The Work of Life.

The command to follow Jesus is so simple and yet so profound. How in our busy lives are we called to follow Jesus? What does it look like and how can we possibly carry out that task as we engage the world? This may be the great mystery that plagues the western church. How do we, as professionals, follow Jesus in all that we do?

The answer is simple when we break it down through a strictly theological lens. We do everything for the glory of God! While this is the correct answer, the details matter. What does it mean to do everything to the glory of God, or more appropriately, how do we do everything to His glory and for His namesake?

Before we can get into the practical application, we have to engage the heart around the action. Jesus continues to go after the hearts of the people that He engages and He currently is going after yours. This is an important point, not one to gloss over because it sounds like the Sunday school answer. It’s important because it’s the calling that has been placed on your heart as a believer in Christ. That is, to engage the hearts of the people that are in your life. You can do that at work, at home, in school, or even at the supermarket. Everything you do, gives you the ability to engage people, whom need to hear and see the Truth.

Understanding that premise, we can now start to functionally structure our lives around the mission of God while carrying out the tasks and demands of everyday life.

The question is, are you willing to engage in God’s mission in everything you do?

Just thinking about that question causes us to start refocusing our systems around the things that matter. Suddenly, our task managers end up with prayer lists on them. Our calendars start to reflect engagements with people, rather than boring and mundane meetings. Our days carry a different weight to them, a lighter weight, because we know that God himself is doing work through the work that we do. It gives us a sense of duty and honor to serve the God that saves and it pushes us to work with excellence because we know that our God is excellent. It fundamentally changes how we approach work and life. In fact, it erases that line.

I find David Allen’s work on this subject to be spot on. That is, that there is a lie that we have believed that there needs to be a work/life balance. To David, and I agree, the two can’t be separated. Work is life and life is work. Within the context of the Gospel, this all makes sense. We are constantly engaged in the mission of God (work), whether we are in the office or at home. While this may be daunting to think about, it actually frees us up to deeply engage relationships and deeply engage the Spirit throughout the day.

It doesn’t matter your workload, or if you have to work late. You are working for His glory. You are free to continue to work at home if the situation arises and you are free to take that lunch break to go out with a friend. This idea of freedom, had the potential to increase your overall production because the most cognitive of senses you are allowing your brain to recharge during those breaks. Switching tasks based upon your contexts if a vastly more productive model than the 9-to-5 model and the cognitive pressure of attempting to box work into a specific time.

Take some time to think about how you engage the work of life and the life of work. How would your life be different if you deeply engaged relationships, looking for areas to speak the Truth into?

Deep Work Questions:

1. How would your life change if you engaged in the mission of Jesus in everything that you do?
2. How could you utilize your productivity tools, to enhance your overall worship?
3. What barriers do you have to overcome to engage the mission while you are living?
4. Who is God calling you to engage in your natural rhythms?
5. How does your understanding of God’s excellence drive you to excellence?

Wild and Wrecked

I have to admit that last week was rough and this week seemly is rougher, but something is different. Something is different, because I’m different. Last week I was bent on taking on the world. I was going to do something about everything. It was me against the world, and I was going to walk out all the world problems in a fit of rage.

This week someone said something to me, a comment that changed my prospective across the board. It’s not like it’s the first time that this particular person has said something like this to me, in fact I’m pretty sure that it’s the rock that smacked my soul around during sermon prep.

God is God and He loves His people, regardless of what side they are on currently. 

In the midst of war zones in Iraq, St. Louis and Israel, (just to name the headlines)  God loves His people and my job is simply to pray and witness the Good News of the Gospel.  The change that is so invigorating in my life, so undeniably real, that I cannot help but tell someone about it.   And that leaves me humbled in complete submission to the Creator.  

Who am I and where did I go?  That seems to be the question lingering in the air, the question that ultimately falls back into what is my identity in.  Does Christ define me or have I attempted to hijack my identity again?  It all boils down to who I rest under, is it Adam or is it Christ.  If it is Christ, I walk out my prayer in humble submission to the one that paid it all.  I begin to see people differently, and my thoughts and actions are transformed through my interactions with the living God.  If I rest in Adam, my thoughts and my actions reflect the broken nature of my flesh.

Let us not forget our identities as we walk out our faith, minute by minute, day by day.  

Rhythms, Life and Why You Have No Idea Whats Going On Pt 1

God is Glorious

It’s Sunday morning, the coffee is flowing through my veins and our Worship team is blowing up some new bluegrass song that has everyone dancing around like it’s a straight ho down.  God is glorious.

That could be the end of this post. 

God is glorious, He is faithful and He is alive.  We can see it in everything, it’s written on our hearts, sung in our music and lived through our lives.  You may have jacked things up, rolling deep in some sin issue, but the fact remains God is glorious.  He makes all things good and even through our sin He isn’t stopped.  It’s the Good News, Jesus’ blood is sufficient. Our sins have been paid for at a high cost.  We sing about it on Sunday’s and we talk about it in small groups.  We press it out daily in our lives (hopefully) and we…. There is something missing.

Rhythms

Let me draw out a picture of how our Youth is run at the Bridge.  We meet weekly for a missional group.  It’s just that, a mission.  Currently, we are working through the Multiply curriculum, because we believe that middle school and high school teens are more than capable of understanding The Great Commission.

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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,20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:18-20)

So if we know that our teens can cognitively understand The Great Commission and they know the Good News, why are teens falling away from the Church?  Why is it so difficult to keep them engaged, wanting and yearning for the Creator of all?   It’s simple really, the church (notice the small c) becomes irrelevant and frankly boring to teens.  It’s the truth, eventually the programs, events and games fall short.  This shouldn’t surprise us,  all of these things are temporal.  So the question is how do we keep students involved with ministry?

You make the student ministry theirs.  You make their relationship with Jesus theirs.  It seems to me that Jesus doesn’t become a rhythm in the youths daily lives.  The Gospel doesn’t permeate their hearts and their minds and their souls.  This is true with students and it’s probably more true than we would like to admit in our congregations.  Fostering a desire or a passion is one thing.  Faking it for a social medium or to please something is another.

Five Ways to Promote Adding New Rhythms

  1. Focus on mission.  Mission drives community and action to teaching.  Your community should know who you are.
  2. Stop Talking.  Teach and develop leaders in your ministry.  It’s great that you can do what you do, but your going to die.  Don’t let the church die because you got smoked by a bus on your way to Starbucks.  We all have amazing God given gifts, foster them and develop future leaders.  This drives right back to Focus on Mission. Encourage and push the envelop on pressing the Gospel out in your community.
  3. Get life on life.  Yeah, yeah I now this is Christianeze for meeting up with someone every week.  Blah blah blah.  Get life on life, that means that you fall deeply in love with the people you shepherd.  If you can’t spread that much love, Train leaders.  You can’t handle everyone and fall in love with them or their families.  (Note: Jesus love, this love needs to have boundaries.)
  4. Get Dynamic and Organic.  If you show up too every meeting with a certain amount of questions and a stricted time schedule you automatically set up barriers and agendas.  You limit communication and make it really difficult to be real.
  5. Teach with the intention of mission.  If you’re teaching the Gospel it should be driving you to mission.  You’re community, your life.  If you’re teaching without the intention of mission you aren’t rolling out point 1 – 3.  You aren’t pressing towards The Great Commission and you aren’t following what Jesus commanded us to do.  

 

It’s getting long, there is a lot of information here… get at it.  Press the mission, press Jesus and build people up through love.