6 Questions to Ask in Order to Become Great This Year.

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Today, and for as long as history records, the goal of each person is to make as much money and have as much power as they possibly can so that everyone would serve them and they wouldn’t have to serve others.

Some examples?

Baristas.

I’m pretty certain “barista” is the Greek word for “punching bag”. 

What happens is, people who otherwise have no power walk into a coffee shop, and all of a sudden they are King Coffee. And they treat the barista like a slave. Have you listened to how people treat the barista? They just make demands. “I said 90 degrees! This is 92!” There’s some weird mocha Pharisees out there!

Have you ever been to a bank and just see how people talk to the teller? Or at a waitress at the restaurant? It’s angry people who aren’t powerful in their daily life lording power over people in serving positions.

That’s not greatness.

Here’s what Jesus teaches: 

But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. (Luke 22:26)  

Some of us have real powerful positions, some of us don’t, but occasionally we get to be a powerful position person, meaning someone’s our servant and we’re going to give orders to them. Jesus says, Be a leader, pursue greatness, but not like that.

It’s not a sin to make money, it’s not a sin to have a title, it’s not a sin to be in authority But here’s the big idea: 

Greatness is simply service. 

Greatness is simply service. Beautiful, godly character development is humbly serving. What makes a great leader, someone worth following, is how deeply they believe in serving others. 

Say you go to a really nice restaurant and the banquet room is reserved full with all kinds of top level people. There are politicians, business executives, athletes and celebrities. You say to yourself, “Wow, look at all those amazing people at this really nice restaurant. 

All the servants and all the waiters and all the waitresses are waiting on these “amazing” people. You and I would look at the room and say, “Those people sitting down are great people. 

Jesus says, “The waiter, the waitress, if they’re humbly serving, they are great.

Jesus tells us, “I came to the earth, not to sit at the table, but to be the waiter. And I invite you to do the same.

I’m guessing right now, many of us still prefer to sit at the table (because that’s where we wrongly assume greatness sit). But greatness gets up. Greatness is simply service. 

Here are six questions that will help deepen the quality of greatness in our character development.

#1 Do you allow others to serve you?

Some of you say, “I like to serve; I don’t like to be served.” And so you’re hard to serve. 

People say, “Oh, let me get that for you.” and you say, “No, no, no, no, I got it.” “Let me buy that for you.” “No, no, no, no, I’ll pay for it.” Or they do something for you and then you have to do something for them. You can’t just receive. 

One of the ways we serve is by allowing others to serve us.

True or false: In his life, did Jesus allowed others to serve him?

His friends Mary, Martha, Lazarus, often had Jesus over at their home. He would let them take care of him. They’d give him a place to sleep, they’d cook him a meal. He allowed them to serve him.

Before Jesus goes to the cross, Jesus allows a woman to serve him. She’s a woman who comes to him, repenting of her sin, brokenhearted. She brings all of this perfume. Very expensive. She breaks it and she pours it over him. And the disciples and those who are present, they say, “That’s too much, that’s too lavish, that’s too expensive. 

Jesus says, “I receive it. This woman wants to serve, I’m going to allow her to serve.

Do you allow others to serve you?

#2 Do you serve others with selfless motives? 

We never have entirely pure motives, right? But when you serve, is it, I’m going to get noticed! I’m going to get a raise! I’m going to get a boy/girlfriend! I’m going to get some sort of award! I’m going to get recognition! I’m going to get a thank-you card!

I knew this high school student who went to a teen conference one summer. At the conference they passed out anonymous envelopes with assigned sacrificial acts of service. This high school student received a card that said, “Help out at your church’s children ministry.” 

He came up to me and showed me the card, asking what should he do. I simply read the card back to him, stating that he should serve in the children’s ministry at his church, that he should reach out to the leaders over that ministry to see where he would be a fit. 

His response to seeing was this question: “Is it a paid position?”

My response was: “No. We’re one of the weird churches who don’t pay our volunteers.” 

Money was motivating the service, and that’s not the greatness Jesus is talking about. 

There will be times that people, should have said thank you, and they won’t. Or they should acknowledge your contribution, and they don’t. These are opportunities for the essence of our character, our true heart, to be revealed.

This is why even an unpaid ministry or serving in the community or running a household with chores and meals and being there for family is really different than a paid job. How many of you, if you went to work tomorrow, your boss comes up to you and says, “I have bad news and I have good news. 

You say, “Okay, give me the bad news first.
Boss: “We cannot afford to pay you anymore.
You: “Okay, what’s the good news?
Boss: “You can still have your job.
You’d say, “No thanks. 

But if you love Jesus and you love his people and God’s placed a desire to help some people on your heart, you walk into the church or into a non-profit or into a home in need of some TLC and you say, “I want to help. Give me a place to help. 

#3 Are you willing to do menial tasks? 

You know what a good mom does? A good mom does whatever needs to be done. Wipe the nose, clean the diaper, burp the kid, feed the kid, change the kid, get puked on by the kid, repeat the whole process. That’s what a mom does. Three in the morning, she gets up. She doesn’t say to the young child, “Hello, I work 9–5, it’s 3 a.m.. I can’t help you.” A mom does whatever needs to be done. The essence of motherhood is the essence of service.

