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S.H.A.P.E.D. FOR SERVICE



S.H.A.P.E.D. FOR SERVICE

Part 5 of Above & Beyond! Ephesians 2:10

Peter Foxwell. The Cornerstone Church. February 4, 2018.

INTRODUCTION

I love following Jesus because he dedicated his life to loving and serving people. One day (Luke 5:12-14), a leper came to Jesus for healing and Jesus reached out his hand and touched him and healed him. But he went one step further: Jesus gave the man a purpose in life: Go to the temple, worship God, and be a witness of his healing love in your life.

Jesus loved and served people. He left them better off than when he found them. He healed and helped. He gave them a purpose for living. He freed them from bondage to brokenness. He elevated their existence - opened them up to a life with God, his presence and love.

Now Jesus is in heaven, ruling from the throne of God. But he wants to continue loving and serving people on earth. How's he going to do that? Through us. Jesus continues to change lives through us. Above & Beyond living is being the voice, hands, and feet of Jesus in the world.

Life in Christ is a life of loving service. There are five foundation stones for a life of service:

FIVE FOUNDATION STONES FOR A LIFE OF SERVICE

The very literal NASB translation brings out the meaning of Ephesians 2:10:

"We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them."

FOUNDATION 1: I'VE BEEN SAVED.

"We are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus."

First, there was creation. God made universe. That was his original work. The universe didn't create itself. Workmanship is used in Romans 1:20 - creation. Then, God made the new creation in Christ. God made a new people. That's his new work - not by our works. Ephesians 2:8-9, God makes the new creation by his work of grace, not by our works. He does it by love and mercy, by joining us to Jesus.

FOUNDATION 2: I'VE BEEN SAVED AND SHAPED.

"Workmanship": In classical Greek, it refers to the work of a craftsman making a crown. It implies skill and care and intention. The new creation isn't by accident. It's by design. We've been crafted and shaped by God and he shaped us for a reason ...

FOUNDATION 3: I'VE BEEN SAVED AND SHAPED FOR SERVICE.

"We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus FOR good works, which God prepared beforehand SO THAT we would walk in them."

GOD saved and shaped us to serve. The words "FOR" and "SO THAT" are purpose statements. The purpose of the new creation in Christ is to make a people who do good works. God designed us to "walk" - lifestyle - in good works.

The good works are described in chapters 4-6 by repetition of "walk" - 4:1, 17; 5:2, 8, 15. Good works are mostly relational, mostly about loving service as a way of life: Ephesians 5:2: "Walk (live) in the way of love, just as Christ loved us."

FOUNDATION 4: SERVING IS MY LIFE

Serving isn't something we add to our lives. Serving is our life. It's in our design, our new creation DNA. A toaster doesn't decide to be a vacuum cleaner. It is designed to be a toaster. Jesus understood this. He said, "The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve." "I am among you as one who serves." (Matthew 10:45; 22:27) Service was in his DNA.

Maybe you don't feel equipped to serve. Perhaps you think, "I'm not skilled enough or I don't have the talents other people have." You can't see how you fit into God's plan. Don't be discouraged. God has custom-designed you to make a difference.

I have a friend who's very shy. You might never notice him in a crowd. He's quiet and he stays in the background. But he uses his unique personality and talents to serve. Here I am, all loud and out front, but the fact is, without that quiet guy doing all kinds of vital tasks that go unnoticed behind the scenes, I couldn't do my job. You could say that I get all the credit for what he does.

Don't limit yourself. Don't put yourself down because you don't have the same gifts or callings that someone else has. God has a unique purpose for you in the world. Only you are called to it. "You are the way you are because you were made for a specific contribution on earth." - Rick Warren.

FOUNDATION 5: I CAN DISCOVER MY SHAPE FOR SERVICE

One of the most important breakthroughs you'll ever experience is discovering how God has custom-designed you to make a difference - your S.H.A.P.E. Then you can align your life with your SHAPE - your role in your family, in church, with your friends, and at work.

That's when your life jumps to the next level. That's when you will feel most fulfilled and most alive. You'll be tracking with God, in the zone where you flow "naturally." Your life will be productive and meaningful like never before.

The shape concept was developed by Rick Warren. He writes, "Whenever God gives us an assignment, he always equips us with what we need to accomplish it. This custom combination of capabilities is called your S.H.A.P.E."

