Week 6: Live With God’s Glory In View: A Conversation with Ted McMillin

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We love our community and want to show the love of Christ tangibly in our neighborhoods, workplaces and homes. This summer, through weekend sermons, small group curriculum and daily devotionals, we will discover how serving can make a difference in our community, makes an impact for God and grows our faith. Join us as we discover significance through serving.


This week’s post will wrap up our Why I Serve series. We will be interviewing Ted McMillin today. He is a business leader and friend of Rock Brook. Today he will speak about how serving fits into many places in his life. How being a follower of Christ has made an impact in his leadership, marriage and family.


Pastor Ryland: The first duty as a Christian is not to do anything, but to be loved by God. How has seeing yourself as a child of God shaped your life? How has that ordered your life?

Ted McMillin: There are two things I want you to know before I start talking. First, I believe the Bible is inerrant, it’s God’s breathed word for us. Number two, I’m in no way perfect. I’ve struggled, failed and sinned. It’s only by God’s grace that I’m up here talking.

In business everything has to have a process flow. As I look at my life and how I’ve pursued Christ, I see these two book ends. As God formed us, in our mother’s womb He had a purpose for us. That’s one bookend. At the other end of this chasm, we are all going to meet God one day. That requires something of us, he created us and we will all stand before Him someday. That should greatly impact all of us. That means on this journey, in my relationship with my wife, with my place in the body of Christ and what I do in the workplace in those things I must be an ambassador of God.


When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”  Matthew 25:31-46 (NIV)

Ted: This passage has made a big impact in my life over the years. It hit me in a big way in 2002. I was on a mission trip in the Philippines when I found a devotional book by Billy Graham. In that book he talked about a church he visited in Germany a few years after WWII. In that church, was a beat up statue of Jesus. The building was bombed during the war and the only thing that remained was this statue. It was pitted and blackened and missing its hands. It was a symbol to that church that they need to be the hands and feet of Christ. What will matter in the end is the question, what did you do with Jesus Christ? That changed the way I saw ministry and my family. We have lived with the desire to be the gospel to the people around us ever since.

Ryland: The title of that devotional was “Live With God’s Glory in View”. When you look through the lens of God’s glory, it changes everything. How has having the heart of a servant impacted how you lead and love your family?

Ted: It’s a real joy to lead. First, it starts with the husband-wife relationship. We do ministry together within the local body. We were very intentional about having our faith be preeminent in raising our family. We’ve been intentional in making much of Christ in our home, not legalistically, but we made spending time in God’s Word fun. Monday through Saturday we had a daily prayer list and made that a big emphasis in our family time.

When we go after our children’s hearts, it’s not to get perfection. It’s to introduce them to Christ, but it’s up to them what they do with Christ. For us, last year we noticed some changes in our son’s behavior. When I approached him, a couple things came out. He wasn’t really sure who Christ was to him anymore and began making poor choices that had consequences. He is now in another state getting help. So we are on a journey for God to further remind us of His love.


Ryland: In parenting there are no guarantees that our children will follow Christ fully. How can you speak to anyone who is dealing with a child that is struggling with their faith or with their sin? What are the things you are doing for him as you pursue him, love him and father him?

Ted: I’ll confess, the first day I was so mad at the sin. But quickly, God reminded me that without His grace I’d be there too. We went after my son’s heart. I also went to 5 men who have been mentors to me and are close to my son. I asked them to pray for my son everyday and reach out to him. They have all traveled to see him and written several letters to him. They have shared their failures with him. I’m going after him like crazy and by God’s grace and mercy he will be a follower and this will be part of his story one day for God’s glory.


Ryland: You have so many stories of how God confirmed decisions you’ve made and things your family did consistently. Tell us of an example of that.

Ted: Every school year our family would pick a theme. In August of 2007, our theme was “Being a Difference Maker” and Nehemiah was our Bible character. Every year we would go to breakfast together on the first day of school. So this year, at that breakfast, we talked about today’s difference makers. I talked about how the United States is a difference maker internationally and President George W. Bush was a difference maker. About that time, I notice that there is flood of security personnel in black suits in that restaurant. I go walk around and try to figure out what is going on. I go back to my family and tell them I think the president of the United States is coming here today. We had just talked about him! After about 20-30 minutes, President Bush walks in the door and walks straight toward us. When he got to us, I told him that our family prays for him and his family almost every Saturday of his presidency. He stayed and talked with us for a few minutes. He told us how much he appreciated our prayers.

That night we had a family meeting and I told my kids that on that day God just reminded us that when we pray for people it matters. Sometimes God confirms in a big way that what we do in faith is important.


Ryland: I want to turn the page and talk about work. How has being a Jesus follower shaped the decisions you’ve made in the workplace?

Ted: I was hired as a leader in my company to include the gospel in how we manage and care for people. In business there is a thing called ROI, return on investment. We have changed that up a bit and we call it EROI, eternal return on investment. We are putting a lot into thinking about how we influence our people to see the gospel in action. We are just building this initiative right now. We expect to see some amazing things happen through people because of this emphasis.

Ryland: How do you lead and use that platform as a Christ follower?

Ted: My company recently took over a company in Denmark. I spent a week with them and on Friday I brought everyone together and let them know that I am Christian. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. What they can expect is: I am going to be very honest with you. I am going to work to make sure I am kind and careful with how I do things. I tell them I love them and care about them. That does two things: it makes it very clear who I am and it makes me be accountable. Once you’ve made a declaration that you are a follower of Christ, all of your days they people will watch what you say and do. I want that kind of accountability.

Ryland: A lot of times people will say they are a Christian and the message that often sends is “I am a Christian so what you can expect is for me to be offended, to be intolerant of certain things…” He’s saying “I’m a Christ follower and what you can expect is honesty and to care about who you are.” No one’s going to say “I don’t want THAT!” He’s leading the way with how God cares about that person. It works! One of my favorite metrics you’ve shared with me is how this has affected an international plant.

Ted: One of the great things about letting God take control is that you see the blessings and you know you didn’t get in the way and screw it up. In 2016, we were in India and analyzing the state of the business. One of the accountants told me that they have something incredible to share with me. Something they had never seen before. Usually, that means you are in a lot of trouble. He told me our company has a zero turnover rate. He had never seen that before. In 8 years, no one had ever left. In that culture, education is of high value and they are a very driven people. That often leads to job dissatisfaction and a typical person in that industry would stay at a company for less than 2 years. Our company had no one leave for 8 years. The way we lead people was making an impact.


Ryland: How important, in every season of your life, has the local church been?

Ted: The three greatest gifts from God, in this order, are salvation through Christ, the husband and wife relationship and the body of Christ. The body of Christ is where we go to get fed, grow and flourish. Over the last 2 decades, as we’ve moved all over, the first thing I look for is a great church in that community. Any success I’ve had in life, is in part because of the body of Christ.

Ryland: You can see how this is just a whole recap of everything we’ve talked about from work to leadership to family. That we are shaped in our world to make an impact for Christ.

Take a look back at any of our posts about serving in different places in life.


Check Back

Have you reflected at all on your SHAPE? How has knowing about Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experiences helped you see yourself?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

Read the entire chapter of Matthew 25.

Application

  • What themes did you notice from Matthew 25?
  • Talk about the interview with Ted.
  • What stood out to you?
  • What challenged you?
  • Anything you can apply and do because of what you heard?

