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Compass

Finding purpose in life is one of man’s greatest pursuits. It is a part of our DNA. Regrettably, we seek to find purpose in many of the wrong places. Don’t misunderstand; it’s not necessarily because all these places are wrong. Many are quite noble – work, family, church, service to others. God wants to give us purpose in all these areas.

The challenge is discerning from where, or whom, our purposes in life originate; for that thing or person will then govern the motivations and measures for our success. If our purposes center on our work, then we will become performance driven and prideful. If they begin with our relationships, we will become controlling and self-indulgent. Even service toward others – if it is the source of our purpose – will result in people-pleasing codependence.

For our purposes to be right and virtuous, they must originate in the One that has ordained and orchestrated them. This is a worthy saying: Your purpose is not to be found in a place or activity, but in a Person. Only God is the source of the purposes that are good, praiseworthy and worthwhile. Therefore, it is critical that we discover God’s purposes for each season of our lives.  In this lesson, we will explore the relationship between God’s eternal purposes and the formation of Workplace Ministry.

This is the second of six lessons designed to encourage, edify and equip a Leadership Team in the formation of a ministry to the Workplace. Please study Lesson One – The Workplace Mission before continuing here. Read the rest of this entry »

CompassIn Starting a Ministry to Marketplace Leaders, I promised to provide the curriculum for discipling the Workplace Ministry Leadership Team. What follows will make more sense if you read that article first.

Now that the lesson outlines have been completed, I can offer you the Curriculum Overview. The lessons will soon follow.  NOTE:  While the following is written with the local church setting in mind, this curriculum is also impactful for ministry leadership development in the workplace and community.

Introduction

God is moving in the Workplace. There are hundreds of Workplace Ministries moving with Him. Regrettably, the vast majority of these are operating outside the local church (e.g., peer-to-peer groups, business chaplains). A few are attempting to minister in the local church setting, but success has been elusive.

It is our conviction that, while the reasons for our lack of success are many, the solution is quite simple. To successfully launch a Workplace Ministry in the local church setting, the local church must establish and maintain a Ministry Leadership Team with the same intentionality it would have for any other ministry. It must provide its leaders with the spiritual and practical tools necessary to be successful.

No serious local church would try to start a Children’s Ministry by purchasing a bunch of Children’s Ministry programs. They would first select and inculcate the leadership team with the church leadership’s vision and mission for Children’s Ministry. Then they would send them to ministry leadership training. The same is true for every ministry in a local church; including the Workplace Ministry.

With this critical success factor in mind (i.e., preparing the Workplace Ministry Leadership Team), we offer the following curriculum. As you will discover, this curriculum (and any follow-up coaching we provide) is based on a very simple premise: Whenever possible, establish and maintain the Ministry with God’s purposes at the forefront, in the way God prescribes, and with God’s power. Read the rest of this entry »

CompassIf the Lord has encouraged you to start a ministry to the Marketplace Leaders in your fellowship, workplace or community, then the following letter is for you. It was sent to Felipe Bernal, a business owner and leader of Marketplace Ministry at his church in Bogota, Colombia. Felipe is using The Map Maker to encourage, edify and equip the church staff and a core group of business leaders in disciple making and community transformation.

My hope is that you will use the following to explore, with God, the plan He has for you to lead leaders into a great adventure. I can assure you that the end of the journey is joyful, Spirit-filled ministry. Please let me know if you desire my help; and please allow me a few clarifying points before you begin the letter:

  1. Marketplace Ministry is more than ministry in the business arena. The Marketplace is defined as the place where people work;
  2. Leaders in the Marketplace include everyone that has a sphere of influence: From School Superintendents to Teachers, from Business Owners to Frontline Managers, from Sheriffs to Deputies, etc.
  3. There are a number of different approaches to Marketplace Ministry. Let the Lord lead you to the right one; let me know if I can help.

Now for the letter.

Read the rest of this entry »

inLight_logo_vert_2clrThere are particular times in every person’s life when they must determine what they believe and do something about it. If you believed your house was on fire, you would not remain seated on the couch watching the television. You would be taking action comparable to the threat you perceived in the fire. I suggest to you that 2015 is such a year.

2015 is a year that will prove what we, as Christians, believe in our hearts. I have not hidden my feelings about the probability of God’s judgment on the church in America. For those of you that are hearing this for the first time, here are a few articles that will help get you up to speed: The Harbinger’s Deeper Meaning; The Foundations – Confession and Introduction; Should We Leave Them at the Gate?; The Shemittah.

My dad asked me how serious I was about my expectations for calamity in 2015. It was a good question; causing me to ask myself, “What do I believe; and what am I prepared to do about it?” For what it is worth, I am taking steps to secure my family and fellowship. Much of it is planning at this point; which means spending more time with God to understand what He would have me do. I have heard enough to get started. We will be taking intentional steps before the year is out.

