Jesus ... Single Like Me: Building Your Ministry
- Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Jesus lived his life as a single adult till his death. Because he lived his life as a single adult, he understands every aspect of what you and I are experiencing today. This series examines the "singleness" of Christ in relation to our singleness with the hope you will be encouraged to walk this journey you have been given. A journey that not only leads to the cross for our salvation but to his resurrection for our future.
It was 2 a.m., and I was scrunched down in my hall bathroom with nothing to keep me company but my dog, a black Cocker Spaniel named Joshua, and a battery-operated radio. I kept switching back and forth to the various stations trying to find out where the storm was. The power had gone out hours before, and panic was beginning to set in.
It was September 5, 1996 and Hurricane Fran was just about to hit my hometown of Garner, NC (a suburb of Raleigh). As I kept fighting with the radio, my dog needed to go out again. I was reluctant to let him out but knew I preferred to not have him go in my small bathroom. I lit another candle and slowly opened the front door to let him out. Everything was pitch-black. The wind sounded horrible, and there was an uneasiness in the air. I hollered for Joshua to come back, and in a matter of seconds a very wet dog ran back inside. We quickly walked back into my bathroom and laid on the mattress I had put on the floor. This would be a long, hot night, waiting for the storm to pass and praying my house would still be standing. Had it been built right? Had it been built on solid ground? Could it withstand the storm ahead? Only God knew the answers.
I have used this story many times as I have led single adult ministry. Of how important it is for our ministries to be started on solid ground. So many times we get ahead of God, wanting to have a ministry for singles to have something fun to do. Sure, we know we need Bible study and prayer but somehow, some way, those things get prioritized toward the bottom of the list. In Matthew 7:21-29 Jesus tells us the importance of building not only our ministries on solid ground, but ourselves as well.
"Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?'Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law (Matthew 7:21-29).
Jesus, Single Like Me Teaches:
1. Not everyone will enter the kingdom just because they cry out to God. It's so easy to say as Christians that we are good people and we love God. That we go to church, read our Bibles, and say “bless you” when somebody sneezes. Jesus tells us not everyone who calls out to God will enter the kingdom of heaven but only those doing the will of God. The devil believes, goes to church, knows the Bible better than you or I but he is not going to heaven. Our relationship has to be more than lip service. More than just fitting in with those beside you. More than just putting "Christian" on your Facebook page. It's how you are living your life. It's your walk, day in and day out. It's how you love others due to your relationship with Christ. It's how you spend your money, your time and your energy. It's your attitude. Are you building God's kingdom or your own? Are you really seeing growth in your relationship with God? Has your salvation really made a change in your life? A change that not only changes you but helps you to lead others to that change as well?
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking (Ephesians 4:17).
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33).
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1).
2. To enter into heaven, actions led by God must be followed our faith. There are so many folks out there who live a mediocre life in Christ. They are like zombies in the world. They do the same thing every day, working hard for the paycheck only to end their day in exhaustion and emptiness. Christ came to give us life in abundance. This abundance is a life with passion and purpose. Out of our relationship with Christ, there should easily be a desire to serve the Lord, but it must be in HIS WILL. So many people serve the Lord out of obligation. Well, I am a member of this church so I guess I should sign up to teach kids or serve food, etc. What? How boring is that! I promise you as you seek God with all your might and all your strength, he will give you direction. He will help you find the passion that comes from purpose. He will guide you to serve in a way that brings joy not only to our heavenly Father but to you and those around you. As you find your place in God's will for your life, it will spread to others to seek theirs. Don't just believe in God, but follow in HIS way.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says (James 1:22).
The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy (Psalms 111:7).
Very truly I tell you, all who have faith in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father (John 14:12).
3. These principles apply to our ministries, too. As a ministry, Jesus tells us that many will say "we" did this and "we" did that in your name. Lord, we built this ministry and fed homeless people, we raised money for this mission trip, we visited people in nursing homes and so on. But again, lost people feed the hungry and raise money and visit folks in nursing homes. When you say you do these things in HIS name but aren't living it yourself, it means nothing to Jesus. He will simply tell you he never knew you. There are so many so-called ministries out there that raise funds to help orphans but keep most of the money for themselves. Even on a smaller scale, do we give God our leftovers or our best? Are we really serving out of a humility from grace or because it looks good to others? As we lead our ministries, we must teach others the importance of serving God. That not all ministry is truly led by God.
“Bring the best of the first-fruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God" (Exodus 23:19).
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
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 others (Philippians 2:1-4).
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