Do you want to know how Christians can influence the culture? How to have a strong family? Do you want to know the meaning of your life? Do you want to know how authority works? Then attend to the Reformation doctrine of vocation.
This strangely neglected doctrine has to do with how God providentially governs the world of human beings. It also constitutes the theology of the Christian life....
Luther called vocation a "mask of God." He said that God milks the cows by means of the milkmaid. We see a menial worker and may even be so presumptuous to look down upon her, but behind that humble façade looms God Himself, providing milk for His children.
And we too are masks of God in all of our multiple callings. We have callings in the church (pastors, elders, choir members, parishioners); in the state (rulers, subjects, voters); in the workplace (employer, employee, factory worker, milkmaid, businessman); and in the family (husband and wife; father and mother; child; grandparent)....
The purpose of every vocation is to love and serve our neighbor. God does not need our good works, commented Luther, but our neighbor does. In our vocations we encounter specific neighbors whom we are to love and serve through the work of that calling. Husbands and wives are to love and serve each other; parents love and serve their kids; office and factory workers love and serve their customers; rulers love and serve their subjects; pastors and congregations are to love and serve each other. And God is in it all.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
In the article Authority in Vocation, Gene Edward Veith writes about the importance of our vocation:
Monday, March 23, 2009
David Fitch offers a list of ways for Instilling Missional Habits in a Congregation - As You Walk Among Your Community. His first suggestion is a reminder of the value of hanging out:
Direct the people’s imagination towards seeing the ways you can connect with people in their everyday situations by going to the same place at the same time every week. Stoke imagination for the way ordinary life is the stage of God’s working. Visit the same places at the same time every week (this is easy for me because I am pathetically boring and love doing the same thing everyday).
Monday, March 16, 2009
David Nelson is doing a series on worship. In part 2 of the series, he seeks to define worship:
A substantial amount of what is said about worship by evangelicals today is folderol. That means foolishness or nonsense. I could have just used those terms, but I like the word “folderol” better. Emotional states don’t constitute worship, nor does music, nor does a particular order of service. The genuineness of worship is not determined by the building in which the church gathers, the technology we use in a service, or how trendy our clothes are. In fact, I would argue that worship in the Bible is not even primarily focused on the gathered assembly but is more often a matter of a way of life within the context of the community of faith that lives among the world in order to propose the truth of a better world. Worship is, put another way, the believer’s response in all of life to the Great Commandment (to love God) in light of the Father’s demonstration of His immense love toward sinners in Jesus Christ by His Spirit.Other posts in the series:
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Jim Hamilton offers One More Attempt to Stir the Pot: How Often Should a Church Take the Lord’s Supper? Based primarily on Acts 20:7, Hamilton argues that "the early church took the Lord’s supper every Lord’s day, that is, every Sunday," and thus we should too. He concludes:
Some object that taking the Lord’s supper every week will demean its significance. I think boring preaching and bad music demeans the significance of preaching and singing, but most Baptists churches take the risk and have preaching and singing every week. So I don’t think this argument that taking the Lord’s supper every week will make it dull is either convincing or significant. We should take the same steps to keep the Lord’s supper from becoming rote that we (should) take to keep the preaching from being boring or the music from being bad.
Someone may object: Paul preached all night. Do you think we should do that, too? No. The pattern we see in the NT is that the church was devoted to the Apostles’ teaching, and Paul told Timothy to preach the word, so we have preaching every week because the churches in the NT had preaching every week. But Paul’s preaching all night was driven by the fact that he was leaving the next day and had a lot to say. This was a special circumstance, but the gathering to break bread on the first day of the week was a regular feature of their lives. I think it makes sense for it to be a regular feature of our lives, too.