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Launch Team Meetings Have Begun!

Launch Team meetings have begun for Flooding Creek and everyone’s welcome.  We are now meeting in Guthridge Primary School at 3:00pm on Sunday afternoons.  We begin by sharing afternoon tea together and then kick off our meeting at 3:30pm.  We finish by sharing dinner together in the hall.  It’s a great time of singing, praying and hearing from God’s Word.  There is no dress code, we are all very casual.  Kids are welcome and will be looked after, but we have no formal programs for kids at this stage.

Parking is available on Dawson Street and the grounds can be entered by a large side gate near the oval.  The hall is at the western end of the school grounds.  If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Work part 4

So far in this blog series on work we’ve looked at some wrong motivations for work, work as a part of creation and work as part of society.  In this final installment we’ll look at doing the work of God.

Jesus tells us in John’s Gospel that there is a third kind of work – the work of God. “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (Jn 6:29).  Not only is believing a work, but bringing others into faith is also the work of God.  All of Jesus’ “works” point to the salvation he will bring.  e.g. of the man born blind: “this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life” (Jn 9:3) and the “greater” works that Jesus’ followers will do after him (Jn 14:12).  Paul also speaks of the ‘work of the Lord’, which is to see people saved. (e.g. 1 Cor 15:58).

Often people mistakenly connect the work of God too tightly with the work of a ‘gospel worker’, but this is far too simplistic a picture.  The pastor, teacher, gospel-worker is given by Christ to the church to equip the saints for works of service. (Eph 4:11-12).  The work of God is done by all Christians.  All Christians believe in Christ (cf. Jn 6:29) and all Christians seek to see others believe in Christ.

How do we bring together all three kinds of work, then?

I take it that everyone does all three kinds of work.  Everyone is involved in the work of creation (ordering and reordering), everyone is involved in the work of society (creating communities that care) and every Christian is involved in the work of the Lord (believing and seeing others come to faith).  The mixes may be different between jobs, but everyone is involved in all three.  Even the full-time minister does all three kinds – creation (cleaning up the office), society (running church committees) and the work of the Lord (preaching, evangelising, etc.).

How do I decide whether to go into full-time ministry, then?

What makes full-time ministry particularly worthy of consideration is the opportunity to ‘equip the saints’ and so multiply the work of the Lord.  It is not that you do more of the work of the Lord, but that you help others do more.  Of course, this equipping the saints is also part of the work of the Lord.  A lack of pastors / teachers / gospel-workers constrains the growth of the church.  Full-time ministry is not inherently more valuable than ‘secular’ ministry, but it is a key-enabler for multiplying the work of the Lord.  As Christians we are completely free to choose to enter full-time ministry or not and both choices are good.  Only those who qualify should be encouraged to enter Christian leadership, however (1 Tim 3:1-7).

All work towards the ends of creation, society or the work of the Lord is worthwhile.  It is all at heart service in relationship.  We must not segment off areas of our lives where the word of God no longer speaks.  Those who work in the ‘secular’ workforce still need to consider what the word of God says concerning the work they are doing.  How does it speak to the work of creation that they are doing?    How does it speak to the work of society that they are doing?  How does it speak to the work of the Lord that they are doing?  We need to help one another think hard about how we work.  Bringing the gospel to bear on our work will bring about the best work, since the Lord of the gospel is the same Lord who created us and created work.

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Work part 3

Previously we have looked at wrong motivations for work and work as part of creation.  But there is more to work than just ordering and reordering the world in which we live.

The Bible also talks about the importance of our work on society.  That can be our immediately family:

If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Tim 5:8

Or it can be wider society:

He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Eph 4:28

By our work we produce something that society can share.  Society is a web of relationships where people can share things together, and care for one another.  Sharing does not imply giving something away for free.  Money is a way of ordering our sharing.  This gives us another way to think about our work.  Our work allows us to share God’s good gifts with others so that we promote communities where people care for one another.  This also gives us a good way to judge our work.  How much does it promote sharing within a society that cares for others?  Some jobs may not directly lead to sharing, but set the framework for which others can care for each other.  Garbage removal is a great example.

It also gives us criteria where work might be declared bad.  If work is pointless, then that would be bad work.  If work harms or destroys caring communities, that would be bad work.  So as we evaluate our work we can see how it fits into promoting sharing in caring communities.  This is something important for Christians to do, so that they can bring their Christian worldview with all its insights to bear on their work.  Christian thinking has much to offer our workplaces.  It is also an important task for managers to help their employees see how their work contributes to sharing in caring communities.  There’s a truck load of thinking to be done in our churches as we consider how we work and where it fits in.

But this has not exhausted the Bibles categories of work.  There is still one other, which we’ll look at in part 4…

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Update Video

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Work part 2

Having looked at some of the common motivations for work in part 1, let’s begin to look at what the Bible says about work.  We see right from the start that we are created to work.  That’s our place in this world.

In Gen 1:28, after God makes humanity, he tells us to ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’  From this we can see that part of our work is subduing the world.  This is to rule over created things.  Here we take the things of this will and bend them to our purposes.  It’s part of what it means to be made in God’s image (1:26).  We dig metal from the ground, melt it and bend it to good purposes.  We beat the air into submission as we fly from place to place, we marshal resources together as we build cities and infrastructure.  There is no sense in Gen 1 however that these purposes would be for anything other than the good of humanity and the environment.  There is no licence here for ravaging the earth in service of our own greed.

