A Labor Day Sermon on Work

Because it’s Labor Day, here is a sermon I preached this past summer on the theme of work.  I pray it’s as helpful to you as it was for me in preparing, praying through, and applying what I was preaching. 

 

 

New Position at CBMW

I am excited to announce that I have been promoted to lead editor at CBMW, specifically for the Manual channel.  Manual is the men’s channel, and it is a big part of the content production on the website—alongside of the women’s and family channels.   At Manual, we focus on men’s issues like:  gospel-centered husbandry, dad-hood, leadership, and practical issues facing men today.  

Our hope at Manual is that we would be an encouraging and winsome resource for men—singles and marrieds alike.  And that we would do so vigorously, as we know that manhood is under great attack in our culture today.

I am thankful for the opportunity to work alongside such incredible thinkers, scholars, and gospel-rich complementarians.  Furthermore, I have been blessed beyond measure to develop such a golden friendship with our previous lead editor, Kyle Worley.  Kyle is taking this season to focus more on his family and his growing responsibilities and opportunities at The Village Church, alongside of one of my favorite pastor-theologians in the world—Matt Chandler.  He leaves me with the biggest of shoes to fill.

We are always looking for new, strong complementarian voices to write.  If you are interested, email us at cbmwmen@gmail.com.

I am excited to see how God will use our efforts at CBMW, as we seek to bring great honor to the Lord Jesus Christ through our production of resources for men.  May we continue to become an army of evangelical men who walk with humility and courage in seeking to serve our families, local churches, communities, and the nations.  

-GG

I am a Recovering People Pleaser

If there is one thing I’ve struggled with over the years, it’s pleasing the masses.  I mean, affirmation feels good, right?  And lots of it?  From lots of people?  Well, that’s just even better.  The main issue to confront when talking about the disease of craving people’s praise is pride.  It’s a desire—a sick desire—to be praised by other people.

I fight this all of the time.  I fight it when I write.  When I teach.  When I am in one-on-one conversations.  From my co-workers.  Wife.  Friends.  Whatever.  I crave it.  

And so do you.

So, to use myself as an example:  When I write, I have to constantly suppress the desire for affirmation, instead writing with the posture of conviction, calling, vigor, and purpose.  The goal in my writing is not to praise Greg Gibson.  The goal of my writing is to bring glory to God, through Jesus, and that he would somehow use these feeble words for other’s good.  That is my goal.  That is always my prayer.

Yet sin creeps in.  Pride creeps in like a lion ready to attack its prey.  Or like Miley Cyrus ready to attack a wrecking-ball.

Okay, that was a weird analogy, but you get the picture.

Because of detestable sin, we crave to be lifted up by other people.  Jesus was tempted by Satan in the same way.  Satan offered him all the riches, fame, and power of this world, if he would just worship him.

Again, we do this everyday, don’t we?

Craving to be known, we suppress the only one who should be truly known.  

May we heed the words of Jesus and keep them close to our wicked and sinful hearts:  “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 6:1, ESV)

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*I honestly can’t say it any better than Pastor John Piper.  So, listen to this 6-minute audio clip here.

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Greg Gibson is married to Grace and is the father of Cora and Iver. He serves as an elder and family ministries pastor at Foothills Church in Knoxville, TN overseeing birth through college and marriages. He is the author of Reformational Manhood: Creating a Culture of Gospel-Centered Warriors and serves as the lead editor for CBMW’s Manual.  Follow him on Twitter: @gregrgibson

 

Can You Teach Someone to be Driven?

I’ve struggled with this question for a few years now, and I think I’ve come to somewhat of a conclusion.  But much like all personal leadership principles, they keep evolving and changing as you keep growing.  So, there you have it.

There is nothing more frustrating than being around someone who seems to lack drive.  This person bogs down the team and seems to function as the big black hole of fun.  This concept, I think, is different than just talking about an attitude problem or adjustment, though.  I think it’s much more than that.

Here’s what I have concluded:

I have seen people—myself included—be so lazy at one task and so driven towards another.  I have seen people stink at one thing, and excel at other stuff.  And I keep seeing this over and over.  And over and over.  And over and over.  And… over… and… over…

Jim Collins talks about getting the right people on the bus and then assigning positions accordingly.  I think this is good and true for the most part.

