Monday, June 28, 2021
This week, I'm going to talk to you about improving your serve. That's right, I'm going to teach you how to play tennis. (No, not really!)
Monday, June 28, 2021
This week, I'm going to talk to you about improving your serve. That's right, I'm going to teach you how to play tennis. (No, not really!) I want to talk to you about how you can be a better servant of God. So, I'm going to give you three things to consider when it comes to serving God. The first is this: When it comes to serving others, serve like Jesus Christ. Think about Jesus Christ. He came to earth in the most humble of fashions at Christmas with no place to lay his head at the inn, but in the manger. You know that whole story. From then on, Jesus Christ lived his life in abject humility. But he came as God, and because he came as God, he deserved to be served. Yet, what a God he is to do the exact opposite. He came to serve us. Mark 10:45 tells us, "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." The Son of Man, Jesus Christ, did not come to be served, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many. Jesus Christ came to earth to serve us. What is service? Serve-us. Jesus Christ served us in the greatest way. Ultimately, his death on the cross was the greatest serve to us. He lost the perfect serve by giving his life on the cross and taking our place on the cross. And if you want to be like Jesus Christ, you have to learn to serve others.
You know, I'm kind of still in mourning because Drew Brees retired as quarterback of the New Orleans Saints (a great football team). So, I've been curious to see who's going to win the backup quarterback battle. The Saints have two guys, a guy named Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. Jameis Winston came from Tampa Bay. He was the first round pick number one overall draft pick a few years ago from Tampa, won the Heisman Trophy at Florida State University. He is professing to be a Christian, and I believe it. He said, "One of the things I learned from Drew Brees, and one of the things I practice, is I just want to serve everybody I can. I serve. How can I serve you? How can I serve you? How can I serve you?" When someone like Jameis says that, that convinces me he's a Christian because he has the fruit of being a Christian: he's serving.
If you want to be most like Jesus Christ, serve people. If the Son of Man came to serve, not to be served, and to give his life as a ransom, the ultimate service to humanity in the world, so should you. Are you improving your serve? Are you serving like Jesus Christ? "How do I do that, Vince?" Simple. Learn to say this phrase with sincerity to as many people as you can, in as many situations as you can, "How can I serve you?" You start talking to someone and say, "Hey, how are you doing? How can I serve you? How can I help you?" If you do that, I am telling you right now, you'll find a lot more joy because the world suggests to us that when people serve us, we're powerful. It's powerful to have people under you who serve you. There's a place for that, I suppose, but even the greatest leaders who have "people under them," are serving them as well. I want to be a great leader, and I want to keep getting better and better at improving my own serve. Do you serve like Jesus Christ served other people? Start by serving your family. Your spouse, your children, your parents, whatever the situation is, and then serve others. And here's another thing, serve in the church. Use your gifts in the church. We're going to talk about this, but man, the church needs your gifts. Our church needs your gifts, every church does.
Let's pray. Father in heaven, I pray that you help us improve our serve and serve like Jesus Christ. Help us to give our life away to others. Thank you that you didn't call us to die on the cross for others, but you did call us to sacrifice. Help us to find joy in that, so that we improve our serve. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Friday, April 16, 2021
We live in a very self-aggrandizing world. But today, I want to talk to you about something countercultural, and that's this: celebrate someone else.
Friday, April 16, 2021
1 Thessalonians 2:17-20
We live in a very self-aggrandizing world. People are all "Look at me, look at me, look at me." There's even been a new trend in the last five years where an athlete will score a touchdown and they'll point to their back. Do you know what that is? They're pointing to their nameplate, basically saying, "Hey, my name is Smith, or Jones, Sanders, Edwards, Johnson, etc. Look at me, I scored, look at me." There's a lot of self-aggrandizing. Now, there's an appropriate place to thank God for your accomplishments and have what I would call a humble appreciation for what God has done in you. Sometimes the apostle Paul even said, boasting is not profitable. but sometimes it's necessary. Sometimes you just have to stick up for yourself, and you have to list the things you've done. But today, I want to talk to you about something countercultural, and that's this: celebrate someone else.
I get that from 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20. Look at what Paul says to the Thessalonians. He says, "But brothers, when we were torn away from you for a short time, in person, not in thought, out of our intense longing, we made every effort to see you. For we wanted to come to you - certainly I, Paul, did, again and again - but Satan stopped us. For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of Lord Jesus Christ when He comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and our joy." So, the evil one put some spiritual obstacles between Paul and his visiting of the Thessalonians. But Paul insists that he wants to visit them, and then he celebrates them. He says, "For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of Lord Jesus Christ when He comes?" Paul doesn't say, "It is me! It is what I did!" No, I like what he says, "Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and our joy." That is countercultural! People say, "I'm my glory, I glorify myself, I'm the joy!" and God says, "Celebrate somebody else."
Let's pray. Father in Heaven, help us to get off ourselves and to get on somebody else's team. Help us to celebrate the success of other people, to be joyful for others. I know this, if we do that. people will do the same back to us. Maybe not everybody, but many. And also, it's just fun. It's fun to see other people happy. We live in a sad, depressing world, so give us the courage to celebrate joy in somebody else's life, like Paul did for the wonderful new Christians in Thessalonica. We thank you for this in Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, April 5, 2021
If I say to you, I think being a humble person will get you further in life than being a person who has to fight and get their own way, you would probably agree with me in a certain sense, but inside privately, you'd question what I have to say.
