Eliminating the Sacred-Secular Divide 

There is Nothing “Secular” in this World

We are making an unconscious effort to categorize two types of actions: 1) The Sacred and 2) The Secular. The sacred acts are activities that give us satisfaction and security in knowing that we are pleasing God. These sacred acts are typically described as prayer, Bible reading, singing praise and worship, volunteering in church, and attending Sunday services. These are acts that usually stem directly from faith. These acts are also viewed as having no direct relation to this world and would have no meaning unless faith shows us another world, a house that is not made with hands and is eternal in the heavens (2 Corinthians 5:1).

 On the other hand, Secular acts encompass all of life’s ordinary activities. These mundane acts include eating, sleeping, working, and tending to the earthly body’s needs. When we perform these routine tasks, we are overcome with deep frustration. We tell ourselves that a better day is coming when we won’t have to worry about world events.

Secularism is a Myth

Comparing the two types of activities is known as the sacred-secular divide. However, did you know that secularism is a myth? This schism has no basis in the New Testament.

A.W. Tozer cited the life of Jesus Christ as the perfect example of why this divide does not exist. Jesus led a unified life. He did not live a “secular” or “sacred” life. The Messiah gave his entire life to God, from birth to death on the cross. Tozer emphasized that Jesus made no distinction between the various acts he performed.

Christian hip-hop artist Lecrae stated, “We’re still stuck in the reality that everything is divided in two and that if you go too far here, you’ll get messed up. There is a sacred-secular schism that prevents us from having an impact on culture.” How should we influence the culture in which we live? How do we perceive the workplace in which we work? In the words of Jesus, “the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him” (John 8:29).

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The First and Last Stage of the Career Mandate Cycle

The Sabbath is one of the stages that make up the Career Mandate’s various stages. If there is a cycle to your professional calling, the Sabbath is the final stage of the process before you return to your workplace and begin working again. If you are currently employed or own a business, it is important to remember that the Career Mandate is not fulfilled if you do not include the Sabbath in the planning and execution process.

As an unemployed person, on the other hand, keep in mind that you must first complete your work before you can enjoy and observe the Sabbath. It may not be paid work at first, and you may be providing volunteer support for a cause or for an organization, but make use of your free time to accomplish something worthwhile. Make a positive contribution to the system. Finally, by keeping your Sabbath holy, you can return God’s glory to him.

Personal Application 

  1. Are you keeping your Sabbath holy?
  2. If you are not keeping your Sabbath holy, what are you doing on your Sabbath?
  3. Are you in a prolonged period wherein you are not working? What is the impact of this in your life?

Points to Ponder On 

  • By way of the Creation account, God was revealing to us how our professional mission must unfold over the course of time.
  • Observing the Sabbath demonstrates our dedication to the cause. It demonstrates where we place our trust.
  • God grants us the ability to be productive in the six days that we have set aside for work in order to honor him.
  • Get up and get to work. If you have to, volunteer your time.
  • The devil assigns work to idle hands in order to keep them busy. He places thoughts in the minds of those who are idle. He puts words in the mouths of those who are idle.

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Taking Your Sabbath is a Stand

Taking Your Sabbath is a Stand

The Purpose of Rest

Why does a God with omnipotence even need to rest? Was He tired? No. He was showing us something foundational. God revealed how our career mandate must unfold through the Creation account. This blog will talk about the purpose and value of rest in fulfilling our Career Mandate.  

What is He doing? God introduces Himself to us as a creative God who manifests His intentions in stages and phases. He reviews the stages, and then He rests. He has revealed to us how He steps back from the project.  

God is teaching us how resting is an essential part of creating. Stepping back for a season is vital. God has already shown us how we must “do” work from the very beginning. Taking a Sabbath from a week of work is a stand. It is a stand of your faith.  

Even when we dread work, most of us live in the office. How many of you have punched in countless overtimes? How many of you consider yourselves workaholics? Keeping the Sabbath shows for whom we are working. It shows where we put our faith.  

Trust God, Not Your Strength

When you fail to keep the Sabbath holy, when you use the Sabbath to work, it reveals that you are trusting in your abilities. Why would you work on a Sabbath? It is mostly because you are afraid to lose your job. You are worried that you will be unable to finish the tasks you can do. You are relying on yourself.  

When you rest on your Sabbath, it shows that you want to obey God at the end of the day. It proves that you are relying on God’s strength, not yours. Keeping your Sabbath day holy shows that you understand that your career will be blessed if you obey God. This is one of the reasons why we “do” work differently than the rest of the work. We take rest seriously. 

We all required the rest. God declared this commandment to Moses. This commandment pertains to our work behavior.  

 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11) 

 

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You Were Designed for Your Career Mandate

You Were Designed for Your Career Mandate

Where are you taking God’s Kingdom?

We are so interested in where God is, while He is interested in where we are. We should understand that God’s presence is not limited to the church facility. He is where you are.  

Our pastors are not the only full-time ministers. However, the job of pastors is only to equip every believer to conquer the field or industry they are assigned to be Insiders. That is what we are trying to do here. Moreover, we are trying to equip you to be God’s Insider in the industry you are working in. All of us are called to be full-time ministers in our workplaces. 

Mandate: 

There is a mandate. You are required to work because God designed you for it. Each person who goes according to their design to glorify and worship the Lord ministers to God. Thus, if you are working and doing it primarily to honor God and secondarily earn a living, you are a full-time minister. 

Being the Salt

Do you know what happens to anything that doesn’t fulfill its purpose? Like the salt that loses its saltiness, everything that does not fulfill its purpose will be thrown out. Jesus said this, didn’t he? Why keep the salt if it has no saltiness to show for it? 