Tell Someone Else

  • Who do you need to share this message with this week?
  • How could this message impact someone else in your life?

 

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Week 5: Shaped to Serve

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We love our community and want to show the love of Christ tangibly in our neighborhoods, workplaces and homes. This summer, through weekend sermons, small group curriculum and daily devotionals, we will discover how serving can make a difference in our community, makes an impact for God and grows our faith. Join us as we discover significance through serving.


Have you noticed that God likes variety? Just look around, every human being is unique. God makes every person an original. He could have made us all alike, but He didn’t.

“God shaped man from the soil of the ground and He blew the breath of life into his nostrils and man became a living being.”  Genesis 2:7 (NJB) 

God custom shaped you and there’s nobody else shaped exactly like you. 

“You made my whole being. You formed me in my mother’s body. I praise you because You made me in an amazing and wonderful way. You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother’s body. When I was put together there You saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me were written in Your book before I was one day old.”  Psalm 139:13-16 (NCV)

Before you were even born God made you, formed you, saw you and shaped you. God planned every day of your life. You are not an accident. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. God chose two people to be your parents, because God knew they had exactly the right DNA to create you. God was more interested in creating you than He was in their parenting skills.

“Your hands formed and shaped me…”  Job 10:8a (GN)

God was intricately, intimately involved in creating you.

After God made you, He broke the mold. Nobody will ever be like you. When you get to heaven God won’t say, “Why weren’t you more like ___________?” God will say, “Did you become the person I made you to be?” You could search the entire world and never find anybody with your thumbprint, your footprint, your voiceprint or your eye print. You are unique.

Most people start off as originals and end up as carbon copies. If you’re here, it means that God has something you can contribute that no one else can. Only you can be you.


For over twenty years at Rock Brook we’ve been using an acrostic called SHAPE to talk about the five things that make you, youYour shape determines what kind of friends you should havewhy certain things frustrate you, your ideal work environment, the best ministry for you and where you will live and succeed. 

When you are working in the area of your shape it’s fulfilling and fruitful. God says we were made to make a difference for Him, a Kingdom difference.

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The Bible teaches that when you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, God gives you spiritual gifts. There are over twenty spiritual gifts listed in the New Testament. Everyone who has trusted Christ is gifted by God with one of these gifts. The spiritual gift you are given, is one of the factors that determines your life purpose.

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There are things you have a heart for and are passionate about. What are you excited about? What is it that gets you up in the morning? Some people have a heart for kids, for teens, for adults or for the hurting. Your heart determines your ministry.

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The average person has over 600 abilities. You have abilities you haven’t even discovered yet. If you want know God’s purpose for your life, find the abilities God has given you and put them to use for His glory.

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We all navigate life differently. Some of us are very competitive and some are very cooperative. Some of us are extroverts while some are introverts. Some of us love variety and others love routine. Has he designed you to work on a team or work alone? Your personality will help determine your purpose.

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God can use the positive and the painful. What experience in your past do you want to hold back? God challenges you to let it come out for His glory. Your most powerful ministry may come out of your greatest hurt, because God never wastes a hurt.  


Why Should You Care About Your Shape?

  • Because your shape reveals God’s purpose for you. 

The way you find out what God wants you to do with your life is to discover how He shaped you.

“Before I shaped you in the womb I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day I had holy plans for you: A spokesman for the nation, that’s what I had in mind for you.”  Jeremiah 1:5 (MSG) 

God had something in mind for you before you were born, but God won’t force you to do His plan. God gives you the freedom. You can use your life on personal, self-centered things and totally miss God’s plan for your life.

  • Because your SHAPE equips you to serve Him.

“God formed me in my mother’s womb to be His servant and He commissioned me…”  Isaiah 49:5 (NLT)

There is a life mission that God has for you that nobody else on this planet can do.

  • Because life is a test.

You need to know your shape because this life is preparation for eternity. God is testing you to see what you will do with what you’ve been given on earth to determine what He will give you to do in heaven for eternity. One day you’re going to stand before God and He’s going to ask you two questions.

What did you do with My Son, Jesus Christ? 

God sent Him to earth to be your Savior by dying on the cross for you. Did you accept that or reject it? Did you accept the forgiveness, the salvation, the ticket to heaven that Christ offered you. If the answer is, “Yes, I accepted Jesus, your Son, as my Lord and Savior. I accepted Jesus and what He did for me.” That is the question that gets you into heaven.  

What did you do with what you were given? 

This question determines not whether you get into heaven, but what you do after you get there. Jesus told a number of stories in which He said that your rewards in heaven and your role in heaven and your responsibility in heaven will be based on what you do with what you’ve been given here? That is the question you need to be prepared to answer. 

“From where He sets God overlooks all of us on earth.  He has shaped each person in turn and now He watches everything we do.”  Psalm 33:14-15 (MSG)

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.  If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth who will trust you with true riches?”  Luke 16:10-11 (NIV)

  • Because it shows God’s glory.

When you use your shape and do what God made you to do it not only feels good to you, it also makes God smile. When God sees someone using the spiritual gift that He gave them for His glory, He smiles.

Everything you have in your life is a gift from God. It can be either used or it can be abused. God says, “I’m testing you to see what you do with what I gave you. There are eternal consequences for everything you do. Rewards, roles, responsibilities.

“Bring Me all the people who are Mine whom I made for my glory.”   Isaiah 43:21 (NJB)

When people fulfill their purpose they bring glory to God. You were made for God’s glory. That’s why you’re alive. Even people with little contribution to our society matter. God wants them alive, because He just wants to love them. They’re alive to teach us to love unconditionally. God says He loves them and He has numbered their days before they were born. God wants them here and has a purpose for them. Maybe the purpose is just for Him to love them and for us to be unselfish and love people who can’t help us back.

The Bible says God loves the weak, the infirm, the needy. We need them in our lives to learn to love like God loves. We must always protect the sanctity of life from the unborn to the elderly. Because you are valuable no matter who or what you are.

“The Lord said to him, ‘Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord.’”  Exodus 4:11 (NIV)

What are you doing with what you’ve been given? God isn’t going to compare you with anybody else. He is going to compare you with your potential though. How did you use what you’ve been given?


How Should You Respond To Your Shape? 

  • Acceptance: Believe that God knows best.

Acceptance means that I believe that when God made me, He knew what He was doing. It all comes down to a matter of trust. When you reject yourself you are rejecting God because He’s your creator. 

My friend, I ask, ‘Who do you think you are to question God? Does the clay have the right to ask the potter why He shaped it the way He did.’”  Romans 9:20 (CEV)

Whenever we doubt God’s love and whenever we doubt God’s wisdom, we always get into trouble. The root behind all of your problems is you don’t believe God really loves you. You don’t believe He has your best interest at heart. You wish He had made you different. As a result there’s a spirit of bitterness in you that keeps you frustrated and keeps you from being all the man or woman God meant for you to be.

“You guided my conception and formed me in the womb.”  Job 10:10 (NLT)

He wanted you alive so He let that conception happen. He wanted you and He loves you.

  • Salvation: Receive God’s love.

