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To Serve…

Recorded on February 17th, 2019

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We get so comfortable in our routine (as a Church) that sometimes we miss the needs to others. What can we do to serve people what need?

Transcript of Sermon:

the scripture reading this morning is from John 13 verses one through five and 12 through 17 is from the New International Version it was just before the Passover festival jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and to go to the father having loved his own who were in the world he loved them to the end the evening meal was in progress and the devil had already prompted Judas the son of Simon Iscariot to betray Jesus jesus knew that the father had put all things under his power and that he could come from God and was returning to God so he got up from the mill took off his outer clothing and wrapped a towel around his waist after that he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples feet drying with them with the towel that was wrapped around him when he had finished washing their feet he put on his clothes and returned to his place do you understand what I’ve done for you he asked them you call me teacher and Lord and rightly so for that is what I am now that I your Lord and teacher have washed your feet you should also wash one another’s feet I have set you an example that you should do as how help done for you very truly I tell you no servant is greater than his master nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him now that you know these things you would be blessed if you do them the Word of God for the people of God thanks be to God thank you so much charlie we are in the middle of a series that we have called following Jesus we are seeking to understand what Jesus has for our church community what it is that he wants us to be doing in this season of ministry now I’ve told you before that we don’t really have a definite understanding of how long that season is but we know that guy has given us everything we need to do the ministry that he has called us to do as a church community and we’ve talked over these past few weeks about how Jesus uses his servants you and I to do his work in this world to do the miracles that he creates in this world and we have talked about how as a church we’ve gone over our strengths and our weaknesses and the things that were really great at and the things that are a little bit hard for us and we’ve looked at the idea that we are a church that is in love with God we are a church that loves Jesus and we are a church that loves people we aren’t the youngest church on the planet and we don’t have as many children as we would like to have but we have everything we need to do the work that God is calling us to do as we have explored the work of Jesus over these past few weeks what we’ve been looking at is how Jesus calls us to go Jesus calls us to share the one thing that we do have which is his love with those who don’t have that love to share the experience of knowing God and what life can look like with God to those who don’t get to have that on a daily basis like you and I do so today we’re continuing on with that same theme we are going to end just about the week of Lent with our following Jesus series and we’re going to end with in a special way with a communion this will be on March 3rd and a special way of committing ourselves to doing the work that God is calling us to so I encourage you if you’re gonna miss a day don’t miss March 3rd I think it’ll be a pretty special morning so today we heard the story of Jesus washing the disciples feet it’s one of the most probably popular stories in Scripture and it’s not really a story but the way it’s told in this narrative this recounting of what Jesus did on the night of the Passover the night before the end of his life began Jesus took time aside to serve and so it got me thinking because Jesus pretty miraculous things on that night some pretty unhuman things if you’re thinking about the type of stuff that humans typically do the way that we typically react to people Jesus did stuff way differently than you and I would have you see I was looking back at my journey and and thinking about people and specifically I was starting with the idea of Jesus and Judas and how Jesus treated him that evening as one of the included as one of his followers as a disciple knowing full well what was going to happen and I started to think how was a human that would be almost impossible for me to do and I wonder if that might be true for you too you see I didn’t grow up in a church Toman we’ve talked about that but before I was in church I used to think about people who went to church and I didn’t really understand well if if I thought about people who went to church at all I should say I didn’t really understand what the big deal was why did they go you know is there some rule do they have to do they get in trouble if they don’t what’s the purpose it’s a perfectly good day why are they inside I had all of these thoughts about the types of people that went to church and then when I started going to church I had different thoughts I understood why people went to church but there were still some weirdos if he would have asked me and those weirdos I’m sorry is that word but those weirdos were the people who were at church all the time for every event that they ever had and I didn’t understand those people because those people I mean they made me feel bad because they were way more committed than I was way better people than I was and so I had all of these thoughts and opinions people who went to church too much and then all of a sudden I became became the person who went to church all of the time I was now the weirdo and then in my legalistic frame of mind instead of thinking about people who went to church I started to think about all the people who don’t go to church and what their problem is why aren’t they here I mean this is the place where all the good stuff happens there’s nothing better than you can be doing with your time and we start to ask our selves and we start to think about those people and unfortunately if you’re anything like me because I think some of you can relate to some of these feelings my thoughts about people who don’t come to church aren’t always the most generous thoughts they’re judgmental thoughts they’re opinionated thoughts we think well the church is here we have good programs we have that best people in the planet which is true at this church I’m just gonna tell you you can’t tell anybody else that I say this but we really do have the best people here why would somebody not want to be here with us what’s better than this but the funny thing is that’s not how Jesus thinks jesus never asked that question not once ever in Scripture do we see an account of Jesus saying why aren’t people coming to