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Redemption of the Work Life

Redemption of the Work Life

Redemption of the Work Life: 

When you look at your work, you should think: “It’s not my secular work. It’s a sacred calling.” When we realize this and take this to the core of our being, we redeem our time. If, in the past, we considered our work secular and somehow we have been deceived that it is not under God, making a shift in our perspective redeems our work life. Making a shift creates an opening wherein our work life is redeemed.  

When you redeem your time, you re-label your time. 

The word “redeem” means to purchase or to buy back. “Redeem” comes from two English words. “Re” means “do again” while “Deem” means to label.” For example, if you deem something worthy, you label something according to its worth. When you consider an object, you frame it. When you see consider something, you put a name on it. You give it a new identity. Thus, when you redeem your time, you re-label your time.  

How much time are you re-labeling to be “sacred”? We are talking about a whole third of your life. How many hours have you been driving the bus? Have you been pushing paperwork for hours? Perhaps, you’re a teacher and spend a good four to six hours teaching students. As a chef, how long do you spend each day in the kitchen? Work usually averages eight hours a week, five days a week. This is about 160 hours each month that you are re-labeling.    

What would the Devil want you to do with these 160 hours? To call these 160 hours a month a drag will be to call a significant period of your life to be a drag.  When you redeem your time, you dedicate it as ministry time. You begin to see how you are a minister in the marketplace for 40 hours a week or 160 hours in a month. 

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work life

Battlefield

Your Work is Your Battlefield

Your Purpose and Your Battlefield

Your workplace is your battlefield. God said, “Sir, you’re going to find your purpose, your career calling. Then you’re going to find Eve.” In most cultures, this is normal. Unfortunately, we live in a twisted culture in the United States that accepts unemployment as a norm. No father would have ever given his daughter to a man that did not have a career calling. In most cultures, this would not happen. But it’s happening to most of us in our twisted rendition of the American culture.  

If you think about it, low self-esteem and high levels of desperation push people into unnatural and unspiritual relationships. This false mindset is what the enemy is doing in our culture. Mighty men of God, no woman is going to despise you for not being able to get a job. But she is going to hate you for still being in bed when she’s gone out.  

Paul supports this Career Mandate. Paul tells us, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). How can you provide for your household? You provide by having a job. If you don’t have a job, your full-time job is finding a job. Get up and find a job.  

Where is your battlefield? 

If there is a Career Mandate, this means that our Commander, Jesus Christ, has already revealed to you where your battlefield is. The work you have is where you conduct your wrestling match. Your workplace is your battlefield. 

God goes to work with His people every single day. If you work in a school, God goes with you there. Let’s say you work in a mall. God goes with you there. What if you work in a law firm? God goes with you there. If you work for the government, God goes with you there. Wherever you are working, God is there because you are there. 

Many of us want to go into full-time ministry with the church because our career calling is not equivalent to full-time ministry. Because of this theology of separation that we are used to, we see our work to be unrelated to ministry work for God.  

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Battlefield

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

The Salt and the Light

The Salt and the Light

A Command for Believers

Jesus declared that those who follow him are the “salt” and the “light” of the world. These were not suggestions. These were not options. Jesus did not say, “You can be the salt” or “you have to potential to be the salt.” He is talking about your very being. Christ was describing your nature as a believer living in the world. He said you are the salt and the light. 

We cannot underestimate the value of salt. In the ancient world, the context by which Jesus used the term “salt” metaphorically refers to Roman soldiers who received their wages in salt. The Greeks even considered salt to be divine. God required all offerings presented by the Israelites to contain salt under the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 2:13).  

When Jesus called the disciples to be the salt of the earth in Matthew 5:13, they understood the metaphor. They understood their job description as Insiders. Did you know that salt was not readily available in the modern world during that time? In the same way, what you offer as believers is not readily available in your industries. 

The Distinction of Salt

What are the characteristics of the salt that caused Jesus to use this symbol? Salt preserves food. Before people created the refrigerator, they used salt to keep food in ancient times.  

