Evangelism

Christians in the Workplace

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As we have been going through Genesis and the 'origin of all things' we encountered the origin of work. Somehow work gets separated from spiritual life. There is a lot of confusion about work and its place in the Bible and the Christian experience. The bottom line is God made us to work and it is good!

Some good friends of mine, Gerry and Barbara Lachance, are making some efforts to bring together spiritual life and work. And they're having some success at it! I've known them for a along time. I 've worked and served with them in a variety of situations. They are good people and they are good at what they do. Here's a little introduction to them where they tell you themselves what they are up to. Check out their website and if you see them around be sure to introduce yourself.

Gerry & Barbara Lachance have a passion to see Transformation in the workplace. This is their mandate from God. So this passion has led them to start a new company called ROi Leadership International New England and ROi Equipping. The company offers solutions that will transform people. They bring solutions through training, consulting, coaching, and strategic alliances Their mission is "Building people in order to build business." The sense is that as people change, learn to understand one another, work with ethical behavior , companies will go from success to significance and this increase ultimately will affect the bottom line..

Barbara and Gerry want to see the mindmolders of society (business, government, church, family, medial, science, and the arts) transformed.

Here's what they say about their work:

Just as ROi Leadership is a company created to influence the corporate world, ROi Equipping is established to influence the Church world. ROi Equipping offers Training Seminars in all the areas of what it means to be a Christian in the Marketplace. Both Barbara and Gerry have spoken nationally and internationally on the subject of Marketplace Ministries.

The obvious meaning of ROi is return on investment but it is also the French word for King. They believe that we are all called (men and women) to be kings in the marketplace where we bring the church on an every day basis.

"And has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen " Rev 1:6 (NKJV)

Scripture starting in the book of Genesis talks about us (the church) taking dominion. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." Gen 1:28 (NKJV) Then the Scriptures go on to say, "before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; Gen 2:5 (NKJV)

So what is spoken about in these two Scriptures is that we are to take dominion, and we are to till or work the ground. The interesting thing is that the word for till or work is AVADAH in the Hebrew and it is the same word for worship. So our work was always intended to be worship. When I go to work I am going to my place of worship. So we (the church) are Christians from Sunday to Sunday including the five workdays.

Gerry and Barbara’s goal is to see every person whether they are a housewife to the CEO of a company understand their role of ministry in the place where God has put them. We are all called to be Kings.

Check out thier web presece www.roili-ne.com


RACE: The Power of an Illusion

Race_power_of_an_illusion_2"Race: The Power of an Illusion" was the name of three part series on PBS, produced by California Newsreel in 2003.  The premise, and what they do a decent job proving it, is to show that there is no biological basis for race, but rather race is a social construct. People assume that because there are visible differences between people that there are huge biological differences, thus dividing us into various "races."  It is simply not true. The Bible alludes to this in the Book of Genesis an dis very specific in the book of Acts where they apostle Paul declares - two thousand years before modern biology - "From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live." Acts 17:26 

The Bible teaches us that all of humanity came from common ancestors, Adam and Eve. Although this concept has been balked at throughout history DNA is beginning to show the common ancestry of all human beings.  1999 news magazines began to publish articles about "Mitochondrial Eve" which represents "that woman whose mitochondrial DNA (with mutations) exists in all the humans now living on Earth."  The implications of both the television research special and contemporary discovers reinforce what we already know form the Bible, that we came from common descendants and all people are created in the image of God.

Human differences come from culture (ethnicity) and not biology. If you needed an organ transplant, it would matter little whether than organ came from someone from Asia, the Middle East, Africa or North America. Human beings are largely the same, except for minor differences in appearance.  Scientists have found that if you take people from anywhere in the world and match them with each other the difference between those two people wold be 0.2%. And the major "visible" differences (skin color, eye shape, hair) amounts to about 6% of the 0.2 percent.  People are people, created in the Image of God!

The concepts of the 'races" as we know it, comes more from the wickedness of the human heart (which always likes to think itself superior to 'somebody' else) and Darwinian evolution and social evolution than from known modern science. Evolution attempted in Darwin's day to show how the far the different "races" were from their original ancestors: apes. This viewpoint has lead to horrible human rights issues and even Hitler attempting to grow a "super-race" purified of all elements he found distasteful.  Moving away form the Bible has its consequences.

