Not long ago I came across this video by Todd Phillips where he talks about sharing your faith at work. You’ll find in here 4 practical tips. I especially like the first one about open eyes and ears. Check it out.
I was recently reading in the Daily Encouragement devotional from You Version. The selection focused on Acts 27, which describes the shipwreck that Paul encountered on his way to Rome. The author made a statement that really stuck with me. “The plans and programmes of men are subservient to the purpose of God”. As I reflected on that, and how it applies in my current situation, I heard God say two things. First, God doesn’t guarantee we’ll have an easy voyage, but He will get us to where He wants us to be. The second point was more personal. God said ”Seek Me, do your best, but leave the outcome to Me.” I can envision something like that floating through Paul’s mind as well (floating … that’s a pun). And just like Paul, our lives are not always smooth sailing, especially as we aim to glorify God through our work. Even so, may these words, and Paul’s example, be an encouragement to you today.
Our friends over at kingdom.training have really put together a great set of resources for people looking to make disciples. Today I’d like to share with you a video from their site, one in which Curtis Sergeant talks about a blessing, a great blessing, a greater blessing, and the greatest blessing. Check it out, then answer the following questions:
1. What in the video stands out to you?
2. How does this video challenge you?
3. How might this content translate into your vocation / role?
In his short book “Monday Morning Success”, Hugh Whelchel from the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics helps us understand a transformed view of work by unpacking Jesus’ parable of the talents. One paragraph in particular really stood out to me, and I want to share it with you.
“If this parable is Jesus’ instruction on what we should be doing while the Master is away, what does it mean for us? Jesus is telling us that we have work to do here on earth while he is away. Many Christians today think that salvation is merely a bus ticket to heaven. And what they do while they wait for the bus to arrive doesn’t matter. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus came to usher in the kingdom of God. He has brought you from darkness into light for a purpose. You have a role to play in the kingdom of God – here and now.”
This begs the question …. do you clearly know the role you are to play, or are you just waiting for the bus?
Although sometimes it’s hard to get out of our comfort zones, praying for others is a great way to engage people spiritually. It might sound “out there” for some, but it’s simple. And, rarely have I ever had someone tell me “no” when I say, “Can I ask God to bless you?” So, how do we pray in a simple way that engages non-Christians? Just B.L.E.S.S. them. Pray for each of the following areas:
B – Body: Pray for good health, protection, and strength.
L – Labor: Pray for their work and their financial security.
E – Emotional: Pray for emotional health and a good quality of life; for joy, peace, hope.
S – Social: Pray for their relationships with their family and friends.
S – Spiritual: Pray for their salvation, that they will know God and come to faith in Jesus Christ.
It’s that simple. Try it today.
Do you ever wake up and just feel like you need a boost? Some sort of reminder that God will do what He has promised, and that our troubles will not overcome us? That happened to me this week, and God pointed me to Hebrews 8 for the solution. Where are you fixing your eyes? Check out this video if you need a bounce in your step.
Heb 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Have you ever faced challenges, especially when living out your calling in the marketplace? Today God took me to Acts 8:1-4 and asked, “what do you see?” It was bad. Great persecution. The disciples were scattered, torn from their friends and families and everything that was known to them. They were burying the dead, the church was ravaged, and people were being dragged off and thrown into prison. But then there was also verse 4. A few simple words. Those who were scattered went about preaching the word.
Then God said to me, “Look again. What do you see?” I saw a call to faithfulness in the midst of adversity. I saw a prayer that my core purpose in Christ would not be lost in the overwhelming flood of life’s challenges. I saw a reminder that God’s power is sometimes more obvious in times of our greatest need. I saw that God turned what looked like a terrible end into the real beginning of it all. These verses encouraged me to look at my circumstances in a new light. I pray you would be encouraged to do the same.
And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Acts 8:1-4
One of the best books on leadership, especially how faith and work intersect, is “Spiritual Leadership: Moving People on to God’s Agenda” by Henry & Richard Blackaby. The book shares truths applicable to both business and church leaders alike. One common thread is the difference between vision and revelation, and which one should drive our thinking and action. For example, here are three quotes:
“There is a significant difference between revelation and vision. Vision is something people produce; revelation is something people receive.”
“The world functions by vision; God’s people live by revelation.”
“Every time leaders choose to develop their own vision for their people instead of seeking God’s will, they are giving their people their best thinking instead of God’s. That is a poor exchange indeed.”
Which of these represents how you tend to view your work? Which way is closer to how you do “strategic planning”? Anything you need to change?
In 2Corinthians 4:18, we read that “we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” A friend of mine was talking about this verse, and how it relates to business. We observed that most people plan their business and make decisions based on best practices, or by using traditional metrics, both derived from the seen world. But in God’s economy, those things mean very little. God operates first in the unseen, which then impacts the seen. As my friend so aptly put it, “You can adjust any knob you want in the seen world, and it won’t affect the unseen at all. Period.” When you reflect on your work and this verse, what does God say to you about living by the unseen?
Chapter seven in Dan Grider’s book Crucial Conversations: Bridging the Awkward Spiritual Gap is titled “The Power of Pisteuo”. Grider explains how the Greek word pisteuo is usually translated as “believe” , or sometimes as “faith”. However, our typical church culture mistakenly thinks that by this Jesus meant “we should dispassionately repeat a set of sterile doctrines, theologies, and beliefs”. Rather, it’s not about intellectual consent to a set of facts. In reality, Crider suggest that to capture what Jesus intended, a better translation would be “all in” or “abandon all competing ways to live and fully embrace the new Jesus Kingdom”.
Imagine what our world would be like if it was full of Christians who understood belief as all in, complete abandon, to truths working themselves out in every aspect of our lives. What a huge difference that would make!
The hard part for me is reading Scripture in light of this expanded definition. John 3:16 would be “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever would be all in / sold out / fully abandoned to His way of life shall not perish but have eternal life”. Now read John 3:18 or Hebrews 11:6 or Mark 16:16 with this pisteuo/believe definition in mind. Calls us to up our game, doesn’t it?