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Monday, November 24, 2014

You And Your Job by Bruce Larson

Bringing Your Faith To Work

How DO YOU SEE YOUR JOB? Weather you are a homemaker, a student, or a factory worker, the attitude you have about your work reveals a great deal about your faith. The Bible indicates that every Christian ought to feel a sense of vocation in his work. If you are miserable or bored in your work, or dread going to it, then God is speaking to you. He either wants to change the job you are in or-more likely-He wants to change you.
Remember the story about the blind man whom Jesus healed? When our Lord touched his eyes. He asked the man what he saw. He reported that he saw "men as trees walking." When he had received a second touch from the Master, he saw men clearly. I suspect that many of us need a "second touch" by Christ to see our jobs in their right perspective.
A friend in Illinois had joined a small group of seekers meeting for prayer and Bible study and the sharing of their faith each week. Although he had come a long way in his Christian commitment, each week he complained about the customers in his store-how unfair they were, how demanding, and how they took advantage of him. But one day this man received a "second touch" by God and began to see the people who came into his store, whether to buy a package of nails or a washing machine, as people sent by God. He anticipated each sale as an adventure in personal relationships. At Christmas time, with all the rush of increased sales, this man said to the group one night in ama7;ement (the translator messed up the last word ), ''You know, what surprises me is how the people in this town have changed. Last Christmas they were rude, pushy, and demanding, but this year I haven't had a difficult customer in my store! Everyone is understanding and trying his best to co-operate." They all laughed. They knew the change had not been in the town but in the storekeeper. But in a more profound way, perhaps the change was also in the town. As we see people through the eyes of faith, they actually do change. They respond to us almost directly in proportion to the amount of love we have for them as people.
Let me suggest five questions each of us should periodically ask ourselves about our job.
(1) Why am I here in this job? Do you feel you are in your present job because of an accident? Because you happened to answer an ad, or your brother-in-law got tired of having you sit around and found you a job? Because of ambition? These attitudes certainly undercut
any sense of Christian vocation. We should feel we are in our work because God has called us to it, in just as real a way as He has called any bishop, clergyman, or priest.
Several months ago a man asked me to call on him in his large office in New York City. He said, "A year ago I turned my life over to Jesus Christ. It happened in my church." He then described the change that had begun to happen in his home-new communication between him and his wife; deeper understanding of his teen-age daughter. There were many other evidences of his new commitment.
Then he said, "I find now, a year later, that I am still behind the same desk doing the same job in the same way, and I suspect something is wrong. If Christ has come in as Lord of my life, things ought to be very different in what I do eight or ten hours a day." He was right, of course. Now he is exploring, along with some other men, the opportunities and strategy for Christian ministry in daily work.
We must dispense with the myth that commitment to Christ means becoming a clergyman or that work done inside a church building or in a church organization is more holy, somehow, than work done in the market place. Christ came to give us a sense of calling in everyday work. This is where the world is changed, and where the Kingdom is built. Jesus Himself was a working man, and He called twelve working men to be His initial disciples. He could
have been born into a priestly family, but He was not. We must understand the really radical thing God has done in Jesus Christ, in wanting to build a new world and a new Kingdom primarily through committed working men.
(2) For whom am I working? Are you working for God, or for men? You cannot really serve both. When we are addicted to people's praise and thanks and rewards, we are in a real way under the tyranny of men and are working for them.
Often I feel terribly sorry for the wives and mothers in the world who work such long hours and never seem to be finished with their chores. If they are working for the appreciation and thanks of their families, they seldom or never get it. But when we work for God, we are free to serve others no matter how unreasonable or thankless they may be. Our reward is God Himself saying to us, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Daily chores take on new meaning when we work for God rather than men. One woman has this inscription Over her kitchen sink: "Divine services held here three times daily." What a marvelous freedom in washing greasy pots and pans, not for those who eat from them, but for a Lord who puts a woman into a home to serve a family for Him. We need continually to ask ourselves whether we are willing to risk our lobs and our financial security in obedience to Jesus Christ. When we really work for God, and know that it is He to whom we are responsible, and from whom we get our reward, we are then free to be His people in any given situation.
