

Introduction
            March Madness falls right in the middle of the Christian season of Lent this year.  Lent is the 40 days (not including Sundays) between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.  It is a time when Christians prepare for Easter by focusing on spiritual growth through prayer, study, and focus.  Will take the challenge to make a 3-pointer for March Madness/Lent by focusing on prayer, study, and service?  Jesus was committed to all three.  Today, let's look at one story about how he served. 

Slides – Matthew 14:13-21

13 As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns. 14 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.


15 That evening the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.”

16 But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.”

17 “But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered.

18 “Bring them here,” he said. 19 Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. 20 They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. 21 About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children!

We Want to Withdraw

            Serving is not just something we do on Sunday or every now and then.  We are called to live a life of service.  Jesus is our Lord, our Savior, and our example.  He lived his life as a living sacrifice—serving people everywhere he went. 
            You might think, “Well sure, he was Jesus.  It was easy for him.”  Jesus was God, but he was also human.  He got tired.  He got frustrated.  He dealt with feelings of depression and sadness and loneliness just like everyone does.  I think this story is a perfect example and it’s the reason I decided to read the story from the Gospel of Matthew today instead of Luke.  Matthew really emphasizes something important that’s going on in Jesus’ life.  You see, we usually focus on the miracle of how Jesus fed 5,000 people and skip right over something very personal going on in Jesus’ life.
The story begins in verse 13, where it says, “As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone.”  What was the news Jesus heard?  He’d just heard the news of his cousin John’s gruesome death by beheading. 
There are a lot of cousins at the church I serve.  I’ve been here 7 years and it took me a long time to figure out who all is related to who.  So many cousins and aunts and uncles…  There’s a lot more distant relations I probably still haven’t figured out, but I know there are some cousins in my church that are very close—maybe more like sisters and brothers than cousins.  Perhaps you have a cousin you've been close to.  Well, how would you feel if you got the news Jesus did about your cousin?  You would be devastated.
When Jesus heard his cousin was dead, it says he got in a boat and went away “to a remote area to be alone.”  I don’t know what Jesus was doing out there in the middle of a deserted lake and the scriptures don’t say, but I think I can imagine because I’ve done it before.  You get out there on the lake and it’s peaceful and still.  You pray.  You listen.  You reflect.
Maybe Jesus was out there on the lake in the quiet remembering what life was like for him and his cousin before the Spirit of God had led them both into the perilous lime light of public ministry—a time before crowds pressed them for leadership and healing and deliverance, a time before politics mattered so much and speaking the truth could get you beheaded or crucified. 
Don’t we all get tired of “adulting” sometimes?  Isn’t it nice when we can just run away to a quiet place. Who couldn’t use a little more quiet time to refresh the soul and reconnect with God?  That’s what Jesus was doing. 

We’re Moved to Compassion

No matter how you get away or how far you go, when you come back, you find that life has not taken a break with you.  There are still bills to be paid and checkbooks to balance and houses to clean and weddings to plan and people who need help.  But with your mind clear and your own spirit at peace you can rise above the fray and view the pressing needs of the world from outside of yourself. 
And thus it was for Jesus as he returned to the shore.  He saw a great crowd, full of needs.  And out of compassion for them, he cured their sick.  Can’t you see him there: passing among the great crowd, no longer burdened by his own troubles?  How does he pass so quickly from group to group, here bringing sight to the blind, there bringing hearing to the deaf?  Matthew makes no mention of any teaching taking place.  Didn’t Jesus at least once stand in righteous indignation and say to a drunken father, “If you wouldn’t drink so much you’re son wouldn’t be struggling with this demon and he wouldn’t go into fits of rage in the first place…” No, it simply says in verse 14, “he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”  Ah, yes, I can see his kind hands stretching out to heal.  And the day wears on and soon the sun begins to set and you can hear babies beginning to cry—first over here, next over there.  It is that distinctive, imploring cry of a child that says to those who are accustomed to hearing it, “Mommy, Daddy, I’m hungry…” 
Can you put yourselves in the disciple’s shoes for a minute?  Walking with Jesus as he ministers, assisting him as he directs you, patiently working your way through the seemingly endless crowds of needy people, seeing the hungry expressions growing on each needy face as your own stomach begins to grind and complain.  You know that there is food waiting for you, but what about this crowd?  Are you going eat right there in front of them while they have nothing? 

