The System of the World

The System of the World

It’s all about systems

The city has a system. It is a mechanism that is made up of parts and components. It has culture and subcultures. Reaching a city means that you have a presence in every aspect of the city.  It does not necessarily mean that you have to be the most significant influence, but you need to have an impact in every area of the world. 

The Great Commission is about evangelism in the world. In the same way, the Great Commission is meant to be an “inside job” that starts with courageous believers going into the world. In this respect, we have to be in it to win it. We have to be in every area of society, every industry, and every aspect if we want to fulfill the call of the Great Commission truly. 

 At the end of the day, fulfilling this call is what we are here for. If we were not here for that purpose, we should have gone to heaven the moment we accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. We have a purposeful God. We are here on earth because we still have a purpose of serving.  

You cannot win a world for Christ if you are not a part of it. An outsider cannot beat the system. An outsider does not have enough influence to be able to win the system. You have to be in the system in order to establish a stronghold over it.  

Reflection

  1. Describe the rulers, authorities, and powers that exist in the darkness of your workplace. 
  1. How are you being the salt in that office or business? 
  1. How are you being the light in the industry?  

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the-world-

close combat

Close Combat

Close Combat

Let’s go back to the verse from Ephesians 6:12.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (KJV)

Paul mentions a match between us and great powers. He describes a wrestling match between our enemies in the world and us and that of the spiritual realm. Wrestling involves skin-to-skin combat. It depicts close combat with your opponent. You cannot wrestle with another person by being a hundred feet apart. The most space you can have for a wrestling match is a circle that is 42 inches in diameter.  

To wrestle, you have to enter the arena. You have to be in the same wrestling circle. You cannot wrestle with an opponent unless you are where the opponent is.  

On the court or on the sidelines

Aryou’rein the same arena? Perhaps you’re scared to even be a spectator. What power would Christians have if we are on the sidelines? A lot of Christian are afraid to be judged as “unholy” or “ungodly” that they isolate themselves from the rest of the world. The world that they need to influence sees them as rigid or weird. They neglect to engage with the lost because they refuse to get into the arena.

The reason why your presence is needed in your workplace is that it is hidden in darkness. The only way by which the darkness in your workplace can be overpowered In order to wrestle, you have to enter the arena. There needs to be close contact between the believer and the world in order for the believer to impact the  It’s to prevent moral decay. It’s not just your career, it’s your calling. 

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close combat

Enter-the-Arena

Enter the Arena

Darkness in the World 

Darkness is the absence of light. It is not a force. It is simply an absence of something. We live in a world where there is no light. The reason why your presence is needed in your workplace is that it is hidden in darkness. You can go inside your workplace to be the light. You go inside the system for it to see the light.  

A verse we will discuss extensively in this book is found in Ephesians 6:12. Paul is revealing to us that a spiritual battle exists. For some of us, we already know this. But let’s look closer and see what this passage is telling us in the context of functioning in our workplace. Paul tells us: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). 

There are rulers, authorities, and powers in this world and forces in the spiritual world that are working against believers. Paul called this world “dark.” It is different from those spiritual forces of evil that exist in the heavenly realms. Darkness is not the force that we are battling with. Instead, it is what exists in the darkness that we are wrestling with (i.e. the rulers, authorities, and powers in this dark world).  

If you enter a dark house, it is not the darkness in the room that harms you. Instead, it could be an intruder hiding in the dark that could be dangerous for you. How do you expose the threat? You open the lights. Darkness cannot exist in the presence of light.  

Be the light

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Believers have the light of life because they follow Jesus. You have the light of life. The question is, are you bringing this light into your workplace? Does your workplace have life because of you? The only way by which the darkness in your workplace can be overpowered is when you bring your light there.  

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 14-16) 

The passage above may seem like it is ridiculous. Why would someone light a lamp and put it under a bowl? Wouldn’t it defeat the purpose of lighting the lamp in the first place? However, the lamp that Jesus was referring to was the light that he had lit within every believer who chooses to follow him. It was lit so that we can be his agents in the dark world.  

Is your light hidden?

