Archive for May 2013

WHY DO WE NEED CHRIST?

May 31, 2013

“… apart from me you can do nothing.”  (John 15:5, NIV)

JOHN 15_5

It’s very hard to take those words seriously. After all, at first glance it doesn’t seem possible that we can’t do anything without Christ.

It seems to me that a lot of people do lots of good things without Christ? Anyone, even an atheist, can be kind, pay his suppliers on time, tell their boss the truth, visit the sick, befriend a lonely colleague, and do quality work. Isn’t that something?

Well, it certainly isn’t to be despised, but it seems to me that it isn’t the type of “fruit” that John’s Gospel was speaking of. Jesus is interested in the type of fruit that shows that we are His disciples and in the type that brings glory to His Father. So some of the things a non-believer may do might be exactly the same as that of a follower of Christ, but the motivation is entirely different – our desire is for God to be glorified.

We can’t bear fruit that reflects Christ unless we are connected to Him. This is vital. The whole tendency of human nature is to be independent, to believe that we know better than God, that we can do it without Him. The number one temptation for many people is what? Sex? Money? Power? For many people the number one temptation is to be self-reliant, to live life without having a relationship with God.

When we’re in trouble, when sales are down, when we can’t see a way to get it all done in time, we may turn to God. But what happens when the task looks well within the scope of our own competence? Do we ask God to guide us? The test of our dependency on Christ is not when we know we can’t, but when we think we can.

Think for a moment about the things you have to do at work today. Certainly, you could handle them on your own, but imagine what might happen if you brought Christ into the things you know you can do for yourself. Give it a try. You might be surprised at the results.

think about it

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ”!

A PRAYER FOR THE WORKPLACE!

May 30, 2013

“I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.” (Psalm 17:6, NIV)

pray

Loving Father,

As I begin my day, I want to thank You for the skills and abilities that You have given me in preparation for my job. Please fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I pray that you will teach me to speak with Your voice, to treat my co-workers, customers, and suppliers with Your grace, and to be Your witness no matter what I say or do.

I ask Your blessing over all I say, think, decide, and do today. Bless my creativity, my ideas, and my energy so that everything I do may bring honor and glory to You.

Father, when I am confused, guide me; when I’m tired, energize me; and when I’m totally burned out, strengthen me with the light of Your Holy Spirit.

May everything I do today bring hope, life, and encouragement to those around me.

And Lord, even in this day’s most stressful moments, help me find rest in You! In the precious name of Jesus, I pray.

Amen!

PRAYERFUL PLANNING!

May 29, 2013

“May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”  (Psalm 20:4, NIV)

plans1

Planning is a prerequisite for anyone who desires to get results. Prayerful planning is essential to experience the best from God.  After all, His best is the goal for each of us. Otherwise, we are limited to what our own efforts can produce. We can work hard to plan – and sincerely produce a great plan – but we often make the mistake of not asking God to bless it.

A plan without God’s blessing leaves us in a perilous position. It’s easy to forget to pray. We get so excited about the possibilities before us that we rush ahead without checking in with the Originator of the plan. He already knows the result. He just wants us to include Him as we go forward.

Prayerful planning is a beautiful process of discovery and learning. At night, as you lay your head on your pillow, He will speak to you. Through other people and circumstances, He will speak to you. And obviously His Word is a great check-and-balance for your planning process. Prayerful planning keeps you focused on Christ and not on the plan. Your plans may change, but He never will.

So involve Him in the beginning and throughout the process, not just with the final draft. Like a good earthly father your heavenly Father will be engaging and helpful. He will affirm you and challenge your way of thinking. He will give you a perspective that may be out of the box and a little scary. God’s plans are not always safe and secure from our vantage point. Sometimes His plans may even seem risky. If you are not planning prayerfully, you may miss His unconventional thinking. His way of doing something may be the very opposite of what you were originally thinking.

Prayerful planning requires us to trust in the Lord. His overall plan is what is best. Trust Him with the results. Just be ready. James 5:16 says it best:

James 5-16

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ”!

ARE YOU WORKING IN A CUBICLE?

May 28, 2013

“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him.” (Psalm 37:23, NIV)

Along the road on our way to church this week, my wife and I saw a billboard with a picture of a popular sports car. The ad read, “Work in a cubicle?”

Lamborghini

The car manufacturer is saying, in effect, “We know a lot of work is boring or frustrating, and we’ve got something better to offer.” No doubt the message strikes a chord with bored or frustrated working people. And no doubt driving the sports car is more exciting than living in a cubicle.

Jesus Christ has saved us from condemnation. He has never promised us an easy ride. You probably don’t have a job that matches the excitement of a high performance car on the open road. And, even the excitement of a sports car falls pretty flat during rush-hour traffic.

Still, the advertisement calls: “Escape from work! Forget it’s there! Life is for living, not for working” (except to pay for the car, of course). Escape, however, is temporary.