That’s where you know if you’re a servant, right? If it’s public and if it’s praise-worthy and if it’s a big deal, it’s not so hard. The menial stuff is for the godly servant.

Right now you can do some tasks around you home, around your school, around your place of work to clean-up while no one is watching you. Practice on doing menial tasks. 

#4 Are you a lazy or disorganized person? 

If your answer to this question is, “I don’t know” then your real answer is yes. 

If you’re lazy, you’re not going to be a good servant? You’re just not. If you’re lazy, you’re not going to inconvenience yourself and go the extra mile.

Just like negative Christians don’t exist, and unforgiving Christians don’t exist, there is no such thing as a lazy Christian. 

You may be thinking you’re helping a lot of people but not very effectively. You may be doing a lot of things, but maybe not the right things. Your priorities are out of order. One way you can serve better is by not being lazy, repenting of that if it’s a sin for you, and getting organized. “Okay God, who am I and what am I supposed to do and where do you want me to focus my energies?

#5 Do you choose to be happy for others when they experience what you can’t? 

What gets you happiest? What motivates you most? Is it what you get to experience and boast about or is it also what you see others getting to experience?

Last week a guy told me he stays off social media during the holiday season because he doesn’t want to see all the posts of people traveling and being with loved ones and all the smiling faces of what others are getting to do that he can’t.

He can’t stomach the happiness of others. And I’m pretty sure on Christmas Eve three ghosts of Christmas past visited him in his sleep.

It’s the girl who is truly happy when her friend gets engaged and she’s not, her life is marked by giving. It’s the family with financial struggles who is happy for their friends who get to go on vacations all the time. 

For most people it’s all about getting. Are you consumed and primarily motivated by what you get? Or are you primarily motivated by giving? 

#6 Would you rather achieve a status or make a difference? 

Achieve a status or make a difference? If you had to pick one legacy, which one? 

It’s not a sin to become a leader, to be called the president or the pastor of something, or the CEO or the director or whatever it is. It’s not a sin, but there’s something more important than achieving a title, and that’s making a difference.

During his earthly life, Jesus never held a political office, He was never the head of a company, He never ran any official organization. He never achieved or accomplished a particular degree from an educational institution. He never wrote a book. He didn’t achieve a status, but you know what He did, right? Of course you do, He made a difference. Has he made a difference in your life?

If it’s all about making a difference, helping people, making an impact in their life, you may or may not get the title. But you will get greatness.

#1 Do you allow others to serve you?
#2 Do you serve others with selfless motives?
#3 Are you willing to do menial tasks?
#4 Are you a lazy or disorganized person?
#5 Do you choose to be happy for others when they experience what you can’t?
#6 Would you rather achieve a status or make a difference? 

Your role today is to not make your name known, it’s to make the name of Jesus known and to lift others up without care of people noticing. God sees it. And you’ll be great.   

Thanks for reading, you are loved. 

Z

1 Question to Improve Your Family Dynamic

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Before Jesus enters into human history as an infant, the nations who ruled the world used their power and resources to attain more power and resources. The Egyptians did it. The Babylonians did it. The Greeks did it. The Persians did it. The Romans did it. After hundreds of years of misuse and abuse of power by each flavor-of-the-dynasty world power, here comes Jesus. He doesn’t utilize His power and resources to get more. Jesus intentionally chooses to use His power and resources to serve others.

A few decades after Jesus defeats death and starts the church, it’s shared how we move toward the life we were created to live. We don’t exist to hoard from others or boss around others, but rather, we live sacrificially like Jesus, improving the lives of others.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. – Ephesians 5:21

When it comes to the above imperative, non-Christians are off the hook. Applying this wisdom is where a better life is found, but it’s not mandatory for those who don’t love Jesus above all.

For those who are Christ-followers, Ephesians 5:21 is not optional. Christians must adhere to this lifelong, life-giving principle of mutual submission, especially within the family unit, which is the context of the above verse. Wives respect their husbands, husbands love their wives, kids obey their parents.

PROFOUND FAMILIES PRACTICE MUTUAL SUBMISSION DAILY. 

Each member of the family submits to one another. Not because they’ve earned it. Not because they started serving first so favors are returned to keep it balanced. Not to use them for something wanted. We serve/love/forgive/are loyal/patient/thankful to show Jesus is the Leader of our heart and our choices. When Jesus is Lord/King/Ruler over our daily lives, the home becomes profound. Show me a home that is struggling and we can find multiple people being self-centered.

When selfishness/laziness/blurriness occurs for too long, and members of a household have a come-to-Jesus meeting and all agree that no one in the family is more lovable than the other, more important than the other, and they commit to serving one another, not themselves, BOOM! That’s a family I want to be around and a home I want my kids to visit frequently.

There is a question we can ask that may be the answer to our own prayers. It’s a question that can propel the family toward the kind of home and legacy God wants for us. It’s a question little in words but significant in potential impact. It’s asking this to those you live with and are responsible to love:

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP YOU?

