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How to start your service day off right

Team PrayerSo you have it all planned out, got the materials on site, tools in the trucks, enough people that you don’t make anyone’s wife mad for too many hours away from home and they & the homeowner have signed the liability waivers. How do you start the day?

I usually explain why we’re needed, intro the owner if appropriate (or do that later in the day), thank the volunteers and do a devotion before we pray. What do we pray for? How about the owner and the pile of needs that brought her to need you, often for healing of a physical or spiritual nature, for volunteer’s skill, wisdom, safety & good progress, for God’s blessing the household.

Now back up. What are you going to use for a devotion? You’re not a preacher or something like that. You have deed gifts, not Word gifts, right? Well, I have a long list of “mercy” passages from the New and Old Testaments compiled, from which you could work from. I’d be glad to pass these along if you email me and indicate your interest. How about a few now?

  • Romans 12 begins with presenting our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God and is your spiritual worship. Worshipping through service with tools and offering the Lord more of us: our bodies for the project. The problem with living sacrifices is that they keep crawling off of the altar. Today, we’re crawling onto the altar to serve, IF we’re doing it because Jesus loved us first and giving Him our day.
  • Romans 12:4 talks about one body and many parts with different functions. We’re here today to operate as the part of the body with some handy skills (or wanting to learn some. . . ), being used as the hands and feet of Jesus. The Body metaphor can be applied to your team, within an individual church, among many churches, or meaning all of the Jesus followers on Planet Earth, today.
  • Deuteronomy 15 - Sabbath year – doing things to relieve the hurt of those in debt – mercy ministry to the needy. Who owes us that we can forgive in order to provide them a fresh start? Our time to them makes them owe us time if you want to think of it that way, but we don’t keep records on how many hours we’ve spent helping a given family. The principle is: God’s heart cares for the hurting and we need to do something about it when possible. Note: the land and all of the people were to take one year off out of seven, away from the day-to-day plowing, sowing, tending, harvesting, etc. The promise is that if Israel would do their part in forgiving debts, God would provide the food needed for the Sabbath Year (through the abundance of fallow-year crops) and the year following that until crops were to be harvested. Do you trust Him that much?
  • James 1: 27-28 - How religious living should look if rooted in Jesus Christ. It's called Mercy Ministry – caring from those with financial problems, the disenfranchised, widows (single mothers?) and orphans (foster children?). There are plenty of vulnerable, hurting people to pick from. We just need to make sure we’re picking some.
  • Leviticus 19: 9 & 10 – The gleanings and edges of your fields. What is your field in our urban society? What will you leave out for others to use? Or which are you going to invest in God’s Kingdom as we care for those in need?
  • 2 Corinthians 8 – example of the Macedonians, who were in need themselves, making financial gifts to the Church in Jerusalem which was under persecution. How much more, we, who have some margin in our lives, to help those who need a hand.
  • 2 Corinthians 9 – more from the previous chapter (above) including sowing & reaping, God's abounding in our service (verse 8), and culminating in the people being served giving glory to God in verse 13.
  • Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine among men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven. Fun to contrast this to Matthew 6:1-4 and talk about motives – Look at me? I hope God will like me more if I sweat a lot today? How about, “God, I give you my time today because you have reconciled me to you, made peace with me through the blood of Jesus, and for that I serve as a thank you."
  • The Great Commandment . . . and love your neighbor as yourself. What does that look like? Assuming that we know that we cannot love God apart from a heart changed by His grace through the indwelling Holy Spirit, then today we can demonstrate his love for others, too! We’re giving our neighbor a hug from Jesus if He’s in us.
  • Leviticus 19: 9 & 10 – God asked His people not to reap to the edges of their fields so that those in need would have provision. If you don’t have a field, what would be your field in today’s economy? What will you leave or provide for people in need? Your time, like your money, should be an offering to God. If you’re a tool person, my guess is that it is time to pick them up. How about using them today, because Jesus gave his All for you.

  • Use God’s Word as you lead those working in God’s vineyard.

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