The problem most Christians deal with is that they do not expose their light. They keep it hidden. They only reveal their light on Sundays when they are among fellow believers. However, what would the purpose of the lamp be when it is placed out in the brightness of the sun? The light of the lamp is supposed to shine in the midst of darkness. And if you dread going to work on Mondays, then that’s your first clue as to where you should shine your light on.  

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Excellence-Creates-Your-Influence

Excellence Creates Your Influence

Excellence Creates Your Influence

If you bring value to that field through excellent service in love, you have a right to talk about anything you want to talk about, and they are all going to listen and say, “Yes, please tell me more.” If you storm into your office and say, “Hello, everyone. I’m a Born Again Christian, and it’s about time that somebody heard the word of the Lord up in here,” then you have just made yourself a strong argument against Christianity.   

Are you walking the talk?

Have you ever seen these horrible drivers with a Jesus bumper sticker on their vehicles? There was one time wherein I wanted to stop one guy one time and tell him, “Listen, you can put Satan on the back of your car. Be an adverb for him because you’re not telling me anything about Jesus at all.”  

It’s about understanding a presence you are meant to bring into an industry. That’s the first key to ministry in the marketplace. It’s not a message that you get. Although, we have an important message to plant. You can bring the presence of Christ before you bring the message of Christ. 

Someone said, “I’m going to bring the message.” You say that because you don’t understand covert kingdom operations. You don’t understand that God does not have to be named to be present. He doesn’t have to be announced to arrive. That’s the real message of Esther. Did you know that?  

Esther is the one book in the Bible in the name God doesn’t appear. But God is all over the book because Esther is a covert agent who gives God access to the king’s bedroom. It’s covert and about bringing a presence into a field that establishes your credibility to speak.  

Then, there is Joseph the Dreamer. He brought so much value to the kingdom of Egypt. An archeologist said that they had identified a time, and that seems to match up with the Joseph saga chronologically when Egypt was monotheistic. These are just a few examples that we will go into deeper as we discuss insiders’ accounts in the Bible. 

How can you contribute?

You can add massive value to the people’s lives in your workplace. Once you do this, you can influence a person’s faith. They will be thinking, “You do not add any value to my life. Why do I have to care about you or your faith?” No one cares about why you value your faith until they know how much you care.  

When you approach them without adding value to their lives or showing them that you genuinely care for them, you are just creating a debate about religion. Get out of the business of debating religion.  

If I can feed you and clothe you, I can talk to you. That’s what Jesus did. You see Jesus bringing massive value into people’s lives, and that’s what made His words credible. Without the miracles, who would have listened to Jesus? Think about it. The purpose of the gifts is to give credence to your message. Think about how you are being an Insider to your workplace.  

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Excellence Creates Your Influence

insider

Basics of Being an Insider

What is an insider? Really.

The first thing you do is not hold a worship service in your workplace. Do not go ahead witnessing your workmates without establishing your credibility in the field. Let’s talk about the basics of being an Insider. Your credibility is established by 1) The character you establish, 2) The excellence in your service, and 3) The value you bring to that field or industry. 

People must see the integrity in your character first. It will be the worst thing when people are surprised that you are a Christian. People do not want to be confused about what you stand for. You don’t want people thinking, “You’re a Christian, but you steal office supplies to make your child’s project. How does that make sense?” 

People are watching you.

Establish the love of Christ in your character. On the other hand, if you are the most hateful person in the office, how will people react when you tell them you are a Born Again Christian? How are you exhibiting the love of God in the workplace? 

When you are excellent at your work, people will notice you. They will wonder what is driving you to be excellent. People are always intrigued by excellence. Moreover, they will look for motivation. People are always looking for a source of inspiration. When they see your excellence, they will ask why you are excellent. 

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Basics of Being an Insider

The Purpose of the Insider

The Purpose of the Insider

The Purpose of the Insider

You’re Working for God

God wants an agent. He wants access to that system. He has placed you in this position to intercept, inspire or influence that workplace. There is nothing secular about anything you do. Everything is all sacred in the eyes of God; then, it must be sacred for you too.  

