-it’s been a few weeks, but if you remember, we are spending the fist Drink Deeps of the year looking at why we do what we do, taking a look at church in general, but specifically here at Fire & Water and looking at why we do the things we do.
-because for many people, church is a routine. It’s just something we do. Some people don’t even know why they do it, they just know to do it. And we don’t want that. One, it’s not healthy to you, you should know why we do it. And two, if someone asks you questions about church or Drink Deep, if you don’t know why you do what you are doing, you can’t really help them understand. Saying we sing because “we’ve always done it” isn’t really an answer.
-so we are picking apart the things we do at Fire & Water and explaining why we do them.
-we started a while back with why we have hang out time and why we play games. We spend more than half our time here on Sunday nights, plus lock-ins and other things, just getting to know each other. But that’s important. It’s not healthy to learn about Jesus in a bubble, we’re supposed to be the family of God. And for us to be family, we need to get to know each other and spend time together.
-then we talked about praise and worship, or why we sing. We looked at what praise and worship really is and the history of singing. And it’s funny how our culture is becoming less and less about singing together, years ago uncle Edgar would pull out a guitar and the family would have a sing-along. That doesn’t happen anymore. But at church, we still like to sing. People almost want to sing at church even if they don’t sing anywhere else.
-last time we met we talked about why we have teaching. We also looked at how we are different from most other church experiences, we don’t just have someone stand up front and talk, we also like to get together in small groups so people can ask questions, so we can work out what we believe and why. There are many people who never, ever talk about their faith, not even at church, and we don’t want that to happen here, we want to give you a chance to add to people’s experience or ask questions.
-today we’re going to talk about serving. Even though there is not a specific “serving time” every Sunday, it is something that we place a high value on here. We have people who serve every Sunday and sometimes on Wednesday. The mission trip is the highest attended trip we do every year.
-this is so important, it’s one of our core values. The E in WATER stand for Equipping, another word for serving. We believe that in serving others we are equipping those people to have a better idea of who God is and how He loves them. Likewise, it also helps us learn more about what God is like as those who serve.
-so we’re going to start with how we can serve here and now and move outward.
1. HOW YOU CAN SERVE
-for those that don’t know, we have different teams of people that help serve here on Sunday nights at Drink Deep. One of them is our Adult Volunteer Ministers, but you guys can’t join that until you’re a little older, so although I am extremely thankful for our adults and all they do, I’m not going to focus a lot on them tonight.
-at the moment we have three teams that you can apply for to use your gifts and talents for God. One is the Worship Team. Everybody who is up front while we sing playing an instrument or singing, they are part of a serving team. They need to be here early on Sunday, they need to be practicing their music, they need to be practicing their instrument, and they have to work hard to serve God with their gift of music.
-we have another team that hasn’t really gotten too far off the ground. And part of that is my fault, I haven’t pushed it a lot, but we also have a Drama Ministry Team. We have a video camera that many of you have seen floating around during various nights and trips, and as you have seen, we have a big freaking screen next to my head that we show videos on. We would love to get a few people together who instead of me always showing TV or movie clips, these people would serve by making videos that go along with what we talk about or sometimes make commercials about what we do we can play to the congregation on Sunday mornings.
-then we have one last team, our Student Ministry Leadership Team. Out of all three teams, this one probably takes the most time and the most training. Being a servant leader is probably one of the hardest things to do because it goes against everything the world tells you. Everybody wants to be a leader and be out front. On this team, we’re looking for people who are willing to be leaders and be in the back. Even though they run the games up front, there are a lot of things they do and decisions they make that they aren’t “up front” for. They very much serve in what they are doing.
-the key for these teams is to figure out where it is that God wants you to serve. You need to take a look at your gifts and figure out where you should be serving.
-after all, that’s why God gave you gifts.
**I Pe. 4:10a -> 10Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. (NCV)
-I don’t know if you’ve ever really thought about that, you have been given some sort of gift by God. And you should be using and developing those gifts for Him.
-see, these weekly teams are a two way street, that’s why we want everyone serving. The first is that we can’t do what we do here alone. We can’t have a whole band with just Troy up there. There is no such thing as a one person ministry, and if there is, it’s probably not healthy.
-but on the other side, as much as by serving you’re helping the group, you’re also learning more about how God as made you, developing your talents and gifts that He has given you and finding out more about what God wants you to do with your life. A perfect example is Kyle Brown. When he was in Sr. High, he played drums, then he moved to guitar. Soon he was leading worship. He was on the leadership team and would teach once in a while like our current leadership team does. Now, he’s working at a church on a Sunday morning leading worship and sometimes teaching, he’s hoping to be their family and youth pastor. Part of why he’s doing that is because he served when he was a student here.
