A Servant’s Viewpoint

A few mornings ago, my 11-year old had a “princess moment”. You know what a “princess moment” is? Where she thinks the world should revolve around her. She was running late, as she fell back asleep. As she comes down the stairs, my wife was very gentle and encouraging to Ellie as she said, “I have everything ready for you. I’ve made you breakfast; got your bookbag all packed.” 

As parents we would love for our child to respond by saying something to the effect, “Thanks so much mom! You’re the best! I couldn’t ask for a more caring mom. I love you.” Yep, you guessed it. That’s not how she responded. Having plopped down on the couch, opening up her laptop, she begins barking about the breakfast. “That’s not what I want,” she exclaimed. With a little bit of my wife’s New York-Italian coming out, she expresses that all she wanted to do was serve Ellie and make her life a little bit better and easier since she was running late.

My wife’s words resonated with John 13, the passage I’ve been contemplating lately. John 13 is where Jesus washes the disciples’ feet. Imagine the scene. The Son of Man wraps a towel around His waist. He kneels down to where the dirty, nasty, and filthy feet are planted. He then takes the basin of water and begins to wash the dirt and grim off the disciples’ feet. 

As He begins to wash Peter’s feet, a shell-shocked Peter immediately and bluntly says, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” We know that Jesus responds, “What I’m doing you don’t realize now, but afterward you will understand.” Now, the Bible doesn’t tell us if Jesus looked up and locked eyes with Peter, or if Jesus continued to focus on the feet. If I had to guess, I would say that Jesus locked eyes with Peter for the dialogue goes on a few more sentences to the point where Jesus exclaims, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with me.” 

It is in this exchange that we see a servant’s viewpoint. It is from the bottom looking up. We live in such a culture where I don’t know if we fully understand a servant’s viewpoint, for our culture in one way or another is where people posture themselves from the top looking down. 

A servant’s viewpoint is from the bottom looking up, not the top looking down. 

Looking up rather than looking down is a game-changer. They are two completely different viewpoints and perspectives. One says, “I’m here to serve,” whereas the other says, “I’m here to be served.” 

Jesus goes on to describe to His disciples that what He did that night they are to do likewise. They are to pick up the ministry of the towel. To follow in the vein of Jesus, and to take upon ourselves a servant’s viewpoint, we will have to arm ourselves with three questions. In other words, a servant will always be asking themselves the following questions.

Who Can I Serve?

This seems to be the easiest question, yet it is the most difficult. I know what you’re probably thinking, “How is it the most difficult question?” Because, although it is easy, our hearts and minds don’t naturally want to ask this question. Rather our hearts and minds—especially in our culture—are constantly looking at who can serve us. 

Be honest. When’s the last time you went to a sit-down restaurant, entered your subdivision, pulled into your home, exercised at the gym, or attended church and thought, “Who can I serve?” The places we frequent and the busyness of our lives do not condition us to think about others—they condition us to think about ourselves. 

The places we frequent and the busyness of our lives do not condition us to think about others—they condition us to think about ourselves.

When you ask yourself, “Who can I serve?” it takes the attention of you and refocuses it on those God has placed around you. It can be a family member, friend, neighbor, co-worker, or a complete stranger. Jesus arrived that night and entered into that upper room knowing that He was going to serve His disciples. 

This question is critical. If you don’t know who you are going to serve, you won’t be able to answer the next question. 

How Can I Serve? 

Why did Jesus take upon Himself the form of a servant, wrapping a towel around His waist and kneeling down with a water basin to start washing feet? Because Jesus entered that upper room not only knowing who He would serve, but how He would serve them. 

Knowing how He would serve them was built upon knowing them. You will not know how to serve others unless you know them. In other words, knowing precedes doing. Better yet, knowing precedes serving. You will not know how to serve others unless you know them.

If you know the account in John 13, you know that Jesus performs a physical act of service that has deep spiritual connotations. In other words, His physical act of cleaning feet represents His fast approaching physical (yet spiritual) act of sanctifying hearts. In short, Jesus’ physical act of serving feet reflected a deeper kingdom reality directed at their hearts. 

The physical act of service should reflect a deeper kingdom reality directed at hearts.