God loves all people, although not everybody loves God. This is our mission. To remind people (or tell them for the first time) that they are valuable, made in God's Image and that God loves them and does have a wonderful plan for their life!

The next time you find somebody or a group of people you don't like, remember you are related to them somewhere down the line!  That's probably why Jesus reminded us to love our neighbors as ourselves!

   


Has Paris Hilton Found God?

Paris_hiton_and_bible_2_5Has this blog become a tabloid gossip column? That's the REAL question!

It's a blog about everyday interactions with God in daily life and popular culture. So, if somebody visible is talking about God it's fair game.

Prior to her sentencing Paris Hilton was spending a lot of time with her mother and seen around Los Angeles with a Bible under her arm. (The included picture is Paris carrying the books in L.A.) She also was carrying the book, "The Power of Now," a New Age tome on mysticism, integration and inter-personal relationships. Some think that carrying the books was just one more show, but hey, the Bible is the Bible. 

The Bible she is carrying looks like a stolen Gideon's Bible from a hotel room, but I'm sure the Gideon's aren't too bothered by stolen Bibles. Maybe they want people to take the Bibles.  Any Gideon's out there know the answer to that?  Maybe she got it from one of the Hilton family hotels which also include a book by Conrad Hilton, "Be My Guest" in each room. In any event, she has a Bible and has been carrying it around! Not to mention that Gideon Bibles include an invitation to receive Christ in them.

On Sunday Paris Hilton told Barbara Walters from jail, "I'm not the same person I was," she said. "I used to act dumb. It was an act. I am 26 years old, and that act is no longer cute. It is not who I am, nor do I want to be that person for the young girls who looked up to me. I know now that I can make a difference, that I have the power to do that. I have been thinking that I want to do different things when I am out of here. I have become much more spiritual. God has given me this new chance." She continued by saying, "God,has released me."

I don't think that we should go around proclaiming Paris Hilton as the next evangelist, especially considering we don't even know what she means when she says "God." Even if she has found God, she has a long path in front of her. She certainly doesn't need to be spokesperson or authority on spiritual life. Whether she has truly turned to God or is in the searching and seeking stage this is a great time to pray for Paris Hilton, because let's be honest when was the last time you prayed for Paris Hilton.

What her interest in God, even if just for the moment, shows us is that people are hungry for reality, for something beyond themselves and that when everything else is taken away, we do know that there is a God.  Under it all everybody knows this.

Pray for her and know that people need God. We can be a lifeline and a connection to God for hungry souls.


Police: "We wish Jesus would solve more of these cases."

Jesus_inside_2 Confession is not only good for the soul, it's good for everybody.  After having a conversion to Jesus Christ, Michael Mohr, walked into a New York City Police station to confess that he strangled a homeless lady three years ago. He felt like that's what Jesus wanted him to do. The police chimed in by saying, "We wish Jesus would solve more of these."

Jesus still changes lives and moves us to do the right thing. Great story. 

Click here to read the story in the New York Daily Post.


Lots of Christians on American Idol

Chris_sligh_at_seacoast_church American Idol has had its share of Christian contestants on it. This season is no exception. Kind of a strange name for a show with a bunch of Christians on it, but they are there in abundance, including a worship leader at his local church. Chris Sligh.  Chris is an alumni of Bob Jones University (not your usual bastion of contemporary music) and the worship leader at Seacoast Church in Greenville, South Carolina. He also has his own Christian CD out with his band "Half Past Forever."  Chris sang songs by DC Talk and Mute Math on American Idol.

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Melinda_doolittle1 Melinda Doolittle attended a Christian College associated with Southern Baptist Convention and has sung backup with several Christian artists, including Anointed, Grammy winner Jonny Lang, Mandisa (who was previously on American Idol,) and CeCe Winans. Melinda has been really vocal about her faith on the program and has mentioned that she has her "Jesus Music" in her iPod. She mentioned Fred Hammond as being one of the inspirations that she is presently listening to.

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Jordin_sparks_2 17 year old Jordin Sparks is from Calvary Chapel in Glendale, Arizona. She has previously been quite vocal about her faith as well. She told the Gospel Music Association, "I want them (non-believers) to know that God loves them, Jesus died for them, and that God has a plan for their life. I want them to see and hear that being a Christian and singing about it isn't weird!"

