Message Recap: God at Work

GOD ATWORK

Though the first message recap, this is the second part of our new series, God at Work. Last week, we were blessed by four members of our church, who participated in a discussion panel surrounding their vocations and how it aligns with God’s vision for work. Today, we have the privilege of hearing from Jim Larson, a faithful member of Mosaic, father, husband, friend, and employee of the secular world.

Unfortunately, the numbers in which people are unhappy and find their job meaningless are ever increasing (more than 50% of people in our society claim both). Not only is this heartbreaking, but it absolutely is out of the will of God; therefore, it’s critical that we ask ourselves, “as the church, how should we think about work?” and “what does God say about it?”. In the next few weeks, we are going to answer a few important questions (i.e.: why do we work, how do we work, and where do we work?). In each instance, we want to identify and reflect upon the overarching question: what is God’s heart for this work?

Let’s address 2 myths about work:

  1. Work is meaningless
    • Why? A lot of people are working solely for the purpose of getting a paycheck. And, though some of us know that work is an opportunity for missions, to spread the Gospel, God still has more in mind.
  2. Work is our primary identity
    • Too often, our first question when meeting someone new is ” what do you do?”. It can incorrectly reduce someone down as seen only by their occupation; though important, it is only one very small aspect of their character and giftings. Too often, we think that knowing one’s vocation is the closest we can get to understanding someone’s identity.

Genesis 1:1-10: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:26-2:3: Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

Genesis 2:5-9: When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2:15-20: The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.

Genesis, and specifically these passages here, present two radical Truths about work:

  1. We have a God who works, and He delights in it (He’s a gardener. He gets down and dirty!).
    • God doesn’t just do “high” work; His work is expansive and varied. All of this work isn’t just good; it’s worthy of God. No work is medial to Him, because He chose to do it first.
    • He calls us to two types of work:
      • Co-creation: He invited Adam into the work of naming the animals, and He commands us to “be fruitful and multiply”.
      • Co-provision: We are called to co-labor with God.
        • Psalm 145:15: The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.
  2. Our identity, first and foremost, is in our Maker – not in our role at work
    • Our value is high and fixed by God. It’s impossibly to be devalued when you are His “special possession”.

We have the honor and privilege and freedom to co-labor with God, who made all things in Heaven and Earth. What an honor and a joy! Lord, open our eyes that we may see work the way you do. It is good because you have said so. Thank you, God.

Biblical references: Genesis 1:1-10; Genesis 1:26-2:3; Genesis 2:5-9; Genesis 2:15-20; Psalm 145:15 

Questions:

  1. Are there any places are you letting your identity be in your work and not in who God says you are? If so, what are they?
  2. How is God calling you to co-labor with him?

Message Recap: Welcome 2018!

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Matthew 6:22-35: Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The core issue here has really nothing to do with the food we drink or the clothes we wear (though our anxiety often manifests in these areas of eating/drinking and shopping); the issue is really our heart posture. The material things, the tight schedule, the busyness – these are not the things Jesus is after. He’s after our hearts. In this passage, Jesus provides the antidote for our anxiety about all of these things (praise, amirite?):

The first dose for curing our anxiety is knowing that our identity is in Jesus (Matthew 6:32: For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all). God is our Heavenly Father, and He knows everything about you (your worries, your dreams, your fears. And he cares about every single one). In the case of earthly adoption, the law states that an adopted child is the same as a child born into the family; an adopted child is seen exactly the same as his or her biological counterpart. It is the same for us in the family of God. When He adopts us into His Kingdom, it is as if we were part of the family starting on day 1 (just like Jesus!). His holy adoption eliminates any separation between us and Him, our Father. Thanks to Jesus Christ, we are now considered related to God.

The second dosage for curing our anxiety is to seek Him (Matthew 6:33: But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you). Jesus doesn’t tell us to stop doing something without also telling us what to start doing. He’s a God of abundance. He wants more for us than to stop being anxious; He wants us to be part of His family. We have this beautiful invitation to seek His invaluable Kingdom (Matthew 13:44-46: The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.) 

The Greek translation of “seek” – as in “seek the Kingdom of God” – means seek in order to find. This happens by meditating, reading, thinking, inquiring, striving after, and aiming for. This is God’s invitation for us! It’s important to remember in our seeking that it’s not about the “to-do list”, or our goals, resolutions. It’s all about the fact that we are seeking after Yahweh, the Living God, with everything we have to give. That’s exactly what he wants of us: our hearts. That’s our invitation; let us take Him up on the offer!

