James Merritt - Serve, My Opening Gifts
We're talking about something today that's really, really important to me, and I think it ought to be important to all of you, and it's not, and I hope it will be after the message. So I wanna begin by asking a question. How many of you are ordained to the ministry, raise your hand, if you're ordained to the ministry. All right, I've got a couple of hands there, about what I expected. Okay, that's fine. Here's my second question. How many of you are obligated by God to be ministers? Yeah, you ought to get a unanimous vote on that. We're all, you may not be ordained, but we're obligated by God to be ministers. One of the great misnomers, and misunderstood words of our day is that word minister, because when I just say the word minister, what do you think about?
You think about someone like me. You think, okay, to be a minister, you think, okay, that's seminary trained, or, depending on your upbringing, it's somebody that wears a robe, or a clerical collar, or stands behind a pulpit like I do. But when you think about the word minister, the one person you don't think about is who? You; you say, no, you're a minister, you have a PHD, you went to seminary, you've been ordained, you're a minister, but that reveals a very fundamental misunderstanding of the word minister. Because you might be surprised to know that the word minister actually comes from the Latin word for minus, and it essentially means less.
So what a minister is, basically, is someone of lesser rank or status, someone who's job it is to serve, not to be served. Now here's the eye opening truth I wanna give you today. If you claim to be a follower of Jesus, it doesn't matter whether you're a male or female, by the way, if you claim to be a follower of Jesus, you are a minister. When Jesus becomes your master, he expects you to become his minister. Mike just quoted a verse just a moment ago out of Mark chapter 10, verse 45, Jesus said, even the son of man did not come to serve, or to be served, but to serve. And just like God sent Jesus to serve us, now Jesus has commanded all of us to serve others. So if you're a guest of ours today we're in a series that we're calling All Things New. 'Cause one of the things that I love about people who become a Christian is when they finally understand I am a new person, I have a new life.
And we believe, as our church believes, that if you've ever experienced that new life in Christ, your life ought to revolve around four key elements. We talked about the one last week, the first one is worship. We believe that's where everything starts with God, worship. Having a walk with God. Expressing that God through corporate individual worship. Now today we're gonna talk about serving. Because I believe we all have one thing in common; you were not put on this Earth to be served by anybody, you were put on this Earth to serve other people.
Now here's the good news, if everybody follows that, guess what, we all get served in the process. But I wasn't put here primarily to be served. I was put here to serve. As your pastor, your job is not primarily to serve me, my job is primarily to serve you. You're not on my call 24/7. I don't have the right to call you anytime day or night if you've got a need. You have the right to do that with me. 'Cause you're not here primarily to serve me, I'm here to serve you. But here's the good news, you ready for this? The beautiful thing about serving is God so designed serving that you wake up one day and you realize, you know what? I'm not serving others for their benefit, it's actually to my benefit. I'll give you an example.
I was watching a tournament two weeks ago, some of you may have, maybe three weeks ago, Tiger Woods was playing golf with his son Charlie. Now Charlie's 11 years old. And we were all marveling, if you're a golfer, you know what I'm talking about, it was amazing, this kid's 11 years old, he hits a golf ball better than most adults, it was incredible, and he swings a golf club just like his dad. He had some of the most unbelievable shots for an 11 year old kid I've ever seen in my life. He has a swing that I would kill for. He could putt, I mean, it was incredible. So they asked Tiger Woods the question I would like to ask Tiger Woods, they said, Tiger, what lessons did you give your son? What have you taught your son about playing golf?
Amazingly, Tiger Woods said, I've only taught him one lesson, the interviewer couldn't believe it. He said, one? I only taught him one lesson. He said, what did you teach him? Now listen to what Tiger Woods said, listen to this. I taught him to hit the ball as hard as you can, but this is the key, just to make sure he always hits it in the center of the face of the club. Now why is that such a big deal. If you know anything about golf, you know that the center of the face of a golf club is what golfers call the sweet spot. And if you've ever hit a golf ball, nobody has to tell you, you know when you hit the sweet spot, because when you do the ball doesn't just travel farther, guess what, it travels straighter. Because when you hit that ball in the sweet spot, the club doesn't vibrate, it doesn't twist, it goes right through that ball, the ball launches on a straighter path, backspin is maximized, so it goes farther, side spin is minimized so it goes straighter, so you get distance and you get accuracy every time you hit the sweet spot.
