Raise Up Workers

Week 4, Day 3  

Praying for God to Raise Up Workers

By: Kyle Van Tine

Matthew 9:35-38

“And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”


If you’ve read a popular Christian book since the 1980s you may have the impression that the world is going to hell, the church is dying and hope is fading from existence. In “church world” it’s common to hear about the raise of the “nones” generation, declining church attendance, and increasing secularization. To be sure these trends are happening and do deeply impact the church but how do you personally see the world around you?

How do you see your community, your workplace, your school? I want to suggest that we see our community not as a field on fire but as a field rip for the harvest. When the sun goes down the stars get brighter and as the culture changes, Christianity becomes more vibrant, distinctive, and compelling. Let’s let Jesus change our perspective.

Jesus has a very different perspective on the problem, the problem isn’t that nobody is interested in the Gospel but that few proclaim, teach and disciple others. The problem isn’t in the fields but in the workers. The solution is prayer! Jesus calls his disciples to pray for more workers to be raised up to enter the harvest fields. When you see the city of Seattle, do you see a city going down the drain or a mission field longing for the good news to be proclaimed? How you answer that question will impact how you live your Christian life, how you engage your workplace/school and how you interact with your neighbors. I encourage you to see mission field and pray!  


Reflection Question
Question #1: How does seeing that the harvest is plentiful cause us to engage with joy instead of running in fear?

Question #2: How can you be praying specifically for God to raise up workers in your church? (evangelists, greeters, writers, leaders, teachers, prayer warriors, apologists, worshipers, servants, bridge builders & connectors.



KyleVanTineRainierValleyChurch

Serving Like Jesus

Week 4, Day 2

Serving Like Jesus

By: Karen Larios-Shearer

Matthew 20:28

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

Any act that we do as humans cannot compensate for the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus paid for our sins. How can we serve like Jesus? The truth is we don’t always feel like serving period, let alone suffering for someone who is a stranger. We are put on this Earth to serve and with zeal! (Romans 12:11) We are called to serve like Jesus, to put everything aside for him… but often there is so much in the way. From convenience to comfortability, it is sometimes hard to answer the call. Have you ever got up in the morning and thought about having a day where you didn’t have to serve anyone? No spouse/children to attend to, no work, no school, no responsibility or accountability…

It is counter to everything our American culture professes. We have to fight against the pronoun “ME” daily to serve “HIM”. This is our life mission, and everything else gets in the way. Servant is mentioned 489 times in the New King James, it is a major principal of the faith to serve and serve well. The standard that Christ sets is with his blood, the ultimate service to us. The Lord turned from Jesus, so he doesn’t have to turn from us. As Christians there is a higher standard, a higher morality to be in service to all, and to emulate our Savior and King.

How do we serve others? Through being constant in attending to the needs of others, by being spouses, children, parents, employees, friends, neighbors, strangers that give more than we receive. Christ gave his life, not receive.

I personally have gone through seasons where I’m “tired” of serving and want to hide behind my school work and rotating work schedule. I say things like “I’ve got a lot on my plate, I don’t have time to be serving.”  I then am reminded of how lucky I am to be serving in the first place. I do believe it is ok to step back and reevaluate what's on your plate to see what things you can take off and keep on. However, serving can be done in so many capacities. Taking up a role at church, taking a friend out to lunch, listened to one's problems, running errands for someone, checking in on a friend or family member, praying, the list goes on. There are many different ways we can serve those around us.

Reflection Questions

I encourage you to think about how you can serve someone today whether the act be big or small, it can make all the difference in ones day.

“Prayer in action is love, and love in action is service. Try to give unconditionally whatever a person needs in the moment. The point is to do something, however small, and show you care through your actions by giving your time … We are all God’s children so it is important to share His gifts. Do not worry about why problems exist in the world – just respond to people’s needs … We feel what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, but that ocean would be less without that drop.“- Mother Teresa


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The Example of Jesus

Week 4, Day 1

Following the Master’s Example

By: Jesse Epperson

John 13:15 (ESV)

“For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.”