Reality is that Jesus had to put up with a lot of frustration during His own ministry. He also had many reasons to feel accomplished as people were healed, His disciples grew in understanding, and His ministry achieved the things He desired. He was able to wrap life and work together – all in the same package.

Oswald Chambers commented that the real issues of life are found in the ‘valleys’ of our daily work and life, not in the few ‘hilltop’ experiences. Don’t be deceived by the artificial ‘hilltop’ appeal that the world gives us with sports cars or any other material enticement. We need to depend on Jesus Christ to get us through the daily ‘valleys’ so we can enjoy the genuine ‘hilltop’ of fellowship with Him.

Trust Jesus

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ”!

STAY ON COURSE!

May 23, 2013

“Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.” (Proverbs 11:14, MSG)

instruction-manual

Have you ever tried to put something together using an instruction manual? All of the details seem to be buried in the assumptions. Where is the ON button? What is a #8 reverse threaded nut? It sometimes seems like we need an instruction manual for the instruction manual. That’s because other human beings have written these instructions.

God, however, wrote the instruction manual for our lives. He is the only One who could because He is the One who designed us. When we run into trouble, He left two important ways to communicate with Him. The first is PRAYER. Prayer is a direct line that never transfers you to voice mail. You get to “speak” directly with Him. The other is guidance. Guidance is all about all listening. It means that we deliberately seek help not only from Him, but also from other Christians. We can’t follow the course alone. God has engineered the world so that we need the advice, direction and the assistance of others. Living in community is intentional.

When we drive, fly or sail, we are constantly making tiny corrections so that we won’t have to make huge ones later. We all understand this. But when it comes to personal decisions, we seem to have moral amnesia. We think that we can run our own way and then make course corrections at the end. That just doesn’t work! Guidance is intended to give small bits of course correction over time so we won’t run into trouble down the road.

Have you built guidance into your life? Do you deliberately seek the wise counsel of God and other Christians? If you don’t, you’re really missing the boat. Without guidance, failure is inevitable. Think about it. Pray about it!

guidance

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ”!

ARE YOU BORED?

May 22, 2013

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” (Luke 16:10, NLT)

Being in business for the past thirty years, I’ve been exposed to plenty of motivational speakers and programs. My wife tells me that I’m an oddball, but frankly I’ve never needed other people or programs to motivate me at work. I am extremely self-motivated. Boredom rarely, if ever, exists in my words, attitudes, or actions.

BORED1

And yet, as I look out at the landscape of today’s workplaces, boredom seems to be rampant – even among Christians! I believe most of this boredom is self-inflicted. To a large degree your job is what you make it, whether you’re the janitor or the CEO.

In the big picture, Christians should be the least-bored, most-enthused workers in the world! You are a child of the Creator, and His Spirit dwells within you. Do you think God gets “bored?” If you are bored, ask God for the creativity to make your job more interesting! You’d be amazed at how fresh, exciting and creative the most mundane of jobs can be, when you allow the Holy Spirit to guide you.

If you’re bored at work today, before you expend all that time and energy to go job-hunting and job-hopping, why not deal with the core issue first? Once you’re happy, content, satisfied, and enthusiastic about your present position, God may then open a door of opportunity for greater challenge, growth, responsibility, and rewards. But if you can’t be trusted with little, how can He trust you with more?

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ”!

Related Articles:

This article was written by Drew Crandall, founder of Northeast Christians At Work. Drew is a modern-day “tentmaker,” making a living through his marketing and media business.  © KEEP IN TOUCH ChristAtWork.org   Used by permission. All rights reserved.   Content edited and distributed by “Working for Christ” for non-profit educational purposes.

 

MAKE ADJUSTMENTS!

May 20, 2013

Then He said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it. (John 21:6, NLT)

adjustment

There is a true story about the marketing director of a large food brokerage company in the upper Midwest. He could not understand why sales at one particular store in his region plunged every winter. He studied his product line and interviewed customers. He did everything possible to uncover the mystery. Finally, someone made a remarkable discovery that changed everything.

When it became cold outside, the manager of the store raised the store’s inside temperature. When customers came into the store it was too warm for them, so they removed their coats and placed them in their shopping carts. This meant less room for food and resulted in reduced sales. Consequently, the store owner lowered the temperature of the store, and as a result, sales climbed back to the levels they were accustomed to.

There is another true story about Peter and a few disciples that were having trouble catching fish. Jesus yelled from the shoreline asking if they had caught anything. They had not. He then suggested they cast their line on the other side of the boat. Without knowing that it was Jesus who was addressing them, they took His advice. Soon they began catching so many fish they could not bring them all into the boat.

Adjusting our lives to God is the first thing we need to do to experience Him in our daily lives. For some, it is simply following the advice of those above us. For others, it may require a major change in our job situation. Still, for others it could mean making changes in relationships. Whatever the case, you can be sure that until we adjust our lives to God we will not receive His full blessing. Ask Him today where you need to make adjustments so you can come closer to Him and find the peace and love that only He can give!

Psalm 40-8

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ”!


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