Byron Spradlin

Artists In Ministry & Missions

Business, Occupation, & Ministry. Do you know the difference? Part 3

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Ministry: What is it?

To clearly understand the essence of MINISTRY from the Bible’s perspective, you must evaluate the biblical realities of ministry apart from business, occupation or how money is made. Clarity on ‘what ministry really is’ is essential before you can make good decisions on either, pursuing that ministry, and at the same time, dealing with the issues of how God chooses to finance you (occupation)

  1. What is it?

    The term ministry, in the Bible, maintains a rather consistent meaning related to SERVING; that is, so minister is to serve. So in simple terms, TO MINISTER means…To serve God & Others on God’s Behalf. Being a conduit, a Sprinkler Pipe, Through whom God Encounters Others

At the heart of ministry is one’s service to God out of real encounter with God—Rm. 12:1

    1. In the Old Testament ministry means:

      1. as a verb—to serve or to officiate;

      2. as a noun—to be a servant, an assistant, an aide, a right-hand person.

    2. In the New Testament ministry means:

      1. as a verb—to serve, attend or carry out duties.

      2. as a noun—to be a servant, attendant, waiter, public officer, and such.

  1. Ministry Definition

Ministry has only two Dimensions:

MINISTRY is …Dealing with God about people & Dealing with people about God

When you stop and think especially of the New Testament explanation of ministry you will notice that the biblical conception of ministry is quite simple.

The two dimensions of ministry are . . .

1. You dealing with God about PeopleUp Reach

&

2. God dealing with People through youOutreach

Note: Up Reach always precedes Outreach

Note how we arrive at the above definition:

    1. In the O.T. God designated some as priests—the tribe of Levites—and to those priests He gave three responsibilities.

Deut. 10:8 says

At that time the LORD set apart the tribe of Levi [1] to carry the ark of the covenant of the LORD, [2] to stand before the LORD to minister and [3] to pronounce blessings in his name, as they still do today. (NIV)

      1. to carry the ark [the visible location of the invisible God];

      2. to stand before the LORD to minister

-Which direction is that? Up or Out? UP!!!!

      1. to pronounce blessings in His name

-Which direction is that? Up or Out? OUT!!!

    1. In the NT, God expands the role of priest—still assuming they carry out the same functions, only in their fullest sense through what Christ has accomplished. The NT designates The Believer, every believer, says 1 Peter 2:9, as a Priest—an agent God Himself has set aside to serve in ministry TO Him and FOR Him in the lives of others.

Every Believer, a Priest:

1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Rev 1:4-6 says “(v.4) Grace and peace to you . . . (v.5) from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, (v.6) and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen. (NIV)

Every Believer, an Ark-Bearer

All Believers

1 Corinthians 3: 16

Every Believer

1 Corinthians 6:19

Every Believer, a minister unto God—of worship

Ministry = first, Up Reach through worship

Worship, e.g. in John 4: 23 proskuneo (pros-koo-neh’-o) (proskuneo: lit. to kiss toward); [Strong’s reference # 4352]

from 4314 and a probable derivative of 2965 (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore) KJV– worship.

Every Believer, an agent bringing God’s blessing to others [perhaps the blessing of salvation, healing, enlightenment of His Word, help, service, encouragement, etc.]

Ministry = second, Out Reach through worship-sourced serving of God by being the instrument of His blessing.

e.g. Romans 12:1

Outreach [Worshipful Service] e.g. Romans 12:1
(latruo: lit. understandable worship

Worship in Romans 12:1 latreia (lat-ri’-ah); [Strong’s reference #2999] from 3000; ministration or God, i.e. worship: KJV– (divine) service. 3000 latreuo (lat-ryoo’-o);

from latris (a hired menial); to minister (to God), i.e. render, religious homage: KJV– serve, do the service, worship (-per).

Note then: Ministry is a dimension of Worship-sourced Service on God’s behalf … flowing out of worship-based encounter with God.

So, one could say that worship then is …

God Dealing with People through You

Summary: According to Deut. 10:8 Priests were . . .

  • the Bearers of God’s presence (Ark Bearers)

  • the Worship Enablers (engaged in worshiping and helping others to worship)

  • he Agents through whom He ministered His Blessings

Note then: Ministry is You Dealing with God—Up Reach—about

  • Himself

  • yourself

  • others

  • Ministry is God Dealing with People through You—Out Reach—about

    • God

    • His Word working in them

    • His Spirit working in them

    • His salvation

    • His healing

    • His help

    • His discipline

    • His maturing


Next Time: 6 Foundation Stones of Ministry

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Business, Occupation, & Ministry. Do you know the difference? Part 2

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Occupation: What is it?

