Jesus Works Chapter One Jesus – A Man of Many Talents: Blue Collar Jesus

Jesus Works Chapter One Jesus – A Man of Many Talents: Blue Collar Jesus

JesustheCarpenter

Jesus the Carpenter

When people think of Jesus and work, one of the first things they imagine is Jesus the carpenter. This is obviously due to the nature of His earthly father’s occupation, but is this where Jesus’ experience with craftsmanship ends? Jesus uses His vast experience with the craft and art of carpentry on numerous occasions; probably far more often than we realize. His parables and sermons are replete with words like cornerstone, line, and build.  There’s a depth to His understanding and personal enjoyment of making something beautiful and useful that transcends the work itself and moves into a mentality and practice of being made new in His Kingdom. We’ll look more deeply at Jesus the carpenter in a later chapter.

JesustheShepherd

Jesus the Shepherd

I am a sheep and the Lord is my Shepherd…We’ve sung this song many times. We all can probably recite Psalm 23 by heart. There’s something about being a shepherd that Jesus not only understood, but found extremely instructive for the Christian life and work. Jesus used this type of work to explain the relationship between Himself and us and He uses this example today as well. The work of a shepherd is one of love, sacrifice, and danger. It’s a place of authority and protection and care. Our Shepherd leads us in a way that would impress Jacob and David, even though they were veritable masters of the trade. Jesus as the Shepherd, watching over our souls will be discussed later. We’ll also look at His shepherding pattern that continues in His Kingdom today.

JesustheFarmer

Jesus the Farmer

You might see a pattern emerging to the study. Yes, we’re approaching Jesus’ knowledge of occupations from what we would call “blue collar” jobs first. We’ll also look at some “professional” or “white collar” and finally the highest levels of work as society sees them. But, as the Farmer of farmers, Jesus understood a great deal about how to grow things. We’re very familiar with His parables concerning soil and seed. But, where does He draw this from and how does He interpret how this type of work can change humanity? You see with Jesus, it’s not just about using the farmer’s work as a model, but also telling those who are producers how they can use their own talents and might to produce for Him. Jesus, like you and I, loved to watch things grow and make something good and beautiful and delicious. When we look at Jesus the Farmer in a later chapter, we’ll see just how much joy He takes in things that grow!

JesustheFisher

Jesus the Fisherman

Jesus spent some serious time in boats. A full third of His core disciple group were fishermen (Peter, Andrew, James, and John) so He not only was exposed to fishing, but immersed in the full scope of a fisherman’s life. While fishing and the act of changing His followers into “fishers of men” were central to Jesus’ teaching, the act of fishing itself seemed to be of some importance to Him. Jesus didn’t just catch fish, He ate fish, multiplied fish, and even used fish in His ministry! Jesus the Fisherman was the best angler you’ll ever read about. He didn’t need radar equipment, waders, or even a fishing pole. He was that good! We’ll take a look into Jesus’ tacklebox in a later lesson to see how He viewed the act and work of fishing and how our own work can catch, produce, and multiply today.

JesustheCook

Jesus the Cook

Food and eating together was an integral social and religious activity of the day when Jesus carried out His traveling ministry around Palestine. The Jews still carried out all of the various feasts that are mentioned in Numbers 28 and 29. Besides daily, weekly, and monthly offerings, there were five major religious festivals on the Jewish calendar and every one of them included cooking and eating. Jesus didn’t just cook, He created. When we think of the culinary arts, we tend to see them as a means to an end. Someone takes the food, adds some spices, applies heat in order to soften, warm, and sanitize the food, and then it’s ready for consumption. But, Jesus did more than this. He went a step further and made food something altogether new. He showed humanity how to look at food and other material necessities in a new way. The blessing of food today is no different than it was then. We still need it to live and we still need to look at it in a way that makes sense within the context of the Christian life. Not in a legalistic way, but in a way that takes our attention off of the material and directs our heart, soul, mind, and strength toward the spiritual.

