Who Are You Working For?

As you go through your day to day, be it at the office or chores around the house, how do you go about it?  Who are you working for?  What is your attitude?  I’m blessed to have two jobs that I enjoy doing, am good at and my efforts are recognized and appreciated.  I have days, like most I imagine, but find little room for complaint.  

Part of my attitude toward my jobs, is the result of a perspective shift.  I know that not everyone is working in a field or a position that is satisfying to them.  Many don’t work for a boss that appreciates them or is easy to get along with.  For many their job is just merely a means to a living.  In my opinion this is not much of a living.

Now, before you do something rash like put in your notice or tell your boss to take a short walk, ask yourself, “is part of the problem me?  How’s my attitude or perspective affecting the situation?”  Ask yourself, “who do I work for?”

In Colossians 3:23-25 the bible says; 

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality. (NKJV)  
 
The first time this passage came to my attention was a total AHAH! moment for me.  It was a perspective changer.  I don’t work for any man.  No, I work for the Lord and it’s high time I start acting like it.  
 
Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.  Genesis 2:15 (NKJV)
 
After creating Adam, the first thing God does is create for him a garden and commands him to work it.  From the beginning of man’s history, God expected him to work and to do it for Him.  After all, does God need us to tend His garden?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  This, men, is a pivotal revelation.  Our work, whatever it may be is God’s.  He provides and directs it?  
Oh, Scott, but you don’t know what kind of job, what kind of boss I have.  You’re right, I don’t, but God does.  You don’t think He put you there, put your boss there, put your coworkers there for a reason?  Could it be that possibly, maybe, just maybe, He’s got a plan, He’s shaping, He’s molding and He’s using you for a specific purpose?  When you start working, doing your job with the mindset that God is your boss, that He is in charge and you better be doing the best you can, striving for His approval, I guarantee things will change.  That change, will most assuredly be for the better.  
The change will likely manifest first in you.  It will positively affect everything you do, how you do it and how you see it.  Next, the change will reflect itself onto others and how they respond.  If it doesn’t have the affect you’d like on others, hey that’s ok.  You’re not working for them.  You are working for the Lord.  If He’s pleased He’ll respond.  You’ll see it, feel it.  I know this because the bible promises it in verse 24.  
There is no work greater or lesser before God.  All work has value, if, big if, you…do it heartily, as to the Lord…
 
So, I ask again, who are you working for?  May God bless you and the work you do for Him.
 
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,
Scott Pace 
   

Maundy

Maundy Thursday, also called Holy Thursday, is when we commemorate Jesus’ washing his disciples feet as well as the Last Supper.  The word “Maundy” comes from the Latin word for ‘mandate’ or ‘command’ and is a reference to Jesus’ words in the book of John, in which he told his disciples, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  This was a precursor to the even greater act of love he would demonstrate in the coming days as he gave up his life for them.  The church practice of washing the feet of the poor is often referred to as the Maundy,  which is even seen in weddings and other ceremonies as a commitment to be a servant leader.    

 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.   Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.   Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.  John 13:14-17

If you have ever participated in a Passover Seder, maybe you would agree that the symbolism found throughout the meal is fairly meaningful.  For the Jews, it was a traditional festival to remind them of God’s provision as he delivered them from slavery in Egypt.  For me, I couldn’t help but recognize the similarities between the part of the Seder where the bread is broken and part of the bread (the afikoman) is wrapped and hidden (buried) only to be found  and used later.  It is no wonder that Jesus referring to himself as the bread of life had even greater meaning to those that regularly took part in these practices. 

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”   In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.  Luke 22:19-20

 Despite that many of his disciples would argue about who would be greatest in the kingdom, even though they walked and ate with Jesus, they didn’t always grasp his full message right away.  Throughout his ministry, culminating in the week leading up to his death, Jesus lived out examples of what it means to love and serve others.  His whole life was an example of that to those who walked with him and to those that know him today.  He is patient with them as he is with us.  So should we also act toward others?

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:   Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!  Philippians 2:5-8

As we progress through the season of Lent toward Easter, let us take opportunities to embrace traditions which better help connect us with God.  Let us also incorporate new practices which do the same, or help our families or those around us better understand the significance of what Christ did during Holy Week and throughout his ministry.  Let us also remember the power of the cross in how Christ atoned for our sins.  In contrast to every other religion, we are unable to earn our way to heaven through our works, because no amount of good works can measure up.  Only what Christ did through his death and resurrection will allow us to overcome death as well.  Christ paid the price and is the narrow gate which allows us a way to commune with God, now and forever!

Strength and Courage in Christ,
Clark

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Proverb of the Day

I was reading today’s Proverb and this one stuck out…

Proverbs 23:12 Apply your heart to instruction
    and your ears to words of knowledge.

I have some mentors that when we meet I know I will get homework.  I know if I go to our next meeting and I did not do that homework for anything else than an emergency, our meeting is over and we will meet next time to discuss what I have done with their homework.  

This proverb begins in Apply.  Information without application is useless.  So many churches are deep in information and instruction, yet fail to give clear application.  Many churches are considered not relevant or hard to understand.  I believe this is why so many people are leaving the church.  Right now college basketball coaches are calling timeouts during a game.  Could you imagine if the coach gave a bunch of information about what is happening, but failed to tell the team what to do about it?  They would not change the situation.  Application is vital to great information. Application of great information leads to transformation!

