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Work is the Premise of the Sabbath

Sabbath is Sacred but Temporary

Let us balance this out. Sabbath is important. Sabbath is sacred to the Lord. However, Sabbath was not intended to be a permanent state. Some of us have been taking Sabbaths without going to work. This is not natural behavior. We were not designed this way.  

We have been so focused on the Sabbath as a religious event that we have failed to connect it with the rest of the six days. The Sabbath is a part of the week of the Lord. The week of the Lord is about the work He wants for us to do. You can have something that you are working on, in, or through for six days of your life.  

According to the ministry He has placed you in, you are supposed to be working for the Lord for six days. The ministry He has placed you in occurs in your workplace. The work you do six days a week justifies the Sabbaths in your life. 

What if God didn’t do any work on the first day through the sixth day and then said, “The seventh is a Sabbath.” However, other people try to work through the seventh. Entrepreneurs tend to work on things. Employees tend to work on things. Homemakers and people working in the domestic tend to be working through things. You get tired of just working monotonously at the same thing because you have failed to complete the Career Mandate by stopping to rest and review the work that you have done. 

Work is not what is causing you to experience fatigue. What you’re working on, what you’re working with, what you’re working through, and what you’re working in that’s frustrating you. If the environment changes, you would love creating because it is part of your innate nature.  

We need to feel productive.

Imagine this scenario. You take time off to go to the beach for a vacation. When you get there, you lay down on the first day to relax. After a while, you get a tan from the sun.

On the second day, you do the same thing again and get tanner. On the third day, you bring a book or your iPod with you thinking, “I’ve got to listen to something because I’m just lying here, and I’m browning off now.” 

Has anyone ever been in this situation before? “I’m browning off. Now, I can do something. So, I’m going to lie here, and then I’m going to get up, and I’m going to go for a dip, and then I’m going to come back. Let’s go down the road. Let’s go and see whatever else is there to do.” In this vacation, you feel the urge to do something. You cannot just lie around on the sand doing nothing.  

Work is the premise of the Sabbath, isn’t it?  Isn’t the Sabbath more meaningful because you did your work?  The Sabbath becomes a great time because you have made yourself productive all-week round. 

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Sabbath

insider

The Favor Upon God’s Insider

The Favor Upon God’s Insider

The Insider works six days a week and is the most well-liked and accomplished group member. The fact that you are taking this stance allows your coworkers to investigate and learn more about what makes you so favored. This creates a window of opportunity for influence.

According to the principle God has laid out for you here, you are required to work on, in, or through things for six days. On the seventh day, you take the opportunity to rest, recover, and review your progress. Recuperation is an essential component of the work experience. People who don’t take time to rest become exhausted. The length of your sabbatical can range from one day to a week and even up to a month. There may even be a sabbatical year in your life, but the most important thing is to take time to step back and recharge your batteries.

We have constructed an entire religion around the seventh. When we look at it, we see it as a religious tradition, according to which you should not work on Saturday and Sunday. When, in reality, according to the Career Mandate, Sabbath is a necessary part of your job duties, you should take it. This is the part of your job where you take a step back and relax a little. Because rest is an integral part of one’s work, it can be considered a religious act and a work-related activity. The fact that you can rest indicates that you have faith in God enough to follow His commandment.

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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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Sabbath

your-work-your-worship

Your Work, Your Worship

You Were Made for Worship

Work is our form of worship as human beings. Our purpose is to worship God. However, how come when the world was perfect, and sin had not entered the world yet, there was no worship service mentioned? There was no music. What was there for man to do? There was work. 

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 

20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. (Genesis 2:15,20)

Worship is an expression of adoration. Moreover, it reflects how much worth you attribute to someone. When Adam was created, how did he express his adoration for the Lord? What activity was present? There was work. After, God assigned Adam his “Career Mandate” and he worshipped God through his obedience. 

You’re now cutting against the grain of your very existence to not have something to work on. You are meant to serve. You are meant to be challenged. However, you were also created to take breaks from it. The Creator revealed to us your design. Resting is part of your career mandate. Plan, review, complete, and then rest. Then, go back to work. This is your nature. 

It’s Unnatural Not To Work

Sickness occurs when you go against your design. There is a connection between purpose and health. Moreover, you were not designed to be idle. Idleness causes you to abuse your design. 

My (Bishop Malcolm’s) mother worked in the national health service for 30 years as a nurse. When she came to retire, they called her in for counseling, in order to talk through the retirement process. She asked if I would go with her and I said, “Absolutely.” I went with my mother and we sat down. A lovely lady began to talk through the mechanics of retirement, the mechanics of the process, the pensioning, the forms, and all of that. I thought, “Yeah, this is really helpful because it helps you. You know what to do, you know what to expect.” 

Then the woman turned around and said, “So, tell me about yourself. How many children?” she said. “Do you have grandchildren?” 

 “Yes.”  

“That’s really nice.” Then, the woman started to really lighten up. She said, “Are you a member of any club or society or a group?”  

Mother said, “Yes, yes. I’m an active member of my church.”  

“Oh, that’s wonderful. Do you do things in church?”  

