Thursday, September 26, 2013


Your work makes money... and that's a God thing

Work is your witness.  We live Jesus lives in the world with the intention of causing people to ask the reason for our hope.

Work is your ministry.  Many Christians work in fields that directly help and serve people in this world.  That is a very Jesus thing to do.

Work also provides income.  That is how most of us generate our income.  God approves of that.  I would even say your income is a God thing.  Here is why.

Income allows you to provide for the needs of your family.  Food, clothes, and shelter are provided by the money you generate.

Income lets you give to your community of faith.  Ministries, missionaries, kingdom programs are all supported by the local church.  Income lets you be part of this.

You can give to other kingdom works.  Support non-profits that are doing kingdom work in the name of Jesus.

Send your friends and family -- or yourself -- on mission trips.

Making money lets you take people to lunch.  It may a kingdom warrior who needs encouragement.  Or needs a meal.  It may be someone in your community of faith who needs encouragement or accountability.  It may be someone who needs to hear a Jesus story.  Or someone hungry who needs a meal in the name of Jesus.

But work produced income is not so we can all buy bigger and better things for us.  That is not God work.

But kingdom business is.  I love Lydia, the businesswoman who supported Paul's mission team.  I love Paul who sometimes worked to support himself, and maybe other preachers.  I love Barnabus who used his resources to feed those in his community of faith.  Ananias and Sapphira too.  Well, until they tried to make it all about them and not God.

So thank God for your employment.  Celebrate your raises.  Give generously.  Use the money of this world to make a difference in the world to come.

Make lots of money.  Give most of it to kingdom work.  Thank God.  Repeat.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Your work is also your ministry, not just your witness

Your work is your witness in this world, but many Christians work at jobs that are also actual ministries in this world.  Some of these will seem obvious, but others we don't recognize as quickly.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather reminders of how our work may be ministry.

Those who work in the medical field are following in the steps of the great healer Jesus.  I believe doctors, nurses, and PA's are ministers.  But I also think lab techs are too.  So are the admin people, the cooks at the hospital, and the cleaning crew.  Healing the sick is ministry.

Christians who work in social work.  Providing for physical, emotional, and mental needs is ministry.  To help those in need is to do what Jesus did.

Educators.  To train minds to think.  To equip others to have a means to make a living.  This is ministry.  And just like the medical field, it includes ALL of those who work to educate others:  secretaries, janitors, support personnel.

Blue collar workers.  Yes, I think plumbers, electricians, handymen, carpenters, and mechanics are ministers. You are providing services that people need to be able to live in our world.

Ministers and those who work in Christian non-profits.

There are many other fields I could list but these are just some of the ones I thought of that speak directly into lives by doing real ministry.  And I think when you do these things in the way that Jesus would you are combining ministry with living witness.  That is powerful.

So thank you to all of my fellow believers who go to work and minister in the lives of people.

You make a kingdom difference.

Do your job to the glory of God.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Your work is your witness

My fellowship (churches of Christ) used to loudly proclaim the concept of "every member ministry".  That is, we believed that every member was a minister of Jesus Christ in this world.

I wonder if we have lost that.  I know that in our larger congregations, it is rare for anyone other than professional ministers to lead worship.  I am disturbed by that trend, but even more I am bothered that we talk of our salaried members as having a ministry calling.  That, of course, implies that those that work in the world do not have that same calling.


Work, employment, labor... that is true ministry in the world.

That is where true Christian witness happens.

People witness our Christian integrity at work.  We work as if we are employed by God.  We are honest, we do not cut corners, and we are ethical.  Bosses should be thrilled to hire a Christian, knowing that he will get an "above and beyond" worker.

We live out our Christian world view in the midst of non-believers.  We do not laugh at the same jokes as others do, we do not flirt -- or worse -- with others in our work place.  We are scrupulous with our expense accounts.

We testify to God's grace.  When we do not live up to our Christian commitment, we apologize, we explain that is not who we want to be, and we change behavior.

