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Day 22

Scattered

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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

 

Share It

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In today’s blog, I wanted to share a post from the folks over at ScatterGlobal.com. It’s an article about how to share your faith at work, and it references an excerpt from Traeger & Gilbert’s book about the Gospel at Work.  Read on:

 

If you’re not being intentional here, how can you be intentional there? 

I think we’ve all heard this statement when it comes to evangelism in our daily lives and looking to make disciples in another part of the world. We think it is safe to say that we can all improve in the area of being “intentional” to share the gospel where we honestly, spend most of our time: work.

But what does that mean? And how do we share the gospel without creating awkward exchanges and forcing the message?

The Gospel Coalition shares an article by Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert from their book, The Gospel at Work: How Working for King Jesus Gives Purpose and Meaning to Our LivesThis article gives you 5 practical suggestions to help you share the gospel at work.

Read the full excerpt by clicking the link to the full article below. 

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/how-to-share-your-faith-at-work/

 

 

Coming To A Point

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Lately I’ve been reading a book titled “That Hideous Strength” by C.S. Lewis. In it you’ll find the following conversation between a husband and a wife:

“Have you ever noticed,” said Dimble,” that the universe, and every little bit of the universe, is always hardening and narrowing and coming to a point?”
His wife waited as those wait who know by long experience the mental processes of the person who is talking to them.
“I mean this,” said Dimble, answering the question she had not asked. “If you dip into any college, or school, or parish, or family—anything you like—at a given point in its history, you always find that there was a time before that point when there was more elbow room and contrasts weren’t quite so sharp; and that there’s going to be a time after that point when there is even less room for indecision and choices are even more momentous. Good is always getting better and bad is always getting worse: the possibilities of even apparent neutrality are always diminishing.”

Although penned in 1945, I think these words still ring so very true today.  In light of our present world and the urgency of the Gospel, what might this say to us about our role as marketplace Christians?

 

 

All In

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Recently I was reading Jeremiah 29, which contains some verses familiar to many of us. Normally my attention is drawn to verse 11, which is the life verse God gave my middle daughter:  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” We like to read that verse.  But as I reflected, it struck me that this promise comes with conditions (or at least a roadmap). The words that immediately follow it, verses 12 & 13, explain: “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” For at least a week now, I keep thinking about verse 13 … when you seek me with all your heart.  Sounds like the picture of someone who is “all in”, fully committed. What a challenge this can be, but what a glorious outcome. When I get down about the state of God’s People today, or with my own walk for that matter, I am reminded of the solution laid out in these verses. We must call on Him, come to Him, pray to Him, and seek Him with all our heart. The question is, am I “all in”?  Are you?

Faith

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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.”

Stop Inviting People To Church

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Many North American Christians use inviting people to their church as their primary tool for evangelism, and even that is a stretch for some.  It’s as if we see our role as a Christ-follower to simply get people in the door and then let the “professionals” get the job done. But, what if we told our members to stop inviting people to church? In the video below, Joe Solomon proposes doing just that. Think it will work?  Check it out.

The Builder

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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.)

Be Bold

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I wanted to share another entry from the Hillsong: 40 Days of Revival reading plan on the You Version Bible App.   What would it look like for you to have this sort of boldness in your workplace this week? What amazing experience of God might you have if you respond in this way?

 

Bold:

When we choose to live empowered by the Spirit, life becomes an adventure.  We develop a boldness to take risks. Freed from the fear of others’ opinions and self-reliance, our lives are characterised by having a go, taking a leap and the thrill of being in that faith-place where you can do nothing but trust God to come through!

On our recent Hillsong United Album there is one song that has resounded with the heart of our church, becoming something of an anthem for us in this season as we seek to discover God’s heart for revival individually and collectively.

In a bold declaration of faith, the lyrics are:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Saviour

Let us all allow these words be the cry of our hearts today. Resolve to tune your ear to the Holy Spirit’s voice and when He asks you to do something that makes you nervous – step out and do it!

Obedience in Faith

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This morning my high school aged daughter told me about a sermon by Matt Chandler that she was listening to.  The sermon was called “God is Able”.  The message was focused on Moses in Exodus Chapter 4, and Chandler spoke about the key to finding the power of God in our lives.  I can’t seem to shake this thought that he shared: “The omnipotent might of God almost always flows through obedience in faith.” The pattern then is still the same today … God speaks, we obey (exactly), then God shows up in an amazing way. God was not concerned with Moses’ past, his excuses, his brokenness, his limitations, his abilities.  God had all that covered.  God simply wanted Moses to act in obedience rooted in faith.

I’m so thankful for a daughter who pursues God and points me to sermons.  I’m also thankful for a God who pursues me and patiently points me towards obedience.

God Before Gold

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Someone recently forwarded me an item from Christianity Today titled “Meet the Rio Olympians Who Put God Before Gold”.  The article covered interviews with 2016 Olympic Team USA Christian athletes. I was struck by the variety of people and stories they had, as well as the perspective many of them held even though they were the very best of the best in their professions.  As they speak, let God speak to you too.

 

Shawn Johnson (gymnast) –  even if I won “12 more Olympic gold medals…it’s not my purpose in life, and He will always be my greatest reward.”

Madeline (Maya) DiRado  (swimmer) – “I think God cares about my soul and whether I’m bringing his love and mercy into the world. Can I be a loving, supportive teammate, and can I bless others around me in the same way God has been so generous with me?”

Michelle Carter (track and field) –  “People notice how I am living out my faith. Sometimes it takes me by surprise how much they notice. Even when no one is looking, the way I act is important because it is a reflection of how I walk with Christ.”

Gwen Jorgensen (triathlon) –  “I really think you just have to keep God as your focal point and know that he is always number one. When you do that, it will help you to gain perspective on everything in life—not just endurance sports.”

Jordan Burroughs (wrestling) –  “I’ve been blessed with tremendous gifts, and it’s my job to use those gifts to inspire others. As a man of faith, I take great responsibility in being a good steward of my talent. God has created unique … avenues to allow me to glorify him.”

David Smith (volleyball) –  “It’s been a big thing for me to understand that my joy and my peace do not revolve around my performance or how I do compared to other people. My joy comes from the fact that I am playing a game I love and that He created me to play.”

 

As you reflect on these quotes, check out more from Shawn Johnson in the video below.