“Oh, yes. Yes, I have roles. I run the prayer group, you know. I do all of these things.” 

 “Oh,” and I’m seeing this woman lightening up. She said, “Do you have any other hobbies? Do you garden? Do you have plants?” 

Statistical Proof of Life Expectancy

As my mother was saying stuff, the woman was getting ecstatic. I’m like, “Excuse me. Tell me why are you saying this?” The woman looked at me and she said, “Because we have statistical proof that if you have nothing to do with your life after you retire, you are going to die within the first few years.”  

“What?”  

“They said your life expectancy drops dramatically if you have nothing to do.” Then a phenomenon that I couldn’t explain suddenly made sense. The phenomenon is one that I observed in the sunny island of Jamaica. We would drive through some districts. This was Beverly Hills. This was Hollywood. These were beautiful houses that had been built by people who were working in this country. They sent their money back home to build their dream house in anticipation of retirement. They would build their dream house, retire, go back to Jamaica and within two years, they’re dead and the house is empty.  

Absolutely, it’s a sociological phenomenon. How do you spend your life building for a dream and when you get it, you’re dead? Our bodies are interconnected with our minds. They’re all part of the same system. If your mind loses purpose, the reason is, your body has no reason to continue living. There’s none. You simply start packing up and dying. The whole idea that I’m going to retire one day and spend the rest of my life on a beach is the formula for death because it’s a totally unnatural human state.  

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your-work-your-worship

Prevent-Contamination

Prevent Contamination

Prevent Contamination

Salt can lose its saltiness

Jesus gave us a warning:  “But if the salt loses its taste, how would its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men.”  This is not to say that we lose our salvation. Instead, he said, we can lose our saltiness. We can lose our purpose. When salt is contaminated, it becomes corrosive and poisonous. 

When salt is contaminated, it cannot even be used as fertilizer in the field. It needs to be thrown out on the road. The question here is, are you preventing moral decay, or are you allowing it to continue in your workplace? Worse, are you producing or speeding up the moral decay in your office? 

Allowing apathy, disobedience, carelessness, and indifference to rule our lives, especially our work lifestyles, causes us to eliminate our saltiness. There is a need for us to realize our roles so that we do not lose the purpose for which we are called. Let us not miss the primary purpose by which we are placed in the position we are placed in. We are in the companies or businesses we are in so we can be the salt in that company or business. Do not miss the point. Let us not lose our saltiness. 

Does your light shine bright?

Jesus also called us the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). As the “salt,” we counteract the power of sin. On the other hand, as the “light,” we illuminate where we are. When a place is illuminated, darkness ceases to exist. Whatever exists in darkness—the rulers, authorities, and powers—cannot survive in the light. 

Our lives and this widely includes our work lives, must testify to the reality of Christ’s presence. The light we possess is not our own. It reflects the Light of the World, Jesus Christ Himself.  

As Insiders, we represent Jesus. We are his agents in the world. We cannot reflect Christ’s light if we are not in contact with Christ when it comes to our day-to-day lives. The problem most Christians have is they compartmentalize. Jesus belongs in the Sunday and Church drawer. Thus, he cannot touch the Mondays to Saturdays—Work-Fun drawers. When this happens, when Jesus is not Lord over all of our lives, we fail to reflect His light into every area of our lives.  

Theology of Separation

We are taught a theology of separation. We separate our careers from our faith. Most of us struggle with the idea that our careers are in fact, our ministries. These careers we hold directly serve the interests of heaven on earth. However, we miss this point when we separate Career and God from each other.  

Most people say, “If only they were in full-time ministry” with the church then, they can help advance its mission. They see their jobs as a measure to pay their bills or get ahead in life. We can understand that God has placed us primarily in our workplaces to be His agents, His access, and His advert in the system. 

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Prevent Contamination

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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Enter-the-Arena

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

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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Learning To Grow Small Things Grow in 2022

Learning To Grow Small Things Grow in 2022:

Discipleship Themes

how to Grow Small Things

There are several key discipleship themes from the work of Jesus and through his disciples that we can learn from. The first is that Jesus intentionally identified his key persons. He had 12 close disciples and had an intimate relationship with them. Jesus did not remove any one of them nor look for better ones. Jesus knew each one of these men, who in turn devoted their lives to him.

These were his people, for better or worse, Judas Iscariot included. Jesus is rarely found without his friends. Jesus and the 12 are always together on ministry trips. He was also invited to family gatherings, religious events, and holiday parties of his friends.  

When the Messiah ate and drank with the people, probably his favorite way of fellowship. He ate with everyone, like the Pharisees, tax collectors, prostitutes, children, and even with many people, but he always included his closest 12 followers with his meals. Jesus lived on a mission with the people. His mission was to be with the disciples and form a missional relationship through them.  

As Jesus roamed around to teach and to heal, he was in communion with others and enabling them to do likewise. Reaching out to the community should not only be an option in the work of discipleship. Linneman concluded that small groups are influential if it is patterned with the life and ministry of Christ that is positioned towards life-giving experience and the life-changing power of God.

 

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Learning To Grow Small Things Grow in 2022