Your S.H.A.P.E. helps you identify five specific characteristics that combine to equip you to make a difference in the world:

  1. S: Spiritual gifts. Spirit-energized abilities to help people. Jesus said,

  2. H: Heart. Special passions that grip your attention. Jesus chased the money changers out of the temple. Why? Access to God in the temple:

  3. A: Abilities. Natural talents that improve your serve.

  4. P: Personality. How you respond to people and situations.

  5. E: Experiences. Events, skills, education, failures, achievements that molded you.

Paul and Barnabas were leaders in the early church in Antioch (Antakya, Turkey). They had the same roles in the church, but they operated in very different ways. They each had a unique SHAPE.

The Spirit anointed Paul to serve as capital A, Apostle - pillar. He received foundational revelation for the Christian faith. Paul was a very public speaker. He had an aggressive and driven personality. One time, he confronted the apostle Peter in front of the whole church.

Barnabas had a very different leadership style. His given name was Joseph, but the leaders of the Jerusalem church called him Barnabas, which means encourager. He was a people-person. He liked to build bridges and network with people. He introduced Paul to the Jerusalem church leaders when they were very suspicious of Paul, the former persecutor of Christians.

God wired Paul and Barnabas in different ways, with different gifts, talents, and personalities. But both of them were effective in the early church.

Don't waste your God-given SHAPE on roles that don't fit. You'll be frustrated and burned out. Learn your shape and find roles that fit. Then, your life will take off. You'll be energized and effective.

That means you are going to have to say no to some things. There are some things you will not do ...

I WILL NOT ...

I WILL NOT SETTLE FOR SURVIVAL AND STATUS QUO

I will not miss what God created me for. We can set limits that undermine our potential: "I can't. I'm not this or I don't have that. I'm not like so and so. God would never use me. I'm too old or too young. I'm not educated enough. I'm too educated." That's just a tragic way to think.

You've got to delete all that. Here's the truth you need to tell yourself every day: "God has custom designed me in Christ to make a contribution on this earth. He has given me everything I need to walk in my calling. I am smart enough, gifted enough, talented enough, skilled enough, anointed enough, for whatever assignment God gives me."

I WILL NOT LIVE A SELFISH LIFE

I will not miss the most amazing adventure with God. Don't live for yourself and miss God's energizing presence, his miracles of provision, his favor, open doors, and breakthroughs.

Think of all the lives that will be changed for the better if your live a life of service. You'll experience hardships. There will be days you want to quit, and times you don't know what to do. But in the end, there will be no regrets for a life well lived.

I WILL NOT MISS WHAT GOD HAS PLANNED FOR ME.

He has custom designed me to make a contribution, to leave my mark by making a difference, to move from survival and status quo to significance. God has lined up the people, the provision, the vision, the need, the cause, the movement, the organization, the opportunity for me. I'll be right where you belong.

Now step into it and you'll reach the potential for which God created you in Christ. That's the most satisfying, fulfilling, positive, life you can ever have.

Let's pray about this ...

MY "SHAPED-FOR-SERVICE" PRAYER

Heavenly Father, thank you for saving me and shaping me for a life of service. Ignite my heart for what matters most. Align my dreams and desires with yours. Give me your heart for people so I will love and serve them according to my unique S.H.A.P.E.

Lord, I want to be known as a difference-maker. Show me your will and your way so I can follow. I can do nothing without you. I can do every thing you call me to through Christ who strengthens me. Please give me constant supplies of grace. Open doors of opportunity and give me favor with people. Grant me the vision and provision I need for a life of significance.

God, let me live as Jesus did. Give me courage to walk through my fears. Teach me what I need to know. Anoint me with supernatural power. Fill me with faith and endurance. Keep me on track with your call. Help me live every day for your glory.

Because I am your workmanship, I declare: You have given me everything I need to walk in my calling. I am smart enough, gifted enough, talented enough, skilled enough, anointed enough, for whatever assignment you give me.

In Jesus name. Amen!

RESPONSE OPTIONS

GET THE BOOK: S.H.A.P.E. - on the book table. Go into more depth. Self-guided process for identifying and living in your God-designed unique SHAPE.

TALK TO ME OR A TRUSTED FRIEND: Ask for help, encouragement, ideas.

PRAYER at the cross. God uses prayer to guide us, to give us fresh vision, and to energize us with the Spirit's power.


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