The example Jesus is giving his disciples here is in the context of his washing their feet just before being betrayed by Judas Iscariot. Knowing his time was coming to an end (John 13:1), Jesus sought to:

  • Love his disciples (v. 1)

  • Serve them in humility (vv. 4-5)

  • Instruct them about spiritual washing (vv. 6-11)

  • Leave them an example to follow (v. 13)

Not only did Jesus teach his disciples by parables and doctrine, but by being an example of the life to which he called them. Jesus does not call any of his disciples (then or now) to a life of worldly entitlement - to act too good to serve the bad, or too high to serve the low.

I believe Jesus’ example in John 13 was given not only to help us understand that we are to love and humbly serve one another, but also that we are to be examples of what life in God looks like.

Never have I had more opportunities to be such an example than the three years I lived in Malaysia. Most of my time there was spent sharing meals, leading activities, and studying the Bible with neighbors, friends, and schoolmates. While good, friendships (no matter who with) can be taxing and stressful at times. Having Jesus’ example of unconditional love and humble service in the face of His daunting future often encouraged my heart to keep going during difficult seasons.

Challenge

In what ways could you love and serve those closest to you today?

Reflection Questions

How does Jesus’ example of radical love and humility affect you? Can you think of any actions or words you believe to be beneath you? Bring all your thoughts to your Master (Jesus) and talk with him today.


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Serving

Week 4 Sunday Reflection

Serve: Following the Way of Jesus

Community Group Discussion Questions

How does your work connect with God’s work of redemption in this world? In what ways does your work help bring order out of chaos? How does your work help to further the common good and serve your neighbor?

What gifts, talents, and passions has God given you to serve the church and the world? How are you using these gifts? How are you developing these gifts? In what ways are you not using your gifts?

How has the church served and loved you? How is practical service one of the clearest ways that love is made evident to others? How can Christian service help to adore the Gospel?

What is the connection between loving God and serving your neighbor? How does Jesus serve others and how do we follow his example? How is a heart full of love for neighbor and willingness to serve others a natural outworking of the Gospel?

Practical Challenge

If you have never consider what spiritual gifts God has entrusted you with, please take the survey  https://gifts.churchgrowth.org/spiritual-gifts-survey/

The Team Ministry Spiritual Gifts Survey is a discovery tool  that provides you with a personalized analysis. Not a exam, but a simple questionnaire giving you a profile of your God given spiritual gifts.

The practical service challenge is to take an opportunity this week to serve someone you don’t know well yet. This could look like cutting your neighbor's lawn, racking their leaves, baking cookies for your apartment complex, paying for someone else’s coffee, inviting someone you don’t know well to lunch after church, etc. What opportunities, resources and giftings has God given you so you could serve someone else this week with a random act of kindness?  

Additional Study Recommendations

  • Every Good Endeavor by Tim Keller  

  • Kingdom Calling by Amy Sherman

  • Work Matters by Thomas Nelson

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Willingness

Week 3, Day 5

The Willingness to Accept God's Mission

By: Kason Coulter

Isaiah 6:8

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”

It’s Sunday morning.  Nate’s band just finished a killer set.  David keeps the hype up and makes the announcements.  As he wraps up details, the door creaks open. In walks Jesus.  PNW Jesus looks like what you might imagine PNW Jesus to look like.  A dreadlocked white guy wearing a flannel shirt, and TOMS shoes, makes his way to his rightful place behind the podium.  He explains that he has chosen us, the RVC congregation, to have the opportunity to go with him on a special mission trip. The scenario plays out in one of two ways.

First:  “I’m going to Hawaii for the next three weeks on a mission trip.  We’ll be staying at the Four Seasons, all expenses paid, including the premium spa package.  There will be drinks with umbrellas, surfing lessons, and any other adventure you can think of.  I’ll be there with you 24/7 to answer questions, offer life advice, and tell stories. Who’d like to come!?”

Second: “I’m going to the Sudan.  There is an Islamic terrorist group slaughtering non-believers.  Best case you may end up in prison, or enslaved. At the very least you will be tortured, most likely killed.  Food and accommodations are not guaranteed, and water will be scarce. Worst of all, in this area of Africa Prime membership does not include free two day shipping.  Who’s in!?” Dramatic as the contrast between these two trips may be, the answer in response to both of these missions is undoubtedly, “YES! Jesus take me!” Frightening as though the latter may be, Jesus himself will be there with you.  

