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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. 

Invitation

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Sabbath

Your Commitment To Your Mandate

Your Commitment To Your Mandate

“Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.  Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.  Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” 

Maya Angelou 

Power Truth 

“Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places. 

Leviticus 23:3 

Have you ever heard of people saying, “You know what, I’m waiting, Bishop. When I find out what my ministry is, that’s when I’m going to give it 100%”. You will find your ultimate ministry in life as you serve, not as you wait. As you serve the church, as you serve your workplace, as you serve your family, you will see what you are good at. You will recognize your gifts and your passion. You won’t see it, sitting on the couch all day, waiting for the Lord to reveal it to you. 

Personal Application 

  1. What is keeping you from worshipping God with your work? 
  2. How can you make your work your worship? 
  3. Have you discovered your faithful ministry in life? If so, what is it? 

Mandate: 

Points to Ponder on 

  • Each one of us has a career mandate.  
  • God assigned Adam his “Career Mandate,” Adam worshiped God through his obedience. 
  • It is unnatural to have no work.  
  • The job of pastors is only to equip every believer to conquer the field or industry they are assigned to be Insiders in.  
  • Ministry is service. Your work is your service.  

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Mandate

Order of Creation : Calling Then Family

Calling and Family

God placed man’s career calling ahead of his wife and his family in the order of creation. Do not get me wrong. We are not trying to create a conflict between home and work life.  

If you are a single woman reading this, I am saying that God wants you to marry someone who has already discovered his destiny and purpose. I’m saying that the worst thing you could do is to marry someone who has no career calling with their life because that’s an unnatural state. Ladies, you are supposed to be with someone who already has a relationship with God and, secondly, someone who has already received his calling from the Lord. Gentlemen, before you go out seeking for your mates, seek God first and seek the calling you have in Him.  

It is unnatural to have no work. We find ourselves in this mess in society when we’re marrying people with unemployed, idle minds. We find ourselves in a mess when we settle for marrying people with no vision and purpose. Ladies, it is unnatural for men to live off you.  

God said, “It’s not going to happen. Adam, you are going to be working when Eve meets you. When Eve lays eyes on you for the first time, you will be working.” This picture was what God intended for relationships between husbands and wives. Please, do not use up the excuse that times are hard and you could not get a job. Suppose you cannot get a job or volunteer. Do not sit around and be idle, asking when God will show you your wife.  

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Family

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

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

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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Free Prophecy for Everyone

The Insider

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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Free Prophecy for Everyone

Learning To Grow Small Things Grow in 2022

Personal & Relational

A Personal Invite

Discipleship must first and foremost begin with an acceptance to a personal invitation to a life with Jesus. It is this simple. One cannot say he is a disciple of Jesus without having an intimate relationship with him. Discipleship must have an element of life on life. People are nurtured in relationships, not in the transference of knowledge or any content. Moreover, Stevenson enumerated vital principles that influence effective discipleship in the 21st Century.  

Aside from being relational, discipleship must also be biblical, applicable, accountable, and reproducible. The word of God should remain to be the central basis for making disciples. There is no better way to follow Jesus than to read about who he was, how he thought, and what he did. Discipleship must bring impact to others. If not, then it is merely a religious practice. Discipleship also holds the followers of Christ accountable to a life of faith in their daily lives. Lastly, genuine discipleship can only happen when disciples make disciples. It’s a multiplication process.

Movement across generations

In the article “Twenty-first Century Discipleship: A Biblical Theology for Changing Times,” written by Dr. Michael J. Wilkins, he described the changing waves of discipleship across different eras. Like the ocean waves, he noted that the waves of church movements that impact us today are usually generated by far away and long ago.

And, to ride them effectively, we need to know as much as possible about the forces that have brought them about and how they impact us today. Moreover, Dr. Wilkins noted that discipleship is not a recent or unique phenomenon. More than 2,000 years ago,  Jesus Christ entered human history and called out to men and women, “Follow Me!”  

Just like what Phil Stevenson has emphasized, Dr. Wilkins considers discipleship as one that originates with a gracious call from Jesus to enter into an intimate relationship with Him. It begins with intentional evangelism that challenges people to count the cost of accepting Jesus’ call to life in the kingdom of God. Across forces and times, discipleship is simply living in this world with Jesus Christ. It’s about conforming to his image through the Holy Spirit’s power. Moreover, it would help if you allowed yourself to be nurtured by a community of believers. You also need to fulfill your purpose to make disciples.

Moreover, Dr. Wilkins considers other essentials of discipleship in the present Century aside from being generated by Jesus. The Holy Spirit initiated and empowered people for discipleship. God’s Word continually guides. They are also nurtured in communities of faith. Christians must carry it out by sojourning in our everyday, watching world.

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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

Why Your Church Needs a Small Group Ministry?

Reasons for Establishing a Small Group Ministry

In his article, “10 Reasons Why Your Church Should Have Small Groups”, Daniel Threlfall identifies the importance of small groups. First on his list is that small groups foster close relationships and basic community. A small group atmosphere is good for establishing friendships since individuals tend to talk more in small groups.  

