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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

Shabbat

“Shabbat”

“Shabbat”

You are required to have a career. “Shabbat” is the Hebrew word for the Sabbath. Where did the Sabbath start? It did not begin when the Lord passed down the Law to Moses. No, it started right there in Creation. When God chose to create the world the way He did, He was creating a model. In six days, He made everything, and on the seventh, He rested. Having said that, God already presented a model for our Career Mandates, wherein the Sabbath is a significant part of the process.  

The Sabbath is not a ritual. Moreover, it is not a traditional practice. The Sabbath is a spiritual law. Furthermore, it is a principle. Moreover, it is not how you religiously observe the Sabbath. It is why you do it. Why do we keep the Sabbath? 

Keeping the Sabbath is Our Obedience to God

We keep the Sabbath to obey God. We support the Sabbath holy to show Him that we work because of Him and for Him. Moreover, we keep the Sabbath holy to create an opening for people to see that God gives us the grace to get things done even when we do not work seven days a week. God gives us the grace to be productive in the six days allotted for work.  

People cannot accomplish all the tasks they can do in seven days. How can you, who only works six days a week, be able to do it excellently? Your officemate will wonder, “I’m here 24/7, working until my back breaks, but you only work 5-6 days a week, but you are the one who gets promoted! How does that make sense?”  

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Shabbat

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

mandate

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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mandate

 

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

Kingdom

Principles in Kingdom Building

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

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

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

2nd Principle: The Kingdom of God has Transforming Power

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

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Kingdom

Challenge in Discipleship

Challenge in Discipleship:

Personal and Private

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

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

Structure vs. Heart

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

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

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

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Discipleship

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

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! 

1 Samuel 7.1-17

What does the Bible say?

Although God did not institute the gathering at Mizpah, it arose from the Israelites’ desire and recognition that God would deliver them from the Philistines even without a physical king to lead them into battles. Samuel himself resided at Rama, with frequent visits to the various stations that required him to attend to offer judgments.

The manifestations at Mizpah turned what seemed to be a doomed ceremony into a triumphant revelation of God’s will to protect the Israelites. God was watching the progress of the tradition right from heaven, the prayer, the confessions, fasting, and the offering made at the altar at Mizpah.

 There are many celebrations around the world. The United Nations has a roster that schedules every other important day annually, even though various national jurisdictions have ceremonial days declared accordingly.

There are also other globally recognized days that though emanating from Christianity, have unfurled into generic ceremonies. One of them is Christmas day. In the hearts of Christians, it’s a commemoration of the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. To pagans, it’s a day to make merry as they await the eve of the New Year. It’s a ceremonial moment to recollect and welcome salvation into our hearts in memory of the nativity of Jesus. Most accomplished Christians take time at church and spike that with an act of charity and Merry Christmas.

Celebrating Christ

In the hearts of Christians, it’s a commemoration of the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

When Christ was alive with us, he, too, underscored the place of ceremonies. Mary seemed to have the understanding that Jesus could work miracles. However, Christ appeared to disagree with Mary’s timing. By then, Christ had kept a low profile by just being known as the son of a carpenter, Joseph.

Nevertheless, when he changed the water into wine, the mystery remained with Mary herself since even the master of the ceremony could not discern why the best wine was being served while it was too late into the ceremony. 

According to the guidance that God gave Moses, the Israelites were to live in love with one another, observing the annual ceremonies.

He’d installed among them. In the spirit of being one another’s keeper, the Israelites were to spare some little harvests and leave them deliberately in the fields for strangers and those with no means to fend for themselves.

In the spirit of being one another’s keeper, the Israelites were to spare some little harvests and leave them deliberately in the fields for strangers and those with no means to fend for themselves.

What do we see in the world?

Besides the ordinary festivities, God requested a dedication of all firstborns. That’s why Christ was brought over into the synagogue with a presentation of turtle doves. So above everything, Christ’s spirit to embrace and entrench the Law of Moses is evident right into the festivities in the life of Christ. 

One among the days set aside for God is the Sabbath, to which the Pharisees and the Scribes picked offense with Christ for healing a lame person. A deeper understanding of the nature of the conflict arose from the selfishness of the Pharisees and the Scribes.

We should invoke the presence of God in the many ceremonies that find a way into our lives. In its entirety, finding space for God and giving Him the necessary precedence is not the most challenging thing. We are calling God before and after a journey is as simple as saying a prayer, whether audible or in the silence of the heart.

Even though things may happen in very noisy surroundings, that’s not deterrence enough. God can hear the voice of the heart in terms of requests, praises, and reverence to Him. 

In the busyness of this season, LET’S FIND SPACE TO CELEBRATE JESUS.

Demystifying ceremonies and being able to re-create them into simple tasks is the very essence of Christian living. The very simple prayers are what make a fundamental difference. Let’s make things simple. One doesn’t have to pray for hours continuously.

No. Say a five minutes prayer before heading out for the day. Thank God for the cup of tea and toast before taking it for lunch and dinner. When done repeatedly, we can shed off the ceremonial bits and become part of daily habits that build in you the passion for praying as believers. Merry Christmas to all! 

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Merry Christmas

The DNA of the Small Groups

The DNA of the Small Groups:

Instead of asking for new small group strategies that are working well, a discipleship pastor or leader should first determine the DNA of the small groups in their church.

Rather than going for effective discipleship curriculums, a pastor or any leader must be first grounded. Pastors must align themselves to God’s calling for their church’s small groups.  

Small group leaders take shortcuts to successful small groups, and they copy and apply another church’s model for discipleship. The problem with this is that they do not take into account their own church’s unique fundamentals.

Every church is different, and this is okay. We should celebrate this difference since other churches can do different things to reach different people.

The discipleship system of simplicity is firmly grounded with the basics and the fundamentals of discipleship.

Sometimes, even the most basic question, “What is a Disciple?” becomes a complicated question to answer. It’s about creating a simple, duplicable discipleship pathway for the church community. 

In whatever language we have, discipleship remains the core designated task for the church, as we call it the Great Commission.  

And Jesus came and said to them,

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

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The DNA of the Small Groups

Back to Basics Part 2

In the last post, you read about going back to basics and being straightforward in your discipleship system, and keeping accurate to the model Jesus exhibited. What are other tips we can follow?

The fourth principle of Fuhs is, “Don’t blend the genders.” There will be concerns about the individual lives of the group members that they will not be comfortable sharing or confessing in the presence of the opposite sex. Lastly, “Content Matters.” Fuhs noted that while all scripture is God-breathed, not all scripture will have equal weight in transforming lives and multiplying disciples. What we teach in our small groups is what they will teach in their small groups.

There are countless principles that we can memorize and apply in our discipleship groups. There are also numerous discipleship models and frameworks that we can copy and utilize. However, just like how Jesus and the first disciples did it before, we need not complicate things. Problems arise when we get too strategic that we go beyond and forget the basics. 

Senior Pastor of New Life Bible Church Oklahoma, Alan Danielson, shared in an article, “The right way to do small groups,” the lessons he learned from years of small group consulting. He emphasized that some discipleship models do work but are not effective for others. Danielson noticed that some discipleship pastors and leaders are more focused on the process while overlooking their small group’s fundamentals.  

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Back to Basics Part 2

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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