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Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, December 26, 2014

The Year In Pixs: 2014

With grateful hearts for God's continued grace and direction, and with thanks for the continued support of those who helped make it possible, we share these highlights of 2014:

January began with 9 days of teaching in South Korea, including this 2-day conference for school teachers hosted by the Korean branch of the Association of Christian Schools International on the campus of Torch Trinity Graduate School. Thank you Scott Lee!

I had a wonderful week teaching graduate students at ACTS, the Asian Center for Theological Studies and Mission. Thank you, Joyce Park!

When you talk with your hands, you don't need an interpreter!

Teaching on contextualizing Christianity in the workplace with employees of  E-Land Group, the largest integrated fashion and retail company in Korea. 

On the cover of a Korean magazine.

Dinner in Korea!

With students at the William Cornelius Vocational High School, in Guatemala City, Guatemala, a unique Christian school devoted to preparing high school students for employment as dental assistants, computer technicians, mechanics and more. Awesome!

Here I am with the senior class at El Shaddai School, in Guatemala City, along with Pastor Mario Larios (far right). This school is one of a group of Christian schools around the globe engaged in a special Pilot Project with Worldview Matters in cooperation with Bakke Graduate University and the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics, to restore Theology of Work [TOW] to the K-12 curriculum. I'll tell you more about this project in coming posts.

Dinner in Guatemala!

This is Norma Buendia, Vice-Principal at Jesu el Buen Pastor [Jesus the Good Shepherd] Christian School in Lima, Peru. This school is also part of the TOW K-12 Pilot Project mentioned above. 

I took this photo of Miss Diana [English teacher at Jesu el Buen Pastor Christian School] with one of her students.

Lunch in Peru!

This is the administrative office of one of the K-12 TOW Pilot Project schools, Kingdom Citizens International School, in Los, Nigeria. It is built upon a rock! [Biblical, isn't it?] Training for the K-12 TOW Pilot Project is done on-line via the distance learning course we created, called, Increase Meaning: A Wholistic Approach To Christian Education, along with monthly SKYPE calls between myself and each Pilot Project school principal. In this case, Headmaster Segun Gbolagun. 

Five of the K-12 TOW Pilot Project schools are in the United States: two in Iowa, one in Kansas, one in Washington State, and one in Virginia. The school in Virginia, Grace Christian School, asked me to do a Saturday morning workshop for parents, high school students and the broader community, called, "God's Pleasure At Work: The Application of Biblical Truth to Everyday Life and Vocation." It was well attended, thank the Lord.

Invitations from other Christian schools resulted in live workshops at Tri-City Christian School, Vista, California (pictured above) and Somerset Christian School, Somerset, Kentucky (pictured below). [Not pictured are Bellingham Christian School, in Bellingham, Washington, and Word of God Academy, in Schreveport, Louisiana.]


I had a delightful time teaching on Theology of Work for four days at a YWAM (Youth With A Mission) base in Monroe, Washington. Most of these students are from South Korea. Yes, they're sending missionaries to America. Send more!

There is hunger, too, in Canada for teaching on integration of faith and work. I was blessed to speak at the Classical Learning Centre on Vancouver Island, in beautiful British Columbia. Thank you Mike Groenewold!

I was also blessed to be one of the plenary speakers at the annual NEXUS LIVE conference hosted by the Association of Christian Schools International, broadcast via satellite from Washington, D.C., to about 14,000 teachers and administrators nationwide. 

Teaching at a 3-day conference in Kiev, Ukraine, where the focus was on how to prepare young people through Christian education to make connections between biblical faith and work, getting Theology of Work into the K-12 curriculum. Hopefully some day such an event will be held in America!

Dinner in Kiev! (Keeping my weight down? Not easy!)

In the past year, we received financial support from 21 faithful donors. Thanks so very much! You helped make the above possible! The board of Worldview Matters has made it a goal to double the number of donors in the next 18 months. If any readers would like to become part of our support team, we'll gladly welcome you to "the club!" If you are still looking for a place to put that end-of-the-year donation, you may do so using the "donate" button in the RH column of this blog. Or call us at 425.246.5386. Our address is 2800 122nd PL NE, Bellevue, WA  98005.
Happy New Year, one and all! 




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Friday, December 19, 2014

The Greatest Christmas Gift


[This post first appeared on December 25, 2009, and has become a tradition, posted every Friday before Christmas.]