1. Occupation Defined:

  • How you make your living
  • How you gain provision to live

2. Occupation Varies:

  • You may make your living several ways at the same time
  • You may work several jobs at the same time

3. God is the provider

  • GOD supplies your PROVISION
  • Deut. 8:18

4. Market-place Occupation is good because . . .

  • God expects you to work at something to earn provision
    2 Thessalonians 3:10
  • God is the provider of all wealth
    Deut 8:18 “It is God who is the creator of all wealth

-Your provision from a ‘market place occupation’ is a good thing because it comes from God [note the context of ‘Israel, and how God provided for them in the wilderness]

5. God expects everyone to have at least one occupation

  • 2 Thessalonians 3:10

6. In a fallen world, most often your occupation will NOT be your God-given CALLING–but you will always be & do your CALLING in the midst of your occupation if you are an integrated Christian and a balanced human being.

  • Paul’s example: 1 Cor. 9 & 2 Thess. 3

7. The biblical norm for carrying out ministry is being bi-vocational . . .

  • Earn your money in the market place and do your calling all around it: again note Paul. 1 Cor. 9 & 2 Thess. 3

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Business, Occupation, & Ministry. Do you know the difference? Part 1

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Business: What is It?

1. Business Defined: selling products, performances and services for value in return
2. Business Goal: financial profit
3. Business Funding: profits & investors (who intend to make a profit on their investment)
4. Business Success Criteria: financial profit


5. Business ‘Goodness’ Criteria [Spradlin suggests]
that you serve God not Money— Matt 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (NIV)
that you love God not Money— 1 Tim 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (NIV)
that you make friends with ‘unrighteous money”— that is, you control it and use it for Godly agenda, rather than it controlling you and using you for world-system agenda.

Note—from this passage [an others] we see that:
Jesus says … Money has an “unrighteous” dynamic.
Jesus says … Believers must ‘make Friends” with it.


6. Business Power verses Kingdom Power
Where is Focal Point of Power in Business? MONEY
Where is Focal Point of Power in God’s Kingdom? FAITH-ing
Money—at it’s heart can be ‘evil’ (Jesus says), in that it is the focal point of power in the natural realm
Holy Spirit—at His heart is the heart of God. We must come under the control of the Holy Spirit (e.g. Ephesians 5: 18)—the focal point of power in the spiritual realm.
Only by allowing the Holy Spirit to become our power base, can we learn to take control [ “make friends with”] ‘unrighteous money.’


7. Ministry in Business? YES !!!
You can do Ministry in and through your business. But categorically speaking, Business is different than Ministry.
You can fail at Business (not make a profit) and still be successful at Ministry
It is very important to keep the technical distinction in focus about Business—selling things’ and it always involves ‘making money’ or it is NOT business. It is also absolutely important to hold in focus the technical definition of Ministry—serving God and His Kingdom purposes. These purposes are always—at the core of their essence—FREE. If you fail to make and hold clear and focused . . . the technical distinctions between business and ministry, you WILL continue to be confused. And confusion will bring you great frustration and the certainty of damaged business and damaged ministry as well.


Join me next time for: Occupation: What is it?

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Are you Called? What is your assignment from God?

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Are you Called?  What is your assignment from God?

Calling: The central purpose of your life

God does not call people to the arts, per se.  He calls us to Himself and to live out the ways HE’s made us.  Then, as you are increasingly drawn to seek HIM the following biblical truths are essential to your understanding the issue of CALLING in general, and CLARIFYING your own calling in specific.


First know, the essence of Calling is this: God calls you to Himself. Period !
The Greek Term for CALLING used in the New Testament is KLESIS

KLESIS = Invitation

You have been INVITED into HIS EMBRACE !!
2 Peter 1:3
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. NIV

1 Peter 5:10
10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. NIV


Second, concerning your CALLING…
God calls you to get comfortable with The WAYS He’s made you ! Getting comfortable with the WAYS HE’s MADE YOU … will take you far beyond money & fame. It will bring you to new and deeper levels of true fulfillment. Central to the reality HE’s made you in particular WAYS is to get comfortable with those WAYS.

Note these things about the WAYS HE’s Made You.
a) You are unique
Fearfully and wonderfully made – Ps 139:13-16
A poem; God’s masterpiece – Ephesians 2:10
You have at least four [4] unique WAYS he’s made you.

a unique Personality
a unique set of Talents
a unique set of Spiritual Gifts
a unique Sovereign History

b) You are gifted for PURPOSES God has assigned
Eph. 2:10 You are Created for good works, for purposes
Romans 12: 3-8 You are Gifted by God HIMSELF, to affect HIS purposes
1 Cor. 12: 1, 4-7 You have been Given spiritual gifts