Jesus Works Chapter One Jesus – A Man of Many Talents: Jesus the Man

JesustheMan

Jesus Works

Chapter One

Jesus – A Man of Many Talents

Jesus the Man

When Jesus walked the Earth, he managed to know and see and do many things. In fact, he seemed to understand the full range of not only society, but the occupations of basically every person at every level of society. Among the numerous jobs Jesus talked about and performed were teacher, leader, fisherman, public relations, and, of course, carpenter. Jesus wasn’t just talented at all of these things, but a complete genius in every field! This has led many scholars, both secular and religious, to claim that Jesus probably had the highest IQ of any human who ever lived!  Jesus is and was truly The Master. We also must be mindful of our own vocations as we seek to work for Jesus in every area of our lives. David Hagenbuch, in his paper concerning Christian vocation, states “Vocation derives from the Latin verb vocare, to call, and from a biblical perspective, that caller is God. It is important to note that this calling applies to every area of one’s life, as there is no distinction between sacred and secular. An individual’s vocation may include, for instance, his or her role as parent, spouse, sibling, deacon, scout leader, softball player, and member. As such, a vocation is a unique, individualized calling, often not discovered easily, that requires specific talents, offers true enjoyment, and accomplishes something of value” (2008, p. 86).   In this introductory chapter of our study, let’s look at the various areas of Jesus’ work in and among humans and how we can learn more from Him within the framework of His infinite talent, knowledge, and wisdom.

Jesus the Man

The first thing we have to understand is Jesus as a physical person. Jesus was human. We all realize this, but what does that mean? There are several areas we could discuss that would help us define Jesus’ humanity, but the easiest way to see who he was as a man is to look in the mirror. Jesus was susceptible to all of the same things we are. He got sleepy and grumpy and even sneezy! Sickness and pain and frustration were as much a way of life for Jesus as it is for you and me. We’ll see more about all of these things in the next chapter. Jesus also had interests, knowledge, skills, and abilities. He was interested in people, places, and things. Jesus went through stages of intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual development. He grew and changed and became an adult. Of course, He is God as well, but we can’t let this take away from the important fact of His humanness. Overall, Jesus wasn’t just a man, but The Man; the pattern after which we all follow.

Hagenbuch, D. (2008). Marketing as a Christian Vocation: Called to Reconciliation, Christian Scholar’s Review. Christian Scholar’s Review, 1:38, pp. 83-96.

Strangers:A Review of Immigration in the Bible

iwasastrangerjesus

Strangers:A Review of Immigration in the Bible

Since the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, there have been immigrants. In their case, God directed that Adam and Eve travel outside the land of their creation and into an unwelcoming land. Then as sin grew, Cain killed Abel and was expelled into the wilderness to wander. Noah and his family also sojourned upon the waters as God directed them and had to restart humanity. As you can see, the history of humanity is basically the story of immigration.

As the Patriarchal Dispensation continued, Abraham began his relationship with God by way of a command to become an immigrant. “By faith he (Abram/Abraham) went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise” Heb 11:9. And, of course, his son and grandson were sojourners as well. Joseph, though not by choice, became a stranger in Egypt. Then, his entire family (by choice) became sojourners/foreigners there with him.

'He's sending us to a culturally diverse place called 'Palestine.''

‘He’s sending us to a culturally diverse place called ‘Palestine.”

After the time of their sojourning, when their oppression was fully ripe (Ex 3:7) and the sin of the Canaanites was full expressed (Gen 15:16), God used Moses to lead them out, again as immigrants, and into the Promised Land, beginning the Mosaic Dispensation. In their wandering and after, God consistently reminds them of their status as immigrants/strangers saying, “You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt” Ex 23:9. This same sentiment is stated over 200 times in the Old and New Testament, usually nested in verses that characterize immigrants/sojourners/strangers/foreigners as those who are typically poor and oppressed along with the poor, orphan/fatherless, prisoner, and widow.

This is seen clearly as humanity begins entry into the Christian Dispensation as Jesus teaches in Matthew 25:31-46:

31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,f you did it to me.’

41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

The word “stranger” in the Greek is “xenos”, the word from which we get our term “xenophobia”, a term that means the fear of foreigners/strangers. Clearly, Jesus is speaking in the same terms of one who is an immigrant/stranger/foreigner/sojourner as expressed throughout the Bible.

Based on this review of immigrants in the Word, how are we as Christians to care for those who are immigrants in our land? There seems to be a prevailing attitude of fear and unwelcoming toward those who are strangers in our country, but the Biblical account appears to call for another attitude entirely. Job said: “I was a father to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger.” Job 29:16. Moses penned in every book of the Pentateuch, multiple exhortations to care for those from outside the Israelite community. The remainder of the Old Testament is full of admonitions to help the foreigner. Jesus also pulls no punches in His command to take care of those who are poor, immigrants, and in prison in Matthew 25.

As Christians, we must also remember the spiritual side of immigration. The fact is, we are ALL immigrants as far as God sees us. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” Rom 5:8. We were strangers, wandering in the wilderness of sin, completely hopeless, but God saw us and had compassion on us. He gave us and continues to give us everything. As a result, we are called to spiritually and physically remember God’s words through Moses “You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners” Ex 23:9 as well as the words of Jesus when He says, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required” Luke 12:48b.

“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” Lev 19:33-34.