I share this with you to make it clear how serious this is to me; and how serious I believe it should be to you. Some of you may wonder what I am planning to do. Give me a call and I will let you know. What you will hear first is “I am doing what God tells me.” That will be followed by, “What is He telling you?” This is important; for God speaks in community. Read the rest of this entry »

Old Watch MechanismEvery follower of Jesus Christ has been saved by grace, through faith, to walk in good works (Ephesians 2:8-10). God intends to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are loyal to Him (2Chronicles 9:16). The empowering grace of God is available to those that will faithfully walk in the good works prepared for them. Don’t miss this: We are talking about the supernatural power and resources of heaven, manifested in our midst. For this, we were created!

Search out this matter out with a surrendered heart, and you will discover what good works means for you specifically, in this season of your life. You will also come to understand what it means for the Body of Christ and your spheres of influence. In the end, you will find yourself better prepared to walk in the supernatural grace of God.

In Part 1 of this series, we learned that the “good” of good works is far more important that the “works” themselves. Here in Part 2, we will begin searching out the Scriptures that describe good works and the challenges we face in our attempts to walk in them. This will set the stage for Part 3, where we will explore God’s ultimate provision and intention for them.

As we survey the following passages, ask the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit (our teachers) to reveal the truth of each one for this season of your life. Listen for the word that will become faith for your journey. Allow the truth to do the work necessary to make you free.

For this article, I have made a particular effort to keep my commentary to a minimum; that the word of God would dominate your attention. Use the short comment after each passage to direct your mind toward the main point; but keep your focus on the power of God’s word in the passage. Remember, these passages may not mean what I think they mean, but they must mean something. You find the meaning in them.

The Bible’s Description of Good Works

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Works will not save us. However, we were created for good works – to walk in them. NOTE: Many translations suggest that we are to do the good works. This is a mistranslation of the Greek word peripateō. Keep this in mind as we explore further. Read the rest of this entry »

Adult Youth GalaxyAll Scripture is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2Timothy 2:16-17). All Scripture – not one verse or word is wasted. This is the awesome blessing of the Holy Bible.

Furthermore, there are some passages that are so rich in meaning; they overwhelm us with an awe of God’s mysterious truth. They make us joyful with gratitude that we have been given to know and steward the mysteries of heaven. I came across such a passage this morning.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.  For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29

I am going to leave it to you to search out the deepest meanings of this verse; but I will give you a running start with a couple of thoughts:

  1. We are receiving a kingdom: Not “will receive”, like a sweet-by-and-by promise. The kingdom of God is at hand. How so? How do we receive it?
  2. Let us have grace: Why not faith; or “grace and faith”? Can I serve God without grace? Is this the grace that saves, or something more? How do I acquire it?
  3. Reverence and godly fear: Are these two different things? Is there a godly fear that is more than reverence? What does this fear look like? Where does it come from? How do I acquire it?
  4. God is a consuming fire: God is love and a consuming fire? How does that work? What does He consume? Does it hurt? Is that necessary?

Let me encourage you to face these questions with courage and expectancy. Expect to find the truth that will make you free. Share what you find with others. Become a faithful steward of the mysteries of God. It is your right and obligation.

 

Humbly yours and His forever,

CompassDoes the grace of God empower any activity or endeavor that is not His will?

Does His will ever lack the grace to accomplish what He intends?

As leaders in the Marketplace, it is important to determine, resolve and reckon what you believe about these two questions. Access to His grace for your next endeavor depends on it.  It is a matter of success or failure – even glorious victory or eternal destruction.

Let’s start with the first. If a person is self determined in what He does – including what He does “for God” – then that person’s answer is “yes, God does empower activity outside His will.” More likely, that person is not concerned with God empowering the work they have set out to accomplish. This sounds quite foolish, particularly when we consider the potential outcome.

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:21-23

Only those that do the Father’s will shall enter the kingdom of heaven! Wow!! We can do any number of wonderful things in Jesus’ name and still be labeled, by Him, as practitioners of lawlessness. What a tragic surprise awaits those that pursue supernatural work outside of the Father’s will!!

This begs another question: Where did these lawless ones get the power to prophesy, cast out demons and do many wonders?

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work… The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 2Thessalonians 2:7, 9-10

Whoa! Even though the lawless one has not been revealed, “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work”. There is a grave warning here: It possible to do supernatural work outside of the Father’s will because there is another (i.e., Satan) willing to give us power; for the work in His power will lead to the destruction of many.

