PEOPLE & THEIR JOBS – T3 BIBLE STUDY APRIL 20, 2017

PEOPLE & THEIR JOBS – T3 BIBLE STUDY APRIL 20, 2017

Let’s go around the room and introduce ourselves.

What is something you noticed about most people’s introduction?

(You are introduced to a new individual. How do you describe yourself? Do you talk about your job and what you do? Do you talk about your family and helping others? Do you talk about your Faith? … Our jobs are a big part of our lives, but is it the most important thing?)

  • For both men and women, their “work” or the “job they do” constitutes a large part of their awake hours and can be an important part of who they are. Many times work may define how a person sees themselves, including how they value themselves and their life.  A job or career can become too large a factor in how someone “defines themselves”, including how they assess their value as a person. By itself a job is not bad or negative. In fact, a “job” is mentioned by Jesus in the Bible as something normal for people to do. A job only becomes a negative when we equate it too much power. Our jobs can cause us to lose track of “why we are on the earth” and discovering God’s true purpose for us.

Prayer Focus: Lord, my prayer is that you will enlighten us regarding our tendency to identify much of our self-worth with our jobs. Help us to re-prioritize our lives and follow your teachings on this topic for Christian men and women.

  • Genesis 3:17-19: To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.  It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.  By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food
    until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

God “knows about people”, the good and bad part of our “natural nature”. He knows if our priorities aren’t “God centered”, we will wander without discovering our true purpose. It is clear God did not intend for “our jobs” to define us as Christians. He has a much greater and grand purpose for us. When we keep God first in our heart, our true purpose will reveal itself.

  • Exodus 36:2 says “Moses called Bezalel, Oholiab, and all the other skilled men to whom the Lord had given ability and who were willing to help, and Moses told them to start working”
    • What does this tell you about using your God given abilities and skills?
    • What do you believe are your God given abilities and how can you best apply them at work, with your family, and in helping others?
  • Deuteronomy 5:12 (Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy,as the Lord your God has commanded you.)  Leviticus 23:3 (There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of Sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the Lord.)
    • These two Scriptures deal with work and the Sabbath. After reading these two Scriptures do they describe your current lifestyle and how you lead your family?
    • If not, what changes are you going to make in the next few weeks to honor God and lead your family as a Christian?
  • Ephesians 1: 9-12: He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.  In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
    • Think specifically about what the following words in 1:11 mean to you, “All things are done according to God’s plan and decision”.
    • Do you believe this? (You can’t have free will and then complain when you go against God’s plan and it doesn’t work for you)
    • Do you know God’s purpose for you? (You can learn what God wants and do it, or you can do something and learn the hard way what God’s plan was for you)
    • If not, please pray that He will help you discover His purpose for your life.
  • Colossians 1:27: To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
    • What is His glorious secret?
    • How does this secret relate to sharing in the Glory of God?
    • How do you know if you are fulfilling God’s Purpose for you?

Challenge:

  • When someone asks us in the next week what we do, with God’s help we will concentrate on describing ourselves more in terms of our Faith, our spouses, our family & friends, our concern for others and “then” our jobs. We will pray daily for wisdom in discovering our true purpose as men on earth.
  • Assuming you are over-indulged in work and your career. How are you going to change? How will you get your priorities straight beginning with God?

If our faith was our job:

  • Code of conduct: 10 commandments
  • Emails: Prayer
  • Clients: strangers, those in need, etc.

Prayer Point: Lord, please help each of us to reevaluate our lives. Give us the strength and wisdom to re-prioritize our lives by putting you first. When praying we will be open to hearing your soft words of wisdom to discover our true purpose on earth.

Additional Resource:

Resurrection Sunday – Guest Blogger: Martin Dorgan

Resurrection Sunday – Guest Blogger: Martin Dorgan

Resurrection Sunday.

To some it sounds so religious, so historical, so staged. It requires a crisp new suit and a knee-length dress. We frame it in formality, and determine its success by how far we can contrast its stilted recitations and repetitions of worship from our everyday living. Easter sounds joyous, celebrative, fun. It mandates candy, play, and a mindset of being carefree for the purpose of demonstrating the innocence of children at play. We want to live there everyday.

And as we complete the activities of yet another Spring holiday in which we verbally attempt to interchange the terms (which in reality reflect more our appreciation of fun and less our understanding of holiness), I sit in my office and wonder…

There is a major historical significance behind the name ‘Easter’, as well as behind the concept of ‘Resurrection Sunday’. We have made an attempt to redefine both, for the purpose of rendering them to be synonymous, and in doing so have marginalized the significance of each. It is like trying to mix oil and water, no matter how hard you stir, the two will never bond. Still some will protest against the need to be more selective by simply suggesting that it is all in fun, all in good nature, and all for the sake of making the holiday more appealing and more inclusive.