As followers of Christ, when we ask ourselves, “How can I serve?” we should be thinking about the deeper spiritual realities of our physical act of service. For instance, husbands when you ask this question in the context of your home—particularly towards your wife—your deeper spiritual reality will involve loving your wife as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her. 

How we serve should ultimately reflect the deeper spiritual reality of the kingdom of God invading the dirtiness and brokenness of our lives.  

What do I Hope to See from My Service? 

Obviously Jesus wanted His disciples clean—spiritually speaking. John 13 isn’t as much about feet as it is about hearts. Jesus wanted to see His disciples (as He wants to see the whole world) clean so that mankind and God could be reconciled. Without cleaning—which ultimately required the shedding of Jesus’ blood—there is no reconciliation. In fact, Jesus tells Peter if He doesn’t wash him then Peter will have no part (or relationship) with Him.

But there is something more Jesus wanted to see from His act of service. He wanted to see this kind of service enacted in the life of His disciples. In other words, what He did, He wanted the disciples to replicate. 

If you continue to read the passage, there’s even one more layer to what Jesus wanted to see. He wanted the disciples to experience deep-seated happiness—better known as joy. He expresses that those who do such things are blessed. 

Could it be the reason why many today have such an unsettled spirit is because they are selfishly driven to feed the bottomless pit of self-absorption. The only true way to experience wholeness, fulfillment, and joy is to give your self-away in the service of God. 

The only true way to experience wholeness, fulfillment, and joy is to give your self-away in the service of God. 

Put these three things together, and a servant’s viewpoint hopes their service: 

1) draws the person closer to God, 

2) ignites others to join in serving in a similar manner—making the world a better, more selfless place, and 

3) instills a deeper-seated joy and peace in life. 

Do you get it? A true servant’s viewpoint leads to the trifecta of life—right relationship to God, right relationship towards others, and a right relationship with self. 

In closing, Jesus teaches that the greatest position in this world is from the bottom looking up, not the top looking down. That’s what we call an inversion of the gospel. The Prince of Peace didn’t tie a towel around His waist and kneel down next to a water basin to wash feet so that we could be American cultural princesses and princes that tell Him, “He missed a spot.” He did so in order for us to take our clean feet—washed by the blood of the Son of God—and go and do likewise. And this is definitely something my wife and I are striving to emulate for our children—not to mention, praying for them. 

Preaching is an A.R.T.

I don’t know what comes to your mind when you hear the word “art,” but I tend to think of paintings like the Mona Lisa. But art is much broader than paintings. Of course, the always trustworthy Wikipedia defines art as “a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts, expressing the author’s imaginative, conceptual idea, or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power.” Thus, art includes activities such as designing, acting, writing, and speaking.

Church leader, have you ever stopped to consider that preaching (or teaching) is an art.

Preaching the Word is a similar activity to that of Shakespeare writing Hamlet, Van Gogh painting The Starry Night, Gaudi constructing the Sagrada Familia, Mozart composing Symphony No. 40, or Andrea Bocelli singing Con Te Partiro.

In this brief post, I want to share with you how I approach the A.R.T. of Preaching.

A–stands for AIM. When I am crafting a message I always have gospel-transformation as my aim. I’m praying that Jesus transforms the hearts of the people who sit under the teaching of His Word. To arrive at gospel-transformation, I think of the information/truth of the text, the audience I’ll be communicating to, and how to apply that truth to the heart of the listener. If you are a formula or math person, think of it this way:

Truth + Relationship + Application = Transformation

R–stands for RHYTHYM. I have initiated a preaching rhythm (or calendar) over the years. At the beginning of each year I start with a mini-series to set the tone and direction for the church. This past year, I began with the series, “A New Thing” given that we were about to launch our one–three-year strategic plan called Project New Thing. For the spring I go through a book of the Bible—verse by verse/chapter by chapter. However, I take a small break for Easter where I begin a series on Easter Sunday in hopes of creating an on-ramp to entice the “Chreasters” to finish out the series. I then go back to the book series until the summer.

