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: “8 Things You Need to Know About Money”

Within today’s blog entry, I hope to provide an unapologetic and truthful explanation on the commonly misconstrued topic of money through giving insightful clarity on how “the machine(the system)” works.

Nowadays, perhaps more than ever, people need to be exposed to the truth, especially on something as intrinsically important as their understanding of money and how it functions in society today. A significant portion of the Holy Scriptures are comprised of an abundance of teachings, lessons, and parables surprisingly all centred around the topic of money. Therefore, it is indispensable for Christians to have a proper understanding of money, without which we cannot faithfully serve God. This is because an improper understanding on money(at root level) will invariably result in poor stewardship(see Parable of Talents in Luke 19:11-27).  Continue reading

Engaging Culture

Called to be Faithful Where You Are

In recent months, I have increasingly realized and observed that God pointedly uses His children in whatever platform He has sovereignly placed them. Oftentimes as believers we wrongly assume that we need to pursue a different vocational calling, rather than being faithful in our current platform within our sphere of influence. I know that I have certainly found myself praying that God would widen my platform or even provide me with some kind of  job in ministry in order that I may be an effective Christian. However, 2 Peter 1:3 clearly tells us, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness”. Therefore, we are called to be faithful regardless of where God has placed us because He has equipped us with “everything we need for a godly life”.

Engaging Culture Where You Are

In reference to last month’s post on “Biblical Worldview”, I quoted Pearcey saying that “Christian Principles are meant to saturate our lives and flow out into the world around us”. With this being said, we have been Engage Culturehonored with the privilege to be participants in God’s Redemptive Plan of making all things new–transcending over and above all boundaries. Categories which relegate things of culture(ie politics, business, law, music, the arts) as wholly sacred or secular are therefore irrelevant and unnecessary.

Lecrae states in his book, Unashamed, that “Because of Jesus, we don’t need to see culture as something to be avoided. It is something to be engaged. You cannot stomp something you’re running away from. You can’t influence something you never encounter”. In order to begin to transform culture, we need to engage culture. I believe that this starts by bringing our sacred callings into our current work environments through being instruments of God’s Mercy and Grace. Having a Biblical Worldview enables one to see the world through the proper lenses because it allows us to see that all of God’s creation is in fact good and redeemable.

In addition, when we already speak the same language of those within our workplace, our Christian Witness becomes more creditable and effective towards our co-workers. We are all strategically positioned in different job positions which should be treated as mission’s fields where we have the platform to reflect God’s greatness to those around us. There are unsaved people everywhere, some of whom are yearning to hear this precious Gospel Message. Many of these people may never enter church and your light may be the only exposure to church they will ever receive. If you and I do not share it with them, then who will? If your workplace is anything like mine, I tend to feel overwhelmed and even discouraged at times because of the sheer number of unbelievers. At the same time, I feel blessed to have been placed at a workplace with such a need for the Gospel Message to be shared. I am praying for boldness to be more vocal and intentional about witnessing at my workplace. I pray that you do the same. We should all share the same sense of urgency because time is running out and people’s souls are at stake.

Application: Living Authentically for Christ

By This They Will KnowIt is my hope that God will use you and I to engage a culture that has not known or seen the true and living God of the Bible.  After all, “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them(Ephesians 2:10)”. The world should be able to notice something different about the way in which we live our lives. On a deeper level, unbelievers should be able to see the Body of Christ at work as the Church within the world. Jesus Himself tells us in John 13:35, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”. It is this supernatural love within the Church that builds intentional relationships and is capable of reaching the lost unlike any other.

I cannot stress the importance of authentically walking out this faith which God has gifted us with. We are children of the light and God’s Spirit greatly desires to work in and through us to transform the world around us wherever this may be. But we need to be willing and this usually means stepping out of our comfort zones through taking leaps of faith. Having theological discussions about doctrinal differences and what the Scriptures teach are well and good, however it cannot and must not end here. The Gospel Message requires a responsive action on our part, which surpasses intellectual book knowledge as it extends into deep-rooted heart application. Actions always speak louder than words so I earnestly pray that we keep Christ at the forefront of our lives seeking to live wholeheartedly in our actions for His Glory.

May God continue to use His Children in their present spheres of influence to engage, impact, and radically transform the culture around them. I pray that we may all be emboldened to seek out the lost through disciple-making and that You may be glorified in and through us.

In Jesus’ Name, I pray Amen.

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