Thursday, June 30, 2022

Servant Love

 ThursdayJune 30, 2022

Now before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that His hour had come [and it was time] for Him to leave this world and return to the Father. Having [greatly] loved His own who were in the world, He loved them [and continuously loves them with His perfect love] to the end (eternally). John 13:1 Amplified 

The Greek translation for the end of this passage is the word “teleos which also means to the fullest extent. Jesus showed them the full extent of His love – perfect love to the end, eternally, to the fullest extent, to the uttermost.

Christ’s character is love. His nature is to love, and He gave us example after example of what it looks like to love like He does. We cannot be a true servant without loving like Christ does. Otherwise, we are simply going through the motions to check it off a list.   

Servant Love

Servant love is that it is constant, never ending, and eternal. This constant love gives us belonging and acceptance, a deep human need. Without truly feeling unconditional acceptance we cannot feel unconditionally loved. 

Constant love looks past a multitude of sins and forgives over and over again. It creates security and trust and eliminates fear. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear. I John 1:8 When there is no love, it creates distrust and insecurity which is fear. When love is expressed it deepens and increases creating more security.

Constant love creates a feeling of significance…to feel recognized…loved. This kind of love draws us in because deep down inside, we yearn for it. When we feel loved and accepted with someone, we feel we can always come to them authentically. The love that God has for us allows us to feel this way. This unconditional love and acceptance – or fellowship - should be felt at church and draw people in. When we can get people to feel like they belong, they will be more open to believe what we try to teach them. 

Constant love is a selfless love. To have the selfless love of a servant, we have to keep our own selfishness from keeping us from serving like Jesus. Jesus gave us the ultimate example of selfless love when He sacrificed His life for our redemption and salvation. He had all the power He needed to come down off the cross, but He did not. He chose to take our punishment so we could be forgiven. Is there a more selfless act?

We talked about it yesterday, but during the last supper with the disciples, He washed their feet, a humble act of service. Can you imagine Jesus washing your feet? I would never consider myself worthy enough to receive any act of service from Jesus, and most of all not getting my feet washed! During this time, it was the custom for the lowest servant of the house to wash the feet of any guests that came into the house. He wanted to show them that serving one another was important to Him, and as He has shown to us, we should show the same to others. 

Servant love is a constant love. It is always there, forgiving, seeks to make others feel important and loved. It is a pouring out of ourselves for others in a way that shows Jesus to them. It takes our time and our attention. It takes sacrifice, giving of ourselves.  

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

A True Servant

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Jesus got up from supper and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. John 13:4-5

A True Servant

What does it mean to be a true servant? Everyone may have a different definition in their heads about what being a servant means to them. Some will put up boundaries as to what they are willing to be involved in and others are all in for anything that can be done to help people. 

I have come to realize there are two very important considerations involved for anyone who wants to serve. First, have you opened your heart completely to what God is telling you to do? Second, are you following Jesus’ example? Because He is the ultimate servant, and He gave us a living example of what it looks like to be a true servant

Be Open to What God is Asking You to Do

Sometimes we want to serve but we want to do that on our own terms. God wants servants who will listen to Him and do what He leads them to do. How committed are you? I know a woman who has a heart full of servant love.  God told her to open her home to a young woman with addiction problems and a diagnosis of cancer. He told her husband the same thing, and both of them were willing to do whatever He called them to do. They were surrendered to Him and His leading in their servanthood. How open are you? Are you willing to obey whatever He says to do? Or are you telling God how you would like servanthood to fit into your life? It is hard to be surrendered completely but that is what He calls a true servant to do. That does not mean that you are supposed to open your home to someone who had a drug addiction and cancer. It means that you should be willing to do whatever God leads you to do. We are all in different seasons of life and we have to consider our families in our decisions of course. 

Follow Jesus’ Examples

Laced throughout the stories of the miracles He performed we see Jesus as a true servant. He never hung out with the “in crowd.” In fact, He chose to spend His time with the down and out, outcast, lowly, and sinners. Right up to the end of His life He was setting the example of a true servant. He wants us to care for others like He did - and He told us to serve and help others.  