You shift your eyes from your boss or your employer to God. You work for God, not your employer. I am not saying you should bypass or disregard your boss’ authority.  God is the One who has placed these authorities in their positions. You work for God through those authorities. You are always working for God.  

Why are you there?

The Bible reveals to us why there is a need for an “Insider” in the workplace we are in. In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus said: “All power is given to me in heaven and in the earth. Go therefore teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, aching them to observe all things whatsoever I’ve told you and lo, I am with you always even to the end of the world.” 

This is the Great Commission. These were Jesus’ last words. When someone is dying, the last words they speak are considered important. Jesus commissioned not only those who were present during that time but only the pastors of the local churches. Jesus commissioned every single believer. Yes, that includes you and me. 

Let us zero in on the last part. Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you always even to the end of the world. I am with you always.” Now, why would He say that? Why would He say, “I am with you always? Go into the world, I am with you.” This reveals to us a secret 

 The Insider: 

You are Bringing Jesus Where You Are

Here it is. This is what Jesus is saying. “Wherever you go, I go, and where you are, there I am.” In today’s context, it is like Jesus is saying, “Bus driver, wherever you go, I go, and wherever you are, there I am.”  

Because you are the bus driver, you actually brought Christ into the bus, and also you are a teacher, you actually brought Christ into the classroom. As you work as a doctor, you actually brought Christ into the operating room and the surgery. Because you are a hairdresser, you actually brought Christ into the salon. You bring Christ wherever you go. Jesus was clear about this when he said, “Wherever you go, I go, and wherever you are, there I am.”  

We have always exerted effort to find out where God is. We ask God where we can meet Him. But the answer is plain and simple. He is where we are. God is interested in where you are. Some people are specifically called to go into the nations. The Great Commission is not reserved for them. The Great Commission is for everyone who calls Jesus Lord and Savior. 

 

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The Purpose of the Insider

Make a Shift

Make a Shift

Make a Shift

Partner with God

Make a shift. Don’t just live for Sundays. To partner with God for the success of your career and to experience a spiritual career breakthrough, and become a minister in the marketplace, you must make the shift. The shift is both psychological and linguistic. I’m talking about the language you use to describe what you do and how you think about your work. 

What are you working on right now? You may be a teacher. Perhaps, you’re a doctor. Maybe you’re a social service worker. Are you a bus driver? You may be a salesperson or a barista. You may be saying, “I’m just a housekeeper.” Wherever God has placed you, God put you there for a purpose.  

A Secret Agent

God wants an agent in the system. What would happen when He places you as an insider in your workplace? This insider is you. When you applied and became a part of your workplace, you did not know that it was God who allowed this to happen for His purpose.  

You may not know what God will use you for, but believe me, He has a plan for you to be there. God can work out unthinkable possibilities from the most mediocre of circumstances. However, how can God use you when your mind is stuck in the dread and rut you have created around anything connected with your work? 

There is no such thing as secular work. Everything is sacred. When you write off something as secular, you say that it is the Devil’s. When you categorize something to be material, it is like you are saying, “God can touch this. God has no jurisdiction over this area”. You cannot give anything over to the enemy by saying, “This is secular work.” Later on, we will discuss the Myth of the Secular more. 

A Shift:

Where is God placing you?

You are supposed to say this is where Christ placed me. This position is under Christ. Make a shift in your thinking. You think you are working for man, but honestly, you are working for God. The Apostle Paul said, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23). You are not working for your boss. Your boss is just an instrument.
God has intentionally positioned you in that industry to either give, grow, or guide it. There must be a shift in the way you see yourself in your workplace. You may fall into the trap of thinking, “I am insignificant in this workplace. I am even more insignificant in advancing God’s Kingdom.”  

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Make a Shift

Spiritual

Bridging the Spiritual and Everyday Life

Bridging the Spiritual and Everyday Life

This blog series creates a bridge between the two worlds—the world of your career and the world of your faith. You will see how you can close the gap between these seemingly distant worlds. Your career becomes full of meaning by closing the gap between your profession and your true purpose in life.  

