Reflections: A Servant’s Heart

servant

noun  ser·vant \ˈsər-vənt\

: a person who is devoted to or guided by something

It was 2:30 in the morning. I heard the quiet pitter patter of feet below me, a quick last minute shuffling of luggage and the click of the door as my dad headed out to serve for 4 weeks at a Young Life Timberwolf Lake staff assignment. Away from his family and friends. Away from society. All with just a chance to bring one teenager to know Jesus. It was in this moment that I finally began to truly realize the beauty of serving.

When I think of a servant’s heart, my dad immediately comes to mind. He has shown me through example all my life what it is to be a servant to others.  I’d imagine it’s the same for many of my colleagues and friends who have family members serving in the military, ministry, or within the community.

In light of recent events and tragedies within our country, I think it’s important to focus on what having a servant’s heart truly means. I truly believe that Jesus created us all with the longing that we would grow up to have a servant’s heart like His. We’re reminded in Mark 10:

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many”.

I can’t help but to be completely in awe of those that willingly serve in the front lines of danger. Our law enforcement in America as well as those that serve in our military deserve the utmost honor and respect.

I’m also encouraged by those that give and serve in ministry. In my new job, I meet someone new every single day that is working to further the Lord’s Kingdom and it brings me such joy. There are so many people working tirelessly day in and day out that go unnoticed behind the scenes- it would blow your mind. It’s very humbling.

Paul’s words in Philippians always stop me in my tracks as he reminds us what it is to be a selfless servant for others.

“2:3 Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. 2:4 Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but the interests of others as well. 2:5 You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, 2:6 who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, 2:7 but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. 2:8 He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross!”

Powerful. I believe that in order to truly understand what Gods purpose is for our lives, we must take on the form of a servant’s heart. The impact that it will have on not only yourself, but others- is immeasurable.

To me- when I am serving others, I am ultimately serving Christ.

I’ll never forget a story that our Executive Director shared with us just recently. A woman called our organization asking if we would be able to help her obtain a hot water heater. It was the middle of winter. She would travel by foot to her nearest neighbor’s house to gather a bucket of hot water, in hopes that it would stay just warm enough until she got back to her residence to wash her hair.

I don’t know about you- but I don’t even think twice about the temperature of my water. It’s a minuscule part of my day. But for this woman, it was a daily struggle. I can’t imagine how long this affected her life. I take something as small as having the luxury of warm water for granted every single day.

[[Happy note: we were able to purchase and install a brand new hot water heater into her home.]]

In a world so focused on being served and self-fulfillment, try being the light of Jesus through your actions. It’s so easy to get caught up in selfish ways. This is a daily struggle for me. Imagine an entire world full of servants for Christ. Loving and giving to one another. How glorious would that be?!

How The Cross Changes Everything

Wow. It’s simply crazy how quickly life can pick you up and place you somewhere completely unexpected within a matter of days.

My life has taken quite a few twists and turns over the past couple of months and I couldn’t be more thankful for the journey. I never thought my husband and I would have the opportunity to serve together in ministry, and lo and behold, God has called us to further His Kingdom.

Nathaniel was just named the Worship Pastor at City Church in Evansville, while at the same time, I transitioned into an outreach role at a Christian nonprofit all in the same month. Although it’s felt like a whirlwind at times, I can’t help but just say, “God- you are so cool.” The blessings have continued to be immeasurable.

We have this saying at our new church home: “The Cross Changes Everything.” I was thinking about how to put that into perspective these past couples of days, and how it really should be applied before everything we do. The Cross represents SO many things, but most importantly, it represents human life itself. Jesus was crucified and gave His life so that we may live. There is no greater symbol of love than that.

When I think about how the Cross changes everything, I am moved to my inner core. It changes how we give, how we love, how we think, and how we serve as Christians. An awesome truth that I stumbled upon while thinking about the Cross, is that as we grow in our walk as Christians, the Cross is growing bigger, too! The symbolization as we throw our guilt, our sin, our weight and the darkness that we overcome with Jesus onto the Cross as He bears the burden is why it grows. In the same breath, Jesus tells us to “take up your Cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) Interesting. In the same way that Jesus willing takes up our “dark stuff” including trials, burdens and fear- we must also be willing to surrender all of our lives to Him.

In Jesus’s command, He tells us to give away our own plans and desires -picking up our Cross, where our old life passes away- and following Him to new life. What a beautiful thing.

That is how the Cross changes everything. It changes life itself. 

How is the Cross changing everything for you?