me Here I am in this place why aren’t more people coming to me no Jesus in every instance that we see him is going out to the people he’s leaving whatever space that he’s in whatever comfort place that he’s in and he’s going somewhere else to bring his light to others and as a church we get so comfortable in our routine that we think all we need to do is put up a building and assume that once the building’s up people will come to us because the buildings here telling everybody anything they need to know about us we’re Church we talk about God you should be here because it’s Sunday morning at 11 o’clock which I learned for the first time that’s a very southern thing like having Church at 11 o’clock on Sunday is kind of a holy time there’s some people who can’t not have Church at 11 o’clock on Sunday but we do and we’re here because we’re good people and all of those people who aren’t here with us well they’re doing something wrong but I think you can see what I’m seeing and I think you know what I know that Jesus would shake his head at us for even saying those words out loud thinking them and heads because Jesus was never about a building he was about groups of people he did have his disciples they did share meals together they had this time this night that we’re about ready to talk about where they were gathered together but that wasn’t the point the gathering the people the little group of people the little group of disciples was never the point the point was the people outside the point were the people over there and so today we’re going to talk about Jesus is washing the feet in light of that understanding I could preach on the washing of the feet for probably a month every day and preach about something different each time because there’s so much rich detail in this there’s so much theology that we can learn from this there’s so many different lessons we can take from Jesus’s foot washing but today we’re going to sit in this idea that the night before the end of everything begins Jesus takes time not to lift up what would later become the church not to lift up the importance of the disciples and the importance of the gathering itself instead Jesus lifts up the importance of what he’s done day in and day out since he’s made himself known and that is serving you see they’re gathered together at a meal and it was common at this time for them to have their hands in their feet wash before the meal because it was very dusty there weren’t words like we had they were very dirty and it was a cleanliness issue it was eight a common courtesy issue when he went into somebody’s house for a meal but the person who usually did the washing of the feet was the person themselves or a slave and what would have been expected on this evening would have been for a slave to come and wash the disciples feet but Jesus sitting there notices or maybe it’s been played in the whole time because he is Jesus that there’s nobody washing the feet and so scripture tells us that he stands up he gets an apron and he ties it around his waist and he goes before each and every disciple including Jesus to wash their feet now the part that we skipped in this just cuz it was a long piece of Scripture is when Peter says to Jesus oh you cannot do that my friends I could not let you my master wash my feet that’s just not acceptable in this world but what Jesus is showing his disciples and what he specifically says in Scripture is that he is setting an example it says I set an example that you should do as I have done for you very truly I tell you no servant is greater than his master nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him you see in doing this and washing the disciples feet Jesus flips the understanding of the status quo on its head Jesus specifically identifies with the poor with the slave with the servant Jesus takes the role of the underling showing that there isn’t a master and an underling but that we all together are one Jesus shows that this us that this is the model of how we are to love each other how we are to serve each other and how we are to continue on and doing his work on this earth once he is gone you see the most interesting thing about this is that what he’s done is not heroic or remarkable it’s incredibly mundane you see you and I as the church that we are together sometimes think that we don’t have the resources that we need to do the big works that we think need to be done in this world because this world needs a lot of love this world needs a lot of help there a lot of brokenness there’s a lot of ways that we could get involved that we aren’t necessarily equipped to get involved but what Jesus did the night before everything started to end was not to do the big miracle was not to do fix the big broken things in the world no Jesus did the mundane Jesus simply loved Jesus showed what it meant to serve Jesus showed what it meant to follow in his footsteps and I believe what that what God is calling you and I to do is not necessarily the big huge projects that take a ton of pee able-bodied people but instead to do the everyday mundane task of loving those around us of washing the feet of those around us in following Jesus we have to understand that the command was never to ask people to come to church this building means nothing to Jesus the people inside mean everything to Jesus the command has always been to go and to serve and to serve the way that Jesus served now I think it’s important for us to understand a nuance of the way that Jesus served in this specific experience you see as Jesus washed each of the disciples feet he came to Judas’s feet and he washed them with love and I think for you and I sometimes the hardest thing about following Jesus is extending love to people like Judas to those in our life that have hurt us or to those in our life that we just simply don’t understand as a human it’s very natural and normal to walk around in this world and as you see the world to have opinions about what you see to go to the grocery store and see one family interacting in a way and you think that’s really great the way they’re doing it that it’s a good opinion but then sometimes you go to Walmart where all funny things happen and you see a family interacting in a way that might not be the best and in your mind you think oh those are some really wretched people right there and I’ve thought that and I have to say that out loud because I have to repent of that because every person that I’ve ever thought was not worthy of something is the child of God that is loved by God a child of God that is loved by God that is asked by God for me to interact with to love also but it’s so hard to be out in this world and as we’ve been having this series I’ve been trying to be more aware of where God wants me to interact with people because I know it’s hard for you to believe but I am a huge introvert if you get me away from this space