(3) What am I working for? Wages? Prestige? Or am I working to do the will of God? This has much to
say about our motives. .
Christ's own life gives us a key. When He found people abusing others in the temple, He came in and violently upset the status quo. But when people wished to destroy Him, He let them drive nails into His hands. Perhaps this is the kind of freedom Christian men and women need in their jobs; not to protect their own interests, but to look to the interests of others; to protest }When innocent people are being hurt, but not to protest for self-preservation. This freedom comes only when we can answer the question, "What am I working for?" with "To do the will of God."
Where is your security? Is it in the person who pays your salary or do you see him only as an agent whom God at this time has chosen to supply your needs? You cannot really love your boss or paymaster until you see
him as God's agent. If you see him as your provider, then you cannot be honest with him, and fear and resentment are bound to color your relationship.
I have a wonderful Chinese friend, Moses Chow. His father was one of two sons in a family in pre-communist China. He had become a Christian and was told by his father that if he persisted in following this "new god," he would be disinherited.
There was wealth in the family, but Moses' father could choose only where he had found life, and life abundant. So, in his determination to follow Jesus Christ, he was disinherited and left China. Moses Chow told us that his father went on to make a new home in a new country in the Far hast, and has' been quite successful as a Christian businessman. He left the security of the world and trusted God, who was able to provide. Meanwhile, Moses' grandfather and others fell victim to communism and lost everything. We don't follow God because He makes us secure, but our security is in God-even in economic matters.
( 4) With whom am I working? God wants us always
to be aware of the people next to us. It's not enough
just to work honestly and industriously, for Christ calls us to be a priesthood of believers who willingly take responsibility for those who are our neighbors.
A railroad engineer came to his minister and asked to be put to work as a new Christian. The minister told the engineer that there was no position in the church open at the present time, but that there was a job, and it involved the question, '1s your fireman a Christian?"
This is the concept of the priesthood of believers, when
we see that our primary job is not to be an elder, deacon, or vestryman in the church, but to be a priest to the man next to us in our daily work. This is where we need to recapture the marvelous vision God has for the priesthood of the laity.
God calls the laity to do a job the clergy cannot do in many instances. In a parish I once served, a close friend who was a doctor became quite ill. Though I visited him almost daily, I saw no improvement and no benefit from my visits. One day I went to see this Christian doctor and found him greatly improved and free from fear. t asked him what had happened, and he told me of a visit he had had a few hours before from one of the senior surgeons in the area who had prayed with him and given him a prescription. The prescription was to read Joshua 1 :9. My friend had been visibly touched by God, and not through a clergyman but through a brother physician.
(5) What kind of place am I in? Jesus Christ, by His very call to accept Him as Lord and Saviour, has brought us inside a revolutionary movement, so that the place We are in assumes tremendous importance.
No job is too menial to be of importance to a communist/ Shouldn't this same thing be true for any Christian trying to bui1d a worldwide Kingdom? Even a chambermaid making beds in a hotel can influence guests who go out and make decisions of worldwide importance. Christians should ask God to show them the nature of the place they are in. How important is the particular store, shop, industry, or service which is theirs? What could God do through that particular organization to change His world?
Recently I was speaking with a Congregational minister in New England. He told me of meeting with a group of high school students who wanted to know how: to live their faith more effectively. He asked them to think hypothetically what they would do in their school
if they were communists. They brainstormed for a time and came up with a number of things they could do to sabotage the school: cut classes, sow discord, obstruct education in all kinds of ways, from telling lies to smoking in the basement.
Suddenly, one of the boys said, "Wait a minute, isn't this just what we are doing now?" It was a wonderful eye-opener for these young people to begin to see their high school as a place where Christ could begin to change the world through them. Later on they began to discuss just what it meant to be Christ's people, building a Kingdom in their own school.
There is a revolution going on in the world. Jesus Christ Himself is the leader, and when we accept Him as our Lord, He calls us into it with Him. He needs us. He wants us to see our jobs with the eyes of faith and understanding as something far more than a means of earning a livelihood. Our jobs are places where, as revolutionaries, we help to accomplish His revolution in the hearts and lives of men everywhere.