Jesus gave His disciples a special commandment, a new commandment, as He celebrated His final Passover meal with them – and washed their feet. This new commandment was A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34 This command gave the disciples a new standard to measure themselves by, the way they loved others.  Jesus was setting an example for them. He instructed them to wash each other’s feet just as He has washed their feet. He served those who serve Him. This is the lesson of the least shall be the greatest and the greatest shall be the least. And Jesus wasn’t just setting an example, He was telling them to be humble and serve one another.  This is how He expected them to treat each other, and others, after He left.  I have set you an example so that you should do as I have done for you.  Truly, truly, I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. John 13:16-17 

This example was not only for the disciples, but for us as well. We are to love and serve others the way Jesus loved and served when He was here on earth. He showed us with His very life that how we treat others will be more important than any other accomplishment we will ever achieve. So, what does a true servant look like? A true servant looks like Jesus Christ. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The Real Path to Joy

 Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:2-4

The Real Path to Joy

Believe it or not, one of the greatest experiences of joy we can know is not related to what we can receive but what we can give.  There is no experience that matches being used by God to perform His will.  Many have realized the ecstatic feeling of being a vessel of God to someone in need or the voice of God in comfort.

It does not take long to realize we need the power of Christ to be able to live the Christian life, obey Christ, or serve others.  When serving in His power and wisdom we experience a strange phenomenon.  It is as if we are not in control of what is happening.  There is energy beyond our resource and wisdom from above.  It comes, when we lay down our selfishness and start serving others in Christ, as Jesus Himself has done.  Jesus, our example, was constantly putting others and their needs above His own.  He drew His power and strength from God as He poured out His time and energy for those around Him.  Down to His last breath, He was pouring Himself out for His Bride, the Church; and blessing His Church brings Him joy. This was to be an example for us of how we are to love and serve others. 

We can experience the same great joy in our lives when we look past the exhaustion of serving and draw from the strength and power in Christ.  Here is a passage that may not be so familiar but carries a strong message.

For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. Hebrews 6:7 

This speaks to us of the blessings we can receive when we serve others. If we produce fruit from the seed God has planted in our lives and pass it on, we will be blessed in the sowing, watering and reaping.  The labor of service in the Kingdom may be wearisome of body but never the spirit. While there are many pleasures men can be afforded, there is none like that of knowing you have been used of God to lighten the load of another.  

Joy comes when we are selflessly loving and serving one another.  It helps us get our mind off our own trouble to serve another.  When we focus on a friend’s problems and try to help solve an issue, we tend to see that what we feel is so overwhelming in our own life is not so insurmountable after all. 
Paul shared that his service was an offering to God which brought him such joy he wanted others to experience it as well.  But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.  Philippians 2:17-18  What greater sense of unity is there than for Christians to experience God using them together as one to accomplish His plan and will in the life of another. 

The real path to joy is to be poured out for another. Joy is the byproduct of selflessness, service and submission.  Be filled with joy!

Monday, June 27, 2022

A Call to Serve

Monday, June 27, 2022 

For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, "THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME."  Romans 15:3

A Call to Serve
God’s call to service is not separate from His call to salvation and discipleship.  For the one who seeks to disagree that the fullest of life is possible in this manner Paul points to the course of life chosen by the Savior. Philippians 2 tells us Jesus chose this course as He came to earth.  Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:5-7

Here Paul says that "He did not please Himself".  This could mean that Christ did not attempt to disdain or drive His disciples into truth, but patiently dealt with their ignorance.  Christ worked within the confines of the understanding and character of His disciples.  While there may have been a better or higher way. He determined to meet them at their level.

The Word of God tells us that patience is necessary to accomplish the work of God.  This is a patience that is not of our making but is received from God.  For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:4-6  We discover that Christian fellowship is not a work of man but God.  To attempt to do any work of God in human strength is foolishness.  Therefore, God is author of Christian unity.

Paul then gives us direction as to how we should act toward one another and why we must act in such a way.  Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers, and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; Romans 15:7-9a
Did you see the command?  Accept one another…Just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.  Paul did not say we should accept them after they had done anything to make them worthy.  Did Christ make you change all of your thinking before He died for you?  Does Christ require you acting just like others before He ministers to you?  It is Christ that accepts us and it is because He understands us.

