Discipleship – you were created to become like Christ.
“In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)
God doesn’t just want you to know about Jesus Christ, he wants you to become like Jesus Christ. This has been god’s plan for you since the beginning of time.
“From the very beginning God decide that those who came to him – and all along he knew who would – should become like his Son.” Romans 8:29 (TLB)
God uses TROUBLE to teach us to TRUST him. – Every problem has a purpose and that is to make you like Jesus Christ and to build character in your life.
God uses TEMPTATION to teach us to OBEY him. – It is not a sin to be tempted but it ultimately comes down to your choices. Will you choose temptation or will you choose God.
God uses TRESPASSES to teach us to FORGIVE. – Trespasses are situations designed by other people to hurt us. If you are going to become like Christ, you have to forgive... Remember God has forgiven you.
God uses trouble to teach us to trust. God uses temptation to teach us to obey. And God uses trespasses to teach us to forgive. He does all this to make us like Christ.
“We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!” Romans 8:17b (MSG)
Until next week….
What problem or situation at work have you or are now facing, that has challenged your character and trust in God?
How are you tempted at work? Is it being more focused on the task and less on people? To not get your reports in on time? To be jealous of a co-worker’s success? In that temptation, what is God revealing to you?
Take a few quiet moments and ask God who is it at work, whom you need to forgive. Your boss who overlooked your accomplishments? A co-worker who cut you off in the meeting? Someone who let you down? As the names come to mind, give them and the situations to God. Tell him how you feel. Offer forgiveness to that person and pray a blessing for them.
Author: Helen Mitchell
Fellowship – you were formed for God’s family. You were called to belong.
“You are members of God’s very own family…and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian.” Ephesians 2:19 (TLB)
In God’s family….
You learn your true identity
You are supported by others
You discover your unique value
You receive protection
You become productive
“See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children, and we really are!” 1 John 3:1 (NLT)
There are Four Levels of Fellowship:
The Fellowship of SHARING together – share your experiences and support
“Let us not give up the habit of meeting together….Instead, let us encourage one another…” Hebrews 10:25 (TEV)
The Fellowship of BELONGING together
“In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:5 (NIV)
The Fellowship of SERVING together
“Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together.” Ecclesiastes 4:9 (NCV)
The Fellowship of SUFFERING together
“Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (NLT)
You are called to belong, not just believe. We discover our role in life through our relationships with others.
Until next week….
If true wealth were measured by the depth of your relationships at work, how wealthy would you be?
Do tasks and projects drive most of your conversations or does the relationship? How effective do you feel in balancing both people and tasks in your workplace?
How can you cultivate the characteristic of fellowship in your church, in your small group and in your workplace?
Worship – You were made for God’s pleasure
“You [God] created all things, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created.” Revelation 4:11 (NLT)
Worship is far more than music….Worship is not for your benefit….Worship is not a part of life; it is your life.
Worship is MY RESPONSE to God’s love.
Worship is GIVING BACK to God.
What do you give to a God who has everything? You give him your love.
“Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 (NIV)
Worship is EXPRESSING MY AFFECTION to God.
God put you on earth to get to know him - “He is a God who is passionate about his relationship with you.” Exodus 34:14b (NLT)
The greatest way to express your love to God is by giving your life to him – “Give yourselves completely to God since you have been given a new life.” Romans 6:13b (NLT)
Worship is FOCUSING MY ATTENTION on God.
Love the Lord your God….with all your mind – “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:2 (NIV)
Establish a daily time with God – “Find a quiet, secluded place…the focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.” Matthew 6:6 (MSG)
Develop constant conversation with God – “Worship him continually.” Psalm 105:4b (TEV)
Worship is USING MY ABILITIES FOR God.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.” Colossians 3:23 (TEV)
It’s not what you do that matters; it who you do it for.
Until next week….
Have you ever considered that your job, your work, your daily work activities could be worship to God? How is your attitude in doing both the small and big things at work?
