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, August 28, 2009

The Hazards of Either-Or Thinking

The problem I experienced in my youth was that I separated the "work of God" from the "God of work."

What do I mean by that?

First let me clarify that the eternal destiny of a human soul is critically important, and cooperating with God in the re-birthing process of a human being is the greatest joy we can experience.

I thank God my Mother explained why Jesus died for me. She helped me walk through the amazing re-birth process, whereby I became part of the family of God, and received assurance that I would live with Him forever. I remember this monumental moment like it was yesterday.

But I reduced the Gospel to the “Gospel of Personal Salvation.”

In my view from the pew, I saw the “work of God” as only that which pertained to the after-life and the soul.

Why did I think this way?

Because I divorced the material world from the spiritual world. I divided time from eternity. I separated this world from that world, and failed to see that it is all God’s world.

Our God is not the God of either-or, but the God of both-and: both this world and the next. And He is the Supreme Ruler of both!

Either-or thinking can trouble (torment?) followers of Christ in a culture that divides this world from that world.

Josh Smith (thanks for commenting, Josh) experienced this when he asked his wife, "How do I serve God when I am so involved in making a living, being a father, husband, son, son-in-law...?"

The hazards of either-or thinking can cause a follower of Christ who works at Boeing to say,
“How do I serve God when I am so involved in building airplanes?”

But the fact is, we serve God by building airplanes!


To be continued…

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Why Polish Brass on a Sinking Ship?

Growing up in church, I often heard the Great Commission of Matthew 28 quoted, but little mention was made of the First Commission of Genesis 1.

In the Great Commission, Jesus says: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you… "

This was often quoted in reference to missionaries, which may explain why I reduced the message to: “Go tell people how they can be saved, so that when they die, they can go to heaven.”
To my impressionable mind, soul-saving was the only real reason for living, and the only legitimate purpose for Christians to remain on earth after they got saved.

The First Commission of Genesis 1:26-28—where God commissioned humans to govern over all the earth—was far off my radar. After all, it is a commission to rule over this material world, and somehow I got the impression the material world was something I should not take very seriously.

Songs to that effect filled my young mind: “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through...;” “Turn your eyes upon Jesus…and the things of earth will grow strangely dim…” “Some glad morning when this life is ‘ore, I’ll fly away…”

Heaven was the focus—not Earth. “Why polish brass on a sinking ship?” This didn’t leave many occupational choices for me. If I was going to do something truly God-honoring with my life, my choices were limited to being a pastor or a missionary.

Have you ever felt this way? If so, I’d like to journey with you. The comments and questions that you provide will help to move our conversation along.


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