Note the EXPANSE of Christ's acceptance. Jew or gentile, slave or free, male or female...all are one in Christ!  All are EQUAL in Him!  Spiritual pride by those who feel they have a corner on God dishonors Christ and His open love. 

The ability to accept others fully to open the door of ministry and fellowship comes from God.  Obedience is mine to do what God has enabled.  Remember this, where the Spirit of Christ is, the power of Christ is.

I am Loved, I am Loved, I can risk loving you. 
For, the One who knows me best loves me most.

And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another. Romans 15:14

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Servant Love

Servant Love 

John 13:1-17

About every five years, I share this message as a reminder of who we are to be as church.  The act of Christ was meant to display the heart of Christ and the mission of Christ for His followers. A simple, yet profound lesson for all believers is found in John 13..

How people “feel” will often be determined by how they are “treated.”

Atmosphere - a surrounding or pervading mood, environment, or influence

Servant Love is a Constant Love

·       Constant Love creates a sense of Acceptance v.1 

No one feels loved if they do not feel that they are accepted.

·       Constant Love creates security and trust.   I John 1:8 

·       Constant Love is a drawing love.

Seekers today will actually belong before they will believe.

·       Constant Love is a selfless love. 

Self-Interest can keep you from serving like Jesus.

Servant Love and Hospitality v.4-5 

·       Shown by personal, physical attention

·       Shown by informality of ministry

Servant love has no demands.  It does not take…it gives.  

Serving others takes time and our attention.

Servant Love and Holiness v.6-10 

·       The Demand of Holiness by Christ v.8

·       The Desire for Holiness by disciples v.9 

·       The Depth of Holiness  v.10 

Servant Love and Humility  v.12-15 

The natural response of holiness is not pride but humility.

·       Dependent on proper understanding  v.12  

·       Dependent on proper profession  v.13

·       Dependent on personal participation  v.14

Christian fellowship is in serving together, not sitting together.

·       Demonstrated by Christ's example  v.15  Philippians 2:5-8

Friday, June 24, 2022

The Last Quarter

Friday, June 24, 2022

From Donnie O'Fallon

The Last Quarter

This Sunday I come to the end of my tenure and service with you here at North Side. For more than fifteens years it has been mine and Marsha’s joy and please to serve with you the people and the best staff personnel I’ve ever been a part of. Several people have asked me this week, “Well, do you know that your'e gonna do in your retirement?”

First, I’m not retiring from ministry. I’m simply transitioning into another phase or the last quarter of the game of life. It’s a time of revitalization and for catching a new , and an other vision / strategy for the last quarter. My one desire is to is to multiply all that God has given me  and what He’s taught me and in the process, giving it back.” 

I’m on a quest to find some answers to a few questions.
  * What am I really good at?
  * Who does God want me to be and what does He want me to do?
  * What’s the most important thing to me and how can I be the most useful to Kingdom work?
  * What do I want to be remembered for and what’s to be the end result of my life?

He has promised to direct our paths when we acknowledge Him and acknowledge Christ as our guiding light. I still remember the passage in John 15:16, “ … You have not chosen me but I have chosen you and ordained you…” that God place His call upon my life. 

First, I’m gonna be the husband to Marsha that God intends me to be. Second, I want to be an Interim Pastor in some smaller local congregations. Third, I have begun compiling data over the past two years, to write two books. One, “Grand Parents Raising Grand Children”, the second, “Family Matters”, to help families with where to find resource to help themselves. Finally, Ive been working on putting back together and giving life to a 1964 Pontiac GTO. It’s been disassembled  for 17-18 years. By this Fall, it will be on the road, drivable again and have life back into it. 

God is the giver of ever good and perfect gift, He gives and breathes life back into us at every phase of life. Please pray for me in this final phase of mine and Marsha’s ministry!

Thursday, June 23, 2022

A Father With A Big Heart

Wednesday, June 23, 2022 Some material taken from The Father's Heart

He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.  Psalm 103:10-14

A Father With A Big Heart

It seems that people are offended about everything these days. An offense is often responded to with an offense to the offender. When we feel offended it is very hard not to respond in our flesh. We get defensive and we find ourselves responding before we think about it. 