“Let Your love, God, shape my life with salvation exactly as You promised.”  Psalm 119:41 (MSG)

Even the most desperate and tragic situations show us God’s love for us. God can always bring good out of bad. You are loved by God and the cross proves it. Jesus Christ died for you. God made you. God saved you and God has a plan for you. He wants you to fulfill the purpose you were shaped for here on earth in this life and for eternity in heaven. That cannot happen apart from salvation.

  • Refocus: Develop what’s inside not outside.

In our society we are obsessed with outward appearance. People spend millions of dollars to work on the outside, but they don’t spend any time on the inside of them.

“The Lord does not look at the things that man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance. But the Lord looks at the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

God wants you to take the time and effort to discover your SHAPE. All of the stuff inside of you determines what God wants you to do with your life. Satan is doing everything he can to keep you from using your SHAPE, because if he can keep you from discovering and deploying your SHAPE, he can rob you of your rewards in heaven and he can rob God of His glory.


Check Back

Which question and reason for work did you focus on last week? In what ways did you make progress? What are some next steps you can take to continue your progress?

  1. How can you personally advance the mission of your workplace?
  2. How can your job grow your character?
  3. How can you let your light shine?
  4. What more can you give as a result of your job?
  5. Where is your reward?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

Read: Psalm 139:13-16 (NCV)

Can you identify the 5 elements of your SHAPE?

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Application

1. ACCEPTANCE: Believe That God Knows Best

“My friend, I ask, ‘Who do you think you are to question God? Does the clay have the right to ask the potter why he shaped it the way he did?’”  Romans 9:20 (CEV)

“You guided my conception and formed me in the womb.”  Job 10:10 (NLT)

What do you need to accept about your SHAPE that you have been resisting?

2. SALVATION: Receive God’s Love

“Let Your love, God, shape my life with salvation, exactly as You promise.”  Psalm 119:41 (MSG)

Have you received the forgiveness and salvation that Christ offers you in every area of your life?

3. REFOCUS: Develop What’s Inside Not Outside

“The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

“By the grace of God I am what I am.”  1 Corinthians. 15:10 (NIV)

What part of your SHAPE do you need to discover and develop more fully?

Tell Someone Else

Acknowledge your SHAPE this week. Think about who God has put in your life that needs to understand their value before God. How can you help them find their value by discovering their SHAPE?

 

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Week 4: How You See Your Job

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We love our community and want to show the love of Christ tangibly in our neighborhoods, workplaces and homes. This summer, through weekend sermons, small group curriculum and daily devotionals, we will discover how serving can make a difference in our community, makes an impact for God and grows our faith. Join us as we discover significance through serving.


Today’s post is all about how our work has a part in your serving mindset. The average person will spend around 100,000 hours of their life at work. Work defines, describes and dominates our lives. But surveys tell us that about two-thirds of people say they are not satisfied in their jobs. Some people think work is actually punishment from God, because the Bible says after sin entered the world, God cursed the ground, and said, “Now you’re going to have to work by the sweat of your brow.”

“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”  Genesis 2:15

The result of sin is not work. The result of sin is harder work. You are going to work in heaven too. In heaven it will be good and fulfilling work. There will be no bad bosses, no gossip, no inner-office politics. Your work in heaven will be fulfilling and fun.

Work is not the enemy of your life. Work is an amazing opportunity of life.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  Colossians 3:17

How do you see the “whatever you do”? How are you going to spend those 100,000 hours of your life? Most people see their job negatively. What if you could see your job as an opportunity to do something in the name of Jesus in freedom and thanksgiving to God, not as a prison?

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Is this your work story?

You graduate from high school or college and then comes the prison sentence, 40 years to life. It all starts with, Sunday afternoon when you realize you have to return to prison and you begin the grieving process. You prepare the house and family for you to be away. You eat your last meal and put your last words on social media.

Monday morning you walk into work like it’s Shawshank Redemption. Then, Tuesday rolls around and you hate the idea that you’re starting to get used to your workplace prison. Now Wednesday is hump day and it feels like sort of a break in the middle of your sentence. Thursday, you find yourself the largest cup of coffee known to man just to make it through the day. Then on Friday – you’re released!

Don’t get too excited though, you are only out on parol for the weekend. The office keeps you on a leash and put a shock collar on you called a cell phone.

Does that sound about right for you? We shape our work by how we think about it. If you hate Mondays, you’ll end up hating one seventh of your life. There must be a greater reason for work. There are actually six biblical reasons why work is in our lives.

1. Necessity: We work to meet our needs.

God also says that providing for my family is my spiritual responsibility. We are to take care of our own families as best as possible.

“The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”   2 Thessalonians 3:10

Notice the word unwilling. He’s talking to the unwilling, not the unable. Sometimes you can’t work because of a disability or sickness. But if you can work, you need to do your part. God did not put you here on earth just to provide for yourself. God expects you to make a contribution with your life.

“Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.”  Proverbs 13:4 (NLT)

Notice the word prosper. God is not opposed to prosperity. God is opposed to selfishness and greed, but God is not opposed to prosperity. Jesus praised businessmen who used business skills to make a profit. Profit is not the problem.

If necessity is the only reason for work, you’ll see work as a prison.

Your job is a platform. We’re so focused on the prison, we miss the platform we’ve been given from God to give Him glory.

2. Identity: God wants you to work so you can express what He made you to be. He’s given you certain gifts and talents.

“A lazy life is an empty life.”  Proverbs 12:27 (MSG)

God doesn’t want you to ignore your gifts and abilities. Work is a place to show your creativity and ingenuity. Work is a place to make a difference and to give back and express your identity. God has wired everyone to do something different so that everything gets done. 

“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.”  1 Peter 4:10 (NLT)

Ask Yourself: How can I personally advance the mission?

Most companies and places of employment have mission statements. Maybe the 2 of 3 of us who are unfulfilled in our jobs can understand and be about the mission of our company. When you don’t know the mission you’re on, you feel imprisoned.


Rock Brook Church

Mission Statement: We exist to bring you to Jesus Christ so you can find and fulfill God’s five purposes for your life. [Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry & Evangelism]

Vision: Know God, Find Freedom, Discover Purpose and Make a Difference

Values: Follow Jesus, Love People, Remember Why and Choose Joy


3. Character: God uses your work to develop your character.

God plants little seeds of character in your heart. Seeds of love, joy, peace and patience. Then He fertilizes those seeds of character, often, in the workplace because you spend so much of your life at work.

God is developing your character here on earth to prepare you for heaven. God is watching you so He can determine what kind of job to give you in eternity.

“So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?”  Luke 16:10-12

While you’re working on the job, God is working on you.

Ask Yourself: Who am I becoming?

4. Credibility: Your work is a witness to others. The quality of the work that you do can open up doors for you to share your faith. Good work is a good witness.

Your work demonstrates what you believe, especially when you’re under pressure. When people are making unreasonable demands on you and you respond to those demands in a Christ-like way, it grows your credibility as a follower of Jesus.

“Mind your own business, and to earn your own living, just as we told you before. In this way you will win the respect of those who are not believers…”  1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (GNT)

Respect is earned and before an unbeliever wants to know if Jesus is credible, they want to know if you’re credible.

“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:16

Ask Yourself: How Can I Shine?

God scatters us throughout the darkness to shine a light so that when people see that light, the good work we do, they’ll want to know about our faith. They will ask why you are so forgiving? How are you so kind? It’s the fruit of the Spirit of Christ in you shining.