Simple, short and sweet. What can I do to help you? Should you choose to accept it, this is your perpetual homework assignment. Ask the above question a few times to everyone in your home each week. If you live alone, ask, What can I do to help someone in my daily life? If you live with family, ask this, be a good listener and watch how different family life progresses.

For the tweens/teens/young adults in the home 

Here’s a hot little tip: Go into your parent’s bedroom (you might want to knock first), look them in these things on their heads called eyes, (put your phone down), speak to them, (don’t text this to them) and ask, Mom/dad, what can I do around this home, in this family, to help you?

Once your mom comes to after passing out, ask again, What can I do to help you?

Taking it a step further, if  you want to win some major points, ask this question when your family has friends over. Your parents are having dinner at home with some friends, you’re heading out for the night, and you say, Hey, I’m about ready to jet (do teens today say, “jet”?), but before I leave, I wanted to ask: Mom, dad, is there anything I can do right now to help you out?

The look on the faces of your parent’s friends will be worth the entire moment. Mom will start crying out of sheer joy and will post on her Facebook: #blessed. Dad will say, C’mere Jr. Grab the keys to the Lexus you can have it. You’re like, Dad, I’m 13.

If you mean it and follow through on it, this question improves everything.

For the parents and step parents

Look at your children and ask, What can I do to help you?

Parents be like: EVERYTHING I DO IS FOR THEM. I get up at 5:00AM for them, make meals for them, and I’m doing homework with them and I’m building all kinds of projects for them and I’m chauffeuring them around the county and I’m giving them money and I’m rooting for them and I’m teaching life lessons to them. Great job being a parent. Keep going.

It’s something more significant to sit on their bed at night, look at them and say: Hey, I know life is busy and you’ve got a lot of pressure on you in multiple areas. I want to ask, is there anything I can do to help you out? If they don’t open up, keep asking this until they do, and when they do, pray with them over their answer and then go to work on helping them.

It changes the vibe in the home because with a conversational moment like that, you’re not in parenting mode of clean this/drive here/provide that/punish them, but rather they see you as someone who can help improve how their life is currently going.

For the wives

For you to ask your husband, in gentleness, sweetness and concern, to say, I know you’re busy. I know you’re stressed. I know there’s pressure. I’m thankful for all you do. What can I do to help you?

Ladies, please know if you don’t already that you’ll most likely get this response from us husbands: Nothing. I’m good. I’ll be fine. You do a lot already. The reason we instinctively have this response is because we think we can handle anything and most men wrongly assume transparency is weak when really being vulnerable is one of the most Christ-like things a man can do. Some of my most intimate moments with Whit is when I was broken, honest, weak and in need.

What wives and children may forget is that the husband/father places on himself a tremendous, daily weight of providing for, protecting and leading the family. And when the wife reminds the husband that it’s God who protects and provides for the family and that it’s God who is in control of the present and the future and it’s God who is the Leader of the home and all the family needs to do is trust God and serve each other: #profoundfamily.

For the husbands

This question of, What can I do to help you?, asking this to your wife is something that scares you to death, (if I enjoyed emojis, I would insert a smiley face here, but I do not so I will not), right? Husband, you know she’s got a list of how you can actually, immediately help her and you’re paralyzed in fear that her list does not end. But I’m an optimist. Maybe she’ll be so shocked you took time to ask how you can come alongside her that she’ll be speechless and then it’s a win-win.

Asking, What can I do to help you?, in sincerity, it will begin to break down the walls that have numbed or distanced the marriage because previously when she’s asked you for help, she’s internally braced herself inside knowing you were going to be impatient or frustrated from her bothering you. Husbands, ask this question and see what happens. Or don’t. Your choice. But I want us to be profound.

Profound families are families that practice mutual submission daily and a most effective way to practice mutual submission is to ask: What can I do to help you?

I was only allowed to watch G-rated, animated movies during my childhood growing up so you’ll get a lot of 90’s Disney references in this blog. Remember in Beauty and the Beast when the Beast was trying to change, trying to be nice to Belle, inviting her to dinner, giving her a new dress, wanting to be a friend for her, wanting to comfort her after sending her father away? The Beast extended the hand of fellowship asking Belle to dinner but she refuses. It angered the Beast. I believe his exact words after attempting to be courteous were, THEN GO AHEAD AND STAAAAAAAAAAARVE!!!!!! He thought change would happen instantly if he decided to be nice once. I’m assuming some of you are worried about the vulnerability that will be out there when you ask if you can help your family when you haven’t been that helpful recently.

Be vulnerable anyway. Be humble anyway. Ask the question. If things don’t go as you expected after asking how you can help, be patient. Be persistent. Don’t react as furry Adam does (that’s the Beast’s first name, you’re welcome).

The problem in our homes – which leads to problems in our school, in our church, in our community – the problem at home isn’t too much of, I’m here to help you. The problem in our home is too much of you’re here to help me. 

A family struggles, a church struggles, a community struggles, a nation struggles when the majority think, You’re here to help me, so get to it. 

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. – Ephesians 5:21

What. Can. I. Do. To. Help. You?

Thanks for reading. You are loved.

Z