We Face Impossible Challenges

            So the disciples ask Jesus to send the crowds away to go buy their own food.  And then Jesus gives the disciples this impossible challenge, “you feed them.”  Did he really mean the disciples were supposed to feed this massive crowd?  They didn't plan for that.  It wasn't on their agenda.  They hadn't secured the supplies.  They couldn't afford that kind of outreach.
Have things changed that much in 2,000 years?  Have we not ever felt ashamed to see a hungry person holding a sign saying “Need food”?  And a voice inside us says, “you feed them.”  They weren't part of our agenda that day.  We didn't plan for a way to help them.  We don't know how to help them or have the resources to really do it. 
Or maybe we see that angry teenage girl at school; you know the one—dressed all in black with pale white skin, black lips, black nails, weird hair, and a chain strung from her ear to her nose and tangled all around her heart.  Or what about the family that lives across the street; what’s their names again?  Or maybe it’s our brother or sister, our husband or wife, our son or daughter, or our cousin.  Or maybe it's the people we work with that need leadership and guidance so they can truly serve the way God wants them to in the workplace.  Or maybe it’s the shut-in that's growing old and feeble and can’t leave the house anymore.  Or maybe it’s the congregation or Sunday school class that looks to us each Sabbath to fill them with words from the mouth of God.  And a still, small voice says inside us, “you feed them.”
The cardboard signs all read something different, “Need food,” “Need love,”  “Need hope,” but they all say, “I need help.”  And when we turn to Jesus and ask him to do something, he says, “you feed them.” 
I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to run off and hide, because I have so little to give.  Who am I?  What have I to give?  How am I to feed this hungry crowd when I barley have enough to feed my own soul?  But there is no running away.  The crowds follow you wherever you go and they are there waiting for you when at last you come ashore.  And the voice still whispers, “you feed them.” 

God Provides
            The disciples said to Jesus, “But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered.  18 “Bring them here,” he said. 19 Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. 20 They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers.”
            Can you see them all sitting together, eating, drinking, laughing, and sharing?  What started as a meager 5 loaves ended in 12 baskets full of leftovers and a crowd full of satisfied people.  Even the disciples were filled.  How extraordinary that by giving away the little you do have—not to the crowd, but to God—you could be filled and have an abundance left over.
            I don’t know how God does it, but He has this amazing way of taking the meager things we have to offer and multiplying them into an abundance of good.  It still amazes me, every time I preach, that God would use my humble ability.  I can’t remember a time when I stood in the pulpit and was satisfied with the message I had prepared.  I always feel like there is room for improvement.  Maybe the ending seems too loose or the illustrations seem too vague or the message is not insightful or instructive or nourishing enough.  Yet God takes this humble gift I bring and multiplies it and the Word of God touches people. 
            Thank God we are not operating on our own power.  We are drawing on the miraculous power of Christ who takes the ordinary things we offer and turns them into the extraordinary things people need.   

Conclusion
         So then, we must serve.  We must follow Jesus’ command:  “You feed them.”  Even when we are tired, God gives us new strength.  Even when we have very little to give, Jesus takes what we have and multiplies it.  So we can listen.  We can obey.  We can serve.  We can feed the hungry, heal the sick, give to the needy, and bind up the broken-hearted.  With God’s help, we can give hope to the hopeless, build new relationships, and help our community.  And in the process, we find that we ourselves are the ones who receive the biggest blessings, and the blessings overflow.  