5. Generosity: If you want God’s blessing on your work you’ve got to be generous. 

“Use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need.”  Ephesians 4:28 (NLT)

The more generous you are, the more God blesses your work. God wants us to become like Him and He is a generous God. Everything you have in life is due to the generosity of God.

“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”  Proverbs 11:25

Giving unlocks God’s blessing on your life.

“But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.”  Deuteronomy 8:18

“And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”  Acts 20:35

Ask Yourself: What more can I give?

If you’re never asking this question, you don’t understand how much God gave for you. God gave Jesus.

6. Eternity: I can use my job to build God’s kingdom.

One way is to tell your co-workers the good news of Jesus. Work becomes your mission field. Another way you can do this is by making money in your business and giving it to Kingdom causes.

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”  Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

“Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”  Matthew 6:20

You can store up for yourselves treasure in heaven. Not treasures for God, He doesn’t need it. God says you can create a bank account in heaven that is eternal, pays the highest dividends and nobody will steal it from you.

God says don’t just be a wealth builder, be a kingdom builder.

Maybe you think that you don’t do anything important at work. Your work has far more significance than you realize, because it wasn’t meant for just necessityGod wants to use your work for identityGod wants you to express your talents through work. God wants to use your work for character building. He wants your work to make you stronger, more mature, more patient. God wants to use your work for credibilityHe wants you to use your work as a platform to influence the people for the sake of the Gospel. God wants you to use your work for generosity He wants you to be selfless and generous enough to live on a little bit less so you can give a little bit more. You can waste your life, spend your life or invest your life. The best use of your life is to invest it in the Kingdom of God because it’s the only thing that’s going to last forever.

Ask Yourself: Where is my reward?

One day God is going to do an audit on your work. Everyone’s work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value. What’s the value? Identity, Character, Credibility, Generosity and Eternity. If the work survives the fire, that person will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss.

This has nothing to do with salvation or getting into heaven. You get into heaven by asking Christ to forgive your sins. Your reward is about your position, your job in heaven. God wants to give you a great reward in heaven. The greater your reward, the greater His glory. That’s why your work is so important.

Will you say, God, I’m going to give you my work not just for one reason, but for all six reasons that you planned for my work to be?


Check Back

Leaders leverage their authority for the benefit of those under their authority. Did you ask anyone last week, “What can I do to help?” Did the principle, “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.” help in any way?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

Many people see work as a necessary evil. Work is not evil. Before sin entered the world, there was work. We will work in heaven. Work is not a result of sin, hard work is a result of sin.

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Genesis 2:15

There are six reasons for work in our lives:

  1. It’s necessary.
  2. It lets us express our identity.
  3. It grows our character.
  4. It increases our credibility.
  5. It gives us the means to be generous.
  6. It empowers us to build God’s kingdom which lasts for eternity.

Application

Let’s just work through the five questions in your outline…

  1. How can you personally advance the mission of your workplace?
  2. How can your job grow your character?
  3. How can you let your light shine?
  4. What more can you give as a result of your job?
  5. Where is your reward?

Which question and reason for work do you need to focus on most right now?

Tell Someone Else

How could this message impact someone else in your life? Is there someone at your job you need to apologize to for something? Is there someone at your job you need to forgive?

 

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Week 3: Leaders Serve

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We love our community and want to show the love of Christ tangibly in our neighborhoods, workplaces and homes. This summer, through weekend sermons, small group curriculum and daily devotionals, we will discover how serving can make a difference in our community, makes an impact for God and grows our faith. Join us as we discover significance through serving.


We are in week 3 of our Why I Serve series. Let’s review the last two weeks.

All about God’s love for us. Before we love God or love anyone. He loved us. The first duty as a Christian is not to do anything, but to enjoy the love of God.

How to serve your family and the specific role of fathers. While we may have father wounds, we are able to break that cycle and be a mentor to someone else. We can look to God as Father in our life.


This week we’re diving in to how serving affects our leadership. What does serving and leadership have in common? Those sounds like two opposite principles, a contradiction. It may seem that way on the surface, but when we look at what the Bible says about leadership and how Jesus says to lead, we’ll find these two principles fit right in with each other.

One of the things we often don’t think to look to the Bible for is leadership principles, but Jesus was an incredible leader. He was more than a leader. He was the Savior of the world. He had disciples He poured into and they carried on His message. We’re going to look at a passage today where Jesus unpacks what it means to be a leader.

Today we’re in Mark’s gospel. Mark wasn’t one of the twelve disciples, but was a believer who had investigated the claims of Christ. Mark was a friend of Peter. In this book, Peter described these things to Mark and Mark wrote them down. 

Before we jump to the passage for today, take a look at what happens right before. There was a rich young ruler who came to Jesus and asked “what must I do to be saved?” Jesus said, you have to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, love your neighbor as yourself and keep the commands. The man said, “I’ve done this.” Then Jesus looked at this man, and it says, “Jesus had great love for this man.” Jesus looked into his heart and saw what this guy’s real issues were and said, “you need get everything you have and sell it to the poor.” Jesus could see that money had a stronghold on this guy’s heart. They have this conversation and the disciples are so amazed and they wonder who could ever make it into the kingdom of God? Who could have a relationship with Jesus and fulfill these requirements? Sometimes we think we can just follow Jesus and it’s really easy. But there’s a cost to it. It’s difficult. The disciples just saw someone walk away. Let’s pick it up in Mark 10:32.

“They were now on the way up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The  disciples were filled with awe, and the people following behind were overwhelmed with  fear. Taking the twelve disciples aside, Jesus once more began to describe everything that was about to happen to him. ‘Listen,’ he said, ‘we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son  of  Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will  sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans. They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again.’ Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to him. ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘we want you to do us a favor.’  ‘What is your request?’ he asked. They replied, ‘When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.'”  Mark 10:32-37 (NLT)

The disciples are still under the assumption at some point Jesus is going to throw off this spiritual, teacher robe and put on a king’s robe. He’s going to become the king of Israel and they want to make sure when he steps into that place of authority, they will be close to the king. They want to be on His right and left, in those positions of authority with influence and leadership.

“When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. So Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.” Mark 10:41-42 (NLT)  

Essentially, he lays this out to them: You know what authority is in our culture? They lord and flaunt their authority over those under them. You know how this system works. People in positions of authority, have people under their authority and those people serve at the leader’s benefit.

Leadership is influence.

If you have any influence in someones life, you’re their leader. We all have influence in some capacity. There are people that we speak into with our actions. People gain influence, authority and leadership because they are amazing at serving and care about people. People become teachers because they love students, become nurses and doctors and technicians because they care about people, go into political office to make a difference and to serve and go into coaching because they love developing and serving people. The people who get promoted in the workplace are those who took the mission and the vision of the company personally and started going the extra mile to serve.

What can happen is over time, service becomes serve us.

When the authority or power comes, we stop giving up our lives, and think it’s time our company gives up something for us. You served and parented your kids when they were little and now it’s time they serve you. We begin to lord our leadership over others.

“But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.'”  Mark 10:43-44 (NLT)

Jesus just took this whole leadership structure, the one that they operated in, the one they knew and flipped the whole thing upside down. If you want to lead, you have to serve. If you want to first, you have to be a slave.

