Thursday, October 13, 2011

Brought to you by: the Letters S & L

Today's message is brought to you by the letter's S & L. Let me explain...

Last night I was blessed to have the opportunity to teach the Christ Community Church's Youth Ministry group about Servant leadership. It. Was. AWESOME. God definitely met us there and <hopefully> He allowed me to communicate a strong message about Jesus' love for us and the need for us to humble ourselves in His name and serve. 

So today, I want to share with you a few snippets of our youth lesson. I hope it gets those wheels to turning and you can consider how you can serve God's kingdom... daily... through acts of love and kindness. 

We started out by "washing" the feet of one of the youth leaders (and my good friend) Sara. It wasn't exactly like the feet washing at the last supper but hey, we do what we can with a bath towel and a plastic punch bowel filled with water. 

Ok, so we washed Sara's feet... Now imagine what that was like for Jesus to wash the feet of his disciples… He is the King of Kings, but he humbled himself to serve by doing the “lowest” job in the house. Remember the story of Jesus washing the disciples feet in John 13? Long story short, nobody else volunteered, then Peter argued with Jesus saying that he didn't want him to wash feet-- but then agreed and said to wash his whole body. SIGH. Oh Peter. 

Then watch what happened: 
"When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have 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 also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, 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 will be blessed if you do them." (John 13:12-17)

This is an example of Jesus’ love and servanthood is something for us to follow—it is true servant leadership. We all have a privilege that as Christians, we are called to serve by leading and lead by serving. Let me say it again—it is a privilege. We have the opportunity to serve by leading and lead by serving! 

Jesus came to serve… not to be served! 

“ Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28 

It’s all about Servant Leadership!! (See, this is where the first S & L come in... get it?) So what is Servant Leadership? 

Servant leadership is not a particular style of leadership, but rather deals with the motivation behind a leader's thoughts, words and actions 

Soooo... How do we engage in servant leadership?

1. We gotta Show the Love ...  (Notice: the second S & L phrase) Jesus said we should be willing to lay down our life for friends and love our neighbors as ourselves! 

And how do we SHOW the LOVE? By doing 3  things: Knowing ourselves, working as a team, and praying/listening to God.  (I elaborated quite a bit on these during my presentation, but you get the picture)

2. We have to Share the Life   (The third S & L) Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. The servant leader willingly humbles them self in order to meet the needs of others. We are not too important or dignified to undertake even the lowest of tasks and we can do so with no thought of personal gain. Be a servant first… leader second—and it will all fall into place. Show the life of Jesus through your actions! 

And just like before, here's how we SHARE the LIFE : 
*We must be more concerned for the needs of others than our own "Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." (Mark 8:34) 

*Lead by example (Practice what we preach) 

*Honor God—We do it all for His glory—he loved us so much that he sent his son to die for us—shouldn’t we share his love with others by serving them? It can open up doors and allow Christ’s love to shine! 

The front with the letter
Servant leadership might sounds a little scary—but it pleases God. Have faith that he wouldn’t call you to do anything you couldn’t—and he is the one who will give you strength! I don’t know about you, but when I get to heaven, I would love for God to scoop me up in my arms and say “Well done my good and faithful servant!” (That gives me butterflies every time I think about it!!!) 

So consider how you will live a life of servant leadership. It isn’t about having a title or status. But it is living out the love of Christ. We can live a life of servant leadership by SHOWING THE LOVE and SHARING THE LIFE. 

The back with the letter
Ok... so we have worked through the presentation-- but I wasn't quite done yet... due to my motivation to procrastinate on homework last week and be crafty as opposed to scholarly (don't worry, I still got my homework done) I gave them "towels" as a take-home reminder.  Little beach towels (made from one big towel to represent teamwork and "big picture") to remind them to "wash feet" aka serve wherever they go. The towels also have a glow-in-the-dark puff paint (who doesn't love  puff paint!) letters on each side-- one is S and the other is L... They (AND YOU!) can be the light in darkness through service and glow by engaging in Servant Leadership, Showing the Love and Sharing the Life. 

I left CCC last night with my heart full of excitement for the youth members and youth leaders. And my heart is full for YOU this morning. We all have a beautiful, blessed opportunity to humble ourselves and be like Jesus. Today, I challenge you to remember that image of Jesus hanging on the cross.  Jesus came to serve, not to be served... HE was willing to lead as a servant... ARE YOU?

In His Service, 

"...the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves."  --Luke 20:26
A portion of the 60 "towels" as I was waiting
for the glorious puff paint to dry. 

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