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Good evening. Thanks so much for joining me again and following along with the blog. I really appreciate everybody that’s been tuning in lately and giving me good feedback and kind of following along. I’m so bad at the YouTube part of this, but if you like what I’m doing and you want to keep listen along and get notifications about it, please like and subscribe.
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But if you’re just reading the blog, I’d love if you’d comment on the blog too and keep following along that way. But tonight, as I mentioned earlier on my social media, I really want to talk about service and serving. And full disclaimer, a lot of people are going to a lot of people that know me and know that I serve in the church and am a member of a church who serves very willingly or may think that this is a church thing that I’m going to talk about, but it’s not.
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I am going to talk a lot about what I do with my church and why I serve where I serve. But that has nothing to do with the point behind this. The point behind this is I think the world could use a lot more of people just doing good for other people right now, especially with all the, you know, just junk that we see going on in our day to day lives and in the media and in, you know, our political feuding, our religious feuding, our societal feuding.
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It just and none of it’s good right now. And I think a lot of a lot of bad things can be solved with good service. I’ll start off by telling you a little bit about my journey through learning to serve others and and understanding what service meant. And it kind of started when I was really young. I went to Shenandoah Elementary School, which is a small community school over in northeast Knoxville.
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And it was at that school I had a custodian there. His name was friend, and he told us to call him friend. I really don’t know what his name was, but he was an older black man who served as a custodian in our school and was just a really kind, gentle soul. And he was always there before school.
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He was always thereafter. And because we lived in the apartments behind the elementary school, me and my friends, you know, we walked to school early. We would be there and he would be around and we’d be there in the evenings, playing on the playground. He’d be around as well. And he taught us a ton about what a service looked like and taught me a ton through his personal testimony of just being a faithful servant of the cause.
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You know, he cleaned elementary school. He was one of two custodians in the whole school at the time. And he was always going above and beyond and showing us kind of how and why he did what he did, telling us about the choices he made. And he just did it so joyfully. I never remember seeing that man have a bad day in any school day that we had.
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And any time I was there, just, you know, he was just always joyful. He was always smiling. He was cutting jokes. He came outside and we had a funnel ball thing and he played funnel ball with us and just laugh and of and you know, sometimes he’d be in there the afternoon and the cafeteria workers would be, you know, kind of serving some of the leftover food.
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We were part of an underprivileged community. And, you know, he would bring us in, we eat with those people. And, you know, it was just it was a great lesson in service for me and somebody that didn’t have to devote their time to doing more and going above and beyond for the students of their school and just giving their life to the cause, to enriching young people’s lives.
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Had a lot of good teachers at that school, too, but that were the same way. But he just really stood out to me as somebody who just didn’t have to. He was, you know, probably he was super underappreciated in a lot of ways. And, you know, I didn’t I didn’t see a lot of adults being as kind to him.
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And it just it really stood out how kind and joyful he was. And it was really a big blessing to know him and know, you know, who he was and him to teach us to be better by watching him be better, kind of carry that forward, you know? Another big lesson I got in service when I was younger was my dad was always helping everybody out.
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I remember him. He would go help his buddies out doing things their jobs. He would help my grandfather out every weekend when he could. And, you know, just he was always helping somebody out. And my dad still at that, he’d give you the shirt off his back if he could. And he taught me a lot about serving other people and giving an abundance, you know, and I carry that for him.
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You know, my stepmother was a very giving, kind person who would serve anybody. It was always just showing up to serve people. You know, I ended up in church when I was about 12 years old called Tennessee Avenue Baptist Church. That was my first real what I would call real church experience learning kind of the ins and outs of the Christian church at the time.
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And Tennessee Avenue was very small and didn’t have a lot of opportunities for service, but I had the opportunity. I was the only youth there for a good long time. I had the opportunity to be a, a, a, a member of the choir, a singer, a mom, a teacher in some ways, too. When we had some other kids come along, sometimes for for youth events and things like that.
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But I got to watch some people who had just been serving that community for so long be so faithful to this small place. And it taught me a lot about, you know, just giving back, even when it didn’t benefit me because they weren’t making any money off this. They were just serving because they wanted to. I’ve had the opportunity to serve in a lot of places over the last several years, mostly in my church service.
