Your Serve | Chris Absher

2 months ago

Discussion Questions

  1. What personally makes you passionate about serving?
  2. How can we better equip ourselves to best serve others?
  3. In what ways have you seen the values of what makes an Intentional Neighbor being lived out?

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Sermon Transcript:

So, as you know, anytime I’m here and Pastor Chip is not here, I like to tell you why that is because I don’t want you to have to wonder, the whole time we’re together, what’s going on. So, Pastor Chip was given the opportunity to speak at a large church this weekend, and he really felt like he needed to take that opportunity. And how many of you would agree with me that any church in the country could benefit so greatly from just one weekend of Pastor Chip? I put that in there because I knew you would agree. So, that’s where he is this weekend. Don’t worry. He will be back, next weekend, to continue in the Philippians sermon series. So, you’ll want to be here for that. But let me start by just asking you. Maybe some of you have done this before. Maybe some of you played tennis, or maybe you’ve played the Lord’s sport, ping pong. I don’t know if you have or not, but in both of those “sports,” — I guess ping pong is a sport. They get pretty intense about it. But in both of those sports, the very first hit in the game is called the serve. Right? Your opponent is going to serve as hard as he or she possibly can. They’re going to put everything they’ve got into the serve. But of course, later on in the match, it’ll become your turn to serve. And of course, when that moment comes, you’re going to put everything you’ve got into it. You’re going to hit the ball as hard, as fast, and as accurately as you possibly can. Right?

So, I want you to hang on to that image. Keep that in your head as we go through what we’re going to go through this weekend. Now, I’m a big believer in roadmaps. I like to tell people what we’re going to do in the little bit of time we have together, exactly where we’re going to go, what’s going to happen, so that we’re all on the same page as we do it. So, here’s what we’re going to do this weekend. We’re going to ask the question, “What does it mean to be an intentional neighbor?”

That’ll be the first part. Then if you’ve been at Grace 10 years, or maybe you’ve been here one day and this is your first weekend here — in that case, we’re so glad that you’re here. But you’ve probably already heard the phrase “intentional neighbor,” “intentional neighbor,” “intentional neighbor.” You may have seen it up on our walls out there in the lobby. What does it mean, though, to be an intentional neighbor. So, we’ll talk about that. Then we’re going to talk about why we’re passionate about serving here at Grace Community Church. You’ve probably heard us talk about it, it seems like, all the time. And maybe you think, “Man, they’re just beating a dead horse, talking about serving all the time.”

Well, I want to tell you why we talk about serving all the time. What’s the heart behind that part of who Grace Community Church is? And once we’ve done that, we’re going to look at a story of serving that’s in the New Testament. It’s a story you probably know. I’ll tell you what it is when we get there. But it’s one of those stories that, so often, we probably, as soon as we hit it, say, “I know this,” and we blast right through it. We read quickly. We don’t notice how rich and powerful the story is and all that it has to say to us. And of course, once we’ve read that story, we’ll do some take-homes. What does all of this mean for me? What does it mean for you? What does it mean for us as the body of Christ?

And then, as we come to the very end, we’re going to do something that I think all of you will enjoy very much. We’re going to break for food. Sound good? Don’t worry. I’ll get you out of here in time to get to the restaurant you’ve got a reservation at. So, the first thing we have to do is ask the question, “What does it mean to be an intentional neighbor?”

Here at Grace, we believe there are three pillars to being an intentional neighbor. If you’ve gotten any literature out there at the welcome desk, you’ve probably seen this language that we use a lot around here, or if you’ve been on our website you’ve probably seen it. Those pillars are Equip, Connect, and Serve. So, to be an intentional neighbor, we’ve got to be equipped. And we provide all kinds of ways to do that, here at Grace. We gather together for weekend services. We have academic nights, in the summer, where we bring in world renowned scholars to help us learn and help us understand things. We’ve got Bible studies. We have our Emmaus Institute. I don’t know if you know this, but here at Grace you can actually take classes and get a fully accredited master’s degree. I don’t know if you know that, but it’s really incredible. So, we try to provide all kinds of opportunities for the saints to be equipped to do the work of the ministry. So, that’s pillar number one.