This statue of Isaac Watts, lyricist of Joy To The World, is in Southampton, England, the place of his birth in 1674. Having written some 750 hymns, Watts has been dubbed "The Father of English Hymnody." [Photo public domain, by Northernhenge.]

One of my favorite hymns is Joy To The World. The words are by Isaac Watts, based on Psalm 98: "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth; make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills be joyful together before the Lord; for He cometh to judge the earth, with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity."

Some say the hymn is not about the birth of Christ in Bethlehem, but about His second coming. The joy that is sung about, then, is a future joy that will occur when Christ returns, to “make the nations prove the glories of His righteousness,” in that full expression of His Kingdom yet-to-come.

This may be what Watts had in mind, I don't know, but the song makes as much sense to me as a celebration of Christ's first coming. While I’m looking forward to that full and perfect expression of Christ’s Kingdom-yet-to-come, I’m  celebrating His Kingdom-already-here. Jesus is Lord of all. Today! Not just in the future, but in the present moment (Acts 10:36-37).

The Kingdom hasn't fully come yet, nor is it perfectly functional now. This will happen when Christ comes the second time. But the domain over which Christ is King (that is, His King-domain) presently includes both heaven and earth. 

This is the greatest Christmas gift: that Christ came “to make His blessings flow, far as the curse is found, far as the curse is found.” Right now, His blessings are to flow through people who are reconciled to God, and in turn reconciling all things to Him, including the things of Earth. That's the big idea behind Christ's coming in the first place. (See Col. 1:16-20, and To Reconcile Not Only People But Things.)

So, no more let thorns infest the ground. By God's amazing grace, let's put our work gloves on, go to our workplaces after the Christmas celebration, whether at home or in the community, to pull up bramble bushesand plant redwood trees.

Joy to the Earth! the Savior reigns; Let men their songs employ; While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains, Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat, repeat the sounding joy! 

Far as the curse is found.





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Friday, December 12, 2014

Does It Make A Difference Where Your Grocery Gets Its Apples?

This plastic bag containing apples my wife recently purchased from a nearby grocery outlet caught my eye. The large print at the top reads: "WE BELIEVE BUSINESS CAN AND SHOULD EFFECT SOCIAL CHANGE." Below this headline, the text explains how the company, First Fruits of Washington, supports a home for girls in Mexico, builds pride in home ownership, and provides safe water systems in Kenya. That's not all you should know about this company.

When people use the term "big business" these days, it isn't usually uttered in a positive light. This is a travesty, because big business can bear remarkably positive fruit...if done in a certain way.

Broetje Orchards has over 6,000 acres of apples and cherries in my home state of Washington. On one of the largest privately held orchards in the US, First Fruits of Washington produces 15 different varieties of apples. The company has a capacity to pack about 20,000 boxes of apples per day, which is over 5 million boxes a year. During peak harvest times, 1,000 temporary workers join the company’s 1,100 full-time employees.

This sounds like big business to me! Thank God for it. Why? Because Ralph and Cheryl Broetje, founders and owners, are committed to a biblically-informed view of business, a biblically-informed view of community, and a biblically-informed view of work that would make any 18th Century Moravian smile with glee.

On the company website you'll read: "During the past 30 years our employees have become our community. Together we tend a large fruit garden that then takes care of our needs. As we have learned how to care for one another over the years, we as a community are increasingly able to extend resources and solidarity to other communities both in the U.S and internationally."

Not only is First Fruits committed to growing quality fruit in a way that models best practices for others in the industry, but in the process they truly respect those who work for them: "Our belief is that business does not have to thrive at the expense of the planet or its people, but can chart a course that provides all parties an opportunity to improve." They are addressing the poverty issue, starting right where they live.

What motivates the Broetjes? The screenshot below, from their company website, spells it out with no ambiguity [click the image to enlarge it]:


I encourage you to visit the First Fruits of Washington website yourself. It's very appealing.

Does it make a difference where your grocery gets its apples? It can. Perhaps you could send your local grocery outlet this post, along with a personal note suggesting they consider purchasing apples from First Fruits. Just a thought. The Sales Information page is here.




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Friday, December 5, 2014

Intersecting Our Culture


Today's post, Intersecting Our Culture, is by my friend Dr. Larry Peabody, who teaches Theology of Work at Bakke Graduate University. It is posted here with Larry's permission, having originally appeared on July 31, 2014, in his blog, Called Into Work.  