Third, God calls you—gives you HIS Unique Assignments to serve HIM and HUMANITY—to assignments that flow out of the WAYS He’s made you.
So now, note again: your calling is found “where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
(Frederick Buechner … referenced in Andy Crouch’s 2008 book, Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling; IVP Books; p. 263).
a) He will not assign you things for which He has not “graced” you!
b) You should not aspire the things for which you have no God-designed ability.
c) You will not achieve success in roles for which you do not have God-endowed aptitude, passion, pleasure.
d) You must realize that YOUR assignments will not look exactly like anyone elses assignments.
For example consider:
Rom 15:15-16
I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. [NIV]

So, do not compare yourself with others.
Rather just get on with your assignment


Summary:
God calls you to Himself . . . for intimate companionship.  Period !
God  calls you to get comfortable with the Ways He’s made you—personality, talents, gifts & sovereign history;
God calls you to assignments which flow out of the WAYS He’s made you

Frederick Buechner proposed that …
… your calling is found “where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” (from page 263 of Andy Crouch’s 2008 book, Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling; IVP Books)
In trying to discover our CALLING, Christian and writer, Andy Crouch, urges us to ask the question:
… “Where do you experience grace—divine multiplication that far exceeds your efforts.” (from page 257 of Andy Crouch’s 2009 book, Culture Making:  Recovering Our Creative Calling; IVP Books)
Then Crouch goes on to challenge us to ask a second question:
… “Where do we find our work and play bearing awe-inspiring fruit—and at the same time find ourselves able to identify with Christ on the cross?  That intersection is where we are called to dig into the dirt, cultivate and create.”  (Quoted from page 262 of Andy Crouch’s 2009 book, Culture Making:  Recovering Our Creative Calling; IVP Books)
Discovering your God-given CALLING assumes that you are pursuing God’s agenda for your life more than you are seeking your own agenda.


So in all this, remember: Philippians 2: 12-13

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed- . . . -continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you (both) to will and to act according to his good purpose. [NIV]

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3 Things Worship Ought Be

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What Worship Ought Be

Three Broad Goals of the Worship Lifestyle
 (Categories for Worship Consideration)

Below, I suggest three “ought’s” related to worship. In doing so, at the same time, you need to stay aware of the reality that Ought-ness is a tricky issue.
I heard some place someone say that when we use the terms “ought” and “should” we put things and issues into the realm of morality. And that’s not always correct or emotionally healthy. You best not say to a work associate, “Oh, you ought not have spoken so harshly to that delivery person.” May be should have, because the delivery person was wrong to be 30 minutes late. Or, to a church friend, “Oh, you shouldn’t feel that way about incident.” Maybe they should have been outraged by the abusive treatment they received.
OUGHT-ness is a tricky area.


At the same time, you have heard the late Dr. Francis Schaeffer emphasize that human kind–given the moral beings that we, the fallen beings we remain in this life, and the fallen but free choice we possess–always have the choice between doing ‘what we ought do’ and ‘what we can do.’ That choice–between ‘what we ought do’ and ‘what we can do’–is always essential to consider. I must frequently face issues and situations that force me to choose between what I know I can do (and probably can get away with, and still preserve my reputation), and what I ought do to do; that which is right in terms of Godly righteousness (whether or not I can get away with it)..
Well, I vote with Schaeffer. Ought-ness is something the believer must face, especially in the area of worship . . . because we are dealing with the highest of moral issues, the issue of worship.


Three Things Worship Ought Be
I’m convinced there stand three oughts related to worship. I’m convinced of these oughts by virtue of the Bible’s presumptions about worship, about life before the Fall, about the LORD’s redemptive (reclamation) program, and about our ultimate state-of-relating-with-God in eternity.
So in summary we could say that:

First, worship is the environment in which we were created to live . . . and therefore, the realm which we ought strive to live in each moment of the day (e.g. Hebrews 9: 14).
Second, worship is the core focus we were created to hold . . . and therefore, the center we ought strive to maintain from each moment to the next (e.g. John 6:38-40).
Third, worship is the lifestyle we were created to manifest . . . and therefore, the reservoir we ought strive to draw from for every endeavor of life (e.g. Romans 12:1).


Keep these broad definitions related to worship in mind, and you will move much more quickly on your way to clearing much confusion that surrounds the topic of worship; and at the same time move on in developing a more healthy lifestyle of worship.

Suggested Reading
Engaging God; A Biblical Theology of Worship, by David Peterson. Grand Rapids, MI
Eerdmans Publishing, 1992
Desiring God; Meditations of a Christian Hedonist, by John Piper. Portland, OR
Multnomah Press. 1986 (Specifically Chapters One, Two, & Three
Experiencing God; How to Live the Adventure of Knowing and Doing God’s Will [the book, not the workbook], by Henry Blackaby. Nashville, TN. Broadman & Holmes. 1994 (Specifically Chapters Seven, Eight, & Nine)

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