Now what does that got to do with us? I believe God's given all of us a sweet spot in life. It's called service. And what I have found is you will maximize your fulfillment in life, your enjoyment in life, your impact with life, when you find the sweet spot of serving other people. And there was a disciple, the most famous disciple of all of them, his name was Peter, Peter wrote a book called 1 Peter, I wanna invite you to find that book, it's toward the end of the Bible, you go to Revelation turn left, about five books you'll hit it.
Go to 1 Peter, chapter four, he writes this book, and in this book he tells us about serving. And when he tells us about serving, he does something that if you listen to what he says, it will make you look at serving as not something you have to do, something that you get guilted into doing, you'll look at serving as something that you get to do, you'll want to do, you'll be glad to do. So here's what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna be real quick so you listen fast. I'm gonna give you three reasons why all of us ought to want to serve somebody. I'm gonna give you three reason why all of us ought to be glad to serve somebody. I'm gonna give you three reasons today why all of us ought to be eager, enthusiastic, ready to go, to find somebody we can serve. Okay, you ready? Here we go; number one, I am gifted for service. Say that out loud with me. I am gifted for service. That is absolutely true. Peter begins with a word of encouragement, 1 Peter chapter four, each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others.
Now let's just look at what Peter said. When I hear that word each, I think about my dad. Therese will remember this. My dad had a pet peeve. Have you ever heard anybody say, I want each and every one of you to do this? Or I want each and every one of you to do, have you ever heard anybody say that? My dad, that used to just irritate my dad. And my dad used to say that's the stupidest thing I've heard anybody say in my life. And I asked him, why Dad? He said, do you know what each means? I said, what? He said, it means every. Do you know what every means? What Dad? It means each. So the next time you hear somebody say each and every tell them how stupid they are. No don't do that. I'm just kidding, but really, each means every, every means each, it's a redundant phrase, so when Peter said, each of you, he said every one of you has received a gift.
So if you're a follower of Jesus, there's something I know about you; God has given you a spiritual gift. I don't know what that gift is. But God has given you a spiritual gift. An ability from him. And this is all inclusive. Nobody gets left out. Nobody gets left behind. All of us have received a gift. Now, when you get a gift, you're expected to do two things with that gift. First thing you gotta do is what? Open it, you gotta open it, right? And then you gotta use it. Somebody gives you a gift, it's an insult if you don't open it, and then if you don't use it. Dr. Rogers used to say, God has not given you your gift for your enjoyment, but for his employment. And that's really true. God has given you a gift, I don't know what your gift is, he's given you a gift, and there are some of you sitting out there right now, some of you listening to me right now, you have never unwrapped your gift. You have never opened your gift.
Some of you have unwrapped it, and you've opened it, but you've put it on the shelf and you never used it. See this is what I want you to understand. Serving is not just what you do, listen to me carefully, serving is not just what you do, it's who you are. The reason why you serve what you do is because you are a servant. That's what a servant does. You, a servant serves, and you are to be a servant, serving's not just an action, it's an attitude. And you see, we all ought to have a servant's heart, Jesus had a servant's heart. Do you know why Jesus left heaven and came to Earth? He had a servant's heart. When the Father said, son, will you go? The son said, I'm glad to. I wanna serve the ones that I love. I'm willing to die for them, I'm willing to serve them in such a way, I give my life for them.
We ought to have a servant's heart, and when you have a servant's heart, goes what, you'll have servant hands. So here's the good news for all of us. Some of you think you're a nobody. You think what can I do? I'm not educated, I'm not this, I'm not that, listen, everybody, I never met anybody that didn't have abilities to do something, a passion to do something, a gift to do something, an interest to do something. And God's given all of us gifts, and passions, and abilities, and he says, look, I want you to leverage that gift to serve other people. That gift's to be unwrapped and that gift's to be used. Now here's the good news; we're all different. We all have different interests. We all have different passions. We all have different gifts, we all have different skills, we all have different abilities, and there's a reason that God made us that way. God made you the way you are so you can do what he wants you to do to serve others. I don't serve others the way you serve others. You're not to serve others the way I serve others. I'm not gifted like some of you, you're not gifted like some of me, but we're all equally gifted. I am gifted to serve.
Now if you believe that, say amen. All right, if you don't believe it, don't say anything. Okay, I'm telling you, you are gifted to serve. Number two, to drive this point home, listen to the rest of this verse, Paul says, Peter says, as faithful stewards, now listen to what he says, you got a gift, he says, okay, because you've got a gift, you're a faithful steward of God's grace in its various forms. Now, this is a big word, so just let me stop. Boys and girls, we got some kids in here, let me tell you what that word steward means. That word steward means, just means a faithful manager. That's all it is. And the Greek word literally refers to someone that manages somebody else's affairs, or they manage someone's money, or someone's resources.
