Rev. Richard Halverson, a former US Senate Chaplin, was known for the following benediction: “You go nowhere by accident. Wherever you go, God is sending you. Wherever you are, God has put you there. God has a purpose in your being there. Christ lives in you and has something he wants to do through you where you are. Believe this and go in the grace and love and power of Jesus Christ.” If we were to live these words out with intentionality in our workplace, what might God do? How would the world be different?
In the video below, Tim Keller (founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan) discusses how the Church can transform communities by connecting faith to peoples’ daily work. Watch the video and ask yourself 2 questions: How does this relate to me? What change is God asking me to make in light of this?
Awhile back I came across a great book that challenged my view of how I experienced the Gospel personally, as well as how I share it with others. “The 3D Gospel: Ministry in Guilt, Shame, and Fear Cultures” by Jayson Georges is a short, simple read with practical tips as well. In it, the author explains how most Westerners emphasize legal forgiveness of sins, but often don’t know how the Gospel connects to the rest of the world who seek honor or spiritual power. And, as my family read the book, we also recognized that even Westerners need to experience how the honor/shame and power/fear perspectives are part of the complete restoration Jesus wants to perform in all of us. As their website (www.honorshame.com/3dgospel) puts it, “In today’s globalized world, Christians need a three-dimensional gospel. Learn how the Bible speaks to cultures of guilt, shame, and fear, and enhance your cross-cultural ministry among the nations!” If you are sharing the Gospel in cross-cultural relationships, or you want to better understand how the Good News addresses shame and fear in your life, check out this great resource.
Here’s a note I received from one of the Antioch Journey participants after she completed Day 3. Maybe you can relate to it, or perhaps God will speak to you as you read what she shared:
“Today I am struck by the concept of God’s concern with His workmanship and how this the foundation for the good works of His people. We are, before all, made in the image of God. While we rightly imagine that God desires us to be beautifully industrious, we sometimes forget that HE was the first laborer on earth. The Holy Spirit hovered over the waters, poised to create, long before we were given our creative abilities! In Ephesians 2:10, our labor for God sequentially follows His initial work in us. This is the great rhythm of life – to reflect back to God the things He has placed in us and to walk in the ways He has already marked out before us.”
“This truth invites me to rest in God. Even as I take a break from my email to meditate on this challenge, God is working. He is always doing something, forming my heart and hands to be like His. To know what good works are integral to my secondary calling, I must look to God’s initial work in me. This is not an empty ‘naval gazing’ activity, as I have heard it called. Instead, it is looking inward to God’s spiritual workmanship which gives me the ability to look outward to the works He has prepared. One of the most productive things I can do is take good stock of God’s activity in my life.”
“Tomorrow, I have a personal retreat planned. My agenda was to present my calendar and plans before God. I realize that, before doing this, I must spend time looking upward, inward and backward. I must see and worship God, considering how He has been moving in the world and my life. A confident pursuit of works is derived from understanding God’s unique workmanship in my life.”
If you have not yet heard of IHS Global’s Saline Process, you’ve really been missing out. This biblically-based training equips Christian healthcare workers to be witnesses for Christ in their clinical settings. Participants learn principles and tools that can immediately be applied in their interactions with patients and colleagues. Designed around a transferable Training-of-Trainers (TOT) model, the content is targeted to the medical context but is actually applicable to any vocation. If you want to find out more, check out the IHS Global website or drop them a note.
Do you want to see how The Saline Process answered one doctor’s prayers about what to do, how to do it, and why God called him to a certain place? Take a look at the video below.
At the Antioch Journey, one of our goals is to link participants to resources and networks of like-minded people who want to serve God through their vocations. So today, we’d like to tell you about the Skybridge Community (www.skybridgecommunity.com). Launched in 2009 as part of The Upstream Collective, and now over 1000 members strong, Skybridge has helped thousands to “live and work globally, on purpose”. Through equipping, connecting and encouraging people who seek to integrate their work and mission, Skybridge engages workers cross culturally, whether in their home culture or living abroad. They function as sort of a loose, organic network with the following goals: to awaken professionals to possibilities; connect those professionals in community; equip them to live intentionally and make disciples, and engaging the lost (from neighbors to the nations). We’d definitely encourage you to go check them out!
Today I am reminded about a video by Penn Jillette and wanted to share it with you. Jillette, an avowed atheist, explains how he viewed a person who handed him a Bible. Although Penn remained an atheist, he actually ended up respecting the “proselytizer” more because his act of giving the Bible represented true care and concern. In fact he essentially adds, “If you truly believe I’m headed to a literal place called Hell, and if Hell is as bad as you say, how much do you have to hate me not to tell me about it?”.
For me, the video spoke to our need for boldness, genuine care for others, intentional spiritual conversations, and urgency. As you watch this video, ask God to show you specifically what He wants you to learn from it, and what you should do in response.
There’s a lot of talk today about man’s impact on the planet. For example, we often hear about one’s carbon footprint, the sum of all emissions of greenhouse gases induced by our activities over a period of time. But, if we thought about the biggest negative impact we have on the world around us, we’d need to steer the discussion towards our sin footprint. Ever since the Garden of Eden, man’s sin has and continues to impact God’s Creation in ways we can barely put into words. Pick an issue today … social, environmental, moral, economic, political, medical, whatever … and you will find a sin footprint buried somewhere at its root. The good news is that Christ did not just die to redeem fallen people, but to reverse all the effects of the Fall (every aspect of society, every environmental issue, everything.). Jesus came to give us new life, and in the process erase our sin footprint. Plus, he invites us to join Him in this work. So, in what specific area is God asking you to make a difference, to pick up your mop and follow Him?
What God desires, according to His Word, is that we have “expectant, courageous faith,” as if we could already SEE what He’s bringing about, even before it comes to pass. If we can muster that kind of faith, we will not only be very optimistic about the future, but, in addition, we’ll be excited about the present. Here’s Curtis Sergeant, trainer in launching disciple making movements, explaining what all this would mean:
A fellow Antioch Journey participant sent in a note after completing Day 2 on calling. They wrote:
“Calling is a means to for us to participate with God to fulfill the great commands, love God and love your neighbor. Serve God and serve your neighbor. Why don’t people answer the ‘call’? We have other things to do, more pressing matters. We often can’t hear the call due to sin in our lives. Romans 6 encourages us that we can escape its ravages. And if we can just try to please God, just try to grope toward holiness, then we can begin to enjoy a relationship with Him and sense whatever calling he has for us.”
Do you see your calling in this light? Are other matters more pressing, or is there some area of sin in your life that is preventing you from clearly hearing from God?
Just remember, we have been set free. Be encouraged and press on.
“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” Romans 6:22