Monday, April 5, 2021
James 4:6, 10
What is the reward for humility? James tells us in James 4:6 and 10. He tells us the reward that God gives the humble person, and that's, by the way, where the reward comes from. It's not just the natural consequences of life, but a direct reward from God. Listen to this. James 4:6, "That's why the scripture says, 'God opposes the proud. But gives grace to the humble.'" So, humility and pride are the two polar extremes. God resists the proud. Why? The proud say, "I can do it." And God says, "Okay, if you can do it, I'll let you do it. " It doesn't work. But he gives grace to the humble. What does that mean? A humble person is a person who's always thinking less about himself, and more about God and other people. When it says that God gives grace to the humble, what does that mean? Well, grace has two ideas, two shades of meaning to it, or two dimensions, perhaps. The first is that that God will give you undeserved favor. When you act with humility, he'll give you undeserved favor. Think about it. Imagine you go to your boss, and you're asking for a raise, and you say, "Look, I demand a raise, like I need to have a raise, right now. I want a raise, and you need to give me a raise," and you're prideful about it. Or, instead, if you say, "Boss, would you consider giving me a raise? I'm not demanding it. I'm humbly asking," and then you make your case politely, but give him the room to decide, what do you think's going to give you the best chance to get the raise? The humble approach will, not only because it makes sense, but because God will give you the grace.
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Today we're going to be dealing with the topic of trusting in God. I know that sounds like a big topic, but it's really about trusting in Him when we're dealing with life and things are completely out of our control.
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Today we're going to be dealing with the topic of trusting in God. I know that sounds like a big topic, but it's really about trusting in Him when we're dealing with life and things are completely out of our control. We're going to look at Psalm 131. It says, "O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; Nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forever."
I see three main things here. In verse one, he says, "O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; Nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me." The author's being completely honest and humble. Be honest and be humble. Be honest that you can't do it. God doesn't want someone with all the answers who thinks they have it all figured out and they're just overconfident as a result. Be humble. Humility is recognizing that it's not all about you. My son, Eli, is my youngest of four. Because he's so short right now, when he goes to get a glass and get a drink or get a bowl for his cereal in the morning, he often has to ask for help because he knows he just can't reach it. It's okay to be humble. It's okay to be honest.
In verse two: "Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me." What's he doing there? He's talking about contentment. First, he says in verse one, be humble and be honest. Then, in verse two, he says to be content. I've composed and quieted my soul. I'm content where I am, just like a weaned child rests against his mother. It's just like that bond that a mother can meet the needs of a child and that child rests against after feeding. Then there is contentment and quiet. So be honest and humble, be content, and then lastly, be hopeful.
"Oh, my soul, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever." From this time forth and forever, be hopeful for what God has for you to come. How you ultimately trust God has everything to do with you and has nothing to do with you. You have to be humble. You have to be honest. You have to be content. You have to be hopeful. Ultimately, though, it is God in whom we trust.
Let me pray. Father, we thank you that we can solely trust in you, not having to look anywhere else. But Father, sometimes it's very difficult, especially when life gets out of control and things we just can't seem to keep a grasp on them. I pray that we can learn from this passage and that we can employ these things in our own lives, that Lord, before you, we can be honest and humble, Lord, that we can be content and we can be hopeful. We thank you in Jesus' name, amen.
Thursday, January 7, 2021
Today, I want to talk to you about when weakness is strength. How can you be strong when you're weak? It seems like a complete oxymoron.
Thursday, January 7, 2021
2 Corinthians 12:8
2 Corinthians is probably one of the most neglected books of the New Testament. It's not really taught a lot and there are not many "good" verses in it. But it's Paul's most personal and vulnerable letter. He talks about all the different challenges he faced in dealing with the Corinthians. There were many accusations leveled against him: he wasn't an apostle, he was two- faced, etc, etc. In chapter 12, he talks about how he faced a problem in his life that made him so weak that he begged God to take it away. He called it a thorn in the flesh. We don't know what the thorn in the flesh was. It could have been a literal pain or a figurative expression. We don't know what it was, but it was so bad that Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:8, "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness.'" Three times Paul pleaded with the Lord to take away the weakness, whatever this thorn in the flesh was. But sometimes God is not going to take away the thorn in the flesh. Sometimes he's going to allow it to work in your life, so that in your weakness his power might show up.
How was Paul's weakness strength? Here's a hint. Paul goes on to say, "Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." Can you imagine going to a meeting at work and bragging about your weaknesses? Well, Paul is not bragging about his particular weaknesses, he's bragging about the fact that weaknesses do certain things. He says, I will more gladly boast about my weaknesses, for when I am weak, then I am strong. What does that mean? It seems like a contradiction. Let me give you a couple of words to fill in that will add more clarity. When you study this passage, Paul is fundamentally saying, when I am weak in myself, then I am strong in the Lord.
What's he saying? Weakness can be strength when your weaknesses are brought to the strong attention of God Almighty. Paul had all of these challenges, especially the thorn in the flesh. He had hardships, insults, everything you can imagine, but he was strong, because in his weakness he turned to the strong God. If you didn't have any weaknesses, you wouldn't turn to the strong guy. You would just kind of muddled in the middle, getting by but not thriving. When you're weak, you turn to God and His strength, and he lifts you up higher than you would have ever been on your own. God doesn't want you to muddle in the middle. He wants you to be strong. So, when you're weak, acknowledge it. Be humble about it, speak to it. Be open about it. You have to tell everybody in the world about every weakness in your life. Just be a humble person, admit to God that you're weak, and then let God's strength replace your weakness. When I am weak in myself, then I am strong in him.