Spiritual Energy:

Imagine this 

What happens when the alarm clock you dread hearing so much on a weekday becomes an opportunity clock that wakes you up every morning with spiritual energy? What would happen if you woke up to a Monday as if you were waking up on a Sunday? When you are excited to get filled with the Holy Spirit and ready to experience the encouragement of the Lord, how exciting is that? What would happen if you went to work, even if it seemed unrelated to advancing the Kingdom of God loaded with spiritual energy? 

Do you know what would happen? You would stand out in the work atmosphere. There will be this energy surrounding you that will bless the people around you and your workplace. You would bring a presence with you into this unfamiliar space.   

Instead of being late because you are simply dragging yourself to work and having a negative attitude towards everybody, you will come on time. You will have the cheerful disposition you usually only exhibit in church. People would notice this change within you, and they would say there’s something different about you. You would look at the tasks you can accomplish and complete them with a renewed sense of energy and passion.  

Game-changer

Your employers will notice. You will stand out from the rest of the workforce who come to work with the same tired energy you used to have. Employers are looking for people with a sense of spiritual energy. It’s going to set you apart from all the other candidates. These other employees may have stellar qualifications but no sense of spirituality. When a person can bring spirituality into their profession, it’s an asset to an organization; it’s an asset to a team. It’s an asset to the industry to have that energy flowing through it. 

When your profession becomes full of purpose, you will stand out in whatever field. Whether you are a business owner, working in business, government, or public service—whatever you are doing, it will change your stride when you are full of purpose.  

Yes, I want this… but how do I do this?

While this sounds nice and exciting, the real question here is, how do we do this? How do we sustain this? In what way do you keep the spiritual energy from running out when the traffic jam going to work will make you lose the fruit of the spirit that you have asked the Lord to give you last Sunday? Could you sustain this energy when your client makes crazy demands on an even crazier deadline?  

How do you do it when your boss is being the biggest jerk? How about when your colleagues take all the credit for all the overtime work you have been doing? How do you do it when the pressure is mounting on? 

In this blog series, we will study the lives of different individuals from the bible who, like you, did not have full-time jobs in church ministry. Nevertheless, their careers were seemingly unrelated to advancing the Kingdom of God, but the Lord used them mightily for that purpose. 

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Spiritual

The Insider

The Insider

The Insider:

Hard work spotlights people's character: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all.
Sam Ewing 

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so, I am sending you.” 
John 20:21 

Living for the Sundays 

The time you spend working makes up at least a third of your life. Choosing the right career is important because you will pay for most of your life according to your choice. For most of us who were privileged to be called to do ministry-related work, it’s easy to feel and think that our careers are our calling.  

A vast majority of believers are working in industries and fields that seem utterly unrelated to the traditional work of the church. They end up feeling that the bulk of their life seems disconnected from their faith. They look forward to Sunday because it’s the time when they get to breathe. During Sundays, they feel refreshed. On Sundays, they get to breathe heavenly oxygen, knowing that they have been suffocating throughout the rest of the week.  

Christian on a Sunday

They feel like their Spiritual Man has been beaten up and defeated outside of the church. It is only on Sundays when you experience some form of spiritual victory, and it lasts until the moment you commute or drive to work the next day. How many of you have felt that each day leading up to Sunday has been antagonistic towards your faith and your values? It feels like you cannot wait for the weekend to arrive to feel spiritually refreshed again. It feels like each day the insider, and you are dragging yourself, barely surviving the struggles in the workplace.  

On Sunday nights, we groan inwardly, thinking, “It’s Monday again tomorrow.” We have this work ethic of dreading each workday. We seem to live for the weekend. We embrace this kind of attitude. Why do we feel so defeated most of the week? Why do we dread work so much?  

Most of this thinking falls on the perspective that there is no relationship between your career and who you are as a believer and the insider. There seems to be a disconnection between what you are doing for a living and for whom you are living for. Your work does not seem to be relevant to your values, your heartbeat, or your faith.  

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The Insider

Kingdom

Principles in Kingdom Building

Rev. Michael A. Milton of Faith for Living ministry in North Carolina compared the impact of the minor things we do in God’s Kingdom to the Parable of the Mustard Seed teaching of Jesus Christ. Rev. Milton wrote two principles on kingdom growth.

