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Serving

service

Healing through Serving

My Mom died and went to spend eternity with Jesus in September of 2014. It was a very hard time for me but God was with me. I don’t say that flippantly—I saw Him working in my life before, during and after to help me get through this season. His presence was tangible.

Leading up to this time, God had me working with Generous Giving to bring more Journey of Generosity’s (JOGs) to the Bay Area. A JOG is a 24 hour retreat where Christians gather to discuss, in a safe environment, generosity. I attended my first JOG in August of 2014 and then two weeks later, JOG facilitator training to be in a position to share this magnificent experience with others.

Five days before my Mom died, I met a new friend while serving at City Impact’s Adopt a Building program. Jojo was going through a painful divorce and needed someone to talk to. I felt honored to be able to minister to him.

Around the same time, my friend Nelson asked me to help him in a program to teach teenagers in the Bayview area about finances.

I could have opted out of all of these quite easily, but I felt led by God to serve. I began to sense a correlation between serving and healing. Could it be God’s plan that we help others while going through a painful season in our lives?

When we look at the last hours of Jesus life what do we see?

  1. Him feeding and then washing the feet of his closest friends. Matthew 26:26-29
  2. Asking God to forgive those who were crucifying Him. Luke 23:34
  3. Sharing salvation with the criminals on the cross so they could have eternal life with Him. Luke 23:43
  4. Making sure His Mom was taken care of by his closest friend John. John 19:26-27

I have no theological backing for this next statement but I believe it was God’s purpose for Jesus to continue ministering to others right up to the end in order to endure his darkest time on earth. In essence, to take the focus off of Himself and place it onto others.

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

We know we are to be like Jesus. We may often think of this from a point of view of holiness, but we can follow his example when it comes to healing too.

I believe Jesus shows us how to deal with the great pain that comes into our life so we may finish the race God created us for, like Jesus did, like Paul did, like I pray you and I do.

What stories of serving through pain do you have?

content

Arabia—A Time with God

Saul persecuted people of the Way. He witnessed Steven being stoned to death. He was marching his way to Damascus to inflict more persecutions when Jesus Christ met him and confronted him about his activities.

Saul was blinded, filled with the Holy Spirit, regained his sight, became a Christ-follower and was baptized, then started proclaiming the name of Jesus in the synagogues.

After a little time he went to Arabia. For three years! This hard-charging man was in the desert for three years. His job was taken away as he no longer had a heart for it. He lost all of his friends, his co-workers, and those who were part of the mission to persecute people of the Way. His life completely changed.

What happened during these three years?

Could God have spent this time rebuilding the foundation of his life and faith? Saul had been going very hard for a very long time, possibly never stopping. (This sounds oddly familiar to me.) How cool it would have been to eavesdrop on the conversations between Saul and God.

Maybe during this time he learned to be content?

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Philippians 4:11).

Maybe he learned about Jesus’ grace and what Jesus had given up for him and everyone?

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Maybe he learned how to live and what to die for?

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

Maybe he learned to count others more significant than himself?

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

Maybe he learned to rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4) even when you have been beaten and thrown in jail?

“And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:23-25).

Maybe he learned that it is far better to give than to receive? (Acts 20:35) Undoubtedly Saul became Paul—a completely new man. It was that time away from everything and everyone except God that caused this change.

When was the last time you were away from everyone and everything except God? Are we missing the life we were created to live because we have not had our time away with God?

shed

S.H.E.D. (Seek Him Every Day)

In order for me to say yes to Jesus being my CEO, I had to pray about what He wanted me to keep in the life He had entrusted to me.

These are the things I laid at the altar:

  1. The house we lived in.
  2. The car I drove.
  3. My career.
  4. The private golf membership.
  5. Hospital foundation board spot.
  6. Committee at the YMCA.
  7. Working out M-F at 5:30am.
  8. Large office space.
  9. Working ‘till 6pm most days.
  10. The MBA in Financial Planning I was pursuing.
  11. Where to live.