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Did I learn about other opportunities to give back to people? A couple of those things that I’ve really enjoyed is I loved my time with calm, where I get to go down and serve in the homeless community. And at the time when I when I was wanting to do this, my older brother was going through some struggles of his own and was, you know, was living on the streets at the time.
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And it just I had this big heart for serving the homeless at the time because, you know, I was hoping at the time I would run across him and hopefully I could help him out. But it gave me the opportunity to help some other people out who were dealing with that struggle at the time. And and give back to that organization and have helped out with the United Way, a couple other places like that.
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But I’ve had a great opportunity to give back to this community that I really didn’t deserve in a lot of ways, but people would give me the opportunity to give back, and I appreciate that so much thinking about service in general. You know, that was a little back story, a little, little future story here, thinking about service in general right now, I’m cruising my social media the other day and I run across a buddy talking about a shooting in his community.
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He lives in lower in the lower east side of Atlanta. And it just hit me when he listed off some ways to help and their service needs down there. And Lynn is such a big community and they’re struggling with finding people that will serve other people. It’s the same way here in Knoxville. There’s we struggle to find people that will help other people.
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But I know there’s people I want to help. And when I look at the community I’ve surrounded myself with and that I’ve been surrounded myself with, that I’ve just been blessed to be a part of and lucky to be a part of. I’m lucky to be a conjoined with a lot of people that are serving people, you know, that love people.
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And I look at these bad things that are happening in our community. I look at these deficits we have in our community. And I think I think the world could just use a whole lot more of people loving on other people through not only their, you know, financial support, these organizations that need your financial support, but their time.
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And one of the things I think we miss out on the most that I’m going to talk about in my service is using your gifts to help other people, bless other people and be a part of organizations. A lot of people know this. I play music at North Star Church over here in West Knoxville. I don’t know why they let me.
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I’m not the best musician in the world, but it is a huge blessing to get on stage with that crew and just, you know, bring good worship music to people. I had given up before I went to North Star. I had given up worship music and given up music in general. I went through some struggles in my life in my early thirties, and I decided that I didn’t want to do it anymore.
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And, you know, I was I had gone through this period where it just wasn’t for me anymore. I had been in the pastor role. I had served in youth sports. And for me, just, you know, it was kind of over with for me. I didn’t want to I didn’t want to think about it anymore. I didn’t want to give my time to it anymore.
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And, you know, I was invited over and over by a couple of friends to North Star and ended up there reluctantly. I wasn’t going to go back to church again. But the thing that I will say about serving the community is the thing that happened to me in North Star was a big group of loving people that knew what I was struggling with, came up and loved on me.
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I think about the couple that invited us, Brie and Jason Allen, and they were neighbors. They knew what what kind of lifestyle I was living at the time and where and where I was struggling and the things I was dealing with with past afflictions and things like that. And they still kind of want to hang out. And they wanted to invite me be part of this group, which is unlike I will say this to to the defense of people that are scared about church.
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Not every church is going to let somebody in like that right now. And that’s crazy. That’s nuts. That is not what we’re about. And that’s not what we should be about. But they really do. Their service loved on me and brought me back to a place where I could be part of this group. Fast forward a little bit.
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I’m hanging out playing music with with some buddies and just talking through, you know what I think about worship, music and you know how I’ve kind of just not going to do it anymore. And a buddy looks at me and he says, Man, what a waste. And God, I mean, the guy. And I thought to myself, man, maybe I should do something with this.
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So I ended up back over at North Star and invited by the worship Pastor Campbell Kimber Mobile to play some music. And I’ve been doing that for about two years now and I just love it. I thought that my entire life of service was going to be doing stuff completely behind the scenes, but it is a blessing to give those gifts back.
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But I will say this I get more out of going there and being served by others than I do as part of my own service and playing music. It’s just a blessing to be able to do that, and I hope it blesses somebody else. You know, secondarily, I’ve had this great opportunity lately, and I want to talk a little bit about this and how cool it is and how fun it is and how it’s just really rejuvenated me for service lately.
