We are asking God to Awaken the Wonder of the Holy Spirit in our Work.
All righteous work is God’s work and He lovingly assigns a portion of His work to every person. Ecclesiastes 3:10
God’s work is to move all of creation from where it is to where God desires it to be.
All righteous work helps creation serve, honor, and reflect the Creator.
In this way, your work is MUCH larger than your job.
- For example, a person is employed as a chef. Their work and job are serving, honoring, and reflecting the Creator in their kitchen.
- Everyone spends some amount of time serving, honoring, and reflecting the Creator in their kitchen. This kitchen time is their work (part of God’s work in the world today) but not their job.
Righteous work is the expenditure of energy that moves creation closer to God’s intended purpose.
A righteous person’s righteous work receives God’s blessing that is to be used for God’s righteous purposes.
Consider the 128th Psalm.
|Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways!
||Blessed, fear of the Lord, walk in His ways
|You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.
||Ecclesiastes 3:12, 13 – joyful, do good, eat, drink, take pleasure in toil
|Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine within your house;
||Proverbs 31:28 – Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.
|Your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
||Psalm 103:17, 18 Steadfast love of the Lord on those who fear him. Righteousness to children’s children – who keep the covenant-remember to do his commandments.
|The Lord bless you from Zion.
||Philippians 4:19 -riches in glory in Christ
|May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!
||Jeremiah 29:7 – if it prospers, you too will prosper. Prosperity of your city.
|May you see your children’s children!
||Prosperity of your children and grandchildren
|Peace be upon Israel.
||Prosperity of your nation.
Tips for Enjoying the Fruit of your Labor
- Delight yourself in the Lord of your labor and fruitfulness. Psalm 37:4
- Enjoy the fruitfulness of your labor in ways that move creation closer to God’s intended purposes.
- Enjoy the fruitfulness of your labor by being more fruitful through your labor.
Next Sunday, invite your co-workers, employees, and employers for a special “Celebration of Work” Sunday.
Sometimes I listen with such intensity to music and voices and sundry sounds that I can’t hear my life.
What is my life saying and singing and sounding?
Frederich Buechner suggests that muting the noise pollution from time to time is critical to hearing my life.
“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”
Over the years I have made feeble efforts at transforming my narrowly defined Lenten fast into a more broadly experience Lenten rhythm of life.
I have heard the two most common items people fast during Lent are alcohol and chocolate. May I suggest abstaining from two things during your fast?
Abstaining from speed and sound. Slow down. Quiet down.
Listen to your life.
Future Faith: The Unknowns
Almost every list of “greatest fears” includes the fear of the unknown.
“Do we really want to be rid of our resentments, our anger, our fear? Many of us cling to our fears, doubts, self-loathing or hatred because there is a certain distorted security in familiar pain. It seems safer to embrace what we know than to let go of it for fear of the unknown. (Narcotics Anonymous Book/page 33)” ― Narcotics Anonymous
“How many of us stop short of success on purpose? How many of us sabotage our own happiness because failure, while miserable, is a fear we’re familiar with? Success, however, dreams come true, are a whole new kind of terrifying, an entire new species of responsibilities and disillusions, requiring a new way to think, act and become. Why do we REALLY quit? Because it’s hopeless? Or because it’s possible…” ― Jennifer DeLucy
“What is true of the natural qualities of the soul is preeminently true of faith. So long as we are quietly at rest amid favorable and undisturbed surroundings, faith sleeps as an undeveloped sinew within us. But when we are pushed out from all these surroundings, with nothing but God to look to, then faith grows suddenly into a cable, a monarch oak, a master-principle of the life. As long as the bird lingers by the nest, it will not know the luxury of flight. As long as the trembling boy holds to the bank, or toes the bottom, he will not learn the ecstasy of battling with the ocean wave.” ― F.B. Meyer
The western mind seems to desire the elimination of unknowingness. People create some of the craziest theories in an attempt to remove any and all unknowing.
The theories of “Origins of Life” are known to be IMPOSSIBLE, but rather than face the unknown of God’s creative activity, people believe ridiculous theories.
When it comes to Last Days realities, there is so much we don’t know or understand.
For many Christians, this lack of knowing receives a fear of the unknown response.
