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Summary: Jesus gave everything, we too should choose to give and serve one another in love.

Tonight I want to start out by having a little brain storming session. I have a blank card for each of you that I want to pick one of the sides and write the word “serve” at the top. Now, I want us to take a minute or two and just write down all the things that come to your mind when you hear this word “serve.” There is no right or wrong answers, just your immediate thoughts.

***Wait a moment or two and then have some of the youth share their thoughts***

Alright, now I want you guys to flip the card over and write the word “give” at the top of the card. Take a few moments to do the same thing and write down your immediate thoughts when you think of the word “give.”

***Wait a moment or two and then have some of the youth share their thoughts***

I think it’s kind of interesting to think about these two words, share and give, in conjunction with one another. I know when I think of each of these words separately, the first thought that comes to mind when I think about the word “serve” is doing things for others. The first thought that comes to my mind when I hear the word “give” is money being put into the offering plate. Typically, when I compare and contrast the two in my mind, initially I feel that I would much rather serve people than give. It sounds easier for some reason and much more rewarding. Once we get past our initial thoughts about these words and really think about it, we’ll find very quickly that there really isn’t much of a difference between the two.

Think about it for a moment…think about times that are serving your parents, the church, God, or anyone else for that matter. Aren’t you giving something in order to serve? Whether it be time, money, talents, or other resources we all have to give in order to serve. Likewise, when we are giving, whether it is putting money in the offering plate, giving away food at the Rescue Mission in Bridgeport, or giving time to help someone out, we are serving God and others at the same time.

Tonight we are going to continue to move along in the sentence that we have been discussing since January: Living to Grow, Serve, Worship, and Share. We spent a lot of time on living together and the important relationships that are in our lives and then we did a few weeks on growing into God’s likeness and how to hang out with Him. Over the next three weeks, we are going to focus on the importance of serving God and the others around us. Tonight we are going to focus on what it really means to serve, next week we are simply going to do it by participating in the 30 Hour Famine (of which we will have no youth group on Sunday next week because of that), and then the week after we are going to talk about why we should serve.

So again, for tonight let’s dive into the question of what does it really mean to serve. Instead of using the word serve tonight as we talk about it, I want to use the word give because, as we just said, it is the same thing but yet somehow more challenging in our minds. To help us look at this we are going to look at John 12:1-7 verse by verse.

“1Six days before the Passover ceremonies began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus--the man he had raised from the dead. [Which you can read about in chapter 11.]

2A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him.”

Now, this dinner was most likely a celebration that Lazarus was alive. Thus John’s point in bluntly reminding us that Lazarus was at the table with them even after he stated that it was at his house. It also was a very risky move on their part to throw this party because of the religious leaders.

You see, they were not happy that Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead because “everyone was believing in him,” which was kind of the point of why Jesus did miracles; so that people would believe. The religious leaders were so selfish and caught up in their own ideas that a man being brought back to life wouldn’t even affect them. So, because they weren’t happy, they “had publicly ordered that anyone seeing Jesus must report it immediately so they could arrest him.”

So Jesus was risking his life, on purpose as we all know, by going to Bethany where the Passover celebration was going on because of the amount of people that would be there. Then, Simon, Lazarus, Mary and anyone else who were at the house, were risking their lives because they disobeyed the instructions of the religious leaders. Despite these big risks that were boldly being played out at this dinner, let’s look at verse three to see the boldest move of all in this story.

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