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Monday, April 13, 2015

Standing in the Marketplace




"And about the eleventh hour He went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, 'Why have you been standing idle all day?' They said to Him, ' Because no one hired us.' He said to them, ' You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive." Matthew 20:6-7

We know that these verses are talking about the world as God's vineyard the mission field and laborers being sent out to reap. I would like to look at the men mentioned in the verses above. The day was half-gone and they had not heard the call for workers. Why were they late? Did they sleep late? Did they have other jobs? Either way, they were unavailable. This is a picture of the present state of the church. We are standing idle in the marketplace, waiting to be hired. This article is for those still waiting on their call.
The days of D.L. Moody, Brother Bryan and others have passed. No longer is it easy for the clergy to enter the workplaces and minister to the laborers. With the fear of religious harassment and insurance liability the doors to the marketplace have almost closed. Who then will reach these souls that labor their days away? Will they seek out our churches on Sunday, for some the only day off they have for their families? Do they have the time or energy to make a mid-week service? The numbers say "No". Who will reach them? The Christian that is full of motivational teachings urging them to reach out and work their way to the top of their potential, where they will have influence. Then they can be a light on a hill. Or should I say Ladder? I am not saying they cannot be used. They have and they will. But I speak from experience when I say that the one with his sites on that top run had better be sure that's where the Lord wants him. I gave an employee new to the management world a hard-learned lesson. To be management he must realize that everything he does and says becomes a reflection of the company you have chosen to take responsibility for. Even the way he reacts to co-workers after hours is not his own. So for the Christian seeking a place in management, he had better make sure that his faith and job could co-exist. Can you fire an employee that you have been witnessing to, and still maintain the witness? You must choose your priority, your position or souls. Or can they be one in the same?

How about the Christian that is trying to solve all of his ethical problems and believes he cannot be a witness until he is the best worker in his field? God can and will use the perfect employee. Each of us strives for Holiness in Christ. But just being the best worker is not enough. When the Lord started dealing with me about witnessing in the workplace, I searched everywhere for resources. Most of what I found was advice to be the best worker your boss could have. Be on time every day, stay busy and productive, do your work without complaining, be honest ...etc. I have had many workers with these qualities and they were not Christians. These things should be fruit of our lives and not something we must work hard at obtaining. We should not have to be told to "Work as unto the Lord". People may not notice our witness if we do these things, but they will definitely receive a witness if we don't. There is a place for this, but don't rely on them for your complete witness.

Or how about the one that believes he must develop a relationship with his co-workers and his life will be his witness and there isn't a need to speak? Relationships are needed for an effective witness but not to be relied on completely. God can and will use these, but He commanded us to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel". Yes I have heard it all my life. "Our lives preach". But we must add words to our lives, and relationships, in order to be complete.

Back to the question, who can reach the workers in the marketplace? I am persuaded that the Lord is calling for those late comers standing idle in the marketplace to go on into the fields, it's not too late. I believe He is looking for men and women that hear His call to become missionaries. Maybe they owe too many bills to be free. Maybe they are paying child support from bad marriages before they got saved and have this responsibility until the children are 18 years old. Maybe they have health problems that keep them from traveling to other countries. God is calling them to reap in His fields right here in the United States, The workplace, where the clergy cannot go.

He is calling for people who will take up the workplace as their mission field. They will work at the task just like we expect our overseas missionaries to work at theirs. Not to seek jobs or positions where they get the best pay or recognition, but for the ability to reach more people of the greatest need. For years the laity movement has tried to motivate the people to join in the work, but still maintain that the clergy are the ones that are "Full Time" in the ministry. God is calling people to enter the ministry full time through the workplace. Your pastor or denomination may not see you as called, but the Caller knows better. And He is the one who sets the wages.

He's calling for the person who will take a thankless job at a processing plant, which is noted, for the hardest work and the lowest pay. Just so they can reach the low-income families of their town. That is our mission field of today. This is being called the Fourth Frontier by people in the Faith@Work Movement. Who will take a job at a cigar plant just to be exposed to the lost? Who will take a job that requires Sunday work in order to reach the unchurched? And who is so bold as to get a job as a bartender, just so they could reach their town's outcast. These may be extreme moves to make, but most people are in the jobs that the Lord wants them in. They just need to hear their call to it. If you cannot be satisfied in your position, even after deciding to do it for the Lord, then it is time for a move. I hired a brother one time that was called to the mission field overseas. He worked with me until he could hear where the Lord wanted him. It did not take a large degree of discernment to know when it was time for him to go. He was stressed and unfit for any more work. He could do nothing else but "GO". So no one needs to fear that if they take a "regular job", that they may lose their "sense of mission". The Lord will not allow someone he intends to use on the foreign mission field to stay in the marketplace forever. Many have stayed when they were supposed to "GO", and the Lord has sent their jobs overseas instead.