It is impossible to imagine the full scope of God’s revelation to Paul, John, and Daniel.
Paul 2 Corinthians 12:1-4
I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows.3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.
John Revelation 10:4
And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.”
Daniel Daniel 12:8-9
I heard, but I did not understand. Then I said, “O my lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?” 9 He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end.
God and His plans are both fully knowable and beyond knowing all at the same time.
Isaiah Isaiah 29:11-12
11 And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.”12 And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot read.”
- Whatever God has revealed to you about Himself and His plans, He has FAR more to reveal.
- Diligently seek to know and understand God’s revelation to you. Matthew 11:25, John 7:17, John 15:15
- Do not become frustrated with portions of revelation that God is not making clear to you; those things that He has sealed up. Psalm 9:10
- God’s plainly clear revelation is more than enough to know God is trustworthy and true.
- Do not feint in fear. Totally trust God. Isaiah 25:9
Sure doesn’t resonate with the soul, “He is an undisciplined Jesus follower.”
God’s spectacular gift of grace is often lived out as the removal of all faithful discipline and effort on the part of grace’s recipient.
Yes, God’s grace is an expensive, valuable, and luxurious gift given from His heart of love and mercy to all who are willing to welcome it’s reception.
What if discipline is required to embrace grace and faith and mercy?
Since faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God, might the discipline required to hear the word of God be a good thing?
James values the significance of the disciplines of drawing near to God, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you (James 4:8).”
Jesus fully supported the acts of the righteous life, private prayer, private fasting, and private alms, as assumed disciplines active in His followers lives.
God calls us, during the Lenten season, to the disciplines of grace; especially the grace of fasting, abstaining, and praying.
May it be said of us, “They are disciplined Jesus followers.”
We are asking God to Awaken the Wonder of the Holy Spirit in us while working.
To sculpt a Bible based understanding and definition of work we consider Genesis 1 and 2.
- The Bible opens with the revelation of God at work in bringing creation into being.
- God creates Adam to join Him in making the whole earth as glorious as the Garden of Eden.
- God creates Eve to join Himself and Adam in making the whole earth Eden-like (Edenic).
- Adam and Eve are to have children for partnership with them and God in doing God’s work in the world.
We are born to partner with God in His work.
This partnership is hindered by Adam and Eve’s disobedience.
Adam and Eve’s partnership with God and His work is well established prior to their disobedience.
Eve’s Assignments Results of Eve’s Sin
- Be fruitful and multiply Pain when being fruitful and multiplying
- Partner with and help Adam Difficulty in the relationship with Adam
Adam’s Assignments Results of Adam’s Sin
- Work and keep the Garden Banished from the Garden
- Work and keep the Garden Working the Garden soil would be painful
- Lead the partnership with Eve Difficulty in the relationship with Eve
Adam and Eve’s sin made their assignments more painful and difficult, but in God’s grace, they still have their assignments.
The Christian’s assignments are grouped (like a three-legged stool) into three movements:
- The movements of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). I am assigned to go and make disciples.
- The movements of the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-38). I am assigned to love God and people.
- The movements of the Great Creation Calling (Genesis 1:26-28). I am assigned to partner with God in His work.
All tasks man undertakes in God’s world can be seen in relationship to that original commission. Some jobs deal directly with plants and animals. Other jobs enable the stewardship of land and life. All jobs relate to those great tasks. The making of roads and markets enables us to subdue the earth and exercise dominion over the animals. The tasks related to helping other humans to flourish intellectually and spiritually enable people to deal with the land and living creatures. Arguably every righteous task in the world— from that of the farmer or rancher to that of the engineer, the software developer, or the nuclear physicist, from that of the ditch digger to the physician (or veterinarian), from the coach to the pastor, the zookeeper to the politician, the sergeant to the mailman— every task in the world can be seen in relationship to the subjection of the earth and the exercise of dominion over the animal kingdom. Hamilton Jr., James M.. Work and Our Labor in the Lord (Short Studies in Biblical Theology) (p. 22). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
Even though Adam and Eve’s family assignments would be painful and their relationships difficult, in keeping God’s covenant with Abraham (Abrahamic Covenant) they could know the blessings of God on all of their assignments.