Let me ask you again: Is this possible for those that call Jesus, “Lord, Lord”? Could we be so deceived? Read the rest of this entry »

Partnership and team workI recently read an article suggesting that America’s problem is the lack of leadership; that our culture has generally turned from leadership to management (to our peril). It used the following comparisons to make its case:

The leader innovates; the manager administers

The leader is an original; the manager is a copy

The leader develops; the manager maintains

The leader focuses on people; the manager focuses on systems and structure

The leader inspires trust; the manager relies on control

The leader has a long-range perspective; the manager has a short-range view

The leader asks what and why; the manager asks how and when

The leader’s eye is on the horizon; the manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line

The leader originates; the manager imitates

The leader challenges the status quo; the manager accepts it

The leader is his or her own person; the manager is the classic good soldier

The leader does the right thing; the manager does things right

At the time, I was so impressed with the article that I shared it with my connections; and I determined to write my own take on the subject; namely, why we need more leadership in the church.

Then I hit a snag. Perhaps you see it, too. More than a few of the manager characteristics are encouraged for those in the Body of Christ: Administers, is a copy, has a short-range view, imitates, is the classic good soldier. See what I mean. Well, it got me to thinking… and searching.

In the NKJV, “leadership” does not appear, at all. “Leader” can be found 164 times; but only 4 are found in the New Testament, and they all relate to the leaders of the Jews. The terms “leadership” and “leader” are not used by the Holy Spirit to describe the followers of Jesus Christ!

Furthermore, “lead” and “leads” appear 95 times; 32 are in the New Testament, where there is only one verse used to imply action by members of the church: Romans 12:8. Even here (one time in thirty-two uses), it is mistranslated. The Greek word means “to be over” and “to give aid”; not exactly the “leadership” that is encouraged in the Marketplace.

So, there you have it: As astounding as it may seem, the notion of Christians being “leaders” is noticeably missing from the Holy Bible. Instead, we see Christians in “leadership” positions described as stewards; managing the affairs of their master. Is God trying to tell us something in this?

I am still working through the implications of this discovery, and hope to share more in the near future. It would be helpful to hear from you. For now, let me leave with this summarizing thought:

Leadership in the Marketplace is not the same as leadership in the kingdom of God. We must be cautious in our adoption of the world’s ways and thoughts about leadership. They may be contrary to the ways and thoughts of God.

For more on this subject, check out Back to Basics – Leaders in the Marketplace.

Humbly your and forever His,

DSC_0731Imagine yourself standing on the top of a hill overlooking a beautiful pastoral scene. In the distance you hear the sounds of sheep, cows, ducks, and people. People? That’s right – lots of people; and it sounds like they are all coming your way.

Where could all these people be coming from and where are they going? Drawing closer to the edge of the top of your hill, you see a broad road at its base; and you realize that this road curves around the hill, towards you, from somewhere out of your eyesight. The people – many people – are coming down that road.

Moving to your right (to see where the road goes), you notice that it ends abruptly at a precipitous cliff; and a fall into destruction. Immediately your heart goes out to the folk on the road. Hurrying back around the edge of your hill, you see them; and you begin to yell a warning, “Don’t take that broad road! Find another way! It leads to your destruction!” With all your heart and strength you cry out to the people that are heading to their destruction. Read the rest of this entry »

Military Salute from iStockBefore we jump into this short article, I would like to remind you of a few key truths: If you are a Christian leader in the Marketplace, you are not in your position by accident. God has His eye on you; and His heart’s desires are for you. The church is as much – if not more – in your sphere of influence as it is in the place you attend on Sunday morning.

It is also no coincidence that you are reading this article at this time in the history of the church. The Sermon on the Mount, recorded primarily by Matthew and Luke, is the foundational teaching on the normal Christian life. Consequently, it is the most challenging; and that is where you come in.

God has put it in your nature to courageously face challenges. He has put it in your nature to lead others into challenges. Who do you know that is better encouraged, edified and equipped to lead the transformation that is necessary in the church today? Who is the most influential person in your sphere of influence?

Radical is the Old Normal

Our normal is so subnormal that normal seems radical. To the first century disciples, normal and radical were synonyms. We’ve turned them in antonyms. (from All In, by Mark Batterson)

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus threw down the gauntlet with His disciples: Turn the other cheek, bless your enemies, go the extra mile. He wanted to see who was in and who was out. He did this multiple times during His sojourn here on earth. Many left Him; but there were a few… that grew to thousands, and turned the world upside down.

It seems to me that we have reached a point of crisis in the church. Henry Blackaby called it “the crisis of faith”. As Marketplace Leaders, it is our responsibility to deal with the crisis in God’s way. I would like to offer you a couple of truths to help you embrace the challenge of our crisis; and embrace it in a radical way. Read the rest of this entry »

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