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Making the moments count.

Over the years Graham and I have spoken to many deeply-committed Christians who have never considered that God may actually have some- thing for them to achieve between Monday and Friday. We tend to place our lives into two boxes, a sacred box (everything we do for God), and a secular box (everything else we do). Very often business people think of their ‘God stuff ’ as worship – and worship only happens in certain places (like church buildings) at certain times (like on a Sunday, or on Christmas and Easter). Everything else is simply ‘my stuff ’ and it has very little to do with my worship. So, my work, my friendships, my community relation- ships, my sport – all of these ‘other things’ are outside of the sacred. The reality is that everything that we have, all that we are, and all that we do should be done for God.

From God’s perspective there is no separation between work and worship. I once heard someone explain it in this way – imagine that you have a ‘big worship switch’ on your back. Each time that you enter into worship the switch is flicked on. Do think that God is honoured when your ‘worship switch’ is flicked off? Surely we should never stop worshipping God – even at work.

God has a perfect will for every person, for every situation and every place. When you begin to look at your workplace and the people that you work with from God’s perspective you can see that He may just have an incredible mission for you to perform right where you are from Monday to Friday.

A few points to think about

Please read Colossians 3:23–24.

What is God’s attitude to work and labour?

If Jesus had your job, working among the people you work with, doing
the things you do during your workday, what do you think He would
want to achieve? How different is that from what you are striving for?

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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!

Who do you work for?

Who do you work for?

This may sound like a strange question from someone that you don’t know, but your answer is important!

Paul encourages the Colossians saying ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward’ (Col 3:23-24).

Who we work for not only determines what we do, it also how we do it.

In the Construction company where Graham Power and I work, the Power Group of Companies we have the wonderful blessing of knowing that our purpose as a group is to ‘improve the lives of people in Africa through infrastructure development’. This means that because we know who we work for our work can be ministry! Building roads, building homes… All of these things can be used by God to bless others and achieve God’s will in the world.

That is ministry, and each one of us plays an important role in that task!

When you arrive at work you are a partner in God’s mission for your company – whether you work in an office, or on a site, God can use your job to make people’s lives better.

Jesus commanded Christians to ‘Go into all the world…’ to share the Good News (Matt 28:18-20). The ‘world of work’ is very important in that instruction from the Lord.

In ‘Transform your work life’ Graham and I wrote the following: Each day when you go to work you have an opportunity to ‘go into all the world’ without having to go across the world.

So, let me ask you, what can you do to share God’s blessing among the people you work with? How can you work for Jesus at work by doing your work for His purposes and in order to honour Him? Remember that the rewards will not only bring blessing to you, but they will help to transform the lives of others!

Please can I encourage you to pray for each of the people that you work with on a daily basis?

Remember, work can be worship!

Dion

Jesus – monk or manager? The answer could change your life!

When you think about Jesus, what kind of minister do you think he was?  This may sound like a strange question, but it is important to answer it honestly!  I have come to see that most Christians tend to think of Jesus more as ‘monk’ than as a ‘manager’!

Some of the people that I spoke to thought that Jesus did similar things during his ministry to what their pastor does today (he preached, he cared for the sick, he nurtured people, he built a community).  Now of course that is partially true – a great deal of what pastors do in their congregations today is modelled on the ministry of Jesus.  However, it is a mistake to limit your understanding of Jesus’ ministry to such a narrow understanding.  The problem with seeing Jesus in this way is that it becomes difficult to imagine that Jesus did the kinds of ‘ordinary’ things that you and I have to do each day!  Somehow this ‘religious’ view of Jesus and his ministry creates a measure of separation between our everyday lives, and particularly our everyday work lives, and the life and work of Jesus.

In fact, I’m sure that like me you may have heard some sermons preached in which the impression is created that Jesus is antagonistic towards the marketplace!

Our picture of Jesus and his ministry is shaped by years of reading, learning, and thinking about the saviour.  I have found that sometimes I need to see things from a slightly different perspective in order to discover new opportunities and possibilities for my faith life.

Let me illustrate it to you in this way.  Recently a friend attended a course on ‘listening’ for a counselling program he is running.  The facilitator placed a serial box in the middle of the table around which the participants were sitting.  He asked each of them to tell the others what they saw.  Naturally there were various descriptions of the box depending on where the participants were sitting.  Some saw the front of the box, while others saw the back.  Some could see part of the front and one side, while others could see part of the back and the other side.

What you will read next is simply an attempt to look at Jesus’ life from a different angle, an angle that might help you to feel closer to him in your everyday worklife.