To intersect, says Webster, is to "meet and cross at a point" or to "share a common area.” Where is that point or common area where we as Christ-followers most often intersect our culture?

Some time ago, a pastor friend said he and his church were looking for some way to build relationships with their community. Although he didn’t use the term, they were seeking a way to intersect the culture around them. But how can any church do that effectively?

In church buildings? Clearly we need to gather regularly with other believers. The New Testament, in urging us not to give up meeting together, leaves no doubt about that (Heb. 10:25). But as important as our (typically) Sunday meetings are, they are hardly an effective way to intersect the surrounding culture—for at least two reasons. First, most profess the same faith in Christ. Unbelievers, if any, are few and attend intermittently. Second, once-a-week meetings do not amount to any significant contact even with the few who may be present.

In church outreach programs? Some churches draw in hundreds of neighborhood kids for VBS summer events. Work days in the community can provide useful services. But these events come and go. They usually do not result in repeated or long-term relationships.

In our neighborhoods? One study revealed that a mere 25 percent of us know the names of those in nearby homes. In Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam wrote that neighborhood relationships are "measurably more feeble now than a generation ago.”

But what about the workplace? Suppose your church includes 100 adults. Assume 60 of them work in paid jobs. On average, each of them will have 16 coworkers. Say each knows another 20 in his or her job network (customers, patients, students, vendors, and so on). In that case the workplace "salt-and-light” reach of your 100-adult congregation would total 2,160. And those on-the-job relationships will continue with some regularity week in, week out, year in, and year out.

Nearly two out of three adult believers spend 40 percent of their waking hours on the job. What proportion of our church meetings should aim at equipping them to season their workplace relationships with salt and shine light into the surrounding darkness? Has the time come to equip Christians to intersect our culture in that shared common area where believers and unbelievers constantly cross paths?



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Friday, November 28, 2014

What Is God Doing In Ukraine?


Unless you have been living under a rock for the past year, you have certainly heard of the troubles Ukraine is having with its aggressive neighbor, the Great Bear. As I write this post, Ukrainian friends of mine are gathering wood for the winter, under the looming specter of Putin shutting off gas supplies that flow from Russia. Yet God is alive and well in that part of the world, and the Spirit is moving in ways I'd like you to know about. 


Last month I spoke at a conference in Kozin, just outside of Kiev, hosted for Christian educators and professionals. The compelling theme of the conference was: Connecting School, Society and the Professions in the Light of Christianity. 


While Ukraine is at war, Christian educators, mostly elementary and secondary teachers/administrators, along with leaders from higher education and working professionals, came together for three days to focus on ways to better prepare students to apply the biblical worldview to their future professional occupations throughout society, in such areas as business, law, and civil service.

Was I dreaming? Indeed I was not! Here are some of the titles of presentations given at this conference: 

A Biblical View of Work and its Significance for Education, The Role of the Professions in the Kingdom of God and their Relationship to the School, The School as a Moderator in the Formation of Future Professionals, The Influence of Christian Thinking on the Professions, A Christian’s View on the Profession of a Business Leader and its Significance for School Education, The Foundations of the Professions in the Elementary and Secondary School Curriculum, and, How to Help Schoolchildren Choose a Profession. 

I have not seen anything like this in my own country, the USA. Here was a Christian educators' conference devoted entirely to the matter of elementary and secondary schools, along with universities, preparing the next generation to fulfill the Cultural Mandate by
honoring God through professional vocations as followers of Christ in society.  I hope the Ukrainians will carry this idea further, and create a model for other countries--including Russia, whose language they share. Why let something like war hold them back?

What is God doing in Ukraine? Plenty! Most of which you'll not hear about on CNN. 

Below are some photos of the conference, courtesy of Ray Le Clair, the primary organizer: 


Standing is Viktor Kuzmenko, coordinator of Mission Eurasia, the organization partnering with the Association of Christian Schools International in hosting the conference, called CrossLinks. Ray Le Clair, Regional Director of ACSI for Ukraine and the Baltic Countries, is seated to his left. 










I introduced the group to my wife, Kathy, by showing them the photo on the screen taken at our wedding, 44 years ago. It is hard to see, but Kathy looks the same today as she did back then. Actually, better! 

Most of the participants were teachers and principals from elementary and secondary schools. Representatives from higher education also participated.


Why were we all wearing coats? Because it was cold, with no central heat! 

