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    ThuThursdaySepSeptember14th2017 Work Heartily
    byMikel Berger Tagged Sermons Work 0 comments Add comment

    I think we are blessed to sit under good preaching every week at Kossuth and have been for decades. If I’m honest though, most sermons don’t stick with me much beyond 7 days when I hear the next one. This isn’t all bad. I’ve heard the analogy used that I can’t remember what I had for dinner on a Tuesday six months ago and no one is upset about that. The dinner sustained me for a time until I had breakfast the next morning. But we do have those special meals that we remember for a lifetime. Maybe the meal is at a fancy restaurant or you had the opportunity at the dinner to catch-up with a long lost friend. Those sorts of meals stick with you.

    A few weeks ago I was “fed” in a spiritual way that has stuck with me. Drew’s sermons from James 4 and 5, for some fairly clear reasons, were relatable to me. When introducing James 4:13, Drew made it clear that you don’t have to have explicitly made plans to go into a new town to make a profit for these verses to apply to you. But I have pretty much done that before. These verses are speaking directly and clearly to me!

    The remainder of James 4 that week was a great reminder of who ultimately knows the outcomes of any of our plans. James 5 in the following sermon was a convicting warning about conducting our plans in honorable and righteous ways.

    The Holy Spirit has reminded me of those sermons and those sermons, even more importantly, have reminded me of those verses on an almost daily basis since then (enough that when I realized I was up to write for the blog this week it was the first topic to come to mind).

    I know Drew well enough to know he labors diligently in the preparation of each and every sermon. Some stick with me, but many, in my limited view, sustain me for a week or less. Should he only labor diligently on the ones that will benefit me for a long time?

    Of course the answer is, no! I’m not the only one to benefit from the preaching of the Word on Sunday mornings at Kossuth. You might be reading this article wondering what I’m talking about. You were in church the same mornings I was, but those particular sermons didn’t stick out to you. You’re wondering why I’m not writing the same thing, but about a sermon two months ago that you’re still pondering.

    But even more than there being lots of people in the congregation, there’s a better reason for Drew to labor diligently each and every week. He’s not working to just benefit our souls. He’s working ultimately for the Lord and not for us, the men and women in the pews.

    Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, (Colossians 3:23 ESV)

    That verse is true not just for the preaching pastor of a church but for each and every Christian. If your job is writing code, washing windows, teaching children, or selling houses, you do that work for God. In doing the work you reflect our creator God. But the work itself is also part of God’s redeeming work when done in service to him.

    Don’t lose sight of that fact when it seems, yet again, that your work is having no impact here on earth. The real impact you are to have is much greater than that.

    WedWednesdayFebFebruary1st2017 A Life Worth Living
    byWill Peycke Tagged Legacy Life Work 1 comments Add comment

    Well, there it went. January is already behind us. Every year, I marvel at how quickly the “newness” of the New Year wears off. If January 1 is an opportunity to set new goals and make a fresh start, perhaps February 1 should give us pause to evaluate where that fresh start is taking us. During this first month of 2017, I’ve been chewing on these words from author Don Whitney:

    Even those most faithful to God occasionally need to pause and think about the direction of their lives. It’s so easy to bump along from one busy week to another without ever stopping to ponder where we’re going and where we should be going.

    Whitney’s words remind me of something the apostle Paul wrote about a person’s life work:

    Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames. (1 Cor. 3:10-15, NLT)

    We are all building a life: year by year, day by day, moment by moment. Every project we undertake, every dollar we spend, and every commitment we add to our calendar is like a brick in our wall, a piece of our life. It’s exciting to think that some of those “bricks” will be even more valuable at the end of our life than when we first set them in place. But it’s sobering to realize that some won’t. Some bricks will crumble away or, to use the imagery from this passage, burn up. They won’t prove to have any real, permanent value.

    Before we moved to Lafayette, we lived next to an old cemetery. Several of the stones near our fence bore dates from before the Civil War. Many others were so old and worn that the names and dates were no longer readable. Living next to that cemetery was a constant reminder that my life won’t last forever.

    And that’s a reminder I need often. When I’m honest with myself, I have to admit that I chase a lot of things that don’t really have any lasting value. Building “a good life,” one that looks like my neighbors (only better, of course!), is always tempting. But in the end, it will prove as short-sighted as a Civil War general investing in confederate currency or a technology company stockpiling floppy disks.

    We all desperately need an investment that won’t flat-line when we do. We all want to spend our lives on something that will really pay off, really be worth it. So, to borrow Paul’s terminology, what are the “gold, silver, and jewels” we can build our lives with? What kind of investment will prove to have real, lasting value?

    Paul’s investment, his “gold standard,” was pouring himself out for the sake of others. His “life work” was spreading the good news of God’s grace. And that work was built on Paul’s own relationship with Christ—what he called “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 3:8).

    Paul was confident that this investment was worth it. Near the end of his life, he wrote these words:

    As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” (2 Tim. 4:6, NLT)

    If you are in Christ, then your foundation has already been laid. But how you build on that foundation is up to you. Why not make it your “life work” to know Jesus and point others to him? The investment you make in the gospel—both in your own heart and for the sake of others—will always be worth it.

