Say Yes to Serving: day one

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Say Yes to Serving: day one

We are called to serve others.

Galatians 5:13 says, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” (NIV)  The Bible tells us that even Jesus himself came not to be served, but to serve others. (Mark 10:45, NIV)

And yet, often times, serving can feel like such a chore.  It’s easy to find excuses to not want to serve.  It’s time-consuming, it can be exhausting, and we wonder sometimes if it’s really worth our effort.

But where God calls, He always provides.

Here are a few practical steps to help us as we navigate our God-given call to serve.

1. Schedule it.  

It may sound strange but schedule your serving time.  

A lot of volunteer roles at churches or in your local community will have a begin date and an end date.  Put it on your calendar, like you would anything else that you’ve committed to.  By doing this, you are placing value upon it.  We tend to show up for the things that we have scheduled time for.  Most service positions are willing to work with your schedule.  Take a  look at your calendar and let them know ahead of time when you will be unavailable.  This allows them time to fill your position and it also makes serving feel more manageable knowing that when necessary, you can miss a time or two.

2.  Use your gifts.

Use the gifts that God has already given you to serve others.  

1 Peter 4:9-10 says, “Be hospitable to one another without complaining.  Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God.”

God has given each of us unique gifts, talents and abilities.  If you’re unsure what your gifts may be, try to think of what it is that you enjoy doing.  Often times, your gifts will line up with what your passions and interests are. If you enjoy working with young kids and students, there are a wide area of service opportunities for you to choose from here at Cornerstone Church.  Talk to a pastor and get plugged in somewhere.  If kids aren’t really your cup of tea, then there are a number of other opportunities including being a part of our greeters team, usher team, hospitality team or worship team.  As pastor Dave Simerson often says, “Do something, not nothing.”

3. Use His strength

We can serve from the strength that God provides.

So often we use the excuse of being tired when it comes to serving. But ask anyone who has been serving consistently and they will tell you that serving can also be very life giving.  There have been countless times when I have left my house feeling exhausted, headed to church to serve, wondering how I’m ever going to make it through only to discover that by the end of the service I feel energized!  I leave feeling inspired, like I made a difference in someone’s life.    

1 Peter 4:11 says, “If anyone speaks, let it be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, let it be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything.”  God provides the strength we need to serve and all the glory goes to Him.

I believe that as we schedule our serving time, use our gifts, and use His strength, we will experience the fullness that God intended for us as we serve one another in love.  When we give of ourselves, our time and our resources to serve those around us, God is faithful to fill us back up and provide all that we need.


written by: Jessica Broberg

jessicabroberg.com

Say Yes to Friendship: day Three

When I was a kid I remember a public service campaign about how to respond if you found yourself in a smoke-filled room or a building that was on fire. The campaign slogan was short and memorable, “Stop-Drop-And Roll.” Here I am 35 years later in life, and I still remember that simple slogan.

Dr. Henry Cloud has a similar slogan for how what to do when we experience personal trauma or crisis, “Stop-Drop-And Connect.” We are in the middle of a series of messages called, “Say Yes”, and this week is “Say Yes to Connection and Friendship!” I want to encourage all of us to go through a crisis, not alone, but with someone else. Connect!

Why is this a challenge? Our human nature often leads us to isolate and seek to be alone when we face trouble in life. It may be because we feel ashamed, hurt, tired or broken. We don’t want to broadcast our failure, mistake or abuse to anyone else we know. And we don’t have to. However, let me encourage all of us to reach out to at least one person when we are facing a crisis. That one connection can make all the difference!

When we try to live as an island to ourselves it begins to be all too easy to let lies, half-truths, and misinformation become our reality. When we are alone there is no one else to throw a flag on the play and cause us to reconsider our thoughts or feelings in the context of reality. We become the chief official, the only voice and that is a treacherous path to walk on. I love what we are told in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” If we fall, we need someone else to help lift us up!

God has given us friends and made us friends so that there can be a connection when there is a fall. We all need that! Don’t forget to connect in crisis. It may be the one thing that makes the troubled times survivable. “Stop-Drop-And Connect!”

Say Yes to Friendship: day two

We have purchased a plethora of phone chargers over the last several years. We probably could’ve sent all three of our kids to college on what we’ve spent on them.

Okay, so maybe I’m embellishing a bit, but it kinda feels that way sometimes.    

Chargers are a hot commodity around our house.  It seems like they are always disappearing or breaking down on us.  Recently my husband decided he’d had enough and invested in two new chargers for the ADULTS ONLY of the house.

