J.D. Greear on 26 Ways to “Provoke the 1 Peter 3:15 Question” at Work

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Every Thursday afternoon at Between the Times we highlight the writing of Southeastern alum, J.D. Greear, Pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durahm, North Carolina. This week J.D. offers 26 ways to provoke the question of the hope that is within you (1 Pet 3:15). 

Here’s an excerpt:

 

I mentioned in this weekend’s sermon that the Apostle Paul lived in such a way that he provoked a question. Peter said it this way: “In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).

 

Peter is supposing that your life provokes that question—that people are asking, Why do you do what you do?”

 

Here is a list of 26 ways we’ve come up with that you can live provocatively at work. (Not, dress provocatively—that’s a different kind of provocatively I would discourage… But live provocatively.) We first introduced this list at the Gospel at Work conference in February.

 

1. Get to work early so you can spend some time praying for your co-workers and the day ahead.

 

2. Make it a daily priority to speak or write encouragement when someone does good work.

 

3. Instead of eating lunch alone, intentionally eat with other co-workers and learn their story. (“Evangelism is doing normal life with gospel intentionality.”)

 

4. Bring breakfast once a month for everyone in your department.

 

5. Organize an exercise group before or after work.

Read the full post here and check back next Thursday for the next post from J.D.

One Effort To Prevent Failure In Ministry

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Every fall and spring I have the joy and responsibility of addressing new students as they enter the College of Southeastern and Southeastern Seminary. I am always excited to do this, but I also have a real sense of burden. Why? Because I know some will never see graduation and some will not last in ministry. Almost all begin with great hopes, dreams and aspirations. “I am going to change the world for Christ.” “My life in vocational ministry is going to make an impact for eternity.” Tragically along the way they get sidelined, fall by the wayside, drop out of the race. The older I get the more acutely aware I am of the fact: it is one thing to start well, but it is another thing to finish well. So, each fall and spring I share the following with our new students. I hope you will be encouraged. I hope together, we finish our race well for the glory of God and the good of His Church.

Being Faithful To The High Calling Of Christ

(“How to Survive Seminary and Make it in the Ministry”)

 Philippians 1:21; 1 Corinthians 10:31

1. Maintain your quiet time, and be active in a local church. Southeastern is not a substitute for community life in the Body of Christ.

Psalm 46:10; Mark 1:35

2. Guard your marriage/family. This is one of Satan’s favorite areas to launch an attack.

Psalm 127; 128; Song of Solomon 2:15; Ephesians 5:21-6:4

3. Pursue holiness by a) protecting your thought life, b) maintaining your integrity, and c) avoiding the places of temptation and evil.

Proverbs 23:7; 1 Corinthians 6:18; Philippians 2:5; Ephesians 4:27; 1 Thessalonians 5:22

4. Remember we are a covenant community that takes seriously our covenant commitments.   Honor your word and keep your promises.

Matthew 5:33-37; 1 John 2:5

5. Watch your finances and always act responsibly and with integrity. This is the number one killer of most students who have to drop out of school.

Romans 13:8

6. Remember you are here primarily to learn, not to teach. However, at SEBTS, we all believe we can learn from one another.

II Timothy 2:1-2

  • Few things are more valuable than a teachable spirit.
  • Study now what you will find difficult to study later.
  • Commit now to continue to study what you are studying now. (Greek, Hebrew, Theology, Philosophy, History, Apologetics)

7. Learn to work with, and get along with, people (develop your “people skills”). In other words, seek to balance both what you believe and how you live.

Ephesians 4:1-6

8. Be responsible and wise in your ministry service for the Lord, following the biblical model of a “shepherd” or “servant” leader.

Mark 8:31-38; 10:32-45; 1 Peter 5:1-4

9. Put no limitations on how and where our King might use you. Ask the Lord to give you the ability to truly pray, “Lord, why should I stay?”

Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 2:20

10. Find a passion for the Great Commission. This is, after all, the final marching orders of King Jesus.

Matthew 28:16-20

The Spurgeon Center: Critical Abilities, Part 2 (John Ewart)

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Editor’s Note: Every Thursday morning at Between the Times we highlight the work of Southeastern’s Spurgeon Center for Pastoral Leadership and Preaching. Directed by John H. Ewart, who also serves as Associate Vice President for Global Theological Initiatives at Southeastern, the Spurgeon Center existsto equip and encourage pastors to lead healthy, disciple-making churches for the glory of God around the world. In the effort to accomplish this mission, through the board of advisors and others the center will be offering assistance, resources and training to our students, as well as to pastors and churches, to further equip them to serve well in the crucible of real life ministry. This week Dr. Ewart continues his series on Critical Abilities in pastoral leadership.

God has set before us a predetermined plan with principles by which we are to live in order to join Him in His desire to redeem the nations. These principles require leaders in the church to possess key abilities to follow His plan and to practically lead others on the journey.

The first of these critical abilities is to understand the true mission: the overarching purpose for which we exist, God’s Mission. We have read and been told that the mission of God is to bring glory to Himself and therefore our ultimate mission is to bring glory to God. These truths must not simply be some theoretical, theological discussion. They have massive, practical ramifications. Understanding these ramifications is absolutely vital for developing and/or evaluating an effective framework of ministry.

Our ultimate mission is not to plant, revitalize or grow a church or even to see the lost saved. We very much want to see those things occur, but ultimately they must only occur by means that bring glory to God. This reality strikes at the very heart of programming and ministry methodology. The ends do not justify the means if the means do not bring Him glory because that is the ultimate end.

I often refer to train tracks and bumper cars in my consulting, classes and conferences. Think about train tracks. The engineer on a train does not determine the path of the tracks. Those riding the train as passengers do not determine where the train will go either. The owner of the railroad company, the authority, determines where the tracks are laid and where they go.

Trains do not ride well when they are off the tracks. It is catastrophic. They need to ride the rails. Tracks provide them a predetermined path of direction that does not change. They will remain true and reach their appointed destination if they just stay on track.

Beautiful-Traintracks-Landscape-Wallpaper

As simple as this image is I find that as I speak with pastors across the nation, around the world, in doctoral seminars, on our campus and at conferences, they have often taken their eyes off the tracks. They have forgotten why they are doing what they are doing and replaced it with a lot of “what’s the latest cool and how to . . . .” They have found themselves off track and their ministries seem more like bumper car rides than powerful trains. What do I mean?

Think about bumper cars. They are cool, fun, noisy, and flashy, the music is blaring, the sparks are flying and you get to run into people! I like bumper cars. But the problem is clear. When it is all said and done and the music stops, and the flash expires, where do you end up? Same place you started! You just go around and around in a circle bumping into each other!

Ever been in a church like that? Seemingly one good ministry is doing its good thing and another good ministry is doing its good thing. They might even be cool, fun and flashy but in the end the church is just going around and around in an inward facing circle, bumping into each other, competing for time, people, energy and resources. I have seen many a ministry with a lot of flash, volume and spark, but long term not producing anything of value to the mission.

Focusing upon the mission of God, our train tracks, will help us produce spiritual synergy. When everyone and everything is linked together, heading in the same direction, flying down the tracks; that’s when something very special can happen. I am going to talk about how that can come together in the next few posts.

Think about your own life and ministry. Are you on His tracks? Are the ministries and people of your church moving as one with, as Spurgeon said, a “single eye to His glory?” Or, are they running around in circles bumping into each other? Do they even know they are supposed to be on track? Begin telling them now. It is a critical ability of a missional leader.

 

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