Speaker: Tim Bollinger

From the series Step Out & Serve 2024

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Can you believe it’s here? Does it seem like it? Step out and serve. Weekend. So many things going on. So many things to fill our lives with. And yet what an honor and privilege to be able to just pause for a moment on a Friday evening on a beautiful Michigan summer day and be able to come in here and to sing songs, be able to pray, to open God’s word, to be inspired by His Word once again, to receive Holy Communion, where we receive the forgiveness of sins, and then to end our time together by commissioning those who God has laid on their heart to give up their most precious resource, their time to go out, and to simply be available to watch God at work in our community. Amen. Isn’t that awesome? Maybe this is your first time here. Maybe it’s your first time tuning in online and you’re like, what is step out in serve? And it’s this opportunity where our church for one weekend, or we move our Sunday service to Friday night and we just say, God, we want to we want to be people that aren’t just about us. 

We want to be people that are willing to step out outside the walls of our own church and to serve others in practical ways. And in so, by going and serving that maybe there be doors of opportunities that would open up for us to share the hope that we have found in Jesus. Now, I have good news for you tonight. I’m only going to give a ten minute message. How many believe I can stick to ten minutes? Okay. I want to just give you a little bit of what’s going to happen tonight. I am going to give just a short devotional. I would love to walk through our entire text because that’s me. I would love to spend the next 40 minutes. But I also know it’s Friday night and everyone’s already lived a full day today and we just fed you something incredible. Kroger deep fried chicken. So you’re not going to pay attention anyway. Yeah, give the kitchen staff a hand. Go ahead. So we’re just going to we’re we’re going to look at a few verses in the scriptures tonight. But then afterwards we’re going to feed you spiritually. We’re going to partake of Holy Communion together. 

And after we receive Holy Communion, we do have one of our local mission partners who is here today. And he’s going to share just a little bit about what is going on in their, ministry and how Shepherd’s Gate is actually involved in their ministry this year. First step out and serve. And so we’re going to watch a video. He’ll he’ll share a little bit about their organization. And then we’ll end. If you’ve been here before for this. If you haven’t no worries. We will do our formal commissioning prayer over all of our leaders and participants. So does that sound good? So you’re like, get into it because you’re already wasting time, right? Okay, here we go. Our mission here at Shepherd’s Gate, if you didn’t know, is to impact the world with the love of Jesus. And when we say those words, the world actually also includes our local community. That’s actually where Jesus told the disciples to go first in acts one when he said, go into Jerusalem, then go to Judea, then go to Samaria, and then go to the ends of the earth. But you got to start with your own local community and stepping out and being there. 

So Matthew, chapter ten, Jesus says these words, as you are saying this to the disciples, proclaim this message. The kingdom of heaven has come near. That I’m here, that I came to this earth is what Jesus is saying, and that I am the fulfillment of all of the prophecies in the Old Testament. And I’ve come to restore what was broken in the garden into reverse, kind of the way, and the directory of where people have been led in their faith up to this point. And as you go, remember that’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to spread the message of Jesus. And by doing that, you’re going to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons, because freely you have received and freely you should give. Now, you might be looking at that verse and saying, well, how can we don’t see more people being healed of sickness? How come we don’t get to see anybody raised from the dead? Why don’t we see more people being delivered from demons? If anyone ever asked that or wondered that. 

You think one of the reasons may be we don’t pray for it, but we don’t actually ask God and see God. There’s people in our community, there’s people that are struggling, whether it’s with addictions or they’re struggling with personal areas of their life, that you could actually be a conduit by Almighty God to bring healing and hope to another person on this planet. I would say that these things actually do continue to take place, and one of the really cool things that they just started doing actually last year, this year will be the second year that they do it is they have teams of prayer partners, and they’re going to be going around to the different sites, and their only role is to guess what, pray. And they’re coming. They’re not just to pray for your safety. And my safety. They’re specifically going to pray that the gates of heaven would open up and that lives would be changed. Here’s the thing you don’t have to wait for the prayer partner to come to your site for God to work through you in a spiritual way. It is interesting that here we are on the 16th anniversary of Step Out in Surf. 16 years of doing this as a church. And it is incredible just those of you that have been part of this from the very beginning and and you’ve been faithful to partner with us and to go out and to serve, and you have all the pictures and the memories. 