These chargers were fancy! They came in their own special carrying cases, they were extra long in length, made of braided nylon and boasted to be tangle free! Can I get a Hallelujah?!!  I woke up the next morning fully expecting my phone to be charged to the coveted 100% mark, but instead found it at a measly 2%.  I had plugged it into a bad power strip.  

How often in life do we do the very same thing?  We plug into things that we think will charge us, only to discover we still have a low battery.  

We connect to a wrong source.  

Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5 (NIV) He is our source.  When we connect to Him, we are able to bear fruit.  Apart from Him, we can’t do a thing.

Just like connecting to a power strip that doesn’t work will never charge our phone, trying to connect to things or people other than Jesus will never fulfill us.  Sometimes we think if we could just have that relationship, or that job, or those finances, then we would be completely charged.  But the truth is, nothing will ever truly give us that feeling of connection that we long for outside of a relationship with Him.  

When we plug into God and all that He has for us, then we can begin to connect to others through the power and love that is found in Him.  When He alone is our source, then we have enough charge to be a source of strength, love and wisdom to those around us.  Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (NIV) If we want to be iron that can help sharpen another, we need to be connected to the right source.

One way we can stay connected to the right source is through prayer and reading His word.  This week, let’s make time each day to connect to our source by talking to Him, listening to Him and reading His word.  That way, we can give from the endless supply of power that we have received from.  When we stay connected to Him, we are able to bear much fruit.


written by: Jessica Broberg

Jessicabroberg.com

Say Yes to Friendship: day one

 

“I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.  If anyone does not remain in me he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers.”   John 15:5-6

I love the illustration Jesus gives in this verse. I can clearly see the tangled, lush grapevine hanging heavy because of its full clusters of fruit ripe for the picking.

He is this vine- the very life force, pumping growth into all His branches, into all of his people. We are the countless branches- different shapes and sizes, placed in different clusters but are ALL connected because of Him.

The beautiful thing about being connected to the vine and other branches is the internal changes that naturally take place because our God is the one who is changing us. I’ve experienced this first hand in my own life. Even though my husband and I weren’t as involved with our church family as we are now we were connected to Christ. We were working out our own walks with fear and trembling. God used our church family greatly in those years even when they weren’t aware. Just by us observing our close friends’ lives- how they loved their families and selflessly served God- we were encouraged. We were challenged to become better much quicker than if we had been walking on our own.

The healthy changes in our lives happened because everyone in that situation was connected to the main vine- Christ. He did the impossible! If Andrew and I had chosen to try doing things our way, no amount of observing or counseling would have changed our lives for the better. And the same for those we were surrounding ourselves with- if we were observing friends who weren’t following Christ, who knows the damage we’d encounter.


written by: Israel Keefe

Say Yes to Trust: day three

EVEN IF TRUST

Daniel 3:13-18

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought before him. When they were brought in, 14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? 15 I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?”

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought before him. When they were brought in,14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? 15 I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”

EVEN IF

In this passage from, Daniel the three Hebrews are arrested and brought before the King of Babylon, a wicked and self-indulgent land. They are given an ultimatum “Bow and worship the idol or die in the fire.”

In verse 18 they unveil this “even if” trust. If we are thrown into the fire, God can rescue us, but EVEN IF He doesn’t, we will not bow. WHAT?! Even if He doesn’t do things how we are expecting Him to we will not bow, we will continue to worship the One True God!

How many times am I willing to pull my trust from God because a situation takes a turn and it begins to look like I will not get my desired outcome? I am perfectly willing to trust IF I will get what I want. Is that trust or is that a negotiation? Is that trust or is it being a control freak? Is that trust or is it manipulation? It looks a lot like selfishness, it looks nothing like Jesus. These men were willing to trust God EVEN IF they lost their very lives.

As they display this “even if” trust we see peace, joy, a holy confidence in their lives. We see a win/win mindset. If we are delivered, we win. Even if we aren’t delivered, we win. Because either way we are with Him. They are thrown into the fire. But they don’t burn because there is a fourth man in the fire – Jesus. He delivers them without a fiber singed or any whiff of smoke. EVEN IF trust is where I want to live! Jesus sums it up well in Mark 8:35, “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.” EVEN. IF.


written by: David Simerson

Say Yes to Trust: day two

Gideon watched God whittle his army down from 32,000 men to only 300 men before sending him out to fight against the Midianites.  Judges 6-7

Esther approached her King without being summoned, an act that could’ve ended her life, to plead for the lives of every Jewish person throughout the kingdom.  Esther 3-7

Abraham picked up a knife to kill his own son as a sacrifice. Genesis 22

 

What do the main characters in all these stories have in common? An unwavering and absolute TRUST in the God they serve. A belief that their God would show up and do something on their behalf.

