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, October 25, 2013

It Liberates

"Forgive me, Lord. I want to fly helicopters."

Speaking to a group of Christian school principals recently, I shared this true story to illustrate the need for putting "theology of work" back into the school curriculum:

One day, I have this conversation with a young man I’ll call “Jason.” He's a committed follower of Christ, and a recent graduate of Bible school. Jason loves to do street evangelism, and his greatest thrill is to lead people to the Lord. Wonderful!

When I ask Jason what occupation he wants to pursue, he turns his head to the side, looks up at the ceiling, and says, "Forgive me Lord.” Then (looking me straight in the eye), he declares: "I want to fly helicopters."

Flying really interests Jason, and he's particularly fond of helicopters. He loves everything about them. He tells me he wants to lift logs out of forests, in logging operations. Yet, it is evident to me that Jason feels tension because he doesn't see flying helicopters as a way to truly serve the Lord.

I ask Jason if he is aware of the First Commission. He says he hasn’t heard of the First Commission, so we turn to Genesis 1:26-28. Here is how it reads in The Message:

God spoke: "Let us make human beings in our image, make them
      reflecting our nature
So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,
      the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself..."
     He created them male and female.
God blessed them:
     "Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!..."

The Amplified Bible translates verse 28 like this: “And God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]…”

I share with Jason how flying a helicopter in logging operations fits beautifully into God's mandate to rule over creation. Jason can serve God and love people by lifting trees from forests to be hauled to mills and cut into lumber for building homes. Thank God for loggers!

Jason's face lights up. He has an epiphany. "I never thought of that!" he says. He suddenly sees a way to participate in the First Commission of Genesis 1:26-28 and the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20, both with a clear sense of divine calling and purpose.

This is the beauty of a wholistic view of faith, work and Truth. It liberates.

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Dirty Dishes Everywhere!

Can washing dishes be God's work? Isn't "God's work" what pastors and missionaries do, or doctors and nurses? Can house chores be God's work, too? Really? [The photo is one of our granddaughters, Emily, at our kitchen sink.] 

Building a solid Theology of Work and Human Flourishing [TOWHF] into the minds and hearts of the coming generation is the next big frontier in the "faith-at-work" movement. This is why Worldview Matters is taking serious steps to get TOWHF into the curriculum of Christian schools around the world.We call it the P-12 WRAP: Worklife Restoration and Advancement Project. [More on this another day.]

But the task is not complete without participation by parents in the home.

To help in this challenge, we developed a resource that parents [as well as teachers] can use to help young people put their daily work into the larger context of a biblical worldview. You might call this, "contextualization for kids." I call it, The Awesome Activator. But don't be fooled. This tool works just as well with adults!

Below is the layout. To enlarge the images, click on them:

If you want more, including a free blank version of The Awesome Activator to make copies for your family, or your students if you are a teacher (including an example of how George Washington Carver may have fill out one of these "thinking tools" with respect to his work with plants), click here.

If you are a school principal, and you would like to have an exploratory chat with me about how theology of work can be built into your already-existing elementary or secondary curriculum, I invite you to click here. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Salvation Of Souls And The Rebuilding Of City Sewer Systems

I don’t think we’ll know the complete answer as to why God created human beings until we cross over to the other side. Then I think we’ll look back and say, “Ahhhhhh….now I get it!”

But on the day God created humanity, He had something definite in mind. What in the world did God have in mind? Let's tweak the question a bit: What role did God have in mind for humans when He created Adam and Eve?

Remarkably, the Bible tells us exactly what role God had in mind. His intention from the beginning was to see a host of "image-bearers" [spiritual and rational beings resembling Himself] governing over the earth and all it contains: "Let us make man in Our likeness and image...and let them rule...over all the earth." That's the role God had in mind! He created us to be His Vice Regents, governing over the Blue Planet as image-bearers of Himself, engaging in that First Commission of Genesis 1:26-28.

Think about it! God created humans to resemble Himself, and gave us the responsible role of employing that likeness to rule over a planet! It doesn't get more awesome than this.

I like the way Chuck Colson put it: “On the sixth day, God created human beings—and ordered them to pick up where He left off!” That’s quite a responsibility—and honor. Talk about purpose, and meaning!

Ray Bakke, in A Theology As Big As The City, wrote: "We Christians are the only people who can truly discuss the salvation of souls and the rebuilding of city sewer systems in the same sentence." 

Why is this so? Because we are spiritual and rational beings created to govern over a material world. 

The First Commission gives me high purpose in mowing my lawn, and ridding it of moles (one of the greatest challenges to human governance known to man, and a sure sign of the curse). It brings meaning to taking out the trash, and cleaning the drains on the roof. It gives great purpose to my work of writing, speaking, consulting and coaching.

Of course, not every moment is a pleasure. Moles in the lawn aren't fun. But I always come back to the astounding realization that I am a spiritual and rational being made to govern over a material world.

This is the role God had in mind--and still does. 

Each time I mow the lawn, I am reminded of the First Commission. No joke.

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Friday, October 4, 2013

There Never Was A Democracy That Did Not Commit Suicide

My friend Joe Harper, an attorney, wrote an excellent piece explaining the difference between a democracy and a republic. As a follow-up to last week’s post, The Problem With "We The People," I’m posting an abbreviated version of Joe’s piece, with his permission:

Democracy is from the Greek demos, meaning people, and kratos, meaning government. The literal translation is government by the people, and this certainly has great appeal. Under a democracy, the majority rules without restraint of a given body of law. Indeed the law is whatever the majority say it is. 

Under a republic, the law is more than just politics, and is not dependent upon which group has the most power. The law is consistent, predictable, reasonable, and seeks truth and justice.

Why does it matter if the United States is a Republic or a democracy? A simple comparison between the two demonstrates why. Democracies are inherently unjust and unstable and have always ended in tyranny. John Adams even warned: "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy that did not commit suicide." 

With the increasing polarization and viciousness in politics, and the overt campaigns for more power illustrated by the constant concern over which party will gain or keep control over the House and Senate, it would appear that though our Founders and our Constitution established a Republic, we may have already degenerated into exactly what the pols and pundits already say - a democracy. How did we get here? By failing to adhere to the fundamental truth that there is a right and wrong. Failing to abide by the Biblical principles upon which our Nation was founded. Allowing God to be purged from our legal jurisprudence and replacing Him with the concept of evolutionary operations and moral relativism. 

We know from history that unless confidence in the law is restored, democracy will continue to overtake the republic and soon collapse it into tyranny. Tyranny is already showing signs as individual rights are beginning to be infringed upon, starting with religious liberties. Confidence can be restored, however, but it must start with a return to values and principles that created confidence and stability in the law in the first place. This means reversing the purge of God from our legal system.

For Joe's full post, click here.

If you are an American, and you pledged your allegiance "...to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God...,"  did any of your teachers explain what you were pledging your allegiance to? If you're a teacher, there's a teachable moment here.

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