Salt had a property that stopped decay. The disciples were aware of the value of salt. Without salt, the fish they had caught will spoil quickly. They needed to pack it in salt to preserve it. Jesus intended you to work as an Insider in the industry you are in to stop the moral decay in the sin-infected world of that area.  

Salt needs to be lavished on the food to be preserved to stop the decay of this food. Salt, as a preservative, is only helpful if applied to meet that is riding. If you place to fish in one container and salt in another, the salt cannot preserve the fish. We see the pattern here, don’t we?  

Insiders

We see that Jesus intended for us to be Insiders. There needs to be close contact between the believer and the world to impact the world and prevent moral decay. Moreover, the spiritual health and strength of the Christian are to counteract the corruption in the system. As Christians, we were never intended to exist in our own “holy” bubble until the time when Jesus came again. Therefore, we are called to be the salt of the earth. 

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the salt

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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Free Prophecy for Everyone

Discipleship

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

Highlight: Beware of the Birds

Highlight: Beware of the Birds

God is the Sower. Ultimately, nothing grows if He did not plant it. He uses people to establish His purposes. Most of the time, He can use you to share the Gospel with your friend. However, it’s also only God who can make things grow. 

Sometimes, we are the field by which God sows things. Unfortunately, there are times when we become the birds who snatch away the good that God has planted in the hearts of others.

Who are the Birds?

The church can attract different sets of people. Sometimes, the people are like the birds in the parable of Jesus.

Jesus uses these parables to warn us. There would be members of the church who can steal or kill or destroy what God has been doing. The enemy is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Every Christian must be vigilant. In fact, even Christians can be stirred in the wrong direction and become birds at one point in their lives.

Some people may also take advantage of the church community. They become members not because of their faith but because they want to be served. They want to benefit from belonging to the church. However, since there is no genuine repentance and Lordship in their lives, it ends up in chaos. Church leaders must be vigilant that “birds” do not steal the seed that has been planted for the church to grow. Birds snatch up the seed. They steal the seed so they cannot take root and bloom.

As true believers, we can take comfort in the fact that we can ask for wisdom from God. We must be careful to weed out such people so that they don’t steal away the fruits that have the potential to grow in our lives. God can sow a prophetic word in your heart, but birds (fear or doubt) can snatch them away. Nevertheless, birds have a purpose in the story.

Jesus still allowed the presence of Judas Iscariot as one of his chosen twelve even when he knew that Judas was bound to betray him (Jn. 6:70). This shows us that Jesus, in fact, allows or permits evil to coexist with good under his sovereignty and use it for his purposes. 

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Highlight: The Mustard Seed

Seed: In the last post, we talked about how it is crucial to plant good soil for the seed to grow.  Sometimes, we are the farmer who can sow seeds of the Gospel in the hearts of others when we interact with them. In other times, we are the field by which God Himself sow greatness. In both cases, if the soil of the field is hard, nothing will grow.

The Mustard Seed

Scholars note that it is odd to call a mustard a tree. The fact is it’s only grown to be a shrub. Jesus certainly did not make a mistake in his word choice. The people who were listening to him understood that mustard seeds don’t really grow into trees.

This metaphor implies that a mustard seed growing into a tree is unnatural and could not happen if agricultural laws apply.  

If you notice this, you’ll see Jesus’ warnings. There will be many churches and Christians that seem to grow unnaturally. While we can chalk this up to the supernatural grace of God, this can also mean that there are perversions in the way Christians and churches are produced.  Jesus wants to warn Christians about this unnatural way of being.

Shrub vs. Tree Potential

A shrub differs from a tree.  In the same way, the Holy Spirit develops a true Christian. This individual will differ from one who has a superficial faith. The Christian can live and make decisions by the grace of God. Conversely, the other who claims to be Christian is only borne out of good works and trivial human effort. Somehow, a part of us shrivels in discomfort when we enter a church or encounter a Christian that may appear God-honoring on the outside but is truly self-gratifying on the inside. Even the least discerning of us get uncomfortable around certain people because we know that the way they present themselves is fake and unnatural.  

