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Stories of Serving - Emily Zheng

Stories of Serving - Emily Zheng

Written by Lindsey Taylor

Emily’s family owns a Chinese/sushi restaurant in town called Chopsticks. She’s involved in numerous things at school and work, and with every free time she gets, she states she jokingly wastes by relaxing. She really likes watching movies, cooking terrible meals for one, and anything artistic. She also likes pretending she’s “a world-class ukulele player.”

Emily’s been coming to SCC's youth group since her sophomore year, but her family actually attends a church on the south side of Indianapolis called Aldersgate Free Methodist Church, where there is a Chinese service along with English. For the past several months, she’s been attending SCC on Sundays.

She’s a part of the High School Youth Group at SCC, and helps serve at the Middle School, where she is a high school leader for the girl’s 7th grade small group. She loves getting to know younger students from all different backgrounds and being able to be a part of their life every week. She says she always thinks back to her middle school self, listening to friends talking about youth group, and wanting to go so badly. She feels extremely lucky that she can now be someone who helps these children get to youth group, and is incredibly proud to be a part of something that can be a safe haven for all kinds of children.

She states serving at Middle School has changed her in countless, positive ways. “It's not something that you notice from week to week, but every time I take a moment to reflect, I'm always overcome by gratitude. Serving at the Middle School has made me a more confident, compassionate, fearless servant, and a more inspired leader. I've learned so much from the other leaders and especially from the kids. As much as we're supposed to help the kids grow, I've grown myself. I learn right alongside them!”

Serving has also made her more fearless in her relationship with God. In her group, she’s been told "We win when we experience what they [the kids] experience," which has really rung true for her over the past year and a half. Before the Middle School group, she was not nearly as bold as she is now in sharing her faith with others. She says, “I wasn't brave enough to raise my hands during worship. I didn't have the guts to pray in front of people. I definitely didn't have the guts to stand in front of a room full of middle schoolers and dance to "Party in the USA." I've become more intentional and passionate about my relationships, in big loud ways like dancing, and in small, quiet ways, like prayer.” 

Stories of Serving - Amanda Catt

Stories of Serving - Amanda Catt

Written by Lindsey Taylor

Amanda is married to her husband Alva. She has 2 step children, ages 22 and 24, and a 7 year old daughter. She also has 3 dogs. In her free time, Amanda and her family like to go fishing, sit out on the porch, and play games with friends.

Amanda has been coming to SSC since 2011, and currently serves in the KidZone. She states she knew it was the right church as soon as she walked in. She loves how it’s “come as you are”, and she always feels at home and welcomed.

She loves pouring God’s word into the children and seeing them understand what it means. She says, “When one of them comes up to you and tells you something we studied weeks ago, it is so awesome! I just love to watch them grow.” She enjoys watching how simple matters don't bother the children for long, “When something happens, not much later they are like, ‘Oh I'm over it.’”

In her time serving, it’s taught her how to improve her relationship with people by trying to think like a child herself, and not take offenses as much as well.

Stories of Serving - Dan Blackford

Stories of Serving - Dan Blackford

Written by Lindsey Taylor

Dan has been married for 30 years to his wife, Nancy. Together they have three daughters Kylie, Taylor, and Micah, that are grown and out of the house.

He and his wife just adopted a dog from the shelter named Hatchi. When he’s at home, he enjoys gardening and making the place look nice.

Dan has been attending SCC for 25 years and has served in various capacities ranging from leading worship to working in Kidzone. Dan currently serves on the tech team.

He likes the team atmosphere and the fact that, “We’re all pulling for the same end result, and that is to see Jesus lifted high.” He says it allows him to use the talents that God has given him and it lets him be around people that sharpen him.

Being in community with others completes him and helps him see who God is a little more clearly by doing ministry with them.

IF YOU'RE INTERESTED IN SEEING WHAT SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES EXIST ON THE TECH TEAM CLICK HERE.

Serve - Day 5

Serve - Day 5

Written by Carrie Dile

Philippians 2: 3-4Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others.  Be humble thinking of others as better than yourselves.  Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 

Mine.  That is one of the very first words we learn to speak, right after mama of course.  Yes, I’m a mom and I loved to hear my sweet, little daughter say my name.  I couldn’t hear it enough actually.  In fact, I loved hearing her learn to jabber and talk in general until the one day she said the word…….mine.  Why is that one of the first words we learn?  We start out wanting things to be ours and go our way.  Pretty much no one else matters when you are two and you want what you want!  Human beings are selfish.  We are all selfish in one way or another; it is part of our flesh.  Selfish ambition is one of the acts of sinful nature (Gal.5:20).  Although not as obvious as stealing or adultery, selfishness can hide in you and you may never know it.  

