Growing in Your Identity in Christ
For Work and Ministry

A Bible Study for Austin Chinese Church
January 26, 2007

  1. Why are you on this planet?
    • Your natural gifts + your spiritual gives = why are you here?

  2. Begin at the beginning: Salvation and a lifetime of increasing in the
    true knowledge of God  (see “Wrong and Right Thinking about God” handout)
    • “The grace of the Lord be with you always” Rev 22:21

  3. Growing in your unique identity in Christ
    1. Unplugging your self-worth from what people think of you: John 2:23-25
      • First our relationship with God, then internalizing it,
        then our relationship with others
    2. Discovering who you really are
      • Romans 6:4-6
      • Ephesians 4:20-24
        • Everything in life is an opportunity to see our need for God and
          ask for His help
      • Colossians 3:3, 9, 10
        • From experience, people who love God and seek him have
          much happier lives
        • Kyle: being married is to change my life. Counseling is to change me.
      • John 8:28, 42; 14:10

  4. Humbling and accurately identifying your natural gifts
    • Ex: sports, IQ, music, dancing, reading, looks, languages, EQ, arts, social skills

  5. Humbling and accurately identifying your spiritual gifts: Romans 12 and 1 Cor. 12
    • [Counsellors need to be low empathy or they won’t last too long]

  6. All of us are a royal priesthood and all of life is a ministry: 1 Peter 2:9
    • We are here to glorify God, become like Jesus, help others come to Him,
      and prepare for eternity (“Serving Christ Through Your Job” handout)
    • We tend to think that secular jobs need natural gifts; ministry jobs need spiritual
      gifts. But really we need to se both. Also another category: interests

  7. Conclusion, diagrams, applications and discussion
    (“Ten Ways to Learn How to Hear God” handout)

Wrong and Right Thinking About God Verses

Psalm 46:10
“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted
in the earth.”

Proverbs 2:5
“...Then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God”
   [discover: Sherlock Holmes: we learn about God through our life]

Proverbs 9:10
“The fear of the Lird is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is
   [Our rate of transformation and sanctification is much slower if we are not participating
    with God in our sanctification. God might have to use a cattle chute...]

Jeremiah 9:23-24
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man
boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about
this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delignt,” declares the Lord”

Romans 1:23
“...and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man...”

Romans 11:33
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable
His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!”

2 Corinthians 10:5
“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God,
and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ...”

Ephesians 1:7
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according
to the riches of His grace...”

Colossians 2:2-3
“...that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to
all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true
knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself...”

Colossians 3:10
“...and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the
image of the One who created him...”

2 Peter 1:2-3
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;
seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness,
through the true knowledge of Him who called us to be His own glory and excellence.”
   [knowledge: epiknosos: personal, experiential knowledge of God]

Ten Ways to Learn How to Hear God

“This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, listen to Him!”
Matthew 17:5

  1. Obey God in the things you know He is telling you to do from the Bible
    “ obey is better than sacrifice...”                                          1 Samuel 15:22

  2. Believe that God is talking to you all the time in His still, small, and sweet voice
    “...and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing...”                   1 Kings 19:12

  3. Ask regularly and specifically for wisdom
    “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all men
     generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
           James 1:5

  4. Read the Bible out loud, study and brainstorm with Jesus out loud, and apply
    it specifically to your life.
    “So faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.”     Rom. 10:17

  5. Believe that the Holy Spirit is making connections inside of you 24/7 to show you
    His ways and wisdom
    “...but by those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual
                                                                                         1 Corintians 2:13

  6. Always open the door of your heart when Jesus knocks
    “Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the
    door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him and he with Me.”
      Rev. 3:10

  7. Develop a quiet spirit so you can hear God speak to you in your spirit
    “...but let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable quality of a
    gentle and quiet spirit which is precious in the sight of God.”
             1 Peter 3:4

  8. Increase your intimate and personal knowledge and relationship with Jesus all the time
    “...seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life
    and godliness through the true knowledge of Him...”
                            2 Peter 1:3

  9. The three most important things:
    Pray, Pray, Pray!
    “...pray without ceasing...”                                                              1 Thess. 5:17

  10. Pray and be still every day and ask the Holy Spirit to help you hear what He is
    saying to you
    “Be still and know that I am God...”                                               Psalm 46:10

Serving Christ Through Your Job

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord, rather than for men.” Colossians 3:23