The assignments are more difficult and painful, yet God’s abundant blessings are promised for covenant keepers. Deuteronomy 28:1-14
We were banished from the Garden Blessed in city and country (28:3)
Being fruitful is painful and difficult The fruit of your womb will be blessed (4)
The ground will be difficult to cultivate Your basket will be blessed (5)
We can’t enter the Garden of Eden You will be blessed everywhere you go (6)
Your work will be very difficult and painful Blessing on everything you put your hand to (28:8)
Someone may say, “But we are not in the Abrahamic Covenant,” we are in the New Covenant written in Jesus’ blood.
Consider what the Apostle Paul writes regarding how much more glorious the New Covenant is than the former covenants. 2 Corinthians 3:7-11
7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!
PARTNERING WITH GOD DECLARATION
This week partnering with God in His work may be difficult and painful, YET God’s favor is upon me and everything I put my hand to is blessed.
MCA LIFE GROUP STUDY NOTES
Listen – My Story
- Do you recall a work assignment that was virtually impossible without the direct help of the Holy Spirit?
- Do you see your family as partners together with you in God’s work? In what ways?
Learn – Digging Deeper
- The assignments for God’s partners are sometimes painful and difficult. Have you experienced, like Adam and Eve, difficulty between you and your spouse (family)? Knowing you and your spouse (family) are intended to work together with God, what priority should you place on strengthening your marriage and family relationships?
- To be productive and effective in the Great Commission, Great Commandment, and Great Creation, what do you need the Holy Spirit to do in you?
- Read Deuteronomy 28:1-14. Have you experienced the blessings in your work God promised to these covenant keepers?
Life – Taking it Home
- What could you do this week to strengthen the relationship with your spouse and family to greatly enhance your partnership in God’s work?
- Will you look for various ways this week’s work is partnership with God?
Lift – Prayer
- Please pray for each person’s spouse and/or family relationships. Specifically pray that the partnership will further the work of God in the world today.
- Please pray for those people with whom you do God’s work. (Parents, don’t forget parenting is part of your work too)
- Pray for God’s grace and strength to help you fast and pray during our Lenten fasting and prayer.
From time to time I warn people of the dangers of yoga. The HUGE resistance to these warnings surprises some, but I am convinced is part of the demonic spirit attached to the practice.
In 1978 I lived in Calcutta, India for three months. I had never seen, first hand, Hinduism, it’s practices, and the power of darkness it produces. Needless to say, I departed India with a commitment to give warning to all who might become interested and attracted to the world view.
Over the years I have, from time to time, pursued a deeper knowledge of hinduism and it’s yoga evangelistic arm, so that I can give warning for those whose knowledge of yoga is at a deeper level.
Pamela Frost presents an excellent primer and is well worth the time and thought necessary for entry level understanding.
One day, while swimming, playing, and floating in the ocean, I saw the most beautiful little jelly fish floating a few inches from me. The darling little creature wasn’t more than six inches in diameter and the sunlight it refracted and reflected shone with many gorgeous hues.
Just then the lifeguards shouted over their beach tower mega phones, “Everyone out of the water, dangerous and life threatening box jellyfish have been spotted.”
Sitting on the beach a couple of seconds later, I thought, “That cute little creature is a killer.”
Christian marriages are grounded in the foundation of honor. Undergirding Serge and Miriam is a giant network of godly support and love.
We are commanded to “honor your father and mother” in Exodus 20:12. Today, we honor:
- Serge’s father, mother, and extended family. Thank you for raising a godly son.
- Miriam’s father, mother, and extended family. Thank you for raising a Christian daughter. Today, I present to you, Miriam, your father’s blessing. Pastor Joany and I were in prayer seven years ago. He abruptly stopped and said, “I noticed your milk containers have an expiration date. I am going to expire. Please be my older brother and take care of my family, especially my daughter.” Less than three months later, your father was with the Lord.
- All of the pastors and ministries who helped shape and form your character and love for God.
- Your church families who influenced you for Christ.
This is the furthest I have ever traveled (round trip of 30,159 kilometers/18,744 miles) to celebrate a marriage. The journey is a delight for many reasons, one of which is I believe God has given me a special verse for you and your marriage.
