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Just Do It!

Message transcript of September 6, 2015 from Melvin Gaines:

The mission of Nike, Inc., a renowned international athletic shoe and apparel company, is to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world,” and they quickly add, “if you have a body, you are an athlete.”

Nike started from humble beginnings where employees were selling shoes out of their cars to become the world’s leader with global revenues of over $27 billion dollars.

The name “Nike,” originating from the Greek goddess of the same name standing for “victory,” has been around for over forty years, and over that time it has defined and redefined the sports fitness industry, but not without its own missteps. The company misjudged the popularity of the aerobics and fitness movement in the mid 1980s and veered off into the casual shoe market. Its growth also outpaced its management and effective decision-making, and it had slipped from its position as the top-selling shoe.

To reverse this trend, Nike hired Weiden+Kennedy, a well-known advertising agency, and they came up with the one of the top slogans of the 20th Century, “Just Do It,” which made its debut for the company in 1988. The words “just do it” propelled Nike’s popularity to its top position in the industry. Three years after the debut of “Just Do It,” the company had tripled its revenue to over $3 billion dollars, and has not looked back since.

“Just do it” may be a catchy slogan with staying power, but it is readily acknowledged as the language of today’s lifestyle that inspires people to get up and move. It is associated with good health, getting and staying in shape, and remaining active in all parts of life. This also has application within our faith.

Consider that the words “just do it” for Jesus Christ reflect a healthy relationship in service for Him. James expresses this very clearly as he addressed believers in Christ with the importance of a working faith:

James 2:14-17 ESV

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

A servant of Jesus Christ absolutely needs to live under the premise of “just do it” in order to live as Christ provided His life as an example for us. We are to live as servants of Christ in a world where servanthood is more of the exception than the rule. Chuck Swindoll notes, “we live in a world where many have adopted “an independent, self-sufficient, survival-of-the-fittest mentality.” God has called us to be distinct in a positive way in the world, and to make a difference. The difference is living the “just do it” way as Jesus did:

Mark 10:45

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life-—a ransom for many.

Jesus provided a demonstration of what it is to be a servant by washing the feet of the apostles. He provided an explanation for them when He was finished:

John 13:12-17

When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you. I assure you: A slave is not greater than his master, and a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”

Jesus showed them the power of servanthood, which is the essence of living a Christlike existence. To be in service for Christ is to live for Christ. He assures those who are living for Him that He will always be present in whatever is being done in His name:

John 12:26 ESV

If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

You can see how “just do it” can be a launching point for a person who is eager to serve Jesus Christ. Being a servant requires a willingness to do it and it takes practice to begin to master it. But what if you don’t know where to begin this process? In this instance, the best place to begin is the beginning.

  1. Just do it (now)!

Being a servant begins with a willingness to do something that will bring a positive change in someone’s life. It does not necessarily require that you need to use any special talent or ability. It may be moving furniture to reorganize a room or to help someone move from an apartment to a new home. It may be standing at the church doorway and greeting people while handing out the week’s church bulletin. Sometimes, it means buying a meal or even some groceries for a family who is in need. In a world where people are more often self-focused then not, the ability to step out and simply do something for someone is refreshingly distinctive. It’s the beginning step in a life of servanthood.

  1. Just do it without expecting anything in return

There is a way to treat people, and being a servant is no exception to this. A servant in Christ is to live in such a way that it is natural to do the right thing for someone, and to not expect anything in return or create a burden of obligation for the other person.

First, the essence of “doing what is right” is the foundation of what Jesus Christ represents:

Matthew 7:12 HCSB

Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them—-this is the Law and the Prophets.

The ways of the world normally see acts of compassion with suspicion. For some people, it is difficult to accept a person’s help because it is a societal norm that the help is to be reciprocated. As a servant of Jesus Christ, your acts of service are performed with a heart for Jesus and without any need or expectation for the person to do anything in return. The moment that the burden of returning the favor is left in place, that is when Christ’s presence is less visible, and when He is less likely to be glorified as you serve. We serve Christ freely and without any burden for ourselves and for others. People need to see the light and airy love of Christ in everything that you do in service for Him:

Matthew 11:28-30 HCSB

“Come to Me (Jesus), all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Our service for Christ, as we develop our heart for service, should also be an expression of what it is to live a life of freedom for Him (John 8:36).