From the book:
DARE To Live Now!
c.1965-1971
Zondervan Publishing House
65-28347

Monday, September 01, 2014

Quote by Leslie Weatherhead for Our Nation Today

            “Who said that Jesus Christ was irrelevant in this hour of crisis? Who can really imagine that He was a pale, idyllic dreamer who said poetic things about lilies and birds, and need not be taken seriously?
            I must state my own conviction that, for lack of taking him seriously, we may be at this moment watching the whole setup of Western civilization break up and perish. Men will not heed the preacher who says these things. They shrug their shoulders and laugh uneasily, as the men of Babylon laughed, and of Egypt and Greece and Rome and Mexico, and the rest of the fourteen ancient civilizations whose ruins are still being dug out of the desert sands. But, if I may put it thus, God’s workshop floor is littered with the broken instruments that snapped in His hands and which He discarded because He could no longer use them. This is a solemn moment. We may be watching the whole of Western civilization, both Europe and in America, snap in God’s hands at the time when He wanted it most; but proud, boastful men, drunk with power, senseless with material success, blinded by the achievements of science, intoxicated by victory, and forgetful of the blood of the brave, forget God does not exist for nations, but that nations exist for God, that life is not given us to play with. We are not even here to be happy. life exists for God, and when any expression of it can no longer contribute toward His ends, it passes into the dust of the useless.
            What can we do? In this hour when so many churches in their present way of life are too dead to be Christ’s instrument, get into a group, or form one in your own home or church where you can meet, and thrash out these questions in the light of the Christian religion and the will of God.”

Leslie D. Weatherhead in “The Resurrection and the Life”, Abingdon-Cokesbury Pres., 1948, Pg 59


Monday, August 04, 2014

Saved to Change



Driving to work this morning, I got behind a pickup truck with a back-window decal of the suffering Christ. It was applied right behind the driver’s head so that it looked like Jesus was driving and looking backwards. I don’t know if the guy meant to make it look like that.
This scene reminded me of cartoons that pictured a guy hiding behind a big cut-out of Jesus while God looked down on him. Meaning: That if we have received Christ and His sacrifice, then God will see Jesus and His work instead of us.
If you think about it you could really use this as an excuse to get away with things that do not please God. I wonder if the gentleman in the truck thinks about how his driving reflects on Christ. Not judging him, but I have a very large decal on my truck that points to me as a Christian and I stay aware of how people view my driving and reflect it back to me being a Christian. The same goes for bumper stickers and fish emblems. They identify us with Christ.
So the big question is: Do we reflect Christ with our lives? Do people see Jesus in our attitudes? Do people see Jesus in the way we work? If we are not concerned with this, let’s get a razor blade and scrape off those decals and bumper-stickers. Let’s pry off that fish and throw it away. We are saved to change.  To change us into the likeness of Christ and to change our culture to glorify God.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Remembering Good and Bad Fathers on this Father's Day

On this Father's day there will many sermons and thoughts in our Churches and Radio programs on the virtues on fatherhood and praise for worthy fathers. But for years I've wondered about those who sit and listen and were not blessed with such a father as mine. So here is a little quote for those.

"Love and honour given to a good Father is your gift to him, love and honour to a bad father is your gift to God." Wayne Brooks

Also I would like to remember my late father Franklin Brooks. A good father and a good man.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day Thought


On Mother's day this month there will be many sermons and thoughts in our Churches and on radio programs on the virtues of motherhood and praise for worthy Mothers. But for years I've wondered about those who sit and listen and were not blessed with such a Mother. Although I had a good mother, I know some in that did not and I would like to give you this quote for advice. 
"Love and honour given to a good Mother is your gift to her, love and honour to a bad Mother is your gift to God."  Wayne Brooks

(please, if you think I am referring to you as the bad Mother, speak with the Lord and not me about it

Matthew 15:4-7

Monday, April 28, 2014

Brake a Habit to Please God

I rescued a book from the library discard pile awhile back. William Law's book titled "A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life". I started reading it and found him a little legalist or as it seemed to me. But I found a great lesson on page  21. On addressing a common problem of the day (1700s) , which was men swearing, he stated that, "Men have not so much as the intention to please God in all their actions." So the reason we so freely sin is because we lack the desire to truly please God. In a broad sense we could overcome our sins and everything that damages our relationship with God buy setting our mind and will to truly please God. This starts with a spirit of thankfulness. When we mediate on what He did for us, it seems that it would be easy to want to please Him. When we are thankful to wives, husbands, fathers and mothers, we want to please them. Even when a child is good and obeys his or her parents, the parents may want to please the child. In close, know the Lord, then you will love Him and want to please Him.