If you are called out, then you will go in God's time. Until then the Vineyard owner is looking for those idle in the marketplace. He has a job for you. I would not belittle the great need of foreign missions. Their need is so much greater than ours in the United States, but we are missing a great training ground for our troops heading to the fields of the world. I have a vision of persons unable to "Go" now because of restrictions on their lives. But God is calling them to the workplace and not to be idle waiting on a call. In the workplace they will train for their service to foreign lands. Where in America can you get cross-cultural exposure like that in the marketplace? Try factory vending machine food, roasted grubs may not be that bad. I'm not against training schools; they are very much needed. But they need to incorporate the workplace as part of their training. A person needs just as much faith to support them in a job as the one that depends on others for support. Many people are missing a perfect training ground in the marketplace. With this, I end by saying, "The Owner of the vineyard is asking, 'Why do you stand idle, there is plenty of work for all. There is no unemployment in the Kingdom of God.'"
Original posted 12/03/2004

One Christian’s Opinion on Same Sex Marriage

I was watching a TV drama the other day and on this episode the President character was addressing a conservative Talk-Show host. He addressed her stand on Homosexuals and when she attempted to quote Lev. 18:22 and 20:13 the president began quoting other verses in the Old Testament laws such as on a Father killing a disobedient son (Deu. 21:18-21) and others. Then he asked her how he should go about enforcing these laws. This discourse (which made the conservative look stupid) got me to thinking.
Either we must take the whole or none of the Bible as Scripture and inspired of God. But no Christian that is a true follower of Christ would condone taking a homosexual outback and stone them or even lynch. A Muslim would but not a Christian. Then I was reminded of my study of the book of Hebrews (in the New Testament). The start of the book speaks of the things that the early prophets spoke were good, but now the words of Jesus were better. We are taught that the O.T. contains the shadows of the N.T. What does this mean, you may say? The things in the O.T. are there to show the work of Christ in the N.T... The laws in the O.T. were designed to keep the Hebrews in a clean environment away from idol worshipers and their unclean practices in their cultures. For in this group of people God the Father was bringing the Son into the world for all. God worked to keep the line going until the time to reveal His Son, Jesus.
The fulfillment of Christ put aside the Old Testament laws for something greater and lasting. God no longer demands that man kill man for breaking laws.
Now, do we accept the homosexual lifestyle as OK? No, the New Testament shows how God still rejects the sin of homosexuality but does not demand death. Instead He turns the person over to the natural results of sin. Mister or Missus Christian, homosexuals are not the only ones who get turned over to this if they will not repent of the sin that brought a loving Savior to the Cross.
So how are we as Christians supposed to view the current issue of Same-Sex-Marriage? First we must understand that marriage as ordained by God as to be between a man and a woman. God has instituted this sacrament as a picture of the relationship between Jesus, the groom, and the Church, as the Bride. To pervert this institution of marriage is to pervert God’s plan for human kind. We should be able to see how the enemy of God, Satan, has been working to pervert the definition of family for his purpose of hiding truth from God’s people. The family unite, including adoption and foster care, is a Holy Picture of God’s harmony, care and love for His people. If followed, no one would be lonely, no one would be deserted, and no one would be betrayed.
What are we to do with the issue of homosexuals and SSM? I believe that rights should not be extended to someone just because of a sexual identity. We as a Church should love the homosexual, but reject the lifestyle of such. I cannot get over the feeling that all this is about making homosexuality respectable and gaining benefits for partners in jobs. If this was really about people being in love, why do they need a piece of paper to live in their love? Haven’t heterosexuals been saying this for decades? Why do the homosexuals want to make it Holy? Just like heterosexuals today, after living in a sexual relationship without marriage, getting married will not make it Holy.

I could go on with more issues about homosexuality, but will not. We as a Church must find a way to love the sinner, but hate the sin. (Ouch, sorry for the tired cliche). We must learn to love as Christ without the acceptance of any sin. We must understand, God is not a murder, even in the Old Testament, SIN is the killer and Christ came to destroy the effects of our sinful nature.