The Lack of Authenticity in the Church

When watermelons grow naturally, they are oval in shape, full of seeds, and are covered by a green, striped outer skin. Yet these days, we will find watermelons that are square, seedless, and monochromic. These are unnatural, produced by the interference of human hands. While we enjoy eating a seedless watermelon for its convenience, watermelons were never really designed or created to be this way.

In the same way, some churches have become perverted when it comes to their doctrines, values, and objectives; thus, they take on a new nature – one that is not of God. They may identify as a church of Christ in the same way that the mustard tree is identified as something that stemmed from the mustard seed, but the way they present themselves and what makes them up differ. They grow because they placed their own hands in the process.  As a result, we will encounter churches with resounding accusations of secularism, manipulation, abuse, purposeful connection with authoritative figures to acquire power, and unnecessary extensive expenses on marketing and advertising.

 

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A Commandment for Generations

“The destiny of future generations depends on our action today.”

Sunday Adelaja

You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me,

Exodus 20:5 NRSV

Number 15 opens up shortly after Israel’s defeat at Kadesh-Barnea. This failure shows that the people have not learned how to trust and obey (Num. 14). The Lord rejected the older generation and started a clean slate with the younger ones. On the other hand, God had a different message — a word of encouragement — for the younger generation: “You are going to enter the land I am giving you as a home” (Num. 15:1).

This younger generation faced 38 years of wandering, but the Lord guaranteed that they would enter the Promised Land and claim their inheritance. The children suffered because of the sins of their fathers. Their fathers did not believe and obey the Lord, and as a consequence, the blessing was delayed, even for the younger generation. It shows us that when we disobey God, even in withholding our tithes and offering, we are not only causing trouble upon ourselves but for the next generations.

It shows us that when we disobey God, even in withholding our tithes and offering, we are not only causing trouble upon ourselves but for the next generations.

The older generation of Israelites repeatedly refused to submit to God’s authority, and to the authority of God’s appointed leaders. In the present day, these are our spiritual fathers — the pastors and the church elders. Believers commit the same mistake. We see divided churches, dysfunctional families, and rebellious people judging and wandering away from the church, and never accomplishing much in the work of the Lord.

The thing is this, and we need to get it so as not to suffer the faith of the older generation of Israelites —  Unless we submit to God’s Word and His appointed leaders (Heb. 13:7-9,17), we cannot successfully claim our inheritance in Christ (Eph. 2:10), and do the work God set for us to do.

When it comes to the offering, when you fail to bring in your târumah because you don’t want it to go to your pastor, instead of keeping your wealth, you would lose it. It’s because you lose the blessing and the chance to step into your promised land because you willfully dishonored God and His appointed leaders.

The younger generation can only enjoy the blessings of entering the Promised Land if they obeyed God. It’s the same standard for them, as it was with their parents. Moses gave them four special instructions that the believers today would benefit from if they obeyed them.

First, please the Lord (Num. 15:1-21). When they do enter the Promised Land, they were to offer to the Lord. The offerings were designed to please the Lord. The sacrifices discussed in these verses were spontaneous expressions of love and gratitude to the Lord. Along with these sacrifices, the worshipper was instructed to offer two quarts of fine flour with about a quart of oil, a portion of which was given on the altar, while the rest are given to the priest.

The younger generation must heed this command to make an offering and give it to the priest in order to please the Lord.

When larger animals were sacrificed, the amounts of the meal, oil, and wine were increased proportionately. The offering to the priest was dependent on the tithe that was initially given to the altar.

Take note of this interesting point. The Jews would not become agricultural people unless they settled in the promised land, and cultivated vineyards, olive trees, and fields of grain. The Lord was already assuring them of the provision for the offering they would make. The Israelites have not even stepped into the Promised Land yet, the Lord already gave instructions for the offering. It means He is also assuring that they would be provided for in the land. God would not ask you to offer anything He has not given you.

