Category Archives: centerforfaithatwork

You Need a ‘Sabbath!’

sabbath-girl-for-webChrist Church hosts The Center for Faith at Work monthly dinner meetings. In October we explored how the biblical Sabbath can and must be applied to our work lives in order to truly flourish. I’ve summarized the Sabbath and the Workplace presentation and offer it here so you can access the practical content we experienced last month. It includes the teaching, great articles, and question to help you apply the sabbath principle.

Download the PDF here.

Here is a video excerpt from my interview with Robert Messore, a leader at Christ Church, a sales manager by trade, a spiritual director, and self identified monastic!

I hope you can join us for our next Monday meeting on November 7th: Work-Life Balance – Priorities & Rhythms. Click here to register.

NOTE: We have begun to partner with the Theology of Work Project as we plan our program content. I believe this will add value in amazing ways as we also help them design materials for other churches and ministries to focus on faith at work.

Many people only think about Sabbath in terms of what it means to rest from our work. But what if we are also called to work from our rest. That making space for a real Sabbath is not only designed to offer us physical refreshment following a demanding week, but actually changes the way we approach our work because we have seen more clearly the way God works and also the way God invites us to work in partnership with him.    (Walter Brueggemann)

Ordination to Ordinary Life and Work

As our Faith at Work Series continues, we were blessed as a congregation to take a small step toward what we call the “ordination to ordinary life and work.”  Listen to the sermon here. The picture to the right is from the 9/11 Museum and story from John Felker of Chaplain Mychal Judge who died praying over a fallen comrade. The prayer is one that he prayed to prepare for his workday. (Click on the image to read it.)  Below, is the text of the Prayer and “Ordination” language with which we ended the service.

People of God, we have come to celebrate the ministry that Christ has given to the Church in calling men and women to serve in its mission. Christ alone is head of the Church, the source of all ministry. By the Holy Spirit this ministry belongs to all who believe and are baptized, to be salt for the earth and light to the world. Because we are created in God’s image, being fully human means to rule and serve well in God’s creation.

Hear God’s word of call and promise: “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.” “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” With these words, Jesus sent his followers on a mission to the whole world. We are a part of that mission still, two thousand years later and half a world away. We know the joyful obligation and solemn privilege of being called to live out this commission. We are given opportunity to serve our world in Christ’s name, and work together to introduce people and nations to our Lord and Savior. From the beginning, Christians have been a sent people and churches have been sending communities. In the Book of Acts we read that the church named Paul and Barnabas to be a mission team. The Scripture reads, “Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.” This is what we do today.

Do you affirm today that you are made in the image of a God and redeemed by Christ. And that you therefore want your life to be fully immersed in what Jesus calls the Kingdom of God. That when you get up in the morning to go to your job, or be at school, or care for your family, or go about your daily tasks – you are fulfilling a holy calling from God?

PRAYER OF CONSECRATION: God, who calls people to go to the ends of the earth with the good news of Jesus Christ, we join together today in sending these people out for their important work as faithful witnesses of Your Kingdom wherever they find themselves. Through the touch of their hands and the labor of their backs, through the working of their minds and the words of their mouths, do your work of communicating good news and extending the kingdom. In this time, may they grow in grace and in their knowledge of you; may they effectively and faithfully serve others in your name; may they be used in introducing people to Jesus; may they give glory to you by their actions. We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Living the Good News with Conviction, Civility, & Compassion

15-10-05 F:W Convictions-Civility.012How do we engage the culture in which we find ourselves in a Christ-honoring way? This is a crucial and sometimes complex question for Christians everywhere. There are three essential ingredients from the Scriptures that put ‘flesh’ on being ‘salt and light’ in the culture. God calls us to be people of CONVICTION, CIVILITY, and COMPASSION.  The sermon from Oct. 4th is linked here. I’ve added some additional notes that expand the discussion below.

Civility is becoming recognized as a public virtue far superior to an often mushy Tolerance – which does not even require love for the other as ‘neighbor!’

The central principle from the ever-relevant Scripture in Peter’s first letter:

…in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense (Greek: apologia) to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect… (1 Peter 3:15 ESV)

Let me take this a step further explaining why I believe God calls us to all three of these essentials… (you can ponder the question of, “what will be missing if all three are not part of our lives.”)

