Dear Friends in Christ,
Those of you who attend Beverly Heights Church know that the focus of our current sermon series is the Kingdom of God and the challenge and warrant the church has received from our Savior, the King, to “bring the kingdom of God near.” You also know that we are defining the kingdom of God as the reign, rule, authority and dominion of Jesus Christ the King over every aspect of our personal and corporate lives.
The follower of Jesus Christ is tasked by our Lord to drive a stake into the ground, wherever He has sovereignly scattered us, claiming that place – a school, a law office, a medical facility, a children’s carpool – as that which belongs to Him as the Lord of all. Most of you are familiar with the famous quote of Abraham Kuyper, former prime minister of the Netherlands and founder of the Free University of Amsterdam: “There is not one square inch of this terrestrial ball over which Jesus cannot say MINE!” Because Jesus is Lord of all, all the world is under His sovereign majesty and dominion but we, who are followers of His, must raise His banner and declare it to be so.
The abiding purpose of these eCares is to offer you challenge and encouragement as you do just that. For many of you the venue where this happens most often is the workplace. As I think of you out in the workplace (or in the community, school or family situations, for that matter) I am concerned, from a pastoral perspective, that your lives are transformed by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit for the witness that Christ needs you to make where He has scattered you for the better part of your days. I plan, preach and pray that the transforming power of God’s Spirit will make you all that He needs you to be for the sake of making Him known and bringing His kingdom near.
In addition to thinking about your transformation FOR the workplace I also contemplate your transformation IN the workplace. I think about the power of your transformed lives, lived out for your co-workers to see. I regularly challenge you to follow in the stead of our Savior Who, in the early part of His ministry did great works in demonstration of the power of the kingdom of God and those works, in turn, drew people to Himself, positioning them to hear a declaration of the great truths He made known by the power of the kingdom of God. The Lord is not expecting you to cast out demons as He did but, as I have often suggested, offering a cup of coffee and a sympathetic ear to the person who occupies the cubicle next to yours will quite often be the demonstration that leads to a declaration of your own by the power of the kingdom of God.
What concerns me, however, and I know that it concerns many of you is not your transformation FOR the workplace or your transformation IN the workplace but your transformation BY the workplace. The environment in which you spend at least 1/3 of your life makes a big impact on who you are and who you become. Your life as a follower of Jesus Christ who desires to live by the ethics of the kingdom can be transformed by the ethics of the workplace, dulling your spiritual edge and distracting you from what you know and profess to be right, good and true.
Many of you daily spend 8-10 hours inhabiting a world where those around you are attempting to claw their way up the career ladder at all cost to themselves or others; you are surrounded by people who care for no one but themselves, by people who think traits like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness are reflections of personal weakness; foul and filthy communication of all sorts is rife; work/life balance as a corporate value is touted from the top of the organization but the expectation is that the only “balance” that is acceptable is the one where work always comes first.
A work environment like this cannot help but have an impact of even the strongest of disciples of Jesus Christ – many of you have told me this very thing.
But your transformation BY the workplace does not need to be all negative. The challenges of bringing the kingdom of God near in the context of such godlessness can make a positive contribution to your transformation as a follower of Jesus Christ. I regularly hear from you that as crazy and spiritually bankrupt as your workplace is at times these very things challenge you to pray more, to study more, to be more creative and extra diligent in your execution of those things that will contribute to your efforts at bringing the kingdom of God near. Some of you even thrive in situations where you are the only Christian as far as the eye can see; your mantra is “Me, plus the Lord, is always a majority!”
So be encouraged this morning. You are where you are by the sovereign purposes of the King under Whose banner you live and for Whose kingdom you move and by Whose kingdom you have your very life and hope.
The Lord’s Day is upon us. At the 10 AM Sunday School hour this week we will have representatives of the Urban Impact Foundation making a presentation about the Urban Impact ministry that is so vital and effective on Pittsburgh’s Northside. I initially invited them to speak to my senior high Construction Site but I’ve decided to open up the class to all who might be interested in hearing about the ministry. There will be those who work in their educational, athletics and arts ministries, making presentations as well as showing a short introductory video on U.I. along with a Q&A time. If you are not currently committed to the Marriage class with Dr. Ayers I would heartily invite you to join me in the Lounge at 10 AM.
‘Hope to see many of you on the Lord’s Day.
Faithfully in Him,
Posted on Fri, October 7, 2016
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