But what if we began to hire people or lead people toward their gifts and desires?  Obviously, faithfulness comes before fruitfulness.  And not everyone can be the teaching guy.  And not every organization has the funds to do this.

But what would it look like to allow people to function under their gifts and passions?  I think it would be a game changer.

So, I don’t think you can necessarily teach the drive that makes people awesome (i.e., Malcom Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule of being an expert at something).

But I do think you can help people succeed by putting them in positions of passion and gifting.

Then—I think—drive naturally happens.

 

A Few Things College Students Fear and Desire

I have started leading a college bible study on Wednesday nights at my local church.  On the first night that we gathered, I asked 2 simple questions:  1) What are your expectations for a college ministry?  2) What are your greatest fears for this stage of life?  Here is what was stated (in paraphrase)…

EXPECTATIONS:

  • I want to be a part of a group that does more discussion than teaching at me.
  • I want the church to actually acknowledge that we exist.  I mean, we don’t tithe much, but we do serve… a lot!
  • I am excited about building relationships with people older than me (speaking of small group leaders).
  • I am excited to have a healthy group of people to call my friends.
  • I am looking forward to having a healthy friend group of both guys and girls.
  • I want to belong.

FEARS:

  • I have no idea what I want to do with my life.
  • I am afraid that I am majoring in the wrong thing… something I’m not passionate about.
  • I am nervous about the responsibility this stage of life will bring.
  • I am scared to step out and make big decisions (like move away from home, pursue a career that won’t bring a ton of money, etc.)
  • I am not very disciplined.  The freedom might be a hindrance to me.
  • I might not belong.

 

Only Small Gods Live on Bumper Stickers

ONE DAY, THERE WILL NO LONGER BE A NEED FOR DEFENDING TRUTH. This will be a glorious day. Trumpets will sound, mountains will shake, lions will lie down with lambs, and bodies will rise to meet their King! This day—the last day—Jesus will be completely exalted over all of creation. Sin will be no more; death will be no more. There will no longer be obnoxious bumper stickers (pluralistic or Christian). We will finally partake in the marriage supper of the Lamb, and we will gather together with all the saints and the four living creatures who gather around his throne and sing ever joyously, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (Revelation 4:8).

What a glorious day that will be indeed! Though we carry the burden of defense now, take hope! Look up! The Son of God will return! Let us be men who walk with this perspective.

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**Excerpt taken from Greg Gibson, Reformational Manhood, BorderStone Press, ©2014. Used by permission. http://borderstonepress.com

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Greg Gibson is married to Grace and is the father of Cora and Iver. He serves as an elder and family ministries pastor at Foothills Church in Knoxville, TN overseeing birth through college and marriages. He is the author of Reformational Manhood: Creating a Culture of Gospel-Centered Warriors and serves as the lead editor for CBMW’s Manual. Greg also writes often at ggib.me. Follow him on Twitter: @gregrgibson

FOR DUDES: Pursue, Date, and Marry Differently

Excerpt taken from Greg Gibson, Reformational Manhood, BorderStone Press, ©2014. Used by permission. http://borderstonepress.com

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Let’s get right to it on this topic. The way young people date today pretty much reflects how married people relate to each other. Young people spend lots of time together alone; they awaken desire prematurely; they mess around, often times ending in intercourse; and they are just as affectionate as a husband and wife should be within the sacred confines of marriage. Most of the time, the only thing that separates a dating relationship from a marriage relationship is the ring that is parked on the left hand. Vodie Baucham says, as stated above, that dating as it is currently done is “glorified divorce practice.” So, it’s not hidden—I am a huge enemy toward the way we currently practice dating.

The difference between a Christian and a non-Christian when it comes to relationships should be monumental. For the Christian, the lens through which we view relationships must be Scripture. For the non-Christian, the lens through which they view relationships is often the current cultural approach. This approach is found in the saying, “You don’t know if the shoe fits until you try it on.” Men and women live with each other, fulfill their sexual desires, hop around from dating partner to dating partner, and treat each other as husband and wife—all without any form of commitment. Again, it is not uncommon to find confessing Christians living together before marriage either. If they are not living together it seems that they spend all of their time together in intimate environments where there is no accountability, and they have no one walking beside them as they pursue the biggest journey of their life.