Not too long after we start using the fabulous word “mine”, we start trying to impress others.  We want everyone we know to like us, to the point where we are sometimes willing to do whatever it takes to get them to do so.  Why is this so important to us?  We all want to be liked, or should I say loved.  The truth is, we all want and need love.  God is love.  He loves us; you and me, so this is natural for us to want this more than anything.  Once we realize that we have God’s love, the less we will worry about impressing others.  His opinion of us is the only one that truly matters.

Once we feel loved, it is easy to then give that love to someone else.  Serving others becomes something that you “want” to do versus something that you feel you “should” do.  Jesus took on the very nature of a servant, and like Jesus we should have the attitude of a servant.  We serve because He served, out of love for others, not because we feel we have to.  Serving someone that we love or care about is easy, but serving a stranger can be quite the opposite.  When was the last time you stopped and helped a complete stranger?  We are called to treat others as we would want to be treated.  Jesus treated everyone equally.  He was humble.  In fact, Christ was the perfect example of humility.  We are called to act like Him.  

In this life, you can expect people to serve you, or you can look for people to serve.  I know I have passed up plenty of opportunities to serve others in my life, but the one thing that I do now that I did not do years ago is pray.  I pray to God to show me who and where I can serve, where I can take time to listen to someone who is hurting or just needing to talk, andwhere can I put someone else before myself.  God will show you as well if you seek Him, pray and read His word.  

Heavenly Father, I thank you for all that you are and most importantly for loving me.  Thank you for showing me that I am called to be a servant just like Jesus.  Help me to not be selfish, or worry about impressing others, but to put others first.  Let me live to glorify you.  In your name I pray, Amen.

Serve - Day 4

Serve - Day 4

Written by Jamie Davis

Colossians 4:5-6 says, "Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response to everyone." 

Social media: When people hear those two words, it can either bring feelings of joy or distress. Social media can be a great way to spread awareness of something you are passionate about or even just to share about your latest meal. It can be a very enjoyable thing. But social media is also often used to spread hate. It is much easier to type something hateful on a computer screen than it is to say those same words in real life. Sometimes, it is hard to get across just how you are feeling, so you come off as angry or offended. I have seen this verse really play out in my life lately, especially when it comes to social media. I have a few Facebook friends who have very different political views than me. One friend takes great pleasure in expressing her views and challenging mine and others. This acquaintance also has other very vocal friends who have similar views to her and they aren't afraid to get involved. A lot of times, their challenges disintegrate into hateful comments. I'll be honest, their remarks can make me mad, but I always try to think, "if a non-believer saw me returning their hateful comments, what would they think about my relationship with God?" In my opinion, you are serving the other person by not getting involved in conversations like that and stooping to that level. I can't imagine that Jesus would be caught having a hateful political debate on Facebook. You are His example to the world and hopefully, others will see that there is something different about you. 

When it comes to politics, people tend to get angry very quickly and turn to being mean or hateful. But is that really glorious or attractive? Or even the right response? Instead, I can choose to lift the other person up and really listen to them, no matter their differing views. It may require stepping back from the screen, cooling down, and then thinking, "She/he is God's child and He loves her/him just as much as He loves me." We are called to love everyone; I can't pick and choose. 

"But he voted for _____." "But he supports ____." "Only an idiot would vote for _____." Did God stutter when He said to love everyone? As Christians, we have to set a good example of what Christ-followers are supposed to be. By serving and loving others, we are serving God. By listening to their views, we are showing the acceptance and approval of God. It is selfish to take the love and mercy that God gives you and not give the same to other people. Serving doesn'talways involve the big things, it can also just mean stepping away from a conversation that is quickly heading towards hatefulness, thereby glorifying God and honoring the other person. You never know, maybe that other person in the debate needed someone to show them that political conversations do not mean hate. Who knows? A gracious response to a heated conversation could make the difference between someone turning away or turning to God. I want to be that person who draws others to God. How about you?

Serve - Day 3

Serve - Day 3

Written by Jamey Smith

Have you accepted Christ as your lord and savior and experienced the gift of God’s grace and forgiveness. The spiritual high tingles from head to toe from knowing that you no longer are a slave to the bondage of your sin. Sin that had been dragging you down for longer than you know. Baggage weight you didn’t even know you were carrying has been lifted off your shoulders and suddenly you feel it; FREEDOM.

Now What?

Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Now Go, Share

Go to family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers. Go and share your story. Share that spiritual high you felt when you said “yes” to Jesus, share how you were carrying baggage you didn’t know you had and now it’s gone. Share the freedom.

I accepted Christ at a men’s encounter on February 2, 2013. I remember when I got to the men’s encounter that I had no idea what to expect. I had no idea how much baggage I was carrying around. I had no idea I was going to accept Christ as my savior.