Surrendering to God is not about losing, it’s about gaining. What will you gain by giving more of your life to God? What part of your work are you holding back?
What one thing will you do this week at work to be a better worshipper? How can your co-workers and your workplace small group support you?
The Question of Existence: Why Am I Alive?
Why was I born? Was it only to have trouble and sorrow, to end my life in disgrace? Jeremiah 20:18 (TEV)
You were made by God and for God’s purposes, and until you understand that, life will never make sense.
God created you to LOVE YOU
Long before (God) laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love...Ephesians 1:4 (MSG)
Contrary to what many popular books, movies, and seminars tell you, you won’t discover your life’s meaning by looking within yourself.
Many people try to use God for their own self-actualization, but that is a reversal of nature and is doomed to failure. You were made for God, not vice versa, and life is about letting God use you for his purposes, not your using him for your own purpose.
The Question of Significance: Does My Life Matter?
My work all seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose at all. Isaiah 49:4 (NLT)
You are not an accident. There are accidental parents, but there are no accidental births. There are illegitimate parents, but there are not illegitimate children. There are unplanned pregnancies, but there are no unpurposed people. God wanted you in this world. You are not an accident.
You, [God], saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!
Life is preparation for eternity.
You were made to LAST FOREVER
When this tent we live in – our body here on earth – is torn down, God will have a house in heaven for us to live in, a home he himself has made, which will last forever. 2 Corinthians 5:1 (TEV)
The Question of Intention: What is My Purpose?
Why did you create us? For nothing? Psalm 89:47b (NCV)
The only way to know your purpose is to ask your Creator.
Knowing God results in every other kind of understanding. Proverbs 9:10b (TLB)
You find your purpose IN GOD
For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible…everything got stared in him and finds its purpose in him. Colossians 1:16 (MSG)
Life is not about you; it’s all about God.
It’s in Christ that we find our who we are and what we are living for….part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. Ephesians 1:11-12 (MSG)
Until next week...
“God created you to love you.” How does that statement strike you? When did you first hear about God’s love?
“I find my purpose in God.” As you embark on this journey of discovery, how ready are you to explore the truth about God’s purpose for your life?
“Life is not about you; it’s all about God.” What difference could it make if we all acted like life is all about God and not about ourselves? How might that influence your workplace?
By Helen M. Mitchell
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
What does anxiety mean? Most of us know how it feels, but what is anxiety? Webster defines it as “a state of uneasiness and apprehension, uncertainty and fear caused by the anticipation of something threatening.”
I see people become anxious at work when the potential of negative consequences exceeds one’s ability to control and affect the situation.
Typical examples that cause our anxiety to rise are, one’s workload is greater than the time available to get it done or when the sales for the period do not match the forecast or when the system just won’t cooperate in solving a customer or patient problem and you become the target of their frustration.
We are told to cast all of our anxiety on Jesus because He cares for us. All our anxiety. Jesus wants to take away the uneasiness and apprehension and fear we face at work. He cares about you and your work. “An anxious heart weighs a man down…” Proverbs 12:25 (NIV)
That is not the life Jesus wants his children to have. Jesus said, “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 (NIV). He wants you to have a full life and He knows that you will face problems at work, but he is asking you to give Him the anxiety so you won’t be weighed down.
So what do we do about the anxiety we face at work?
1. Give it up to Jesus. It may be over your head but it is under his feet!
“And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church.” Ephesians 1:22 (NIV)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petitions, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.” Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
3. Ask God for wisdom regarding the situation causing anxiety
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be give to him.” James 1:5 (NIV)
4. Believe and Receive
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)
1. How much of the anxiety you face is because you feel a lack of control?
2. God may not change the circumstances but he can change our heart in those circumstances. What would that look like for you?
3. This next week, start each day thanking God for the blessings and help the day before and give up to Him the anxiety and the troubles facing you that day. How did this change your outlook on your work? Your faith?
