Perspective: “Vocation Focus: The Five Biggest Career Mistakes Christians Make”~Produced by The High Calling

For years I was stuck in a mindset that placed an irrationally high value on ministry while under-appreciating God’s interest in using my talents, skills, and interests to pursue His kingdom in a variety of alternate forms.

God has created a pretty big world out there, but many of us Christians have a tunnel-vision tendency to block out a huge portion of it. We lose sight of the sacredness of work, the benefits of education, the spiritual value of a career, the impact of our potential influence in the marketplace.

Here are five of the most entrenched mistakes that can tangle up your career path.

1. Over-spiritualizing your career situation. There’s nothing wrong with praying for direction when it comes to your job, but don’t get into the annoying habit of expecting God to do everything for you. This leads to a victimized, passive stance, waiting around for a sign instead of getting yourself mobilized. You can pray and fast and hang out the fleece all day long, but understand this: God is not going to hand over your life-long career path on a flaming silver platter. You have to pay your dues, fight for your life, and figure it out as you go, just like everyone else. Ironically, your spiritual growth will come mostly through the struggle in this process.

2. Ignoring what’s right in front of you. It’s great to believe God has some grandiose plan in store for you, but you’ll probably have to do a boatload of grunt work to get there. Some folks want to skip all the unpleasant parts and get right to the end, but real life generally doesn’t happen that way. I remember once complaining bitterly to a wiser friend about the many shortcomings of my job. He listened patiently for a while, and then gave me the best advice ever by pointing out the vast opportunities I was overlooking because of my bad attitude. Don’t let your self-limiting ideas cause you to ignore the potential of right where you are today.

3. Being afraid of the big bad secular world. For years, I was surrounded with a subculture that had this notion that “secular humanism” was infiltrating the world, threatening our Christian sensibilities. Its evil shadow fell over not just corporate life, but also suspect were prestigious universities, art galleries, music venues, and pretty much any secular expression that wasn’t dunked in a certain theological soup. This shunning of higher learning and culture creates a Christian ghetto filled with fearful and judgmental souls who will never learn to navigate, much less infiltrate, the world. Want to change culture? Be part of it. Want to be an influencer? Get a decent education. Want to impact the world? Be engaged in it. This is salt, and this is light.

4. Using your job as a stomping grounds for evangelism. Look, I know you want to spread the Good News everywhere you go, but your place of employment is not just a raw mission field. Sure, you can reach others at your workplace, but I am firmly in the camp that says doing a good job is pleasing to God in and of itself. There’s no need to artificially load layers of mission and outreach on top of it. You are plenty glorifying God by doing excellent work. Oh, and by the way, this is probably the best path to building credibility among the folks on the job so they’ll even want to listen to you.

5. Underestimating your own power and potential. In Jim Collin’s book, Good to Great, he describes the most effective CEOs as “Level 5 Leaders,” possessing a paradoxical combination of humility and fierce resolve. As Christians, we’d like to rally around the humility and servitude part, knowing that Jesus would heartily approve. But assertive leadership requires a tad more than that. There’s no need to feel guilty for being ambitious, visionary, or intensely focused on a goal or outcome. Embrace your inner drive because you can be both humble and fiercely resolved at the same time. Otherwise, how is God going to accomplish anything through you?

Christians are notoriously confused about the spiritual value of work. I believe we need role models, young and old, supporting each other as the voice of God himself, shouting out words of hope and encouragement to those called to work outside of ministry. It’s all good! If only we had faith enough to believe it.

Source: https://www.theologyofwork.org/the-high-calling/blog/vocation-focus-five-biggest-career-mistakes-christians-make 

“Gentrification of Christianity”~Featuring Sho Baraka

 

“Theologian Stanley Hauerwas says that ‘the heart of the gospel is that you don’t know Jesus without the witness of the Church.’ As church membership declines, will this witness be dampened? Writer and hip-hop artist, Sho Baraka, explores the history of the Christian faith, why its growth has slowed in western societies, and how the Church can reclaim our role as witnesses of Christ”.

Insight: Church. What’s The Point?

