16 April 2009

The Heart of a Servant

I have been a Christian since I was 10 years old. I truly loved God and believed with all my heart that I was going to heaven. I never vacillated from my convictions even while contemplating law school or possibly, a master's degree in Philosophy.
But I wasn't really happy.
Or even content, for that matter.

Honestly, I don't think I even knew it until my life took a 180* degree turn.

Over the many years of my Christian walk, I couldn't help but feel that something was missing -- something that went beyond just reading my Bible and spending time in prayer. So, I signed up for committees. I was on the "Kitchen committee," and I helped out in "Children's Ministry" and the church nursery. We started faithfully attending Sunday School and joined in a young-marrieds supper club.
But the lack was still there.

When we arrived at Healing Place Church ~5 years ago, I was definitely at a crossroads in my faith. Coming off (yet another) VERY disappointing experience at the church we had just left, I truly wondered if there was anything REAL out there. I was definitely burnt out, with religion, in particular. The church seemed to be full of so many hypocrites. My personal faith in Christ never wavered, but my conviction to attend a local church certainly did!

So, it was with great trepidation and extreme caution that we first visited Healing Place. Sure, the people were super friendly & very warm & welcoming, but we knew that veneers were only so thick. For the first year or so that we were at HPC, I was subconsciously waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was definitely NOT in a good place, mentally or spiritually. I was angry and tired and disappointed and leery. I just knew that I was going to get hurt again.

Truthfully, the amazing worship & anointed preaching is what kept me from just hanging up "church" altogether. I started to get involved -- began working in the nursery -- so that I could feel more a part of this amazing church.
And I really started to LISTEN.
The words coming from Pastor Dino Rizzo's mouth -- and indeed, from all of the pastors' -- were like none I had ever heard before. In addition to a very heartfelt plea for salvation, the message that was being spoken, and in fact, LIVED OUT, in the people of Healing Place, was a message of SERVING.
Get involved.

Get outside of yourself.

Do something for someone else without looking for the credit or glory.

BE Jesus; don't just "talk" Jesus.

It's Not About YOU.

That last one hit me harder than anything else.
The realization that my time on this earth was not about what I think I deserve or "think" I want to do; my time here is meant for me to be the hands and feet of Jesus to everyone I encounter. To look on them with the love that my God has for them... to see them the way HE does.
Get over yourself & start serving others.

And so I did.
I started volunteering in the inner city at our Dream Center and on Midnight Outreach. I signed up to clean the battered women's shelter & visit nursing homes. I took meals to new mothers and handed out bottled water in rush-hour traffic.
And it changed my life in more ways than I could ever list here.
I LOVE serving and I can't imagine my life now without it.
The peace and joy and completion that my life had lacked for so long, are now ever present in the knowledge that I am doing what I was called to do. And my journey thru serving has only just begun.

It's not about earning salvation.
That is freely given by our Savior.
It's about changing the heart of the church -- the image of Christians and Christianity -- by actually doing what Christ asked us to do: SERVE.

Looking back on the past 5 years, I can hardly believe that I am the same person who first walked through those doors. Indeed, SO much has changed for me -- on the inside and the out -- that I feel like a new creation.
That may sound cliche or pretentious, but that's truly how I feel.

And it's with this new-found love for serving that I now pick up my Pastor's book, SERVOLUTION, and begin reading.
I can't wait to see where this goes...

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