When we remember how much God has done for us, how much He has shown mercy and grace to us, we can remember to act in a way that reflects the heart of God in our responses. Remember the grace He has shown us can help us show that grace to others. When we can reflect His heart in our response, we make the gospel real to them. We make it believable. 

The love and grace that God has given us is meant to be shared with others. When we show people the gospel, they can believe the gospel. God has been gracious enough to not give us all we deserve because of our sin but saved us instead. We could never earn the grace He gives but He gives it anyway. In return we love and honor Him. 

How can we show our love and honor for Him? By keeping His commandments. John 14:14 says If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. NASB If we love Him it will be obvious in our continuous devotion and obedience to Him. It is something that begins when we begin our relationship with Him, and we will do it for the rest of our lives if we are walking with Him. If we love Him, we will keep His commandments. 

It is an ongoing effort to continually “keep” those commandments.

If you don’t know God’s word, you can’t obey it.

If you know it, and don’t obey it, you don’t fear God.

If you don’t fear God, you can’t experience His love.

Know God’s Heart + Model God’s Heart = Make the gospel believable

There is a world out there that does not know the truth. This is why it is so important that we make the gospel known. Things are backwards, mixed up, and upside down. What is wrong is right and what is right is wrong. They need to know. When we have a relationship with God, we pour out to others all that He pours into us, and this is the gospel shared. 

The world needs to know the heart of our heavenly Father who:

Loves us beyond measure - For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him

Forgives us - As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Has compassion on us - Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.

Knows us and our weaknesses - For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.

The only way that we can change the world, our family our children, our coworkers, or anyone else in our lives is to make the gospel believable by showing them the gospel in real life. 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith… Romans 1:16-17a

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

A Compassionate and Gracious Father

Wednesday, June 22, 2022 Some material taken from A Father's Heart

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. Psalm 103:8-9

A Compassionate and Gracious Father

Patience is something that most of us struggle with on a daily basis. We know how much we love our own kids, but they can try our patience until it all runs out. I can’t imagine how I try my Heavenly Father’s patience every day. Even as much as we love our children, He loves us so much more and has an abundance of patience with us. 

The Bible tells us that God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.There is a pattern here that we need to pay attention to. Compassion and graciousness are prerequisites to being slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness. 

Compassion + Graciousness >> yields>> Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness

It is no mistake that this verse is arranged this way. Order mattered in Hebrew scripture, so the fact that compassionate and gracious came first, means that this is the most important thing we need to know about God. Because He is compassionate and gracious, He is slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. 

Lovingkindness is part of God’s character; it is part of who He is. We see His lovingkindness towards us in His unwavering love for us and the way He meets our needs. He meets our physical needs and so much more. 

His lovingkindness… 

Saves us from our enemies - Return, O Lord, rescue my soul; Save me because of Your lovingkindness. Psalm 6:4

Comforts us - O may Your lovingkindness comfort me, according to Your word to Your servant. Psalm 119:76

Redeems us - Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to Your lovingkindness remember me, for Your goodness’ sake, O Lord. Psalm 25:7

Assures us of His Promises - Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments. Deuteronomy 7:9

We can trust that anytime we come before God, He truly cares about us, what we feel, what we are going through, and we can believe He is faithful to help us. His compassionate and gracious nature with us makes Him the Father we all long for - the safe place to fall, the open arms and unconditional love. His compassion and grace lead to a posture that is slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.

God’s lovingkindness is never-ending. He must get frustrated with us - I know He must with me - yet He is slow to anger and patient with us. His lovingkindness is abounding - it knows no bounds. We can’t wear it out, and it never runs out. He never gets tired of dealing with us. He stays with us and patiently guides us, surrounding us with His compassionate and gracious lovingkindness. 

For Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens and Your truth to the clouds. Psalm 57:10

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

A Safe Father

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1


A Safe Father

Growing up in a home that feels safe is important. Some children and adults do not feel safe at home. It is not a safe place to express feelings and the family members they live with are not safe people to talk to. We do have a heavenly Father that is always safe, and always waiting for us to bring Him anything.  We can always talk to Him and dwell in His secret place.  

