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December 16, 2014

Advent Adventure, Part 6

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

You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving.  Love involves a double vision of both giving and serving.  When Christ came, He came to serve, not to be served.  Would others say that of you?  Do you expect others to serve you or to wait on you?  Think about it – the God of the Universe humbled Himself and became a servant.  Isaiah describes Jesus as the suffering servant in Isaiah 53. “He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.”  Isaiah 53:3 (NLT)  Jesus served others throughout His ministry.  He fed the multitudes and healed the sick; He even washed His disciples’ feet and told them, “And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet.  I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.” John 13:14-17 (NLT)  This is the secret to a blessed life!  There are two building blocks to a life of blessing.  The first is to build a life of serviceThe second is to build a life of generosity.  Jesus came to serve and to give.  He gave His very best, His life, and His all!  What more could He have given?  Are you a giver or a taker?  Would others describe your life as a life of generosity?  Perhaps, the reason for our selfishness is that we forget that we’ve been given everything that we have.  The Scripture says, “… Everything we have has come from You (God) and we can only give You what is Yours already!”  1 Chronicles 29:14 (LB)  We forget that it all belongs to Him.  When we give, we are only giving back a portion of all that He has given us.  I remember when our son was young, and we went to Burger King for lunch.  Being health conscious, I decided to refrain from ordering French fries, so I ordered a double cheeseburger with a diet Coke.  As we sat down to eat, I saw one of the large fries on my son’s plate and reached out to grab it.  He quickly looked up and said, “Dad, those are my fries!  Get your own fries if you want one!”  At that moment, it dawned on me that my son had forgotten a very important lesson that I needed to teach him.  I said, “Son, I am the provider of French fries for you.”  Secondly, “I am the controller of all French fries for you.  I can withhold them from you or I can pour out so many fries that they would cover you from head to toe.”  I laugh, when I think back to that day, but it’s true in our lives!  God is the provider and controller of all things.  When it comes to giving, the real question is: do we trust God?  Do we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength?  If we love like that, we can’t help but serve and give.  I can’t think of a better time than Christmas to begin building a life of service and generosity.  Start now!  Volunteer at your church this Christmas.  We have 30 services across our three campuses, and we couldn’t do any of these without an army of willing volunteers.  Next, give your greatest gift to Christ; stretch yourself and make it an expression of your love and gratitude for all He’s given you!  Make it part of your advent adventure!