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I love football season. I love the parties, the games, the tail gaiting...but most of all I love the fans. I love attending footballs games when it is freezing cold outside. Have you ever noticed how in the middle of a blizzard you will have some stupid crazy fans that will go shirtless while painting their chest and face in their team colors? I love these guys. They are so flipping crazy about their team that they don't mind the bitter cold. Some of these guys welcome it! What makes a football fan crazy enough to be like this...Passion. 

You know he is not going to work on Monday half naked with his companies colors and logo painted on his chest and face. Why not? Again passion. He has bought into his football team, he has taken a position of ownership in the mission of the team winning the super bowl. He is doing is part as off the wall crazy as it may be to show his support and loyalty to the mission of his team. And here's the deal...he is the 12th man. If you follow football you will know what that means, but his team literally depends on him and his craziness. While he may enjoy his work, the level of passion just isn't the same as it is for his team. At work he is simply a man, not the 12th man. There is a huge difference. 

When was the last time you went to church with the church logo and church colors or mission painted on your chest and face. I am willing to bet... never!  You probably just read that...laughed and told yourself over my dead body. Here's the better question...why not? Aren't you passionate about your church team? Aren't you passionate about your church winning the super bowl of life by winning souls. Aren't you willing to take ownership in the mission of the team? Would you willing to do what ever it takes regardless of what others think to see your team win? What if your part was to be that crazy follower that sits front row right in front of the cameras with your chest and face painted waiting for the camera to spot you...to let the whole world watching know...you are committed to your team. One last question...Do you serve with that kind of passion at your church now? 

The funny thing about passion is the bell curve syndrome. Have you ever noticed how passionate you are  about something and after a while... time seems to chip away little by little until you reach the point where you've lost the passion completely? Now what seemed so amazing to you becomes nothing less than a bothersome chore. I find this to be true about "serving in church."  I know so many Christians that started serving with such excitement and passion that you couldn't keep up with them. Then a few years go bye and you can't find them. So what happens? Why does it happen? How can I be so on fire for God today and be ice cold tomorrow? Why does it seem like I ride the peaks and valleys of excitement? 

The Apostle Paul gives us some great insight about passion. Paul was a leader who possessed both passion and discipline. The reason? He felt consumed with his mission. I completely believe that the Apostle Paul would have been a chest and face painted fan if it would let the world know about Jesus. I have noticed in my past, the reason for my loss of passion was because I was never really consumed with the mission. I would get excited by others excitement but never fully bought in.  I didn't drink enough of the kool-aid....and you may find yourself in a similar position right now. I was neither a committed fan or follower. I was one of those christians that picks that winning team each year to be my team. Each year it would be different. Kind of like those Christians that church shop each year looking for the church that is winning, because they feel like their church is loosing! Here is four things I want toshare with you about the Apostle Paul's Passion. 

1. His passion exceeded his position. His Position: I am free from all men. His Passion: I have become a slave to all men. Here is what I notice with a lot of Christian that serve. They look for promotion. They serve with the mentality that it will lead to a greater position within the church. There service is from the mentality of look at me and how great I am. These people will never tell you this...but their actions prove it. We all know Christians who will get upset because something doesn't go their way! The pastor recognizes somebody else instead of them. Or the pastor doesn't implement one of their ideas. Their passion to serve is fueled by their desire to excel, not the desire for the gospel to excel. 

2. His passion exceeded his personal preferences. The Apostle Paul insisted on fulfilling the mission. Compassion is what drove him, not compromise. All too often our personal preferences take front seat, not the fulfillment of the mission. It is easy to lose your passion when your desires come first. You begin to tell yourself statement like this...I would rather do this instead of serving. I would rather just attend instead of putting my hands on the net. Can I tell you that I have literally had Christians tell me that serving would take away from their growth in Jesus. Talk about putting personal preferences first. 

3. He was high on people, not people being high on him. The Apostle Paul knew what was worth dying for and what wasn't. He valued people over himself. His motives to serve was always centered around transformation and not the transaction. He never served with the mentality of being served. I have served with Christians in the past where their focus was about them being a leader and having people follow them.  It was so bad that they literally dictated how people should learn the gospel and at what pace. They served the church and would bounce from church to church looking for the leadership position so the church could serve them. 

4. He remained fixed on his mission yet was flexible in his methods. The Apostle Paul kept his mission in sharp focus. He committed himself to God and his goal. This seems to be the number reason people stop serving. They are inflexible in the methods. If I can't be in the kids area I don't want to serve. If the church doesn't have this or that in place then I don't want to attend. I have heard this a lot in my time as a pastor... Super talented people who were so fixed on a particular method that the method blinded the overall mission. 

If you find yourself questioning whether serving or not is worth it. If you find yourself losing your passion ask yourself if you are serving for you or the Kindgom. Odd's are your loss of passion is because your focus has shifted. I know because I have been there. Sometimes it just a matter or re-evaluating what mission you are serving for and asking yourself am I willing to paint my chest for this mission. Am I the 12th man...