God grant us the extraordinary peace, assurance, compassion, and abundance that comes when we rest in Your amazing grace and draw on the miraculous power You offer as we face life’s impossible challenges.  Amen.


 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Jesus, the Name Above All Names

Philippians 2:5-11
 
Introduction
I’m terrible with names, but after six years I’m finally starting to learn everyone’s names at my church.  For me, that’s an incredible miracle and I give glory to God for it.  Names still slip my mind, but it’s not that I don’t know them.  It’s just absent mindedness I think.  I will look right at someone I know very well and the name just won’t come to me.  I think it’s a disorder! 
I even started pronouncing Andrea Denson’s name right; but the only problem is now I call all Andreas, Undrea!  I finally figured out Barbara (older) and Becky (younger) Haley.  I knew your names were Barbara and Becky Haley for years, but I couldn’t keep straight which one was which!  And I’ve even had fun meeting new people coming to our church like DJ Seifert who joined Pleasant Grove last Sunday and his mother, Susan Stone (who by the way in my head I keep wanting to call Sharon Stone!  So Susan, please forgive me if I ever call you Sharon.  I know who you are, but I’m also an absent minded duffus sometimes!)
And I’ve finally figured out all the Brookers—at least the ones that attend Pleasant Grove.  I think I know who all belongs to who—even the ones who don’t have the last name Brooker anymore.  Of course, I still meet people out in the community sometimes who say they are part of the Brooker family and it catches me off guard because I wasn’t as familiar with them.
            It seems like every church I’ve gone to there are families and names that stand out.  In my last church, it was the Woodwards.  At the one before that, it was the Busbins.  In Lithia Springs, it was the Andrews family.  At East Cobb, it was the Dobbins family and the Ragsdales and others.  These have all been strong, proud families with a rich heritage in their communities.  We all have pride in our family names, but the families that have made the best impact on their church and community for God have been the ones who recognized the Name above all names—Jesus Christ.  The best families pattern themselves after Jesus’ example.
 
Philippians 2:5-11
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God,
    he did not think of equality with God
    as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
    he took the humble position of a slave
    and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
    he humbled himself in obedience to God
    and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
    and gave him the name above all other names,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.
 
            Philippians 2:5-11, is one of my favorite passages in the Bible.  We ought to commit it to memory because it teaches us the attitude of Christ we should imitate.  Though he was the Son of God—deserving respect and admiration, the only person who ever lived who was actually worthy of straight out worship—Jesus was not at all presumptuous.  He was just the opposite.  The Scripture says he was, “humble” and “obedient” and that he served as a slave and even died like a criminal taking our place.  So we who call ourselves Christians should have an attitude like his.
Philippians 2:3-4 says, Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”  That’s pretty straightforward.  It’s hard to do, but not because it doesn’t make sense.  It makes perfect sense; it’s just hard to do. 