No amount of danger or death could be worse than missing out on being there with Christ. *PAUSE* Why then, do we find it so difficult to answer our calling when it is RIGHT HERE IN SEATTLE!?  When we can make an impact directly outside of this building, why do we brush off our mission for the sake of comfort and convenience. Our calling might not manifest itself in as extravagant a way as Isaiah's, but our answer should be the same, “Here am I. Send me!”

Reflection Questions  

What was do we prioritize our comfort over the mission of God? Pray that God would send you today into the opportunities he has for you.   


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Made Specifically

Week 3, Day 4

You Were Made Specifically for this Mission
By: Kyle Van Tine

Ephesians 2:10

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God”


Have you ever written a poem, a love letter or a short story? Perhaps you have tried to paint a landscape or someone’s portrait, maybe you like to knit, sew, crochet or you have tried your hand at woodworking. Regardless of which activities we enjoy, we have all experienced the painstaking detail, personal investment, and loving care involved in creating something handmade, originally designed, and created from scratch. The incredible truth of Ephesians 2:10 is that when we’re grafted into Christ’s body by faith, we aren’t just thrown in randomly, our salvation isn’t an afterthought, we are created by the Father, rescued by the Son, and empowered by the Spirit. You are God’s poetry, his handmade craftsmanship. He gave you the exact skills, abilities, passions, talents, church family and ministry opportunities he intended so that you would walk in them, maximize them, do the good works you were created for.

  
You don’t have to be anyone else, you don’t have to have anyone else’s gifts, talents or abilities. God created you in Christ, by his Spirit, uniquely for good works He gave you to do. If God wanted Billy Graham to reach your friends, he would have given them Billy, he wants to use you, he created you for this very purpose, nobody else.   


Reflection Questions

What are some of the unique ways God has gifted and empowered you by his Spirit?

What are some of the unique opportunities for Good works that God has given you?

What are some simple, practical good works you can accomplish today?  


 Pastor Kyle Van Tine - Rainier Valley Church - Seattle, Washington

Pastor Kyle Van Tine - Rainier Valley Church - Seattle, Washington

Represent

Week 3, Day 3

Representing our Homeland and our King

By: Patti Lozano

2 Corinthians 5:20 ESV

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, to be reconciled to God.”

To me this scripture is about the ministry of reconciliation and as Christians we have official orders to be ambassadors of reconciliation.

First I’d like to break down the two big words in this passage (basically):

  1. Reconciliation; means to restore, reunite, and fix/mend all relations.

  2. Ambassador, an accredited person who acts as a representative for a specific activity.

Now let’s look closer at what is this ministry of being an ambassador for Christ. Reading from 2 Corinthians 5:18 & 19. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

As Christians we know that God saved us, healed us and restored us through Jesus’ shed blood on the cross. This was God’s immeasurable mercy and grace, without the grace and mercy we were condemned to His wrath and instead of wrath we got to be reconciled to A Holy God, our Father. This is an amazing exchange…wrath for peace, in addition to peace (vs. 18) we are entrusted to pass on the Good News. This is why we are ambassadors for God! Think about it…in the world’s terms, an ambassador for another country knows how the county lives, acts and operates.

In God’s terms, an ambassador for the Kingdom of God also knows how to live, act, and operate. Then we enter the culture (s) of this world as foreigners living out the Kingdoms grace and mercy that God has given to us!

My friends before having peace with my Father, I was under such darkness and condemnation. It felt like I would die in this hole alone, suffering with a damned soul...it was pure torment.  However, as scripture reads in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 God had a plan, it was His plan all along that He would make a way through Jesus’ death and resurrection for reconciling me to Him and THAT removed my torment and with Salvation peace entered. I continue to live out peace because God never holds my sins against me… truly I am a new creation! It is so amazing that I get to be in partnership with the God of the universe to carry out His message.

Reflection Questions

Finally: I often shudder to think…where I would be if not for the obedience of God’s ambassador(s) in my life?