Now here's what Paul, Peter was saying. Your life is not your own. Your life does not belong to you. The minute you, listen, the minute you gave your life to Christ, that second, you signed the title deed of your life over to him. He owns you lock, stock, and barrel. Your house is now his house. Your money's now his money. Your life is now his life. And the gifts and the abilities that you have, he's given to you, he says okay, you're a steward now of those gifts. And we're going to give an account to God, as to how we stewarded those gifts, and managed those gifts, and he says, by the way, he said, you do it as stewards of God's grace, in its various forms. What does that mean? What do you mean steward God's grace in its various forms? This is really cool what Peter does. That word various forms literally means multicolored, and what Peter is comparing us to, he's saying, look, this is the way we are, I want to imagine we're a rainbow.
Now here's the beautiful thing, we're all, we're a rainbow. We're not all the same color, because you have to have, in a rainbow you gotta have different colors. So we're not all the same color. We're all different colors, in other words he didn't give the same gift to every person. He gives different people different gifts. But they're all necessary to make that rainbow as beautiful as it can be. This weekend, we're celebrating the legacy of one of the greatest men that America's ever produced, Martin Luther King. I don't know of any man that we could say ever lived that had more of a servant heart, and more of a servant spirit, and served his country better and sweeter than Martin Luther King. Martin Luther King said something, and I said, you know what?
Nobody could say it better than Dr. King. Here's what he said. He said, everybody can be great, and he's right, according to the Bible definition, everybody can be great; why? Because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve, you only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. So I'm gonna bring this down to everybody's level, to just the lowest shelf, I'm gonna make this as simple as I can. If you're taking notes, if you're at home right now taking notes, I want you to write down three words, put three words in your notes right now. Keep these words in mind, it'll tell you all you need to know about what I'm trying to tell you. Write down the word ability, ability, we all have a God given ability.
The moment you give your life to Christ, he turns right around he gives you at least one spiritual gift, he gives you an ability that I don't have, others don't have, you've got a unique God given ability. That's word number one. Word number two is availability. You are to take that ability, you're to open that gift, and you are to use that gift for others. You've gotta make that gift available. It's gotta be opened. And then how you take that gift, where you take that gift, the way you take that gift, that brings accountability. You're gonna give God an account as to how you used your gift, how you stewarded your gift. So the message right now is real simple. We all have a God given ability. We are to give that ability availability, we are to put that gift to use and the way we do so we're gonna, God's gonna hold us accountable.
That's the motivation for service, why should I serve? Why should you serve? Because you're gifted to serve. I'm gifted to serve. But then it gets better. Peter says not only am I gifted for service, then he says, others are gratified by service. Others are gratified by service. Now, Peter does something that's kind of cool. He talks about two categories of gifts, they're not exhaustive, but they're kind of like bookends. Listen to what he says. He says, if anyone speaks, this is a gift, if anyone speaks, they should do as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, service is a gift, my wife has the gift of service, if anyone serves, they should do so with the strength that God provides.
Now, as I studied that, I thought, Peter, there are more spiritual gifts than that. I mean, Richard Sissem, Richard raise your hand. There you go, Richard, that's it, real high Richard. Richard's got the spiritual gift of criticism. Everybody's got a gift, everybody's got this gift. So we all have it, Richard, just joking, love you man, so, listen, but I thought to myself, why in the world does he only talk about speaking and serving. And then I thought about it. It doesn't cover all the gifts but it's kind of the bookends. Let me give you, we're seeing this right now. I'm standing up here, and what am I doing? If you say I'm putting you to sleep we're gonna kick you out of the church.
So what am I doing? I'm speaking; I'm doing exactly what Peter said I'm to do, this is what God has gifted me to do. I am exercising the gift of speaking God's word. But I'm not the only one that's doing that, even right now, over in our children's ministry we've got people there who are speaking God's word. Riley speaks God word in our high school ministry. Micah speaks God's word in our middle school ministry. Down in our nursery, Janna is leading her kids even to teach our little pre-schoolers down there about God's word. We have college ministry, and we have adult ministry, group leaders, what do they do? They speak God's word. And the truth of the matter is, I couldn't be doing what I'm doing right now, you couldn't be doing what you're doing right now, unless there were other people that were doing the other gifts, and that's serving. So you've got speaking on the one hand, and you've got serving on the other. Now God, my spiritual gift is what you call prophecy.