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Phil_stacy Phil Stacey, before joining the Navy was a worship leader in his church associated with The Church of God.  He attended Lee University a Pentecostal denomination. Phil's father is a minster, as was his grandmother.

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Lakisha Jones this season has also been vocal about her faith. It has been a season with a lot of Christians with vibrant testimonies on the show. We'll see who wins later this week.


Who Would Have Thought Falwell & Larry Flynt Were Friends?

Teletubbie One of the big phrases being thrown around today is "being missional."  What's that mean?  It means that some people believe (rightly so I think) that we need to be engaged in the culture around us and not always on the attack. That We need to befriend people, listen to them, understand them. Who might these folks be?  Cool guys with cool glasses and non-religious speeches? How about Jerry Falwell?  He had a way of being friends with folks that radically disagreed with him. I wish I had known him personally. Someday.  Anyway here's a few quotes from folks that did know him, including Larry Flynt. Jesse Jackson also claimed him as a friend. This is especially interesting considering in the early 60's Falwell was an outspoken segregationist. Wow, can Jesus change people's thinking around? And our friendships!  There is no evidence he ever reconciled with the Tele-tubbies though. Oh well!

Rudy20giulianitto002092 "He was a man who set a direction. He was someone who was not afraid to speak his mind. We all have great respect for him ... he is a person who told you what he thought, and you knew where he stood." — Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani.

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"Over the years we became friends; sometimes we had polar opposite points of view. ... I have many fond memories of him. He leaves a great legacy of service and a great university behind. He's left his footprints in the sands of time." — The Rev. Jesse Jackson.

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Billy_graham "Jerry Falwell was a close personal friend for many years. We did not always agree on everything, but I knew him to be a man of God. His accomplishments went beyond most clergy of his generation. Some of my grandchildren have attended and currently attend Liberty University. He leaves a gigantic vacuum in the evangelical world." — Evangelist Billy Graham.

Larry_flynt_2 "My mother always told me that no matter how much you dislike a person, when you meet them face to face you will find characteristics about them that you like. Jerry Falwell was a perfect example of that. I hated everything he stood for, but after meeting him in person, years after the trial, Jerry Falwell and I became good friends. ... I always appreciated his sincerity even though I knew what he was selling and he knew what I was selling." — Hustler magazine founder Larry Flynt.


The 2007 Easter Controversies

During the seasons of Christmas and Easter (Easter more than Christmas) Jesus becomes a commodity. A way to sell advertising, magazines, drive people to television programs (which sell advertising) and even a way to drive people to art galleries, as we see this year with the display of "The Chocolate Jesus" (which has now been canceled. But Jesus is a powerful name and even with the cancellation the gallery and the sculptor as more well known than ever. Jesus can do a LOT of people and even galleries. Even when they aren't promoting the historical Jesus or the Savior.

Here's the ones I'm following and will have some remarks to make daily during "Holy Week" -as they call it- the week preceding Easter daily here on the blog.  Check everyday for a new article that you can talk about at work, with friends and family and to build you up in the faith that cannot be refuted! Or stopped!  Jesus rules! Still!

Time_teach_the_bible_cover 1) Time Magazine's cover article "Why We Should Teach the Bible in Public School (But very, very carefully)"

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Chocolate_jesus_1 2) The Chocolate Jesus.  Hey let's face it, Jesus IS good. Way better than chocolate! Some artist, sculpted a life size, anatonomically correct Jesus out of choclate (not the one to the left, so the artist isn't even original) and was to display it at a mid-town mManhaattan gallery daily during "Holy Week."  Thankfully it isn't happening.

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3) Anderson Cooper's "What is a Christian?"  What_is_a_christian_anderson_coop_2 I don't like CNN that much, but I tend to like the Anderson Cooper specials, so we'll see.  Wednesday and Thursday night @ 10:00. At least he's smart enough to not try and go up against "American Idol."

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4) God's Approval Rating covered this week in Newsweek Magazine / MSNBC.  Believe me, God isn't sitting in heaven biting his fingernails hoping more people will vote for Him and believe in Him. But Americans are incurably religious. There is still hope for us as a nation!