Monday, March 17, 2014

For the Love of God

Marketplace Christian

“ Let all that you do be done with love”
1 Corinthians 16:14

Upon reading this verse the first thought that came to my mind was, ‘Love what or whom”. Are we being told to work with love in our hearts for our bosses and co-workers? We are commanded to work with this attitude, but I believe He has a deeper meaning than “Love thy neighbor as thyself”. This is the main teaching of a lot of successful business speakers like Dale Carnegie, J.C. Penny and Mary Kaye. Not to mention the core belief in most major religions. But I believe Paul is telling us to do everything just because we love the Lord. If you could renew your mind to this way of thinking a lot would change in your workplace. If you did your work just for the love of Christ and not just for a paycheck, your workplace would be a peaceful place for you to work. There could be strife and confusion all around you but you would be in peace. Your job performance would not depend on your supervisor “empowering “ you. You could operate with the empowering of the Spirit of God and His joy would be your strength.

So how do we get this mind frame and love? In the book, “The Practice of the Presence of God”, the writer of the second conversation with Brother Lawrence had this to say. “That he (Brother Lawrence) always been governed by love, without selfish views; and that having resolved to make the love of God the end of all his actions, he had found reasons to be well satisfied with his method (of staying in God’s presence). That he was pleased when he could take up a straw from the ground for the love of God, seeking Him only, and nothing else, nor even His gifts”. In this account of Brother Lawrence’s life we find an example of how this is possible and how it can be obtained.

First, there is no way to practice this kind of love in our lives without spending quality time in God’s word and intimate time in prayer. Having settled this. We can start by looking for duties in our workplaces to give thanks to the Lord and set our minds on Him. And setting our will to only perform our labors just for the Love of God.

Years ago as a kid I was walking through the lobby of the local Boys Club and I bent down to pick up a piece of trash to throw away. Unknown to me the director of the club saw me and bragged loudly that I had done a good thing. Well this made my day. Being used to put downs instead of encouragement I then started doing things to get the attention of those in authority. Years later at the restaurant where I worked during High School I found myself carrying two bus-pans at a time. Hoping the manager would take notice. Twenty years later the urge comes to look around to see who’s watching before I pick up the trash off the factory floor. Now when I see a shop rag on the floor and I have to make a decision to pick it up or pass on by like everyone else. I just look straight down and tell the Lord that “I’m picking this up for you and because I love you. Doing it for anyone else would be a waste of my time.

Another example is cleaning the employee restroom when I enter, because that is what I feel Jesus would do just for the love of God the Father. Now I try to leave a public restroom cleaner when I leave than it was when I went in. (My wife is reading this now and wondering when am I going to start “Practicing the Presence” at home)

Doing our work just for the love of Christ takes a lot of practice. We have to stay focused on Him and stay in communion with Him. Now you may ask, “ How can this be done at work with all the distractions and will it not interfere with work and production?” Work issues will always come up and you need to take care of them. That is what we’re talking about. Letting the Lord guide us in doing our jobs right. Anyone who truly keeps the Lord in focus and lets him guide will be the greatest asset to his or her company.

You can choose to focus on Christ when your not dealing with work issues or you can waste your time with unfruitful conversations with your co-workers and keeping your mind on things that do not matter. Which only disturbs the peace of your workplace.

When you have to attend to work issues, do them promptly, completely and quickly. Then bring your mind back to Christ. Like Brother Lawrence, we must see that it isn’t a sin to have our minds took off of God for business reasons but it is sin not to return to Him and put our minds to worldly things.

