Yesterday, a friend of mine showed me a picture I needed to see. He was speaking of the challenges of a growing ministry he was leading.
As he shared his heart for the future and his expanding role, he simply stated, “I don’t want the success of this ministry to become an idol.” My mind caught that image. I’m not sure what he said after that by way of explanation. All I knew was, I had a fixed image in my mind; one that I needed to see.
I really don’t like writing on stuff like this. People that excuse ‘success’ usually aren’t experiencing it. This brother was, and he was aware that it’s all too easy for any success to become an idol.
It is common to understand an idol as anything that takes the place of God; especially something material, something tangible that has no kin to anything spiritual.
God calls us to love (read:serve) Him and one another. I know that. Can that ‘service’ become an idol? If my focus is on the ‘success’ of that service so much that I lose sight of God and His love and grace for me and others, perhaps I have an idol on my hands. I am all for success. I have no idea how it is defined, but I believe if God is in it, we ought to be in it to win it! Why do anything half-hearted or shabby? Why have the “Christian-discount” mentality when it comes to how we serve God? NO WAY. Serve Him with everything you have. Serve in love. Serve in humility. Serve with generosity. Serve with passion and excitement, vision and faith. Just don’t make the results of your service an idol. God is God and He is in charge.
I needed that picture.
Ask the Lord to protect you from the hidden idols that can somehow slip into a place of prominence.
That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
will enter your house.
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.
Psalm 5:7, 11
Today, Grace experienced a great ‘work-day’. We are moving our Ministry Center and Offices to another temporary rented location. The reason: about twice the space, much less in rent, allowing us to move forward with ministry while being financially responsible as we continue to pray and look for a place to purchase for our church!
We actually have two suites, very close together; one for offices, and the other is the main meeting room area. The Ministry Center side is mostly good to go, we will be redoing the stage area and painting the entire room, but otherwise it’s in great shape. Today’s work was tearing stuff out in the other room so the builders can get to work building out the office space. I was so encouraged to work alongside so many great people today. There’s a lot to do still, but today was good. I’m sure I’ll get some pictures posted soon. Thanks to all of you who were able to carve out most of your morning to lend a hand.
Last Sunday I began teaching through the New Testament book of Philippians. Wow! What a letter for the church today. How revolutionary in our thinking that we too are “servants of Christ Jesus” and “saints in Christ Jesus”. And! He’s not done working on us yet.
“He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” 1:6
This coming Sunday we’ll discover what I believe to be one the biggest keys in the entire Bible on ‘how to live for God’.
This Sunday also provides an opportunity to learn about our awesome Children’s Ministry and how you can be a part of a great team doing an amazing work. Right after our service there is an informational lunch just for you. Whether you have experience or are just curious, please plan on joining the team downstairs in the Commons for lunch and a brief meeting.
To my fellow Servants and Saints: wherever you go to church, go this week expecting. Go prepared to worship with the other saints, be ready to bless someone else and be ready to hear from God.
I just went online and gave a gift to help the victims from hurricane Sandy through Samaritan’s Purse. Our church has chosen to use this ministry as the best way to help in disasters like this.
You can go to the website and watch the video, or just read about all they are doing right now. http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/articles/franklin_graham_support_for_sandy_victims/
Then click the GIVE button and enter your debit card info. I’ve done this before. It is safe and it is a good thing to do. As you give, pray that God will use your gift to bless someone. Whether it’s a victim still awaiting help, or a volunteer who is there giving of themselves to help, pray for people. People need the Lord, and many will see the “good works” of Samaritan’s Purse volunteers and witness the light of the World. Matt 5:14-16
What will or better yet, what is your life marked by?
After the LORD retold Israel all He did for them, Joshua stands up and speaks up, without apology declaring for all to hear: “Choose you this day whom you will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
In my teaching yesterday, I emphasized that the group responded with a resounding YES! We too choose to serve the LORD. Then Joshua challenged them to what that really meant. Joshua 24:14-24
We don’t just serve the Lord from an emotional plea or from guilt or from a position of expertise in all that we can “do” for the Lord. We don’t serve the Lord just because He’s really nice and has done so much to better our lives. No, it’s apparent from the text that Joshua and his family already considered the cost. He already knew that God is holy and jealous, (Ex 20:5, 34:14) and yes, faithful in our dealings. I want my life to be marked as one who serves the LORD because He is worthy of it. (Rom 12:1-2)
Don’t allow your service to God to become idolatry in that it (the actual project or ‘to-do’ list) becomes more important than my heart for God, my worship toward God. Joshua 24:23
Ps 42:1-2 “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”