Today while my wife and I visited p. Maciek and Renata with their beatuiful church, I preached on the subject of Servanthood. Here below are the notes from the message that you can listen to here: http://bit.ly/19Kw437
John 12:25-26 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be:if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.
- One of the most powerful thing in this universe is life of a servant. One of the weakest things on this earth is the life of a servant.
- No one gets the amount of things done in the simplicity and the focus that a servant has. For there is no flesh to complicate matters, relationships, or vision.
- "In some ways we would prefer to hear Jesus' call to deny father and mother, houses and land for the sake of the gospel than his word to wash feet. Radical self-denial gives the feel of adventure. If we forsake all, we even have the chance at glorious martyrdom"
- "But in service we must experience the many little deaths of going beyond ourselves. Service banishes us to the mundane, the ordinary, the trivial.”
- Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Eph 5.21
- "It is one thing to go on the lonely way with dignified heroism, but quite another thing if the line mapped out for you by God means being a door-mat under other people's feet.”
- Mother Teresa: "I belong to Jesus. He must have the right to use me without consulting me.”
- When we chose to serve we are in charge. When we chose to be a servant we give up the right to be in charge. This is great freedom. If we chose to be a servant then we cannot be manipulated. When we chose to be a servant we surrender the right to decide when and where we will serve. That is availability and vulnerability.
- There is a natural hesitancy that comes with any serious discussion of serving. Because there is a hesitancy in understanding the cost before jumping in. The fear is that people will take advantage of us
- Self-righteous service picks and choses whom to serve. "Sometimes the low and defenseless are served because that will ensure a humble image. True service is indiscriminate in its ministry. It has heard the command of Jesus.”
- The perspective of a slave. A slave sees all of life from the viewpoint of slavery. He does not see himself as possessing the same rights as free men and women. When this slavery is involuntary it is cruel and dehumanizing. When the slavery is freely chosen, however, everything is changed. Voluntary servitude is a great joy.
- “Bond slave” - a slave that has chosen to be a slave - not to serve. Paul is an example of this: "Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.” - Phil 2.17
- "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." - Acts 20.24
- Nothing crucifies the flesh like serving, nothing transforms the desires of the flesh like serving in hiddenness. The flesh screams for attention and will devise subtle, religious attention to the service rendered.
- There is no demand for great results because it is an anointing upon the servant.
- Luke 4.18 - The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised
- Luke 22.27 - For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
- Luke 6.40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
Meeting at the Sznajders'
As we were pulling up to the Sznajders' home, my heart began to beat faster as I saw a caravan of other cars behind us. What we were thinking would be a small fellowship at their home turned into something much larger. As my wife and I walked in to their home, we were met by people that we hadn't seen for years and the expectation for God was evident in the room. After a few minutes of warm greetings we began to sing, worship and then preach. It wasn't long before we sensed the ushering in of the Presence of God and the magnificent joy that accompanied it. The meeting began at 7.30pm and people stayed after the message and fellowshipped until after 11pm. We shared precious bread together.
These words have been burning in my spirit these 2 weeks in Poland as we visit cities, churches, and home:
"For I received from the Lord Himself that which I passed on to you [it was given to me personally], that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was treacherously delivered up and while His betrayal was in progress took bread, And when He had given thanks, He broke [it] and said, Take, eat. This is My body, which is broken for you. Do this to call Me [affectionately] to remembrance. - 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 AmplifiedIf we don't carefully consider what Paul was saying it's easy to miss the full beauty of this portion of Scripture. What Paul had received from God he ministered immediately to his troubled church in Corinth. We don't really possess something until we give it to the Body of Christ. When we minister it to the Body, Psalm 16:2-3, we really prove it was ours since we have the power to administrate it, and give it in self determinated fashion.
Jesus then gives the bread to his disciples, to us, after blessing it, saying 2 things for us to do with it, "Take" & "Eat". The first I think we know how to do well, "take". To receive from Christ is easier than to "eat". Eating is an unpleasant process of the crushing and destroying of the bread by our teeth, and the swallowing and assimilation of it in our bodies. Yet we would say, "oh, no, I cannot do such a thing to Christ, it would be taking advantage of him because of my own appetite, it is wrong". But yet we cannot know Christ unless we hunger after Him and not only hunger but consume His body at His own gracious promptings, "TAKE!" We are ashamed to need Him so and we are quick to say "you shall not wash my feet". With out knowing forgiveness, we do not know Him.
That's what Paul is saying, "what I received of the Lord, that which also I delivered unto you." Paul became as bread to these Corinthians in their familiarity, hatred, and comparisons with one another. When we are as sheep for the slaughter daily, and our lives become as bread; chewed up, crushed and taken advantage of (Psalm 44:22; Romans 8:36) we are suffering wrongfully for His sake and people will see Christ truly. People may use you as a doormat, but when they get inside the door, into the assembly, the Body of Christ, they see the wonders of what they were called into. When we give, and forgive, we are most like Christ. We shouldn't be afraid to be taken advantage of, to be as bread for His People.
Right after Eurocon P. Maciek Kniechak, Kyle Benoit and Bryan Ackerman took a trip to Poland visiting our 4 churches in 7 days all over Poland; Wroclaw, Krakow, Gdansk, & Warsaw. The underlying thought of the trip for me was that God never forsakes the works of His own hands. The work of God began in Poland for GGWO in 1986 and it continues today by his mercy and loving kindness that endures forever.
One of the highlights was in Gdansk visiting P. Mariusz, Gosia, and their son Mateusz. There was a woman there in his church named Bozena who is having chemotherapy treatments for cancer. Bozena has been used as a vessel of joyful news in the cancer ward there as she shared with dying people the Hope of Grace. One 4 year old girl said when Bozena asked her if she knew God; "Who is he?" was her reply. Bozena went on to share about Christ and His presence around her during this little girl's suffering during chemotherapy and when she finished a huge smile lit up the girls face. This little one went to the arms of Jesus a month and a half later. Many have found Christ through Bozena's testimony. You may see her joyful picture in the links below.
Please pray for the pastors there in Poland: P. Maciek, P. Robert, P. Tomek, P. Mariusz and Sergay. Please see the link below for an awesome video of the trip to Poland. (it's about 21mb so it may take time to download). Check to the right margin for the schedule this spring and summer in Poland. Join us for the Spring Conference at a real castle May 1-3!
The GGWO Website in Poland: http://www.ggwo.pl/index_ang.html