Monday, August 16, 2021
How would you like to be the Apostle Paul's friend where he says, "Man, I got nobody like this guy"?
Monday, August 16, 2021
Today I want to talk to you about joy in serving others. You know, a lot of times when we talk about joy we talked about what happens to us. I have joy because I got a raise, or something good came into my life, or I got a new car, a new house, a new set of clubs, etc. It's always about what we get. But I want to talk to you about the joy you can give others because of what they get from you. This comes from Philippians 2:19-22. When writing the letter of Philippians, Paul was in a house arrest in Rome, very likely about 60 A.D. He needed a friend and look at how he speaks so positively of his friend, Timothy. Speaking to the Christians at Philippi, Paul says, "I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interest, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel."
How would you like to be the Apostle Paul's friend where he says, "Man, I got nobody like this guy"? Paul really trusts Timothy. He said, 'Timothy cares about me, and that brings joy into my life.' And then he says, 'Timothy cares about you and I know that brings joy in your life.' And the Apostle Paul said, 'It brings joy into my life when you help and serve other people.' You bring joy into their life, into the life of bystanders, like the Apostle Paul. And guess what? The text doesn't say it, but it's implied and it's evident in other scriptures, that when you bring joy into somebody else's life, you get joy back, because you get joy from seeing people joyful, and joy is a contagion. All I want to say is, if you're looking for joy in your life - there's no problem with having joy and getting something. You have to be careful not to get materialistic. There's no problem in getting joy from what God did for you. That's great, God did something for you! That's outstanding. But I'm telling you, there's another source of joy, which you're not going to see on a commercial for some new product. And that's this, you get joy in serving others. You know why? Because we're eternal. You're eternal, I'm eternal, God's eternal. Wen you help another eternal being somehow get closer to God, or deepen their faith, or come closer to crossing the line of faith, you've done something eternal. Nothing can bring more joy than the eternal.
When you get a great shirt, a week later you go, "I don't really like that shirt anymore." You buy something and really like it, but then month later you say, "I need a new set of clubs. These are better." You're never satisfied. When you build into the life of another human being and serve them, man, joy is contagious. Can you imagine that? Serving somebody and seeing a smile on her face, saying thank you. And other people going, Wow, that was cool. You're not doing it for the praise you get. You're doing it because it's right and God brings joy back into your life. I say this all the time and I mean it: The way to receive is by giving. Are you serving somebody today? Today can you serve somebody? Maybe it's somebody at work, maybe it's somebody at the grocery store, just a little compliment, a kind word. "God loves you." If you really want to do something amazing and bring joy to me, give them a Lakeshore invite card and invite them to our church, or to watch online. Serve people and you will have joy in your life. And guess what? One last thing - you know how you get joy? When you serve a lot of people, God sees. Then, you reap what you sow and people start doing things in your life to add value to your life and bring joy. It's like a contagion - the contagion of joy. But it all starts with serving people like Timothy did to Paul and the Christians at Philippi.
Father, I pray that all of us would have a servant attitude so that we can bring joy in other people's lives. These days are depressing. There's always bad news on COVID, there's always bad news on race, always bad news on the economy. Always means non-stop. It's always something, but God you don't ask us to live there, you ask us to live above the level of bad news. Live in joy. Give us a heart to serve more people in our everyday life so that will give them joy, and in return, we will get it ourselves, in Jesus' name. Amen.
Friday, July 2, 2021
Today, I want to share this truth, which I hope will encourage you and challenge you: serve others and you'll serve yourself.
Friday, July 2, 2021
For the past two Life Lifters, we've been talking about how to improve our serve. We don't mean a tennis technique, but a personal technique of serving others. So far, we have said that we have to learn to serve like Jesus Christ (Mark 10:45), and the only way to know what your spiritual gifts are is to serve. You can't just study, you have to deploy and put it into practice. Today, I want to share this truth, which I hope will encourage you and challenge you: serve others and you'll serve yourself. I get this from Romans 12: 4-5. It says, "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, who are many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."