By the end of the weekend of the encounter, the baggage I had been carrying around, the sin I had been storing in my soul; was gone. It is hard to describe how it feels to not be a slave to the bondage of sin anymore. It is hard to describe how it feels to be FREE.

Serve

When you are on a spiritual high, you want to serve the world all at once! But the truth is, not everyone knows what their gift is to be able to serve in order to serve effectively and whole heartedly. If you don’t know what your gift is, pray and ask God. 

Every day I pray out loud to God during my drive to work. While I was asking God how I could serve Him, He asked me, “Who are you”? At first, I was like, you are God. You know who I am. Again he asked me, “Who are you”? I answered Him. I am Jamey Smith. I am a dad. I am a coach. I’m a mentor. I am a leader. I am like an overgrown kid. And God said yes. And so…. So my service will be with students and young adults.

Ok, so the crazy thing is that TJ came to me 1 week later and asked if I would be interested in being a leader in high school ministry. He was really trying to sell the idea and the whole time I was smiling because God already told me that is what I should be doing.

Four years later, I am still in high school ministry. I have made friends with so many of the students, their parents, and with other leaders. But most importantly, I have served and I have helped lead students to Jesus. I have served using my God given skill, to be a light for others, and to glorify God.

Serve - Day 2

Serve - Day 2

Written by Caroline Buse

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Have you ever taken the time to make something or refurbish something. You plan and you fix and you work until things are just as you’d like them to be. Once the project was finished I bet you enjoyed using it for it’s intended purpose. 

Have you ever considered yourself a work of art?  How about a custom original?  Well, that is exactly what you are. Says so in the Bible: we are God’s workmanship. You aren’t a random accident. Just think...the creator of mountains, oceans, flowers andbeautiful sunsets also created you and He created you for a purpose.  You were created to do good works. 

We were all created to do good works, but sadly because of the fall we are often inclined to do things that aren't so good.  Thankfully God created us in Christ Jesus and it is in Christ that we have the ability to do the good that God has created us to do. 

Sometimes doing good is as simple as holding a door.  Other times doing good is as difficult as holding your tongue.  Either way God has given us everything that we need to do good. Scripture tells us that He has even prepared things in advance which means that we just need to choose the good that we will do.

So let’s get really good at doing good.  It’s what we were made for. 

Heavenly Father, please, open our eyes to see the good things that you have set in our paths to do. Help us to make wise choices so that we are doing your good and not just what feels good to us or what looks good to others. Help us to serve and grow in Christ Jesus. Amen

Serve - Day 1

Serve - Day 1

Written by Sandy Watson

Matthew 10:42  "And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded."

Serving God can seem like a huge responsibility,  Maybe even an overwhelming obligation.  Yes, we truly do want to serve this wonderful God who loves us unconditionally.  We really want to be obedient to His Word.  But where do we start?  How do we begin?  This verse in Matthew talks about something as simple as a cup of cold water.  We all know how refreshing a cup of cold water can be, especially on a hot summer day.

There are many ways we can refresh someone who's having a tough day at home, at work, or at school with a simple smile or a sincere "How are you?"  Sometimes it was listening to a coworker whose family was going through a difficult time and offering to pray for them.  Maybe a quick text, phone call or email to say, "I'm thinking of you and wanted you to know I'm praying for you."  

Gosh, when's the last time you received a card in the mail with a note from someone that brought a smile to your face and filled your heart with a special joy.  Yes, texting is much quicker, but sometimes it's worth putting just a little more effort into it.

Maybe you're feeling overwhelmed yourself.  Maybe you feel like you're the one that needs a cup of cold water.  Let's face it, no ones life is perfect!  John 16:33 says:  "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."  Yes, we all have problems to deal with,  It is easy to be overwhelmed and sometimes totally consumed with our own life.  But I find it interesting that just before we hear about having trouble, Jesus says that in Him we may have peace.  I know from my own experience that once I look outside of myself and reach out to someone else, my own troubles seem lighter.  Even though my troubles are still there, there is peace from God that I'm not alone.  

We want to follow the example of Jesus who was Good News to all people.  In one of our small groups, a guy shared about an opportunity he had to help a total stranger.  We were all challenged to prayerfully look for opportunities to show random acts of kindness to total strangers.  We began sharing these "stories" at our meetings.  We looked forward to not just telling our own stories, but hearing from others,  It was amazing what we noticed once we tried looking at the world around us with "the eyes of Jesus".  One man frequently saw a homeless man near where he worked.  He had opportunities to share lunch with him, give him bus fare and pray with him.  He even took him to a dr appointment.  There were also stories like, "then I realized I just missed a chance to help someone."  It was not like flipping a switch and suddenly seeing ways to reach out to people.  It was a process of praying and being mindful of those around us.  Some of the ways we reached out were buying gas, paying the difference when the person in front of us at the checkout didn't have enough, and buying lunch.  Sometimes it's calling our waitress by name, smiling at her and thanking her.  It might be telling someone you appreciate the good job they are doing.  It's a bit sad to see the surprised look on someone's face when it's obvious they don't get compliments very often.