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The REAL QUESTION We Must Ask Ourselves Concerning Friendship

On Monday, I wrote on the idea of friendship being seasonal and the pursuit of “that friend group” being something we shouldn’t feel like we have to strive for once we move into adulthood, and I think it home a bit.  In less than 24-hours, that post had been read over 500 times.

Friendship is something we all desire, and it’s not foreign to just high school students.  In fact, God made us that way.  We were created to be relational—both vertically with Him, and horizontally with one another.  Sin affects relationships.  You know this.  I’m preaching to the choir.

Acts 2:42-27 is a beautiful picture of believers doing life together.  And as they did this, God would do incredible things in their midst for His glory and their good.

So, in one sense, God made us to be in relationships with each other, finding joy and personal growth through the relationships he gives us, but we shouldn’t desire this “friend group” to be inclusive for the span of our lives.  That’s a cultural view, I think.  Friendships come in and out of our lives as fast as the changing of the seasons.  And, again, I think this okay.  I think this is how God made it to be.  Seasonal.  For the purpose of godliness.  Growth.  The encouragement of others.  Joy.  And much more.

However, as I thought through the concept of friendship—and why we desire it so strongly—I can’t help but ask why we’re so focused on finding friends, or friend groups, or someone in which to belong?  When do we get to the point where, instead of seeking out friendships for others to pour themselves into us, we are seeking to pour ourselves out into others?

There comes a point in our sanctification where we think more like spiritual parents than like spiritual teenagers, though maybe it’s never truly this way.

After all, iron does sharpen iron, right?

The Lie We Believe Concerning Friendship

Do you remember the show FRIENDS? It was a game changer for sitcom television. Six friends who did life together, through the ups and downs, for what seemed like the rest of their lives. For this show, and many others to follow, it was all about that one “group of friends” through which everything was filtered, and through which everything happened.

It’s hard to grow up, isn’t it? Some of us are lucky enough to have that “friend group” throughout high school, or maybe even college. But rarely any of us are lucky enough to have that “friend group” post-college or well into our adult years.

And here’s the deal: that is okay.

The biggest lie concerning friendship, which we believe in our culture today, is that we should have a group of friends that remain “that group of friends” for the rest of our lives.

This is simply not true.

The reality, I think, is that God calls us to different levels of friendships and relationships throughout our lives. The friends you had in college are still your friends, yes, but they are no longer “that friend group.” The friends you have today may no longer be “that friend group” next year. And, again, that’s okay.

When I look at the life of Jesus, his life was marked more by intentional relational discipleship than the pursuit of lifelong friendships. Yes, he had twelve guys he poured into—his disciples—but he was also their leader. Furthermore, when Jesus died, his disciples were left to go different ways. In a sense, they were to go and pour their lives into other people now.

When we realize this truth about friendship, then I think so many of us will stop putting all of our eggs into the basket of trying to find “that friend group” and begin to realize that there are incredible people—true, great friends—that God has put right in front of us at this point in our journey.

SECOND SHIFT Series at CBMW

Over the month of July, I have had the privilege of putting together and editing a series at CBMW Manual called, “Second Shift.”  One of the hardest things—I think—in which for men to excel at as gospel-centered warriors, is coming home from work at 5pm-ish and being emotionally, spiritually, and physically present as husbands and dads.  I talk with grown men often who struggle to engage their families during this time—what we have coined as the Second Shift, or hours after the normal 9-5pm grind.

We have hoped, through this series, to provide men with a few encouraging resources that might help prepare us to go home and lead well during this time.  After all, this is the most important part of the day.

I hope this series encourages you, exalts King Jesus, and makes Satan tremble with fear.

Here are the articles posted in order:

  1. Preparing Yourself for the Most Important Shift // By Greg Gibson
  2. Balancing the Most Important Shift // By David Sons
  3. Being the Spiritual Leader During the Most Important Shift // By Joey Cochran
  4. Embracing Community in Your Second Shift // By Whitney Clayton
  5. Loving Your Neighbor During the Most Important Shift // By Raymond Johnson
  6. How to Fight For Your Family During Transition and Change // By Tim Sweetmen

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Originally posted at CBMW Manual.

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