He's saying, just like our body has hands, feet, eyes, ears, a nose, a mouth, shoulders, a back, and knees - all these different parts that all function differently, so does the church. The church is referred to as the body of Christ. It uses the metaphor of our body as a picture of the church. Some people in the church are an eye, some are a nose, an ear, a hand, a foot, etc. Nobody is an armpit, by the way. We all have different parts in the church, but we are all one body.
So, here's one of the many things I draw from that: If my foot needs the help of my hand, and my hand helps my foot, does the hand helping the foot, help the hand? Yes, because when my foot has a problem, my hand fixes that problem, and then my entire body feels better. If my eye has a problem that my hand can fix, and my hand fixes the problem, my eye feels better, but so does my hand because my whole body feels better. Using your gifts in the church will take energy, commitment, devotion, time, talent, treasure, etc. But here's the thing, when you serve in the church, which is the body, you make the whole body better. Then, because you're part of the body that you've made better, it benefits you. Whenever you give your life away, God gives it back to you. The Bible even says, "He who tries to save his life will lose it. Whoever loses his life for my [Jesus'] sake will find it" (Luke 17:33). One of the ways to do that is by serving in the church. The Bible again and again teaches that when you give your life to others, God gives you more satisfaction. Who are the most unhappy people? Narcissists. What's a narcissist? It's a person who only thinks about himself, or only focuses on herself. I'm sure you know people like this - they only call when they need something. They're always unhappy. The happiest people in this church are the people who are always serving, always looking to help others. They never have a self esteem problem, never a lack for friends, they grow, grow, grow, grow, grow, and that's how they improve their serve.
If you want to get better at serving, then serve others. And when you serve others, you'll find so much fulfillment that you will realize you actually served yourself. Father, thank you so much for this principle of serving others, and how it benefits the service of our own self. Help us as a church. Help every Bible-believing church have more and more people who understand the joy of serving, and may our church be better for it. Why? So that we can bring you more glory, because we're doing the work you want us to do on earth. We ask this in Jesus' name, amen.
Wednesday, June 30, 2021
There are different places in the Bible that tell you all the spiritual gifts that God gives to people. So once you understand and believe that, the next question is how do you know what gifts you have?
Wednesday, June 30, 2021
1 Corinthians 12:4-6
This week, we're talking about how to improve your serve. And I'm not talking about how tennis players yell and sound like they're having a seizure because they think it makes them serve better. I think the belief is that when you exhale, you exert more power, but anyway I'm not talking about that kind of serve. I'm talking about the towel over the arm, "How can I serve you?" type. Like a waiter serves us when we go to a restaurant, we want to have that attitude to serve. Last time, in June 28th's Life Lifter, I argued that if you want to improve your serve, serve like Jesus Christ. Mark 10:45 tells us that Jesus Christ came not to be served, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many.
Today, I want to help you with this by helping you find your gifts. So for instance, the Bible teaches that when you become a Christian you have spiritual gifts. You have certain gifts, others have certain gifts, everybody has different spiritual gifts, and different gift combinations. The Bible says the moment you become a Christian, you have spiritual gifts. A spiritual gift is a supernatural ability to do certain things well. The Bible has different gift lists in different places in the Bible that tell you all the spiritual gifts that God gives to people. So once you understand and believe that, the next question is how do you know what gifts you have? The answer is, you have to serve to find your gifts. You're never going to find your gifts by just thinking you have certain gifts. The only way you know is by serving.
Once you serve, and you do it well, and you do it effectively, and others affirm that, then you know, you got the gift. I get that from 1 Corinthians 12:4-6. Look at what it says, "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men." God works out these gifts. And if you notice, it's through the Trinity, verse four says, "the same Spirit," verse five, "the same Lord," verse six, "the same God." That's the Holy Spirit, the Son, and the Father in that order. He's saying God works through us to manifest these gifts. Well, if God is going to work through us to manifest these gifts, guess what we have to do to discover the gifts? Gotta use them. Some people want to know their spiritual gifts without using them. That's like saying, "I want to know how to drive a car, but I never plan to get behind the wheel." I mean, it's silly. Some people say "I want I want to buy $1,000 set of golf clubs, but I never plan to play." There are a lot of people who have spiritual gifts, but they have no desire to use them. That's almost antithetical to being a Christian. But here's the thing, if you want to know what gifts you have, you have to use them.