I find it useful to view symbols in our lives as ways to remember to turn my focus back. Like the shamrock of Ireland and the fleur-de-lis (Iris, pictured at the top) of France, they are symbols of the Holy Trinity with their three-leaf design. At the factory were I work every time I see the Iris design on a “Hampton Inn” sign, I am reminded of the Lord we serve.

A good study of Bible numerology will give you an abundant supply of symbols to use. Items in groups of two could remind you of “salvation” telling the story of the animals entering the Ark two-by-two and Jesus sending out the disciples to preach the gospel two-by-two. As the number three can be for the Holy Trinity. The list could go on and on.

Also I have found that if you work with computers it helps to make up passwords that will remind you to focus.

For Example:

· AVODAH, which means to worship and/or work. I see it as worship by working unto the Lord.

· INRI, An abbreviation for the Latin words “Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum, which means, Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.

· XPICTOC, Old Greek uncials for “Christ”

· IXOYC, The Greek Word for “Fish” in English characters. Which make up the acrostic by seeing each letter as: I (Jesus) X (Christ) O (God) Y (Son) C or E (Savior)

And So On. 1

I meet a lot of Christians in the workplace that sing to their selves in a low voice to keep their minds on Christ. Try this one, Sing the song “This Is The Day” and on the second verse change the words to “This Is My job”. Sing this and see what it does.

We all have our own ways to keep our focus on the Lord at work. If you love your spouse, children and family you should not have to come up with things to remember them by. But somehow we need helps and discipline to achieve this with God. When it is all said and done. If we love the Lord we will make time to think of Him and gauge our work according to the love we have for Him. But doing things for the love of God can be more than just a nice thing to do, but a lifestyle that few dare to dream of.

We must see that the only reason for being in the workplace (or anywhere) is to be a witness of God’s goodness. Entering into work as worship (avodah) by doing it for the love of God is the only way to show up for work.

I end with this challenge. Try doing things for the love of Christ and if you do not become the best worker in your company. I will return your consulting fees.


1 “Symbols – Sign Post of Devotions by Ratha McGee, Published by The Upper Room c.1962

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Christ in My Career: Part Three (Influence)



This is a portion of a book titled, "Christ in My Career" by Allen W. Graves. I will post edited by me to update usage. "Influence Belongs to God"  Christians can use their influence to draw others to Christ or they can use it to drive them away. One’s example may lead others to seek the Savior who can transform life. Or it may cause an unbeliever to lose all confidence in Christians.
Some people who never read the Bible, attend Church, or hear a sermon can be greatly influenced by the life and testimony of a Christian. The life of a faithful Christian witness is an open book whose contents are obvious to all with whom he associates. Such a life is an unanswerable argument as to the reality of saving and transforming power of Christ.
Every Christian wields an influence of some kind, either good or bad. He either represents or misrepresents Jesus by the way he lives, works, talks, and worships. The right use of influence is a responsibility of every young and old Christian should welcome.
Paul advised, “For none of us liveth to himself… It is good neither to eat flesh (meat offered to idols), not to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak” Romans 14:14, 21

Our Spiritual Heritage And Obligations By J. C. Penny

Our Spiritual Heritage And Obligations by J. C. Penny

I HAVE found silence to be a powerful element in prayer. To learn to be alone with God even in the
presence of others is something we Christian laymen should try to do. There are innumerable times during the day when we can turn our thoughts, even for a moment, from business affairs and center them on God's goodness, Christ's love, our fellow man's needs.
I have not omitted by design reference to our obligation as laymen to the church. Rich is our
spiritual heritage, and we all owe more to the church than we can ever repay for preserving Christ's
teachings, holding together believers, providing a place for religious instruction for ourselves and our
children, and giving spiritual leadership in our home communities, our nation and the world. The layman should give himself, his talents, his experience and support to the church. The church in turn should offer an even greater opportunity for spiritual growth to the layman. It should help him see the necessity of bridging the gap between the practical and the spiritual, and then counsel him as he proceeds to take the steps day by day which will result in spiritualizing all of his daily contacts.

From Lines of a Layman pg 27