Think about it. What would you do if you ate dinner and saw salt and pepper on your table? The salt looks like salt, but it’s not salty. What would you do? You would see it to have no purpose for it to be on the table.  

How many times have you asked God, “I’d like to know what my purpose is in life? What is my purpose?” If you have asked this before, I want you to say to yourself: “Ministry is my purpose.” It’s so simple. Ministry is service. Having said that, your work is your service. In fact, your purpose on earth is to serve, contribute, and make a difference. In the same light, you are called to service. That’s it. This is your purpose. 

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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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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

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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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

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

Back to Basics

Back to Basics: 

Like any relationship, discipleship is flexible and continually evolving.  We should be looking after effective models of genuine discipleship.

With all the rising and falling discipleship movements and the changes in churches brought by the waves of time, we should not forget the essentials. The heart of discipleship which was is, and will always be Jesus. The most effective discipleship model in the 21st Century is the way Jesus modeled it to his first disciples.  

The System of Simplicity 

There will always be hardships that come along with discipleship. The first disciples of Jesus did not have an easy life as they took on the great commission of making disciples of all nations. They were uneducated, ordinary citizens who were once fishermen and tax collectors, to name a few.

They were not schooled in any theological college or seminary, but they thrived on being the best followers of Jesus, who once left their fishing nets to become fishers of men.

Their mission was not easy and more complex than what we face in the 21st Century. However, we can learn from their system of simplicity that enables discipleship to thrive from their generation to the present. 

Growth takes time

According to Bob Fuhs, small discipleship groups can be made simple. There are discipleship principles in small groups that we can apply. First, we need to know and remember that “Growth takes place over time.” Since growth takes time, small group structure needs to respect that with their members. Small groups should create an environment where people can grow without being rushed or forced to mature.  

Jesus chose the people he’d minister to

The second principle of Fuhs is that “Jesus practiced selection.” In the Gospels, we can see that Jesus selected or handpicked only 12 men to work closely with him and trained them in ministry. Jesus did not run after people. There are times that he secluded himself from large crowds.

When Jesus offered the words of eternal life, many of his followers turned their backs and no longer walked with him.  

So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and we have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

Jesus answered them, Did I not choose you, the twelve? …”

Small group structure and leadership development system

The third principle of Fuhs is that “Your small group structure is your leadership development structure. Jesus never commanded us to go and lead Bible studies. His command was to make disciples.”

Further, he notes that the Bible is our textbook and guide, but our small groups’ overall purpose is not to get to know the Bible better.

In the same light, the goal of our small groups is to build leaders, to build disciples, more specifically — to build multiplying disciples.  

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We Need a Community

In a study on discipleship conducted by Thad Harvey, one of his significant findings revealed that the church has lost the meaning of being a disciple of Jesus Christ because it has lost the practice of having Jesus as the teacher. Moreover, the church has the opportunity to respond to the changing world, which is first to rediscover the Lordship of Jesus. In discovering Jesus again, we need to know him as a personal teacher, not just a teacher, but ‘the teacher.’ If Jesus is not the teacher, then we cannot be his disciples. Anyone can be a disciple of whoever their teacher is.  

Best Done in a Prophetic Community

The approach to rediscovering the Lordship of Jesus and encountering the Bible is best made within a prophetic community. Individual reading of the Bible and intimate communion with the Holy Spirit are essential. However, the disciples need not keep their relationship with Jesus Christ isolated. This is why Harvey pointed us back to how Christians are to be a part of the body of Christ, which compels living in a community with other disciples of Jesus. It is not enough for people to attend church.

They must get connected to fellow believers. The community can nurture and train them to reach out to others. In a prophetic community, we take the ultimate prophetic word we have, the Bible. We declare it over our lives and the future as a group of believers.

Let’s refocus on building and maintaining relationships, first and foremost with Jesus, then to other disciples of Jesus, especially those who do not know Jesus yet.

Discipleship must always be relational, Biblical, Holy Spirit-driven, lived day by day, and should be passed on to others.   

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An Effective Model for 21st Century Discipleship

Jesus showed us how to do church and small groups

Jesus modeled discipleship in a very personal and relational way without any sign of complexity. The Messiah called each disciple through a personal invitation. He only used simple words that opened the doors to a transformed life to everyone whom he invited.  

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers, Simon (called Peter) and Andrew, his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him

 “Follow Me” are two simple words that are very clear and personal. Jesus did not say, “come to me and follow me only if you do this thing or if you know that doctrine.” He did not invite people to come and join his causes or the principles he believed in. Rather, Jesus said, “Follow ‘Me.’” Jesus called out his first disciples to a relationship with him. This simple invitation of Jesus should remain the same for all generations.  

21st Century Church

Discipleship in the 21st Century should follow the way Jesus modeled it. It must first and foremost begin with a clear and compelling invitation. Moreover, there is something more to discipleship than just the invitation. Phil Stevenson describes the invitation of Jesus as clear, consistent, and challenging.  

When Jesus invited Peter and Andrew, they left their nets at once and immediately followed Jesus. They had to let go of what they already had to discover what could be there in Jesus. In contrast, Jesus extended the same invitation to a wealthy man who had so many possessions to let go of, so he responded to the invitation by holding on to what he owns and knows at the expense of living the unknown with Jesus.

As it was in the 1st Century, so it is in the 21st Century; Jesus is inviting us to respond to the opportunity extended by Jesus to follow him. Those who respond set out on the path of discipleship, following the way Jesus modeled it to them.    

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An Effective Model for 21st Century Discipleship