 I did not reference many scriptures because of length and that I would encourage you to explore for yourselves these issues.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Secrets Of The KoranSecrets Of The Koran by Don Richardson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found the book very informative. A lot I did not know. And backed up with plenty of references.


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Friday, March 06, 2015

Do You Have A Broken Tail?

Driving through Dothan, I got behind a little blue Toyota pickup with one of those Jesus fish on the rear window. The fish had part of its tail broken off and I had to chuckle. I wondered what happen. Did one of those Darwin fish bite part of the tail off or did the constant pressure of swimming upstream brake it off? Then my little chuckle turned to deep thought. Do you feel that the battle to live a pleasing life to the Lord Jesus has left you a little broken? It has become harder to swim in any waters, missing a part of your tail.
The Bible shows us from front to back that we as Christians should not depend on our own strength and abilities but totally trust in the Lord to use and work through us. That is where His glory comes from.  When we become broken and humbled we cry out for the Lord to heal us, when in fact, it is our brokenness that He rejoices in because He knows the end result. Our good!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Bless Those Who Use You

(This is a re-post from 12/29/2004)

Read Matthew 5:43-48

“Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, And He turn away His wrath from him.”
Proverbs 24:17-18

I have worked with many people and have been mistreated many times by those over me. It seems that it is real easy to hope that the person gets demoted, fired or the business goes bad because I am not there. Or even go out of business. But the Lord tells us to “pray for our enemies and bless those that abuse you.” (Paraphrase Matt. 5:44) I wonder how many companies that have treated their employees bad and still do well because the people of God secretly prayed to see them “ get theirs” and fall. Therefore, God turned His wrath from them.
Next time you see a person fall that had treated you wrong, let the Lord guide you in ways to bless him. Who knows maybe the Lord will defeat an enemy by making him a friend.

Prayer: Father, Forgive those who treat us wrong and bring them to repentance for your sake.
AMEN

Thought for the Day
“The noblest vengeance is forgiveness” (The Officer - 1919, Notable Quotables, Salvation Army Publishing)
Wayne Brooks (Dothan, Alabama)

Prayer Focus: FOR THOSE THAT HAVE DONE YOU WRONG

Friday, February 20, 2015

That Faith Thing

Quite a few years ago, I attended a lecture by the Publisher and Editor-n-Chief of “Skeptic” magazine, Michael Shermer. He is also the author of the book, “The Believing Brain”. It was held at the College my daughter was attending at the time, Troy State University in Dothan, Alabama. I decided to go because I had read Skeptic magazine and I wanted to hear what evidence he was going to present.
Well, without speaking negatively of Mr. Shermer, I soon knew that no evidence was going to be presented. I only heard jokes, put-downs and ideas that where not backed up with science. I looked at the program and saw that he had two degrees in Philosophy and one degree in something called “Science Methods” (I could stand corrected on this; I have long lost the program by putting it in a book in my library). So he was not a scientist; he studied philosophy. This made the remarks even more insulting. I took notes in my mind for the Q&A at the end of the lecture, but behold I froze up and was intimidated by the man’s cleverness, and I did not want to look foolish. Then after the Q&A, he said it—I could not believe he did. He said, “I believe science has all the answers and if it doesn't it will eventually.” I was floored; this man was talking about his faith. I tucked this memory away in the back of my mind. I filed it under Amazing Faith.
But what is faith? We have all heard the definitions. I believe I knew where Mr. Shermer was coming from, he believes he has seen enough questions answered by science to have confidence that science will continue to do so. And if science fails, there will be a logical answer. What I cannot understand is why these people do not allow us to have the same faith in what we see as our creator answering all of our questions, and if He doesn't, we’ll wait patiently until He does. I have not read of any scientific result that has proven beyond doubt the theory of evolution. the results only show me a wonder working God. But back to faith, does Mr. Shermer have faith because he has seen answers in his view, as being answered? Doesn't that remove ‘believing’ from the equation?
Philosophically speaking, the same can be said to us Christians, if we have seen Christ work and believe because of those workings, does it cease to be faith. Are we missing the deepest kind of faith, choosing to believe God when we don’t see the evidence that He is able or willing? That is the faith I believe the Lord is looking for in us all. What joy does He have in Angels that see His face daily: They are knowers, not believers? Hebrews 11:6 (King James 2000 Bible) states: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Faith is a requirement for pleasing God. Nothing else will do except putting your trust in His finished work at the Cross, no matter what any other “evidence may show”.
This may sound closed-minded and narrow, but I quote again Mr. Shermer, “I believe science (in my case God/Jesus) has all the answers and if it doesn't it (He) will eventually.” In order to turn me from the God who has so loved me (John 3:16), you must show me non-life coming to life, on its on, naturally (without the help in a lab). And in accordance with scientific method, do it twice. Show me undeniable evidence of one species becoming another, alliterating their DNA on its own naturally. Until then, I put my full trust in a loving God who seeks those who will believe and will come back in His own time.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