  1. Introduction: Your job can be one of the most powerful context for your
    Christlike development and witness

  2. The Adamic curse: Work shifts from “cultivating and keeping” to
    “toiling and sweating”: Genesis 2:15 & 3:17-19

  3. The world’s two extreme solutions for the curse of work
    1. Laziness/slothfulness: Prov. 10:26; 18:9; 22:13
    2. Workaholic: Luke 12:16-21 — the rich fool
      1. Personal identity and power
      2. Social and relational power and opportunities
      3. Financial “security” and power

  4. God’s redemption of the curse of having to work
    • Gen 3:17-19; Haggai 2:4; Col 3:22 - 4:1; Matt 6:25-34;
      Luke 12:22-48; Matt 25:14-20
    • Successful people in the Bible — Joseph, Daniel, Jesus: Mark 1:22

  5. Discovering the unique spiritual gifts God has given to you to match and balance
    your natural gifts
    • Completing and putting into practice the SHAPE study

  6. Christlike applications for your work context
    1. Productivity / stewardship: Luke 12:48; 16:10,11
    2. Work relationships
      1. Employer: Prov. 27:18; Luke 16:1-13; Col. 3:22-25; 2 Pet. 5:5
      2. Co-workers: Matt. 20:25-28
      3. Employees: Col. 4:1; Luke 12:22-48; 1 Pet. 5:1-3
      4. Self-employed: James 4:13-15
    3. Bad bosses: Ecc. 4:13; 10:4
    4. Responding to false accusations and gossip: Matt. 10:16-20
    5. Matching your gifts, talents, experiences, and calling to your present
      and future jobs and ministry
    6. Upward mobility: James 4:13-15; 1 Pet. 5:6,7
    7. Money and compensation: 1 Tm. 6:6-19

Evidences of Freedom from Expectations
(or Total Surrender)

  1. All rights surrendered - Romans 12:1, 1 Corinthians 6:7, Philippians 2:7
  2. Willing to be rejected - Isaiah 53:3, 1 Corinthians 4:11-13
  3. Transparent (willing to share weakness) - Romans 7:15-24, 1 Corinthians 2:3
  4. Vulnerable (willing to share failures) - Psalm 32:5, James 5:16
  5. A sense of total inadequacy in self-strength - 2 Corinthians 3:6
  6. A sense of adequacy in Christ through His strength - 2 Corinthians 3:6, Philippians 4:13
  7. Trusting God, even with external turmoil - Proverbs 3:5-6, Isaiah 30:15
  8. Obedience out of love (because I want to, not because I have to) - 2 Cor. 5:14a, 9:17
  9. Recognizing the power in weakness - 1 Corinthians 1:27, 2 Corinthians 12:10; 13:4
  10. Willing to be weak - 2 Corinthians 12:10; 13:9  Philippians 4:10
  11. Willing to fail - Luke 5:5
  12. A readiness to let others receive credit - Philippians 2:5-8
  13. Genuine humility - Philippians 2:5-8
  14. Placing value on those who have little or no value to yourself - Romans 12:16
          1 Corinthians 8:11-13, 1 Thessalonians 5:14
  15. A readiness to affirm (build up) others - 1 Thessalonians 5:11
  16. Teachable - Judges 13:8, Job 6:24, 34:32, Psalm 24:4-5
  17. Willing to be Out of Control - Galatians 2:20, 1 Peter 2:23, 5:6
  18. Willing to be misunderstood - Hebrews 11:13-16, 36-38

Total Surrender “Contract”

Dear Lord, I surrender to You:

My will, mind and emotions, my body, my future plans, hopes and dreams. I give You my
home, my marriage, my mate, my children, my geographical location, my recreation and
entertainment, and my career. I surrender to You my past successes and my past failures,
my habits, my finances, my problems, my time, my integrity and character, my attitudes,
my business conduct and relationships, my Christian walk and my response to authority.

Lord, I further surrender to You the following “rights”:

My right to possessions
My right to a good reputation
My right to have acceptance
My right to be successful
My right to have pleasant circumstances
My right to presume on the will of God
My right to life itself
My right to beauty or strength
My right to have friendships
My right to be heard
My right to take up offense
My right to avoid reaping what I sow
My right to be right
My right to see results
My right to ______________________
My right to ______________________
My right to ______________________
My right to ______________________
My right to ______________________
My right to ______________________
My right to ______________________

Dear Lord, I give You permission to do anything You wish to me, with me, in me or through me.
I claimed the above items once as mine. Now they all belong to You and are under Your
control. You can do anything You please with them. I willingly make this commitment in the
name and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I recognize that this is an agreement with You
that can never be broken. Now that I have surrendered ownership of my life to You, You will
never give it back to me.

In Your name, Amen

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