I asked a long time BAM practitioner in Southeast Asia what lessons he had learned over the years. He said that Nehemiah has always served as a great example that he tries to pattern his work after. Nehemiah held a position outside of the religious hierarchy, but was motivated by his faith and sensitive to God’s leading. He learned of a need, then dropped to his knees. He prayed and planned. He assessed the situation and acted in practical ways. He persevered through adversity, and God’s presence was ultimately manifested once again because of what Nehemiah accomplished. As I reflected on what he shared, I wondered how many of us are like Nehemiah, and are we seeking out other Nehemiah’s around us?
I was reading through a You Version Bible devotional and encountered this entry on Faith. May reading this impact yours.
“The Lord expects his people to trust in him at all times. How clearly this is seen in the record of his earthly life. Faith to him was “natural” and he marveled at unbelief. He expects the royal official to trust his word as he walks the lonely road back to Capernaum (John 4:50). Even in the face of death he looks for faith. So he says to Martha, “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?“ (John 11:25,26). The burden of his prayer for Peter is that his “faith may not fail” (Luke 22:32).
The nature of faith makes trust in the Lord a possibility at all times. For faith is not feeling, or sight, or mere human understanding. Faith is the helpless cast upon the Mighty, the weak leaning upon the Strong (S of S. 8:5). It is the obedience of those “called to belong to Jesus Christ” (Rom. 1:5-6), the confession of “Jesus as Lord” (Ps. 10:9).
Trusting the Lord at all times is not a cold, indifferent exercise but the pouring out of the heart before him.”
As I watched the video below from Right Now Media, I wondered how many people feel like she does. Everyday folks who say to themselves, “I’m just a ______ .” I bet millions do.
What if we were to look at our work as God’s place for us to live, breathe, and speak the Gospel? To make the Kingdom come alive in that place? What if we were placed there to be more than “just a florist”, but rather as God’s instrument of grace and redemption? It might take boldness, intentionality, creativity, mercy, patience, or other gifts …. but it could change the world.
What if God gave you a platform from which millions might listen to you? What would you say? How would you talk about God? In the video below, actor and comedian Tim Allen talks to ABC’s 20/20, about his past and about his relationship with “The Builder”? What would you say if you were in his shoes? ( …. what you’d really say, not what you think you should or might say, but what you’d really say.)
I’m currently going through Michael Shaara’s book The Killer Angels, an engaging account of the United States Civil War Battle of Gettysburg from the point of view of several commanding officers. As the book’s foreword describes, Shaara’s one goal above all others was to leave something behind, something to be remembered for. Unfortunately, the book had only a lukewarm reception, and even after winning the 1975 Pulitzer Price for Fiction it simply didn’t sell. This was a crushing disappointment for him, and Shaara died in 1988 believing he had failed. But you have to hear the rest of the story. In 1993 the movie Gettysburg was released, which was based on his book. The momentum from the movie propelled The Killer Angels to the top of the New York Times Best Seller List, and it is regarded by many as the finest Civil War novel ever written.
As I reflected on this, it made me think how similar this is to our everyday reality. We long to leave a legacy of significance, to do something great for ourselves or for God’s Kingdom. But often, we don’t see the fruit we expected, or things don’t turn out anything like what we had hoped for. We feel like failures. If only we could read the last chapter, because the story isn’t over. God is not finished yet. Our part is to be faithful in obedience, and the outcome is up to Him. The next time you start feeling the discouragement Michael Shaara experienced, remember Galatians 6:9 …. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
A coworker recently sent me a link to the video below. It has to do with our legacy, spanning out over 5 generations. Here’s what I took away from it: 1) The choices we make can affect thousands for good, or for bad. 2) No matter what your heritage is, a conscience decision on your part can put things back on the right track. 3) It’s all possible because of what Jesus did. What does the video say to you? How will it affect your choices?
Have you ever thought about your response to the broken state of the world we live in? Does the “real world” cause you to retreat spiritually, or to advance? The video below from Eternity Bible College urges us to consider this and more. Have a look, and ask yourself 2 questions: 1) How might I pollute the shadows in the marketplace? and 2) How is God calling me to engage my world (through my work) for the Kingdom?
I wanted to pass along another devotional by Os Hillman from his “Today God Is First” series. It talks about the need for our deep convictions to impact how we live and work, in order to bear fruit in the workplace. After reading through it, ask yourself “what is one step of obedience I should take in light of what God has shown me”.
“For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.” – 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5a
Everyone lives a life of conviction. Whatever we give our greatest time, our greatest energies, and our greatest resources to is a good indication of where our convictions lie. Some live a life of conviction about sports. Some live a life of conviction around pleasure. Still others live a life of conviction about very little that matters at all.
Whenever God chooses to do a deep work in a life, a strong conviction is born of the Holy Spirit. Conversions in the early Church resulted in changed lives that held to a deep, life-transforming conviction regarding what they believed and how they lived out that belief. Paul explains that the gospel they received came not just in words, but also in power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.
In order to impact the workplace for Jesus Christ, each of us must be reflecting a faith that is demonstrated through deeply held convictions. Are you living a life of deep conviction that spurs you on to reflect the power of Christ in your life and the lives of others? Paul was willing to suffer great persecution for his faith in a living God. God calls each of us to a life that is supernatural, not simply a good, moral life. The early Church understood the role the Holy Spirit played in demonstrating this power of the gospel. It was this deep work that resulted in living the gospel with great conviction. If you are not living the gospel with great conviction, ask the Holy Spirit to so fill your life today that the power of His Spirit is truly reflected in your life so that you may impact others in your workplace.
Have you seen the “Trader” video by Brian Mosley from RightNow.org? It introduces a new kind of missionary, a trader, but it’s not what you might be thinking. Check out the video below and see if it challenges some area of your life. Beyond today, beyond the “dream”, and into a life with eternal impact?
Ever wonder how ordinary people, using ordinary resources, can have an extraordinary impact for God’s Kingdom? That’s the heart behind Zume (Greek word for leaven), a new disciple making / training movement that launched February 14th. To learn more, go to their website at www.zumeproject.com and also check out the video below. Zume will change your life, and the world.