Monday, October 30, 2006

Ready for the question?

Are you ready for someone to ask you “the question”? You know-the question that becomes that “opportunity” that you will make the most of?

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:5-6 (NIV)

With Christ at the center of our lives, God will provide opportunities for us to share Him with others. In Christ are hidden treasure troves of wisdom that He gives us applying to the way we live oue daily lives. People will notice wisdom, gravitate toward it, and thus you will have influence.

With Jesus at the center, our speech becomes nutritious and life-giving. Gracious conversation combined with wisdom lends itself to insightful interaction with others throughout the course of the day. We know what to say, how to say, and when (or when not) to say those things that God Himself would have said in any given moment. The Grace-filled tongue is influenced away from negative and critical comments that repel people away from Christ’s influence through us.

Instead, encouraging words that build up and give grace to the hearers come from our Center.
Our hard-working, wise, gracious, seasoned lives will always attract questions. People will be attracted by Christ in you. You will become magnetic. There will be people who find you attractive and ask you about things-lots of things. Then you can be ready! Ready to tell them why. It is a simple answer. Because you have faith in Christ and you are making a sincere effort to follow His teachings.

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” 1 Peter 3:15-16 (NIV)

Love my job!

Did you know that Jesus is thought to have repeated His teachings over and over not because of the different crowds but for His disciples who he was depending on to change the world. I thought I would use His repetition strategy as well and refresh the weekend message in our minds as we head into our work week.

Colossians 3:22-25 (MSG) 22 Servants, do what you're told by your earthly masters. And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. 23 Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, 24 confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you're serving is Christ. 25 The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being Christian doesn't cover up bad work.

1. Do exactly what your boss asks of you.
2. Do your best at your job at all times.
3. Recognize Jesus as your boss and offer your work as Worship.
4. Work not only for a raise in this life, but also for a “pay day” in eternity. R

emember that people are watching our effort and drawing conclusions about our character. We have an opportunity to let them “see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven”. Let’s take full advantage and “make the most of every opportunity” to set a good example of a Christ-centered work ethic. Let’s honor Christ at work today. Have a great day and invite someone to come to church with you this week!

Current weekend series: “Get Centered”

A Journey Through the book of Colossians

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

hate my job!

“For promotion and power come from nowhere on earth, but only from God” Ps. 75:6

All too often people dread their work. Most people are not doing work they dreamed of or feel is satisfying. Some even hate their job. Many look forward to the weekend when they can escape into recreation and other activities.

With Christ truly at the center of our lives, He makes a significant impact on our work environment. For those who can adopt a fresh mindset, their work can become an outpost for the advancement of the Kingdom. New significance can be discovered in what was “just a job”. Jesus can turn our job into a place where He intersects the lives of those we work with. I can look forward to my day anticipating what God might do at work.

“Servants, do what you're told by your earthly masters. And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you're serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being Christian doesn't cover up bad work.” Col. 3:22-25 (MSG)

My work day is an assignment from Jesus to display His character to the people around me. My authentic faith impacts my work ethic and inspires me to give an effort that is my best. As I quietly and consistently do my job (no matter what kind of job it may be) with excellence, others appreciate my effort and notice something different in my life.

Any employer will tell you that good help is hard to find. Many are watching the clock-finding ways to do as little as they can. They discover the minimum required and they do it. When someone pours their heart into their work they can easily stand out and are often rewarded or promoted by their employer.

For the Christ-follower, there is an extra source of power to tap into. We can allow Him to watch us while we work. We can feel His approval on our effort. Energy and attitude are available to me as I look to Him while I work. We can offer it to Him as worship. He will receive it and transform it into something that honors His Father and impacts the lives of others. Even in writing this blog right now I hope that my work is pleasing to God. I offer it to Him as worship. I am doing my best. I am pouring my heart into it and expecting Him to use it to impact you.

At work we earn more than a paycheck. Through hard work, we earn the right to honor our King and share with others His life-inspiring power. God says that He has an incentive package designed for His worker that is out of this world. One day (no matter if my earthly boss does or not) my ultimate boss will reward me for my effort.

May you work for Him today!
May you feel His blessing on you throughout your day!
May your work be appreciated and rewarded by both of your bosses!


Monday, October 09, 2006

Space cadet

Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth. 3 For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your real life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. Col. 3:2-4 (NLT)

We have been talking about being Centered. I was reading in Colossians 3 this morning and learned yet another way to center my life--set my heart and my mind on things above. How does this work? I live on earth. I interact with earthlings. I am dealing with real earth problems. I am not a space cadet. I want to know if this passage says for me to stick my head in the clouds and focus on mansions, streets of gold and little naked angels with harps and such and not face reality here. I think not.

Listen to the Message paraphrase, “Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that's where the action is. See things from his perspective. 3 Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life.” Col. 3:2-3 (MSG)

I am reminded that Jesus came from heaven to earth. He brought heaven to earth. Once when Jesus was centering Himself, His disciples asked Him to show them how to “Get Centered” themselves. What did He do? He taught them to pray. Prayer is when I center my heart on what is happening with Jesus. In prayer I connect with the very heart of God and get Heaven’s perspective.

What is so cool is what Jesus prayed,

Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

Jesus came to earth to bring heaven to us and then He returned there to sit at the right hand of our Father. We center our hearts on heaven because Jesus is there. As we connect with Him a download takes place—Heaven’s resources are placed within me so that His heart can be expressed through me on earth. I am to bring heaven to earth. This will not happen unless I center my heart on what is happening there with the King.

May you hallow the name of your Father in heaven today.
May His Son’s Kingdom find allegiance in your heart.
May His will be done on this earth and in your life as it is in heaven.
And may you find Jesus to be your real life.