He provides shelter and shield for us when we need it the most.  On those days we feel unloved, rejected, alone, unwanted, He is always standing with us, loving us with a lavish love that fills every crack in our broken hearts. Nothing can satisfy or complete us the way His love can, and nothing can heal us the way His love can. 

God doesn’t want us to hide behind Him and stay there, living inside the pain, but He wants us to find healing and HOPE in Him.  He rescues us, He is the lover of our souls, and He is jealous for us. These statements tell of the passionate and unending love He has for us and how He will walk with us through everything we experience.  We can find rest when we need it in His presence.  We can find safety behind His shield.  We can find redemption from the love He poured out on Calvary.  

We can also spend time with Him alone, hiding in His presence, meditating on His word. When we are distraught and need some distance between us and the world, He fills the gap.  Getting away and focusing on Him for a day or so will bring things back into perspective.  He can speak to us, and we can hear His voice without all the distractions of life bombarding us.  We can rest in Him leaving the stress and worry behind for a little while.  He restores us and fills our cup so we can then go on and share that love and good news with others.  

He is a loving Father who is gracious and merciful, not giving us the punishment we deserve, but giving us mercy that we do not deserve. We “fear” Him because we have respect for His reverence and holiness, not fear Him because we are afraid of Him. He is the Father that offers all we need with open arms and unconditional love.


You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.  Psalm 119: 114 


Let my cry come right into your presence, God; provide me with the insight that comes only from your Word.  Give my request your personal attention, rescue me on the terms of your promise.  Psalm 119:169-170


Monday, June 20, 2022

A Father Who Deserves to be Praised

Monday, June 20, 2022 Some material taken from A Father's Heart

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits...  Psalm 103:1-3

A Father Who Deserves to be Praised

Yesterday was Father’s Day, and just as Mother’s Day can be hard for some, Father’s Day can be hard for some as well. Whether your father has passed already, was never a part of your life, was present but absent, or was a very painful part of your childhood, Father’s Day may be a really hard day for you. The good news is that we have a heavenly Father who is a Good Father, a Father to the fatherless, and the Father that can heal every wound of your childhood. We can focus on the Good Father we have now, and David gives us a great picture of Him in Psalm 103. 

Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name.

When we praise God, He is blessed and honored. The truest and purest worship to God comes straight from our soul and is focused directly on Him and His holiness. In church on Sunday morning, we can be distracted by 1000 different things and Satan loves for us to be distracted during worship. At home its even worse. Getting up early to have quiet time, or whenever we have it, we can be distracted by lots of things as well. It is important to protect our time with God, because Satan will try to disrupt it. 

We live in a world built upon distractions. It’s the distraction economy. We have monetized distraction and made gazillionaires in the process. Here’s a truth for you, that you can apply universally. Distraction is the enemy of depth. - Keith Warren

True praise may be the most personal way we connect with God. True praise comes from our soul organically, not from our mind or actions. When we give Him our undivided and undistracted selves, true praise happens. Distraction is the enemy that will keep us from having that very personal and deep connection with Him. 

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits...


David repeats the first part of verse one again and then adds that we should not forget His benefits. 

Verses 3-7 tell of those benefits:

·  v.3 Who pardons all your iniquities… He heals all your diseases.

·  v.4 - Who redeems your life from the pit… He crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion.

·  v.5 - Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

·  v.6 - The Lord performs righteous deeds and judgments for all who are oppressed.

·  v.7 - He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. 


Of course, these are not all of His benefits. His benefits are endless, and we have all felt the benefits of our Heavenly Father in our lives. Sometimes it is easier to see the gaps in our lives, such as unanswered prayers, than it is to remember all the blessings God has given us. But we need to remember the benefits, or blessings, He gives us, and we need to praise Him for them every day.  


The remembrance of the goodness of God in our lives is literally what gets us through. It is what brings hope in the most hopeless places. We know God is faithful. We know He loves us. We have seen His benefits in our lives. No matter how we feel because of all that rages around us in difficult times, we can trust our faithful and worthy Father.

Our devotional lives should reflect a gratefulness, even in times of difficulty. Our minds should be filled with the many stories of the faith, to draw upon those examples as we encounter various trials. - Keith Warren

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