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Archive for October, 2011

Why Work?

As human beings, we have been designed not only to rest and to play, but also to work. From the very beginning of Scripture we see that the one true God is not a couch potato God, nor did he create a couch potato world. As the Genesis storyline opens, we read, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Here we are immediately introduced to God as a thoughtful and creative worker. At first glance we observe the triune God as an active deity. The Spirit of God is hovering over the waters. God’s infinite creativity, omnipotence, and omniscience are unleashed, and he is intimately engaged in his good creation.

Created to Contribute

Scripture tells us that the most bedrock answer to the question of why we work is that we were created with work in mind. Being made in God’s image, we have been designed to work, to be fellow workers with God. To be an image-bearer is to be a worker. In our work we are to show off God’s excellence, creativity, and glory to the world. We work because we bear the image of One who works. This is why the apostle Paul writes to a group of first-century followers of Jesus who have embraced the gospel, “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat” (2 Thess. 3:10). At first blush, Paul’s rather blunt words seem cold and lacking Christian compassion, but upon further theological reflection, Paul’s words convey to us some needed insight. Paul does not rebuke those who, for various legitimate reasons, cannot work, but he does say that an unwillingness to work is no trivial thing. For anyone to refuse to work is a fundamental violation of God’s creation design for humankind.

When we grasp what God intended for his image-bearers, it is not surprising that throughout the book of Proverbs the wise are praised for their diligence and the foolish are rebuked for their laziness. When we hear the word fool, we often think of someone who is mentally deficient. However, a foolish person in Scripture is not necessarily one who lacks intelligence but rather one who lives as if God does not exist. The psalmist puts it this way: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Ps. 14:1). A fool is one who rejects not only the Creator but also creation design, including the design to work. Throughout Scripture slothfulness is rightly viewed in a negative light. A slothful Christian is a contradiction in terms. We should not be shocked to see that the Christian church throughout history has reflected negative sentiments about slothfulness. Sloth finds a prominent place in Pope Gregory the Great’s listing of the seven deadly sins. The Protestant Reformers spoke of the poverty of slothfulness and laziness. Consistently they made the connection that those who spend their time in idleness and ease should rightly doubt the sincerity of their Christian commitment.

God could have placed Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden and made it much like the world of humans in WALL-E, where they could sit around with food coming to them, sipping their life-giving nutrients out of giant cups. This was not God’s desire or his design for his good world. Because God himself is a worker, and because we are his image-bearers, we were designed to reflect who God is in, through, and by our work. The work we are called to do every day is an important part of our image-bearing nature and stewardship. As human beings we were created to do things. In this sense we are not only human beings, we are also human doings. We have been created to contribute to God’s good world.

From Work Matters by Tom Nelson

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October 26, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life / Doctrine,The Christian Life,Work / Vocation | Author: Lindsay Tully @ 8:00 am | (2) Comments »

Caring for a Loved One with Cancer: Be Prepared to Help for the Long Haul

It is not unusual for visits, calls, and offers of help for those battling cancer to taper off after a couple weeks. When someone calls and a cheery voice answers, the assumption can be made that all is well and help is no longer needed. However, this is sometimes far from the truth.

Even when spirits are high and recovery is going well, it doesn’t mean that needs are no longer present, especially when a loved one is undergoing chemo or radiation treatments and energy is low. The side effects of these treatments can render anyone incapable of performing simple tasks that are suddenly too strenuous to accomplish.

Be committed to being available for the long haul and to continue helping throughout the length of the cancer treatments. Such perseverance and faithfulness will be forever remembered and deeply appreciated.

