God Shaped You for Service

10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NASB).  
God shaped you to serve him. 
The Bible says, 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10 NASB).
Before you were born, God had already decided what contribution He wanted you to make with your life. God didn’t put you on this planet just to take up space, to use resources, and to die. No! He put you here to serve him by serving others. And nobody else can be you. If you don’t serve God the way he intended for you to serve him, then the world misses that part of the jigsaw puzzle.
Another name for good works is MINISTRY.   Anytime you use your talents and abilities to help somebody else, you are actually ministering to them. The Bible says in 1 Peter 4:10, “God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings” (TLB).  
You know the talents that you’ve got?  They’re not for your benefit. God gave you your talents for the benefit of other people. That’s why nobody’s got it all together. God wired the universe so that we would need each other.
When you get to heaven, you’re going to love God, so He wants you to practice now. You’re going to love other people in heaven, so He wants you to practice now.
We need EVERY member of Calvary to SERVE in ministry in 2019!!! Begin praying now how God is going to use you in a ministry at CBC and begin to prepare now for 2019! You serve God by serving others.
On Earth it’s impossible to serve God directly. The only way you can serve God on Earth is by serving other people. So anytime you help somebody else, God says it’s like you’re doing it for him. You’re practicing on Earth what you’re going to do for eternity.
Talk It Over
  • In what unique ways has God shaped you so that you can serve others well?
  • How are you using your talents and abilities to serve others?
  • How much does your motivation matter when you serve? Why?

God Wants You to Grow Up

“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;”  (Romans 8:29 NASB).
God created you to become like Christ. He wants you to grow up spiritually! God’s goal has always been to make you like himself—not to become a god but to become godly, with godly character.
The number one question I’m asked as a pastor is, “Why is this happening to me?” I’ll tell you why: It’s to help you grow up spiritually. Everything in life is designed to help you grow up spiritually—the good, the bad, the ugly, the stuff you bring on yourself, and the stuff that other people do to you. God is not the author of evil. But God can bring good out of bad things.
Instead of asking, “God, why is this happening to me?” ask, “God, what do you want me to learn from this?” Every situation in life will either make you bitter or better. You choose how you will respond to it. Every problem has a purpose, and the purpose is to help you grow up spiritually to be more like Jesus Christ.
So, if one of the purposes of your life is to grow up spiritually and to become like Jesus, what is Jesus like? When you look at him, you see what the Bible calls the fruit of the Spirit. It says, “He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23 TLB). These are the qualities God wants to build in your life.
How does God produce those qualities in your life? How does God grow character and help you grow up spiritually? God teaches you these qualities by putting you in the exact opposite situation. He teaches you love by putting you around unlovely people. He teaches you joy in the middle of grief. God teaches you peace in the middle of chaos. He teaches you patience in the Department of Motor Vehicles! God will teach you all of these qualities throughout your life—and it will take the rest of your life. It’s a process. He will use all kinds of situations in your life to help you develop spiritual depth and become more like Christ.
Talk It Over
  • What kinds of situations have taught you the most about becoming more like Christ?
  • Why do you think so many Christians are still spiritually immature?
  • What priority does spiritual growth have in your life? How might your priorities need to change?


Every Person Is Worthy of Respect

“Show proper respect to everyone” (1 Peter 2:17 NIV). Respect has become an endangered value over the past few decades. We live in the “Age of Irreverence,” where sarcasm rules the day, and everyone loves a good put down. Yet the Bible makes it clear that stable families — and stable societies — are built around respect. The Bible commands us to honor our parents, respect civil authority, and respect church leaders. Wives are called to respect husbands in Ephesians. In the book of 1 Peter, husbands are called to respect wives. Just to make it clear that the Bible leaves no one out, the Bible also tells us to “show proper respect to everyone” (1 Peter 2:17 NIV). Everyone, regardless of beliefs or behaviors, is worthy of respect. Why?

  1. God made everyone.Psalm 8:5 says, Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! (NASB). God doesn’t make junk. No one is worthless. People make wrong decisions all the time, but they are still valuable to God. Even the most unlovable person in the world is loved by God.
  2. Jesus died for everyone. The Bible says, “God paid a ransom to save you …. he paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ”(1 Peter 1:18-19 TLB). You may not place much value in certain people, but God does. In fact, he says every person you meet is worth dying for.
  3. It shows you know God. The Bible tells us that God is love. If you know God, you’ll fill your life with love. The Bible says, The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.(1 John 4:8). Love always treats people with respect.
  4. You’ll get back whatever you give out. It’s the law of the harvest. Whatever goes around comes around. If you want to be respected, you must treat other people with respect. The Bible says, Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. (Galatians 6:7).

Talk It Over

  • Every person you meet today is worthy of your respect. How will that change your behavior?
  • Who do you have the most trouble showing respect to? Why?
  • What are some ways you can “fill your life with love”?

The Forgiven Should Forgive

13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” (Colossians 3:13 NASB).
Do you show people grace? It’s what God wants us to do, but it’s not always easy to remember to do because we are so often focused on ourselves. It’s easier sometimes to be selfish instead of gracious.
You see the slow checker in the grocery store line as a five-minute interruption to your day rather than somebody who might be struggling to keep his job, somebody who just got the worst news of his life a few minutes earlier. You see the one in your family who’s struggling right now as a drain on you rather than seeing her hopelessness over a desperate situation. You see the person who cut you off on the freeway as the physical embodiment of Satan instead of just a jerk who is in need of God’s love. We are all jerks in need of God’s love. That’s why Jesus Christ came into this world. And to show people grace is to remember what God has done for us.
The ultimate way God shows us grace is by forgiveness. And the ultimate way he asks us to show grace to other people is by forgiving them.
Colossians 3:13 says, 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” (NASB).
People often ask me, “How can I find the strength to forgive? I don’t have it in me.” I don’t have it in me, either! The only place I’ve ever found the strength to forgive is to remember how much Jesus has forgiven me. When I remember that, then he gives me the strength and grace to forgive others.
Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross, was reminded by a friend of an especially cruel thing that somebody had done to her years before. Barton acted like she didn’t remember it, and the friend asked, “Don’t you remember?” Her famous reply was, “No, I distinctly remember forgetting it.”
What do you need to forget? If you don’t forgive, you’re not going to enjoy God’s vision for the rest of your life, because unforgiveness will keep you stuck in the past. You need to forgive for your sake, and then you need to get on with your life.
Forgiveness is not saying that what somebody did was right or that there shouldn’t be consequences for what happened. It just means that you let go of your anger and hurt and give it to God so that you can move on with God’s purpose for your life. When that seems impossible, when you feel like you can’t be gracious toward someone, just remember one thing: Jesus forgave you. Remembering the grace God has shown you will give you the strength to be gracious to and forgive others.
Talk It Over
  • How does forgiving someone affect the other person? How does it affect you?
  • What do you need to let go of so that, with God’s help, you can forgive and show grace to someone?
  • How do resentment and bitterness keep you from fulfilling your purpose?