“But the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” Daniel 11:32 b
There is so much for you to know as a newly married husband and wife. You are learning so much in:
- Your career fields of accounting and medicine
- Your roles as a son and son in law and daughter and daughter in law
The verse I am proclaiming over you today encourages you, in the midst of all of life, to know your God. Knowing God is of more importance than almost everything else combined. With the Apostle Paul may you always proclaim, “That I may know Him.”
Life takes on the proper perspective when you know God. Your joys and fears and laughter and tears are best understood when you know God.
When you know God you can then stand firm.
May your marriage be characterized by standing firm in the God you know.
Stand firm in:
- The word of God and prayer
- Body of Christ
- Fruit of the Holy Spirit, “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Galatians 5:22
- The gifts of the Holy Spirit, “Wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues.”
From this position of knowing God and standing firm, God calls you to take action.
Your actions are to be energetic and grand because the God you know is BIG! Knowing the BIG God is a call to big dreams, big plans, and a big life.
The cost of not taking action is more than we can imagine.
The experience of David and Goliath is phenomenal and amazing, yet with one small side note.
It should have been Saul and Goliath. Goliath was Saul’s giant to defeat. Saul, not knowing God, standing firm, nor taking action, lost out completely.
David conquered Saul’s giant. Saul goes down in history negatively while Goliath is one of David’s formative victories.
Serge and Miriam, you will be known by the giants you conquer. Without a doubt, there will be some very large giants on your journey, but you are well able to defeat the giants because you know your God, stand firm, and take action.
Ephesians 4:12 is filled with wisdom for our Christian lives today. One could spend hours of study, meditation, and reflection on the stated purposes of being equipped.
- For the work of ministry
- For the building up of the body of Christ
- Until we all attain to the unity of the faith
This lesson is an investigation into one aspect (there are many) of the meaning of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration of the word equip.
Matthew 4:21 shows Jesus finding James, John, and Zebedee in a boat mending their nets. Matthew’s “mending” and Paul’s “equip” are the same word.
Being fully prepared, repaired, and fit for service is a general summary of the idea.
Ephesians easily divides into two sections. Chapters 1, 2, and 3, form section one and place emphasis upon the glorious work of God in and for the Christian. Chapters 4, 5, and 6, for section two with emphasis upon “walking” properly as recipients of God’s great grace.
Paul immediately launches the second section with the command to “walk worthy,” in light of all God has done (chapters 1, 2, and 3), of this all-encompassing call of God.
In order to walk worthy of God’s high calling, one might say Paul hints at five holes that must be mended by clearly stating the mended condition.
“With all humility” suggests pride is a gaping hole that must be immediately stitched firmly closed.
- “and gentleness” indicates that harsh abrasiveness also needs mending.
- “with patience” repairs the net flaws created by impatience.
- “bearing with one another in love” is required to seal off the damage caused by not bearing and carrying one another and the lack of love.
- “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” keeps the Christian’s net mended from trauma caused by living outside the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace.
The author of Hebrews prays for this equipping in 13:20, 21, “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Three of my frequent flyer friends are at 7,000,000, 4,500,000, and 4,000,000 miles with their chosen airlines. When folks ask me, “Are you a frequent flyer?” I don’t know exactly how to answer. Compared to most, yes to others, not even close.
Our Burkina Faso ministry destination always takes our teams through Paris and good stewardship of missions money is an obvious priority. Having traveled through the Charles de Gaulle airport several times, I have developed a few perspectives.
The CDGVAL is a free train like commuter service between Terminals 1, 2, and 3. However, the CDGVAL Terminal 3 is the train station near Terminal 3. For an overnight stay when commuting through CDG, I recommend staying in the hotels within walking distance of Terminal 3.
I am a low demand traveler on many things. A quiet, clean, functional experience is all I need for an overnight commuter stay.
With that said, I have overnighted at the Paris CDG Hilton, CDG Sheraton, CDG Ibis, and a host of others whose names I don’t recall. I have also taken the RER and the bus system into Paris for over night lodging.
For an overnight stay, I recommend saving the high costs of the CDG Sheraton and CDG Hilton by selecting the CDG Ibis or CDG Ibis Styles, both located only 100 yards or so outside the CDGVAL Terminal 3 station.