The second is that small groups provide a comfortable environment to welcome nonbelievers to the Christian faith.

A natural and understandable fear common among us is fear in forming relationships, especially if it involves sharing our faith and beliefs with other people.

However, inviting someone to a small group meeting provides a way to involve a nonbeliever in the church. A nonbeliever is more likely to ask questions, get answers, and form relationships with a small group of believers. Thus, small groups can be a powerful missional tool, allowing for the greater spread of the gospel among nonbelievers in the community.  

Third, small groups provide a good way to care for the needs of people within the church.

When a small group member is struggling, it is much easier for the other group members to notice. They can already provide assistance. The structure of a small group is essentially a community of friends of the same faith. As a result, friends are meant to help one another, especially if they are friends in Christ.  

Fourth, small groups allow Christians to live out their faith instead of becoming churchgoers and mere Gospel listeners.

Since members discuss the Sunday preaching, talk about their personal and spiritual battles, and/or pray for one another during meetings, small groups provide a setting for Christians to live out their faith.  

Fifth on Threlfall’s list is that small groups provide focused prayer for one another.

Threlfall noted that in a small group meeting, each of the present people took a few minutes to tell others about their particular challenges or concerns. Then, as soon as one is finished, the person next to him will take some time to pray for him. Small groups are a great place for prayer meetings.  

Sixth, small groups offer a comfortable atmosphere for openness.

One admirable thing about small groups is that members often meet in the comfort of their homes, where people can open up, listen, learn, and grow. Threlfall pointed out that this is the same with the first disciples of Jesus who are meeting in houses or being part of a household.  

Seventh, small groups allow for mutual edification among believers.

Believers tend to depend upon the leaders for spiritual food and nourishment easily. However, the Scripture states otherwise, for God also gives spiritual gifts to all believers, not just to the preachers and leaders. The whole church benefits from it.

Every Christian should minister to other Christians with their gifts, and this happens most naturally, effectively, and purposefully within small groups.   

Eight, small groups encourage better learning.

Listening to a Sunday preaching is a great way to learn the Word, but it is easy to become detached from the message, making us passive listeners. This is not the case within a small group. As a few people gather together, every individual is expected to be involved and to participate. Active involvement is an effective way to learn better.  

Ninth, small groups are a source of encouragement and accountability.

It is easy to go in and out of the church and not be noticed. This is common with megachurches, but it also happens in an average-sized church of 100 or 150 attendees.

People come for each Sunday service but do not get themselves involved. These individuals need accountability in their lives, encouragement in their walk with God, and/or help in some way in which small groups can provide.  

Lastly, small groups cultivate leadership within the church.

Someone is necessary to lead a small group meeting or at least facilitate the discussion. Thus, there is a need for leaders other than the pastor. Small groups provide opportunities for leadership development among members within the church.

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Why Your Church Needs a Small Group Ministry?

Established Members Equipped Leaders

Established Members Equipped Leaders:

Relationships in the Group: Boon or Blessing?

While the strength of a small group is hinged on the relationships built within the circle, this can also become its weakness. Some small group members can become so comfortable that they no longer are interested in building relationships with people outside their group. This becomes a problem not just because this features exclusivity but also because it means that within the small group is a culture that allows complacency, leaving the members with no intention to move beyond their current role. As such, we need to start being more deliberate about raising our members as leaders who can take on their own small groups. We need to maintain a small group culture that remains missional just as much as it is spiritual and relational. 

Train Up Future Leaders

Practically, we need to start identifying the small group members who can become small group leaders. This does not mean that we are to pick and choose only those seemingly special because the goal is to have everyone eventually become leaders who lead their own small groups. But it does mean that we will be strategic in raising our small group members to become leaders. To begin, we need to look at who has the most potential at this point and who has the most initiative and maturity to handle leading other people.  

When the apostle Paul was mentoring Timothy, he had this to say: 

2 and what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well.  

(2 Timothy 2:2) 

We also need to learn to entrust the message we have been given to others who can teach it to others. Like Jesus, we need to look for people who can become our interns. And once we have our interns, we start equip them and guide them as they go through the process of becoming a leader.  

Model Leadership

It usually just starts with us leading a small group meeting and our interns observing. Afterward, we set some time with them to discuss the things that they have learned from observation. Eventually, once they have enough information and foresight, we can ask them to help us as we lead the small group by giving them time to share or by letting them facilitate the discussion.  

We can provide them with feedback thereafter to grow in the way they discuss with and handle the group. Then once we think that they are ready to go to the next level, we will switch positions with them and have them lead the groups we are handling while we merely observe and support them as safety nets. We will allow them the freedom to teach the group and navigate the discussion as we note what we could improve. After a few meetings of having them lead, we can finally release them with several other group members to begin their own small group.

Check back in the next post for more of establishing members & equipping leaders.

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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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