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10.23.2007

8 motivations to work

Right now in Men's Fellowship, we're doing a series called "Men at Work," where we're examining the biblical teaching regarding work. This week we try to answer the question, "What should motivate me at work?"

Here are eight motivations from the Scripture. The more of these we experience at work, the more satisfying and fulfilling our work will be.

1. “I have to.”
2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 - For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

2. “To meet my needs and the needs of my family.”
1 Timothy 5:8 - But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

3. “I desire a certain standard of living.”
Ecclesiastes 5:19 - Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God.

4. “I desire to accomplish something meaningful.”
Ecclesiastes 2:24 - There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God,

5. “I do something at work that is beneficial and meaningful to others.”
1 Peter 4:10 - As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

6. “I can earn money that I can give to help others.”
Ephesians 4:28 - Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

7. “I can earn money to give that would help advance God’s kingdom on earth.”
Proverbs 3:9 - Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce;

8. “I can serve and glorify God in my work and spiritually impact people by the way I go about my work.”
Colossians 3:23-24 - Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

THESE 8 MOTIVATIONS ARE SUMMARIZED BY 4 DRIVES:

1. Paycheck driven – “I can provide and have a certain standard of living.”

2. Passion drive – “I can do something meaningful.”

3. Philanthropy Driven – “I can help others and make a difference.”

4. Purpose Driven – “I can make much of God through the quality of my work.”

10.19.2007

the Jesus storybook bible

Our daughter Abby (15mo.) is really beginning to get into books these days. She is still with the most basics, but it's fun to see her enjoying it. This week, we bought our first kid's Bible and it is incredible! It's called The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name, by Sally Lloyd-Jones.

Pastor Timothy Keller, who greatly influenced Lloyd-Jones' writing, says, "I would urge not just families with young children to get this book, but every Christian—from pew warmers, to ministry leaders, seminarians and even theologians! Sally Lloyd-Jones has captured the heart of what it means to find Christ in all the scriptures, and has made clear even to little children that all God's revelation has been about Jesus from the beginning—a truth not all that commonly recognized even among the very learned."

Here's an excerpt:

“It’s like an adventure story about a young Hero who came from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne, everything to rescue the one he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that have come true in real life.

You see, the best thing about this story is—it’s true.

It takes the whole Bible to tell this story. And at the center of the Story there is a baby. Every story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle—the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.

And this is no ordinary baby. This is the Child upon whom everything would depend. This is the baby that would one day—but wait, our story starts where all good stories start. Right at the very beginning...”

10.09.2007

the people of God in suburbia

I often think that it's harder to live intentionally for God in the suburbs than in other parts of the world or city. When life is easier and people appear to have few needs (like it often seems in Gilbert) it can be hard to see the true difficulties and issues that we and our neighbors are dealing with.

Will Samson has posted someone's "Ten Ideas for Living Intentionally in the Suburbs" and I think it's quite helpful. I'm not sure I would do all of them, but it will make you think. Here's the post:

Ten Ways to be the People of God in Suburbia
by Chris Smith

In response, to Brian McLaren's call for urban churches at the Mayhem gathering last weekend [in Cincinnati], my friend Mike Bishop has been stirring up some conversation on "suburban ministry." Here's my response to that conversation, ten ways for those called to suburban ministry to be in the people of God in radical ways in suburbia. This list is meant for people to chew on and not all of its points may be applicable for all suburban missional church communities.

1) Live with others from your church community

Whether you share your home with another person or family, or whether you have several families that have homes in close proximity or both, sharing life together is perhaps the most powerful (i.e., going against the grain of suburban culture) way to be the body of Christ in suburbia. If you can't live together, at least find a way to share resources (power tools, lawn mowers, children's clothes/toys, etc).

2) Work Less!

One of the major powers that enslaves suburbia is the idolization of the career. There are many ways to pay the bills that do not involve a 9-5 job, and even within a 9-5 job, there are ways to work less (turning down promotions, taking unpaid leave, etc.) Working less will free you to serve your church community, your family, your neighbors, etc. It will also spur creativity: finding a solution for working less, finding a way to "make ends meet" financially, etc.

3) Throw out the television

Another (and perhaps larger power) that enslaves suburbia is consumerism. You'll be amazed at how your desire for things ebbs as you take the TV out of the picture. If you can't bring yourself to kill the television, at least take steps to lessen its influence (get rid of cable, only use it for movies, put it on a cart that can be wheeled in and out of a closet, etc.) Throwing out the television will also stimulate your creativity.

4) Drive less

Suburban culture is also enslaved to the automobile. Find ways to loosen those bonds (much more difficult in suburbia than in urban areas). Share a vehicle with others in your church community (much easier if you are doing #1 above). Invest in a good bicycle. Walk. There was a segment on "60 minutes" a few weeks ago about how much we miss when we zip around in automobiles. Walking and/or biking will help you be more attentive to your surroundings

5) Have a garden / grow food

Suburban life is often very shut off from the food cycle (Food comes from the grocery store, of course!). Homegrown food is more healthy, it gives you a good excuse to be outside (see #7 below), and it provides you with a resource to share generously with your church community and your neighbors. Phil Kenneson outlines a number of horticultural lessons for the people of God in his intro to LIFE ON THE VINE that are additional benefits of this practice.

6) Get to know your neighbors / listen for their needs

To be human is to be poor. Or in other words, everyone has needs. The challenge of suburbia is that there are many more ways to conceal that poverty, and similarly that it will take more effort to get into a position where a neighbor can reveal their needs. Be intentional about building relationships. Share meals, play poker, have block parties, whatever it takes.

7) Be outside as much as possible.

Another temptation of suburbia - fueled by individualism - is that of the house as an impenetrable fortress. Dissolve this temptation by eating, playing, relaxing outside. This practice is also one avenue to interact with your neighbors.

8) Do not fence in your yard

All apologies to Robert Frost, but fences do not make good neighbors, and in fact they often keep us from making good human neighbors. This is a corollary to #7, the fence is a major component of the impenetrable fortress syndrome; it protects our privacy and keeps out our "evil" neighbors. It often is a statement of distrust. If you must have a fence (to corral a dog for instance) make it as low and as permeable (i.e., not blocking off the view) as you can get away with.

9) Take a stand against the greed of mega-corporations

Whenever possible, resist buying from domineering mega-corporations (e.g., Wal-mart, McDonalds, Starbucks, and others). These corporations destroy local economies and have little or no concern for the environment. Buy as much as you can from businesses that are as local as possible (family-owned businesses are preferable to local chains, local chains are preferable to regional chains, and regional chains are preferable to global corporations.)

10) Utilize and support non-commercial public spaces (parks, libraries, colleges, etc.)

This point is another corollary of #7 above. We must utilize and show our support for these public spaces, lest they be conquered by the powers of individualism (by becoming private property) or by consumerism (by becoming commercial or industrial property). This is also a wonderful way to foster relationships with our neighbors.

10.01.2007

standing firm to the end

Once again, I rejoice and praise God for Desiring God Ministries. Like always, they have again put great, free resources online. The latest resources come from their conference, "Stand: A Call for the Endurance of the Saints." The featured speakers for this conference were John Piper, John MacArthur, Randy Alcorn, Jerry Bridges, and Helen Roseveare. One highlight that I've already watched was a conversation with Piper and MacArthur. It was very insightful and encouraging to watch these faithful leaders talk about their fathers, their lives, their ministries, their struggles, and to watch how they relate to each other.

Check these resources out here.