At Lakeshore, we teach a three step process. Here's the first number one, discover what spiritual gifts there are, and which ones it seems you might have. We have a class called Discover Your Purpose where we will help you get a start on what your gifts are. The second is deploy. You have to get out and use your gifts. Once you get out and use them, you'll start to say, "I thought I had that gift, but I used it and it didn't work. Or, I used it and it did work." Trial and error. So, the steps are discover, deploy, and then develop. Once you know from deploying what your gifts are, you develop those gifts. Just because you have a gift does not mean you're automatically great at it. I have certain gifts and I'm not always automatically great at them, I have to work at it. I have the gift of teaching, I don't just roll out of bed able to teach automatically. I have to learn the material I'm teaching, and I have to own it and do it well. So you have to develop your gifts. But here's my point, God gave you some amazing gifts, and if you don't use them, you will lose out. So how do you use them? You deploy them. You use them. The number one place the Bible talks about using your gifts is in the church. I've never met a pastor or a church in my life that said, "Oh my goodness, we don't need any more volunteers." I've never met one. And it's certainly not the case here. We need your gifts here. For those of you who serve in our church or your church, if it's a different one, good for you. You get it. For those of you who don't, maybe you've never understood that using your gifts is natural, and it's a work of God in your life as we just saw in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6.
Here at Lakeshore we will help you to take Discover Your Purpose. We'll help you try a ministry. If that ministry works out, great. If it doesn't, we'll help you find the next one. But we're here to help you because the only way we'll understand what gifts you have is to deploy them. Father, thanks for these amazing thing called gifts. Forgive us for not using them as you want, and encourage everybody watching to use them the best way they can, starting right now. Whether it's in the church or someplace else, help them in Jesus' name, amen.
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, February 19, 2021
Today, I want to talk to you about giving yourself to God's work. A lot of people think serving God is optional, and that's unfortunate. What makes it really unfortunate is when people who follow Jesus Christ say, "working for God is optional."
Friday, February 19, 2021
Today, I want to talk to you about giving yourself to God's work. A lot of people think serving God is optional, and that's unfortunate. What makes it really unfortunate is when people who follow Jesus Christ say, "working for God is optional." Now, nobody ever comes out and says that, but what people do is they basically don't work for God. They end up doing their own thing and they end up saying, "well, I go to church and that's work for God." There's some truth to that, but here's what I want to say: You should spend your life finding ways to work for God.
Why should you work for God? Well, He pays well. He has great rewards, a great benefits package. He's a kind boss. Doing His work is thrilling if you really love Him. I get that because of 1 Corinthians 15:58, the very last verse in the chapter, where the Apostle Paul says this: "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." What does that mean, "not in vain"? It means it's not useless. I already told you all the benefits, but here's what I want to say. Give yourself to the work of the Lord.
You might say, "Vince, what does that mean? What does that look like?"
1. Here's the first. Whenever you're at work, model your faith. When you're at home, if you're the parent, if you're the child, whatever you are, model your faith by playing your right part in the family.
2. Here's another one: serve God at church. It's amazing to me how Christians who profess a faith in Jesus Christ, year after year after year, do nothing to lift a finger to serve God in the church. I find that disturbing. This text says, always abound in the work of the Lord, always finding ways to do God's work. You can do God's work at home, at work in church, in so many different places, but He wants you to abound in it, not dip your toe in it. He wants you to get involved in His work. Whether that's working in the church or working with people who are not yet followers of Jesus Christ to help them, whatever it is. Get to work for God. Always be at work for God. Find your way. There's so many ways. God has a way for you.
Ephesians 2:10 says that we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do. He's got a plan. You just have to do it. You may not know the plan. Just begin to do God's work wherever you are at, the best you can. And guess what? You'll be in God's plan. He'll work it out. He'll open doors for you. He'll create opportunities for you.