  1. Just do it…and put some heart into it!

A servant for Christ not only demonstrates the example of Christlike behavior to others, but also learns the perspective of servanthood with the heart and mind of Jesus. As you learn more about Jesus through His Word and live in obedience to Him, He will most certainly transform you as you live as His example before others. Being refreshingly distinctive from the world means being set apart in a positive way. People will see your heart for Christ in what you do. To be set apart involves changing from your old self to not only become a new creature, but a creature that becomes more and more Christ-like every day.”

Romans 12:1-2 HCSB

Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

Chuck Swindoll notes that a servant for Christ must change to avoid the world’s reasoning and conform to the thoughts of Jesus:

“How? By a radical transformation within. By a renewed thought pattern that demonstrates authentic godlikeness. Living differently begins with thinking differently.”

Living for Christ in this renewed mind will allow you to see the compassion of Christ in everything that you do for others.

Your servanthood with a heart for Jesus will be seen by people who don’t know Him personally as a wonderful introduction (and perhaps an invitation) to who He is. A servant for Christ truly is a light in a very dark world:

Matthew 5:14-16 HCSB

“You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Chuck Swindoll noted that the opportunities to reach the lost, through servanthood, are limitless, and in your service, you personally receive joy in your accomplishments through your fellowship with Jesus Christ:

“In every town, every neighborhood, and on every block there are lonely and sometimes unlovely men and women who need to experience the love of Jesus. In every city there are children who have never known a gentle touch or a loving smile.” “There are acts of love and mercy that God has already prepared for you, so that you might share in His joy–so that you might grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

A life of servanthood for Jesus Christ is a life that embodies ministry in fulfillment of His Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Your obedience and faithfulness to Him will be a witness for Him in everything that you do. Now, all that you need to do is “just do it.”

 

For references, refer to Just Do It! research paper here.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines

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Workplace Relationships and Your Ministry

The following is an excerpt from a workshop segment at Akron Alliance Fellowship Church from Your Workplace and Neighborhood Ministry, September 13, 2008: 

The demands for excellence and performance on the job is ever present today and seems to be the case whether the economy is doing very well or not so well. Companies are feeling the pressure to remain competitive and are looking for ways to increase revenue while keeping costs and expenses under control. This pressure to perform is pushed down onto the workers—the people that are in the trenches, so to speak, who are called upon to do more work in what one can argue is less time to do it. The 40-hour week is becoming more of a myth as it has forced many to extend their time on the job to meet the demands of their workload. All of these factors still require all persons within the organization, from the executives, managers, support staff and specialists, to perform at a high level of excellence in order to remain successful and competitive.

Many organizations correlate good working relationships with productivity and profitability. Hundreds of thousands of dollars will be spent this year by companies providing seminars and workshops for their employees that will focus on their ability to improve upon their communication, achieving trust, identifying strengths and weaknesses—all in the effort to train up and make the company more effective. Even with all of this effort, our particular seminar is going to look at how the employee can operate in ministry with the standard of God’s Word as the foundation of everything that is accomplished.

If you were at our last seminar in April (2008) when we presented Your Relationship with Your Contemporaries, the verse that we commonly refer to as the verse best associated with honoring God in the workplace:

Colossians 3:22-24

Slaves, obey your human masters in everything; don’t work only while being watched, in order to please men, but [work] wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord—you serve the Lord Christ. 

As we emphasized before, the job that you do is to reflect the best example of Christ-like living in the workplace. If we are performing to the best of our ability and also showing the humility and desire to improve our performance, that is the best way to honor God and be a positive testimony to him. In practice, following the principle of Colossians 3:22-24 makes the practitioner an important part of God’s ministry in the workplace, but we need to look at the opportunities in workplace ministry with some additional principles that will be our focus today.

With the high level of expectations that are before today’s worker, we will sometimes see that not every single worker will always perform at a high level of expectation. In any organization there will be high performers, average performers, and below-average performers. The differences between workers and performances have a lot to do with the number of different personalities that are found in the workplace.

