The Greatness of Serving

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“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going back to God . . . began to wash the disciples’ feet . . .” (John13:3, 4).

Jesus took off the coat that He wore to Passover. He had dressed for an important religious dinner. He set the garqment aside and tied a towel around His waist. He poured a basin of water and knelt down on the floor in front of the dirty feet of His disciples. Their feet were not only covered in dirt and dust, but they also had traces of whatever droppings the animals may have left on the streets where they had walked.

To say that Jesus humbled Himself would be an understatement. Jesus, the Son of God, Creator of the universe, the Alpha and Omega, the Savior of the world . . . knelt down and washed dung from the feet of His followers; and He did it at a fancy dinner.

He should have been the guest of honor. Instead, He honored the other guests. Jesus knew who He was. Therefore, He served. Let me rephrase that. Jesus humbled Himself and washed the feet of the disciples because He knew the extent of His greatness.

In that day, as well as today, the act of washing feet is not something that would be fit for a king. Let alone, the King of kings. However, God’s Kingdom is different. Jesus’ greatness is what led Him to serve. If we are to follow in Jesus’ example, like we’re commanded to do, we must serve.

In John 13:15-17, Jesus not only tells us to follow His example, but that if we serve like He did, then we will be blessed. As a Christ-follower, the greatness that we aspire to have is the kind that prompts us to roll up our sleeves, get on our knees, and serve.

~PASTOR SUSAN B.


Do Good

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“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:9-10).

I remember when I was in high school. (I know, I know. It’s hard to believe I can remember that far back.) I remember taking a trip with some friends to visit a college in Chicago to see if we might want
to go there after graduation. It was my first real experience in a big city. For the most part, I loved it. I loved the energy and the sights and sounds. It was so different from what I was used to.

That visit to Chicago was not only the first time I saw a big city, it was also the first time I saw homeless people.

I remember seeing a man sitting against the side of a building, asking for money. I remember a feeling of compassion wash over me. This poor man was desperate. He was alone in the world. Without a
second thought, I reached into my pocket and pulled out some money to give to him. It was the right thing to do.

I was happy to help. It meant that the small amount of money I had was now even smaller, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was that man. I will never forget that feeling. I will also never forget the feeling that I got after my friend informed me that the man was probably going to use my money to buy alcohol. In their opinion, my act of kindness was foolish.

Honestly, I struggled with God for the rest of the trip. We had an ongoing conversation about when to give and what circumstances were the right circumstances to give. The simple answer was that I was not responsible for how people responded to my kindness. I was only responsible to listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading and let Him take care of the rest.

Galatians 6:10 says, “…as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone….” It doesn’t have a disclaimer attached. We may not see the response we want to our kindness, but God is working. He’s working in the people to whom we do good, and He’s working in us.

“Do not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

~PASTOR SUSAN B.

Whatever You Do

“And the King will reply, ‘Truly, l tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me'” (Matthew 25:40).

In the book of Matthew, Jesus talks about the Final Judgment. He tells about how the King will separate the righteous from the unrighteous. He first addresses the righteous group and says that they have inherited the Kingdom of Heaven because they used their lives to love and take care of Him. The righteous people were surprised to hear Him say this. They asked Him when they had done the things that He spoke of. Jesus’ answer was simple.

“Whatever you did for the least of these . . . you did for me. ”

Jesus’ answer is something that we should pay attention to. Anytime Jesus speaks, we of course should listen, but in this context He shares some information that we need to take seriously. Jesus is saying that if you love Him, you will show it by how you treat others.

That person that drives you crazy . . is Jesus looking for love. The relative that knows how to push all of your buttons . . . is an opportunity for you to worship your Savior. The hungry child an ocean away . . . is your King asking for a piece of bread.

We are given moments every single day to love our precious Jesus. In I John 3:l6-I8, it says that all believers’ hearts should be open to those in need. Whether we are sponsoring a child through Compassion International, or serving a need closer to home, let us take God’s Word to heart.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23).

At the end of Matthew 25, Jesus addresses the unrighteous. To their surprise, He tells them that He needed their help and they ignored His cries. They were shocked by the accusations. In other words, they thought they had done everything right. Jesus made it clear, “Whatever not do for the least of these, you did not do for me” (Matthew 25:30).

That verse (Mat 25:45) always freaks me out. These people thought they were righteous. However, instead of receiving eternal life, they received eternal punishment (Mat 25:26).

