Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer of Service and Significance

Every summer our church has a "Summer of Service" or S.O.S.  It is where all of the different ministry teams go out into the community and do random acts of kindness as a team.

For example, the children's ministry team helped with refurbishing a children's center where underprivileged children are cared for after school and during the summer.  Another example is some of the ladies from the women's ministry team went to a local laundry mat with a ton of quarters.  They paid for the people's laundering that day. One person prayed the prayer of salvation that day at the laundry mat. 

This last Sunday, our Pastor encouraged all the members of the congregation to not only participate in the church wide outreaches, but to also go out into their neighborhoods and look for ways they could reach out to their neighbors. So, I began to pray about what the Lord wanted me to do for my neighbors.

Love your neighbor as yourself.  Matt 22:39

I am blessed to live in a neighborhood where I know many of my neighbors.  I know that in today's world that is not always the case.  If you don't know your neighbors very well, I encourage you to reach out to get to know them.  You could invite them to dinner, bake them something, or just go over an introduce yourself.    My last neighbor, Joy, was such a good example in this area.  When we moved to our new home, I carried over here what I learned from her.  Her kindness was contagious, and yours will be also.

God showed me some specific ways I can reach out to my neighbors this week to show them the love of Jesus.  God showed me a couple of things to do.

I was hesitant to share.  I felt a little funny about it.  So, I am going to share what God showed me plus some others ideas I have seen others do to give examples of what serving your neighbors might encompass.

  
You might offer to watch a neighbor's kids for them, give a neighbor something they need that you don't have use for anymore (ex. baby items or clothes), or give out popsicles to the kids playing outside.  Give a baby gift for a neighbor expecting a baby.  My friend, Pastor Doug, is getting with a couple of neighbors to pull weeds at the front entrance of our neighborhood.  He is our children's pastor.  My friend, Dave (Joy's husband), mowed our lawn one time while we were on vacation.  What a great surprise!  We were so blessed by it!  Yesterday, my son helped me pull weeds for a neighbor who cannot pull weeds right now due to health reasons.  We also baked cookies for new neighbors. 

These are all things we can do anytime to share the love of Jesus with our neighbors.  Even when we just give out popsicles or a drink of water, we are showing the love of Jesus.  Jesus said it is the same as if we did it unto Him.

For I was hungry and you gave Me food: I was thirsty and you gave Me drink:  I was a stranger and you took Me in:  I was naked and you clothed Me: I was sick and you visited Me:  I was in prison and you came to Me.   Matt 25:35-36

Then the righteous will answer Him saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You or thirsty and gave You drink?  When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothed You?  Or when did we see You sick or in prison and come to You? Matt 25: 37-39

And the King will answer and say to them, Assuredly,  I say to you, inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these My brethren, you have done it unto me.  Matt 24:40

UNTO ME. -Jesus   is the theme of our Summer of Service this year.

WOW!  Whenever we serve, it is like we are doing it unto Jesus!  Everything we do, we are doing it as unto Him.

I think it is important to note that the first place we should be serving is in our own home.  It would be hypocritical to serve others and neglect the needs of our own family.

It is also extremely important that we evaluate the attitude of our hearts while serving.  What is our motivation?  Is it purely out of love for others and the Lord, or do we have ulterior motives?  God is not pleased when we serve with an unwilling heart or begrudgingly.  I would venture to say that God is more concerned with our heart attitudes than anything else.  He is more concerned with our "Who" than our "Do" as Joyce Meyer says.

So, I hope this may encourage you to pray about how you can show the love of Jesus to your neighbors this next week?  God will show you if there is anything you can do.  The seeds you plant may affect someone for eternity! I would love to hear other ways that you or someone you know has served their neighbors or if you do something for your neighbors this next week, please share!  I would love to hear about your ideas and how you are making this a Summer of Significance! 

Stay tuned...in the next post I will continue the Summer of Significance series with goals for children.

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