One of the most inspirational messages was by this Ukrainian business leader, Andriy Vasylenko, who runs a multi-million dollar company in a nation where many claim it is not possible to do business "by the rules," or to pay the required taxes. This highly successful Christian businessman boldly declared the opposite.  You may visit his company at www.zeelandia.ua

Was I dreaming? Indeed, I was!




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Friday, November 21, 2014

Not Part Of The Muslim Mindset


This post first appeared on September 6, 2013, and has risen to the 4th most viewed post in the past 5 years. I'm repeating it here because it speaks to the need for eliminating the Sacred-Secular Divide:


[This map of Indonesia is public domain.]

Indonesia is a fascinating country. It has some 17,000 islands (I say "some" because a few disappear at high tidean Indonesian joke), with 250,000,000 inhabitants. It is the fourth most populous nation on the planet.

Many non-Indonesians are surprised to learn that 88% of the Indonesian population is Muslim. In fact, Indonesia has more self-proclaimed Muslims than any other nation on earth. The number of Muslims in Indonesia exceeds the number in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, Yemen, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan combined! 


How did it happen that this part of the world, so far from the Middle East, came to have such a large body of Muslims? Michael Baer, in Business As Mission, writes: 


"I once asked an Indonesian Christian why the country had become so predominantly Muslim...She said that when the Western Christians came, primarily from Holland, they built missionary compounds and missionary churches and expected the Indonesian people to come to them. The Muslims, on the other hand, came as traders, farmers, merchants, and businesspeople and simply lived among the natives."


The significance of this answer cannot be overstated. 


Dr. Darrell Furgason, a friend of mine who holds a Ph. D. from the University of Sydney in Religious Studies, and is an expert on Islam, has this to say:  


"In places like Africa and Indonesia, the church has been intellectually crippled, with one hand tied behind its back. Western missionaries generally brought the Gospel in the way they learned it, as a purely soul-saving faith, with no real bearing on anything else--religion was a mostly personal matter, nothing to do with things like politics, science, law, economics...African people were given the Gospel, but not how to build a righteous nation, how to apply Christianity to everything...Muslims see their faith as all-encompassing..."

Many Christians use the word "Gospel" to mean the "Gospel of Personal Salvation." But the Gospel is much more. It is
the Gospel of the Kingdom. This is a much larger Gospel than our personal salvation, and bigger than the human soul. It is all-encompassing. That's good news!

The Sacred-Secular Divide is not part of the Muslim mindset. Yet, regrettably for all nations, it is the mindset of many Christians. Take a moment to hear what Dr. Aila Tasse told me about the problem of SSD in Africa, where his organization, Lifeway Mission, plants churches in Muslim communities: 



If this video does not play, click http://youtu.be/o5qHFe6O1uU


Here is the experience of my friend David Oliver, author of  Work: Prison of Place of Destiny: "I visited Kuala Lumpur capital of Malaysia and was doing some work for the Focus On The Family folks. On one day off I was doing the tourist thing walking round the 360 observation platform on the Menara Tower. There were 12 observation stations, each one with an audio sound track, and when I got to the final station (12) I pressed the number on the MP3 player. Whilst looking out over row after row of golden domed Muslim mosques, I heard the following narration which is etched into my memory as clearly as if it had been yesterday: ‘In the 18th century Indian traders came to our land, and showed us by their faith and lifestyle that we could be freed from the shackles of Buddhism. So we embraced their faith their language and their life style and have done till this day.'  [Jamek Mosque, in Kuala Lumpur, photo by Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams (Earth), reprinted with permission.]




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Friday, November 14, 2014

The Ultimate Policy Manual


In the past few weeks, we've touched on keys to bringing extraordinary meaning to"ordinary" work:


1. Understand that God had a special role in mind for humans before He created Adam and Eve: to govern over things on earth. This is God's First Commission, and our seminal job description. 


2. Recognize that the world and everything in it is God's stuff, broken due to sin, and in need of restoration. This includes office things, shop things and kitchen things. It's all His stuff, and we are here to engage with it "as unto the Lord," so His will may be done in the shop as in heaven.  


3. Reject the notion of a "secular realm." It's pure fantasy, and must be discarded. 


Here's another key, which may be first:


4. Read the Bible as the Word of God (which it is), applicable to the totality of worklife.

All Scripture is “God breathed.” Human writers put stylus to papyrus in such a manner that the words they wrote expressed thoughts God Himself would have written had He been holding the pen. This does not mean God necessarily dictated the words. Yet, He guided the human authors in expressing thoughts with particular meanings to Him. The authors may not have always understood what they were writing, but the Divine Author behind the human writers did.

