Archive for the 'testimony' Category

What does the Gospel ‘feel’ like?

In our little book ‘Transform your work life‘ (written by Graham Power and myself) I wrote:

God longs for Christians to get practical and creative about making the ‘good news’ real for the people… We should not be asking ‘what does the good news sound like?’, rather we should ask ‘what does the good news feel like, and what does good news look like?’

What does the Gospel feel like!?  That is quite a challenging question!  It has lingered in my mind for some years now as I have tried to bring an experience of the ‘good news’ of God’s Kingdom to the people that I live with, work with and encounter in my life’s journey.

Worship on Sunday is critical – as John van de Laar rightly points out it is the orientation that should shape the rest of our week.  The exact quote from his great new book ‘The Hour that changes Everything‘ is this: “How you worship defines how you live

The question for this post is, however, what kind of worship does God require for the other 166 hours of the week?

Here’s an excerpt from chapter 3 of ‘Transform your work life‘ –

Did you know that Jesus had a ‘mission statement’ for his ministry on earth? You can read it in Luke 4:16–21. It is interesting to see that all the things that Jesus came to do were practical, tangible expressions of God’s love for the world. I have heard so many sermons on this passage that I sometimes forget just how practical Jesus intended his ministry to be. When Jesus said He had come to bring ‘good news to the poor’ (Luke 4:18) what do you think He meant? Let us approach it from a slightly different perspective: what is good news for a poor person? I have been in need a few times in my life, and I can tell you when you are poor good news is not a sermon! It is good news when you have food and money to pay your bills, it is great news when you get a job that pays you a salary with which you can support your family and yourself.

One of the big failings of the contemporary church, and that means you and me, is that we do not always bless the people around us in tangible and visible ways. When someone is ill we say things like, ‘I’ll pray for you’ – while this is an expression of care, I can assure you that the person would feel so special and loved if you took them a meal! I know that God longs for Christians to get practical and creative about making the ‘good news’ real for the people around them. We should not be asking ‘what does the good news sound like?’ Rather, we should ask ‘what does the good news feel like, and what does good news look like?’ This is Jesus’ way!

As you think about the people among whom you work, what would be truly good news for them? Is there a single mother who is battling to make ends meet? Perhaps you have a co-worker who is struggling to cope with his workload, or maybe someone whose child is ill – what could you do to make the ‘good news’ visible and tangible for these people?

Sometimes it is the simplest things, like a phone call, or a visit, that make people feel loved and cared for. At other times you will need to be a little more creative and sacrificial in what you do.

So, here’s my question – what does the Gospel ‘feel like’ in your context?  What can you do to help the people you love and meet experience the Gospel before you speak to them about it?

 

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Let’s Re-Abolish Slavery!

The sad reality is that slavery exists throughout the world today!

Simply stated there are millions of people across the world who are enslaved to work for others without being paid, or are being forced to work against their will. This is slavery.

Women and men are enslaved throughout the world by unscrupulous people trap them into a form of ‘debt bondage’ – the most common form of slavery in the world. For example a young woman is approached for a great job in a new country. When she arrives she has to hand over her passport to her ’employer’. The employer then tells her that for her to have food and shelter will cost her much more than she will earn by working as a waitress… For example her housing and food will cost her R1000.00 a day, while she may only earn R100.00 a day. Within a matter of days the ammount she owes her emoployer becomes so high that there is no way she can repay it. The ’employer’ refuses to release her passport, or her, until she pays her debt. The only way to pay the debt is to sell her body for sex (at a higher rate of payment). In truth, the debt is seldom paid and the person is enslaved for the rest of their lives!

If you are wondering if there is slavery in your area please visit One of the other amazing, and necessary, areas that the Not For Sale Campaign is working, is to ensure that there is no forced labour within the supply chain.

For example who made the shoes that you’re wearing? Are you and I inadvertently wearing people’s suffering? The way of Christ is a way of freedom for all – as a Christian in the marketplace you can stand with us to transform the structures of society within which God has placed you. Please join the Not For Sale Campaign to help people to have the dignity to be free to live and work without suffering. Please check out http://www.free2work.org to get your company or business rated.

Buying products is not only about cost – it is also about price – we need to ask ourselves Who paid the price for this product? Not only what is the cost?