Sadly, Christianity within the Progressive West often overlooks what it means to be a true follower of Jesus. Taking up our crosses daily by dying daily to our fleshly desires is an incredibly unpopular message, yet it is practically the whole point of the Gospel Message! We need to crucify the sins of the flesh in order that Christ may reign supreme in every fiber of our being and every sphere of our lives! However, in Western Society we typically find ourselves doing one of the two extremes: placing excessive focus on building up one another as a Church Body, or decisively disconnecting ourselves from the Church Body because of its alleged hypocrisy. Every true Christian must diligently seek to uphold this delicate balance of being equipped and being missional with the power of the Holy Spirit, otherwise they will become lukewarm and/or self-righteous hypocrites themselves. Exclusive focus to either one of these ways of Christian living is extremely dangerous and it must be avoided at all costs! By seeking to maintain this balance through the indwelling Holy Spirit, our impact as Christians is able to be optimized and, most importantly, our Awesome God is also being glorified!

God Bless!

Biblical WorldView

What Sets Christianity Apart

Christianity is not merely another world religion where one needs to follow a prescribed set of rules, regulations, and steps in order to be made right with God. Conversely, Christianity is about placing our trust in the One Who has lovingly reached down to us, accomplishing that which is humanly impossible by living the perfect life of obedience through Jesus. Christ lived the life none of us could have lived. Therefore, rather than us hopelessly climbing a ladder of good works to somehow bridge the gap between us and God, all we need to do is trust in Jesus Who has already finished the work on the Cross.

“Sacred” and the “Secular” Coming Together

There is a phenomenon that has plagued Christianity for far too long. It has significantly limited and even restricted the effectiveness of the Church within the world by relegating Christ-following Christians to purely a private spiritual matter. Specifically, it is the false dichotomy between the “sacred” and the “secular”. In Nancy Pearcey’s book, “Total Truth”, she expounds on this school of thought by stating that “Christian Principles are meant to saturate our lives and flow out into the world around us”. She continues, “Having a Christian worldview means beings utterly convinced that biblical principles are not only true but also work better in the grit and grime of the real world”. As ambassadors of Christ, we are called and commissioned to be salt and light within this world. If we choose to stay in our own Christian bubbles and comfort zones, how can we expect the dying world around us to hear the glorious truth of the Gospel? It is so easy to become apathetic and spiritually-selfish through focusing excessive attention on being built up without physically going out to make disciples as God calls us to do. God’s redemptive plan extends to all things–both the secular and the sacred.

As believers, we know full well that the Christian faith is not designed to be compartmentalized within the sacred portion of our lives, rather, it needs to overflow into every facet of our lives!
biblical-worldviewPearcey wisely states, “The Christian faith is not just a religious truth, but the total truth about all reality.The implication is that the Christian Faith is meant to pervade and saturate everything we come into contact with. In turn, having a Biblical worldview shapes how we think about politics, business, law, education, and the arts. God has created absolutely everything (John 1:3), and as seen in Genesis 1:28, He calls us to subdue the earth. Right from the beginning of time, God has invited us to participate in His project for the world. Andy Otto explains this concept of subduing the earth below:

As one would “subdue” a plot of land, planting seeds, watering, cultivating it, caring for it, and harvesting its fruit, one is called to subdue the world—planting seeds through our witness, using and cultivating our gifts, working for the common good, and sharing its fruit with others. And as God has desires for the cultivation and harvesting of the earth, metaphorically, we do as well.

Application: Life Is Ministry

There is a common misconception that only those involved in ministry of some kind can really serve the Lord. This cannot be further from the truth and it greatly dismays me that many Christians believe this fallacy. Admittedly, I believed that this was true for my own life and it held me captive for several years. I knew that God had gifted me in different ways but I reasoned that I couldn’t serve Him as well or even at all unless it was explicitly done for ministry purposes. Once I first read about Biblical Worldview through observing Lecrae approach to his Hip Hop music as a Christian, I realized that as a Christian my entire life is ministry. Romans 12:1 instructs us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, which is our true and proper worship. In other words, everything we do spanning from the ways in which we interact with others all the way to our viewpoints on social issues should be rooted in our Biblical Worldview. We are not just Christians on Sundays, but rather we are called to serve the Lord 24/7; indeed life is ministry. Someone who has been called to a trade such as a plumber is no less capable of serving God than a pastor for instance. All that God expects is our joyful obedience as we serve and glorify Him in our unique ways.

In Lecrae’s book, Unashamed, he states that “Following Jesus doesn’t just save us from a less fulfilling life or eternal separation from God. It also saves us to a life that can radically transform the world around us through the power of God”. The responsibility then for Christians is to transform culture.

I plan on creating a follow-up article to this post regarding what transforming culture looks like for the Christian. Please stay tuned!

Lord,

We are so grateful for that which we have done for us on the Cross and we are honoured to be partakers of Your redemptive plan. Help us to live faithful lives to You in whatever you have called us to as our vocation. I pray that through Your Holy Word, You may mold our Biblical Worldview into one that has the ability to transform culture for Your glory. May we lift up Your Name and glorify You always!