Author: Rick Warren
This week much of the world will shut down for Christmas. Office and stores will close and the streets will be empty on Christmas morning. What’s the big deal? How can an event that happened more than 2,000 years ago still have such a profound effect on our world today?
At that first Christmas, some angels told a bunch of Middle Eastern shepherds, “Do not be afraid. We bring you good news that will be a great joy to all people. Today your Savior was born. He is Christ, the Lord. Give glory to God in heaven and on earth let there be peace among the people who please God.” [Luke 2:11-12,14]
From the angels’ instructions, we learn how to make the most of Christmas:
1. MAKE IT A TIME FOR CELEBRATION! “good news…great joy!”
Christmas is a time to celebrate all that God has given us and done for us. It’s a time to set aside your problems and pressures for a moment and focus on God. If God wanted to communicate to birds he would have become a bird…but he wanted to communicate to human beings so he became like one of us and came to earth 2006 years ago. Now we can know what God is like – Jesus tells us.
Of all the ways God could have come to earth, he came the same way everyone of us did – by a birth. Why? Because he didn’t want us to fear him – and no one is afraid of a baby!
2. MAKE IT A TIME FOR SALVATION! “your savior was born.”
If we needed information, God would have sent an Educator. If we needed more government, god would have sent a Politician. But what we need most is salvation – so God sent us a Savior. What is “salvation”? It’s forgiveness for my past…power to manage my present problems…and a guarantee for my future. But like any gif you must accept it in order to benefit from it. As a young man I worked as a lifeguard for 3 summers. I learned that you can save people until they stop trying to save themselves.
3. MAKE IT A TIME FOR RECONCILLIATION! “let there be peace…”
Christmas is a time to seek to restore those broken or strained relationships. It’s a time to say “I’m sorry” and “Will you forgive me?” it’s also a time to offer forgiveness to all those who have hurt you. First you make peace WITH God, then you receive the peace OF God. Once you have that you’ll find it much easier to make peace with other people.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM EVERYONE AT SADDLEBACK CHURCH!
Until next week...
1. This time of year we hear people talk about “the spirit of Christmas.” What does that mean to you and what do you think God means it to be?
2. What can you do to make Christmas a celebration this year?
3. Is there someone you need to forgive or be reconciled with? Is there someone whose forgiveness you have been asked to accept?
By Helen M. Mitchell
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Luke 2:8-12 (NIV) AM
The shepherds were at work that night just as they had been the night before. I don’t think that they had any idea that their lives were about to change – forever. Their workplace was outside in the fields and in the cold of night they only had the light of the stars to work by as they protected their flocks from danger.
We don’t know why the birth of Christ and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy was announced to a group of shepherds while they were at work but we do know that being a shepherd at that time where they lived was considered a lowly profession with no status or perks.
Were these shepherds chosen because they fought against the boredom of the job and worked heartily day after day and night after night? Were these shepherds chosen because they worshipped and praised God as they worked? What did they do that caught the gaze of the Lord? God could have chosen to make his birth announcement to rulers, kings or religious leaders but he chose to meet the working class where they were at in their workplace.
These were men of great faith. They believed the angel who appeared to them and with confidence left their work to go to Bethlehem to see what God had done. After they had seen the baby Jesus just as the angel said, they told everyone about what happened. These working men were the first evangelists for Jesus and the good news.
How easy it is to lose ourselves in work that can be all consuming or to be tempted to not work as hard as we should because it is not challenging enough. But if we do that, we are likely to miss it when God shows up where we work.
And if you ever wondered if God cared about what you do and where you work, your answer can be found in the shepherds who were at work that historic night.
Until next week...
Why do you think the angel of the Lord showed up to the shepherds? Have you ever thought God has forgotten you in your place of work?
In what ways do you catch the gaze of the Lord in your work?
