The complaint usually goes like this; “When you keep challenging us to give up our careers and secular work, you’re subtly implying that our work is not as valuable as gospel work and that makes us feel like second class citizens in the church. You should see that all good work is part of God’s good intention for the world. It helps people have food, housing, health, education. These are just as valuable as gospel work.”
When faced with this, you could defend the claim that gospel work is more valuable than secular work (which it is) – but I think this is falling into a trap.
The whole question/challenge carries with it an “identity misunderstanding”. Your identity is not defined by your career. It never was and never will be. Your identity is defined by God’s declaration about you at the cross. If you feel like a second class citizen when I attack your career as less valuable than gospel work… why?? Is your identity caught up in your career or life-decisions? Don’t let it be!
There are two things to discuss, 1) Your identity in Christ that is perfect and unalterable, 2) Your work that can be more or less valuable in light of God’s plans and purposes for the universe.
So… the mother who wakes at 3am again to look after her kids because God values families does good. The terminally-ill patient who lies in a hospital bed and prays for the people she knows and the staff who serve her, she does an enormous good. Both activities are much more valuable than testing the accounting software for a finance company who underwrites the insurance policies of other companies who do some aspect of manufacturing (like what I used to do).
So, you ARE valuable in Christ, and therefore, give up your ambitions and DO the most valuable thing with your life you reasonably can… which is as much gospel work as you can.
The main reason people get marriage wrong is that they (usually) subconsciously want the marriage to be for their good.
That’s a politically correct way of saying “I want my spouse to give up the rest of their life and spend it making me happy and fulfilled”. Don’t misunderstand me… I am being that blunt. If you go into marriage in the hope that “the marriage” will somehow make you happy and fulfilled, you are placing a HUGE and UNREASONABLE expectation on your spouse!! You are demanding they live for you… Because a marriage is only made of of two people, and if it’s for one of you, it must be at the cost of the other.
You could try and do marriage for the good of BOTH of you… But then, who gets to decide if one of you is getting a better deal, a greater fulfilment? It doesn’t work.
Marriage only works when you go into it for the total good of your spouse, at the total cost of yourself. When you go into it for their fulfilment, not your own. For their happiness, not your own.
And the only way you can do that, is when you have a greater source of fulfilment outside your marriage.
Enter Jesus… The alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, the one who loved you, for your good, at the cost of his life.
Over the past few months, our staff team has been preparing for Forge2014 – our unistudent Mid-year conference. Greg Lee (our senior pastor) has been preparing the talks.
These talks do a great job of laying the foundation of how God sees the world, and sees us as humans in our sexuality.
I thought I’d share them here. There’s also 2 seminars on Desire and the Science behind gender issues.
Or here’s the direct links:
I hope you find this helpful!!
Do u feel like everyone wants a piece of you? Say no to all of them because you aren’t here for them, you are exclusively for Jesus. So don’t say that you’re split in lots of different directions… You’re not, you’re pulled in one direction and one direction only: to be for Jesus. Serve him with everything. Don’t hold anything back from Jesus.
and then, because you live as Jesus’ slave, for him do things for other people as he would want you to.
Its not a fun task, but its a worthwhile task. It’s what Eccl 7:2 is about. It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.
Are you married? Imagine your spouse dies today; what will happen then? How will you cope?
Are you unmarried? Imagine never walking down the isle, never having that someone, imagine being 70 or 80; what will that look like; what will your daily routine resemble?
Do you have kids? Imagine walking out of their funeral to a future without them, any of them.
Even as I write that, I find it hard. I don’t want to think through those scenarios. But not wanting them to happen doesn’t mean they wont. And we live in a world that hides shame and death and tried to keep it in a silent little corner that no one talks about ad it only leaves us unprepared for when it does happen.
The best reason to do this is to prepare your heart for trusting God in the midst of it.
The first time I imagined Julie and the kids death I cried like a baby. And in the midst of thinking through the hypothetical, I realised that I actually got so much of my security and identity and honour from her and the kids. That’s what caused me so much angst – loosing the things of this world which made me feel secure. I realised I had more things I could trust God with… my life without my closest loved ones.
I want to be prepared to boldly sing with tears in my eyes, “It is well, it is well, with my soul”
Name tags can be used really badly. Welcoming new people by making them put on a name tag is rarely a good idea. But why?
The value of name tags is to help create group identity.
Asking people who aren’t sure if they want to be in the group to wear a sign of being “in” just doesn’t work. They know they’re not “in” and wearing a name tag says they are “in”.
So why not using it when you gather together the people who are already “in”? Training events, Conferences, even getting a few Growth GRoups together for a social night. They are good opportunities to bring out the ol’ name tags and consolidate the group-ness.
Also, as group gets bigger, you can’t expect people to actually know the names of all the other people who are “in”. So make it easy on them and give them name tags.