Pillar number two is we’ve got to connect. You’ve probably seen it out here in our lobby. We’ve got these big canvasses on the wall. One of them says “Our Father” because we know the Lord’s Prayer is not “my Father,” it’s not “your Father,” but the Lord’s Prayer is “our Father who art in heaven.” So, we believe in doing life together, we believe in doing ministry together. So, we have to, as a church, have opportunities to connect with one another. Maybe you’ve done that through our Summer Supper Clubs. Maybe you’ve taken part in groups. We have all kinds of groups that you can join and be a part of. Maybe you’ve plugged in at a ministry here at Grace. But we have to connect with one another. We’re in this thing together.

But then the third pillar of being an intentional neighbor is actually serving. And that’s the one that we want to talk about this weekend. So, the question is why are we so passionate about serving? Now, I’m so glad you asked that question because I’ve actually prepared a response to that question. So, I hope this will sort of help you understand why we talk about serving all the time here at Grace. So, it comes from a passage of Scripture. We’ll just look at it for a second in John 13. In John 13, it’s probably a story you know. It’s where Jesus washes the disciples’ feet. We maybe sanitize the image, but it’s actually the image of Jesus taking on what normally would be the work of a servant or a slave. But we’ve got to setup the story. I want us to look at John 13 and notice just a few things about the setup to this story that I think are really important.

“During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him,”

So, what Jesus is about to do, the way He’s going to serve and wash the feet of Judas Iscariot, He’s doing that even though Judas has already decided to betray Him. So, what does that say for the kinds of people we ought to be willing to serve? It seems to me that we should be willing to serve anybody. But Jesus is also going to wash their feet knowing some things. Now, this is probably a place in Scripture where we’re reading this story and we say, “I want to get to the good part. I want to get to where Jesus is doing the thing. He’s washing feet.”

But it’s really important to notice, “What does Jesus know? As He’s going to wash these feet, as He’s going to take the form of a servant and serve those around Him, what are the things that He knows?”

Well, He knows three things. He knows that the Father had given all things into His hands. All power and authority has been given to Jesus. This is not a guy who is constrained to serve other people. This is not a guy that has to serve other people. All power and authority, all things, have been given into His hands. He also knows that He’s come from God. Well, what does that mean? It means that He’s exactly who He said He was. He is the Son of God, through whom all the universe was created, and through whom it all holds together. So, He doesn’t have to serve. He came from God. He’s the Son of God. It doesn’t even make sense, from a worldly perspective, that someone of such power and authority should be serving anybody. But He also knows that He’s going back to God, which means that all this suffering He’s about to endure, all the pain, the crucifixion, and all of it will be over and He’s going to go back to the Father, sit at the right hand of the Father in glory, and make intercession for us.

So, if Jesus knows these three things, by our logic, there’s no reason He really should have to serve anybody. He’s the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He’s about to go back to His Father and sit in a place of glory. But even though He knew all these things, and He knew that Judas would betray Him, this is what He does next.

“…[He] rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”

Now, of course, when we read this story, I think we often sanitize it because we don’t live in the first century. But in the first century, they weren’t wearing boots, tennis shoes, or anything else. They were wearing sandals and they were walking long stretches throughout the day, through the dirt, the dust, the grime, the animal manure. This was a dirty job. Anybody ever seen that? Mike Rowe, Dirty Jobs. He would be there to cover this. It was a dirty job. And it was a job that should be, and usually was, reserved for the slave or the servant of the house. So, Jesus, though, does it anyway. And then, watch what He says.

“‘If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example,’”

“I’ve given you an example.” Pause right there. Of course, as we read through the New Testament, we should read it with an eye for Jesus setting an example for us. It’s called moral exemplar. Of course, Jesus is a moral exemplar. He does things that we should imitate. But of course, Jesus is also so much more than that. He’s the Son of God. But believe it or not, this, right here, in John 13, is the only place in all of the Gospels where Jesus explicitly says, “I’ve given you an example.”

It’s the only place that this word “example” is used anywhere in the gospels. So, I think we’ve got to take it really seriously.

“‘For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant [all of us] is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who has sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.’”

So, now you know the answer. What does it mean to be an intentional neighbor? It means being equipped, it means connecting, it means serving. Do you know why we’re so passionate about serving? It’s because Jesus, in John 13, gave us an example, and we’ve got to follow that example. So, now what we want to do, knowing those two things, is turn to a passage of Scripture. But before we do that, a little sidebar just to make sure we’re on the same page. I don’t want you to hear what I’m not saying. You can’t serve, do enough good works, or any of those things to get into the Kingdom of God. Right? We have to differentiate between entry and story. And that may look familiar.