Jesus isn’t arguing against point leadership. He’s not arguing against one person being in charge, because Jesus was in charge. He was the point leader of those 12 men. He wasn’t fighting against getting things done. Jesus got things done. He had three years of his ministry that infiltrated that area. Right now there are millions of people on the planet that know the message of the gospel.

Jesus tells us that the way you use your power is different. If we get this right, it changes the culture of your organization, your family, your ministry, your team. Because if as a leader you’re “for you”, all the people under your leadership going to be “for themselves” as well. You might work in an organization like that. You have to look out for yourself. Always looking behind your back.

That’s not the way that God has asked us to do it. That’s not the way to greatness. If we’re “for others”, if we put other people first, then they don’t have to worry about watching their back and they can be for the people below them. Here’s the big idea and what Jesus was teaching:

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Two Things We Can Do

What are some practical things we can do? Starting this week here are two things you can do to change the culture, no matter what situation it is. Take these two principles and instill them as you leverage your authority and make a big impact. The first is a question you can ask.

1. Question: What can I do to help?

Imagine if your boss, supervisor, parent, spouse or coach sat down across from you and asked, “What can I do to help? How can I set you up for success?” Maybe you have this kind of relationship with the people in authority in your lifeMaybe you wish you did. Don’t give up on this message because you don’t have this kind of boss. You can apply it with or without their help to those under our authority. If we intentionally do this, it sets us in the right place in our position. Our authority is for the benefit of others. The second one is a principle to build into your life.

2. Look for opportunities to do for one, what you wish you could do for everyone.

As a leader one of the things that can hold you back is trying to be fair. Maybe you can’t do something for everyone, but you can do it for one person and it will benefit them greatly. Jesus had had 12 disciples, but he had three out of the twelve he spent more time with. He only took a few to the Mount of Transfiguration. You can’t serve everyone. You can’t meet everyone’s hunger, but you can for one. You can’t adopt every orphan, but you can adopt one. You can’t share the gospel with everyone, but you can for one. You can’t meet all your neighbors needs, but you can for one. This is how we make a difference. Serve when you can, where you can.

If we think, we can’t do it for everyone, so we won’t do it for anyone. That’s a trap. You can’t bless everyone, so you’ll bless no one? What would this look like if you just systematically did for one what you wish you could do for all? It’s not for your benefit. It’s for the benefit of others that changes the culture. It flips that structure upside down. That’s the way God’s called us to lead. That’s the way God has asked us to leverage our authority.

We end up preaching the gospel every single day and pointing people to Jesus with our actions because our actions are lined up with Jesus Christ, who leveraged His authority for those under His authority.

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:45 (NLT)

If anyone deserved to come and be serve, it’s God. He deserves it. Jesus put on the human jersey not be served, but to serve. He came to give His life as a ransom for many. He gave himself completely for us. He didn’t just say it or instruct it, He lived it out. Jesus says, “I love and care about you so much that I want you to spend eternity with me.” On our own we’re separated from God. But Jesus leveraged his power and authority for the benefit of those under his authority. For our benefit, not His. All He requires of us is that we accept that by faith. He didn’t come down here to give His life so you can try and earn it. All you have to do is believe.

If you have questions about a relationship with Jesus or would like to know how to begin living under His authority, contact us at church@rockbrook.org.


Check Back

Do you have any more questions or conclusions after reflecting on the Father’s Day message?

  1. Allow God to heal the father wound.
  2. Find a father and be a father.
  3. Relate to God as father.

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

Read Mark 10:32-37,41-45

Leadership is influence. We are all leaders because we all have influence in someone’s life. Jesus tells us the way to great leadership is not to flaunt that authority over others, but to leverage our authority for the benefit of those under our authority.

Application

  1. What stood out to you in this message?
  2. What does it look like for a leader to lord their authority over those under them?
  3. Jesus has ultimate authority and power. How did He use His power?
  4. In what ways do you have influence and leadership, even power and authority over others? In your job? Family? Ministry? Friendships? Classroom?
  5. How can you leverage your authority for the benefit of those under your authority?

Tell Someone Else

The best way to share this message with someone else is to first set an example of godly, servant leadership. Who can you ask, “What can I do to help?”

What opportunities are in front of you to do for one what you wish you could do for everyone?

 

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Week 2: Not Many Fathers

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We love our community and want to show the love of Christ tangibly in our neighborhoods, workplaces and homes. This summer, through weekend sermons, small group curriculum and daily devotionals, we will discover how serving can make a difference in our community, makes an impact for God and grows our faith. Join us as we discover significance through serving.


A lot of the books in the New Testament were letters written by Paul. He wrote to churches and pastors. Paul also planted churches, that’s why he was called an apostle. Paul planted a church in the city of Corinth. This city had a lot in common with America. They were very intellectually arrogant, prosperous and wealthy and had a lot of immorality, just like America. Paul established this church and they started doing some crazy things. Paul wrote the book of Corinthians to correct them.

“I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.”  1 Corinthians 4:14-17 (NIV)

Because of Paul’s deep love for these churches he planted, he considered the people in these churches to be like his children. He was their spiritual father and a father is supposed to admonish, discipline and correct children.

One of the most painful parts in a person’s life is when you start talking about a father that was horrible; not only for the things that happened, but also for the things that didn’t happen that you wish would have happened. The devil wants to destroy the relationship that God designed for your growth and your maturity.

God intended you to have a relationship with your fathers: your natural father, your spiritual fathers and your Heavenly Father.

Your relationship with your mother is extremely precious, but it cannot replace your relationship with your father. God designed it that way. That’s why the devil attacks this relationship so much.


The last verse of the Old Testament. The verse that sets up the coming of Jesus, summarizes the problem of why Jesus even needed to come.

“He will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”  Malachi 4:6 (NIV)

God intends for us to be blessed. That’s why all of hell is committed to messing up all your relationships, specifically the relationship with your father. That’s why we have stories about hurt, abuse and disappointment from a father figure in our life. This is such a big deal that research offers us proof about how crucial this father relationship is.

  • Fatherless homes, fatherless children are:
    • 5 times more likely to commit suicide
    • 8 times more likely to go to prison
    • 9 times more likely to drop out of high school
    • 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances
    • 20 times more likely to have behavioral problems
    • 32 times more likely to runaway
    • 33 times more likely to be seriously abused
    • 73 times more likely to be fatally abused
  • Fatherless homes produce:
    • 90% of all homeless and runaway children
    • 85% of all children with behavioral disorders
    • 71% of pregnant teenagers
    • 71% of high school dropouts
    • 70% of juveniles in state operated facilities
    • 63% of youth suicides
  • Daughters of fatherless homes are:
    • 53% more likely to marry as a teen
    • 92% more likely to divorce if they marry
    • 164% more likely to be a single parent

Those statistics break the heart of God. This is not the life He desires for us. So what are we going to do about this? For every problem on the planet, for every problem you face, God has the solution. Here are some principles to help you in this area. Some tools to help you get you started on the processes that can be worked out over time. It is a spiritual journey of growth you will work on most of your life. Take these three steps and God will do a great work in your life.

1. Allow God to heal the father wound.

Your Father wound may not be from your biological father, a spiritual father, a teacher, coach or some other authority figure who disappointed you, abused you or hurt your feelings.

