How many of you make New Year’s Resolutions?
· Help others more
Anybody care to share one of yours?
· Learn something new
I have a list of the top ten resolutions from 2018. My guess would be that most of these stay pretty similar from year to year, but lets see how we compare.
· Get out of debt
· Quit drinking
Help others more
· Enjoy life more
Learn something new
· Quit smoking
Get out of debt
· Lose weight
· Find more time for physical fitness
Enjoy life more
· Spend more time with family and friends
Find more time for physical fitness
Spend more time with family and friends
Percent of Americans who usually make New Year’s Resolutions 45%
Percent of Americans who infrequently make New Year’s Resolutions 17%
Percent of Americans who never make New Year’s Resolutions 38%
Percent of people who are successful in achieving their resolution 8%
People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions
Next week we will talk about how The Way We LIVE plays an important role in the development of our faith, and it plays an important role in the development of our brothers and sisters in Christ. It goes a long with this week message but we are taking them slightly out of order because I think its important for us to set a New Years Resolution. The Way wWe LIVE is a discussion about discipleship and a critical aspect of discipleship is the way we serve people.
· Listen - We have to be willing to listen! Listen to God; listen to our teachers, our mentors, and our brothers and sisters.
· Investigate - We need to be willing to Investigate the Scripture and not blindly follow those who could lead you down a false path. We have to study on our own to better understand those things we have been taught.
· Value - You got to place Value on your beliefs and let your life reflects those values.
· Express - We must be willing to Express our beliefs to those who don’t know Christ and to disciple each other into a stronger body.
However, today I get the joy to share with you the rest of this message. I have looked forward to today when I get the chance to give the final part of this process. Discipleship does not end with these four simply things. There is a crucial step that must incorporate each and every one of these steps.
· Serve - We better ourselves while caring for others.
For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Over the years the church has focused more and more on service to self instead of service to others. We have looked to what makes us happy, what helps us grow and what will grow this church. You know the arguments; we like this style of music, the paint must be this color, we pray too much, we don’t pray enough, I’m not saying that we gave up mission work, but rather that the work of missions became primarily about teaching Christ instead of exampling Christ. Humanity has slowly sunk into a world of personal fulfillment instead and the church joined in. We do worship service, Sunday School, Bible Studies, small groups, youth group, and children’s ministry. All of which are important to a thriving church, but all of which primarily build up ourselves.
The church I have experienced has reminded me greatly of the Pharisees. We can follow the rules, look wonderfully religious, know our Scripture and never help the poor, never open up to the needy, never sacrifice of ourselves. I am glad to say I don’t see that here... much. We should not be separate from, but rather, an integral part of our neighborhoods. The best example we can give of Jesus is to model Him in service to others. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…” The different attitudes we portray in of our lives will draw people to Christ. They desire to know why we are different, how we got that way, and can they have it too. “The call of the gospel is to serve others. It is not required that we be overly vocal about our Christian faith, but in the process of serving others we exemplify what it means to be Christian” (Dr. Gary Waller). Simply being out there is enough. Showing others we care is enough. This is the heart of service, showing Christ, living Christ, and exampling Christ to the world is our focus.
Does discipleship cultivate service? Discipleship leads to expansion of knowledge and greater awareness and understanding of the social issues surrounding us. Discipleship encourages lifelong learning, which leads to broadening awareness of deficiencies in our communities. With this knowledge we may see a greater need for change, but change does not happen without involvement…service. Jesus modeled service to not only the Jewish population, but those surrounding as well. He healed the servant of the Roman officer, encouraged the Samaritan woman at the well, and walked as part of the people not separate from them. He ate with tax collectors, sought out sinners, and healed the lame and the lepers. Jesus consistently sought out opportunities to serve within his community in order to better it. He came not to be a part of the social order, but rather to improve it. He set the example for us to follow.