Biblical references: Matthew 6:22-35; Matthew 13:44-46

12 Questions for the New Year:

  1. What is one thing I could do this year to increase my enjoyment of God?
  2. What will my personal times of worship look like this year?
  3. How will I approach reading the Bible this year?
  4. What one thing could I do to improve my prayer life this year?
  5. Whose salvation will I pray for most fervently this year?
  6. What books will I read this year?
  7. Who is the person I want to encourage most this year?
  8. What is the most helpful new way I could strengthen my church this year?
  9. How will I make time in my schedule for these things to actually happen?
  10. What is the single biggest time-waster in my life, and what will I do about it this year?
  11. What changes should I make with my finances this year?
  12. What single things that I plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?

Blessed to Bless, Pt. 5

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Are you able to see the greater purposes of your blessings? Rather than make excuses or justify the reasons as to why we own nice things (which, admittedly, we so often do), we should instead exclaim our thanksgivings toward God, and then exalt Him for His goodness. The beautiful things in your life (those cool shoes, that delicious steak, this morning’s sunrise, the got-it-from-ya-mama show-stopping smile) exist for the benefit of others, and for the adoration and blessing of God.

Matthew 2:1-12: Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

This Scripture takes place when Jesus is about 1 or 2 years old (dissimilar to the narration of the standard nativity scene). What makes this so astounding, though, is that these three men – all of whom were kings, magi, and wise men – fell to their knees to worship Jesus as a small child. This speaks so much to their incredible humility.

Psalm 72:10-11: May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute; may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts! May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him!

The kings recognize their King. The wise men worship without fear of appearing foolish (and, even today, wise men still seek Him).

Too often, what we see today is power without perspective; what we need in our generation isn’t lack of power or authority, but true leaders with wisdom. No one is without a King – everybody worships something. We need Kings who know they have a King. The world thinks that we are blessed to be blessed. But again, we see that Scripture turns the ideals of the world on their head: we are blessed to bless.

Philippians 2:4-11: Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Biblical references: Matthew 2:1-12; Psalm 72:10-11; Philippians 2:4-11

Questions:

  1. How are you submitting to Jesus as King over your life?
  2. How can you look to the interest of others this week?
  3. Ask God to show you the greater purpose of your blessings.

Blessed to Bless, Pt. 4

tyler-nix-457491First and foremost, let’s remember the theme of this series: we are immensely blessed, but not for our own good; we are blessed for the benefit of others and for the exaltation of God. Today, as we continue on in our series, we’re doing something a little bit different than as planned; Lead Pastor Andrew Bach shares a testimony of abundance and blessing through a recent experience in the Mosaic Discipleship School. If you are in need of a revival in your faith, the restoration of the joy of your salvation, we would encourage you to take a listen.

John 6:1-5: After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”

We are ones called to go when God says go. And what this scripture does so beautifully is remind us that Jesus cares about the practical things in our lives (not just the spiritual). He cares about our spirits, of course, but he cares when we are hungry and when we are sick, too. He cares about us through all of it; there isn’t anything that slips through the cracks of His compassion for us.

John 6:6-14: He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.

Have you ever considered the boy in this story? What a role he has played! The Bible says nothing about or force or persuasion to coerce the boy to share his bread; he, the one that actually prepared a lunch for himself, gave his loaves and fishes in faith.

Similarly, we as people of Seattle, are dreamers. We yearn to see the impossible. What if God is waiting for you to do yours in order for Him to fulfill His? Maybe He’s waiting for you to take the next step (perhaps your heart beats faster hearing this, because you already know what that next step looks like…).

The thing about faith is that, we only have this one life to experience it. When we die, we are going to be with Jesus; we won’t need the faith that He calls use to have here on earth! Everything will be within our reach; we have to have faith here, and believe in the things unseen. Let us be people that inspire angels with our faith! Let us be people that make a wrong decision in faith than a good decision without any. If God is relational, and He knows our hearts, then He knows whether our decision is one of faith. Even when you are making the wrong decision, if God knows that you have done it in faith, He celebrates.

Jesus is the bread of life. He gives us security in this life of faith (despite the struggles, trauma, disappointments, and heartache) that He is our sustenance. He has made a way for us to receive it. Praise. 

Biblical References: John 6

Questions:

  1. How is God calling you to step into an increase in faith?
  2. “Everyone wants to see a miracle, but no one wants to be in a position to need one.” What is God saying to you about this statement?
  3. Is God waiting for you to do “yours” then He will do “his”? What would that look like for you to do “yours?”

Message Recap: Blessed to Bless, Pt. 3

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Acts 20:34: In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” 

Sometimes God calls us to bless others in ways that make sense to us, in ways that we love blessing others. And, sometimes, God calls us to bless others in ways that are illogical or are more challenging than by sharing our gifts and talents. It’s neither one of the other; it’s both that God asks of us.

Psalm 124:1 : The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof…

None of these things of ours are ours  – they belong to God. Not our finances, our homes, even our giftings or our talents; they are God’s.