In John Eldredge’s book “Wild at Heart,” it says that when you have a father wound, you become a poser. You pretend to be something that you are not.  Because you are trying to make up for something that you are not. It usually comes out in one of two ways: you either become overly passive or overly aggressive. When a man becomes overly passive, the wife has to run the home, raise the kids, take care of the finances and the guy is basically in charge of the remote. Because of his woundedness, the guy just gives up. Men who are overly aggressive, bully everybody. In their insecurity and woundedness, they pose as “tough guys” and assert themselves with an overly aggressive attitude, not because they are tough but because they are broken. What do we do about it?

“Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”  James 5:16 (NIV)

Notice the last two words of this verse. You need to … be healedIn fact, I would go so far as to say that every one of us needs inner healing in some kind of way. The question is how do we get this healing? 

The first part of the verse says to confess your sins to each other. It doesn’t say to confess them to God. If you confess your sins to God you get forgiveness, but that is not God’s formula for healing.

God’s formula for healing is confessing your sins to another person and pray for each other.

There is a miracle that occurs when you get close enough to another person to that you can take the mask off and confess your hurts and needs to another person. You are only as sick as your secrets.

As soon as you allow the truth of your hurt to come out, your healing begins.

Get into a small group or a Celebrate Recovery Step Study. Not so you can go through another bible study, but so you can get connected into deep relationships with other people and take our masks off. Some of you have confessed your hurts to God and you have been forgiven for years but you have never found healing because you have not followed God’s process for inner healing. As soon as you share and are prayed for, you begin the process of great healing in your life.

2. Find a father and be a father.

No one had a perfect dad. We all have a father wound. Our father’s had father wounds. Our grandfathers had father wounds.

Look around and find someone who can be a father figure: a coach, a mentor or an encourager in your life. Find someone who can be a positive role model for you. Don’t stay fixated on your broken relationship with your father; instead, find good, positive men that can speak into your life. Have conversations with them, watch how they treat their wives, kids and friends, watch what kind of decisions they make. Find these guys at church, in your small group or serving on a Dream Team.

This guy might be someone you will never meet. There are parenting, financial and marriage experts out there. Read their books and listen to their podcasts. Instead of focusing on the disappointments and wounds from your biological father, shift your focus to positive role models.

There is more to this second step than just finding a father. If you are truly going to be healed, you’ve got to be a father. Get involved in someone else’s life. Be a small group leader. Get involved in Rock Brook for Kids. It will minister to you even more than it does to them.

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing.”  Psalm 68:5-6 (NIV)

We are fatherless. There are not many fathers. What is God doing about it? God sets the lonely in families, Small Groups, on Dream Teams. If you don’t have a biological father then get connected with a spiritual family. God wants to set you in a new family and in some new relationships that will provide you with everything you have been missing. Often times when we are hurt or wounded we think the solution is isolation. God says the solution is not isolation, the solution is to establish new, healthy relationships.

When you do that, “he leads forth the prisoners with singing.” They’re not prisoners anymore, they have found freedom.

You find freedom by getting connected in relationships with other believers.

God wants to set you in a relationship that can move you from being a prisoner to singing. Some of you are walking around in a prison of pain that is more binding than a prison of bars. God wants to set you free! He does it by setting you in a family.

3. Relate to God as Father.

When Jesus addressed God, He called Him Father. When Jesus taught us to pray, He taught us to pray to Our Father, who art in heaven. Jesus said that the key to a powerful prayer life is to address God relationally not religiously.

“Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in heaven. He never changes or casts a shadow.”  James 1:17 (NLT)

Look at the last phrase of this verse. God never changes. Everyone changesBut God never changes. No matter what happens, He never kicks you out of the family. He loves you. He never changes, He never casts a shifting shadow. That means he never turns his back on you.

“He chose to give birth to us by giving us His true word. And we, out of all creation became his prized possession.”  James 1:18 (NLT)

God doesn’t want you fatherless. Allow God to heal the father wound. Make the decision to change from fatherlessness to finding a father and being a father. And seek to relate to God as Father.


Check Back

How did the following truths affect your relationship with God this past week?

  • The first purpose of my life is to be loved by God!
  • My first calling is to enjoy a relationship with God.
  • The relationship God made me for is to be his son or daughter.
  • The #1 thing I need to understand and remember: How much God loves me.

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

Read: 1 Corinthians 4:14-17 (NIV) and Malachi 4:6 (NIV)

The “fatherlessness” of our generation has led us down a path that’s far from how God intended. His intention is that we would be blessed by our fathers. No matter our experience with our earthly fathers, we have the promise of God to be set in families through our church family. This week’s message encourages us, men and women alike, to look to fathers in our life and to be a father to someone else so that we can begin to change our generation!

Application

  • We shared a list of statistics on how “fatherlessness” has affected the youth of our generation. Discuss why fatherless homes have had this affect on our culture. What can we do to change that?
  • Every man needs the affirmation of another man. Discuss why men are wired to need that, and why certain affirmation can’t come from women in their lives.
  • Read Psalm 68:5-6. Discuss how God sets the lonely in families and how He is a Father to the fatherless.
  • Read James 1:17-18. Discuss how God, our Heavenly Father, loves us and desires that we would see him as Father. Why is it so important that we relate to Him as Father?
  • There are three father relationships: natural father, spiritual fathers and Heavenly Father. Whether your natural father is living or deceased, what are you most thankful they shared with you? What short-comings do you need to forgive in them?

Tell Someone Else

Acknowledge your spiritual fathers this week. Think about who God has put in your life to father you and thank them this week. If you can’t think of who they are, begin looking for spiritual fathers that will pour into your life and pursue relationships with them. Then find some people in your life that you can be a father for and begin investing in them.

 

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Week 1: The First Purpose of Your Life

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We love our community and want to show the love of Christ tangibly in our neighborhoods, workplaces and homes. This summer, through weekend sermons, small group curriculum and daily devotionals, we will discover how serving can make a difference in our community, makes an impact for God and grows our faith. Join us as we discover significance through serving.


Today, let’s take a look at our first responsibility as a Christian, the first thing God expects of you. Let’s start by reviewing God’s nature and God’s purpose for the whole world.

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is (real) love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”  1 John 4:8-10 (NIV)

Love is not only something God does, it is something He is. The only reason you are able to give or receive love, is because our Creator is a God of love and He created us in His image. He loves you on your bad days as much as your good days. He loves you when you feel it, when you don’t feel it.

He will never love you any more than he does this very second. He will also never love you any less than he does this second. 


Our Motivation For Serving

Let’s take a look at four fundamental statements for your life and ministry from the Bible. Before you step out to serve anyone, before you step out to love anyone, this is your motivation.

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The first purpose of my life is to be loved by God. God made you to love you. We think our first purpose is to serve, give, witness, read, or do stuff for God, but your first duty is to be loved by God.

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My first calling is to enjoy a relationship with God. Everyone who is a Christian is called. If you’re called to be saved you’re called to serve. The call to salvation, ministry and mission are all the same call. Life is not about the role you play, the responsibility you have or the rules you keep. Life is about the relationship you have with God.

“To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people…”  Romans 1:7 (NIV)

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The relationship God made you for is to be His son or daughter. This is not God’s plan B. This was God’s plan from the beginning of time. Don’t doubt your worth. He did it all so He could love you and that would give Him glory. He did it all because he loves you that much. He doesn’t want slaves or workers, He wants children.