    The first month of 2017 has come and gone. Take time now to thank God for his grace to you. Ask for his wisdom to evaluate where you’re going and where you should be going. And ask him to help you build well—for the next eleven months and beyond. 

    ThuThursdayAprApril14th2016 Redeeming Entrepreneurship

    People keep calling me an entrepreneur. Honestly, sometimes it annoys me.

    Sometimes when I think of an entrepreneur, I think of people like Martin Shkreli. His wikipedia page calls him an entrepreneur and wikipedia is never wrong! One of Martin’s entrepreneurial endeavors was buying a drug company and raising the price of a drug for AIDS patients by 5,000% overnight. I get the impression Martin would do anything to make a dollar at the expense of just about anyone. I sure hope that I’m not an entrepreneur like Martin.

    Other times when I think of an entrepreneur, I think of someone like Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. A college kid in his dorm room creating a company worth billions of dollars out of nothing is what they make movies about. If the bar to be a successful entrepreneur is a billion dollars and a movie, then I’ve fallen far, far short. They don’t make movies about guys like me. (That’s not totally accurate, I guess. In high school I was basically Ollie the equipment manager and part-time basketball player from the movie Hoosiers.)

    I gave a talk last weekend where I tried to convince the audience that their view of entrepreneurship needs to change. So why am I sharing that same message with you here on the Kossuth Elder Blog? Because I believe entrepreneurship can be redeemed if entrepreneurs think more like redeemers.

    Redeem is a word that in our church culture has a lot of connotations. Let me go back to the dictionary definition of redeem to make my point:

    re·deem [rəˈdēm] - VERB -  compensate for the faults or bad aspects of (something)

    Jesus is the one and only Redeemer of souls. Because we are all made in the image of God and are being conformed into his likeness, all believers, even entrepreneurs, are called to be redeemers in our world.

    It doesn’t take much effort to see that there are faults in many things in our world. The easy response is to complain about those faults and resign yourself that this is just how things are in a fallen world. The hard response, but the response I believe God is calling us to, is to not only recognize the bad aspects in something but to also see the good aspects in something. Then we can get to work on compensating for the bad aspects so that the good aspects can be fully known.

    One of my favorite individuals in the Bible is Boaz from the book of Ruth. Boaz was a business owner, family man, and community leader. He was presented a difficult situation. Ruth was a widow, an ethnic outsider, had family burdens, and no financial resources. Boaz could have looked away. He could have done the minimum required by the law and society. But Boaz chose to do the most that he could to make right a difficult situation. That is why Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi, described Boaz as “ of our redeemers.” (Ruth 2:20b).

    Boaz’s work was a foreshadow of the redeeming work of Christ. All believers, entrepreneurial or not, have been given gifts they are being called to use to redeem a small piece of God’s creation and in doing so point a watching world back to their Creator.

    What will you redeem in your world today?

    ThuThursdaySepSeptember25th2014 Redeeming Your Work
    byAbraham Cremeens Tagged Events Work 0 comments Add comment

    What if the Monday blues became a weekly highlight? What if Friday became a point of celebration, not only because the weekend ahead, but also as a result of the sense of godliness you experienced during the previous days?

    Godliness…just by working my job?

    Yes, that’s exactly it! Work is God’s idea. Not only did he work when he created the world, he even created work as a good act for Adam and Eve to do as they tended the garden and governed the earth in his place. Get this: When you work, you are imitating God; you are being godly. Every creative act you perform is an imitation of our God.

    But you don’t have to walk through too many pages of Scripture before you see that work as a godly pursuit became frustrated and distorted. However, God is too good to let that be the end of the story. In the gospel, God redeems even work. Putting in a hard week to pay the bills and put food on the table is a good desire, but it falls too short of what God intends and what he reshaped in his redemptive work. There is a calling and a mission on each one of us in the work place. And I don’t just mean sharing the gospel with non-Christian coworkers (as important as that is). No, I’m talking about an overhaul of your entire life agenda. In our experience of God and his gospel we not only experience a life-altering relationship with the living God, but our entire purpose and agenda are reformatted according to his will and standard.

    This absolutely includes our professional lives. After a lengthy explanation of gospel truths in Ephesians 1-3, Paul eventually hits on derivative principles that affect how we work. Christian, do what your employer asks, just as you would for Christ, “rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man” (Eph. 6:7, emphasis added). The gospel rewrites how we work.

    Please mark November 14-15 on your calendars. During that weekend the men of Kossuth will come together to discuss the Gospel and its impact on work. I believe this weekend of looking at the gospel will transform how you spend your 50+ weekly work hours. And not only that, I believe it will create a ripple effect that impacts your family and personal walk with God, as well.

    Join us. I promise not only great content as we look into the Scriptures together, but also great fun as we connect as men and get all rowdy and stuff.

    Stay tuned for registration information coming soon!

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