1 Timothy 6:10:  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

The actual “stuff” we have and are blessed with is not inherently wrong or sinful. It’s the love of money that’s wrong; it’s the greed and the desire for money rooted in sin. It has nothing to do with the goods, and everything to do with our heart posture.

The world attempts to deal with this through 2 ways:

  1. To give away everything you own; the thinking being that, “If I have no money at all, then there is no place for evil”.
  2. To possess as much as you possibly can; to hoard and to gather and consume (famously known as “materialism”)

Matthew 6:25-34: Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

God wants our hearts headed toward the things of the eternal. Everything that has been entrusted to you is from God, and it’s so you can be a blessing. Let us be people that are obedient when it makes sense and doesn’t make sense.

Matthew 6:21: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 

Biblical references: Acts 20:34; Psalm 124:1; 1 Timothy 6:10; Matthew 6:25-34; Matthew 6:21

Questions:

  1. Are you asking God how He wants you to steward the resources, finances, personality, gifts and talents you’ve been blessed with? What would that look like to start?
  2. How can you be a blessing this week to someone?
  3. Reflecting on the verse Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Where is your treasure?

Message Recap: Blessed to Bless, Pt. 2

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To recap quickly what we learned in last week’s message (as we continue on in our series, “Blessed to Bless”): we are created to bless others (by benefiting them in some way) and to bless God (by exalting Him, or to see Him higher than ourselves).

Genesis 12:2-3: And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

2 Corinthians 9:7: Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

What a thought: when we give to God, He loves it! There’s something I can do to bring joy to God, to put a smile on the face of the Maker of all things. I am able to do something that He loves. 

James 1:17:  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Everything in your life – whether tangible or intangible – exists not for the purpose of your happiness, but in order to bless others. This can be problematic, if we take it as offensive to our hard work (our early mornings, our long hours, our strategically-honed skills). But this is a worldly perspective; every good thing (yes, even with all that hard work) was given to you by God. Everything is His, that He gives freely (and is not the ability to work hard, wake early, hone our skill sets, and even the breath in your lungs, blessings all on their own?). Remove your hard work from the equation, and you are still blessed).  Remove God from the equation, and you do not even exist.

Here’s the catch: we don’t always feel #blessed. But is it possible to be abundantly blessed and simultaneously face incredible hardship? The Bible says yes: 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Luke 16:10: One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.

Matthew 16:24-25: Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” 

We are tempted, so often, to bless God and bless others up to the point until it costs us something. We are encouraged, societally, to give only out of our surplus, and never any more than that. But this is where we have to remember that we have been immensely blessed first (even when it doesn’t feel like it!); nothing that we have to give is ours to begin with. It’s Gods, and He calls us to bless others with the gifts He gives.

Biblical references: Genesis 12:2-3; 2 Corinthians 9:7; James 1:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Luke 16:10; Matthew 16:24-25

Questions:

  1. Have you been faithful in the little?
  2. Have you been faithful in much?
  3. How can you bless God and bless others? It will come at a sacrifice.

 

Message Recap: Blessed to Bless, Pt. 1

Blessed-to-bless_slide (1)Church! Welcome to the introduction of our newest series, “Blessed to Bless”. It’s a powerful exercise to think of all the ways in which we are blessed, and we are expectant and excited to remember the grace of God in this series. #BlessUp

In the Bible, we see two uses for the word blessing:

  1.  To bless another person (or to do something for their benefit)
  2. To bless God (or to exalt God out of adoration for Him)

Genesis 12:2-3: And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

Psalm 103:1-5: Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Ephesians 1:3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…

There is nothing that God has withheld from you. If you have trusted in Jesus, every spiritual blessing is available to you; it sits at the tip of your fingers, waiting to be had! You were created with the capacity to touch the heart of God. Isn’t it incredible that God receives love from us, mere human beings?

Mark 14:3-9: And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” 

This woman, shown in Mark, was blessed to possess this ointment (worth almost a year’s wages). With this, she performed an act of love, and blessed Jesus.

There are three reasons we bless others: duty, logic, and love (the greatest of these). And there are three reasons we bless God: duty, logic, and, yes, the highest of these – love. As we love God and love people, we change the world.

Blessing God out of love doesn’t always make the most sense, logically or societally. But, we must not be caught up in the praises of man, and instead turn our complete affection toward God.

James 1:17: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Acts 20:35:  In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

The Kingdom is upside down; they key to receive blessing is to give first.

Biblical references: Genesis 12:2-3; Psalm 103:1-5; Ephesians 1:3; Mark 14:3-9; James 1:17; Acts 20:35

Questions:

  1. How has God blessed you?
  2. How can you bless others this week?
  3. How can you be thankful for ways others have blessed you?