14-06-01 Flourish5-civility-conviction-comp.024Without CONVICTION, we can be aimless or even compromising, not pointing people to ‘the Good, the True, and the Beautiful’ which come from God.






14-06-01 Flourish5-civility-conviction-comp.025Without COMPASSION, we can be impractical and just ‘live in our head’; or worse – be people without embodied love in action, and ultimately become invisible or irrelevant to the culture in need around us!






14-06-01 Flourish5-civility-conviction-comp.026 Without CIVILITY, we can become a limited Christian ‘ghetto’ that doesn’t engage the culture. Or, we can be only a marginalized subculture – unpersuasive and the opposite of the Good News aroma of God!

[On the wider level of our culture and the world, the absence or imbalance of these three virtues leads to lack of any respectful dialogue on one hand – or even violence and terrorism on the extreme end.]

(Richard Mouw’s Uncommon Decency is a must read on the subject of civility with convictions.)

So, let’s continue grow in our biblical convictions of truth while embodying and proclaiming the Gospel of hope in Christ – all with a grace and respect among the sacred humans we live with every day!

“Be One Person!” Faith at Work – part 2

IntegrityWe all struggle with what the Psalmist calls a “divided heart.” (Psalm 86:11-13) The second teaching in our series, Faith at Work is about INTEGRITY: Being One Person! Listen to it here.
It includes a personal story by Jim O’Donnell that inspired this emphasis for The Center for Faith at Work.

The word, integrity, has a long, meaninful history. And, as  it turns out, to be one person, is exactly what integrity is about. The implications are huge for integrating faith and work.

“The oneness of integrity can be spoken of as a lack of duplicity or double – dealing; the person of integrity is never two-faced. The character of the person of integrity is not virtuous in some aspects of life, a little shady in others, downright vicious in yet others! To possess integrity is to be all of a piece: ONE, whole; perfect in the sense of unbreached completeness….The other point is that integrity, this oneness of heart, is consistent and enduring – not a one-time decision…a virtue that characterizes a person over time!”
            (Margaret Moorman, Journal of Society of Christian Ethics, Vol. 24/2, 2004)

In the Greek world, the word was translated as chastity, discretion, moderation, sanity, and self-control. Ephraim, the Syrian says in one of his sacred poems, “Let such a man (or woman) who is divided / collect himself together and become one before You!”

Let’s ask the Lord daily to empower us to Be One Person – all the time – in every arena of life!

Re-think your work!

faw_logoA very exciting announcement! We have just launched The Center for Faith at Work. Check out the Center’s website. This grows out of one of our Mission Priorities: to become and make committed disciples of Christ who glorify God and embody our faith in every area of life. We want to inspire, equip, and support one another to bear witness – in our lives, work, and words – to the loving reign of God in ‘the real world.’

   Recent Gallop studies showed that 90% in a survey indicated that they were either ”not engaged” or “actively disengaged” from their jobs! This points to a need for some radical rethinking.
   Even as people of faith, I believe we suffer, especially in our Western culture, from a plague called “dualism.” We often make a hard distinction between the “Sacred” and the “Secular;” between the material and the spiritual; between doing our work and a “higher” calling of serving God and neighbor. But the very fact that in Christian teaching, Jesus was “God in the flesh,” God entering our human neighborhood, blows this dualism out of the water. Jesus called, and still calls, men and women to a discipleship (apprenticeship) that is meant to embody faith in every arena of life, including our workplaces, however defined. 
If you are in our region, I hope you will join us for our first Monthly Dinner Meeting on September 14th from 6:30-8:30 pm.  Register here to attend! Get in on the beginning of a movement that will not only lift our thinking, but will have a practical impact on everyone we touch through our work!

This September and October at Christ Church we will be teaching in Sunday worship on some of the foundations to inspire a strong “Theology of Work and Culture.” The sermons:
_Your Work Matters to God!
_Integrity: Being One Person
_The Third Alternative: Living with Conviction and Civility
_TGI Monday: Excellence in the Ordinary 
_Measuring Success 
_Ordination to Ordinary Life

The Center Resource Page is a great first step that links to dozens of print and internet tools that will inform and transform how we think about our work.