The Israelites have not even stepped into the Promised Land yet, the Lord already gave instructions for the offering. It means He is also assuring that they would be provided for in the land.

 

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SACRIFICE

SACRIFICE

SACRIFICE: 

Restitution or reformation does not cancel out sin. It is only a substation sacrifice that can atone for our sins for us to be reconciled to God. Our submission to the Lord in confession and restitution must flow from the acceptability of the sacrifice. At the end of the day, Jesus was our substitute.

Our response to His sacrifice must be complete obedience.

The sinner must render acceptable obedience which is the evidence of a saving relationship with the Lord. Authentic faith is backed up by action. People who do not bring in their tithes and offering cannot back up their faith that God is the Source of everything, because they are not generous with whatever material wealth they have.

Suppose we say that we share life with God  but still walk in the darkness. Then we are lying. We are not living out the truth. 

But suppose we walk in the light, just as he is in the light. Then we share life with one another. And the blood of Jesus, his Son, makes us pure from all sin. (1 John 6-7)

 

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PROTECTION

EVIDENCE OF GOD’S PROTECTION

EVIDENCE OF GOD’S PROTECTION: 

King Hezekiah began his independent reign when he broke the treaty which his father Ahaz made with the Assyrians (2 Kgs. 16:7), probably during the reign of Sargon II (722-705 B.C.). Sargon’s successor Sennacherib (705-681 B.C.) decided to bring Judah into line, and he led a campaign against Hezekiah in the king’s 14th year (2 Kgs. 18:13). Hoping to prevent Jerusalem’s capture, Hezekiah hid the city by concealing the outside water supplies (2 Chron. 32:3-4).

He also repaired any weak spots in the wall and built towers around it (1 Kgs. 9:24), and added to the weapon supply. He also mobilized the people under army officers. He encouraged them not to feat, but to trust the Lord — a power far superior to a nation like Assyria. Hezekiah assured the people that the Lord was with them to help them.

What was Hezekiah doing in the previous chapter? (Protection)

He was securing the tithes of the people and also making sure the priests are provided for and encouraging people to be consistent about their giving.

He took care of the priests — God’s workers. As a result, God protected Hezekiah’s reign and gave him victory.

In 2 Chronicles 32:9-15, Sennacherib boasted that no other god had been able to protect his people from the Assyrians. He was mocking the God of the Israelites, saying He was just another God. After his taunting through letters and addresses through his messengers, he would send delegates to speak in Hebrew on the wall to demoralize the people about their God.

Hezekiah took care of the provision for the priest. In return, the Lord protected him and his kingdom.

Hezekiah turned to the Lord with the Prophet Isaiah. With the help of the prophet, they prayed for divine deliverance. God gave the king assurance through the prophet (2 Kgs. 19:20-34). God sent an angel to destroy the Assyrian host forcing Sennacherib to retreat in humility (2 Chron. 32:20-21a). Hezekiah took care of the provision for the priest. In return, the Lord protected him and his kingdom. He upheld Hezekiah’s throne against the Assyrian army. This protection only comes from God.

 

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PROTECTION

COMPENSATION-FOR-PASTORS

GENEROUS COMPENSATION

GENEROUS COMPENSATION: There are many accounts wherein the Bible reveals God’s desire to compensate properly those who labor in the Lord’s vineyard. When Jesus appointed the 72 and sent them out two by two, he gave specific instructions as to their conduct. He was very specific, and it clues us into how ministers must be compensated. Jesus instructed them if anyone was generous enough to offer them lodging and food, they were to accept it.

Jesus instructed them if anyone was generous enough to offer them lodging and food, they were to accept it.

Stay there and eat and drink anything they give you. Workers are worthy of their pay. Do not move around from house to house. (Luke 10:7)

According to Aubrey Malphurs and Steve Strope, authors and seminarians:

People are God’s human agents for ministry effectiveness (1 Cor. 3:5–9). Your ministry will be only as good as the people who serve the Lord and the church. Scripture is clear that the workers deserve their wages.… It’s unbiblical (and shameful) when a church fails to take care of its staff.

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