“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”  Ephesians 1:4-5 (NLT)

The Creator of the universe had a secret plan, a mystery. The plan was that God wanted to adopt you into His own family, He wanted you to be His daughter or son.

Before you serve God, you need to be a child of God. You’re not a worker bee, you’re a child of God. The further you get away from God, the further you get away from your identity. This is why so many people are in an identity crisis today.

The closer you get to God, the more you see your identity.

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The #1 thing you need to understand and remember is how much God loves you. It affects all of your relationships.

“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”  Ephesians 3:17-19 (NLT) 

God’s love for me is…

  • Wide Enough to be everywhere.

God’s love is wide enough to be everywhere you are. There will be times you feel alone, but you’ll never be alone.

  • Long Enough to last forever.

Human love wears out. God will never stop loving you. Don’t put your purpose and security in something that can be taken from you, otherwise, you’re not secure. If you want real security you have to put it in something that can’t be taken from you and there’s only one thing that cannot be taken from you, God’s love.

  • Deep Enough to handle anything.

If you’re going to go through struggles, suffering, loneliness, or problems, God can handle it. You may even feel like you’re in a pit. God’s love is deeper still. There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper.

  • High Enough to cover my mistakes.

The Bible says God does not deal with us as we deserve. It also says that love covers a multitude of sins. Regardless of what you’ve done, God offers to forgive us so we can start over.

Love comes through Jesus Christ. He is the way to the Father’s love. There is only one way to God’s love, and it’s Jesus. You may come to Jesus through pain, loneliness, with a question, with a problem, in prison, but you’ve got to come through Jesus for God’s love.

If you felt completely and unconditionally loved by God every moment of your life, your life would change. Some of your fears or anxieties would fall away. Some of your competitiveness, envy, pride would be affected if you truly felt loved by God.

God’s love is so powerful because it invades your life and is so strong, it can break strongholds that have been there for years. It can soften hearts and wreck pride. It’s so powerful. So what happens when your life is motivated by God’s love?


When You Are Motivated By God’s Love…

1. You stop feeling pressured to perform.

The pressure to perform means I feel like I’ve got to prove myself. I’ve got to show God how good I am. Until you feel God’s love, you will constantly be evaluating everything you do, thinking you don’t measure up. This is the number one cause of burnout. Forgetting how unconditionally God loves you.

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him…”  Colossians 2:6 (NIV)

This verse says that the way you got saved, is how you stay saved. The way you got into God’s family is the way you serve God. It doesn’t change after you get saved. You received Christ by grace through faith. You walk with him by grace through faith too.

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.”  Romans 5:1 (NLT)

At some point in you life someone is going to tell you that you’re saved by works, but there is nothing that you can to do to be saved. Even if you could do it, then why did Jesus take that punishment? This sets you free from the pressure to perform.

2. Internally, you feel accepted, rather than ashamed.

If you feel shame, it’s not from God. God’s desire is to set you free from shame and condemnation. You may be convicted by the Holy Spirit of a sin, because he loves you, but shame is not from God.

“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  Romans 8:1 (NIV)

3. You become bold in bringing your needs to God.

If you’re not bold, you don’t understand the rights you have as a child of God. One of the things that astounded people about Abraham Lincoln is how he gave his son, Tad, access to the White House. He could be in a cabinet meeting or war strategy meeting and Tad would just walk in. His dad would pick him up and hug him. Because of their  relationship. That’s the relationship you were meant to have with God.

“This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.”  Ephesians 3:11-12 (NLT)

You don’t have to pray wimpy prayers. You don’t have to knock. Just barge in. Tell God what you need.

4. You have unmistakable peace during conflict.

A sign you know the love of God is, when everyone else is losing their head, you know God loves you. When everyone else is panicking and freaking out, you’re calmly confident. At times of unmistakeable hurt and offense, you have the peace that passes understanding. My identity is not tied up in what is going on around me. I know God loves me deeply.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

5. You gain the courage to take bigger risks.

If you understand how much God loves you, your fear goes down and you have the ability to step out in faith.

“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”  1 John 4:18 (NLT)

The less you understand God’s love, the more fear you will have. The more you understand God’s love, the less fear you will have.

6. You find yourself worshiping more and worrying less.

Worry is the warning sign that you’ve forgotten how much God loves you.

“It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”  Philippians 4:7 (MSG)

Worship is the opposite of worry. Worry focuses on you and what you don’t have. Worship focuses on how much God loves you.

Worship is enjoying God’s love for you and expressing your love back to Him.

The problem isn’t that you don’t love God enough, your problem is you don’t understand how much God loves you. If you did, you can’t help but want to love Him, express His love, worship Him, serve Him or share Him.

“Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.”  Isaiah 30:18 (NIV)

If you do the right thing with the wrong motivation, you’re not going to last. If what you are doing is based on anything but the love of God, it’ll eat you up.

“May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.”  2 Thessalonians 3:5 (NLT)


Check Back

Do you have any more thoughts after reflecting on our birthday message, “Look Up. Look Back. Look Ahead.”?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

Start out by reading 1 John 4:8-10 (NIV)

Before we talk about loving others, serving Christ and serving others, we have to understand that the first purpose of our life is to be loved by God. Our first duty as Christians isn’t to do anything. This changes our motivation for serving. These should be our driving motivations for serving…

  • The first purpose of my life is to be loved by God!
  • My first calling is to enjoy a relationship with God.
  • The relationship God made me for is to be His son or daughter.
  • The #1 thing I need to understand and remember: How much God loves me.

When you are motivated by God’s love…

  1. You stop feeling pressured to perform.
  2. Internally, you feel accepted, rather than ashamed.
  3. You become bold in bringing your needs to God.
  4. You have unmistakable peace during conflict.
  5. You gain the courage to take bigger risks.
  6. You find yourself worshiping more and worrying less.

Worship is enjoying God’s love for me and expressing my love back to him.

Application

  1. What stood out to you in this message?
  2. Which of the six things, do you find yourself struggling with the most? How could God’s love help?
  3. Is there something you feel led to do, but fear is holding you back?
  4. How could this understanding of God’s love change your prayer life? Are you praying bold prayers? Are you telling God what you need?

Tell Someone Else

God loves the people around you just as much as he loves you. Who can you share this life-giving message with? Who can you encourage with God’s love?

“May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.”  2 Thessalonians 3:5 (NLT)

 

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Look Up. Look Back. Look Ahead.

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As we celebrated our 21st birthday weekend, we pushed pause to celebrate where we’ve come from and where we are going as a church.

Look Up. Look Back. Look Ahead.


We are a church that loves Jesus deeply. We love each other. We love seeing people transformed by the gospel. At Rock Brook Church, lives are being changed.

“You call out to God for help and he helps—he’s a good Father that way. But don’t forget, he’s also a responsible Father, and won’t let you get by with sloppy living. Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know.”  1 Peter 1:17-21 (MSG)

On this journey of life, you’ll never have to be reminded to look down. You have to remember to look up every once in awhile though.

Our focus is on this life, these problems, these pains, these difficulties, these days. You have to remind yourself, this is not all there is. There’s more going on than you think there is. No matter what season you are navigating, look in these three directions to travel this journey with a deep consciousness of God.