Biblical scholars tell us that Jesus lived for about 33 years (from his birth to his death on the cross).  During those 33 years the synoptic Gospels record that Jesus only spent 3 years of his life, from age 30-33, doing the kind of ministry that makes most people view him as a wondering monk, or Rabbi (Hebrew teacher or priest).  Have you ever thought about what Jesus did with the rest of his life?  Did Jesus only start loving people, praying for them, caring for their needs, telling them about God when he turned 30?  Of course not!  While Jesus may only have started his public ‘teaching’ ministry at around 30 years of age (Lk 4:14-15), we know that he was already displaying the evidence of his special nature and calling as a young boy.  Luke says ‘And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.’ (Lk 2:40).  How would others have known of his wisdom unless he was saying and doing wise things?  How would they have known that God’s grace was upon him unless he was already displaying God’s grace in his words and actions?  In fact the clearest evidence that Jesus was already engaging in ministry as a boy is to be found Luke 2:41-52, the account of Jesus engaging the priests in conversation in the temple.  Once again this passage ends with Luke noting, ‘And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.’ (Lk 2:52 NIV).

So, we can be sure that Jesus was a minister, even as a young child – (Lk 4:49) Jesus notes that he is about his Father’s business.  As we discussed in chapter 4, to be a minister means to ‘act under God’s authority’.  It is assumed that Jesus would have been about 12 years of age when this incident in the temple took place, and as Luke points out he continued to grow in stature, getting recognition from others, and found great favour with God and other people.

This simply means that Jesus was in a different form of ministry from at least age 12-30, than the kind of ministry he did from age 30-33.  What kind of ministry was Jesus engaged in for those 18 years?  Mark’s Gospel gives us an insight into the primary way in which Jesus’ community viewed him during that period, ‘Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ (Mk 6:3 NIV).

Jesus’ contemporaries recognised him first as a businessman – a carpenter – and then only later as their teacher and saviour.

It is important to note that Jesus didn’t do carpentry as a hobby.  In the ancient near east a boy would take up his trade as a teenager, normally learning the skills and techniques that he would use to support his family in years to come.  Since Joseph was a carpenter, Jesus followed the same trade.  So by the time of Jesus begins his public ministry (Lk 4:15) he had spent almost 20 years applying his trade.  Of course it is not surprising that his contemporaries found it difficult to relate to him as their saviour, since some of them would have bought Jesus’ products!  Perhaps they had a table, or a door, or some farm implement, that Jesus had crafted for them in their house.  Furthermore, Jesus clearly knew his trade well, since we can see that he uses the metaphor of a wooden yoke, something that a skilled carpenter would have made many times, to illustrate the blessing of living a life under submission to God (see Matt 11:29-30).  As Ed Silvoso rightly points out in Anointed for business, Jesus parables are full of examples that show his understanding of business and the marketplace:  construction (Matt 7:24-27), wine making (Lk 5:37-38), farming (Mk 4:2-20), tending animals (Mt 18:13-44), management and labour (Matt 20:1-16), return on investments (Matt 25:14-30), crop yield (Mk 13:27-32), and management criteria (Lk 12:35-48).

Just as Jesus encountered people with the knowledge of business then, he wishes to encounter you with the knowledge of your daily work today!  Jesus understands the pressures of working with people, the challenge of creating something that one can market and sell in order to earn a livelihood.  Jesus knows how to deal with customers and suppliers, how to manage a workflow and juggle priorities in order to remain in business – he did it for 20 years of his life.  And, the remarkable thing about it is that we’re told that while he did this he continued to grow in wisdom and favour with both God and people!  Jesus understands what it means to be a minister in the marketplace.

Central to Jesus ministry in the marketplace was the understanding that he needed to obey God’s will in order to effectively establish God’s Kingdom on earth.  Notice that Jesus mission statement is very practical, it deals with poverty, health care, criminal reform, debt, justice and God’s loving favour (Lk 4:18-19).

You can read more about Jesus and the workplace in ‘Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling” you can download the first few chapters here, or purchase a copy of the book at Christian Republic or at Wordsworth and Exclusive books.

Christian republic has a special running – you can get the book for just R88.00 and that includes a free leather type journal.

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.

Download the first few chapters of ‘Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling’ for free!

Struik Christian Books have very kindly put together an Adobe PDF document that contains the introduction and the first two chapters of ‘Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling‘!

The account of Graham Power’s conversion and discovery of his ministry role in the marketplace is extremely encouraging and makes for wonderful reading!  You’ll also get to hear about Dion’s journey with this successful businessman, and how he came to discover his role as a minister in the corporate environment.

Please click here to download and read the first few chapters of this new book by Graham Power and Dion Forster.

Please repost, email, print out, and distribute this preview as widely as you would like.  If it can encourage a friend or family member please send it along to them.  Even if you don’t want to buy a copy of the book please consider joining our Transform your work life‘ facebook page to engage with other Christians in the work place.

Transform your work life‘ can be purchased online internationally at and in South Africa from Christian Republic. In South Africa the book is also available in most book stores (Exclusive books, Wordsworth Books, CUM Books etc. if they do not have a copy in stock they can order it for you from Struik).  If you live in Malaysia or Singapore you can order your copy here.

We’d love to hear your feedback!  Your perspective and testimony are important as we join together in raising up thousands of Christians to be God’s instruments of healing and transformation in the marketplace!