Weaving the message of Jesus into our words and work:

Christians at the Office

 



 

V. Content:

 

A. The issue of clarity of the facts...how much do you have to KNOW, in order to have FAITH?

 

1. Hebrews 11 - the existence of God and His good-hearted ness

 

"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.

 

 

2. Hebrews 11 - promises of God

 

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance...These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.

 

 

3. Galatians and Abraham: a promise of blessing

 

And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, All the nations shall be blessed in you. (Gal 3.8)

 

 

4. I Cor 15: the message is what Jesus did for us

 

that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

 

 

5. How much clarity can an unbeliever actually have? How long does it take us to understand the way it all works?!

 

         Example: Bob Jones, Mark 2, and "If I could just get to Jesus, I'd be okay"

 

         Example: many people of the Gospels came in faith about one aspect of their life (e.g. illness) and left with much, much more

 

 

6. "Jesus, by His death and residency in heaven, cleared the way to God, creating free access to the source of real life and positive change"

 

 

7. Hebrews 11: Faith = enough confidence in some unseen reality to be influenced in one's actions because of it (it's a spectrum, though)

 

         The invisible tree stump example

 

         "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (NAS)..."To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for" (TEV)

 

         "I do believe--help my unbelief..." (Mark 9.24)

 

 

 

B. Christian Buzzwords!!!! (Table of Correspondences)

 

Salvation

Having your life salvaged

 

A new start with God

 

Faster recovery from moral failures

 

God helping soften the consequences of previous moral failures

 

 

Redemption

"Breathing room" from oppressive negative thoughts and habits

 

Ability to growth beyond past habits and limitations

 

Letting go the legacy of guilt

 

A growing sense of belonging

 

Committing to a more healthy set of values

 

God helping soften the consequences of previous moral failures

 

 

Sanctification

Increasing freedom of choice in moral decisions

 

Increasing ease in 'routine' moral dilemmas

 

Increasing clarity in priorities and values

 

Increasing interest in the welfare of others

 

 

Justification

Wiping the slate clean between you and God

 

A privileged status with God

 

Letting past moral failures go

 

 

Accepting Christ

Coming to understand who He was, what He did for you, and counting on His support throughout your future

 

Asking Him to become a real influence in your future actions and responsibilities

 

Recognizing that His efforts for your life-renewal were powerful and from love, and agreeing with Him about them

 

Agreeing with Him that His actions in history for you were necessary, and that His input today needs to be heeded

 

 

The Gospel

Message that Jesus did what it took to open the way up to life & God for us

 

God's encouragement that Christ had created a free path to a positive relationship with Him

 

 

Believing in Jesus

Trusting Jesus that he was sent from heaven to do the necessary work on earth, so YOU could have a clean start with God

 

Trusting Jesus to make sure you're in a good place with God

 

Placing your confidence in the still-alive Jesus, that he will be involved in your life into the future

 

 

Sin

Moral failure

 

Moral apathy

 

Being destructively inconsiderate

 

Destructive choices

 

Destructive attitudes

 

Moral disloyalty

 

Breach of ethics

 

 

Wrath

Moral outrage

 

Passion for integrity and goodness

 

Judicial response to destructive, anti-community lifestyles

 

 

Eternal Life

A life characterized by stability, development, fullness, and eternity

 

A life that is more than unending conscious existence, and one heavily influenced by God's ongoing input for your benefit

 

 

The Cross

Christ's death in history, which solved the 'justice' problem between God and humanity

 

Where Jesus took on the equivalent of the consequences of all our moral failures--so we could go 'free' before God

 

 

Hell

After-death environment of those who choose to accept the consequences of their own moral failures and own destructive actions

 

Where some people receive the treatment they gave to others

 

The after-death state for people who would prefer getting judged than accepting a free pardon from God

 

 

 

 

 

C. Using scripture verses--modern paraphrases and translations -- 'convert' the buzzwords, put it in YOUR idiom ("I like to think of it in this way--that we all have failed to do the right thing occasionally--sometimes even deliberately-- and sometimes in very important situations.")

 

D. YOUR story:

 

         "I don't know about other folks, but I learned ten years ago that...."

 

         "I don't know about other folks, but I learned when I first had to deal with this that...."

 

         "I don't know about other folks, but I learned from a wise, old friend that...."

 

         "I don't know about other folks, but my experiences (some painful) led me to face the reality that...."

         TWO/THREE MINUTES, First-person

 

Elements to include (not necessarily in this order):

 

1.A description of the situation: "I was a junior in college, and had tried all the major fads, trying to find peace of mind..."

 

2. A statement about the perceived need: "It was clear to me that my life was off somewhere. I felt useless, helpless, and alone. I knew the kinds of things that might help, but I didn't have the personal strength to do them well enough or long enough to pull myself out..."

 

3. A comment about the messenger: "The girl I was casually dating at the time just happened to make a new commitment to the Lord and had a peace and an inner joy that I wanted desperately--but couldn't seem to get..."

 

4. What content you understood from the message/messenger/literature: "She gave me this little religious booklet, something and Jesus and intellectuals or something, and another one with some religious discussion in it. I couldn't understand much of the wording, but I could glean the basic message that my life was sort of broken, that I needed Jesus to 'fix' it and me too, and that all I had to do was somehow face up to Him, thank Him for getting involved in human history, and ask Him to extend that help to me!"

 

5. What thinking/evaluation process you went through in deciding to make that step: "For me it was rather clear: my best efforts at achieving deep fulfillment, belonging, peace, and contentment were ineffective, and I knew enough about Jesus to know that He could probably help me see where the problems were, and could help rebuild my thinking and perspectives in a way that would address my deepest personal needs and feelings."

 

6. What doubts you had while you went ahead with the decision: "I knew that I would probably be teased by my friends for such a decision, but that didn't seem quite as important at the time--I sensed I was on to something much more important for life."

 

7. What you expected to occur immediately: "I actually didn't expect any earth-shaking experience when I invited Jesus to become a significant part of my life..."

 

8. How it helped, or what changes occurred: "...but I did sense a quiet change in my heart over the next few days. It wasn't the deep peace I was looking for--it took almost nine months for that to grow from within--but it was a conviction, an intuition that something had changed--and for the better. I somehow knew--in the midst of new intellectual questions and emotional doubts--that God had now become a major player in my future. I knew that He would be involved for good in my thinking and circumstances from then on...and that I would not have to figure life out by myself ever again..."

 

9. Any personal touches that meant a lot to you: (my "Why aren't you rich" plaque)