Not only apply but “Apply your HEART.”  Have you ever seen someone go through the motions in a game or at work but their heart wasn’t in it?  It is so sad to see.  They are terrible to be around and their attitude is like a virus.  It affects everything it touches.   I have see so many times more talent with out heart loose to less talent with heart.  The WHY is simple, there heart is there.  Is your heart in your application of wisdom, teaching, and council?  Or do you ask 300 people what you should do and get confused by 300 different answers when you should have only asked 2 who could guide you through the murky waters. 

“And your ears to words of knowledge.”  God has strategically place people around you who are further in the journey than you and have a perspective you need to grow.  The proverb is asking, “are you listening to the right people?”  It isn’t saying listen to someone who has an opinion.  Everyone, including your crazy uncle, has an opinion!  It is saying listen to those who actually have a perspective worth applying.  If you get financial advice from your broke uncle, if you apply his advice you will be as broke as he is.  If you get financial advice from someone who is walking in the benefits of years of applied wisdom, if you follow his advice you will likely be walking in the fruit of that wisdom. 

So who’s wisdom do you need to put your ear to?  Who’s guidance do you need to apply?  Application of great information leads to transformation!  Go get wisdom and apply it!  Go be vital!

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus!

Brandon Sereg

A Big Entrance

We just celebrated Palm Sunday, the commemoration of Jesus’ big entry into Jerusalem. In Jesus’ day basically all of Israel was expected to leave their homes to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem (not unlike how it seemed all of Iowa migrated to Pasadena this winter to celebrate the Hawkeyes playing in the Rose Bowl). Jerusalem was thusly swelled beyond capacity by people from throughout Israel and the Jewish diaspora, and many seemed to have an opinion about the young phenom rabbi from Nazareth, Jesus. A large portion of the people cheered his entry into the city, seeing him as the new King that would rid Israel of Roman occupation, thusly improving their lives by removing unfair taxation, unjust laws, and foreign rule. They waved palm branches, a sign of victory, believing Jesus would soon bring tangible improvement to their daily lives. Others, namely the religious leaders, treated his entry with great disdain. They not only disagreed with his teachings, scripture interpretations, and actions, but were distraught by the mere thought of him replacing them in the hearts and minds of the Jewish people. They could not stomach the idea of this Jesus challenging their authority, and they really couldn’t stand his calling out of their own pride and hypocrisy. Then there were those completely confused by Jesus’ entry: his disciples. They could not comprehend why he would humbly enter on a donkey, why he resisted becoming king, nor why he would think death was any kind of an answer to the world’s problems. They wanted him to keep performing miracles and preaching with his tremendous parables, not to die on a cross like a criminal.

Here’s an interesting thing about every character in the Palm Sunday account: they all behaved rather poorly when Jesus’ entry did not fulfill their desires. The crowd ended up turning on him, demanding his death instead of that of the criminal Barabbas. The religious leaders plotted his death, begging the governor to crucify him. And his beloved disciples? One betrayed Him, one denied Him, at least one doubted Him, and all failed to understand Him.

Here is my question for you this Holy Week. How have you reacted to Jesus coming into your life? That’s a pretty serious question. Have you, like those on that Palm Sunday, chosen to focus on what Jesus seemingly can or cannot do for you, instead of focusing on the fact that He has saved you for all eternity? I think most of us have done just that. We fail to joyously celebrate Jesus’ grace for us, preferring to whine and wallow about the perceived imperfections of our lives. This Easter I urge you to wrap your arms tightly around God’s gift of grace and to never let it go. Let your joy in life, even in the darkest of moments, permeate from knowing Christ has saved you on the cross. Don’t miss the greatest aspect of Christ coming into your life: the gift of a perfect eternal life in Heaven.

Last Week

Luke 19:45New International Version (NIV)

Jesus at the Temple

45 When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling.

Jesus has his last week as a fully human man, born of the Virgin Mary on earth. What does he do? He keeps on and stays the course. According to Scripture, after Palm Sunday, Jesus goes to the Temple. He will teach his last teachings to his disciples and to the crowds of people.

What does he do on Monday? He clears the Temple. He is angry for what is going on. The money changers of the Temple are taking advantage of the people by charging them large amounts for sacrifices of their sins. It is His Father’s House. This is not right.

We see in Matthew 21:12; ‘Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple. He over turned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.’

Jesus showed a righteous anger on the Monday of Passion Week. He was so passionate that these people were making the Temple a den of robbers and not a house of prayer.

What does he do next? He has compassion and love for people. He heals the lame and the blind. Only the Son of the living God could show such compassion for those who were doing wrong.

I read the Scriptures and marvel at the love and compassion he had for people and how his love and compassion still lives on today through the Holy Spirit.

The Triune God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all one, and yet show love and compassion in different ways.

The last week is a challenge to me. I am humbled by it and broken from it. The beating Jesus took for all mankind shows how he loves us.

Men, let’s be mindful of this week. Be diligent to not get preoccupied in all the distractions life can hand to us. The enemy works more to keep you busy, as to keep you focused. I pray that we live this week with destiny and diligence because of the price Jesus paid for our sins.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

 

 

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