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And that’s been playing over at Hope Valley Church, which is a small upstart church here in West Knoxville. One of the guitarist over at North Star, you know, we’re sitting out in the lobby. There’s a couple of us musicians out there in between services. And he says, Hey, this church needs some help with their worship team. But yes, think and we were we were all like, yeah, I mean, we’ll go play.
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And, you know, usually when you hear, you know, about opportunities to do this, this is just a you’re filling and you’re teaching some people, you’re getting a band set up. You’re you’re really just there as a utility to kind of help get them to the next step. And so we show up that first weekend and it’s just me and Marty and the worship pastor Nick, who’s great and just setting up.
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I can already feel this really cool energy in the room. It’s a really cool vibe. It’s a small room and just it feels good. And I’m like, Man, I, yeah, I kind of when I showed up today, I was ready for the to be this utility player. And now I’m like, Gosh, what can I do to help out these people?
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And, do, you know, help build this community? You know, so we play that first service and then the pastors, the elders, they are amazing. And they are from Alabama, from big church life. He speaks Reeves speaks nationwide at places and just has a ton of energy. They both do. He and his wife both do have a ton of energy.
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And she she led the day I was there first and just the vibe in the room. I’ve said this to a ton of people in my in my lifetime going back and forth to being in worship bands and in churches, it is harder to preach to ten people than it is 10,000 people because in a group of 10,000 people, you make eye contact with one or two and you can kind of focus.
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And, you know, it’s just everybody’s attentive, but you’re looking around the room and you can kind of connect with everybody differently in a room full of ten people. Everybody’s paying attention and everybody’s eyes are on you. And it is just, you know, you, the room and God. So it was just the energy was good. It was really neat to see them lead with confidence and it really invigorated me to want to serve more.
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And fast forward, I’ve been going back and have the opportunity to play for a few weeks. We had a little fellowship thing after the after church service was over, and it’s just been a joy to see a group of people don’t know my past, don’t know much about me, but have just really like the North Star family. They’ve, they’ve kind of taken me in and it’s just ignited something in me about my service that I’m really excited for.
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But it’s it’s also exciting in its it’s really motivating to see a group of people living on this community and giving back and starting small and excited about the next step. So I’ll get to say super excited about where I’m serving and super excited about the opportunities to serve a lot of people, you know, they feel like their confidence might be shot and or shut for doing certain things in public.
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But I would say this with the world and the place it’s in right now and, you know, just the interesting way that people treat people on social media and in public and, you know, everybody’s in the court of public opinion. Everybody’s, you know, one social media post away from changing their whole life. It’s just a crazy world right now.
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And the world could use people that love people and love people no matter what their politics are, no matter what their religion is, no matter what the color of their skin is, no matter what their sexual preference is, no matter what the quality of life in their home is, no matter what their habits are that love them anyway, you don’t have to agree with everybody.
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It’d just be nice if we loved everybody and and helped everybody that we could. And, you know, it’d be nice if we, out of our abundance, gave back to the community. It’d be nice if you went in that closet today and grabbed some of that stuff you don’t wear anymore and gave back to people that don’t have anything.
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And it’d be nice if we fed another family on Thanksgiving instead of just our own. Be nice if we, you know, donated our time, talents and treasures to the community and see what love can do, what service can do. And I would just encourage anybody that’s looking for a place to serve. You know, if if you’re not a person who wants to be part of the local church, if you’re not a church person, you know, if you if your politics don’t match up with somebody else’s, I would just say go serve anyway.
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And and if nothing else, focus on the way that giving back makes you feel. And you’ll find how it makes other others feel. And you’ll find the quality of your life increases by increasing the quality of lives, of the lives of others. So, you know, I just hope we serve more. I hope we give more. I hope that my rambling about kind of what I’ve been doing and where I’ve been, which is not to say John served so much and he’s so cool.
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It’s not that it’s a I’m really a terrible servant. I spent many years not serving out of reluctant. So I am hoping that this invigoration that I’m having right now is contagious for somebody else and that we can go out there and we can serve this community better. It’s that time of year where we should be thankful for the things we have and things we can do.
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Take your time, talents and treasures and and and spread them. Spread them out across the world. Thanks so much, guys.