S.E.R.V.E.
 
 
(Luke 22:26 KJV) But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
 
I have to give credit where credit is deserved for this model of leadership that I am about to share with you. it comes from the book The Secret: What Great Leaders Know--And Do, by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller.
 
I read the book a while ago and have been wanting to talk about it but never really had the opportunity. So I am looking forward to working some of the ideas into today's message for you.  To begin with, I think it is important for us all to know that God has called us all to be leaders. You have been called to lead your children, or your younger brothers or sisters. You have been called to be leaders in your community. You have been called to be leaders in the kingdom of God.  Before we go into the leadership model let's look at our scripture verse in context and see exactly what God is telling us here.
 
 
(Luke 22:24-26 CEV) The apostles got into an argument about which one of them was the greatest. So Jesus told them: Foreign kings order their people around, and powerful rulers call themselves everyone's friends. But don't be like them. The most important one of you should be like the least important, and your leader should be like a servant.
 
Now here we go again with that upside down kingdom. Give to receive, serve to lead, die to yourself to live the abundant life.... Sometimes it can get a little confusing.
 
As we look at what was going on here, we see that the apostles, Jesus disciples, were having power struggles. You have power struggles everywhere there are people. even if there is just one person, that person will have power struggles within themselves. You have power struggles in the work place, You have power struggles in the home. You have power struggles in the church, boy do you power struggles in the church..... Not my church...OH NO!!!!! it is just all the other churches.... right? Right!!!!!!
 
The fact is we all desire to be recognized and accomplish some good things. The thing that we get confused, is in how to be a good leader. A good leader does not sit on his throne all day and get fed bon-bons. A good leader leads. and the only way to lead is to be out front.
 
We have been created to do great things. look real quickly with me in the book of Ephesians and re-discover some purpose in your life.
 
 
(Ephesians  2:8-9 KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
 
OK you should know those two verses, so you know that it is not the things that you do that you should be boasting about, but the next verse tell us that it is the things that you do, that you have been created for:
 
(Ephesians 2:10 KJV) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
 
We have been created by God unto... or For the purpose of doing  great things that God had planned for us from the foundations of the Earth. Now, here I want to take a little bunny trail about the difference between predestination and pre-ordained. You have a choice. God has got great plans for you but you can choose to walk in them or not. God has given you unlimited potential, you can use it or not. God has planted in you the seeds of greatness, you can chose to let that greatness grow up in you or not. Even Jesus was given the choice. He was predestined from the foundations of the earth to die upon that cross for our sins, but in that garden before he was taken, and even while He was upon that cross, he could have chosen not to drink from that cup. You are given new opportunities every day. Every day you get to choose to lead or to follow. You get to chose to bring God glory or to sit in darkness. You get to chose to fulfill the call that God has placed upon your life, and in so doing, experience the blessing and the abundant life that He has prepared for you, or to sit and complain about how you  were never given a break. OUCH!!!! that is enough of that painful little bunny trail... let's get back to learning how to lead by serving....
 
OK, So we have learned that we have been created to do great thing. We have been called to be great and Jesus tells us that if we want to be great then we have to serve. Now, for that model of S.E.R.V.E.
 
Every letter is going to stand for a different aspect of leadership and service. As we learn how to better serve we will become better leaders.
 
The first letter is "S" it stands for:
 
 See the future: We each need to have vision of where we are going and where we want to go. You have to have goals and set benchmarks for success. If you do not aim for anything will will hit nothing. The Bible tells us that without vision the people scatter. If you want to accomplish anything in your life you have to set that goal in front of you. Get a vision of what God desires for you. When it says "see the future," don't just get some pie in the sky idea, but actually see yourself doing it, accomplishing it. Sometimes you have to visualize yourself successful in order for you to become successful. We too often concentrate on the mistakes we have made in the past and not enough on the potential success that awaits us in the future. It is good to look at your failures to learn from them but don't make your failures your model. See yourself as the success that God created you to become. Get a vision and develop a plan on how to get there.
 
The next letter in the SERVE model is the E
 
Engage and develop others. You can not make yourself the center of the universe. The more you put others above you the higher you will grow. When you start to focus your life outside yourself and decide to try to help someone else out, you discover abilities and talents that you never knew you had. Jesus taught this over and over agian. If you want to lead then help someone grow. Zig Zigler, the great sales motivator said "If you help enough people get what they want, you will have what ever you want." Or something like that.... The idea is to lift up others. It really is all about helping your neighbor. Get other people excited about the plans that God has for their lives. Get people engaged, not necessarily in your plan, but in helping them discover their own vision.
 