In the summer—particularly June and July—we have our cultural engagement series. In June, we have our T.E.D. (Theological. Educational. Discussions) series, which is designed to help Christians think biblically about topics relevant to our culture. In July, we have our A&E (Arts and Entertainment) series. Here’s the synopsis of this series:

Did you know the movies and songs our culture creates serve as a cultural anthropology and theology? In other words, they depict what we believe about man and God. Thus, they speak to our hopes, fears, dreams, aspirations, longings, desires, hurts, heartaches, pain, and suffering as human beings. As Christ followers who live in the world but are not to be of the world—and who are called to reach those far from Jesus—it is important that we know (or exegete) the culture and context that God has planted us so that we can better communicate the truth of God’s word in the heart language of the culture.

When school is back in session and we have entered into the fall, the preaching rhythm includes topical series that would apply to families or individuals. I’ve done series like, “How to Lose Your Family in 10 Easy Ways,” “Sticks and Stones: The Power of Words,” and “Scared to Death: Moving from Fear to Faith.” These fall series are designed to teach people what the Bible says systematically about topics relevant to our lives. Finally, I conclude December with a Christmas series.

For me, this rhythm is helpful for a few reasons. First, it keeps the preaching fresh. I don’t feel like I get in a rut. Second, it creates on-ramps for new people. By having a few breaks throughout the year in beginning new series, it gives our people an opportunity to invite people to something “new.” Third, it tries—to a degree–to be all things to all people. In other words, it seeks to be diverse, as some people like preaching that goes through a book of the Bible; some people like short 3–5-week series; and some people are really interested in knowing what the Bible says about a certain topic. This rhythm seeks to give a little something for everyone.

For those who don’t like a certain series, I tell them to wait for the next—for not every series will be a home run in everybody’s eyes.

T–stands for TECHNIQUE(S). The word technique is defined as “a way of carrying out a particular task—especially applied to the realm of artistic work or scientific procedures.” Applied to the art of preaching what kind of technique or techniques are appropriate? Now while my rhythm consists of topical series and book studies, I almost always use the technique of expository preaching.* Here are some definitions of expository preaching:

  • EP “is the contemporization of the central proposition of a biblical text that is derived from proper methods of interpretation [proper exegesis] and declared through effective means of communication to inform minds, instruct hearts, and influence behavior towards godliness” (Ramesh Richard, Preparing Expository Sermons, 19).
  • EP is a more or less extended portion of Scripture being interpreted in relation to one theme or subject where the bulk of the material for the sermon is drawn directly from the passage and the outline consists of a series of progressive ideas centered around that one main idea (James Braga, How to Prepare Bible Messages, 53).
  • EP “begins with a substantial passage of Scripture and allows the principal thoughts of that passage to become the outline for development and the basis for application.” (Edwin V. Hayden, “What is Expository Preaching?”, Preach the Word, 1–2).
  • EP “is the communication of a biblical concept, derived from and transmitted through a historical, grammatical, and literary study of a passage in its context, which the Holy Spirit first applies to the personality of the preacher, then through him to hearers” (Haddon Robinson, Biblical Preaching, 20).

To put in my own words:

Expository preaching is doing exegetical and Christocentric (gospel-centered) work to lift out the main idea of a text and to craft it in such a way as to teach the truth of God’s word in a faithful and culturally relevant way in order that the hearers might know how to apply the transforming truth of God to their lives.

While this is predominantly the technique I apply to crafting my messages, I do implement a variety of other techniques in my delivery. I’ll use props, word pictures, humor, personal stories, images, pictures, clips from movies or sitcom scenes, etc. I’ve gleaned a lot from books such as The Power of Multi-Sensory Preaching and Teachingby Rick Blackwood and Talk Like Ted: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Mindsby Carmine Gallo.

In addition, depending on how the Spirit crafts the message in my heart and mind will shape the way in which I deliver the points. In other words, while I always have a main point that I aim to flesh out from the passage, I develop my subpoints differently. For instance, I might develop my subpoints in the form of questions like, “1. What is God’s mission for marriage? 2. How do couples faithfully execute the mission? 3. Why does it matter?” Other times, my subpoints might try and be catchy phrases like, “Wounding words should come from faithful friends; You are what you speak; Cloaking daggers in playful words can be hurtful to others; etc.”

When it comes to delivery, I’m always seeking the most effective way to communicate the truth in a meaningful and retentive way. I believe that we can (and should) use a variety of techniques to communicate God’s divinely inspired word. In fact, that is the way God had His Word written. There are various genres (narrative, apocalyptic, prose, etc.) and languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) that God used across the millennia to communicate His Word to the original context.

