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Follow the Path
Theme of the Week: Change Your Life Through Service
Thursday, August 21, 2014

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Key Bible Verse: "Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else." (Mark 9:35)

Dig Deeper: Mark 8:34-38; 9:33-37

The way of service as the path to discipleship is usually not emphasized in our church culture. Making a big deal out of loving our neighbors might be reserved for a special emphasis every now and then, but everyday discipleship is mostly cast as a quest for God through various kinds of personal spiritual practices. The consumption of spiritual goods—whether it is worship, Bible study, prayer, fasting, giving—is mostly engaged as part of a church program. Discipleship has come to be measured as faithful participation in these church activities. Good works done outside the church are not celebrated much as part of the path to discipleship. As a result, people don't see all of life as a discipling platform.

This compartmentalized view of discipleship paints spiritual development as an activity pursued apart from normal life. Truth is, our spiritual growth is not very spiritual [if it] doesn't show up in how we relate to others, run our businesses, treat our schoolmates, and deal with our neighbors.

Spiritual development works its way out in relationships that are part of everyday life. It is the path to discipleship applauded by Jesus in his command that we should love our neighbors as ourselves.

—Reggie McNeal in Get Off Your Donkey

My Response: How have I grown spiritually through service?

Thought to Apply: No man has a right to lead such a life of contemplation as to forget in his own ease the service due to his neighbor; nor has any man a right to be so immersed in active life as to neglect contemplation of God.—St. Augustine (church leader, theologian)

Thought to Apply: The kingdom of God advances by people lovingly placing themselves under others, in service to others, at cost to themselves.—Gregory A. Boyd (preacher, theologian)

Adapted from Get Off Your Donkey by Reggie McNeal (Baker, 2013; bakerpublishinggroup.com) by permission. All rights reserved by the copyright holder and/or the publisher. May not be reproduced.

Prayer for the Week
Lord Jesus, help me to see serving others not as a "Christian obligation" but as an exciting path to a truly fulfilling life.

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Displaying 1–3 of 3 comments

Curt Schleicher

August 21, 2014  7:26am

i have grown spiritually through service this year by realizing the importance of daily prayer, daily Bible study, and discipleship in my life. All three are required components. Not that i practice all of them daily, but they should be included in my quiet time on a regular basis to keep my spiritual life fresh and vibrant.

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William Andrew Wilson

August 21, 2014  7:16am

Great message. I shared this on Facebook and I thought of this line. Instead of slow down and smell the roses, we should slow down and grow the roses. We grow internally through service to the things that we enjoy that others grew before us.

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ANTHONY Swaggerty

August 21, 2014  6:30am

The Greatest Commandment, Love...awesome, unique, fulfill His greatest commandment and you will have done good. At that moment of judgment man will not know but God will. Do good Love one another... Anthony

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