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Summary: A sermon I preached during our 40 Days of Purpose Campaign during week 5. The title of the message and a few comments in the body of the sermon come from Rick Warren’s message entitled, "Shaped to Serve God."


Introduction: I want you to know how proud I am of you today. So many of you made a major commitment to be a part of this 40 Days of Purpose Campaign. You committed to having a daily quiet time. You committed to be here for the worship services. You committed to being in a growth group. For many of you it is the first time you have even attended a growth group. I bet it is safe to say all of you believe that it has been time well spent as we have discovered God’s purposes for our lives.

Today we are going to talk about the fourth purpose in life, the fourth reason why you were put on this planet. You were put here to serve God. You are shaped to serve God. You will learn more about what “shape” means in your daily readings this week so keep up! You’ll also talk about it in your growth groups. I also want to encourage you to sign up for CLASS 301 if you are eligible. You will study these concepts in there as well. So what does it mean to serve God? That is what we are going to talk about today. The word for serving God is the word “ministry”. Ministry simply means to serve or meet the needs of others. We serve God by serving others. Do you know any needy people? Do you know any needs that are in the church?

Like the other purposes we have been talking about, this purpose is often misunderstood. There are some misconceptions about ministry that I want to mention.

The first misconception is that people think ministry is for the professional. “Isn’t this why we pay our pastor?” This is a common misconception in a lot of churches. Look at what the Scriptures say about that in Ephesians 4:11 AND Ephesians 2:10. My job is to equip you to do the work of ministry. Brian’s job is not to “do” the youth ministry but to equip you to do the youth ministry. We are here to invest in your life so you can invest it in others. “We” are all God’s masterpiece and we all have a role to fulfill.

Another common misconception about ministry is that ministry means “meetings.” Now, how many of you like meetings? I realize that meetings are necessary and vital. But when we do more meetings than we do ministry we’ve got it all wrong. We do not win the world by meeting but by going.

A third common misconception is that ministry is about positions of service. Many have the wrong idea about what being a servant or “minister” is all about. We think of it in terms of the reality television show “The Apprentice.” If you have followed that show you see all of these young professionals doing whatever it takes to please their CEO so he could ultimately choose him/her to lead one of his companies. You have seen how the contestants will do whatever it takes, even backstab one another to get to the top. Now, as followers of Jesus we are working for the CEO of the world. Yet, it is quite clear that he demonstrated a different way, a different mentality of service. He shows us that it is not about where you sit but how one serves that is important.

Let’s look at John 13:1-17 (Read)

This account will not mean anything to us unless we understand a little but of the culture and background surrounding this story. Jesus knows his time has come and was going back to the Father. In these final moments he has with his followers he does something absolutely unheard of, undignified and certainly politically incorrect. I want you to know that the mouths of the disciples hit the floor and yours would have to. You see, in that time they didn’t have Nike or Reebok or Timberland. They had sandals that they wore. Many would even go barefoot. They didn’t have odor eaters or air freshner either. As one walked those dusty roads the feet would become really dirty and muddy. When you went into someone’s home you were to wash your feet. It was necessary for your personal comfort and was good hygiene. Customarily, a host provided guests with water for washing their own feet. But, if they had a servant, the servant of the house would wash their feet for them. Footwashing was regarded as so lowly a task that it could not be required of a Hebrew slave. For the disciples, this was the last thing they would ever expect someone to do for anyone else. It is hard for us to grasp how out of place this was for Jesus to be doing. We have a hard time comparing what Jesus did to something of today.

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