Meanings of words can change over time. But the words put into print by the human writers of Scripture had particular meanings in the mind of God at the time they were "breathed."

Why is this so important? Because if we are going to make faithful and authentic connections between God's Word and our work, we must see Scripture as "divine breath," with meaning untainted by our own opinions.

Recognition of biblical Truth in our day is increasingly subjective, being individualized beyond recognition. Discovering Truth in postmodern times is seldom a matter of endeavoring to understand what the Ultimate Author meant by the words human writers used in the days they were written. Instead of discovering what the Bible means to the Divine Writer, it has devolved into, “What does this Scripture mean to me?” 

Asking “how does it apply to me?” is different than asking “what does it mean to me?” The latter approach wreaks havoc with our ability to work in accordance with The Ultimate Policy Manual. 

For tips on Bible study, click here.


Jeff Myers, President of Summit Ministries has noted: "The Bible is the best-selling book in the world. It is printed, in part or in whole, in 2,800 languages worldwide. On average, 85 percent of U.S. households own a Bible; the average number of Bibles per household is 4.3. Unfortunately, while the Bible is widely owned, it goes largely unstudied." 






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Friday, November 7, 2014

God's Work In God's World


It's one thing to say we must rid ourselves of the "Sacred-Secular Divide," but it's another thing to actually do it. For most of us, it requires a major shift in thinking. As mentioned before, seeing our daily work as God's work begins in the head.

In short, the Sacred-Secular Divide looks like this:


The "sacred” things include Sunday morning worship, Bible study, prayer, and going on mission trips. These activities are thought to have real significance, because they deal with matters of the soul, related to spiritual, eternal concerns.

"Secular” things, on the other hand, don’t have as much significance, being related to the physical, temporal realm. Things like mowing the lawn, managing a bank, or cucumber farming fall into this category. They simply are not as important to God. They are “things of earth” that should "grow strangely dim" as we "turn our eyes upon Jesus."

Here is what to do with that way of thinking:


The fact is, both things in heaven and things on earth are Jesus' things. And when we turn our eyes upon Him, it all grows remarkably clear. [Would someone please write a song to that effect?]

The problem is, things on earth are broken, due to sin, and in need of restoration. The answer, however, is not to divorce ourselves from the earth-things [they are still God's things], but to engage with them in a reconciling way, as the Spirit enables us.

Try this view on for size:


In this way of thinking, any sphere of human activity may be done in harmony with God or in conflict with Him; in alignment with Him, or in opposition to Him, to one degree or another. Christ died to reconcile people and things to Him, so that "in all things He may have the preeminence," both things in heaven and things on earth. See Colossians 1:15-20.

This includes business things, legal things, artistic things and civil things. No earthly "thing" lies outside the realm of Christ's authority and redemption. He is as relevant to what goes on in medicine as He is to what goes on in church. He is as relevant to things in the temporal world as to things in the eternal world. And when we engage with God's things in God's way, by God's grace, we are doing God's work in God's world.

Again, it starts in our head.




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Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Place Of Destiny


Martin Luther maintained that milking cows is as much the work of God as any deed of a monk, if the one milking does her work by faith. This understanding was articulated later by the Puritan pastor George Swinnock, who said, “The pious tradesman will know that his shop as well as his chapel is holy ground.”  

The current re-awakening of this liberating truth has the marks of an authentic move of God, international in scope. While I am most familiar with what is going on in the US, I know from others, such as David Oliver in the UK, that the Spirit is at work on both sides of the pond, as well as around the globe.

David is the founder of Insight Marketing. He is an international speaker and business consultant, who regularly appears on British television and radio. I have known him for nearly a decade, and have the utmost respect. He is not only a man who understands the biblical concept of work, but lives his understanding in the “real world” of business.

I am pleased to announce that David’s book, Work: Prison or Place of Destiny, has just been re-issued in a new edition with added chapters by Mark Greene, Director of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, and myself.   

Mark Greene says, “David Oliver’s gracious perseverance of purpose and clarity of vision provides a fresh way forward that, if heeded, could see a decisive shift in church culture. And thereby in our nation.” John Beckett, author of Loving Monday, says David’s book, “may be just what you need to reset your focus onto God’s agenda for your life.” I agree!

As mentioned last week, the Apostle Paul elevated the work of slaves to the work of God. It is such an understanding of work that turns the workplace from “prison” to "a place of destiny.”