I am a mute when it comes to interacting with other people it’s really hard for me to do and so when I go out and I’m asking God how I’m supposed to interact man if there’s ever a group that’s outside if there’s a if I have opinions about people when I’m asking God where I should interact those get in the way of me saying yes to God sometimes those get in the way but here’s the thing that I know that we all have a story every one of us we all have a story and when I’ve had a bad day and maybe when I haven’t represented God well maybe I’ve been a little grumpy or a cranky mom or a cranky driver or a cranky waiter in liner I really hate waiting in lines there’s a part of me that really thinks that everyone around me should know that I’m better than that but that they don’t know what’s going on in my life that’s making my day so hard but why is that okay for me and I don’t extend that same grace to everybody else that I experience in the world when I have a cranky teller at the bank as my first thought wow she’s cranky or man I wonder what’s going on in her day today when I experience somebody on the phone that’s not being very helpful to me is my first thought they are a real jerk or is my thought I wonder what’s happened in their life today I wonder how many people have yelled at them today I wonder how many times they’ve been yelled at by their boss today I wonder if they’re in the middle of a divorce if their children are having issues see my first thought isn’t always the fact that they’re human and that they have a life and that they have a story and that their life and their story is probably not that easy and it makes whoever they are what I’m experiencing but jesus never not once ever stopped and judged those who were far from him instead Jesus always went to those who were far from him sat with those who were far from him sat with the sinner and listened to the sinner and loved the sinner Jesus came to me and sat with me the sinner and loved me the sinner and brought this in her home and it took so many people being the hands and feet of Jesus to bring this sinner home I remember I don’t know their names I don’t remember their faces but I remember people in high school way before I had a relationship with God who had said something to me that kind of was like a little it was a mark and then I remember my sister getting baptized and it was a mark and then I remember going to college and meeting all of these girls in my dorm because it was a Christian college that I didn’t know before I went there and it was mark after mark after mark after mark person after person after person shy Gide fly into my life before I was ready to sit was Christ and let his love bring me home but that requires you and I doing some work that requires you and I loving people that are hard to love that requires you and I sitting before the feet of Judas and washing them anyway there are people in your life who have severely hurt you there are people in your life that have contributed to lots of pain in your life God is not asking you to be a doormat God is not asking you to stay in an abusive situation God is asking you to shine his light when you can to give forgiveness even though it feels impossible and to be the servant that he taught us to be and then with all of those people that we don’t understand in this world because there are so many God is not asking us to judge them God is not asking us to take an opinion to take a stand God is not asking us to become a divided group of people God did not say this is the way that you should live now go divide yourselves into groups and stay that way no Jesus came and served every single person that he came in conference in contact with regardless of who they were and he loved them Jesus is telling you and I as he washes the feet of Judas to go and to shine the light regardless of who the person is that is in front of us right now and that’s a hard ask because we’re human and it’s hard to take our feelings out of the mix sometimes and it takes training it takes a lot of reminding yourself when you’re in the middle of the situation that you need to step back and all you need to do is love it’s all you need to do sometimes the best love you can give is to walk away from an argument sometimes the best love you can give is to smile at somebody who’s being really ugly too you say thank you for your service or to say you must you know are you having a tough day is there something I can do to help you but our job our job is to help people find the Shepherd because remember we talked about one of the beautiful things about Jesus is that he’s the shepherd he’s the one that leaves the 99 the disciples in the room he leaves the gathering to go and find the one I don’t know if Jesus would be in church with us every Sunday I really don’t if he was still alive because I wonder if he’d be out doing and going and serving but we come here and what I hope this place can become for you and I as a place of celebration a place of growth for us a place of connecting and extinction his light in this community he’s the one that leaves the gathering to go find the lost may you and I be part of that Shepherds life where we leave the gathering on sundays at 12 o’clock on the dot and go and love the lost i was thinking about a friend of mine who had been severely hurt by the church you know the church is made up of people and people are broken and you know what it’s not going to be if you make it through your entire life and don’t have a disagreement with somebody at church you are i don’t know what you are you’re a miracle but sometimes when we mess up and we get in disagreements we do it in a way that’s very hurtful and i know that this person hasn’t been to church and so long because of that one experience and when people talk about this person they talk about why they’re not in church and how how much they should be in church and why aren’t they here not once I’ve I heard somebody talk about going to that person being in relationship with that person outside of the church walls because you know relationships can’t happen outside these walls you and I are called to remember that everyone has a story everyone is a child of God and that we are children of a shepherd who leaves the gathering to go and find the one may we do the same let’s pray God I thank you so much for the way that you loved me specifically the way you sent person after person light-bearer after light bear to make all different kinds of impressions in me so that one day I was finally ready for you to pick me up and to wrap me around your shoulders like a sheep and to bring me home god I pray that each one of us is bold enough to be a light bearer this week to continue to shine your love and your light so that those that you are going after are ready to be picked up and wrapped around your shoulders and to be taken home and the name of Jesus we pray amen