What if you lose your job?

photo

29And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  Luke 12:29-34

Yesterday I phoned up a friend who lives in Alberta. Eight years ago he moved from Vancouver and our church where we had shared the beginning years of his family’s discipleship journey with Jesus. His job was secure, but with the downturn in the price of oil, he like many others has lost his job.

What do you do if you lose your job?

Well no doubt its been hard. The internal struggles where apparent in his voice. But what he said next stuck joy in my heart.

He is pursuing Jesus.

He is studying God’s Word. He is taking Biblical studies classes.

He is assisting weekly with an outreach to students on a university campus.

And of course he is looking for work, not with panic, but with an ear on the heart of our Heavenly Father.

He showed me the delight of having Jesus as our treasure! In Jesus all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden (Colossians 2:3). Nothing can compare to the incredible worth of knowing Him. Jesus calls us out:

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.  (Matthew 13:44-45)

Great Expectations

IMG_2364

4 And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable, 5“A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. 8And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”   Luke 8:4-8

I love Jesus’ parable of the sower, seed, and soils. It generates confidence in the Word of God. And it causes me to wonder about the condition of my own heart. Do I have ears to hear? Could God really do wonderful, fruitful, and productive things in my life?

Jesus’ disciples were curious about the parable too, so they asked Him about it.

9And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, 10he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ 11Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

Jesus is giving them insight into how God is working. “A sower went out to sow His seed… The seed is the word of God.” God is sowing seed, His truthful word into our lives! God is choosing people! God is bringing people into the fullness of His Kingdom!

Jesus has confidence that His words would accomplish dynamic, life-giving impact in the lives of people. When we speak and receive the Gospel of Jesus we can have the same confidence.

Prayer Templates from the Bible

Prayer Picture

9And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.  Colossians 1:9-12

Ever wonder what to pray when you intercede for a another follower of Jesus. Use the prayers of Paul as a template and write out a prayer. Pray it for a few days and then share it with them.
Dear _________,

From the day I heard about your life of faith, hope, and love in Jesus Christ, I have been praying for you. It goes something like this:

Our Heavenly Father, please fill ____________ with the knowledge of your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so ______________ can walk in a manner worthy of Jesus, fully pleasing him, and bearing fruit in every good work, and all the while increasing in the knowledge of you.  Strengthen _________ with all power according to your glorious might, so ___________ will have joyful endurance and patience. May your Spirit stir up gratitude in ___________ toward our Heavenly Father who has qualified ___________ to share in the glorious inheritance of the followers of Jesus.

I’m so thankful for what you have done in ___________ life!

AMEN.

Live like an exile: Live Engaged!

IMG_8501

4“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.  Jeremiah 29:4-6

God addresses the Israelite captives in Babylon as people who are to live under Him and in His covenant no matter where they live. He has sent them. And now He commands them to engage in life there. Their temptation may have been to “keep their moving boxes” rather than unpack and settle down.

Build houses. Live in them.

Plant gardens. Eat the produce.

Take wives. Have a family.

Expand the family.

Multiply.

We are tempted to turn Christian discipleship into a perpetual retreat from life. Instead we are to engage in the activities of a good life as people under the graceful rule of Jesus the King. Our life together as the church includes engagement in the productive aspects of city and community life. Building, planting, forming relationships and creating family.

Are you living well?

Living well for a Christian is to somehow engage in the economy of Great Commission disciple-making. I really can’t read Jeremiah’s letter to exiles  through the lens of Jesus’ commands without taking hold of His call for the church to multiply disciples. Following a Mark 4 view of the Kingdom, we are to be a people who plant our lives in community, plant the Gospel in the lives of people, make disciples of those whom Jesus calls, and gather them into the church He is building. Exiles have longings. We are longing for Him to be fully revealed and in doing so we are becoming the people who reveal His Kingship… no matter where we live.