I have worked for several churches.  I now work for a Christian non-profit doing evangelistic work.  But I have also worked at what we would call secular jobs.  I love working in a Christian environment.  But I miss the challenge of every day engagement with those who do not know Jesus.  I so appreciate those who witness in the marketplace.

Truth be told... it may be that the true sacred vocation is not in full-time, financially supported ministry.  True sacred vocation may be in full time ministry supported by the place you work.

Church supported ministers end up doing most of their witness in front of fellow believers.  That does not change the world.  But those of you who live your faith in the midst of a broken, fallen world... well, you are changing it.

You are the true full-time ministers.  I would even argue that you are our truest missionaries.

May God bless your ministry.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


I had a milestone birthday...

This time it was my birthday.  I turned 62 yesterday.  This will not be a post on why I love me and am proud of me, but I do want to share a few reflections.

Evidently 62 is a big deal.  Several people told me I could take early retirement -- though at least it wasn't my boss :).  And that led to a few questions about retirement.

So here it is.  I don't think about retirement.  Retirement for me will just be about financial arrangements, not function.  I think I will pretty much do what I do now as long as I am able.

So here it is.

Talk about Jesus.  It is what I was put here to do.  That's the function of all us believers.  It may be that someday I won't be asked to preach as much as I am now, or I may find myself teaching a really small Bible class.  Maybe I won't preach every Wednesday night.  But I will talk about Jesus until the day I can't.

Hang out with family.  I love my wife, my kids, and my grands.  Every year gets better.  I like being with them, I enjoy their friends, and I like them.  Not just love them, but like them.

Love people. Value old friends.  Make new friends.  Help people.

If the Lord wills, I expect I'll be doing the same thing till I'm 70.  Maybe he'll bless me with the chance to be active till 80.

But for now, it was just another good day.  Hung out with Mimi Marsha.  Heard from the kids and the grands.  Ate well.  Preached. Heard from lots of friends. Loved God.

Was reminded how good God has been.  If I had died yesterday, it would have been a good day.  Because I know the future... not the next 20 or 30 years, but the real future.

So I'll just keep on keeping on like I have been.

Thanks God for the blessing of 62 years.  Thanks for letting me still be healthy and active.  I'll keep telling people about you.  Till the time comes when we won't even count birthdays.  Then we'll hang out till everyone else gets home.  And then forever together.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013


Why Matt and Tish Harris are two of my spiritual heroes...

I have been thinking about heroes lately.  You know, the kind of people that I want my grandkids to know about... the kind of people I want them to be.  So I thought from time to time I would take time to share some heroes I know.

Matt and Tish Harris are two of my spiritual heroes.  

As a young married couple they were very involved in church.  They sang on the Praise team, were involved in a house church, and active in a number of other ministries.  But that is not why they are heroes.

Matt grew up in Australia and they felt a call from God to do kingdom work in that country.  But that is not what makes them heroes to me.

They formed a mission team, made plans, and started raising support.  And that is still not the reason they are my heroes.

Their team fell apart.  The other members decided for various reasons not to go to Australia.  Matt and Tish had a hard time raising support.  They raised travel money but not ongoing personal support.  Satan seemed to be putting up one obstacle after another to keep them from going where they were sure God had called them.

Well, that doesn't seem so heroic.

But this does.  They went anyway.  Found jobs.  Doing ministry.  Sharing Jesus.

And that is why they are heroes.

They heard the call of God and they followed.  It wasn't easy.  It wasn't the way they thought it would happen.  It wasn't the way they planned it.  

But they followed God.  

And I think that is heroic.  They won't be famous missionaries.  But I suspect when the roll call of great missionaries is called in heaven, they will be listed.

I am all for supported, planned, and strategic mission work.

I am more for radical followers of Jesus who go where God calls... no matter what.

So thanks Matt and Tish for being two of my heroes.  You inspire me -- and others -- to follow the call of God.

God... take care of them and their family.  Bless them and open doors for them to expand your kingdom in Australia.

And I'll keep sharing the story of two of my heroes.

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