Now the spiritual gift of prophecy's not the ability to tell the future, that's not what the word prophecy means. The word prophecy is the gift of just taking God's word, making God's word plain, speaking God's truth the way it ought to be spoken. So I'm exercising my speaking gift right now, and hopefully as Peter said, what I'm sharing with you is not my words, what I'm sharing with you I pray are the very words of God as I simply opened the Bible and interpret the Bible, and teach the Bible correctly. So I'm giving right now the very words of God. That's my gift. That's my ability. This is my availability, and one day I'm gonna give an accountability, but the only reason right now that I can do what I do, and the only reason right now that you're doing what you're doing, is because other people, they're not exercising a speaking gift, they're exercising a serving gift.
And see here's the problem, and if I'm not careful I do this, too often we kind of lift up the people that do what I do, and don't think about the people that do what they do, when the truth of the matter is I couldn't do what I do if they didn't do what they did. See, and what happens is too often, we all do this, have you ever noticed how the importance of what somebody does is not noticed till they don't do it anymore? You ever notice that? I read the other day, you'll love this, some of you will love this ladies, there was a husband who came home from work one day, and I mean, the house was a disaster, I mean a disaster. I mean, the baby was crying, dirty dishes are all over the sink, dirty laundry is hanging from the doorknobs, the TV is blaring, the beds weren't made, carpets weren't vacuumed, dust undisturbed, dinner wasn't cooked. And he looked at his wife and he says, what in the world's going on? She looked at him and said, you know you come in here everyday and you always ask me, what have you been doing all day? Well today I didn't do it.
Isn't it amazing, how we don't notice what people do and how important it is until they stop doing it? So if we didn't have people running around here and doing things, if we didn't have people running sound right now, I couldn't do what I do. Lights, camera, you wouldn't watch me online right now. People greeting, ushering, taking care of traffic, children, parking cars. I couldn't do what I'm doing right now, you couldn't be doing what you're doing right now, because they wouldn't be serving. So even right now, I'm being blessed, you're being blessed, I'm being gratified, I'm being uplifted, I'm being enabled, I'm being encouraged by what people have done today that I didn't even see them do it.
So that's why Paul says, look, some of you have the gift of speaking, some of you have the gift of serving. And listen, don't ever be deceived, this is so important, if you don't hear anything else, I don't know who I'm talking to today, don't you ever be deceived into believing, well I just don't have much of a gift to offer. Or my gift's just not a big deal. Or my gift's so small compared to that person's gift or this person's gift. Don't ever be deceived into thinking that your gift is not just that important. I'll illustrate it to you. I was reading the other day, about the rhinoceros.
If you ever get a chance to go with me on safari to Africa it's one of the most amazing animals you'll see. They're probably the most feared animal in all the jungle. I mean they are just a ton, I mean tons of two horned terrors, unbelievable speed, size, agility, and strength, and they're feared by every other creature. No other creature in the jungle messes with a rhino. Not a bull elephant, not a lion, not a tiger, nobody takes on the rhinoceros. Nobody messes with the rhinoceros. Everybody is afraid of this gigantic animal in the jungle, except one. There's one animal, has no fear of the rhinoceros. I bet you've never heard of it. It's called the buffalo bird. The buffalo bird, he's right there, that's where he is, buffalo bird has no fear of the rhinoceros. Matter of fact, you know what he does?
This is amazing; buffalo birds will lie on the back of a rhinoceros, and they'll peck into the back of that rhinoceros, just like a woodpecker pecks into wood. Sometimes they'll fly around the head, sometimes they'll perch right on the ear. And it's amazing, you'll watch these buffalo birds and you think, what a pest they are. But the rhino doesn't get angry. He doesn't get upset. He doesn't attack. 'Cause he knows exactly what that buffalo bird is doing. You ready for this? Rhinos have poor eyesight, and their bodies are covered with parasites that they can't control. You know what buffalo birds do? You know what their favorite food is? Parasites; they love parasites. They're on this parasite fast all the time. They eat parasites, I feel that's what, that's what I eat for breakfast is parasites. They eat parasites. It's their favorite meal. And guess what else is true. Rhinos have poor eyesight, but whenever any danger is in the area, you know what the buffalo birds do? They let out this shrill call warning the rhino of whatever it is they can't see.