This leads us to a complementary point about work.  In the parallel creation account in Genesis 2, we see that in the Garden of Eden humanity is to ‘work it and take care of it’ (2:15).  We also see the work of naming the animals in 2:19-20.  This is the ordering and re-ordering of the world.  Far from ravaging the earth we are to bring order to the land.  God does not picture paradise as a wild, untouched ecosystem, but a garden that is worked and taken care of by people.  This is the ordering of the earth so as to bring fruit from the ground.  The work of ordering is to make the world productive for the support of life – all the kinds of life.  This is farming (cropping and pastoral), environmental planning and management, irrigation, water supply, fishing, warehousing, transport, distribution and much more.  Now the effects of sin have again had dramatic effect on our ability to order, often with our ignorance or greed leading to widespread environmental damage.  But that doesn’t lessen our responsibility to do the work of ordering and re-ordering.

All this work happens before Genesis 3 and is therefore good.  Sin affects our work, but not so that it takes away from its inherent goodness.  But there are more dimensions to work than just what we do as we interact with the environment in which we live.  There is also a social dimension.

Stand by for part 3…

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Work part 1

Why do we work?  What is the point?  What can we hope for from work?

One of the extraordinary things we see in the ancient biblical book of Ecclesiastes is reflections of our contemporary attitudes from millennia ago.  This is true in the area of work.  In Ecclesiastes, the teacher takes it upon himself to turn his considerable wisdom to the topic of work.  As is his way, he throws himself deeply into the experience of work:

I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards.  I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them.  I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees.  I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. (Eccl 2:4-7)

What did he discover from his foray into construction, horticulture, landscaping, trade and animal husbandry?  He found personal fulfillment: ‘ My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor.’ (2:10).  He increased his reputation: ‘I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me.’ (2:9).  He found power to consume: ‘I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well– the delights of the heart of man. ‘ (2:8).

Don’t these themes sound familiar today?  Much of the motivation in the workplace could fall under the categories of seeking personal fulfillment, improving your reputation and gaining the power to consume (earning money to spend).

How did it work out for the teacher in the end?  Emptiness:

Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. (2:11)

As intoxicating as his achievements were, they didn’t last.  As happens to all of us, time got the better of him.  As the cliche, goes, very few people wish they had worked harder on their deathbed.  Retirement and ultimately death rob us of the satisfaction of a career.

This all sounds fairly bleak.  Is there any good to be found in work?  What about from a Christian perspective?  Are there right motivations for Christians to work?

Stand by for part 2…

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Interview with Fighting Words

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Early Church or Mega Church?

I couldn’t help noticing this as I was reading through Acts recently:

Acts 4:4  But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.

Many people like to attach a size to what they consider to be a biblical church.  ‘A biblical church is a house church’.  ‘Once your church gets over about 200 it’s no longer following the biblical model’.  What we see in the Bible, though, is all sorts of different size churches, from house churches to mega churches.  And which came first?  The mega church.  In the first four chapters of Acts we see the church grow to 3,000 people and then on again in chapter 4 to over 5,000 (Luke records 5,ooo men – if he’s only counting men then we could more than double this figure).  Who knows what this meant for their meetings and organisation?  Despite whatever faults or flaws we may see in mega churches, their are biblical in proportion.  Wouldn’t it be great if many more of our churches grew to that size!

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Arrogance or Privilege?

While studying for exams I came across these extraordinary words of Jesus:

Luke 10:22-24  “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”  Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.  For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

If I were a non-Christian reading these words of Jesus I couldn’t help but notice the incredible arrogance of the statement.  Jesus is that almost everyone of any importance in Israel’s history wanted to see Jesus.  It’s akin to saying, ‘You guys are awesomely privileged beyond anyone in our national history because you get to hear and see me‘.  It’s breathtaking!  Not only that, but he has just claimed that he alone can teach us about God (his Father).  These are hardly the words of a ‘good teacher’ as so many people think Jesus was these days.

When I read these words as a Christian I find myself profoundly agreeing with Jesus.  The disciples were incredibly privileged to be eye and ear witnesses of Jesus, who was God himself walking among us on earth.  Thank God that they recorded what they saw and heard in the Bible for us so that we too can have Jesus reveal to us the Father as we read the Bible.

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Who are we?

My wife Simone and I lived in Sale for nearly nine years.  During that time we really loved the town and the people.  We saw the birth of the first three of our four children in Sale.  As my time in the RAAF was drawing to a close we decided that the most loving thing we could do for Sale was to move away, be well trained in ministry, and then return to plant a Reformed Evangelical church.  This is exactly what we are in the process of doing.  I’ll finish my training at Moore Theological College at the end of this year and then we’ll return to Sale to start Flooding Creek Community Church.  Others have caught this vision and are excited to join us in this project.  We are now a growing group of Christians looking to introduce as many people in Sale to Jesus as possible.

There are three great reasons to plant a church in Sale:

  1. Sale is a town of 15,000 people, the vast majority of whom do not know Jesus.  The days are short and we need to reach the town with the saving message of the gospel.  The best way to do this is to plant a Reformed Evangelical Church in Sale.
  2. The RAAF Base at Sale is a training base which every officer who joins the RAAF will visit for at least four months.  Christian ministry onto the base has a national, even international, impact.
  3. Gippsland needs Evangelical churches.  There are some great churches in Gippsland, but there are not nearly enough.  Sale is geographically central to Gippsland and a great base from which to plant more Reformed Evangelical churches in Gippsland.

Please join us on this important adventure.  If you live in Sale then we’d love to talk to you about joining with us.  If you live elsewhere, why not come with us for a gospel adventure in Sale?  We covet your prayer and financial partnership also.  All the details you need are on this site.

All for Jesus glory!

Dan Godde.