In conclusion, the history of the world has been mesmerized and influenced by some of the most brilliant artists in their field. And it is time that church leaders, pastors, and teachers realize that we are artists too—for preaching is an A.R.T. In fact…

I believe preaching is one of the most important art forms out there, for in what we craft on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis has the potential to bring life, community, and even world transformation!

 

*I do believe there are times where it is appropriate to do topical sermons that serve as more of a systematic study on a topic.

He Who Began a Good Work…

One of the coolest, yet annoying, machines on the face of planet earth is the souvenir penny machine. If you’ve been to a zoo, park, or museum you’ve probably seen one of them. You’re probably wondering why I believe it’s one of the most annoying machines. The annoyance comes when my children ask me for .51cents. For crying out loud, who carries change in their pocket anymore! But, the coolest feature is how the machine can smoosh Abraham Lincoln— transforming him—into (let’s say) Mickey Mouse.

The penny souvenir machine serves as a great example of what Paul tells the church at Philippi when he pens these words, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in your will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6).

Think about the process of the penny souvenir machine. To see your penny transformed into a souvenir with the image of that place, person, or character, it would cost you .50cents (really .51). As you insert your coins, the penny is then yielded to the work of the machine that has been activated by the sacrifice of the two quarters. The penny does nothing. It only subjects itself to the machine and its transforming power.

Paul clearly states that the work started in the life of the believers at Philippi was done by God, not them. Believing in the truth of this verse isn’t difficult when you have the wind at your back, everything clicking on all cylinders, and life and ministry are going according to plan. However, it’s another thing when your life and ministry are met with struggle, heartache, loss, affliction, disappointment, difficulty, opposition, and suffering. Those moments make it harder to believe and trust that any good work is taking place. In these moments, we must look at the track record of God and see how he has delivered on this promise. We don’t have to go any further than Genesis 1 to see how God completes what He begins.

God, as Moses pens in Genesis 1, brought creation into existence out of nothingness, emptiness, darkness, and chaos. Could you imagine being alongside God during the creation project without knowing the specificity of His plan? I’m sure that we would have been like the classic five-year old constantly asking questions: “God what is that for?” “Are you going to do anything else?” “What are you going to put in that big body of water?” “Are you done yet?” “How does that work?” “Why did you create that?” “What’s up with this molded piece of dirt?”But, as God methodically and intentionally works, day-by-day, through His Word, He brings and shapes something very good into existence—including His prized creation, man.

Pastor, church planter, ministry leader, I know where you may be. Ministry and all the pressures is tough, difficult, and weighty. Things don’t go according to plan. What you thought was…isn’t. You thought you would be further along than you are. Some of the people that were with you in the beginning, aren’t with you anymore. People you thought had your back, stabbed you. People are nitpicking your leadership, your messages, your style. Money has dried up. Maybe you’re seeking a new season of ministry and you feel as though no one is looking at you and giving you a second look. And you are left wondering if it (ministry), if you (the minister), are even good. And if I could encourage you, “He who began a good work in you will carry it out until the day of completion.”

Ministry, similar to salvation, is a good work that God begun in you—when He called you—and will carry it out through you. So, when we read Philippians 1:6, Paul is touching on something that God has historically done since the beginning of creation, which is clearly seen in Jesus movement from redemption to consummation. And now, through His body (the church) and in the cranking power of the Holy Spirit, God is continuing His work in the life of believers until one day He will fully and gloriously complete what He began (Rev 21).

In closing, if you are in a season of struggle, dryness, brokenness, sadness, despair, hopelessness, or anxiousness, rest assure that God is certainly there with you working to complete the good work He started in you when He saved you and called you! So, see yourself as the penny. Surrender yourself to the rigorous and crushing work of God as He conforms and transforms you more into the image of Jesus.

 

The Ministry of the Towel: Service in the Vein of Jesus

Towels play such a humble role in our lives. We use towels (whether regular or disposable) for a variety of reasons—drying off, cleaning up messes, laying on at the beach, etc. To be honest, I never really think of towels that often, yet they are so ingrained into the rhythms of my everyday life.