We can worship God when we work heartily as to him, pray continually and be joyful always. How can you worship God at work today?
Author: Helen Mitchell
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:14 (KJV)
The third purpose of Christmas is reconciliation.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…and he will be called Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6 NIV).
Reconciliation occurs when that which is broken between people is repaired. Reconciliation is something people cannot do. What do we mean by that?
We can not mend our broken relationships in our own power and with our own abilities. Broken relationships cause waves of bitterness, envy, resentment and anger to crash against the shoreline of our hearts with relentless regularity. We try to will it to stop, but the waves keep on coming. We tell ourselves we forgive them for what they did—but the offense replays in our mind like a familiar movie we didn’t like much the first time around either.
Until we have reconciliation we will not have peace. But if we cannot will or force reconciliation to happen, what can we do?
Jesus Christ, our Prince of Peace, offers to you and me his peace, directly from the royal treasury.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27 NIV).
There are three characteristics of God’s peace, and for true reconciliation to occur, we need them all:
Peace with God is spiritual peace
Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1 TEV).
Peace with God means we no longer need to walk around feeling condemned. We may do wrong, because we are sinners and therefore incapable of being perfect, but we know how to make it right with God. We don’t make peace with God by doing good things, but rather the Bible says it is by faith in God’s grace where we will find peace with God.
The peace of God is emotional peace
Pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT).
In John 16, Jesus is talking to his disciples about matters of great importance and, in verse 33, addresses the fact that life brings difficulties. He did not say that all troubles would be for his purpose or that everything would always turn out as we think it should. Jesus did say that in the midst of life’s trials and challenges he offers his peace to navigate the storms of life. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (NIV).
Peace with others is relational peace.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God (Matthew 5:9 KJV).
Once we make peace with God we can then be filled with the peace of God. Now we are ready to mend those broken relationships. Jesus took the responsibility to reconcile us back to God. He did not wait for us to do our part nor are we expected to do any of the work to be reconciled to God – only to accept and receive the reconciliation.
Someone has to take the first step to mend a broken relationship. What broken relationship needs reconciliation in your life?
Will you risk loving like Jesus did and take the responsibility to mend those relationships?
Until next week...
1. Jesus offers his peace to you. What do you need most—peace with God; peace of God; or peace with others?
2. In the storms of your life, will you pray or panic?
3. Jesus Christ is God’s Christmas gift to you. Have you opened that gift and made peace with God? If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9 NIV).
By: Rick Warren
Jesus: “I’m giving you a new commandment: Love each other in the same way that I have loved you.”
John 13:34 (GW)
“I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you!” John 13:15 (NLT)
Do you ever find yourself having to work with someone who just annoys you? Perhaps they are difficult to work with and it just rubs you the wrong way? Or maybe they frustrate you with their lack of communication and follow through? You look at them while the running prayer in your head is “Lord, help me control myself and not say anything I shouldn’t.” We all have times like this. And the truth is, we probably frustrate and irritate others too!
Jesus is calling us to a higher standard of relationships at home, at work and in the community. We are to do more than tolerate those around us. Jesus calls us to love those in our home and in our workplace as sacrificially and unconditionally as Jesus loved us. If we are going to accomplish this, we need to literally “leak” Jesus.
And the only way we can “leak Jesus” is to be full of Jesus to begin with.
I must accept others like Jesus accepts me – Accept one another them just as Christ accepted you. Romans 15:7 (NIV)
I must value others like Jesus values me – For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
I must forgive others like Jesus forgives me – I am the God who forgives your sins, and I do this because of who I am. I will not hold your sins against you. Isaiah 43:25 (GN)
I must believe in others like Jesus believes in me – Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24 (NIV)
We take in information through our mind but we experience life and learn its lessons through our heart. It is often said that life is the best teacher. It is through life that we experience and understand how much God accepts, values, forgives and believes in us. He loved us completely, even before we were born.
Love is Patient and Love is Kind.