“[Love] . . . always hopes, always perseveres.” - 1 Corinthians 13:7

Adapted from Caring for a Loved One with Cancer by June Hunt

As we recognize breast cancer awareness month, we’ve shared several helpful thoughts from June Hunt’s new book Caring for a Loved One with Cancer. Read a sample chapter, buy the book, or check out our related posts:

Work Matters: More But Not Less Than a Carpenter

Reading Mark 6:3, I began to reflect on the significance of Jesus spending so much of his time on earth working with his hands in a carpentry shop. Here was the Son of God sent to earth on a redemptive mission of seeking and saving the lost, of proclaiming the gospel, yet he spent the vast majority of his years on earth making things in an obscure carpentry shop. We know from Luke’s Gospel that even at the age of twelve, Jesus was demonstrating his amazing rabbinical brilliance to the brightest and best in Jerusalem (Luke 2:47). How did Jesus’s brilliance fit in with a carpentry career? At first glance this doesn’t seem to be a very strategic use of the Son of God’s extraordinary gifts or his important messianic mission. Why was it the Father’s will for Jesus to spend so much time in the carpentry shop instead of gracing the Palestinian countryside, proclaiming the gospel and healing the multitudes?

The New Testament records Jesus spending only about three years in itinerant ministry, what we might refer to as full-time vocational ministry. But for the many years before that, Jesus worked as a carpenter.

When we contemplate who Jesus really is, his joyful contentment to work with his hands day after day constructing things, making useful farm implements and household furniture in an obscure Nazareth carpentry shop, we find him truly stunning. Jesus’s work life tells us that he did not think being a carpenter was somehow below him or a poor use of his many gifts.

It is all too easy for us to overlook the fact that Jesus knew what it meant to get up and go to work every day.

Modified from Work Matters by Tom Nelson

October 24, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life / Doctrine,The Christian Life,Work / Vocation | Author: Lindsay Tully @ 2:30 pm | 1 Comment »

“Daddy, Can You Teach Me How To Pray?”

Has your child ever asked a similar question?

Sometimes it’s hard to know how to answer this question as a parent, because when we look back, it appears that good prayer comes from time and experience; things our children don’t have much of. How can we encourage our kids to expand their prayer language beyond “Now I lay me down to sleep…” and “God bless Daddy and Mommy…”?

In The Barber Who Wanted to Pray, R.C. Sproul’s imaginative and beautifully illustrated children’s story, the fictional father Mr. McFarland responds to his daughter’s similar question, as many teachers do, by sharing a story.

Mr. McFarland tells the 500-year-old story about Master Peter, a barber well-known to all in his village. One day, when Martin Luther the Reformer walks into his shop, the barber musters up the courage to ask the outlawed monk how to pray. Luther responds by writing a letter to the barber. The barber’s life and many others’ are changed as they encounter a model for prayer by using the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Apostles’ Creed.

Sproul’s story will delight children and help them learn to pray according to the Bible. The full text of the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Apostles’ Creed will make this a treasured book to be returned to time after time.

Learn more about the The Barber Who Wanted to Pray or preview the book here:

October 21, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,Children / Parenting,Life / Doctrine,Marriage / Family,News,Prayer,The Christian Life | Author: Crossway Staff @ 11:03 am | 0 Comments »

Gospel Wakefulness Changes our Theological Pursuit

by Jared Wilson

Gospel wakefulness changes theological pursuit. It reorients knowledge to become the means to knowing God, not knowing stuff. It exults in God, not merely in thoughts about God. True theology galvanizes our affections toward God, not toward theology. It is possible, remember, to have all knowledge but merely be a clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13:1).

And one of the greatest cautions in my study is knowing that there is no theological point that a demon couldn’t assent to. A demon may be a Calvinist, an Arminian, a Baptist, a Wesleyan, a Presbyterian, a pretribulationist, an amillennialist, a credobaptist, a paedobaptist, a Zwinglian sacramentalist, or a Lutheran one. What a demon can’t be, however, is a worshiper of God. Real worshipers worship in spirit as well as truth (John 4:23–24).

What gospel wakefulness accomplishes, then, is the bringing of one’s heart to theological study, not just one’s mind.

From Gospel Wakefulness by Jared Wilson.

October 19, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life / Doctrine,Sanctification,The Christian Life,The Gospel,Theology | Author: Angie Cheatham @ 8:00 am | 0 Comments »