This past Sunday I asked the question, “What if towels (regular or disposable) ceased to exist?” How would their absence affect our lives? Not to be overdramatic here, but we would be dirtier, filthier, nastier, and messier. Could you imagine having to drip dry every day after exiting the shower? Could you imagine not having anything to clean the toilet with—especially the one where your 11-year-old has a tough time aiming 🙂

Thus, when thinking about the ministry of the towel, I’m sure we would all agree it makes us go WOW! Towels do so much to enhance our lives for the better.

Jesus, in John 13, takes upon Himself the ministry of the towel. Before sharing the Passover meal, Jesus disrobes his outer garments and wraps a towel around his waist, and after filling a basin full of water begins washing the disciples stinky, nasty, bunion-infested, feet. In doing so, Jesus assumes one of the lowliest positions and postures of the day—a Gentile servant/slave.

But why on earth would he serve like this?

Before answering this question, I think it’s important to understand why other philosophies, religions, and people serve today, which will show the distinction between their service and Jesus’ service (and the kind of service His followers should embrace).

  1. Atheists serve for self-fulfillment and exaltation. Given that Atheists have no over-arching purpose in life other than self-glory and satisfaction, their service—if they do serve others—is for their own benefit and fulfillment.
  2. Most religions who advocate service, do so for the purposes of gaining God’s favor, blessing, and even salvation. They serve not to [ultimately] give, but to [ultimately] receive. They give their time, talents, and treasures—their lives—as payment and penance to satisfy God.
  3. Some serve out of moral compassion. It’s embedded within human nature to have moral compassion since we are created in God’s image. Usually service out of moral compassion is demonstrated in parents, family, friends, or a tragedy—whether natural disaster, terrorists attack, death, etc.—that grips our heart.
  4. Some serve because they are forced or compensated. Some may call this the service industry. We pay people to serve us—massage our feet, clean our hotel rooms, give us manis and pedis, collect our trash, clean our house, wash our car, or cut our grass.
  5. Some serve out of pride. We call these people “posers.” They are trying to be someone they are not. They give the impression that they are a servant, serving at the pleasure of other people, but what they are really doing is serving themselves.
  6. Some serve out of insecurity. We call these people “people-pleasers.” People-pleasers constantly serve others through either their humble acts or their conciliatory attitude. Their motives for doing so is to build up their security (or self-esteem) in the eyes of what other people—whether their boss, friends, spouse, etc.—think of them.
  7. Some serve to get a return. We call these people “shark-investors.” They see others as investments. Thus, they serve others only to the degree of their return, or what they will get back. A phrase that corresponds with this kind of service is, “I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine.” Many politicians would fit into the category. They serve people and promise to do such and such in exchange for their support and vote.
  8. Some serve to elevate their position and notoriety. We call these people “brown-nosers.” Brown-nosers constantly serve people in an attempt to be noticed to the degree that something good might happen to them—get a promotion, a raise, or an invitation to be in the “cool” crowd.

These are some of the many reasons why people serve others today. Yet, this is not why Jesus wrapped a towel around his waist and served His disciples by washing their feet. And these are not the reasons why we should serve and love people today. In observing Jesus’ service and love in John 13, there are at least three reasons why Jesus radically and humbly served and loved others. And these become the reasons why we should radically and humbly serve and love others today.

First, our love and service should be in the vein of Jesus’ love and service on the cross. When we serve, we should be demonstrating the way Jesus loved and served people when He went to the cross to die for the sins of the world. As such, our service and love should be sacrificial, selfless, and costly. Our service and love should strive to make Christ known among both our neighbors and the nations.

In addition, our love and service should be done from a place of need not convenience. We live in a culture of convenience; thus, we serve, love, and give if it’s convenient. Yet, this is not the way of the towel ministry of the Jesus. Jesus served from a place of need—seeing that we were sheep without a shepherd, seeing that we were broken in need of healing, seeing that we were separated from a holy God in need of a bridge—and willingly and humbly lowered himself in the most inconvenient way to meet our need!

When it comes to serving and loving our family, friends, church, community, city, and world, we must realize that it will be an inconvenience.

If we wait to radically serve and love people when it is convenient, we will be waiting a lifetime.

Second, our love and service should seek to enhance one’s condition. In other words, those that God has placed around us (be it our spouse, children, co-workers, employees, company, community, orphans, widows, widowers, families, etc.) should be better off as a result of our presence and service in their life. That night when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, practically speaking, they were cleaner. Their lives had been enhanced to some degree.

