Bless Week 4: Serve
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FACEBOOK COPY: The BLESS Practices can make a HUGE difference in the lives you live around.  Learn how letting your light shine through Serving can have an impact that’s far beyond what you might imagine. Help us advance the Kingdom, support our online ministry (  Got kids?  Check out Harmony Kids online (updated weekly)! 
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OPENING ILLUSTRATION: Can I be a little transparent with you guys today? I have this buddy who I went to high school with that owns a Public Relations company in California.  They handle big brand name companies like skateboard shoes and surf companies.  He is always going to Hawaii for a surf competition or New York City to hobnob with these big wiggs.  
I was hanging out with him and hearing all these stories of the crazy things he gets to do.  He wasn’t bragging, as a matter of fact, he’s one of the nicest guys in the world you’ve ever met.  
But then he asked me how things were going for us? He wasn’t trying to do it, but at the time, I felt an inch tall…  I was working in a small struggling church – everywhere I looked it felt like everyone else was being more successful or doing better and honestly when he asked me that question.  I just wanted to run away.
I said something that day, tried to puff up and say important things, but I didn’t believe them. 
The honest truth is for my whole life people had told me I was important, I’d do big things, but all I felt was like I’d done little things…
I wondered if I was even making a difference
That’s when I read something that changed my perspective…I was studying the bible one day and I happened to be reading one of the genealogies in the bible – if you don’t know about these, it’s these lists of families in the bible, they are like Frank had these kids and his kids had these kids, and some of them go on FOREVER
Honestly, I had almost always skipped these genealogies and then it hit me one day…
I’m reading and I decided to read the genealogy this time it hit me that this person’s name I read encompassed an entire lifetime and the result of his life was that He impacted other lives that impacted lives.
His life mattered not because of WHAT he had done, but because of WHO he impacted.
Can I say that again? This genealogy was a list of impacts in the lives of children from fathers – whether good or bad.  
Literally, the impact was passed on
The scripture says that the sins of the father will be passed on to the 3rd and 4th generation, but I believe this to be true about the blessings as well, that the good you do today can echo into the lives around you.  
Honestly, 1,000 years from now no one will remember the accomplishments you rack up.
But get this, the lives you touch could still be echoing with the difference you made…  even 1,000 years from now.
This whole series we’ve been talking about BLESSWe’ve talked about Beginning with prayer and asked you all to start praying the other blessed practices over 8 people in your life
We’ve talked about Listening to people in a way that shows them they matter
We’ve talked about Eating together making time in our schedules to invite others to eat with us
and This week we are talking about the BLESS practice of serving others this is you looking for opportunities to touch lives
Can I take you to one of my favorite stories of someone touching others’ lives – a story that still gets told to this day, thousands of years later?
SCRIPTURE: It’s about time for Passover, Jesus has been performing miracles and teaching.  Mark tells us that so many people have been joining around Jesus that the disciples haven’t even been able to eat.  They have just found out that John the Baptist has been beheaded and Jesus decides it’s time for a retreat.  They get in a boat and go off to a desolate place.  But people saw them going, they start running and telling others that that’s Jesus’ boat out on the water, soon a crowd is forming and growing.  Soon, there are thousands and Jesus has compassion on them.  He starts healing their sick and teaching and this is how John tells us the account…
John 6:5-9When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
I love this, I do this to my kids sometimes, “oh no, what are we going to do now?”  Jesus knows what He’s going to do, He just wants to see their response…
Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages[a] to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
We know that there are 5,000 men there plus women and children – because the disciples have them sit in groups of 50.
Half a year’s wages…  How do you even begin to address that kind of problem…?Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
Jesus takes these five small loaves from this boy and his two small fish…  These would be like pita bread for you to imagine…[Maybe have some pita bread and some dried fish]Jesus takes what little this boy has – I’ve wondered if he was there trying to sell food to the crowd as a little entrepreneur
Jesus takes the gift and does the impossible. He feeds THOUSANDS. It was just a little boy with some bread and fish, nothing spectacular-nothing to be noted
Except he was willing…
This boy reminds me of something else Jesus said…Mt. 5:14-16“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
You know what stuck out to me about this little boy that gave his lunch?
When they counted who all ate that day, this little boy wasn’t even included in the count “5,000 men,” but without his gift, Jesus wouldn’t have had anything to perform the miracle with…
This boy didn’t count, but what he did sure counted…
His willing gift and sacrifice fed everyone else.
Listen, I can’t stand up here and promise that if you mow your neighbor’s lawn or watch their kids when they don’t know who else to call that it’s going to change the worldBut what I do know is if you do nothing, you are guaranteed to have no impact on their life
Our mission is so simple, right? Advancing the Kingdom by living for God and loving people
Loving people is fish and bread kind of stuff– it’s mowing lawns- bringing meals over when babies are born- helping fix a fence- dropping kids off at school
It’s positioning God to make a difference in someone’s life through you.
You provide the fish and bread, let Him provide the miracles
CLOSING ILLUSTRATION: Can I tell you about my friend Micah Cusick?  Micah was a Christian who I went to school with before I was a Christian.  Micah and I would hang out a lot and do stuff together – we would go for lunch to the “Used Bread store…”  Lol, it’s what we called the day-old bread store.  We’d buy donuts and hang out and eat.  One day, Micah came to school with a flyer that had this list of all these people on it, it said, “all these cool kids go to this church, you should too”  I thought, “I want to be cool” and so I said “yes” to Micah’s invite to church.  And I kept going back and back.  
I was thinking about that gift Micah gave me, it wasn’t big, it was literally a tiny investment in me.  But it has had huge repercussions, think about it, you sit here listening to me because Micah was faithful with his bread and fish.
What if you started praying and looking for opportunities to reorder your life so you could intentionally serve your circle of 8?
You may not feel significant right now, you may feel like I did with my buddy.  But I’m telling you if God can use a boy with fish and bread, He can use you.  
Today, I want to ask you to do something different.  As we partake of communion and leave our offering.  I want you to just turn your hand upwards to God to say to Him – “What I have is yours”
You provide the fish and bread, let Him provide the miracles