Last week I spent some time with my brother-in-law in Phoenix. We both like to run. It’s what we do when we are together. But, I am used to running on the flat, humid sidewalks of suburban League City. He’s acclimated to running desert trails in the mountains of Arizona. One morning on our trip, we woke up early and began to hike through San Tan Mountain Regional Park just as the sun was rising over the mountains. Our hike turned into a climb, which turned to a jog, which turned into a 5 mile run over rocks, around cactus, up steep switch-backs and down the slippery gravel slopes back to where we started. About a quarter mile in I realized I was way out of my comfort zone. I was using the same muscles and same endurance I was used to as a runner, just in a much different place. But, it wasn’t just a normal run… it was an adventure. I find great joy in moments like that.
I’m used to my normal running routes in League City, and they provide good training. I have learned endurance there. I have community there. Running in Phoenix, however, brought a new challenge that was good for my soul.
Serving people, in the name of Jesus, is kind of the same way. During this Bold Love season we are challenging you to serve inside and outside of the church. You serve inside the church by discovering and using your spiritual gifts. People serve in children’s ministry, tech/arts roles, they make coffee, set up cones, hold open doors, preach, teach, and serve in countless ways to make Clear Creek Community Church a welcoming environment to explore faith and grow spiritually. It takes endurance to serve faithfully inside the church. Not only is it what is best for the church – for us to use our gifts to serve – but it’s what is best for us personally. Serving is part of God’s plan for his people to grow to maturity: to develop endurance and strength to serve.
Bold Love is also calling us to serve those outside the church by “going bold.” We are inspiring each other to show radical love to people outside the four walls of a church building. We make God’s grace, presence, love and generosity felt in the community when we serve people who are far from Him and when we serve with no strings attached. But let’s be honest, often this way of serving is far more outside of our comfort zone than the ways we serve in the church. Serving in the church is predictable, it’s sustainable. We have a community of teams that we enjoy serving with. Serving outside of the church by going bold is unpredictable. It’s messy. There are slippery slopes, steep climbs, big rocks, and obstacles to run around or through. It takes great focus and endurance to serve like this.
This kind of Bold Love is what God is calling us to. It’s how His kingdom advances. It’s the challenge of adventure.
Serving in the church is good for the soul… it builds the muscle and endurance needed. We have to learn how to serve there. But there is an adventure waiting outside of the church too… a place outside of our comfort zone where we can run the same race but in a much different place. It’s in this run, serving those who are far from God, that we experience the joy of adventure and see the kingdom of God push back against systemic brokenness in our world, see people experience the grace of the gospel for the first time, and see lives transformed because of it.
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way…” – Philippians 3:12-15
Serving in the church produces the endurance and strength necessary to enjoy the adventure of serving those outside of the church. May we run this race well.
– Aaron Lutz, East 96 Campus Pastor