Glory in the Ordinary

Red_vineyardsThere is a beautifully striking painting by Vincent van Gogh entitled “The Red Vineyard.” This painting was the only official purchase of a van Gogh painting within the artist’s lifetime. Building on the work of Millet before him, van Gogh paints a group of common peasants working diligently in the vineyard, bathed in the warm light of the setting sun. The scene is both commonplace and lofty, everyday and exalted: ordinary people doing their ordinary work, yet splashed with the sun’s glory as they do it.

Surely, this is a picture of how we work with God in our everyday venues of work: ordinary people doing their ordinary work, yet splashed with the glory of Christ as we do our work as unto the Lord (Col 3:22-24).

God at Work Benediction

Throughout our “God at Work” series at Eastbrook, we concluded every service with the following prayer of benediction. I thought I’d share it as a prayer that we could all use in our daily life with work.

O Lord, our God, Creator and Ruler of the universe,
You have made us in Your image and for Your delight.
We give You thanks for giving us the gift of work,
which reflects our privileged place as co-workers with You in this, Your world.
As we go forth from this gathering, grant us Your power and grace
to perform the work You have given us with wisdom, diligence, joy and love.
Provide what we most need in our difficulties with work,
and remove any idols that rise up in our daily lives at work.
Help us, in whatever we do, to work at it with all our heart,
as working for You and not just earthly masters.
May our work bring growth in this life both to us and to those we love,
as well as reflect Your Kingdom and bring You glory.
Bless us now, Lord, to seek You and serve You in our entire lives,
For You are the God who is at work in us, through us, and around us.
We pray these things in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
Amen.

Opportunities at Work (discussion questions)

God at Work Series Gfx_ThumbHere are the discussion questions that accompany the message I delivered this past weekend at Eastbrook Church, “Opportunities at Work.” This was the fourth and final part of our series, “God at Work.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is one example of your best serving moments at work and one of your worst serving moments at work?
  1. This weekend we conclude our series, “God at Work,” by looking at how the Gospel transforms our opportunity with work. Before starting this study, ask God to clearly speak to you in meaningful ways. Then, whether you are alone or with others, read Colossians 3:22-24 aloud.
  1. Background: In Colossians chapter 3 we see the Apostle Paul addressing everyday situations in early believers’ lives with the truth found in Christ. He literally brings it home by addressing key household relationships in the typical Greco-Roman household: wives and husbands, children and parents, household servants and masters of the house.
  1. Verse 22 begins by addressing the Christian ‘slaves’ or ‘servants’. Paul’s letters were read aloud in the public gatherings of the early churches. What do you think the significance might be in Paul addressing slaves or servants directly in this letter read aloud to the entire Christian community?
  1. What sort of attitude does Paul hold up for the believers who work as household servants in verse 22?
  1. Many times, we work to visibly please our bosses in the workplace, but our hearts are not in the work. What would it look like for Christians to take Paul’s instruction in verse 22 seriously?
  1. Each of these three verses connects our work with ‘the Lord’ in one way or another. What phrases does Paul use to connect our work with the Lord in each verse?
  1. What is one specific way you could work for the Lord and not for human masters in your workplace this week (vs 23), no matter the place or type of work is?
  1. What sort of external motivation does Paul set before the Christ-following worker in verse 24?
  1. In this series, we have been exploring how our work and faith come together because of the creation plan of God and the gospel redemption in Jesus Christ. How has your thinking about faith and work changed through this series? What is one practical way God is speaking to you about approaching your life at work differently as you walk forward? If you are with a small group, discuss that with one another and pray about these things together. If you are studying on your own, write it down, pray about it, and share this with someone during the next few days.

Opportunities at Work

God at Work Series Gfx_ThumbThis past weekend at Eastbrook Church we concluded our series, “God at Work,” as I preached a message entitled “Opportunities at Work.” This message was focused on how the good news of the kingdom in Jesus Christ brings us an entirely new approach to work.

You can watch the message right here and follow along with the outline for the message below. You may want to interact with all the messages from this series here.

You can connect with us further at Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram, or listen to the message via our audio podcast here.

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Difficulties at Work (discussion questions)

God at Work Series Gfx_ThumbHere are the discussion questions that accompany the message I delivered this past weekend at Eastbrook Church, “Difficulties at Work.” This is the second part of our series, “God at Work.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are some of the most common difficulties we face at work? How have you dealt with one of those in your own life?
  1. We continue our “God at Work” series this weekend by looking at difficulties with work. Before beginning this study on your own or with a group, take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you.
  1. We work in a world impacted by sin, brokenness, and evil. In the Bible, this reality is known as the Fall, reflecting our fall from God’s grace and into sin. Read Genesis 3:14-19 and name some of the main effects of sin and evil upon our work.
  1. Jesus came to bring the good news that kingdom of God is near (Mark 1:13) and to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). This was, in one sense, the work that Jesus came to do (John 5:17). When you think of Jesus having work to do, what does that say to you about what it means to work?
  1. Read through Luke 22:39-23:56. As you read through this, take time to reflect on each episode of the story by asking the question: how is Jesus approaching His work here? This may take some time. You may want to take notes as you walk through this extended portion of Scripture.
  1. If Jesus worked His way through difficulties, how does that change your approach to working through difficulties? Maybe you want to consider one situation that is particularly difficult for you right now. How will you see or approach that situation differently because of Jesus?
  1. Sometimes we may feel that the distance between Jesus and us is too great for comparison on this topic. That begin said, we need to remember that Jesus was “tempted in every way, just as we are” (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit to strengthen us to live in His ways. What is one way you are asking God to give you Holy Spirit power to work in the midst of difficulty this week? If you are alone, write it down and pray about that. If you are with your small group, share your answers with one another and then pray for one another about these things.