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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Thrill of Vocation!

How boring does a Bible study on the topic of "vocation" sound? Pretty lame, right? Well, hold on one minute. Before you write off this Fall's Sunday Morning Bible Study, let me explain to you what we are talking about when we discuss vocation.

In our day, the word vocation is associated with your job. You get "vocational training" in order to equip you to be better in your field of work. And though there is some correlation between this idea and what our class will be about, when we use the word vocation in the church we have something a bit more in mind.

When we talk about having a vocation, we are talking more about having a place in God's creation. We are members of God's family by God's adopting grace. We have a secure foundation in knowing that we are God's children. In fact, our identity is grounded in who we are in Christ Jesus, you and I are God's beloved! But, we are also God's beloved who live and move and have our being in this world in relation to other people.

God has called you by his grace into a loving relationship with Him through Jesus. AND He has called you to love and serve your neighbor in any number of (and here is our word) vocations: mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter, husband, wife employee, employer, friend, neighbor, citizen, etc. In God's sovereignty He has placed you in the relationships you have. And He has called you there so that He might work through you to serve those you are in relationship with. This calling, this service, this role you have in God's creation, this is vocation.

So, if you have ever wondered how to live out your faith in your workplace, in your family, amongst your friends, this study is for you. If you have ever wondered if having a job that is not church related is pleasing to God, this is the study for you. If you have ever wondered how to incorporate your faith into your everyday life, this is the study for you. If you have ever wondered if there was any purpose to your life, this study is for you. If you are reading this newsletter, this study is for you!

Too often we think that the life of the Christian is to focus on the "then and there" of heaven and to ignore the "here and now" of earth. But, God has called us, here and now, to be salt and light to this world (Matthew 5:13-14). He has called His creation good though it has fallen away from Him. You and I, who are part of this fallen creation, know of the greatness of God's redemption for us. We who have been redeemed and await our full redemption live in the world created by this God and is also awaiting redemption (Romans 8:18-22), and this God has purposes and plans for us in this world (Timothy 1:8-9). Please join us as we learn how to live as God's salt and light in a world that is bland and dark. The topic of vocation will be more exciting than you think!

Pastor Bob

Speaking of Jesus - Sept 2009

I love listening to the White House Press Secretary. These speakers fascinate me. They take a hundred different questions on the same topic so that the American people can hear what their commander and chief is up to. They get so many questions because they are masters at being vague. They say so much without saying anything at all. I love to hear what they say and what they don’t say. I do not envy this job, but I think it is a very important one. And, if nothing else, it is really entertaining! (Please note: I am not saying anything positively or negatively about the Press Secretary, just that this job fascinates me.)

The Press Secretary speaks to the media on behalf of the President. He reveals to them what the President wants them to know. Similarly, (with less coverage on CNN) prophets in the Old Testament spoke on behalf of God. They would reveal to the people what God wanted the people to know, whether it was a word of condemnation for sin or a word of promise for salvation. They spoke for God.

In the book of Hebrews, the author tells us that part of Jesus' purpose in coming was to speak as the final prophet. "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe." (Hebrews 1:1-2) Just like a Press Secretary comes to speak on behalf of the President, God the Son came to speak on behalf of God the Father. He came to condemn our sin by preaching God's law and He came to forgive those sins.

Jesus just kept forgiving! Its like He couldn't stop! A man can't walk, his friends carry him to Jesus, and Jesus says, "Son, your sins are forgiven." (Mark 2:1-12) Another time at dinner a woman came to Jesus, and in an act of worship, washed his feet with perfume. After rebuking the others for not worshipping him in this way (in other words, for not having faith) he turns to the woman and says, "Your sins are forgiven." (Luke 7:36-50). And from the cross, while He is hanging bloody and shamed, mocked and abandoned, "stricken, smitten, and afflicted" (Isaiah 53:4), He cries out "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Jesus, our prophet, comes not only to tell us of God's forgiveness, but to forgive us Himself.

Jesus just keeps forgiving! Its like He can't stop! When we embrace our friends with the gospel, this is what they need to know. We are sent by this Jesus, our prophet, to tell them the very words this prophet spoke about them. We have friends who are broken and tired, fighting guilt and carrying burdens. They fear that God does not... no... cannot love sinners such as them. You must, MUST, give them this message from God. In these last days, God has spoken to us through His Son Jesus Christ and has said, "Son, daughter, your sins are forgiven."

Pastor Bob

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