This portion of Scripture always challenges me. Let it challenge you this week. Ask yourself, and ask the Lord…

How can I love God by loving others?

~Pastor Susan B.

MOMENTS WITH GOD

This past month I had a wonderful opportunity to share some of God’s acres with a friend who recently purchased fifteen of them. Early in the morning just after sunrise we filled our coffee mugs then jumped on a 4-wheeler and off we went on unfamiliar trails. We drove over logs and had branches slap in our faces and tug on our hair but we kept smiling and looking all around at God’s glory. We saw deer just standing there and watching us watch them. They would run off to apparently tell their clan “People are here!” Before long we approached the Tuscarawas River and it was so impressive to watch the waters flowing. We carefully walked to the river’s edge because the terrain was steep and muddy as the water usually covers that particular area. Steam was rolling off the water since it was warmer than the cool morning air. We stopped talking and just stood there and looked.

As I gazed around to take some photographs, immediately I thought of an old hymn that begins like this: “When peace, like a river, attendeth my way…” because the scenery was so peaceful! Being the positive person that I am, the second part of that stanza didn’t come to me right away because it’s not a positive thought but we know that when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say “it is well, it is well with my soul.” I know regardless of what I am facing that God is right by my side showing me the right way and he is whispering in my ear the things I should say and do.

After we left the river we rod the 4-wheeler to the high point and we were presented with another exquisite view! They certainly bought a lovely piece of ground to build their new home! I know this huge project will have ups and downs but as this couple continues to move forward with that God has planned for them I can see a deeper sense of purpose and commitment to Him.

So as I walked away from the summit I was refreshed and ready to tackle my day with a sense of renewal because of what He showed me in the skill of His handiwork.

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace, the mountains and the hills will burst into song before you, and the trees of the field will clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12

Look for God’s blessings…they are everywhere!
~JULIE SCHULTZ

You Gotta Love It!

Last Friday evening, for most area schools, if not all, began the 2015 football campaign. Young men took the field in traditional combat trying to win the day, keep their season perfect. A lot of preparations went into Friday night’s contest. A lot of weight lifting, plyometrics, calisthenics, drills and more drills. During practice they went over the plays, over and over again. They are running drills in their sleep. Two a day, film sessions, walk thrus and more drills. All this, so that theses “Boys of Fall” could play a game we get so excited about. Football, you gotta love it!

As I contemplate the game, the young men, the coaches, the band, the cheerleaders and the fans I have many thoughts running through my little brain. First “the boys”. They work so hard, at least the ones who are serious. They want to do well, make the perfect block, stop the run, breakup or intercept the pass, catch a pass, race down the sidelines for the score. They work hard, stay focused, do their job… that’s football. The fans, the cheerleaders, the band all watch, cheer, entertain, it’s all a part of “the game”. We watch, interact, cheer, celebrate, are sad when our team loses. Football, you gotta love it!

Now relate this to our walk with Jesus. Let me poise some questions? Do we work hard at serving Jesus? Do we study, practice what we preach? Are we focused in our faith? Do we get excited about our walk of faith? Are we moved with emotion, saddened or rejoicing over faith’s journey? Do we speak our mind, celebration of support, or words of concern? Do we voice our support even when we had a bad day? Do we join the celebration when we experience victory? These are all questions that can be asked. With football as the backdrop, we can see the similarity to our “walk of faith”, our game of life, although it’s not a game, it’s eternity!

Football, you gotta love it!
The Christian walk, gotta love it!
P.S. If you don’t like football, forgive me please.

Looking forward to the season… Football & Life,
~PASTOR ROD

“Preach the Gospel, and If Necessary, Use Words”

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

There was nothing special about Peter and John. They were ordinary, common men who were bold in their faith. That boldness is what told people they had been with Jesus. I feel like this is something that we all need to think about from time to time. When people look at us, what do they see? Do they see Jesus? Or do they see something else? It isn’t about having the proper education or the proper upbringing. That’s not what our lives are about. Our lives as Christians are about showing people Jesus.

Francis of Assisi said,

“Preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words.”

That’s what our lives should be. We should be living lives so sold out for Jesus that we should not even have to speak for people to know that we are with Jesus. I challenge you this week to look at your life and ask God, “What people look at me, do they see you Son? Or do they see something else?” Then ask God to reveal ways that you can show people Jesus.

~PASTOR ADAM JONES