Sometimes we read stories like this and wonder how someone could ever get to a place where they could trust God like that??  With their very lives.  Or, in some cases, the lives of an entire nation or people group.  

And yet all of these stories are threaded with many little moments of trust, leading up to their one great awe-inspiring decision to trust God in the face of overwhelming odds.  Trust grows exponentially over time.  When we decide to trust God in small areas of our lives and we are able to see His faithfulness to us, our trust grows. And each trust step we take, leads us deeper and deeper, allowing us to trust Him with even harder and more difficult areas of our lives.  

Trusting is a daily act of surrendering our will to His, trusting His plan over ours and acknowledging his faithfulness to us.

The dictionary definition of trust is this:  a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.  

Gideon had a firm belief in the strength of God to help him win in battle.  Esther had a firm belief in the truth of God to reveal Haman’s evil plot to extinguish the Jews.  Abraham had a firm belief in the reliability of God to provide another sacrifice. All were able to trust in the midst of dire circumstances because they had learned from previous experiences that the God in whom they placed their trust was indeed able to be trusted. He had proven himself.  He had come through for them before and He would do it again.  

Sometimes we are prone to forget the many ways that God has come through for us in the past.  But, if we want to be people who trust God, then we also need to be people who share our stories of God’s faithfulness with one another.  Because as we share, our faith increases.  And so does our trust.  

This week, let’s take another trust step forward and determine to give Him complete access to a new area of our lives.  Whether that might be trusting Him with our kids, our finances or maybe our health.  Let’s remember all the ways that He has been faithful to us in the past, and let it fill our hearts with trust going forward.


written by: Jessica Broberg

web: jessicabroberg.com

Say Yes to Trust: day one

“The Lord is my shepherd.

I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me besides still waters.

He restores my soul.”

Psalms 23:1-3

 

Green pasture. Still waters…

Of course, a soul would be restored in this setting. How could it not? So why do I fight against trusting my God when this beauty is where He wants to take me??

I have to admit- I have a hard time believing God wants the best for me because I’ve been ‘let down’ many times by God before. I had something I’ve prayed for and he whispers to me, “Do you trust me?”  I respond excitedly yes only to be left disappointed when the prayer isn’t answered in the way I’m expecting.

Say YesIt took a year to work out my frustrations with God after we moved up to Austin.

I had many dreams of helping countless lives through the farm God told us to leave behind. He blessed us with a wonderful home, but it is in town. My horse of 21 years was rehomed far away. It pained me to give up all the peace and security of the country. I had trusted God and he didn’t come through in my eyes.

But oh, He had! It took a while for him to soften my heart but when I finally surrendered what I thought was best I realized God has blessed us more than I could have asked for! More growth has come to pass this past year than all the 11 years combined when we were on that farm- Our marriage is stronger than ever. Our family is closer than it’s ever been- we laugh more together, our children are standing strong and figuring out their personal relationships with God. I rest now, like really stop to rest which I’ve never done before. All because we chose to trust God, and this is only the beginning of our journey!

The thing I’ve been learning is- God’s BEST doesn’t look like the world’s best.

The world screams its many bests at us- a successful job, a beautiful house, being smart or beautiful, to appear everything is in order in your household. The worlds best leaves us wanting, frazzled, & sometimes depressed and lonely. Nothing close to what this scripture paints.

God’s best has substance.

His best is a peace that surpasses all understanding, a joy that doesn’t waver with situations surrounding you, an identity in Him where you know you are loved and treasured, the courage to face your fears, genuine thankfulness for all the things you already have… You will not be wanting because you are trusting in Him and surrounded in HIS best!

David knew our God and trusted in a way we still can’t grasp as clearly today. Maybe it was the slow-moving days of the quiet back then- not having to drive vehicles hurriedly through congested roads, no bosses breathing down his back with pressing deadlines, no TV or internet to distract his aching heart, or no obligatory payments weighing on his soul. He watched sheep all day and had all day to do it. Whatever the difference was David had a clear perspective on how fleeting this world is and how great and good our God is… and we can too.

God desires the best for us.

THE BEST. And when we continue to discover the differences of God’s best to the World’s best, like David had, it’s all the easier to trust our Mighty, Loving Father with our lives.


written by: Israel Keefe

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