You may remember doing a little bit of this when we were going through the book of Galatians with Pastor Chip, but entry into the Kingdom of God comes by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Period. End of story. You can’t do enough good things. You can’t sweat enough, doing community service projects in the community here in Florida, to get into heaven. Entry comes by repenting and believing the Gospel. That’s the only way in. But once you’ve done that, and once you’ve entered into the story — so, if you’re here this weekend and you’re a follower of Jesus, once we’re part of this grand story of God reconciling all of creation to Himself in what He wants to do. And now, we have a job to do, and that’s preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. And that doesn’t come just by verbal proclamation. It also comes by being the hands and feet of Jesus in a real and practical way.

So, you don’t get in by serving or doing good works, but once you’re in, once you’re a follower of Jesus, we’ve got a job to do. So, now what we want to do is look at that passage of Scripture in Acts 8, and it’s one you probably know. It’s about Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. Now, oftentimes, I think this is one of those stories where I would describe it as we “ski” over it. It’s deep, deep, deep stuff. It’s meaningful. There’s such a richness in this story, but we tend to ski right over it when we’re reading our Bibles because we think we know everything about what the story has to say. But we’re going to read this slowly, very carefully, and then notice some things that I think God wants to teach us from this story.

“So, in Acts 8:26, “Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ This is a desert place.”

This is a place you shouldn’t expect to find too many people, and it’s kind of odd. We’ve got to pause here for a second. Philip has been preaching, all over the place, to crowds of people. People have been coming to know Jesus, and now God is asking him to go to a desert place. It seems kind of odd that God would do this, but Philip is obedient.

“And he rose and went.”

He shouldn’t really expect to find anybody except maybe somebody passing by on the road, but he does find somebody. That somebody there was an Ethiopian. Now, this is one of those places we read a little too fast sometimes. Ethiopia, in the literature of the Greek world, as well as in the Old Testament, was always considered the ends of the earth. It was the furthest known part that we could get to. And where is the Gospel supposed to go? The Gospel is supposed to reach all the way to the ends of the earth. So, there’s no surplus words in Scripture. This story is telling us that it’s important. This person that’s about to hear the Gospel, he’s an Ethiopian. He’s all the way from the ends of the earth. But not only is he an Ethiopian, he’s always a eunuch. If you’re an astute Old Testament reader, you may already know this. But in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, we know that a eunuch couldn’t be part of the solomon assembly of Israel. So, when Israel would gather together for some kind of religious function, or to celebrate one of the feasts of the Lord, the eunuch had to stay out. The eunuch was not allowed in.

So, this is a character who’s from a totally different place, the ends of the earth, far, far, away, different culture, different place, and he’s also always going to be on the outside of any kind of religious anything that he might try to be a part of. At least when it comes to Judaism. And he was a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. Now, a quick side note. If you go to study this passage on your own, which I hope maybe you will do, Candace is not a proper name. Just like a ruler in Egypt was called a Pharaoh, the queen of Ethiopia was called a Candace. So, if you go looking for a person named Candace, you’re probably not going to find her. It’s an office. It’s the queen of Ethiopia. And this eunuch was in charge of all of her treasure.

So, this guy’s kind of important, but he’s going back to Ethiopia because he had come to Jerusalem to worship. He had gone to the temple in Jerusalem. But remember, this guy, he’s not Jewish. He’s actually a Gentile. There is some scholarly debate about that, but most people agree this was a Gentile. And he’s a eunuch. So, when he gets to Jerusalem to worship, where can he worship? Not in the inner courts. He’s only allowed in the Gentile court, which is the furthest court out of the temple. That’s the only place he’s allowed to go. They actually would’ve setup inscriptions — and archaeologists have found these and they’re in museums. You can go see them. There would’ve been inscriptions at the entrances to all the other courts that warned Gentiles, “If you cross through here, the penalty is death.”

So, this is a guy who has been kept on the outside, and we know that’s really how it worked because in Acts 21, Paul is accused of bringing a Gentile into one of the temple courts. He didn’t actually do it, but he was accused of doing it. You can read it in Acts 21. He’s accused of bringing a Gentile into one of the courts, a mob forms, and they take him out and are beating him up with intent to kill him. So, this is a guy who, really, being a Gentile and being a eunuch, has literally no chance at really being a part of the religious life of Israel, at least not in the absolute kind of sense. So, that’s the character that we’re dealing with here. So, the story goes on.