Yesterday I was truly blessed to meet David Batstone at the Power Group, and today I attended his workshop at the Louis Group. David is an amazing guy who is rallying people for the sake of the Kingdom of God and freedom of all people.

David is an incredible example of Colossians 3:23-24 ‘Whatever your task do it as for the Lord‘. He is truly using his work, influence, network of relationships, and passion for ministry! Please pray for him and the campaign, and together with this join him in re-abolishing slavery!

Courage where it counts most!

We are getting such wonderful feedback from readers of ‘Transform your work life’. A few days ago a reader sent me an email to let me know that they have just started a prayer group at their offices. He indicated that the hardest part was just doing it…

It takes courage to honor God in the workplace. But that is where it counts! His email blessed me and encouraged me to be more bold about my faith!

I was reminded of Karl Barth’s little quite “Courage is fear that has said its prayers”.

What step of courage must you take to establish Christ as Lord of your work life and your work place? Let us know! We’d love to pray for you!

There is more than this! Finding blessing at work!

On a Wednesday morning we have a prayer group that meets from 6h30-7h30 at our company. It is a wonderful gathering that fills me with hope, connects me with my faith, and offers support and encouragement for the week. But, it also allows me to see many of our staff arriving at work to start the day.

It is pretty sobering to see people arriving for work, knowing that they have 9 hours ahead of them, and many of them don’t look energised, let alone blessed, by the prospect of being at work.  I can understand some of the practical considerations that make going to work difficult – the mother of a newly born baby who longs to be with her child.  That father of a sick wife who arrives at work worried about how his wife is feeling.  The person who has to face a difficult boss, and those who don’t particularly enjoy the tasks they are to do in order to earn an income and survive.

Indeed, work can be difficult – but, the good news is that there is MORE to work than just working!  There is an immeasurable opportunity to find blessing at work by allowing God to use you to BECOME a blessing at work.  And, it may be much simpler and easier to do than you think!

Listen to this interview between Particia McNaught Davis from Radio Helderberg and Dion Forster (broadcast on the 15th of June 2010 – 8mb MP3) and you may just get a few insights to help you to discover that your work life can be transformed into an extraordinary calling.  Something that you look forward to, because there is a sense of incredible significance and purpose in what you’re doing there – you are sent by God to achieve His will in that place, among those people, and within those systems!  Indeed, ‘work can be worship’ (Col 3.23-24).

You can also download the first few chapter of the book Transform your work life:  Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling‘ and read all about Graham Power and how God is using him in business, and also about Dion Forster – a pastor who has been sent by God to work in the marketplace.

You can purchase copies of the book (with a free leather journal) for on R88 (just over US$10) atChristianRepublic.  Or if you’re in South Africa you can pick up copies at Wordsworth books, Exclusive Books, CUM books etc.

Radio Helderberg 93.6FM interview 15 June 2010

If you live in the Cape Town area tune in to Radio Helderberg on 93.6FM at 10AM on the 15th of June to listen to an interview between Patricia McNaught-Davis and Dion Forster.  During the interview we’ll discuss both the ideas that are presented in the book and some general insights into transforming your work life from ‘mere work’ into an extraordinary calling!

We hope to cover ministry in the 9-5 window, a theology of workplace ministry, as well as some practical suggestions for workplace ministry.   And of course we’ll also talk about what God has been doing with Graham Power and the Power Group of companies. So please tune in, and if you do please feel free to post your thoughts, comments and feedback here, or on our facebook page.

Please also spare a prayer for Graham and Dion, and of course we would ask you to continue to pray that God would use this book to touch the hearts and minds of many people who are looking for a life of greater significance in service of God’s Kingdom!

Bread of heaven – Serving daily (A marketplace ministry testimony)

This morning I had a cup of coffee with my friend Andy who is an entrepreneur second to none! Andy owns a number of businesses (a thriving restaurant in a local mall, a bakery and various other enterprises). Andy has a passion for serving Jesus through his business – he is such an example of Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord

I wrote about Andy in ‘Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling’ – here’s an excerpt from page 91 of the book:

One example of a person who took the Church to hell is Andy Loughton, a marketplace minister from our Church. Andy loves the Lord, but of equal importance, Andy loves the people that the Lord loves. One of Andy’s business is a bakery in the centre of our town. The area close to the bakery is popular place for homeless people to congregate.