John Wesley - Catholic Spirit
15. Art thou employed in doing, "not thy own will, but the will of him that sent thee" --of him that sent thee down to sojourn here awhile, to spend a few days in a strange land, till, having finished the work he hath given thee to do, thou return to thy Father's house Is it thy meat and drink "to do the will of thy Father which is in heaven" Is thine eye single in all things always fixed on him always looking unto Jesus Dost thou point at him in whatsoever thou doest in all thy labour, thy business, thy conversation aiming only at the glory of God in all, "whatsoever thou doest, either in word or deed, doing it all in the name of the Lord Jesus; giving thanks unto God, even the Father, through him"
16. Does the love of God constrain thee to serve him with fear, to "rejoice unto him with reverence" Art thou more afraid of displeasing God, than either of death or hell Is nothing so terrible to thee as the thought of offending the eyes of his glory Upon this ground, dost thou "hate all evil ways," every transgression of his holy and perfect law; and herein "exercise thyself, to have a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward man"
17. Is thy heart right toward thy neighbour Dost thou love as thyself, all mankind, without exception "If you love those only that love you, what thank have ye" Do you "love your enemies" Is your soul full of good-will, of tender affection, toward them Do you love even the enemies of God, the unthankful and unholy Do your bowels yearn over them Could you "wish yourself" temporally "accursed" for their sake And do you show this by "blessing them that curse you, and praying for those that despitefully use you, and persecute you"
18. Do you show your love by your works While you have time as you have opportunity, do you in fact "do good to all men," neighbours or strangers, friends or enemies, good or bad Do you do them all the good you can; endeavouring to supply all their wants; assisting them both in body and soul, to the uttermost of your power --If thou art thus minded, may every Christian say, yea, if thou art but sincerely desirous of it, and following on till thou attain, then "thy heart is right, as my heart is with thy heart."
N.T. Wright believed we should live today in anticipation of our future in the new heaven and earth. We look at all that was achieved through the earthly work of Jesus we participate in that by faith, baptism and love, and we look this ultimate reality by living out habits of faith, hope and love to reflect and worship God in this world now.
What he is really proposing living in anticipation of what God will do. In a way it’s similar to the old story about the two farmers praying for rain. One stays inside and waits while the other goes to prepare his fields. We then should live for our future vocation in God’s kingdom by following the work that Jesus started. We should be actively seeking to help our compassionate ministry centers, showing love for those in need, be involved with community organizations and seeking ways to better our community.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
Now this passage in Galatians was specifically written in regard to fighting and arguing among fellow Christians. They had this division here, that sect there, this argument over here. Aren’t you glad we don’t have any of that today? Isn’t it wonderful how all Christian denominations can work together to spread the message of Christ?
I think Christ gave us a better example of who are neighbor is. In the law expert responds to Jesus’ question about the greatest commandment. He says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself” He follows this statement by asking Jesus who his neighbor is. Jesus begins telling the story of the Good Samaritan. All of you have heard it. At the end Jesus asks who the good neighbor was, and who was it?
He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
If, as says, we are to treat our neighbors as ourselves, and our neighbors include our enemies as hinted at by Jesus in Luke, then ought we, as Christians, do the same?
We each travel a road in our spiritual journey and may have a different outlook on truth. The true choice is if we are following the path God wishes us to travel. John Wesley said, “he is steadily fixed in his religious principles in what he believes to be truth as it is in Jesus; while he firmly adheres to that worship of God which he judges to be most acceptable in his sight; and while he is united by the tenderest and closest ties to one particular congregation, --his heart is enlarged toward all mankind, those he knows and those he does not; he embraces with strong and cordial affection neighbors and strangers, friends and enemies.” He also said “Every man must judge for himself, as every man must give an account of himself to God” (Wesley, 1999). There is no need to shove our beliefs on people. We have no premise for judging their chosen lifestyle. It is simply our job to show the love of Jesus Christ and allow the Spirit to work within them. This does not mean condoning actions but accepting the person and their differing view.
I’d like to share a story with you.
Judy Anderson grew up as the daughter of missionaries in Zaire. As a little girl, she went to a day-long rally celebrating the 100th anniversary of Christian missionaries coming to that part of Zaire.
After a full day of long speeches and music, an old man came before the crowd and insisted that he be allowed to speak. He said he soon would die, and that he alone had some important information to share. If he did not speak, that information would go with him to his grave.
He explained that when Christian missionaries came a hundred years before, his people thought the missionaries were strange and their message unusual. The tribal leaders decided to test the missionaries by slowly poisoning them to death. Over a period of month and years, missionary children died one by one. Then the old man said, “It was as we watched how they died that we decided we wanted to live as Christians.
That story went untold for one hundred years. Those who died painful, strange deaths never knew why they were dying or what the impact of the lives and deaths would be. They stayed cause they trusted Jesus and had been called to serve Him.
These missionaries lived and example Jesus, even through their suffering. They showed what a difference He makes in our lives and the tribal people of Zaire witnessed this difference. That is what led them to being Christians. The example the missionaries portrayed.
“The call of the gospel is to serve others… in the process of serving others we exemplify what it means to be Christian”
We need to LIVE, but more importantly we need to serve. When we make a simple transition into a serving mentality, we change the way we LIVE. Now we affect LIVES.
As we begin a New Year I have a challenge for you. Let’s forget about the 10 pounds we need to lose. Instead lets focus on 1 soul, one life for Christ. How can our lives serve as an example and witness of Jesus? How can I affect one person through my actions?