“…[the eunuch] was returning [to Ethiopia], seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip,”

Super simple command.

“‘Go over and join this chariot.’”

“Go on over there. I know you’re out in the desert, it’s hot and terrible, and you don’t even know this person, but go over and join this chariot.”

And here’s what I love. This is one of those places we’ve got to notice the verbs that are being used here that really make this story come alive.

“So Philip [to obey God] ran to him…”

Philip has an eagerness about him. “I’m going to get over there and do whatever it is that God wants me to do.” He’s got an eagerness to him. He runs over. Even in the hot desert sun, he sprints over to this chariot.

“…and heard him [the eunuch] reading Isaiah the prophet,”

Now, in the ancient world, you never would’ve read silently. That would’ve actually been very, very strange to them. So, this eunuch is reading Isaiah out loud. So, Philip runs over, he sprints over to go do what God has told him to do, he hears him reading the Prophet Isaiah, and rather than sitting around, thinking, “Okay, God. What do I do next?” No. He doesn’t do that. He immediately jumps into conversation.

“…[he] asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’”

I think this passage is so fascinating that Philip is so eager to get the job done. He doesn’t sit around waiting on what’s next, what’s next. He sprints over, he hears Isaiah, and he immediately asks, “Do you even know what you’re reading?”

Here’s what they were reading. The eunuch said, “‘How can I,’”

“How can I understand what I’m reading?”

“‘…unless someone guides me?’”

This eunuch may have been in Jerusalem, trying to get answers, trying to ask questions. We don’t know. But I suspect he could’ve been in the Gentile court, showing this passage that we’re about to read from Isaiah, saying, “What is this about?” Nobody gave him answers. He’s still got questions.

And so, to get his questions answered, “…he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.”

I love that. Philip doesn’t have to argue his way in. Philip doesn’t have to push or prod his way into this person. He just gets invited in because he was there, he was available, and he asked, “Do you understand what you’re reading?”

“Now the passage of Scripture that he [the eunuch] was reading was this…”

This is from Isaiah 53.

This is what it says: “‘Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.’”

Now, if you’ve read the New Testament, you might say, “I think I know exactly who that’s talking about.” It seems to be talking about Jesus. Right? If you’ve read the New Testament, this is pretty clear. But this Ethiopian eunuch still doesn’t know what’s going on, so he asks another question of Philip.

“And the eunuch said to Philip, ‘About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else [entirely]?’”

When we’re looking here, he says, “I don’t understand what’s going on. Is Isaiah talking about himself? Is there somebody else he’s referencing?”

“Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.”

He started right there, in Isaiah 53, and he told him everything that he needed to hear. All the good news about Jesus. And we learned that as the story continued, they’re going along, the Ethiopian eunuch hears the good news about Jesus, he wants to be baptized, the find water which, by the way, is a miracle in and of itself. They’re in a desert place. They shouldn’t have found any water, but it’s a miracle they found water. The Ethiopian eunuch is baptized, and then Philip is taken away by the Spirit, which is a really interesting thing. What’s going on there? That’s a different discussion for another time.

But the Spirit takes Philip away, and then the story ends by saying, “…[the Ethiopian eunuch] went on his way rejoicing.”

Because he’s been on the outside his whole life, trying to get in, trying to ask questions, but now he knows the good news about Jesus, and he goes on his way rejoicing. And early Christian writers like Irenaeus, Eusebius of Caesarea, they will say that the same Ethiopian eunuch who heard the good news about Jesus went back to Ethiopia and started to preach the Gospel. So, these early Christians writers, they would say, “Yeah. The Gospel really did reach the ends of the earth.”

And it was all because Philip was willing to be obedient and be exactly where he needed to be, at the right time, and willing to serve this Ethiopian eunuch. So, we’ve looked at the story. Now comes that fun part called application. And we have to figure out, “What about this story has meaning? How do we interpret this? What does this mean for us?”