I mean, I remember when my wife was pregnant with our firstborn and she was handing out bottles of water. That was her job to hand out water to other participants and watching them as they were little. And, you know, we’d go to the nursing home and one of the nursing homes that I always remember so vividly as we were playing games with the residents, is because they had free ice cream. And I told Ron, I said, I want to sign up for this site every single year. But I love the fact that we get our kids involved in ministry here at Shepherds Gate, that this isn’t just for a certain age group or for a certain skill set, that everyone can do something. And that’s one of the models that we’ve adopted. And what’s so cool is there’s obviously people that maybe weren’t available June 1st and second, they weren’t able to help the next couple of days. And so they got a head start on things and they were able to go out and serve even before this weekend. And one of our newer families actually posted something on Facebook. And I wanted you to see this because I think this is just so cool. 

They said they’re so proud to be part of Shepherd’s Gate Church, where for a week, the congregation jumps outside the church walls to spread the love of Jesus and serve the community. This is our way. I love this doing. Step out and survey was so fun. The kids were so excited to shop and deliver an ice cream party to our hardworking local firefighters and paramedics. I share this not to show what we did, but what God is doing. The lives of hundreds of people and then look at what she wrote next. This is incredible. Okay, our church loves. Her, she said her heart is tingling. My heart was bursting. She knows our vision statement here at Shepherds Gate and she posted it on her social media page. Is it not incredible? Every single person is valuable. Every single person has a story. Every single person needs to hear the hope they can have in Jesus. And all it takes is us going everywhere, taking that first step in living generously with everything, with the time that God has given us and the financial resources that we could go and do what we do this weekend. 

Well, as Jesus is going through Matthew chapter ten news, he’s sending the disciples out. He’s actually telling them that you’re going to run into some people that aren’t going to be very happy, that you’re telling them about me, that there’s going to be some difficulties and some people are actually going to come against you, and if they persecuted you, they’re going to persecute me. And some of you, you know, you might end up in prison, but don’t worry, I got your back. I’m here for you. And so he actually uses these words to comfort them. He says, are not two sparrows sold for a penny yet? Not one of them will fall to the ground outside your father’s care, and even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. And all my bold friends, together we say Amen. So what? Don’t be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows. Kids in this room. As you go out and you serve and you’re going to use your hands and you’re going to use, you know, your time to bless others. You have nothing to fear. Realize that God is in you and he is with you, and he goes before you, and he’s going to prepare your sight in the place that you’re going to do ministry. 

And finally, he ends this way in verse 42, he says this if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones, who is my disciple? Truly, I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward. And if you haven’t been to the bathroom yet, or if you can’t see around this corner, I cannot believe how many bottles of water are stacked against this wall. Ron, do you know how many bottles of water? A lot of water. But here’s the thing. This is what you got to remember. Step out and serve as an opportunity for us to show people it’s not about us. And it’s not about now. Here’s the reality we don’t know by just being the presence of Jesus this weekend, how God will use that opportunity. You might be there to plant a seed. You might be there to change someone’s perspective about the church and church people, and just willing to serve and do a landscaping project, or fix a bathroom, or paint a wall, or whatever the project site may require of you, that God, through the Holy Spirit, because you are there, has the ability to reach another human being’s heart. So here’s what I want you to know. 

Let the work that you do this weekend, whatever it is, whatever form it is, maybe you’re going to be here at Shepherds Gate and you’re going to be part of putting together packages or care packages or or whatever it is that that you have signed up to do. You may be there doing that because of the person next to you, because of some hardship that they’re going through. And somehow God’s going to use that moment in that connection to open up their lives, that you could make an eternal difference in somebody else’s life. So let me give you this final challenge, because I already went over ten minutes. Let the work that you do be the excuse. Don’t get so focused on the task at hand that you don’t see the beautiful people that are right in front of you and be praying and asking God to give you the words, don’t be afraid. Like he told the disciples. And when that moment comes, if the door is open, that you would be able to share just a little bit about who Jesus is, how he’s changed your life, and why this church does what it does every single year. Amen, Amen.