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Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, December 25, 2015

The Big Idea Behind Christmas


Today's post appeared six years ago, during my first year of blogging, and has been a Christmas tradition since.

One of my favorite Christmas carols is Joy To The World. The words are by Isaac Watts, based on Psalm 98: "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth; make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills be joyful together before the Lord; for He cometh to judge the earth, with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity."

Some say the song is not about the birth of Christ in Bethlehem, but about His second coming. The joy that is sung about, then, is a future joy that will occur when Christ returns, to “make the nations prove the glories of His righteousness,” in that full expression of His Kingdom yet-to-come.

This may be what Watts had in mind, but the song makes as much sense to me as a celebration of Christ's first coming. While I’m looking forward to that full and perfect expression of the Kingdom-yet-to-come, I’m  also celebrating Christ's King-domain already here. Jesus is Lord of all. Today! Not just in the future, but at this present moment (Acts 10:36-37).

Christ's Kingdom hasn't fully arrived, nor is it perfectly realized yet. This will happen when Christ comes the second time. But the domain over which Christ is King (that is, His King-domain) includes both heaven and earth right now. He is holding it all together by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). Today.

This is the greatest Christmas gift: that Christ came “to make His blessings flow, far as the curse is found, far as the curse is found.” His blessings flow through people who are reconciled to God, and who, in turn, are reconciling all things to Him, including the things of earth, far as the curse is found. Today! 

This is the big idea behind Christmas. (See Col. 1:16-20, and To Reconcile Not Only People But Things.)

So, no more let thorns infest the ground. By God's amazing grace, let's go back to work after Christmas, to pull up some bramble bushes and plant some redwood trees.

Joy to the Earth! the Savior reigns; Let men their songs employ; While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains, Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat, repeat the sounding joy! 

Far as the curse is found.
 
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Friday, December 18, 2015

A Nigerian Investment That's Really Working!


A wise school leader builds his office upon a rock. This is the office of Segun Gbolagun, Director of The Kingdom Citizens International School, in Jos, Nigeria.

Last week, we highlighted the Worklife Restoration and Advancement Project, or, as we call it, the WRAP. Currently, there are a handful of Christian schools in the USA and abroad that are involved in this project. Lord willing, there will be more to come. 

These WRAP schools are actively restoring theology of work to the curriculum in a way that is systemic, intentional and repeatable. It is a rigorous, multi-year process for each school.

In addition to the WRAP schools, Worldview Matters is working with selected cohorts of Christian educators involved in early education through graduate school. These specialized cohorts are in the United States, South Korea, Uganda, Guatemala and (starting in January) Bogotá, Colombia.

Each WRAP school and leaders' cohort participates in a 9-month distance-learning course developed especially for Christian educators, called, Increase Meaning: A Wholistic Approach To Christian Education. It is through this venue that Worldview Matters is able to train educators around the world without leaving our office in northwest USA. [Actually, anyone in the world can enroll in this course. For more information, click here.]

Thanks to a grant from the MustardSeed Foudation and Bakke Graduate University, we have been working for the past 1-1/2 years with a WRAP school in Jos, Nigeria, called The Kingdom Citizens International School.

You may know Nigeria as home to a vicious Islamist group called Boko Haram. This gang of thugs has killed 20,000 people since 2009, and displaced 2.3 million people from their homes, primarily in northeast Nigeria. Last March, the group declared allegiance to ISIS. The name "Boko Haram" means: Western education is evil. (How would you like to be operating a Christian school in this neck of the woods?)

Recently, in a conversation with Segun Gbolagun, the Director of The Kingdom Citizens International School, I asked him if they were in any danger from Boko Haram. "Oh, no," he replied. "Boko Haram is far away from us." When I asked him how far, he said: "Oh, they are about a six or seven hour drive from us."

This information was not all that comforting to me.

Last week I recorded a video call with Segun and Dot Reju, Pastor of The Kingdom Citizens Pavilion, the church that oversees this school. I want to share some of our conversation with you. I think you'll agree, this is a Nigerian investment that's really working!



If the video does not play, click here: https://youtu.be/q9C3Jbe_DLc

Friday, December 11, 2015

Worklife Restoration and Advancement Project


Why should Christians value machines?

On a fourth grade science test after a unit on pulleys and machines, Mrs. Curry included the following question: 

Why should Christians value work and machines?

Here are some of the answers she received: 

"Because they help us through life, and God gave us the material to make them."

"God wants us to use our brains to worship Him, and machines help people to worship God."

"Because God said to do work, and machines help us to do work."

"Because people can glorify God by building things that they have never built before."

"God gave us the thought of them and they make it easier to serve God."

"Because God made us to do work, not to just sit around and do nothing.  So when we work, we should want to do it easily if we have to do it all the time."

"Because God made us to do work and live. We should make it easier by using simple machines."

"Because it is God's purpose for us."

"God created people so people can invent machines."

I received this report from Dean Ridder, Headmaster at Isaac Newton Christian Academy, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Dean ended his message with: "Not bad for 10 years old."

An understatement.

Worldview Matters is working with Bakke Graduate University and the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics to restore a biblical concept of work via elementary and secondary education. We do this through the WRAP: Worklife Restoration and Advancement Project. We have been working with Dean's school for the past 2½ years. [For details about the WRAP, click here.]

In another note, Dean relayed: 

"Our enrollment has grown by 10% since last year (and is still growing--we have families still actively participating in the enrollment process for this year). When I was asked to what do we contribute this growth when enrollment is dropping at Christian schools in our area, I had a good answer. 'People are hearing about our efforts to elevate the level of biblical worldview integration and incorporation of theology of work in our classrooms, and are responding to it.'"

Below is a clip of another INCA teacher, Mrs. Greer, having a conversation with 5th grade students on the topic of ecosystems and work. Here is an example of authentic Christian education, helping students to think about all things, including work, in the context of a biblical frame of reference:


video

If the video does not play, click here.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Accidental Executive



The Book of the Year. (My year, that is.)

One of the best books I've read on the intersection between the biblical worldview and the world of business came out this past year. It's called, The Accidental Executive, by Albert M. Erisman.

I don't say this just because Al is a personal friend, and we attend the same church! I say this because his book is full of rich insights, from cover to cover. As I read the book, I kept saying to myself, "How can Al keep pulling so many insights out of the life of Joseph? Just when I think he can't possibly come up with another insight, he comes up with another great insight!"

The Accidental Executive is a truly exceptional book that deals with theology of work in the context of life itself. What makes the book particularly good, is that Al relates so much of what he learned from the life of Joseph to his own experience as Director of Technology for The Boeing Company. Al's real-life stories are not only the happy experiences, but the not-so-happy ones, too. And that's just like Al. He's the real deal.

I highly recommend you get this book for anyone on your Christmas list who works in the world of business. Actually, what Al pulls from the life of Joseph applies to everyone. Just get it.

Allow me to introduce you to the man behind the book, via this short video recently done by Centered Stories:

video

(If the video does not play, click here: https://vimeo.com/125599429.)