The Phil Files

Musings & messages on everyday worship, Jesus, and the stuff of life.

Archive for the ‘servant’ tag


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In my article this week, “More than a Fork in the Road,” I talk about the term used widely in the by Jesus and the rest of the New Testament to describe leaders — the word is diakonos (and related forms) and it simply means “table servant.” For a chart giving an overview of the use of this term for servant, follow this link:

Jesus demonstrated it in the washing of his closest followers feet on the night he was betrayed (John 13:1-17) and then told them what the event meant so they would get over having to try to be “first” among his followers:

A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.  Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. (Luke 22:24-27 TNIV)

Why is it so hard for us to see the essence of church leadership as simply serving each other?

What makes it easier for us to view church as a service for us rather than a community where we are to serve others?

In Jesus’ day, a table servant was a low paid family servant, a woman or a child. Why do you think Jesus, and the early church after him, chose this term to describe its leaders?

Do you believe the following?

No matter how true the message and no matter how powerful the messenger, both messenger and message will not produce the results intended if the people who share it, receive it, and believe it won’t serve others like Jesus.

Written by phil

October 6th, 2008 at 4:53 am

Always Begins

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Who introduced you to Jesus?

Have you thanked them lately?

So often, we take knowing Jesus for granted. Most in the world don’t! In fact, I’m willing to bet that most who know about Jesus don’t really know that much about Him … much less really know Him. So if you know Jesus, how did you get introduced? Where did you first meet?

I’m betting that someone who loves you took the time … and the risk … to introduce you to the Carpenter. Most of us were introduced to Jesus by someone willing to serve the Lord and also us.

I guess that’s why I love the way the Gospel of Mark begins. Matthew and Luke give us the birth stories and genealogies about Jesus. John has the incredibly beautiful prologue that shows Jesus is God and Creator of all things. Mark, however, starts differently:

The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
It is written in Isaiah the prophet:“I will send my messenger ahead of you,who will prepare your way”“a voice of one calling in the desert,‘Prepare the way for the Lord,make straight paths for him.’ “

And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. (Mark 1:1-5 TNIV
In typical “get to the point style,” Mark says simply, “The good news about Jesus begins here: John was a servant of Jesus and shared His story with everybody.”

Introductions to Jesus nearly always begin with a servant who wants to share his or her friend with another.  Granted, John the Baptist was a bit on the eccentric and weirdo end of things, but there is no doubt his heart and his ministry and death were all lived to prepare the way for Jesus to enter the lives of other people. So guess what? There is room for all of us off-center, a little bit weirdo, eccentric people to be useful to God … if we are willing to serve others and share Jesus.

See … that’s not so hard, is it?

Written by phil

April 25th, 2008 at 7:35 am