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Christp 5) "What's So Special About Jesus?"  will be the title of Easter Service. I'll post a trifold towards the end of the week that will be suitable to give to friends and family.                                       


Gonna Change My Way of Thinking

Doanlad_miller_2 Several months ago I gave a book to all of our elders by Donald Miller called "To Own a Dragon: Reflections of Growing Up Without a Father."  It was unlike anything I'd read before. I got extra copies to give to other guys in the church as well. I got two reactions: (1) WoW!  (2) "What was I supposed to get out of that?" Well, Donald Miller had a huge impact on me and he has really helped me to love people more. And we all could use some more of that!

My sister posted these new assumptions by Donald Miller. You can read them on her blog by clicking here, or you can read them right here. She posted them first, so due credit to her at www.rejoycing.blogspot.com Cool name for a blog huh? re-Joycing?  Her name is Joyce!! So here are Donald Miller's "Shift Points."  I'm certain at least a few will speak to you as they spoke to me.  Enjoy your changed life!

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Thirteen Paradigm Shifts We Encountered Doing Christian ministry in a Pagan Environment     by Donald Miller

1. Other People Exist:
Simply coming to the understanding that the world does not revolve around “me” but that everybody is having an experience, created by God, loved by God, and that we needed to repent of showing partiality.

2. Nobody will listen to you unless they know you like them:
We began to understand that people, subconsciously, merit a
religious or philosophical idea not on logical conclusions, but on whether or not the idea creates a “good person”…the definition of a good person being whether or not a person is kind to them, tolerant and understanding, able to listen without arguing and so on.

3. Nobody will listen to God unless they know God loves them:
We came to believe there was usually a hidden pain behind
hostility, that many people have been hurt by the church, or people or perspectives they believed to represent God. Many times it's as simple as an interview they saw on CNN, but an apology and kindness went a long way in helping people understand God was loving.

4. Other people have morality and values:
We came to understand that Christians do not own morality, that everybody lives by a moral code, not always informed by an ancient text, and yet it is there. Calling people or even thinking of them as immoral was, then, inappropriate. In fact, we often found that people who did not know Christ lived a morality close to his heart in many areas we had ignored, ie; community, tolerance, social justice, fairness and equality, freedom, beauty and so on.

5. Find common ground:
Often the morality of others overlapped Christian morality, and we came to understand that in these cases, we would focus on the overlapping issues. We came to see this as kindness, just as though we were on a date or making friends, we did not focus on what we didn’t have in common, but rather on mutual feelings about life. We would not say or do anything to combat people unless they knew we loved them, and this takes a great deal of time.

6. Define terms in their language:
We were careful about Christian sayings and phrases that might be offensive: Crusade, sin, immorality….we came to understand that concepts were more sacred than terms.

7. Telling somebody about the gospel is about them, not us:
We were careful not to try to “build our organization” and respected peoples freedom and space. Sharing the gospel became an exercise in friendship, rather than an attempt to grow a machine. Often, people feel used if they feel they are being recruited. The gospel, we learned, is really about them, their feelings about God and truth, about sin, about life.

8. Don’t let spreading the gospel feel any different than telling somebody about a love in your life, about your children or a great memory:
We realized that in telling somebody about Jesus, we were telling them about somebody we have come to love and need, and about something that had happened to us, an encounter. This keeps us from sounding preachy, and allows us to share part of ourselves in a friendship.

9. Include Lost People in Your Community:
Our organization was not exclusive. We invited non-believers into the community if they wanted to be invited. We were careful not to not be ourselves with them, but they were certainly invited and enjoyed being a part of the group. We explained terms that we used, what we believed, but other than that, continued as normal.

10. Apologize for what you represent:
We discovered that many people have been offended or hurt by what they perceive Christianity to be. We allowed ourselves to stand in the place of “Christianity” and apologize whenever necessary.

11. Be authentic:
We discovered the need to be as honest about our lives as possible. We did not feel the need to sell Jesus, as much as share what He has done in our broken lives. We had no problem sharing our doubts and fears about faith, along with our commitment and appreciation for what God had done.

12. Pray for the Salvation of others:
We discovered the need to pray for others. This would insure God was working in peoples lives, as we asked Him to. We discovered the work of evangelism is something God lets us watch, but very little of it is what we manipulate. We repented of not believing evangelism was a spiritual exchange between a lost person and God, rather than believing it was a series of ideas we were supposed to convince others of.

13. Ask people if they would like to know Christ:
We decided to initiate, whenever the relationship called for it. We were not afraid to ask people if they would like to know God.

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Visit Donald Miller's website by clicking here

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