My challenge to you with Kingdom citizenship: Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to empower you to be God’s mouthpiece? Are you leaning on your own words for these ambassador appointments? One may say, “Well, I don’t have a ministry” As a follower of Christ we are ALL in some form of ministry. The ministry of taking care of God’s word and sharing it with a world that is lost and dying. Take courage, the Word is the “sword of the Spirit” and the Spirit will bring specific Scriptures to mind at the time when we need them most. In Paul’s words (Eph 6:20). “I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for Him as I should.”

THIS IS MY PRAYER FOR YOU BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN THE FAITH!

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, to be reconciled to God.”

To me this scripture is about the ministry of reconciliation and as Christians we have official orders to be ambassadors of reconciliation.

First I’d like to break down the two big words in this passage (basically):

  1. Reconciliation; means to restore, reunite, and fix/mend all relations.

  2. Ambassador, an accredited person who acts as a representative for a specific activity.

Now let’s look closer at what is this ministry of being an ambassador for Christ. Reading from 2 Corinthians 5:18 & 19. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

As Christians we know that God saved us, healed us and restored us through Jesus’ shed blood on the cross. This was God’s immeasurable mercy and grace, without the grace and mercy we were condemned to His wrath and instead of wrath we got to be reconciled to A Holy God, our Father. This is an amazing exchange…wrath for peace, in addition to peace (vs. 18) we are entrusted to pass on the Good News. This is why we are ambassadors for God! Think about it…in the world’s terms, an ambassador for another country knows how the county lives, acts and operates.

In God’s terms, an ambassador for the Kingdom of God also knows how to live, act, and operate. Then we enter the culture (s) of this world as foreigners living out the Kingdoms grace and mercy that God has given to us!

My friends before having peace with my Father, I was under such darkness and condemnation. It felt like I would die in this hole alone, suffering with a damned soul...it was pure torment.  However, as scripture reads in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 God had a plan, it was His plan all along that He would make a way through Jesus’ death and resurrection for reconciling me to Him and THAT removed my torment and with Salvation peace entered. I continue to live out peace because God never holds my sins against me… truly I am a new creation! It is so amazing that I get to be in partnership with the God of the universe to carry out His message.

Reflection Questions

Finally: I often shudder to think…where I would be if not for the obedience of God’s ambassador(s) in my life?

My challenge to you with Kingdom citizenship: Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to empower you to be God’s mouthpiece? Are you leaning on your own words for these ambassador appointments? One may say, “Well, I don’t have a ministry” As a follower of Christ we are ALL in some form of ministry. The ministry of taking care of God’s word and sharing it with a world that is lost and dying. Take courage, the Word is the “sword of the Spirit” and the Spirit will bring specific Scriptures to mind at the time when we need them most. In Paul’s words (Eph 6:20). “I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for Him as I should.”

THIS IS MY PRAYER FOR YOU BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN THE FAITH!




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Answers

Week 3, Day 2

Giving Answers for our Hope

By: James Armstrong

1 Peter 3:15

 “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect”

a reason for the Hope that is in you…God proves to me that He is God within His Word. You know it is God’s Word because it always has such deep dimension. For me this scripture hits me directly from a couple angles. At first, it feels to me that God is reminding me to make sure and fulfill His great commission in Matthew 28: 18-20; to spread His good Gospel news; almost like good advice. Like ‘make sure your always prepared to go out and talk of Jesus, have your versus memorized, know how to respond to different questions, and have your rebuttals at the ready.’

There is an element to this scripture of always being ready to witness for Jesus. But there is most importantly a deep reminder to my heart. It is prefaced earlier in the verse. …but in your hearts honor Christ. My deceitful heart usually wants to put my eyes on myself by asking, What hope do I have to offer through Jesus? What has Christ done for me?

How does Christianity make the most sense in this nonsensical world? My most immediate reaction can be to come up with those ‘hopes.’ By the Holy Spirit I need to be aware of the subtleties of taking my eyes off the Holiness of Jesus by coming up with ‘hopes’, forgetting to point only to Him. In doing so, He brings me to humbleness and I can’t help but follow with gentleness and respect. Lord Jesus, I am lost without You and Your constant saving.

Reflection Questions

Dear Family, how have you subtly made what seem like faithful hopes; hopes that are not Jesus Christ Himself? Are we inviting like the woman at the well “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” Her ‘reason for her hope’ IS the Anointed One. By the Holy Spirit, dig deep. He wants to be our dearest Hope.


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