If we totally ignore the historical significance of Easter as it pertains to its origins, I still have to ask why we would want to use any form of celebration that detracts from what Jesus did? And if I wanted to be less tolerant, I could ask why we would use historically identified symbols of pagan worship to celebrate the resurrection, knowing that the cause of the death was first due to our misplaced worship?

We live in a culture that necessitates preemptive apologizing for spoken words that have the potential of causing offense. I do not intend to offend, or put anyone on the defense. I simply discuss ideas, and values. And on occasion, I will talk about the One who died for me. And I do not apologize for taking a position that preserves the highest and most selective honor for Him.

Happy Resurrection Sunday.

Martin Dorgan

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? (Good Friday – Guest Blogger Lisa Leland)

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? (Good Friday – Guest Blogger Lisa Leland)

Today is Good Friday. I suppose it’s “Good” because of the good that came of the crucifixion of Christ on the cross. He paid the penalty for ALL my sin as well as the sins of the whole world population, past, present, future. Our pastor reminded me last Sunday that my sin was PAID IN FULL, which was particularly emotional for me since my sin is so great. I imagined a HUGE (as my daughter used to say, “hooooooj”) PIF stamp applied to my life’s “bill” in red ink. Yes, it’s a Good day.

This morning, as I was driving to work listening to American Family Radio Talk, I was surprised but very much moved to hear a portion of the song “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”. I started thinking, “Why would someone in the 21st century ask, ‘were you there when they crucified my Lord’? None of us were there when they crucified my Lord!” (Actually, after some research I discovered that this song was probably derived from an old slave spiritual which would have made it a 19th century song…) As the words played over in my head, “Were you there when they nailed Him to the cross?…Were you there when they pierced Him in the side?…Were you there when the sun refused to shine?…”I started to realize, “Yes, I WAS there! My sin was there! He was thinking of ME, and YOU! As the group Sidewalk Prophets proclaim in their song, “You Loved Me Anyway”, I was the thorn in your brow, I was the nail in your wrist…. And then I asked God, “how many of those lashes with the cat of nine tales did Jesus take for me?” I was there! I was there…………….. and You loved me anyway.

A few years ago, during the height of my deepest struggles, I had a dream. I was in the crowd when Jesus was coming down the road carrying the cross. He fell right in front of me and the heavy wooden cross landed on His bloody, beaten back. He looked up at me and with every ounce of energy left in his body as though in defiance (though I know it was in complete, unmerited, unconditional, sacrificial love) He pushed Himself up under the weight of that tree and continued His labored walk toward Golgotha. Then all at once, I was at the foot of the cross on my knees, crying. I looked up at my Savior and with tears streaming down my face, I said, “I’m sorry”. Jesus looked down at me with the most tender and loving sweaty, dirty, bleeding, thorny face and said, “It’s o.k.” That was the beginning of my road back “home”

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Yes, I was there when they crucified my Lord and “oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble”.

Thank you Lord Jesus that you took all of my sin with you on that old rugged cross so that today, some 2000 years later, as I remember that my debt is Paid In Full, I can say, it is Good Friday.

Lisa Leland

Where you there when they crucified my Lord lyrics:
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh were you there when they crucified my Lord?
(Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble)
Tremble
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed Him to the cross?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the cross?
(Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble)
Tremble
Were you there when they nailed Him to the cross?

Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
(Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble)
Tremble
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?

Well, were you there when the stone was rolled away?
Were you there when the stone was rolled away?
(Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble)
Tremble
Were you there when the stone was rolled away?

Being an Ananias (Scottie Pippen) in a Paul (Michael Jordan) World!

Being an Ananias (Scottie Pippen) in a Paul (Michael Jordan) World!

Scottie Pippen was an amazing basketball player, but just happened to be playing at the same time as Michael Jordan. He may not have had as many commercials as Jordan, but he was part of the same team and so had just as many championship wins as him. He was still great in his own right and on his own path!

Most of us want to be the one to do something great for God. We look up to great men like Billy Graham and wish we could lead millions of people to salvation. We aspire to be like Mother Teresa and have people praise us for our compassion. We see the Newsboys band and wish we could usher the masses into worship. But sometimes we don’t get to be “The Guy” … sometimes we have to be content to be the assist man! I have heard a million sermons and studies about Paul, but the last one I heard opened my eyes to someone I hadn’t thought much about: Ananias!