Obviously, Scripture wasn’t written to us directly. It was written to a particular group of people, at a particular time, in a particular place. But all of Scripture is written for us, for our instruction, correction, for our training in righteousness, 2 Timothy tells us. So, what does this passage of Scripture mean for you, what does it mean for me, and what does it mean for all of us? So, I want to give you four thoughts. Four things I think you can take home, chew on, and think about that I think will be really good for all of us. The first one is no one is outside the scope of our service. Nobody is outside the scope of our service. And here’s one of those places where we have to say, “Let’s just be real, let’s be honest.” This is not me pointing at any of you. By virtue of being human beings, isn’t it easier to serve people who are like us? Isn’t it a whole lot easier to serve people who agree with everything that we think? Isn’t it a whole lot easier to serve people who think like us, they come from the same culture as us, they look like us. That’s so much easier, but that’s not what this story allows. If we’re going to be followers of Jesus, anybody and everybody is within the scope of our service, and I think this story shows us that because who is Philip serving? He’s serving a Gentile. Philip’s not a Gentile. Really, they shouldn’t have much to do with each other, except Philip now knows who Jesus is. So, that’s transformed everything. But this guy’s also an Ethiopian from the edges of the known world. His culture is different. His language is probably different, though they would’ve shared some language that was known throughout the ancient world. Everything about this guy. He’s also a eunuch. Everything about him is different. He’s got a different culture. He comes from a different place. He doesn’t understand anything about what’s going on. He doesn’t know anything about Jesus. He couldn’t be more different than Philip, but to Philip it doesn’t matter how different he is. He’s willing to serve anyway. He just does exactly what God told him to do.

“Go to the wilderness and then go join this chariot,” and everything happens from there.

So, we learn from the story that nobody is beyond the scope of our service, and that’s a hard thing for us, sometimes, but I think it’s so true for us, today, when everything is divided and all of these things. We’ve got to remember nobody is beyond the scope of our service. Then, second thing, obeying God puts us in a position to be invited in. Now, I don’t think this is much of a problem here at Grace, but I’ve seen it in so many other places. And I think many of you might agree. So many churches and, sort of, people who are Christians in the United States feel like they have to argue everybody into the Kingdom of God.

Well, let me be the first to tell you I just don’t think that works very well. But we try to argue, we try to debate. God said, “Go, be fishers of men,” and we try to not only catch, but also clean everybody up and make them more like us before they’re allowed in. Which is just not what God told us to do. We catch, He cleans. That’s His stuff to do. But when we obey God, we don’t have to argue, we don’t have to debate. In fact, obeying God, it puts us in a position to actually be invited in by the very people we’re being called to reach. That’s what happened to Philip. He obeys God. The eunuch asks, “How can I understand Isaiah unless somebody guides me?”

Then Philip doesn’t say, “Hey, man. Let me hop up in your chariot and I can help you out.”

He doesn’t say anything. In fact, the eunuch is the one who invites Philip to come and talk about what’s going on here in this passage in Isaiah. Now, I had something like this happen, and many of you may have had this happen. But just as an illustration, I was at a Music on Main that we do almost every month out of the year, serving the community. So many of you are a part of that and you make it possible for us to reach people in that way. But I was standing at a ride, there was this guy who was there, and his kids loved this ride. So, they were going over and over and over, which meant he and I were standing there, together, and we’re talking about everything that you can talk about. I’m trying to talk with everybody that’ll listen. I’m talking with this guy, and after we’ve talked for quite a bit of time, he sort of abruptly stops the conversation, and then he asks me this question. He said, “Why do you guys do this? Like, all this. These rides, these games. People are out here sweating, volunteering. Why do you guys do this on a Friday night when you could go do anything else?”

That gave me an opportunity to tell him exactly why we do it.

“Hey, man. God loves you and your family, and we love you and we want to be here for you. You’re welcome at Grace.”

It was awesome. But it just seemed like being obedient and serving somebody else put me in a position where I didn’t have to force anything. This guy just invited me to answer one of his questions, and I think you’ll find, or you probably already have found, situations where that has happened. But obeying God means we don’t have to argue, push, debate, and try to argue and wrangle people into the Kingdom of God. In fact, they might even just invite us in.

Number three: To best serve others, we must be equipped. We have to be equipped. Now, again, I can say that I think Grace Community Church is about the most equipped church you could possibly find anywhere because we have so many opportunities to get equipped, and Pastor Chip is so intentional about making that possible. But if we’re going to reach people, we’ve got to be intentional about, as followers of Jesus, equipping ourselves to do the work of the ministry. And that’s what you see with Philip in this story. The eunuch said to Philip, “I’ve got a question, man. I don’t understand what’s going on in this passage in Isaiah. About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this? Is he talking about himself? Is he talking about somebody else?”

And Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with that Scripture, beginning right there, told him the good news about Jesus. He was ready. He understood the Scriptures. He had read them. He had studied. He had encountered Jesus and saw how that changed everything. So, we have to be ready for that, too. Now, that doesn’t mean we have to have every answer to every question. Somebody might ask you a question and the best answer you can give is, “Do you know what? I actually don’t know the answer to that question, but how about let’s get together next week, have some coffee and hang out. I’ll do some research and then we can talk about it more then. Sound good?”

People, actually, really appreciate a little bit of intellectual honesty, you might call it. We don’t have to have the answer to every question, but we do have to equip ourselves to be able to reach people, to talk about Jesus, and to show them who Jesus is all throughout the Scriptures. We’ve got to be equipped. But I believe this church does that as good as any church that I could possibly imagine.

But then fourth thing. And this is the one where, more than any other, I just hope this maybe gets down in your bones in some way. And that’s this: Mature Christians should have an eagerness to obey God by serving others. Mature Christians should have an eagerness to obey God by serving others. Not a reluctance. Not a dread. Not, “I can’t believe they’re talking about Music on Main again. Oh, I can’t believe they want us to help out in the children’s ministry, in youth ministry, with the worship team or whatever it is. I can’t believe they’re talking about serving again.”

Well, mature Christians, we should be eager to jump in and obey God by serving other people. Philip was. Philip was as eager as you can get. The Spirit told him, “Go over and join that chariot. Go over there.”

What does Philip do? He sprints. He runs. And not only that, but as soon as he gets there and hears him reading Isaiah, he doesn’t sit around waiting on, “Okay, God. What are You going to tell me to do next?”

He knows what to do next. His mission is to preach the Gospel, and now God has given a person in front of him that he can share it with. So, he just asks, “Do you know what you’re reading?”

He’s eager, he’s ready to go, and that’s the kind of people we have to be. One scholar put it this way, which I thought was really good.

“Throughout the story, Philip does what he’s told, but very little else. Philip just obeys whatever God tells him to do.”

“Hey, leave here and go to a desert place.”

“Okay.”

“Hey, see that guy over there, who you don’t know, who’s in a chariot, and you’re this one, seemingly crazy guy out in the desert for no reason? Why don’t you go over there and talk to him.”

“Okay.”

Philip is eager to jump in and do what God has called him to do. So, I want to come back to that thing we talked about right at the beginning. If you’ve played tennis or if you’ve played ping pong and somebody serves the ball to you, it comes fast, it comes hard, and you’ve got to react to keep the ball in play. But there comes a point in that game where it’s your serve. And when it comes the time that it’s your serve, that’s when you put everything you’ve got into it. You serve the ball as hard as you can, as fast as you can, because you want to win. Right? And I just believe that we have an incredible opportunity here at Grace, more than any of us even realize, to reach people. Did you know that Waterside is barely even built out for what it’s going to be? And we’re right here. We’ve got an incredible opportunity to reach people, but if we’re going to do it, we’ve got to be ready to serve. We’ve got to be equipped, and I believe we are. We’ve got to be connected, and I believe we are. But we’ve also got to be ready to serve with passion, with vigor, and with eagerness.

So, if you’re here this weekend and maybe you’ve always thought, “I’ve heard about that Music on Main thing, but maybe not this time,” maybe this time. Or maybe you’ve heard about Neighbor Fest or an outreach that we’re doing and you thought, “You know, that’s really not for me.”

I think it’s for all of us. Or maybe you’ve thought, “I’ve thought about serving in the children’s ministry, in youth ministry, or Bridge,” or, “I’ve always thought about being part of the worship team or the production team, and how we’re reaching hundreds and thousands of people around the world via our online campus.”

How’s the time. We’ve got to do this thing together. So, I’m going to just invite you, as we sing this final song, to think about that. What are those things that are in front of you that God is calling you to do? What are those things that you could be just overflowing with eagerness to get in there and to serve so that, together, we can really be that church that reaches unchurched people by being intentional neighbors that reflect Christ in the way that we love and serve others?

So, would you pray with me?

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