The season has changed and spring is here. We are seeing God’s glory all around us through new life joining us once more. I have enjoyed seeing the growth in our church in numbers as more children have been joining our Kreek Kids service and getting to know our team members more in the last year. With the sprouts of our new gardens growing, we see the light at the end of the dark and dreary winter to warmer and longer days.
I tend to say “Now, THIS is my favorite season” every season…which is ironic. But truly spring is such a time of change and new growth and shows many parables to the gospel.
Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”
As we plant our gardens, soak in the afternoon sun from our windows with warm tea and good reads, I remind us all to be still and bask in the glory of Christ and His wonderful gift of this life, and the even better gift which is our eternal life in heaven.
The great news, or the gospel’s story, comes to a climax around this time of year as well. Many of us are practicing Lent and in a few short weeks we will celebrate the ultimate sacrifice and example of service that Christ gave, His life for our sin. His entire life, He spent in service to others no matter the status, color of their skin, or amount of sin collected. Likewise, we are called to humbly serve others as Christ served us. See, this is a part of ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself” that often we do not think about, but I would love to dive in together today.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
This verse I chose was not meant to shame anyone, because when I look at the viewpoint of someone who has not yet served in the church and perhaps has been a ‘spectator’, the last thing I would want to see is the fingers pointing at me for not giving up an hour or often more of my Sunday to be considered one of the cogs in the wheel, or accepted by the other church members. This mindset is often correlated with the ideology that ‘good deeds get us into heaven’ as well, which tend to go hand in hand with judgment from others on our own personal journey with God and the evangelism stage that we are called to once we have accepted Christ as our savior. The true loving acceptance of Christ is a relationship with Him, rather than a slavery. Our chains are broken from sin, and in turn we fall to the knees in praise of our chain breaker and strive to be more like Him, including serving and loving our brothers and sisters like Jesus did for us. So please be wary that instead of a call of judgment to you, dear reader, I write this in exaltation for the opportunity to humble ourselves before God in service to one another.
What exactly does service mean to you? Colossians 3:23-24 says Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. To me, service comes in two forms: what I enjoy doing and what I feel called to do whether or not I enjoy it yet I find beauty in it each and every day. Knowing that the work put in now will create a bountiful harvest in the future, all for the glory of God. I enjoy the fruits and veggies that are created in my garden, even when I am doing the difficult work of sowing the soil and tending to my plot in order to create a more bountiful harvest to come. As far as service in our church, I will admit as a Kreek Kids volunteer or any other department there are days that are hard, there are difficult times to overcome during separation anxiety from an infant or a behavioral issue from a student, but I KNOW that in the long run the commitment and consistency I bring to these kids’ lives will resonate far after I am gone. This is proven with a dear friend, colleague, mentor, and fellow servant of Christ, Wayne Clinton. Wayne was an amazing example of selflessness, and has changed the lives of many which we have seen grow with our kids into adulthood through baptism just weeks before he passed. He will always be in our hearts as the one who gets things done, all in the name of the Father.
Investing into something that you may not enjoy in the moment will bear you an abundance of fruit later on.
So, I challenge you to self reflect on where you may be called to plug into, and perhaps that we as a church body are in need of evaluating what it truly means to serve by plugging in our gifts, and the things we maybe didn’t look at before, and see it in a new light and urgency. For Christ, who gave it all for us did not enjoy being nailed to that cross. He felt agony as his blood dripped from the crown and He gave his life for us to live. THIS IS URGENCY. We should be obliged, not obligated, to throw ourselves to the feet of our savior in gratitude and begin washing the feet of our neighbor regardless of their age, ethnicity, cultural background because JESUS DID. Again, the tone conveyed is rejoiceful for this news is so good that I burst into tears thinking of what a wonderful name is Jesus Christ our King. I call us all to be hungry to serve one another and to step into new possibilities together as a church. We are the body, and we get to become the vessel for the plans God has for us, friends.
I will end with an overview of just a few of the ministries you can be a part of right now:
- Kreek Kids
We have sung a song during the last few months of worship called “For God So Loved” and the lyrics from this chorus goes as follows: “For God so loved the world that he gave us, His one and only son to save us”. This divine love and service we received is so extraordinary that it is unmatched, yet yearned to imitate us, to our Heavenly Father. I pray in the coming months for peace, love, unity, and above all for the closeness to God that we all crave so deeply.
Karli Braaten, AC3 0-5 Director