OK, now the third letter is  R. this one might be a little hard for some of us.
 
Reinvent constantly. That means change. Change can be real hard for some of us. But if you want to do things better you are going to have to do them differently. You have to be different to be better. Do not be satisfied with the status quo. So wheater we are talking about your health, or your finances or your relationships you have to constantly examine what you are doing and find a better way of doing it. Do you remember the Japanese word that I taught you which means constant and continual improvement. the word is KIEZEN. In order for you to get from here, to where you want to go, you are going to have to constantly evaluate where you are, and see what you have to stop doing that is keeping you back, and discover what you have to start doing to get you to go forward. The important thing is to go forward.
 
Now for the "V."
 
Value results and relationships. Sometimes when we get wrapped up in our own agenda and set out eyes upon the prize of a given project we forget the people helping us get there and instead of walking with them along this path of success we end up stepping on other people's toes or even worse walk on others backs to get where we want to go. All that is going to do is to give us a harder fall from the top of the house of cards that we built for ourselves. We need to value both the results of our efforts and the relationships that we build while getting there.
 
I have to take another little bunny trail here because relationships are so important to where you are going in life. The point I want to make here is made clear by the fact that you are who you hang out with. Show me your friends and I will show you your future. Sometimes we have to evaluate our relationships. We are constantly building and cutting ties with people. Sometimes God brings us divine appointments with people that we can help along this journey of life and that can help us and at other times the enemy will put people in our path that are there to trip us up and trip us up and trip us up. Sometimes you have to make the hard call and cut some ties. Too often cutting those ties that we know are holding us down become harder than making new ties that will lift us up. The Bible is clear that we need to shake the dust off our feet of those negative influences in our lives.... And you know exactly who they are!
 
Enough said.
 
The important thing hear is to value good relationships and build good relationships with good people. Do not find yourself unequally yoked with people who are dragging you further and further away from God and your purpose in life of bringing Him glory. Value results, Value relationships.
 
Then the last letter is E
 
Embody the values. That mean walk the walk. What are your values? What are the things that you believe in and find worth living for. Things like integrity and truth and honesty and handwork and trustworthiness, and compassion and generosity and diligence and wisdom. What are the things you value? Look into yourself and ask yourself what is it in life that you really do value? Your values will perforce your actions. In other words they will be the underlying things that determine what you do with your life because you do what you value the most. If you value your family, you will spend time with your family. If you value your friends you will spend time with your friends. Where your treasure lies there will your heart be found. 
 
So Embody the values you set. Don't make rules for others you yourself do not follow. But follow the values of your heart. Jesus said that if you abide in Him He will abide in you. If you obey His commandments then you are abiding in Him. Then He goes on to tell us that this is His commandment that you love one another. His main value is Love. He embodies love. God is LOVE. so I ask you again, What is it that you value? What is it that you are embodying? 
 
Let's try to wrap this up by keeping in mind who we are and who God has called us to be. Too often we put God in a box and in so doing we put limitations on what he desires for our lives.  We suffer in pain because we have decided that  is what God has for us. We live in poverty because we have boxed God up in a world of limited finances. We settle for the crumbs when God has invited us the the table. Sometimes we just need to realize who we are in Christ. Let's go back to that original passage of scripture where the disciples are arguing about who will be the leader and Jesus tells them how the greatest will be the one that serves the most.
 
(Luke 22:28=30 BBE) But you are those who have kept with me through my troubles; And I will give you a kingdom as my Father has given one to me, So that you may take food and drink at my table in my kingdom, and be seated like kings, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

God desires the best for you. Too long you have held back from being all that God has called you to be. Now it its time to let God out of that Box and walk in the blessing that he has planned for your life. I remember a little thought about a box I will close with this and know that God has called you to lead. He has called you to rule and to reign with Him. See the vision that God has for your life. Engage and develop others, reinvent yourself constantly, value both results and relationships and and embody your values. That is the way to serve. That is the way to be great.

No Box

    There is no box made by God nor us

                                                But that the sides can be flattened out
                                                And the top blown off
                                                To make a dance floor on which
                                                To celebrate life.
 
Jesus came that you would have life and to have it in great abundance. Live life to it's fullest and be blessed and highly favored of the LORD!!!!!!!