In order to be successful with relationships in the workplace and with those we interact with (no matter where we are), we must embrace the philosophy that is noted in scripture on how we are to treat our neighbor:

Leviticus 19:17-18 

“You must not hate your brother or your fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor directly, and you will not incur guilt because of him. Do not take revenge or bear a grudge against members of your community, but love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.”

For emphasis, here is more in Leviticus 19:33-34:

Leviticus 19:33-34 

“When a foreigner lives with you in your land, you must not oppress him. You must regard the foreigner who lives with you as the native-born among you. You are to love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.”

These verses are from the Lord speaking to the nation of Israel through Moses in establishing standards for living a life of holiness. There was a strong emphasis on treating people the right way. This philosophy is emphasized throughout Scripture and is a commandment from God.

Matthew 22:34-40 

When the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they came together in the same place. And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test Him: “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment (Deuteronomy 6:1-5). The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18). All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.” 

Matthew 7:12 

Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them—this is the Law and the Prophets. 

Not only do we treat others as we should be treated, but it is the commandment of God for us to do it.

As we discussed in Session II, we find that we have a responsibility to elevate our level of ministry with a true confidence that we are acting on behalf of God and that we are empowered by the Holy Spirit. We are not to do this in a robotic sense but with the mindset that everything that we do is to be prepared for ministry in the world, which in many ways is adversarial to any presentation of Jesus Christ:

Ephesians 6:10-13 

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 

The armor consists of the tools that we discussed in Session II, with the source being God’s Word, embracing his righteousness, and using the power of the Holy Spirit. Now that we have an understanding of what scripture says to us about our approach in the workplace, we need to make sure that we are doing our jobs to the best of our ability. If we are not doing our work according to the standards and expectations of our employer, we cannot, in the long run, be effective in ministry. The work that you do well is a testimony of God to others you interact with. If you are doing a lousy job, how can you possibly bear witness of Jesus Christ to a co-worker? Even in the midst of working within the body of Christ, here is how the person who does not work or sloughs off is looked upon:

2 Thessalonians 3:11-13 

For we hear that there are some among you who walk irresponsibly, not working at all, but interfering with the work |of others|. Now we command and exhort such people, by the Lord Jesus Christ, that quietly working, they may eat their own bread. Brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. 

A person who does not do his job in the workplace is not only lacking in effective service and production, but in many cases will hinder others with the lack of productivity. We, as believers, do not want to blend in with those who are easily dismissible because they aren’t putting forth the effort that is expected of them. It is not a positive testimony.

The attitude of the believer is that we are to do our best. If we are doing our best and showing initiative, you are reflecting leadership capabilities even if you do not have anyone reporting to you. Do you realize that following Christ and being loyal and obedient to his Word is a position of leadership? While Christ is the head of our lives, he gives us, through the power of the Holy Spirit, a true essence of leadership because of how we present ourselves as a follower of Christ. You are a leader in the workplace because your belief and life in Christ is more often than not the exception. You look different, you act differently…you stand out because you show confidence in who you are in Christ. The believer who does not show confidence in God’s Word cannot be a leader and a good witness for Christ. This goes back to the power of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit. We need to make sure that we have a complete understanding of how we can operate in God’s confidence and not let the world, or Satan, trick us into believing that we lack the power or authority.

There are, of course, different types of leaders. The leadership that I am referring to is based upon the confidence of God’s Word in our workplace behavior and actions. In the same way that Joshua was chosen by God to take his place in leading the Israelites (Numbers 27:18-23), the power of the Holy Spirit gives you leadership qualities because you are relying upon His strength…and not just your own. Remember, too, that leadership is in your actions, and remember that Jesus Christ is our head but His leadership was in His humility and in His sacrifice…it was in His service:

John 13:12-16 

When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you. “•I assure you: A slave is not greater than his master, and a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 

We can conclude that we are empowered as believers to live and act in ministry and worship with leadership and yet, in doing so, and in following Christ, we are still exercising humility. The work that we do is just as much a facet of our ministry as our obedience to Jesus Christ and our service for Him.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines. All rights reserved.