Don’t be selfish.
Jesus was very clear that his followers were not to be selfish.  He put it plainly and even took it to its ultimate conclusion saying it like this, “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.”  This saying of Jesus is listed at least five times in the Gospels; I think that proves Jesus was serious about it.  I know he was, because he lived it.  Jesus didn’t ask his followers to do something he wasn’t willing to do himself.  For his entire earthly ministry, Jesus gave unselfishly.  In the end, he literally gave his own life for our sake.
Giving up your life in order to save it seems contradictory, but Jesus spoke the Truth.  I have seen this Truth played out again and again.  People who surrender their life to God and serve sacrificially are blessed and fulfilled in ways that selfish people never experience. 
What applies to individuals is also true for churches.  I see it all the time, because fewer people are going to church these days.  When a church starts shrinking, the church folks get worried.  They think, “If we don’t do something, our church isn’t going to survive.”  So they try a couple things to save the church’s life.  Some try to increase attendance—invite more people to come.   Some try to “stop the bleeding” of people leaving the church. 
At first glance, that seems like the thing to do, but take a closer look.  Isn’t that “survival” attitude really just a selfish motive in disguise?  Isn’t that just the church trying to “cling to its life?”  What does that have to do with sharing the Gospel?  What does that have to do with showing the sacrificial love of Jesus to others? 
Churches in survival mode try to walk softly and make everyone happy so they will stay.  They are less likely to speak the Truth, because it might offend someone and drive them away.  The irony is people leave “survival mode” churches anyway, because people can tell when the church really isn’t genuinely interested in them and how the church can serve them.  People can tell that churches in “survival mode” are really just interested in the butts and the bucks—getting more butts in the pews and more bucks in the offering plates.  That’s not the Church Jesus calls us to be.  If we want to be the “Church” Jesus wishes us to be and if we want to be the people Jesus calls us to be, we need to let go of our life in service of others. 
The Truth is people (and churches) who care enough to set aside their own personal interests for the sake of others find true life just like Jesus promised.  These are the people who grow in the faith.  These are the churches that flourish.  It seems like an incredible contradiction, but it is a Promise given to us by the Son of God in Holy Scripture. 

Don’t try to impress people.  Be humble.
Jesus wasn’t trying to impress people, but people were impressed by him.  It was just a natural side effect.  You can’t help but take note of someone who willingly gives up everything in order to serve others.  The people who impress me the least seem to be the ones who brag about themselves the most. 
When I was at my last church, we were auditioning drummers for our praise band.  This one guy came in and started talking about how good he was.  He said he got his drum set for free because he was sponsored by Ludwig, a company that makes drum sets.  I was really excited, thinking, “Wow this guy must really be good.  We’d be lucky to have him in our band.”  But when he stopped talking and started playing it was awful!  He played way too loud and he couldn’t keep a steady tempo—he kept speeding up and slowing down at random times. Needless to say, he didn’t get the job as our drummer! I’d rather not have a drummer than have a bad one!
                 On the other hand, the Christians I have known that impressed me the most, weren’t even trying.  There was a guy at my last church who anonymously gave $50,000 to the church.  He didn't want any recognition or for anyone to know who he was.  He also said the church could use the funds anyway they wanted.
                 It’s not about money.  I know a lady who ate lunch with her elderly mother in the nursing everyday for years before she passed away.  She didn't do it for recognition, but for love.  There are others I know that deliver cookies to people who can’t get out of their homes much  and others who faithfully check on their neighbors everyday.  There are people who kneel in prayer for others when no one else sees.
No one knows all the things sacrificial Christians do.  People may not even know their names, because they don’t go around telling everyone about their good deeds.  There are no plaques hanging in the church in their honor.  They’re not seeking glory.  They’re just giving out of genuine love.  And that’s impressive, because that’s the same attitude Christ had.  One Day, God will elevate people with that attitude to a place of honor the same way Philippians 2 says God elevated Jesus to the place of highest honor because he laid down his life for a world of lost sinners on the cross. 

Conclusion
In this life, we are proud of our families.  We are proud of our children. We are proud of our parents and grandparents.  We are proud of our church.  We may even be proud of our names.  But One Day, all these things will pass away.  Do you realize that in heaven it won’t matter if you’re a Brooker or a Mullis or a Denson or a Caylor?  In Heaven, the only name that will matter is Jesus.  Jesus is the Name above all other names.  He is the Lord and Savior of the world.  And One Day, the Word of God says, “at the name of Jesus every knee [will] bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” 
Why wait?  Why not start now?  Why not give your full allegiance to Jesus from this day forward?  I challenge you today to lay down your life before Christ.  Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.  Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.  Make Jesus truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.  Then you will truly know the blessings of God in your life, in your family, in your church, and in your community.
            If you’d like to accept the challenge, then say a simple prayer.  Say, “Jesus, I give you my life.  I am yours.”  Would you say that prayer today?