Ananias was on the path to be “The Guy”. He was a known servant of the Lord, willing to do what the Lord commanded, and apparently had enough faith to heal Paul. But setting up Ananias to be the leader of a nation wasn’t in God’s plan. The bible talks about Ananias being scared of Paul, but it doesn’t allude to another feeling he must have felt: jealousy. Akin to the way the older brother in the prodigal son felt, Ananias may have been a little upset that a new-comer – an ANTI-Christian of all people – was coming in on the last play to throw the winning shot! Ananias went from being the game winner to being the assist man real quick … but the difference about Ananias is that he did so with grace and love for his new team leader. What if Ananias had gotten an attitude and told God to take a hike? The greatest evangelist of all time could have still been sitting in that back room – blind and unproductive. Ananias had to swallow his pride and teach Paul what he needed to know to transform the world. Maybe our role isn’t to be the front man, but to be the teacher.

A couple practical examples from my life:

1. Years ago my boss moved into another position and I was doing both jobs while a replacement was found. I applied for the job obviously, but was not granted an interview because I had not finished my degree. Then I had to train my new supervisor. I was a tad upset to say the least, but had to remember that it wasn’t the new girls fault. I couldn’t treat her with disdain because she was on the path she was supposed to be on. If I had gotten that job I would not have had time to be in my Christian band and would not have felt comfortable later to quit my job and go back to school for ministry. God was saving me for my path, but also helping someone else to be on their path as well. When we don’t get what we think is due to us, it can breed resentment and make us stray from the greater job God has in store for us.

2. I am a church kid, and had my own Christian band for over 5 years. I became a youth minister at a church and took my kids to youth retreat. It was the first time I had ever been at camp where I wasn’t one of the youth or part of the band/speakers. Even though I was one of the leaders, I sort of got upset and doubted what I was doing. I began asking God if I had given up my gift of singing and been wrong to stop using what He had given me to serve Him. I had jealousy and an attitude about the band on stage … thinking that that was my rightful place to be. Later that night there was a candle light service and I looked at my youth’s little faces in the soft light and began to cry. God reached into my heart and told me that I had had my time to travel and tell others about Jesus. Now my new mission and my new path was to teach these kids and prepare them so they could have their time to proclaim the name of Jesus. My time in front of the crowd had transitioned for the time being to lead a small band of disciples so they may take the message and spread the gospel. I couldn’t argue seeing that emulating Jesus is the greatest privilege we have. It still stung for a little bit, but the rewards of seeing those kids love the Lord was worth it. I had to step out of the spotlight and bury some of my passion and pride to follow the new path God had laid out for me.

3. My father has always lived a life set apart from most. He has a wonderful character, has never even tasted alcohol, and knew he was different than most of the kids in his small town. He always felt God was preparing him for something great. He has never been a rich man or been in a huge spotlight, but he has touched countless lives with his steadfast passion to try to do what is right no matter what others may think of him. He has been a beloved coach to hundreds of young men and also a bible study leader. He can’t go anywhere without seeing someone he knows, and will friend anyone and put a smile on their face. He told me the other day that even though he doesn’t feel like he has done some great feat for God, maybe what he was supposed to do was raise his kids to go on to do great things. We have each gone on to do some relatively big things in our community and beyond for Christ (in no way meaning to brag) and I believe my father was right in the fact that his legacy remains in the way he taught his children to stand up for what is right and follow what the bible says no matter how we feel. And one day we will bring our children up in the ways of the Lord.  His favorite saying is: “what is right might not be popular, and what is popular is not always right”. He is a great example of perseverance in the midst of struggle. He may not always make the right decision, but he always tries to return to God’s word and live for Him. If that is the only thing anyone remembers about him, I believe it would be enough of a witness to the dedication of faith and a slam dunk for his life. Sometimes we think we are not the leading actor in our own lives, but if we can remain unyielding to the end we may just get that academy award for best supporting actor. There are no small parts … only small actors.

Ananias decided to put aside his pride and do what God asked. He may not have been as popular as Paul, but his name is in the Bible forever and he was a very important assist to countless people (even now) hearing the gospel. No matter how big you think your role is in the furthering of God’s will, if you do what the Lord asks then you have completed a great feat for Him! Sometimes being the assist man is your moment in the spotlight. In all reality – hearing the words “well done My good and faithful servant” when we step into eternity is our three point shot at the buzzard!

Melissa