Whether you’re a bus driver, a banker, or a biologist, David’s book, Work: Prison or Place of Destiny, will motivate you to live out your destiny in the workplace like never before.

If you read just one book in the next year on the topic of living out your faith in the workplace, let it be this one. And give a copy to your pastor. 

In the US, e-books are available at http://bit.ly/WPOPDUSA. In the UK, at http://bit.ly/WPOPDUK

Here is a personal message from David: 

video

If the video does not play, click here: http://bit.ly/WPOPDVID





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Friday, October 24, 2014

Make It God's Work


Paul wrote to slaves in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily as unto the Lord.” 

These slaves had no choice about the kind of work they did every day. They could not take aptitude tests to discover their strengths, nor sit down with career coaches to figure out better job fits. If their masters were demanding, ego-centric, or downright cruel, they had to live with the situation. (Do you think you've got it bad? Really?)

Thankfully, Paul did not write, “You are not alone, my dear friends! Nobody’s work in this world really matters. Not even the tents I make have any lasting value! They all deteriorate in time. Focus only on the next life. Keep the faith.”

On the contrary, Paul’s remarkable words to slaves hold a great key for bringing extraordinary meaning to "ordinary" work. His directive is particularly helpful when our jobs are difficult and painful, or the work we're doing makes us feel like slaves.

If you do car repair work, housecleaning work, or longshoreman’s work, and your work doesn't really seem like “God’s work,” there is something you can do about it, without a change of location: you can make it God’s work.

Make it God’s work? How?

By doing what Paul advised slaves to do: think differently about the work you are currently doing. Specifically, think of doing your work “as unto the Lord.” 

This means, if you repair cars, approach your next repair job as though your customer is Christ. Repair the car as though it is Jesus’ car. If you clean houses, clean your next house as though Christ lives there. If you carry wooden beams off a ship all day, carry each beam as though it were to be used by the Lord Himself for some great purpose. (It can’t be as heavy as His cross.)

For many years we have heard the saying, “WWJD: What would Jesus do?” The implication is, “What would Jesus do if He were in my shoes?” I suggest a different question: “WWID: What would I do if Jesus were in my customer’s shoes?” “What would I do if the money I’m managing were Jesus’ dollars?” and, “What would I do if the clothes I’m ironing were to be worn by Christ?” 

This is what it means to do our work “as unto the Lord.” Try it for just one hour. Then another. And another.

Again, it starts in our heads.

Are you feeling like a slave in a "dead-end" job, wishing you were doing something else? Maybe you should make a change, if you can. I don't know. But try a change of mind before you make a change of location--or your clothes.




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Friday, October 17, 2014

It Starts In Your Head


When we think of Jesus, we usually think of Him preaching to thousands, healing people, and dying for the sins of the world. But Jesus spent the majority of His days doing carpentry work. Certainly He was helping Joseph full time by the age of 13, and continued doing carpentry work until 30. Jesus worked at least six times longer as a carpenter than as an itinerant teacher and miracle worker. 

We don’t know much about the life of Christ during His carpentry years, but we do know this: Jesus “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men" during that time (Luke 2:52). This is a remarkable statement.

By Christ's own testimony, He only did what His Father showed Him to do (John 5:19). The question is, when did this arrangement begin? Did it just start when Jesus was baptized at the age of 30? Or was this the case during His carpentry years too?

When Jesus was baptized, His Father proclaimed: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased  (Matthew 3:16-17).” This was before Jesus healed anyone, and before He called a single disciple.  

Certainly Christ’s character and obedience were pleasing to the Father. But I suspect the Father was also pleased with what Jesus had done with His time up to that point, and how He spent His daily energy, doing what His Father showed Him to do: carpentry. For Jesus, this, too, was the work of God.

Jesus did not struggle with a "sacred-secular split." There is no doubt in my mind that Christ modeled what it means to govern over wood. I do not believe He would have grown in favor with the folks of Nazareth had He done shoddy carpentry work. Justin Martyr, the 2nd century historian, wrote that plows made by Jesus and Joseph were used in his day. If this is so, Jesus and Joseph must have done superior work!

Imagine what would happen if all followers of Christ engaged in their daily work as the work of God. It would turn the world upside down--again.    

If that's too big to wrap your mind around, just think about turning your own office, shop, or kitchen around. Do your work as the work of God for just one hour. And then another. And another. It starts in your head.





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