In Jesus’ Name, I pray, Amen.

 

References:

Subdue the Earth: A Genesis Understanding of Discernment

Total Truth By Nancy Pearcey

Unashamed By Lecrae

 

Humanity Has A Preference Problem

Since the Fall of the human race in Genesis 3, accepting accountability for our actions has always been a real area of weakness for us. Arguably, one of the central reasons for why people would rather deny the existence of God is so that this very form of accountability is somehow removed. This is freedom after all, isn’t it? Being able to live however you true_freedom_in_christplease without having to answer to a higher power sounds both appealing and liberating at the same time. However, this type of freedom is not freedom at all. Don’t let the world’s way of thinking confuse and entrap you. In contrast to what real freedom in Christ provides, this is actually slavery which happens to be under the guise of freedom. Slavery to what you may be wondering? Simply put, it is slavery to your fleshly desires and impulses. The precise thing that you think is liberating you is in fact doing the exact opposite, that is, enslaving you.

Recently, I had the privilege of listening to a fascinating podcast by long-term Christian Pastor and Author, John Piper, entitled, “Why Hell Exists?”. Within this podcast, Piper makes the powerful argument that “everyone knows the supreme value of God…but that everyone prefers something to God“. Romans 1:18-19 supports this argument below:

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

Regardless of whether you are: a skeptic, an atheist, a new age believer, or a follower of any of the world religions and denominations, God through His Word makes it abundantly clear God's Glorythat deep down inside you already know the truth of God. As seen in Romans 1:19, God’s eternal power and His divine nature are manifested throughout the beauty and intricacies of creation, consequently leaving people without excuse(Rom. 1:20).

Piper continues by postulating that “nobody leaves God simply because they value Him little; [rather] we always turn away from God because we value something more”. In a like manner, Romans 1:21-23 reveals:

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Wow! Think about this for a moment and let this truth sink in. This is God Who is the Creator of the entire universe! He literally breathed it into existence out of nothing, Who is the Alpha and the Omega, the Author and Finisher of all life, Who came down from Heaven, lived the perfect life, died the death we should have died, was raised on the third-day so that we can have forgiveness for our sins and have a forever relationship with Him! This infinitely beautiful and glorious God has given us everything, even Himself on the Cross. YET, we foolishly decide to exchange His glory for “images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and replies!(Rom 1:23)“.  Every sin is rooted in this abominable truth and heart-wrenching reality. Indeed, this is the biggest insult humans can possibly make towards God which is why unrepentant sinners must be judged. Interestingly however, whenever we sin no matter how big or small, we are committing this very exchange. The underlying reason for why we push God away is because in our darkened minds we think that we have discovered something more valuable. Therefore, we mistakenly find it more fitting to exchange God’s glory for things of this passing and transient world found in His creation instead of in God Himself.

With all this being said, believing in the One Living and True God is at the core derived from one’s preferences. The truth of God is tangibly displayed everywhere we look and eternity has even been hard-wired into the very hearts of our beings. Intrinsically, what matters is whether we decide to accept God for Who He is or to suppress Him as we aimlessly pursue the empty promises of this fleeting world.

Heavenly Father,

I pray that the spiritual-blinders may be lifted from unbelievers’s eyes to see You for Who you are in all Your honor and glory. Strengthen us as a Church so that we may faithfully share the Good News of the Gospel Message for everyone to hear! Also, please bring those of us who have gone astray back to You realizing how lost we are without You. Help us all to always cling close to You and please provide us with a re-vitalized hunger to know you more richly and deeply!

In Jesus’ Name, I Pray, Amen.

 

Becoming What You Worship

One thing which believers and non-believers alike share in common is that we all worship something. There is always one particular thing which we dedicate and devote our lives towards. Whatever this thing may be, it will almost always form the identity and the very fabric of who we are as individuals. I would even postulate that in some sense we actually become what we worship and it is my contention that this view is also supported within the Scriptures.MAde for God
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Suffering, Perseverance, Character, and Hope(Part 4 of 4)

Throughout today’s post I will conclude this four-part series by focusing on the Hope that we all share as believers in Christ.hope in Christ (1)

Although hope is essentially the final resultant fruit yielded from our suffering as Christians(Romans 5:3-4), I feel that its influence has the ability to penetrate into every facet of our lives. In fact, it is the very hope in the return of Christ which serves as the basis for believers to purify themselves in this life (Titus 2:11-14, 1 John 3:3). Continue reading