1st Principle: The Kingdom of God is Invisible to the Physical Eye

The first principle is, The Kingdom of God is often imperceptible by sight but staggering in cosmic potential. He quoted the testimony of Benjamin Franklin saying, “Church planting is just one evangelist on fire with a vision of the kingdom of God that has come into his own life, and, now, into this community. Others come to see this marvel, and some of them begin to catch on fire, too. Thus, the Church spreads.” Rev. Milton emphasized that there is no secret to the revival of a church or a denomination. It is only by seeing with eyes of faith the truth of the kingdom of God that the invisible is filled with power.  

2nd Principle: The Kingdom of God has Transforming Power

The second principle is, The Kingdom of God is often insignificant in influence but abounding in transforming power. Rev. Milton pointed out that there is not much about the mustard seed, thus making it negligible. But, as we ask the birds of the air that make their nests in that tree, it will no longer be insignificant. No ministry or small group activity is unimportant, for things are often upside down in the Kingdom of God. We should not look at the impact of the Church in the same way we look upon a business. Those who are most important may not be the significant ones. There are some mustard seeds that we cannot see, but they are already at work.

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Kingdom

Challenge in Discipleship

Challenge in Discipleship:

Personal and Private

One major problem revealed by this research is that millions of Christians believe that discipleship is only a personal thing with only personal and private implications. This can be attributed to what the Christians experience in their churches. There is minimal emphasis on the communal and relational nature of spiritual growth. Only one-third of Christian adults report that their church recommends meeting with a spiritual mentor. Half of their churches publically endorse studying the Bible with a group. While half recommend studying the Bible independently. 

One of the compelling findings of the study is that developmental relationships are more common in large or megachurches. Seventy-eight percent or 8 out of 10 church leaders of 500+ member churches report being currently discipled by someone else. When asked about the most eective single method of discipleship. 52% of church leaders prefer small groups and 29% for discipleship by pairs. Therefore, small groups are the disciple-making approach favored by most of today’s church leaders. 

Structure vs. Heart

Aside from prayer and quiet time with God, the pastors believe that spiritual disciplines are also essential to discipleship. such as “personal commitment to grow in Christlikeness.” “Attending a local church,” and “a deep love for God.”

According to pastors, having “a comprehensive discipleship curriculum” is by far the least essential element of eective discipleship. Only 44% of pastors considered the curriculum as crucial.  

Furthermore, when asked how church pastors and leaders will improve their discipleship programs. Most say they would “develop a more clearly articulated plan or approach to discipleship.” Church leaders and congregants need better methods of discipleship approach. They evaluate the effectiveness of their discipleship eorts.

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Discipleship

A Survey on How Church Members Discipleship

As Christians bring the message of the Gospel to the world, eective approaches to discipleship become more critical. A research study by Barna Group revealed that church leaders exemplar discipleship ministries among US Christian adults. Moreover, the researchers also surveyed Christian educators to determine the current state of discipleship in the US.  

Survey on Discipleship Amongst Church Members

In a random sample of Christians, practicing and non-practicing, the best way to describe their process of growing spiritually is by “becoming more Christ-like” (43%), followed by “spiritual growth” (31%), and “spiritual journey” (28%). The term “discipleship” only ranked fourth on the list and was only selected by fewer than one in five Christians (18%). Moreover, among those who did not choose the term “discipleship,” only one-quarter consider discipleship still relevant to their Christian experience. This implies that while spiritual growth is significant, the language and terminology surrounding discipleship change.  

In terms of the effectiveness of discipleship, Christian adults still believe their churches are doing well. About 52 percent of those who attended church in the past six months believe their church is doing a good job helping people grow spiritually.” On the other hand,  40 percent said, “it probably does so.”

About two-thirds of Christians (67%) attending church, who have considered spiritual growth as necessary, claim that their church places “a lot” of emphasis on spiritual growth. Conversely, 27 percent say their church only gives “some” focus.  

Only one (1) percent believes that today’s churches are doing very well in reaching out to new and young believers. A majority of 6 out of 10 (60%) feel that the churches are not discipling too well. Pastors give their church higher marks than churches overall, but only a few believe that churches excel in discipleship.  

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