While the trials, difficulties and problems may come at us straight on, God intends to use those circumstances to refine us and to make us more like his Son Christ. How much we learn through life’s experiences depends on how we choose to react.
Some of our best friendships are formed in life’s difficulties. God wants to take your circumstances to deepen your friendship with him. As you see God’s hand in your life you will more naturally be able to see the needs of people around you, sympathize with their pain and seize the moment to serve them.
Never walk away from someone who deserves your help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. Proverbs 3:27 (MSG)
Until next week...
1. Jesus showed us acceptance, and now we can show someone else that same acceptance. Who do you know who is hard to love? Find a way to show that person acceptance this week with a small gesture of love.
2. Luke 12:6-7 describes how God compares the life of a sparrow to a person. He also reveals that he numbers the very hairs on our heads! What does that say about God’s attention to the details and interest in our lives?
3. All around us today people are struggling with low self-esteem. We live in an extremely competitive society, which creates rejection in every area of our lives – professional, social, economic, and even in our families. Who can you encourage this week with patience and kindness?
By: Helen M. Mitchell
By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. "This is a remote place," they said, "and it's already very late. Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat."
But he answered, "You give them something to eat." They said to him, "That would take eight months of a man's wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?"
"How many loaves do you have?" he asked. "Go and see." When they found out, they said, "Five—and two fish." Mark 6:35-38 (NIV)
Most of us learned the story of the five loaves and the two fish as children, with the emphasis of the story on the miracle Jesus performed. As adults, we refer back to this story when we think of what little we have to offer the Lord through our abilities, money, time or energy – and how he can multiply it. Or maybe we hold on to the thought that God is a God of miracles.
All that is true, but have you ever thought about the attitude of the disciples before Jesus performed the miracle? The buildup in this story is similar to workplace situations we encounter every day. We can learn a lot about what to do with the problems we see at work from Jesus’ interaction with his disciples.
The disciples had just come back from working out of town, where Jesus sent them to do good works. They were excited about what they had seen and done and what was accomplished, so they were eager to share it with the boss. Jesus quietly took them away to rest, debrief and have something to eat.
Naturally, they were looking forward to this retreat, so when people followed them and invaded their private time, very likely they saw this as annoying. But Jesus had compassion on the people because there was no one to help or direct them. Like most people, they were trying to figure things out on their own. So Jesus began to teach and instruct them. As he did, they absorbed every word of direction and encouragement Jesus offered, and the crowd grew. Before long, five thousand men had gathered – and then it was dinnertime.
As the sun was setting, the disciples saw the practical problem. They also realized there was no food available to meet it. Their solution? Send them away! Out of sight and out of mind. Problem solved and now they could get back to their own agenda. In today’s language, they may have thought, “Not my problem!”
I wonder what was more confusing for the disciples – Jesus telling them to fix the problem, or that the solution he offered was impossible?
In our jobs, we see problems every day – from the behavior of the boss, to someone struggling to get their work done on deadline, to people discouraged under an impossible workload. But as long as it’s someone else’s assignment, our natural reaction is “Not my problem!”
Like these disciples, Jesus may be showing you a problem or a need in your workplace because he is asking you to do something about it. Since we can be confident that he saw the need first, before he gives us a choice to work with him, we can be assured that he also has a solution.
The next time you see a need in your workplace or someone who needs encouragement, stop and ask the Lord to direct you, give you wisdom and the solution, and then move forward in faith. He has put you in your job to be his ambassador and he guarantees he will never leave or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:8).
Until next week...
When you see a need in our workplace, what is your reaction? How often do you respond as the disciples did?
What do you think keeps us from being willing to do something about what we see around us? Is your natural reaction to ignore the problem, criticize, judge or gossip, or to step in?
Take a minute and ask the Lord to open your eyes and heart to those needs around you. Ask for his direction so that you can make a difference in the lives of the people in your workplace – not for your own glory, but for His name’s sake.