Serving each other. That is what we are pursuing. That is what we are exploring at the beginning of this year.
How do we serve each other? What or who is our model?
Here is, I believe, the ultimate example of serving one another. The example of Jesus from Philippians 2:
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
We’ll contemplate it more soon, but for the next few days I invite you to read it many times. To pray it. To read it out loud. To let the Holy Spirit speak to you within it.
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
Dear Precious Worship Team,
We’re exploring serving one another by looking at the Sermon on the Mount. Today is all about being Salt and Light. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. I’m sure you’ve been encouraged to be that “City on a Hill” and shine brightly. And that’s good. We should shine with the “Light of the World” in us.
But I want to highlight something in The Message translation that popped out at me: “Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” I had never seen this before. Be open with one another. I know in my own life I can be polite, courteous, even kind. But all the while being a shut book to those I’m around. I’m from the South and my Mom and Dad taught me the art of conversation (which is much needed skill these days!). But to truly serve one another, to love each other we must go beyond that. Our team must be an “open house” as the passage says. Be generous with each other.
Vulnerable. Uncomfortable. Honest. Open.
The way God is with us.
I don’t know about you but that’s hard and it takes time. So in the short snippets when we’re together – rehearsals, services, in between services – let’s make an effort to intentionally be generous with our brothers and sisters on our team.
By being open with each other Jesus says we’ll prompt others to open up with God. And that’s the greatest thing we can do as leaders of worship.
We started off Monday with my encouragement that we consider what it means to serve one another. I wanted to get practical on that admonition by exploring Jesus’s “Sermon on the Mount” from Matthew 5-7. This is the blueprint, the epitome of how we are to live our lives as believers – as followers of Jesus. Even more so as members of a team called to lead His people in worship. Let’s look at how the Sermon on the Mount teaches us to serve and love one another.
Let’s start with the Beatitudes. An introduction of sorts to Jesus’s sermon:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Eugene Peterson, who wrote “The Message” translation of the Bible says he wanted to use the word “lucky” instead of blessed because it connected more to our contemporary understanding of the Greek word in this passage. His publisher wouldn’t go for it in the end, but you get the idea. These are preposterous statements in the eyes of the world. Our culture rewards the powerful, the winners. #Winning is a thing, right?
But Jesus says to count yourself blessed, outright lucky – to have won the jackpot if you are poor in spirt or meek. You are highly favored if you mourn or hunger or thirst or if you’re persecuted for righteousness or even insulted because of Jesus. Peterson translates that last bit like this:
“You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds.”
If we’re going to serve one another on our worship team, in our church body, in our families, jobs, schools we must learn to recognize and see what heaven applauds. Maybe get our minds out of Facebook likes and Twitter mentions and learn to value what God values.
The Beatitudes is a pretty good place to start. Count yourself lucky if you make that list.
Happy New Year!! 2018 is here and full of possibility. I love blank pages, clean slates, new chapters, or whatever other analogy or picture you want to insert. There’s just something beautiful about beginnings, fresh starts.
With that in mind I’m going to spend the next little while writing some daily encouragements to the worship team at Shelter Rock Church where I serve as worship pastor. While these are directed at them, anyone else is welcome to be a part. Welcome to something new!
Dear Awesome Worship Team!
Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) That’s on my heart for us this year. Learning how to truly serve one another. We use the word all the time: “Are you serving this week?” “Where are you serving on the team?” and on and on. But what does it mean? Is that the reason we are on the team? Do we approach our music and tech prep (or lack thereof) with that in mind? I’m asking myself and you!
Our congregation is trusting us to lead them in worship and teach them week in and week out. How can we serve them? When I’m on stage playing the first notes of the service am I focused on how I can serve that person, those people with my songs and words and encouragement?
Let’s talk about it, pray about it and, most of all, live it.