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We can Look Up to the Most High God. The title, the Most High God, is important to God. He is the highest possible object of our worship. Man-made gods or man-made desires cannot compete with Him on any level.

In 1 Samuel 5 the Lord demonstrates that He is God Most High. The Philistines captured the Ark of the Lord. The Ark is what held the ten commandments and the mercy seat so the Israelites could atone for sin. This was necessary before the Cross. The Philistines set it beside their idol, Dagon, in his temple. The next day, Dagon had fallen over before the Ark. The Philistines set their idol back up, and, the next day, it had fallen again, this time breaking off its head and hands. The Lord Most High was proving to the world that no god can stand beside or above Him.

“For you, Lord, are the Most High over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.”  Psalm 97:9 (NIV)

We Look Up because we know that:

“…true wisdom and power are found in God; counsel and understanding are his.”  Job 12:13 (NLT)

True wisdom doesn’t come with experience or age. True wisdom doesn’t come from time by yourself in nature or from hard work. True wisdom belongs to God and is found in God. So we regularly need to Look Up, for there is none above Him.

There’s another direction we can look that is helpful to travel this journey with a deep consciousness of God.

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We must Look Back and see that God is faithfulMost people forget what they should remember and remember the things they should forget. Jesus said he was sending an advocate, the Holy Spirit, to be our divine reminder to remind us what Christ has said and done, the blessings we’ve been given, the price Christ has paid and how loved we are by Him.

 

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”  Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV)

“I will sing of the Lord’s unfailing love forever! Young and old will hear of your faithfulnessYour unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens.”  Psalm 89:1-2 (NLT)

Once we look back to see that He is faithful, how He’s rescued us and pulled us out of our sin, then we can Look Ahead believing He is able.

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The faith that enables us to move forward is in the faithfulness of God. As we’re on this journey and we come to a place where we don’t think we can go on, we can look ahead with faith knowing that we’re not about to turn back now.

“As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’ He said to another man, ‘Follow me.’ But he replied, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’ Still another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.’ Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.'”  Luke 9:57-62 (NIV)

Jesus says, “If you’re looking back for an excuse or to disqualify yourself, you’re not fit for this kingdom. Because He’s doing a new thing and we’re moving forward.” 

You don’t have to go back to that old sin. You don’t have to go back to those old ways. You don’t have be enslaved by the past. There is a hope and a future and a calling in following Jesus. We want to help you find it.


Vision

As we look ahead, on this birthday weekend, let’s talk about our vision, our hope for you.

Vision is the ability to see what’s ahead.

KNOW GOD

Jesus said when praying to God, this is salvation, that they know youThat word “know” doesn’t mean understanding. It means a relationship. Not that you know of God, but that you know Him.

Our Weekend Worship Services are designed to make Knowing God possible.

This is where you can take your first spiritual steps. You can be introduced to God. You can give him your life. Take your next step of being getting baptized. You may be reading this and be nowhere near Belton, MO. The, find a church that wants you to Know God each time you step in their doors.

Once you know God, he gives you the power to settle some of the junk that’s in your heart. You can get saved and still have junk in your heart. You can be going to heaven and still have addictions and habits and wounds and hurts that are just ruining your life. It’s the second step in our journey.

FIND FREEDOM

Hands down the best way to Find Freedom is in an honest relationship context. 

Life change happens in relationships.

Let’s stop playing church and let’s get real. You don’t have to share the real you with everybody, but share with somebody! At Rock Brook, we have two ways that you can find freedom and fulfill God’s purposes in relationships.

Find Freedom by joining a Small Group.

Ultimately we want you to get close enough to someone so they can help you conquer that thing, whatever that is for you. 

Celebrate Recovery exists so you can find freedom from any hurt, habit or hang-up and live fully alive in Jesus.

Once you Know God and Find Freedom from the past, you can look ahead without having to look back. Once that’s wiped clean you can see your calling.

DISCOVER PURPOSE

When you find your purpose, life takes on new meaning. In four steps, we can help you discover why you are here on earth. We call those steps, Growth Track.

Growth Track is designed to teach you the purpose of the church and how to connect to God relationally so you can discover what your spiritual gifts are.

You can’t do it alone. So you join the body of Christ and you get on a team.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Making a Difference is what you’re life is all about. The people at Rock Brook making a difference are called the Dream Team. They’re teaching kids, playing instruments,  keeping people safe, feeding people, putting on blood drives, setting up and cleaning to make a way for others and helping other people take these steps. Our Dream Team makes a way for others to Know God.

The Dream Team is a where you can find your place and Make a Difference.

Next week, we launch our summer season at Rock Brook. It’s a season of serving. Here’s what coming up-

Why I Serve – a sermon series starting next week (June 9-10, 2018)

A Place to Serve – summer small group curriculum available in our church lobby

Serve Day – on July 14th we will offer a church-wide serving opportunity to make a difference in our community

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Let’s take a look at the dream God has laid on our hearts for Rock Brook church as we look ahead.


It Is The Dream…

It is the dream of a place where the hurting, the depressed, the frustrated, and the confused can find love, acceptance, help, hope, forgiveness, guidance, and encouragement.

It is the dream of a group of people who gather together with eagerness, passion and enthusiasm to worship, treasure and lift up the name of Jesus Christ.

It is the dream of welcoming people into the fellowship of our church family. A church family so full of the spirit of Christ that you can tangibly feel the sense of grace and second chance when you are around them. A church family that is loving, learning, laughing, and living in harmony together.

It is the dream of a freedom so rooted in Christ that it produces the fruit of spiritual maturity. A desire to lead one another to the truth of God’s word. A love for the word of God and radical generosity as we give of ourselves in response to the word.

It is the dream of equipping every believer for a significant ministry by helping them discover the gifts and talents God gave them. Anyone can make a difference, no matter how unqualified they feel, or how broken their past.

It is the dream of a church so passionate for the lost, like a parent who’s lost a child, nothing will stop them nor stand against them as they share the Good News of Jesus Christ with their neighbors, their nation and their world.

It is the dream of Rock Brook Church to be unified around these purposes of God.


Check Back

Do you have any more questions or conclusions after reflecting on our last series, The Time Is Now?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

“You call out to God for help and he helps—he’s a good Father that way. But don’t forget, he’s also a responsible Father, and won’t let you get by with sloppy living. Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know.”  1 Peter 1:17-21 (MSG)

  • Look Up to the Most High God.

“For you, Lord, are the Most High over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.”  Psalm 97:9 (NIV)

“But true wisdom and power are found in God; counsel and understanding are his.”  Job 12:13 (NLT)

  • Look Back and see that He is faithful.

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”  Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV)

“I will sing of the Lord’s unfailing love forever! Young and old will hear of your faithfulnessYour unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens.”  Psalm 89:1-2 (NLT)

  • Look Ahead believing He is able.

“Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.'”  Luke 9:62 (NIV)

Application

  1. How has being connected to a local church made a difference in your life?
  2. Is there anything in your life you are putting above God?
  3. Look back over your life, what are some ways God has been faithful?
  4. How do you feel as you look ahead in the journey that is your life?

Tell Someone Else

  • Who can you share this life-giving message with?
  • Is there someone you can invite to church with you?
  • Is there someone who would benefit from a small group?
  • Is there someone who you could go through the Growth Track with?
  • Is there someone who would serve on the Dream Team if they were asked by you?

 

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