When we serve and love others, one of the goals should be to enhance or elevate their lives in some way.

Enhancement, or flourishing, can be multifaceted; it can be emotional, spiritual, physical, social, financial, vocational, etc.

For instance, James 5:16, 19 states, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. . . . My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” If one follows this verse, they will be serving and loving another brother or sister to the degree that their life is spiritually enhanced.

Another example of serving and loving to the point of enhancing one’s life can take place when a financial savvy person, who manages their money well, teaches another person how to manage their finances and become a good steward. Through their love and service of teaching and mentoring in the area of finance they enhance and elevate that person’s financial acuity.

Third, our love and service should tangibly demonstrate God’s desire as well as our desire to be in relationship with that person. In other words, Jesus doesn’t call our love and service to be done at a distance, but to be done up close and personal. Jesus tells Peter that if he doesn’t let Him clean his feet than Peter has no share, no connection, no relationship with Him. While Jesus is communicating a deeper truth about the need for continual confession and cleansing that allows Jesus, the gospel, to continually renew us, He is also communicating that the ministry of the towel (love and service) is personal and relational.

Jesus served in such a way that He expressed His deep desire to know us—to be personally and intimately connected to us.

Later in the Gospel of John Jesus exclaimed, “Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus served in such a way that it became a tangible and practical invitation for people to become part of the kingdom and family of God. Thus, our service and love today should be a tangible and practical invitation for people to know us, but even more importantly for people to know our great God and King and become part of His family.

While this type of love and service can take on various manifestations, I ran across a story about Eric Liddell—The “Flying Scotsman” and the famous Olympic gold medalists who refused to run on Sundays—that powerfully illustrates this type of love and service.

What some may not know about Eric Liddell is that he became a missionary to China. While in China WWII broke out. After Japan invaded China, Eric and his family traveled back to Canada for a furlough and thought about just staying there to wait out the war. However, God moved so powerfully in their lives that they simply couldn’t stay in the safety and security of Canada. As a result, they returned to China.

After their return it became extremely dangerous for the family, especially since Eric’s wife was pregnant with their third child. After spending time in prayer, they decided that Eric’s wife and children would return to Canada while he stayed back serving in China. That would be the last time he would ever see his family.

Eventually things got worse in China for Eric and all other foreigners. Since Japan considered them enemy nationals they were sent to an imprisonment camp. While there, without his family, he served the people of the camp. He helped clean the communal toilets for hygiene purposes. He taught the camp school, organized various sports for the kids, and even planned worship services. He also looked after 300 orphans who were in the camp.

As time passed in the camp, people started growing weary of the difficult conditions. Many people became unhappy, selfish, and even started stealing food. However, Eric didn’t. He stayed positive and cheerful, teaching others to love their enemies—including the Japanese.

One of the stories that struck me about Eric Liddell while in this imprisonment camp was about a 17-year-old who had completely worn out his shoes. Knowing that this young man had no shoes Eric wrapped up his running shoes as a gift and handed them to this teenager. The historic shoes that once wrapped the feet of a gold medalist, now had been taken off and put on a 17-year-old teenager with dirty feet.

That’s the purpose of the ministry of the towel. It’s to take off our shoes and put them on other people’s feet! It’s about taking what is so meaningful and special to us (time, talents, and treasure), and imparting it to others. It’s about giving and serving from the perceived need not our personal convenience. It’s about serving at the pleasure of and for the glory of the king!

I’m certain that Eric served and loved people because he felt the same way serving as he felt when he ran…”he felt the pleasure of God.”

The prison camp was better off because of Eric’s presence. That young man’s life was enhanced as a result of Eric’s love and service. In fact, because of Eric’s extraordinary love and service, one man promised God if he survived the war he would become a missionary to Japan. Think about it. One man was so moved by Eric’s life of service and love that he was willing to give his life to go to the country that had caused so much hurt and heartache.

In closing, are we serving and loving in such a way that we point back to the love and service of Jesus on the cross? Are we serving and loving in such a way that it enhances the lives of those around us? And are we serving and loving in such a personal way that we are inviting people to join the family of God?

When we serve and love in such ways we take upon ourselves the ministry of the towel which makes people go WOW—not because of who we are, but because of who Christ is in and through us!