Remember, as we discussed in the previous chapter, a minister is a servant who operates under the authority of the King. What do you think Jesus would do if he was the owner of ‘Bread of Heaven’ bakeries? Of course, he would use this business to minister to the needy.

Thankfully Andy thinks like Jesus does, and so in his mind ‘Bread of heaven’ was a prime opportunity to establish the Church in the marketplace! Wherever you have need and you have a Christian in the same location you can be sure that Jesus wants to do something special. So Andy began to establish the Church in a simple way, as a baker he could provide some bread to feed the hungry, but he could also provide the bread of life (John 6:35). In a place where the Churches of our community were seldom active you will now find the Church meeting daily. The hungry are fed and the Gospel is preached. ‘Bread of Heaven’ has become a little like the story of Ephesus – there have been so many lives changed because of Andy’s obedience that many in our community are beginning to hear the good news (like in Acts 19:10).

This is how that section of the book concludes:

Remember, God’s intention for the Church is that it would be a mighty instrument of salvation, healing and transformation. In order to make that happen we will need to take the Gospel out of our local congregations and into the marketplace. Your workplace may just be the next Ephesus where the testimony of God’s grace is so powerful that everyone comes to hear the good news of Jesus (Acts 19:10)!

I’d love to hear some more examples of people like Andy, and companies like ‘Bread of Heaven’ who are doing extraordinary things to bring God’s Kingdom to bear on their surroundings! Please do share any ideas and testimonies in the comments below or on the discussion and feedback page!

One thing Andy did mention, which has been something I’ve often thought about, is how disconnected our Christian efforts are from the good work that other believers are doing. For example, he indicated that there are some days on which there are two Churches feeding the same people (one in the morning and another in the afternoon) and other days on which the homeless are not being fed.

How do we create networks and relationships to help us work together more effectively for sustained transformation? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

God bless,

Dion

Some feedback from readers – Transform your work life!

I am pleased to say that ‘Transform your work life:  Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling‘ is moving off the shelves (and from the internet) at a good pace!  This is great news for the Global Day of Prayer and Unashamedly Ethical campaigns since the proceeds from all of the sales are donated to these two wonderful organisations!

But, it is even better news since it means that the message of being a blessing, and finding great blessing, in the 9 to 5 window is getting out there!

The feedback is starting to pour in at a steady pace as more and more people share their insights, testimonies, and experiences of discovering what it means to be a minister in the marketplace!  Here are a few little lines from some of our readers:

This powerful book has great potential to do what the title sugests: Transform your work life – turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling. You will discover Biblical perspectives, practical knowledege, and very usable tools to be a kingdom ambassador and change-agent in the marketplace. Through this book you will also be connected to a network of experiences and insights of this new move of God to transform our world in our life time. May you be equiped to be part of that and become a history-maker where you are everyday. (Dr. Johann Oostenbrink, Associate at Camino Consultancy Practitioning Coach & Mentor and Consultant in Organisational Development)

Johann is a wonderful leader who is doing a great deal to activate leaders for to reach their God given potential in their work life – his endorsement is an incredible affirmation for the book.  Thank you Johann!

I want to congratulate Graham and Dion for an excellent resource. Their new book ‘Transform your work life’ is a must for every working person and also for Pastors seeking to minister effectively to people struggling to turn their working hours into ‘worship.’ Well done guys!

This feedback comes from Rev Delme Linscott, the author of two great books ‘Now’ and ‘Living Oceans Apart’.  Delme is a minister in a thriving Church in Pietermartizburg, it is such a blessing to have a pastor’s perspective on the book!  Thanks Delme – you can read more about Delme’s work at www.livingingrace.co.za

Hi Dion. I’ve finished the first chapter – great reading – and a topic I’ve struggled with for several years and still don’t have an answer. It’s a flipping big question and I just wish God would write the answer on my bedroom wall!! If I didn’t have to get up @ 5am I would have finished your book tonight!!

This wonderful bit of feedback comes from my friend Philip Collier – Philip did an MA in Psychology and is an expert in neuroscience (see his great blog at http://www.brainsparks.co.za/ for more). He is currently developing a unique model to high level performance that helps athletes to surpass their current levels of achievement.

I’d love to hear your feedback on the book as you read it!  You can either comment on this post below, or add a comment on the comments and discussion section of my blog, or leave us a comment on the ‘Transform your work lifefacebook page.