Are you abounding in the work of the Lord? He wants you to be because He loves you. He knows it's fulfilling to work for Him. Nothing in life is greater, and that's kind of why I got into the ministry full time from engineering. Working in ministry is so satisfying because I love working for God. It's not always easy, but it's always rewarding and it's always fulfilling. Are you abounding in the work of the Lord? You don't have to be a full-time pastor to do that. No, all you have to be is available. Availability is so important. God cares more about your availability than your ability. He'll give you the ability. You just make yourself available. I hope you'll find a way to abound in the work of the Lord today and every day of your life.
Let's pray. Father in heaven, thank you so much for the reminder, to be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in your work and that is not in vain. Help all of us to find your work, to pursue it and to live it. Help us to get to work for you because you are a kind boss. You have great rewards stored for us and heaven when we do. Thank you so much, in Jesus' name. Amen. Hey, it's an absolute privilege to work for God. Are you at work for him? I hope so. Thanks and have a great day.
Monday, February 15, 2021
Hi everyone, welcome back to another week of Life Lifters. We live in a day in which we suffer from a critical disease called "me-ism", where we tend to think about ourselves.
Monday, February 15, 2021
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Hi everyone, welcome back to another week of Life Lifters.
We live in a day in which we suffer from a critical disease called "me-ism", where we tend to think about ourselves. We used to have a magazine in our country called "Self", which seems appropriate. For this disease, me-ism, we have a term called "narcissism" where all we do is think about ourselves and what interests us. We all know that's wrong, but unfortunately, we're all tempted to live in "Me-ism Ville". That's a new word (or place)!
I want to instead propose a new idea that's completely countercultural, radical, and goes against the flow of everything you probably see, read and hear: put others first. It's interesting that narcissistic people that focus on themselves are the most unhappy people. All the research shows you this; the more you focus on yourself, the more unhappy you are because all you're doing is examining yourself and critiquing yourself. It's why social media is such a colossal flop for so many reasons. I mean, it has some positives, for sure. The negative of social media is that you see all these people putting their fake images of themselves out there, and meanwhile you're going, "I don't seem that happy, I'm not doing all these fun things like they are." All social media can do quite often is feed narcissism, or me-ism. All the research says that it will depress you. "I think about myself all day long."—It's a radically depressing thought. But you know what the research shows about people who put others first? They are the happiest people! Counterintuitive? Countercultural? Yeah, but it works.
I get this idea from the words of Jesus Christ with one of his marquee statements in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 10, verse 45, where he said this: "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.” He didn't come to be served, but to serve. Now, Jesus Christ is God. Jesus Christ is perfect. Jesus Christ deserved to be served. Instead, He served. Why? Because in His humanity and deity, He loved us to the full and because of this, He served us. He served us because we needed serving because of our sin. He served us because He loved us. He also served us so that He would be a model for us. In fact, here at Lakeshore, when we teach people about leadership, we teach about not just any leadership, but the driving motive for the leadership we teach here is servant leadership. Servant leadership puts other people first.
Do you put other people first? It's really hard, in fact, it's probably impossible, but I can say this: when you begin to engage and appreciate God's love for you, then you have something to give others. You cannot give what you do not have. But if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you are a Christian, and God's love is in you, and then you can put others first.
I already told you that if you think about yourself all the time, it's depressing. If you think about others first, it's enjoyable, but here's the thing: if you put others first and yourself second, you're going to be more satisfied because what happens is when you put others first, most 'reasonable' people will be appreciative of you. It will encourage you and you'll feel more satisfied. If you think about yourself, people are going to think, "I don't want anything to do with that". That's depressing. So, put others first. When you do, you'll find life has more meaning. If Jesus Christ said the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and give His life for ransom, I'm thinking that's the right way to live for me. Is it easy? No. It's especially hard if you're Italian, but I can tell you this: it's worth it. I think it'll be worth it for you, too.
Let's pray. Heavenly Father, thank you so much for this reminder to put others first. If you Lord, and your Son, Jesus Christ, put others first, help us to do it. Help us catch ourselves when we're trying to put ourselves first, and others second. And help us to think about ways we can elevate others and when we do, you'll lift us up. You say that the last shall be first when we humble ourselves. You will exalt us. So many great promises. So help us to do that. Help us start at home, start at work, start in our neighborhood and do it to everyone we can. We asked this through your Son, the servant leader, Jesus Christ, Amen. Thanks for joining us today. Have a great day.