I want to encourage you to reach out to your fellow Christians and even strangers and brighten someones day.  Let the light of God's love shine through you.  You will surely be rewarded with a smile from them.  May the peace that passes all understanding fill your heart, knowing you just shared God's love with one of his children.
 

Share - Day 5

Share - Day 5

Written by Greg Knarr

Matthew 28:18-20Jesus came and told His disciples, I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

In today’s world all we seem to DO is share.  You can’t get on social media without seeing people share what they had for dinner, where they went on vacation and their feelings on almost everything else.  Almost everything…   The things we are most likely to share are literally the things in this life that in the grand scheme of things mean the least. 

The Great Commission was Jesus’ last earthly message to his disciples.  He urged all of his disciples to go and to share.  If the disciples had our hesitancy to share, many books of the New Testament would have never been written.  Their witness, their experiences, and their testaments to how Christ changed their lives would have been lost forever.  Did they share out of a since of duty or perhaps obligation or did they share because the witnessed the true power of Jesus in their lives and the lives that Jesus touched?  That true sense of urgency to share the good news.  Those transformational stories of how Jesus works in the most hopeless of situations and brings peace and comfort are not only true but compelling.  Everyone of us has a story of how Christ has transformed our lives.  The sharing of those stories is the juice that brings people to Christ.  Why hide those?

I have the opportunity to speak on various tax issues all over the country.  I know it can be a really boring topic, but when I speak about the these topics I don’t quote facts and give so much of the why.  I show examples.  I give stories.  I show impact and results.  

“Facts tell stories sell”  

About a year ago I got in discussion on God with a coworker.  I’ll call him Ted.  Ted is an atheist.  So Ted asked me if I believed in God and started to want to argue facts.  You could tell Ted had practiced his arguments against God.  He wanted to point out areas that he didn’t think were true or to him sounded crazy.  Rather than argue facts, I simply shared what Jesus had done and continues to do in my life.  I SHARED my story.  Ted couldn’t argue the impact or result.  For me, that is uncomfortable.  It is something I had to step into. Sharing an experience like a great meal or an awesome vacation is easy.  Sharing how Jesus transformed your life is tough.  It is definitely not for sissies.  

Father, We thank you for the opportunities you give us to share Your word. We know as we share our unique stories and experiences that you are right their with us.  Please help us to be more mindful of our job to SHARE Your Gospel.  Give us strength, courage, and wisdom to bring more people to You.  We pray all of this on Your name. Amen.

Share - Day 4

Share - Day 4

Written by Melissa Lapinski

There are many ways to share the Gospel.  I believe that most people think that sharing the Gospel means knowing everything there is to know in the Bible, so you can answer every question someone might ask.  We aren’t called to have full knowledge of the Bible or to have “all” the answers.  Mark 16:15 (NIV) says, “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’”  Very simply, we are called to “go and preach.”  

To me, the word “preach,” means that we share the Good News of what Christ has done for us.  If you have taken the time to ponder how Christ has impacted you specifically, then you can “preach.”  “Preach” can mean that we share the Good News through speech, but one of our most powerful ways of “preaching” is by how we quietly live our lives loving God and loving others. 

For those of you who know me, I would never be described as “quiet,” but I would hope that I would be described as chasing after God and having an immense love for people.  Living life with Christ as my focus has given me many opportunities to share the Gospel with those God has placed in my path.  

The people I am called to “go and preach” to might be very different than to whom God is calling you to “go and preach.”  Why?  Because my past experiences, personality, location/workplace, and many other characteristics may open doors to certain groups of people, where your past experiences, personality, location/workplace, and many other characteristics may open doors to other groups of people.  What a great way to “Go into all the world…”  God is so creative in how He works in and through our lives!  But, we have to choose to be obedient.  

I have 3 questions for you. 

  1. Does your life reflect a love for God and others? 
  2. Who has God placed in your path? 
  3. What is holding you back from following God’s command to “go and preach?”

Prayer:  Father, You are so amazing in how intricately you work in and through our lives.  I am so grateful for the people You placed in my life who shared the Good News through words and deeds.  I once was lost, but, now, am found all because others were bold and courageous enough to “go and preach.”  I ask that you give me the boldness to do the same.  I am only called to share the Good News.  I am not called to “own” how they respond.  Thank You for the honor of serving You today.  Give me eyes to see who You have placed in my path, and give me the words to “go and preach.”  If there is any area of my life where I need correction or conviction in my speech or my actions, please, show me and help me grow.  I love you, LORD.  I ask all of these things in Jesus’ holy and precious name.  AMEN.