My experience at the CDG Ibis has been very good. With the RER 100 yards and the bus station 50 yards away, you can get anywhere in Paris and the surrounding area very quickly and easily.
Generally speaking, the rates I have received at the CDG Ibis Terminal 3 have been about one half of the costs of the Sheraton and Hilton.
I don’t know how long they will offer this special, but currently one can get a room at the CDG Ibis at Terminal 3 by the hour, two hour minimum, for 14 Euro an hour. I have done this type of sleep arrangement in other airports and am amazed at how much difference a three or four hour nap and shower can make while traveling 24 or more hours.
From Anchorage, Alaska, the travel time to Paris is often between 18 and 24 hours, depending upon how much one wants to spend. My choice is to travel the least expensive airline with economy comfort or economy premium seats. This trip, the best fare was Anchorage, Frankfurt, Paris on Condor Air.
I left my house in Anchorage at 8:15 AM on Monday and arrived in the CDG Ibis hotel twenty-two hours later. I had checked in online and was welcomed in a special concierge line and was in my room within fifteen minutes of arriving.
Helping make missions travel through CDG simple and stress free.
The Bible opens with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit’s personal acts of creation.
Of Jesus it is said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. John 1:1-4
- Behind all created things is the Personal Him.
- Without the First Maker, nothing was made.
- The primary feature of the Personal Him (First Maker) is life.
Every form of life traces it’s making to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Genesis 1 reveals every form of life is personally created by God and is therefore to be:
- Respected as being created and sustained directly by God’s voice.
- Stewarded as belonging to God and entrusted to humans for well keeping.
God’s Bible makes it very clear that the earth belongs to God (always has and always will).
The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. Psalm 24:1-2
“The socialists claim that the earth belongs to the state. The communists say it belongs to the workers. The capitalists say that it belongs to those who have the initiative to acquire and preserve it. But they are really wrong. The earth is the Lord’s. We do not own any of it. We are only stewards of the earth.” The forgotten beatitude: Worshiping through Stewardship. William Tuck
Christians steward all of God’s creation by respecting all living things, working for their continued existence, and seeking the sustainability of everything living.
Human beings are created personally by God and are living things to be respected and stewarded.
However, human beings are FAR more than only living things. Human beings are the only living beings created by God’s hand, given life by His breath, and made in His image.
This “Trinity of Tremendous” must always be remembered and prioritized”
- Created by God’s hand
- Given life by His breath
- Created in His image
The “Trinity of Tremendous” emphasizes the sanctity of all human life.
Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his (not we ourselves) we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3
Created in God’s image, we celebrate people of all ethnicities and condemn all forms of racism as a grave and sinful insult to the image of God in all people.
Created in God’s image, we celebrate people of all ages, from conception to natural death, and condemn all forms of life-taking as a grave and sinful insult to the image of God in all people.
Created in God’s image, we celebrate people of all physical, cognitive, social, and spiritual capacities, and condemn any and all forms of a caste system as a grave and sinful insult to the image of God in all people.
The Holy Spirit sustains the image of God in every human being and mistreating your fellow human being grieves Him. Ephesians 4:25-32
Listen – My Story
- Finish the sentence, “I feel valued when……………”
- Is it easy or difficult to personally sense value from knowing God values you?
Learn – Digging Deeper
- Read Matthew 3:16-17. How did the Father present the sanctity of Jesus’ life in this passage? If you were Jesus, in this passage, what would your feelings have been?
- Read Matthew 12:18. This prophetic quote from Isaiah reveals three processes in showing the sanctity of another person:
- “Whom I have chosen.” How important is it to know one is chosen?
- “My beloved.” How important is it to know one is loved?
- “With whom my soul is well pleased.” How important is it to know one is well pleasing?
- How should we communicate these three processes to those in our lives today?
Life – Taking it Home
- How can you extend the sanctity of human life to someone this week?
- Is there anything in your life that devalues the sanctity of your life?
- Pray often, “Holy Spirit, show me the sanctity in this person.”
Lift – Prayer
- Please pray for a continued outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the people of MCA Church and East Anchorage.
- Please pray for those in your circle of influence who do not yet trust in Jesus for salvation.
- Please pray for a powerful anointing upon Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames (April 1-4, 2018)