 

Jesus Works – New Audio Files

I haven’t posted on here in some time now. I’ve been very busy writing new lessons and directing some events with Childhaven and Mt Dora Children’s Home. I’ve been privileged to teach a class at Dalraida church of Christ titled Jesus Works. It’s a vocational class I wrote that basically shows how Jesus would do your job if he were you. Here is a link for the audio files. Enjoy!

Jesus Works Audio Files

The Gift of Song: Part 1 Why Do We Sing?

gift of song

This is the first part of a lesson I presented at Dalraida church of Christ several years ago. It’s all about worship in song…

Music is a part of everyone’s life. Whether they choose to admit it or not, most people sing (get people to raise their hands if they have ever sung with the radio in their car; in the shower; in front of the congregation; during worship). This last one is the one we’ll mainly focus on during the lesson. But, mostly I want us to look at how music is a part of us. It is a gift from God and one that we use to praise Him. Singing makes us feel good about ourselves and others and is mentioned in conjunction with some of the most significant events in the Bible. Let’s see what the Word says about singing.

Why do we sing?

For Worship (horizontal and vertical aspects):

Eph 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord (horizontal)

Rev 5:9-14 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped. (vertical)

For Learning (education through song)

Col 3:19 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. – listen to the words of the song and learn…

Because we have joy in the Lord!

If you love God, you will not be able to restrain your heart and mouth from song…

Jesus Works: A new book in the works from Sipper Books!

jesusbuilding

There’s a new book being written at Sipper Books! It’s titled Jesus Works and is and important look at work as it is defined by Jesus and how we can use our work for His service and glory today.

Christians often feel guilty about their work. They wonder if they’re working hard enough or too hard. Some feel that they should leave their career to go into ministry or missions when this might not be the best course of action. Jesus Works deals with these feelings and Jesus’ own view and sanctification of work for His servants.

Work, in American society especially, can be dehumanizing and discouraging. With the current economic, social, and religious upheavals people across all sectors of work experience, Jesus Works offers those who are disenfranchised and overwhelmed within their professions advice and strategies to deal with their negative feelings and experiences.

After completing Jesus Works, readers will:

  • Understand Jesus’ view of work in His own life and creation
  • Be able to deal with guilt and misunderstandings about Christian work
  • See their role in the Kingdom of Heaven and how their work matters

Jesus Works:

  • Examines Jesus’ work in all levels of society: blue collar, white collar, and high level
  • Explores how Jesus shares His power with us in His Kingdom at every level
  • Identifies the core human needs within and from work and suggests strategies to fulfill those needs

This is a really exciting time! Hopefully, this work will help people to find goodness and service in their work and service for Jesus.

God’s Word Upholds: Construction and Deconstruction in the Word Part 3: The deconstruction of the Physical World

Godsworduphold

God’s Word Upholds: Construction and Deconstruction in the Word  Part 3: The deconstruction of the Physical World

Now consider what would and will happen when God’s Word no longer upholds this physical reality…

Joel gives an early picture of the deconstruction in 3:15 “The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining.” So, we are to understand that the ceasing of light will be a direct sign of the deconstruction of the physical universe. Is 13:10 states something similar: “For the stars of the heavens and their constellations
will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light.”

Now look at Matt 24:29-31 ““Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” This is a later picture given of the darkening and the sounding of the trumpet on the Day of the Lord.

But, here’s where it gets really interesting as it relates to matter in the physical world. 2 Cor 5:1-4 “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” Here we see a destruction of the “tent”. This could refer to our earthly bodies and possibly the “tent” that is the fabric of physical reality, like the tent that God spread out for the Sun and stars. Either, way matter will be deconstructed.

II Peter gives an even clearer picture of what will become of the material universe in 3:10-13 “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” In this passage, it becomes immediately clear that everything in this physical reality will not only be melted and burned, but will actually dissolve away into nothing. Just consider again how matter works. It’s tiny bits of stuff held together with magnetism and gravity and is mostly comprised of empty space. Now, consider what would happen in those forced ceased to be upheld…It becomes immediately clear that all those little atoms and subatoms would merely dissolve away into nothing. Our whole universe and these bodies are mostly empty space, held together merely by weak forces that could not and will not be upheld if not for God’s word. And one day, His word will not uphold any of these things and it will all dissolve into nothing. But, we have a hope for something new.

Everything around us is an image of God’s power or His Word. It’s all held together by that Word and literally constructs everything we know in the physical world. But, deconstruction is coming. In the Day of the Lord, God’s Word will no longer uphold all of the matter we experience now and the Heavens and Earth will pass away. Fortunately, God promises us a new Heaven and new Earth that will never dissolve and will be upheld eternally.