So even though you wouldn't know it, you know what that little bird does all day long? He serves that rhinoceros. He takes care of that rhinoceros, he ministers to that rhinoceros. And by the way, guess what that buffalo bird's afraid of. Excuse the grammar, he ain't afraid of nobody, 'cause he's on the back of the rhinoceros. So they're serving each other. Now here's my point. If God, listen to me, if God could use a little buffalo bird to serve a rhinoceros, don't you think that God can use you to serve him? And don't you think that God cannot use you to serve other people, and do it in such a way that it brings an eternal blessing to his people and to his church? So why should I serve? Why should you serve? I ought to serve because I'm gifted for service. I ought to serve because others are gratified by service.
But let me give you the biggest reason of all. If I haven't motivated you yet, if I haven't lit your fire yet, if I haven't really got you excited about serving yet, let me take one more shot. Not only am I gifted for service, not only are others gratified by service, but God is glorified by service. God is glorified by service. Let me ask you a question. If you ever think about heaven, think about this. You ever wonder what are we gonna do for eternity? I mean, just think about that. We don't even know what to do on a rainy Sunday afternoon. What are we gonna do for all eternity? You go read the Bible, I'll tell you what, serving God, that's what we're gonna do. Serving God, gonna do it forever. Because it glorifies him. So if what I've said so far doesn't light a fire, and you're not, you haven't been serving but maybe you're just almost to the verse, I need to get busy serving, listen to what Paul, Peter winds up saying. So that in all things, God may be praised through Jesus Christ, to him be the glory and the power forever and ever, amen.
Now, that word praise, should be better translated, glorified. So that in all things, all things what? In all things and all ways that I serve somebody else God may be glorified. See here's the beautiful thing about serving. When you serve, not when you're served, when you serve, you get a twofer. Every time you serve, others are gratified, and God is glorified. Others are blessed, and God is honored. Every time, you get that twofer when you serve other people. And you see, that's the bottom line of all bottom lines, 'cause let me tell you something, you were put on this Earth to glorify God. Whatever it is you do. If you don't do that, you've wasted your life. You were put here to glorify God. And by the way, there's a simple way you could evaluate anything you're thinking about doing, in your life, or with your life, at any given moment. There's a real way to evaluate how you do it, why you should do it, or why maybe you shouldn't do it. The real easy way is just to ask this question. Would this glorify God? It's real simple; would this glorify God?
Now I'm gonna say all that to say this; as I look back on my life, and you'll find this to be true when you look back on yours. As I look back on my life, here's what I've discovered. So much of what we do in life, doesn't really matter. We think it does, we act like it does, but so much of what we do in life, doesn't really matter. Here's an example. I meant to pick up the dry cleaning yesterday, now I gotta wait till Tuesday. Does that really matter? Did I buy kidney beans or pinto beans at the grocery store? 'Cause that's all you can have right now. Does that really matter? Did you get an A minus in that class, or an A plus in that class? Did it really matter? Did you ever get to get the bigger that you lived in, or you gotta live in the one you're in now? Does it really matter?
In the grand story of life, there's so much we think about, so much we worry about, so much we stress over, so much we get bent out of shape about, that really don't matter. Not nearly as much as you think they do in the moment. On the other hand, on the other hand, I believe there are things we do everyday we think, really don't matter. But they really do. You stopped to help the woman who broke down, whose car broke down on the side of the road, and you stopped to call 911, and you stopped to make sure that woman's okay till somebody got there. That won't get your name in the paper, but it is a big deal, it was important. You didn't have a lot to give, but you're on a fixed income, but you still give that dime out of that dollar to God's work, and you think, nobody notices, God notices, it's a big deal.
You know a co-worker that's struggling. May not keep their job, they're just not doing that well, and you just take some time to take that co-worker to lunch and just give that co-worker an encouraging word. No, the rest of the company won't know it, and nobody else may think it's important, but to God, it's a big deal. You see, the truth of the matter is, a lot of things we assume are really insignificant are not, and a lot of things we think are not, really are. So I wanna kind of wrap this up, there's a tremendous verse of scripture I wanna burn into your mind as we close this message. It's in the book called Hebrews, and I want you to listen to what we read, listen to this.