-now you may not all end up working in a church full time, but you can serve whatever church you go to in college, after college, and what not. I mean, look at Zak, he’s already thinking about what church he’s going to go to in West Virginia based on how he can help, not what the church can do for him.
-and I want to add one more thing, you don’t need to be on a team to serve. Anyone can help out. You can help clean up after we’re in here on Sunday nights, help us stack chairs, if you want to spend some time fixing pool cues, we’ll take the help!
-the big thing is you should be serving in some way. That’s why we have a second way to serve.
SERVICE DAYS & MISSION TRIPS
-we plan certain things into our calendar for the year. There are days, and the popular mission trip, an entire week of serving.
-the thing is, these days of serving are different. Where being on a team is more focused on your gift that God gave you, these days are flat out, getting dirty serving. These are stacking chairs things.
-because the problem with focusing on your gifts is that many times people will not do something because they think it is not one of their gifts.
-well, guess what? You don’t need a “gift” from God to stack chairs. You don’t need a “gift” from God to paint someone’s house or to clean up a street or even to work with kids at a Kids Club. You just need to be willing to do it.
**Heb. 13:16 -> 16Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to Him. (LB)
-anyone can do good. Anyone can share what they have. Anyone can do the things we do on these day trips or on the mission trip.
-and you never know, they may help you learn more about yourself. If you only serve at the times you sign up for, you will only do the things that are most comfortable to you. You will probably not try something new.
-but then there are people like Allison Campbell. She went to Toronto and worked with people in a way she never would have before. It changed her so much she switched her major and is now at a completely different college than she planned in a program she knew little about before going to Toronto. Why? Because she served in a way she had never served before and after doing it she realize this is what God had designed her to do.
-all of you looking at schools and college and taking a step towards the rest of your life, how would you like it if you knew you were doing what God designed you to?
-that’s why on mission trips or day projects we try and get you to do things you normally wouldn’t do, to stretch you. You may just learn something about yourself you didn’t know.
-but there’s one more place you can serve.
SERVE ON YOUR OWN
-a verse I really like and I know some of you have heard me say before:
**Gal. 6:9-10a -> 9So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone. (NLT)
-here’s the thing, I honestly think that Christians should be the most proactive people in the world. Because of verses like this. Whenever you see the chance to do good, you’re supposed to do it. Not wait until Troy plans something and hands out a permission form.
-when you one day tell someone about serving or talk to God about serving or whatever it is, I guarantee the excuse “but Troy didn’t plan that trip” isn’t going to cut it.
-if you really want to be serving, the best way is to find somewhere to serve and be really proactive and go do it.
-as much as we’ve been focusing on what we do here in this series, these core values, Worshipping, Allying, Teaching, Equipping, Reaching, they really, really live in your life when you do them outside these four walls.
-the reason we have service days and mission trips is not so you can do your time, get your Jesus points and go home. It’s to encourage you to find places you can serve and help out, like Enron helping at the food pantry. He did it at the 30 Hour Famine, he served on the mission trip, he came home, went and helped out and it fit because he knew what he was doing because he had been serving before. That’s the goal!
-your attitude should be like Jesus’:
**Matt. 20:28 -> 28Your attitude must be like My own, for I, the Messiah, did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give My life as a ransom for many.” (LB)
-is that your goal, to serve? Or is it to be served? Because let’s be honest, America teaches us the best thing you can possibly do is make enough money to pay others to serve you so you don’t have to lift a finger.
-and how’s that working out for us? How happy are people in America right now?
-almost everyone here who has served in some way can tell you it’s a two way street. Sure you help out other people, but you end up feeling really good about it. It feels good inside to help other people.
-you know why? You were designed to do it. God designed us in His image, and He serves us all the time. He sent His Son to be the greatest service to us in all of human history!
-and that’s an example to us because it’s how we were designed to live.
**Eph. 5:2 -> 2Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that. (MSG)
-I don’t know where you are with God, but if you want to know more about what God is like, yes read your Bible, yes pray, but something that will really help, something that will really make you understand the heart of God and how He thinks; serve. Serve those who can’t repay you. Serve helping others know who God is or even here, serve so people can focus on knowing God and learning about Him.
-so talk about it in your groups, ask about it, listen to some stories of how serving has changed people in ways they didn’t expect. And then, be proactive! Find a place to serve, if not here, somewhere. Even if it’s not something organized, just serve at school by picking up the piece of trash everyone walks by in the lunchroom. There are all sorts of ways we can serve people and show them God’s love in a physical, tangible way.