Served on the 2018

Served on the 2018
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” Hebrews 10:24.
My car brakes for coffee shops. This might as well be my bumper-sticker statement because it’s true. (It just happened again on this COLD late-December day...) The hot cappuccino/latte/mocha/breve inside calls my name, and my car comes to a screeching halt when I spot a shop. But I have to admit, there’s another reason for the braking. It’s the sweet treats served on the side of my beverage. They also call my name. “Over here!” they whisper. “This will complement your coffee and make it taste even better!” So I stare into the display case, wondering which I should choose today. Brownie or biscotti? Coffee cake or scone? Any one of these treats is sure to go really well with my drink. And besides, I reason, two are better than one. I wouldn’t want my coffee served all alone.

In life, we can become a bit more like the sweet treats at the coffee shop, not as we are served, but as we willingly serve on the side. The Lord calls us to a life of wholehearted service in whatever we do (Colossians 3:23). Our sinful pride may tell us it’s better to go it alone, but God calls us, instead, to humble service alongside others. And it IS true that two are better than one (Ecclesiastes 3:9-12), though I’m not sure this truth works with my sweet-treat reasoning. 😊 By His grace in Christ, the Lord leads us away from our prideful place, forgives our sins, and puts us in the humble path of someone with whom we’re called to serve.

Whether it’s a coworker, a relative, a fellow church member, or a friend, there’s someone we can serve alongside. And when we do, God uses our gifts and abilities to complement theirs – to make their service even better. And He is glorified!

The writer of Hebrews says we’re to stir up one another – spur one another on – to love and good works. So let’s consider how we can do that, with the Lord’s help. As you ponder the New Year just ahead, consider: What “calls your name”? How and where can you serve-on-the-side with someone else? Consider how your God-given gifts may work really well with theirs. Maybe you can crunch numbers for your friend’s fundraising event. Or maybe you can offer creative ministry ideas to a staff that’s looking for assistance.
You can give encouragement exactly where it’s needed - now...throughout 2018...and beyond! Stir up a loved one or a sister in Christ as you humbly harmonize her gifts with yours, serving with her on-the-side. (Mmm…even better than hot coffee with Cappuccino Brownie Squares served on the side!)

Lord, lead me to a humble place of service alongside others, that You may be glorified as we stir up one another to love and good works. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Cappuccino Brownie Squares

These rich, layered brownie squares combine favorite flavors of coffee, cheesecake, and chocolate for a decadent delight! Enjoy served on the side of your favorite coffee beverage.

1 large pkg. (19–21 oz.) brownie mix + ingredients to make cake-like brownies + 1 T. instant coffee granules
1 cup milk
¼ cup instant coffee granules
2 pkg. (3.4 oz. each) cheesecake instant pudding
1 container (12 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
20 cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, coarsely chopped 
Chocolate candy bar to grate on top, if desired - or - chocolate-covered coffee beans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease 9x13” pan.  Prepare brownie mix according to package directions for cake-like brownies, adding 1 T. instant coffee granules to batter.  Pour into pan, spreading evenly.  Bake 25–30 minutes.  Cool completely.

In mixing bowl, combine milk and ¼ cup instant coffee granules; stir until dissolved.  Add pudding mixes and half of the whipped topping; whisk until smooth.  Coarsely chop cookies; fold into pudding mixture.  Spread filling evenly over cooled brownies. Spread remaining half of whipped topping over top.  Grate chocolate candy bar on top, if desired.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Cut into squares and serve chilled.

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