God's not unjust, we know that, listen to what the author of Hebrews is saying. He will not forget your work. He will not forget the dirty diapers you changed in the nursery in that church, he won't forget that. Out there sweating your rear end off in the middle of the summer parking cars, he won't forget that. Taking time out of your busy schedule to get involved in our high school ministry, lead a small group of young boys, try to influence them for Christ. He won't forget that. Standing outside just greeting people as they walk through a door of the church, just making them feel welcome, he won't forget that. He's not unjust, he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. There's things that in God's grace and God's goodness he chooses not to remember, and I'm so glad he does, I'm so glad that God has forgotten all my failures.
I'm so glad God forgets my regrets. I'm so glad he forgets all the times I blew it, all the times I fell short, all the times I missed the bullseye. I'm so glad that at the end of my ministry God will forget all the ways I literally messed up as a pastor, and I have messed up as a pastor. Not morally, not ethically, but have I done things I wish I haven't done? Yeah; have I spent money maybe I wish we hadn't spent? Sure; God doesn't remember all that. He just chooses not to remember it. But God says I'll tell you one thing. When it comes to anytime you serve somebody else I will never forget it. It will never leave my mind. It is burned into my heart. I'll remember it and I will reward it. So as we kind of wrap this up, I want you to ask yourself three questions, if you're taking notes, write down three questions. Now these are hard. And I hope they'll convince some of you today, and I hope they'll change some of you today, but we're gonna be finished.
Here's the three questions I want you to write down. Where am I serving? Let me just tell you, alarms ought to go off in your life right now if you can't answer that question. Where am I serving? Not where am I working, I'm not talking about your job, where am I serving? Number two, who am I serving? Who am I serving? Number three; when am I serving? You ought to be able to answer those questions; where am I serving? Who am I serving? When am I serving? If you can't answer all three of those questions, I got news for you, you may be wasting this big opportunity called life.
When our space program was starting to send people to the moon, one of our astronauts was about to leave for the moon was asked this question by a news reporter. He said, now after you get to the moon, and you do what you're supposed to do, how are you gonna leave the moon? The the reporter said, well we're gonna get in our lunar module, we're gonna fire the rockets, and the engine will start, and it will lift us from the face of the moon, and we'll come home. So the reporter said, well, what if the engine doesn't ignite? What if the rocket doesn't fire up? How much time will you have? The astronaut said, well we'll have about six hours of life support on the lunar module. The reporter said, well if that happens, what will you be doing doing those last six hours? He said, I'll be working like crazy on that rocket and that engine. I thought to myself; one thing we all know for certain, is that life comes to an end.
The clock is ticking for all of us, and one day that clock will stop. Nobody makes it out of life alive, I don't know if you know that or not, nobody ever makes it out of life alive. Nobody's gonna be here forever. And I can tell you, I can bear witness now, the time we're here doesn't last very long and it goes by just like that. And the question is, what am I gonna do with whatever time I've got left? And how can I determine what's most important? So I'm gonna leave you with this thought; there are a lot of rockets that need to be ignited, and there are a lot of engines that need to start working. There are lost people who need to hear the gospel. There are homeless people who need to be fed. There are oppressed discriminated people that need to be spoken for. There are discouraged people who need to be encouraged. There's a next generation coming up in a culture I've never seen in my life that needs to be taught the word of God. And it is time for all of us to step up, unwrap our gift, and put it to use for the glory of God. Let's pray together.
With heads bowed and with eyes closed, can I tell you the first way you start serving God? The very first way, you ready for this? The very first way you start serving God is to become his servant, and the way you become his servant is to become his child. And the way you become his child is by surrendering your life to him. And the only way you can surrender your life to him is through Jesus Christ. Who died on the cross, who came back from the grave, so that the one who came to serve you, could save you and turn you into his servant. And so whether you're in this building right now, or whether you're watching me online, here's my question. Are you a servant of God?
Now don't answer that too quickly. If you do not know Jesus Christ, you've not even started serving God yet, because the first way you serve God is surrender to God. And if you've never trusted Jesus Christ as your Lord and as your savior, you're living a wasted life. And a life unfortunately that has nothing but a bad end, but it doesn't have to be that way. And if today you'd like to make the greatest decision of your life, if today you would like to become a child of God, a son of God, a daughter of God, and a servant of God, and you'd like to know Christ as your Lord and savior, just say right now:
Lord Jesus, I am a sinner, I need a savior, you are that savior. I believe you died for my sins. I believe God raised you from the dead. I believe you're alive right now. So Lord Jesus come into my heart, save me, forgive me of my sins. I surrender all that I am, to all that you are. I repent of my sin, turn away from it, I take you as my savior, I receive you as my Lord.