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is the focal point of the Bible (1 Corinthians 15:3). All that came before pointed to the cross. All that followed looked back to the cross. It is important that we see the cross as more than just an icon and understand what it truly represents. 

-Andy Sochor

An Infinite Hunger

21 days. That’s all it took for me to discover how weak I am without the power of God.

So what’s this all about? The Daniels Fast. A phrase that makes you hungry just by looking at it. Three little words that have most Christians running for the hills. We are a society based on food. We are constantly surrounded by it. Socially, we go out to eat for something to do on the weekends. We munch at our desks in the office. We snack before bed to get that last little fill up. Let me be the first to say, it is NOT easy to fast in a society like this, but it does get easier with time and dedication.

When my husband first approached me about doing the Daniels Fast I have to admit I was pretty skeptical. I have grown up around fasts all my life, but have never actually partaken in one. Fasting to me was more like giving up candy until Easter. Until now, I had never truly understood the meaning of a fast or its benefits. After the New Year and some prayerful consideration, we decided to embark on this 21 day journey together, not only because we wanted to detox from the holidays, but because we felt we were being called- and that my friends, isn’t something you question.

For the very first week, on numerous occasions, I thought I was dying. I WAS HUNGRY, starving. Giving up the things that your body is so used to is never an easy thing, and this was no halfway fast. We went all in- no meat, no dairy, no sugar, nothing. Except for whole grains, potatoes, fruits, vegetables, and water. You would be surprised to know how many foods have preservatives in them. Grocery shopping sure was a challenge at first! But as the days slowly moved on, something awesome began to happen. I experienced a different kind of hunger. Hunger for GOD. For His word. It became less and less about filling up my stomach, and more about filling up my LIFE with HIM. What a cool feeling. My husband and I also got into the regular habit of nightly Bible studies. It’s amazing what you will find and learn when you actually open up the Book of Life and read it.

It’s been 3 days since our fast has ended, and I must admit that food has never tasted so good. But the Daniels Fast has left an impression on our lives, to continue to be mindful of what we are putting into our bodies, and to continue our nightly study with Jesus… Because not only has it brought so much new knowledge into our hearts and minds, but it has brought my husband and I closer together in such an awesome way. It also allows us to invite Jesus into our home every night. He’s a pretty cool guy to hang out with.

Daniel refused the Kings food. By doing this he shared a message with the world. To resist temptation, to remain holy and pure, and to stand firm on the foundation that God has provided us. It’s a great thing once you discover it and use it.

Resisting is hard– Especially when you are out and about and there seems to be nothing that you can eat! My husband and I ended up having to make a trip to Indianapolis during our fast, and boy was that a treat. Try finding a restaurant that serves food with no preservatives or sugar. Surprisingly enough, we found an all-natural restaurant that served nothing but fruit, veggies and no artificial “stuff”! God provided- in a city 4 hours away from where we live.

On a funny side note: I can’t help but to think about our VERY LAST DAY of fasting. Our church passed out CAKE BALLS during the service! Too funny- it may have been Satan’s last attempt in desperation to make food appear so innocent, even in church! Temptation is hard for anyone to resist. And by the way, yes- our church is THAT awesome.

To remain holy and pure- It’s amazing how much your body will thank you when you are putting good, pure, clean stuff into it. I have never slept better in my entire life during this fast and I was completely energized in the morning (and I am NOT a morning person). I was shocked, that even without the presence of caffeine in my life, HIS presence got me through! How awesome!!!

To stand firm on the foundation-Many say that fasting is about replacing the food in your life with prayer and time with the Lord. As with anything, when we’re tempted and the going gets tough, we are called to lean on Him. I most definitely could not have done this without Him.

As Easter approaches, many churches are gearing up to begin the Daniels Fast. If you have never done one, I highly encourage you to try it. Even if you are skeptical like I was, or worried that you “can’t do it”, I promise that you can. It’s all about leaning and trusting on the Lord- He will carry you through it. You will be amazed at how you feel once it’s over. Renewed, refreshed, clean. When you put 100% of your heart in for Him, He will 100% bless you.

8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your[c] food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”

11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.

15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.

Daniel 1:8-16

For Daniels Fast Meal Inspo, check these out:

https://danielfast.wordpress.com/daniel-fast-food-list/

http://www.ultimatedanielfast.com/


[my hubby made this amazing Vegetable Chili that lasted us for days! It was so good, we even made it twice. Most definitely will be making this again- even if we’re not fasting! Find the recipe here!]