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Summary: We serve from the heart when we find our S.T.R.I.D.E. and use it to minister to others.

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“Serving From the Heart”

Romans 12:1-8 (verses taken from NKJV unless noted)

Wakelee Church ~ September 5, 2004

Theme: We serve from the heart when we find our S.T.R.I.D.E. and use it to minister to others.

Introduction – Hiking spiritual summits…

[We’re on a hike a work...to accomplish more, to get better pay, to challenge ourselves.

We’re on a hike in our homes...to maintain and build relationships, to raise our children, and to be a witness for other.

We’re on a hike in our spiritual lives...

...sometimes it feels like we’re falling down the trail...when experiences draw us down or our faith is tested.

...sometimes it feels as if we’ve plateaued...our spirit is tired...we’re frustrated at others or ourselves...we struggle.

...but sometimes we’re climbing...gaining knowledge, learning, catching our stride, and experiencing all that the heigth that God would have us to experience.

In order to keep climbing...at work, at home, at school...and the like...

We need to find our stride…

The good news is that God offers us a chance to find that stride. Romans 12 lays out the way to make it happen.

S – Spiritual Gifts

“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them…” – Romans 12:6-8

(see also I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4:1-16, I Peter 4:10-11)

Point: We all have gifts given to us through the Holy Spirit. When we know and use them, we catch our stride.

T – Talents

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” – Romans 12:3

Point: Talents are not spiritual gifts, but they are given to us according to God’s grace to minister to others. To set our stride, we need to use our talents.

R – Resources

“For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members

of one another” – Romans 12:4

(see also - John 15:16, Matthew 25:14-30)

Point: WE NEED EACH OTHER!!! We cannot set our stride alone.

I – Individuality

“And do not be conformed to this world,

but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,

that you may prove what is that good and acceptable

and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:2

(see also Ephesians 4:4-7)

Point: We are designed to be individuals within the body. We don’t conform to this world’s standards, but look to God’s standards (his perfect will) so that we may prove him good and acceptable.

D – Dreams

“…he who leads with diligence; he who shows

mercy, with cheerfulness.” – Romans 12:8b

(see also Proverbs 13:12)

Point: Our dreams, our passion, our hope drives our stride. Paul told the Romans that we do ministry "with cheerfulness" when we are doing what God has called us to do.

E – Experiences

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies

of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” – Romans 12:1

(see also Romans 8:28)

Point: We all have a past. We all have experiences, good and bad. The way we find our stride is to use our experience, to present ourselves as a living sacrifice, so that our experiences may assist others.

Conclusion – Peter and Jesus…John 21:15-17

S - Peter had the spiritual gifts of leadership.

T - Peter had a talent of pulbic speaking and loyalty.

R - Peter couldn’t do it alone. When he was alone, he was couldn’t stand, but with the Spirit he stood to lead the church.

I - Peter was an indiviudal..the Rock of the church! But he was nothing without Christ!

D - Peter had a dream...he shared it at Pentecost.

E - Peter used his experience of God’s grace to share God’s grace with others.

He feed the sheep, because he found his stride.

The question for us then, is are we willing to feed the sheep...find our stride and do ministry for Christ!

Closing Hymn-"Here I Am Lord"(#593-United Meth. Hymnal)

(source: "Serving from the Heart" Abingdon Press)

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