He Waits Patiently

I rose this morning, tired from a late night, rushing to get ready for work.
He waited patiently.
I ate my breakfast quickly with a muttered prayer of blessing.
He waited patiently.
I got in my truck and prepared for the trip with music, podcast and like.
He waited patiently.
I clocked in and worked till break to hang out with the rest.
He waited patiently.
I worked till lunch the best I could with thoughts of leisure on my mind.
He waited patiently.
Lunch time came and I spent it eating earphones on my head.
He waited patiently.
From lunch till break again, I did my labors in a mind tiring flow.
He waited patiently.
Break came again and I rallied with my coworkers until the last stretch of production was done.
He waited patiently.
Quitting time came and I got in my truck with music or podcast blaring.
He waited patiently.
I finally got home, showered and ate my supper to settle down for the day.
He waited patiently.
I settled in front of the TV with my family so dear to quit thinking for a while.
He waited patiently.
Time slipped into night and the time to retire was late.
He waited patiently.
I did not sleep well for the thoughts in my head, cursing all day and images of worldly programs.
He waited patiently.
 I rose this morning tired from a late night, rushing to get ready for work.
He waited patiently.
I ate my breakfast quickly with a muttered prayer of blessing.
He waited patiently.
I got in my truck and prepared for the trip with music, podcast and like.
He waited patiently.
I was called into the office, before clocking in, and told I was needed no more.
He waited patiently as I got in my truck and screamed “WHY”.
Now I rise in the morning to look for work, and patiently wait on Him.


Sunday, February 08, 2015

Come off the Reservation

In the book, “Stronger than Steel: The Story of Wayne Alderson”, R.C. Sproul tells how Wayne Alderson was invited to a retreat by men in his church. Wayne decided to go after a rough time dealing with labor strike issues at the plant, of which he was just made operations manager.  He thought he would be able to relax but he heard a message that R.C. says stung his conscience. “The theme was a challenge to churchmen to put their faith and values to the test in the real world. They were told to come out from under the shelter of their steeples and into the marketplace.
The speaker likened the Church in an age of secularism to an Indian (Native American) reservation. Intrusions of God were not welcome in the public sector. Believers could be ‘safe’ only if they stayed on the ‘reservation.’ He challenged the idea that separation of Church and State meant the same thing as separation of State and God. He maintained that God’s authority applied to all of His creation, and His values were to be applied to all of life. Civil institutions should not become churches, but they were still fully accountable to God.
Wayne heard God saying to him, Come off the reservation…confess me before men.”
This may be old stuff to some, but it seems in most jobs I have had, there is not much of a witness to God’s power being done. The most that can be hoped for is people sitting around the break table cursing and telling dirty jokes one minute and mentioning going to church the next.
How dare I judge these people but it seems that they still believe that their ‘faith’ has no business in their worklife.  I was blessed to belong to a Church for many years that drove us little Indians off the reservation, which was good for me because I was never a very good little Indian. So if you are feeling a little uneasy now about your faith at work, try clocking in with your ‘faith’ in tow and use it. Come off the reservation.
I’m not implying that you need to leave the Church, just take your faith with you “as you go”, the Church or Reservation will be there when you get back.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Book Review: Stronger Than Steel by R.C. Sproul

Stronger Than Steel: The Wayne Alderson storyStronger Than Steel: The Wayne Alderson story by R.C. Sproul
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great book for in the workplace. I've had this book for a long time but have never gotten around to reading it until now. Sorry I waited so long. Not only is it good for management and labor relations but it helped in seeing how Wayne Alderson dealt with being fired for doing good. Also it is nice to have an autographed copy in my library. Thanks Fred and Gloria, whoever you are, for donating it to a charity.


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