Message Recap: God at Work, pt. 4

rawpixel-com-274858So far, in our series, led by the incredible Jim Larson, we’ve looked at why and how we work; today, we are looking at another important identifying piece of the puzzle: where we work. As people, indecisiveness is all too rampant in our culture. Let us be the people that decide where we are going to work, and then go do it.

We are in a really unique place in time; only 200 years ago did we first start having the ability to choose our work. What a privilege (and an obligation) to choose where we work! The hard part, of course, is the dizzying effect of the paradox of choice. We are faced with so much opportunity, so many good choices, that we are led often to anxiety, disappointment, and discontent. And, further, we get caught up in the idea that our choices today will dictate our forever. But that’s note the case! Though Martin Luther made a case against career changes, John Calvin and much of the Bible encourage career changes. And, many of it’s characters exemplify the ways in which they glorify God (look at Moses, for example – from sheep herder to political leader!).

Myth 1: Where we work is more important than why we work and how we work.

  1. The Truth is that why we work and how we work is at least as important as where we work.

Myth 2: We will all have a burning bush moment (though, God can, and does, do this for some of us – it’s not a guarantee).

  1. We cannot sit and wait for our calling, God wants us to trust Him and sometimes, make the first move in faith. Even if it’s wrong, it is still a step driving us forward.

Myth 3: We should determine where we work based primarily on our passions.

  1. We should be driven by the following, instead:
    1. The needs of the world
      1. Jeremiah 29:7: But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
    2. Our giftings
      1. Romans 12:6-8: Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
    3. Our truest desires (not our fleshly desires, but the ones that align with the Spirit)
      1. Jeremiah 17:9: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
      2. John 16:24: Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
    4. Compensation
      1. 1 Timothy 5:8: But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
      2. We have to make tradeoffs, and there is almost always a sacrifice.

Myth 4: The best way to hear God is to be standing still.

  1. We have the ability to move forward with God. How do we do it?
    1. Understand the world’s needs
    2. Understand your strengths
    3. Research potential roles
      1. Research what it’s like
      2. Engage with people you know who are in it
    4. Seek community

All of this is critical as we face the question of where we work, and it is critical that we do it all with God.

Biblical references: Jeremiah 29:7; Romans 12:6-8; Jeremiah 17:9; John 16:24; 1 Timothy 5:8

Questions:

  1. How is God transforming how you work?
  2. What is God showing you about why you work?
  3. What is God saying about where you work related to needs, giftings, desires and compensation?

Message Recap: 2 Timothy Pt. 4

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This is our last week in our series, “The Risk and Tension of Discipleship”, and to close it out, we are looking at 2 Timothy 4. This letter is an example for us for discipleship (which, defined, means one person helping another to follow Jesus).

Who is helping you follow Jesus? Who are you helping follow Jesus? As the body of Christ, we are responsible for each other – for the growth, life, and endurance in faith of God for another person.

1 John 1:1-4: That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

Discipleship is one of the greatest joys of our faith. It’s part of how God uses evil for good; your breakthroughs can help others find freedom faster. Your testimony isn’t just for you – it’s for helping others!

Three Aspects of Discipleship:

  1. It’s for every season of your life
    • 2 Timothy 4:1-4: I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
    • Have a resolve that Jesus is Lord
    • Be ready in season and out of season
    • The hungry eat. Stay hungry.
  2. Discipleship requires a holding to the gospel
    • We live in a time when people honor fluidity and adaptability in their convictions. A hard line of integrity isn’t honorable – socially – like it used to be.
    • What we need is for someone to tell us the Truth. This is love.
  3. Discipleship involves giving your life away for God.
    • 2 Timothy 4:5-6: As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.
    • Paul, even in his imprisonment, knows that his life is a sweet offering.
    • You are not meant to be a Dead Sea Christian (without outflow). You are meant to receive and to pour out.

Discipleship involves a tension between the word of God and our culture, Resolve to believe that Jesus is Lord; His Word is True, and He truly knows what is best for us.

Biblical references: 1 John 1:1-4; 2 Timothy 4:1-7

Questions:

  1. The hungry eat. Are you hungry?
  2. Are you letting circumstances or your season of life become a barrier or excuse for seeking discipleship?
  3. Are you giving your life away for God? Are you giving your life away for others to encounter God?

Priorities and Motivations

This is part two of a three part series. See part 1 here.

So your time is valuable. How do you maximize it?

The first step is figuring out how you are using your time. What are your priorities? Last year, I made a list of everything that took time in my life (work, church, hobbies, family, friends, health) and tried to order them in terms of what I value. I asked questions like “What activities do I never forget or miss?”; “What do I always forget about?”; “What do I end up putting off until last minute?” to determine the order. And I recorded my time use  for 48 consecutive hours.

Once I made that list, I found that I was doing the top half of my priorities excellently, the next quarter adequately, and the last quarter barely.

We are called to excellence because we are made in the image of God and God does things excellently. If you are not doing something excellently, you should be wondering if it is worth your time.

The problem is, excellence takes time. By taking stock of my priorities and current time management, I was able to evaluate if my current priorities lined up with what I wanted to value, and what needed to be adjusted.

I would argue that, for every Christian, your relationship with God and personal time with him has to be your #1 priority. Above all else, make sure to get personal time with your creator, Father, and best friend every day. It is the absolute best use of your time.

I try and make my time as high-yield as possible, which for me means focusing on one activity and doing it well. That is, when I am spending time with friends, I am fully present and enjoying their company. When I am working on a project, I avoid distractions, even turning off the Internet from my computer and closing the door to my room. Why? Because I know if I try to watch TV or hang out with a friend while studying, I will do both half- heartedly and enjoy neither. And if I come home late and my housemates are halfway through a movie, I will generally choose to go to bed rather than stay up because the amount of genuine connecting that will happen during that time (especially when I’ve missed the premise) isn’t worth being tired and unproductive the next day, when there may be better opportunities to develop friendship.

Let me leave you with a challenge. As Christians, we are called to give at least 10% of our income back to God. When I was in college, I had no income so I felt God ask me to tithe my time instead. What if you gave 10% of your time? I’d argue that the kingdom would come faster. I’ve heard so many stories of financial breakthrough that I am convinced that God can get all money he wants, with or without the Church. But it takes our choice to give Him the time he needs to accomplish His mission.

By Ben Drum, Neighborhood Section Leader