Surprise—God got rid of almost the entire list except for my career, and moved us to the Bay Area from LA.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

All of these activities were outside of God’s will for my life. I learned that if we are not asking God what He wants us to do, we can get off track—even if we are going to church, reading the Bible, and going to Bible study class.

As you can see, I had to shed a lot!

I now had space to seek Him every day. My relationships improved. God also slowly got rid of the façade I had in LA, so that I’m more fully the person He wants me to be.

I am now running my race better—not perfectly—but much better and more efficiently than before. I learned God’s way is so much better than my way.

How about you? Did you have to shed anything in order to seek Him every day?

marvel

Marveled at

We all want to be marveled at, don’t we? Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to chase after adoration from strangers and friends alike. We put ourselves out there on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and every social media outlet you can think of—including blogs! Our goal is to be marveled at—for people to think we are special.

I’m guilty of this, and it’s a battle I fight daily.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines “marvel” as “one that evokes surprise, admiration, or wonder.” That doesn’t sound like such a bad thing. We want to be admired and “liked.” Isn’t that one of the main drivers getting us to these social media sites so often?

But what if we had a different mindset? What if everything we did, we did with the goal of being marveled at by Jesus?

Think of the centurion who inspired Jesus to say these words:

“I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith” (Luke 7:9).

Jesus was really impressed by the Centurions faith; so much so that He wanted to tell others. Jesus even added emphasis, using the equivalent of “I’m telling you!” Jesus marveled at the centurion’s faith.

I want so badly for Jesus to be impressed with my faith and with all of my actions. But I fall short. I still care more about what others think than what Jesus thinks.

This is changing! I’m headed in the right direction, but it’s a fight every day.

How about you? How are you doing when it comes to being marveled at by Jesus and others?

givingtuesday

Giving Tuesday

I love that we have a “Giving Tuesday.” It’s only been around since 2012, and I think it’s a fantastic addition to our holiday lineup of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and all the rest.

What a concept – a day in which we focus on giving to causes that are close to our hearts. We can give to those who need what we have, which not only helps them, it changes our hearts. Giving freely and generously can move us closer and closer to God.

What a cool thought: A people united, on one day, across the world, stopping to give. It’s a movement I’m happy to be part of!

What if we kept the giving going? What if every Tuesday was Giving Tuesday? What if it didn’t feel like an obligation but a privilege? I know many of you already give intentionally and regularly. But a reminder never hurts. Let’s think about how we can make giving an even more integral part of our lives.

Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than receive.” I think we all understand what he meant because of the way we feel when we’re able to give something of value to help someone else.

Did you participate in Giving Tuesday this year? How does “giving” fit into your life on a regular basis?

gratitude

Getting into the Christmas Spirit

Here we are again—the holiday season. Thanksgiving is here, Christmas is coming, and we’re supposed to be full of joy and gratitude. Or at least act like we are!

But I’m not feeling it. Have you ever struggled with this? I have an awesome family and a great life, and  I’m grateful—but I always have a hard time getting into the “Christmas spirit.”

And even when I do, I find it easy to get overwhelmed by the commercial aspects of the season and the overwhelming social requirements. (Christmas parties! Christmas shopping!) I need reminders to focus on the simple ideas of family and gratitude and Jesus as the “reason for the season.”

So this year I’m doing something about it! And I’m inviting you along for the ride.

*30 Ways to Cultivate Gratitude During the Holidays*

My team and I have created a free giveaway. It’s a downloadable PDF of 30 scripture-rooted actions we can do between Thanksgiving and Christmas to help us improve our gratitude this season.

Some will be reminders; some may even be brand-new ideas. My hope is that we’ll take some action in the next month to become more grateful.

Sign up to receive my blog in your inbox at greghurley.com (sign up on left, or if you are on your phone, at bottom of page) and receive this awesome gratitude giveaway FREE!

Here’s to a better Christmas Season, unlike any we have had in the past, full of real gratitude!

But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)