There is no Workaholics Anonymous. Why would there be? Overwork isn’t a hamartia in our society’s currency-lubed, prestige based, multitasking rat race.

Gambling, pornography, cocaine, booze, and most other addictions carry a stigma of shame associated with weakness or dysfunction. But for some reason the caffeinated crew of interns at work broadcast their exhaustion with feigned self deprecating whines of “Sorry I’m so spaced today. It’s because I pulled three all-nighters and haven’t had a day off since the Blackberry was invented.”

Everyone in a cubicle thinks he’s Jack Bauer. Is it possible your job isn’t important enough to global stability to warrant the hours you put in? If that suggestion prickles your pride, then perhaps your dedication to the corporate fiefdom isn’t as noble as you make it out to be.jack_bauer_productivity

I don’t have a definition for what constitutes too much work, but we all know people whose lives are affected detrimentally by their workload. If, thanks to work, your family is disintegrating, your health is deteriorating, and time for God’s priorities (e.g. attending and serving in church) is disappearing then your schedule is unbalanced.

One of the reasons God made Sabbath for mankind is so that we will rest from our labor regularly enough to worship him devotedly, and recuperate sufficiently to sustain a long, productive, God-centered life.

And the hubris of an overstuffed day planner isn’t limited to Silicon Valley Microserfs, Wall Street moneygrubbers, or medical residents. Students, housewives, and pastors all glory in the shame of their limitless spirit being more willing than their sleep deprived flesh.

As a seminoid I loved that the strong coffee for sale in the break room was labeled “Lazarus Blend.” We sported dark rings under our puffy eyes and disheveled clothing (who has time to iron), and if someone remarked, “You look like death!” that was a compliment.

 

Here are five possible reasons for overworking:

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August 13, 2015

Q & Eh?

by Lyndon Unger

Welcome to our weekly Q & A.  This is the part of the show where we dig into the mailbag and answer questions from our viewers at home.

No wait.

I’m thinking of my local cable access crochet show: Hook, Line, and Thinker.  It’s my show where I discuss various theological issues while crocheting interesting toques.

Bane Mask

THIS is the Cripplegate, so it’s our first ever (and possibly last, depending on how this goes) “Q & Eh?”

This is where readers ask the Canadian contributor questions (via FaceBook) and he answers them.  The following four questions were selected based on the number of positive votes they received.  Seeing that I forgot to limit the contest to one question per person, I’ll tackle the four winners.  Also, knowing that many people were hoping for a silly answer to these (mostly) silly questions, I’ll provide a silly answer first and then a more serious answer after that.  Let’s get started. Continue Reading…

Many times this year I would be sharing the Gospel with someone and all of a sudden it would dawn on me, “I can’t believe I’m getting paid to do this!” It is an incredible privilege to be paid to be in full-time ministry, and its something that we should never take for granted. I learned so much in my first year and hope these lessons, (in no particular order of importance) that I am still learning, would be a blessing to you as well.

1. My seminary isn’t the only seminary

I am on a staff full of people who have not attended my seminary. In fact less than 5% have. And it’s a healthy church. A very healthy church. How could this be? The fact of the matter is that God is working all over the world, and through all kinds of people. He has raised up other churches and seminaries that are doing a wonderful job of training up elders, deacons and lay-people who love the Lord and serve Him well. While I would always encourage someone to attend the seminary I went to, I have to keep in mind that it isn’t the only seminary that God is blessing.

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In a previous post we examined Fat Secret: The Invisible Sin of Gluttony. But that food for thought is only one serving among a smorgasbord of other gastronomical sins and dysfunctions. self control

Anorexia nervosa (voluntary starving), bulimia (self-induced vomiting), comfort eating (ice-cream therapy), and muscle dysmorphia ( or “megarexia” – a fear of being too small) are all staples in a psychologist’s handbook. Some of these may have a physical malfunction as a catalyst, but often they can be a direct result of sinful thinking.

In that case these types of “eating disorders” might more accurately be termed “disorderly eating.” The former label connotes a malady that has beset you, but the latter admits the responsibility for the problem lies with you.

I certainly don’t want to oversimplify the complex psychological and physiological factors involved with debilitating eating conditions. The body and the mind are so inextricable that one can’t just flip a “stop-it” switch to shut off a behavior without risk of physical consequences. For example, if an anorexic patient suddenly begins to eat copious quantities of solid food, they may actually die.

All I’m saying is that in cases where one’s behavior is causing health deterioration, we need to enlist the help of not only physicians, but also the counsel of godly friends to assist with applying Scripture and prayer and the guidance of the Spirit to bring about gradual change and healing.

Physical and mental conditions are sometimes actually spiritual conditions masquerading as an illness. The remedy is not just nutritional replenishment but spiritual repentance.

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“You are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
– 2 Corinthians 3:3 –

2 Cor 3;3As false apostles in Corinth are challenging Paul’s credibility, they object to his authority and promote their own on the basis of letters of commendation. They’ve got doctored letters from some church in Jerusalem, and they’re calling Paul out because he has none. Paul responds by saying that Christ Himself has written him a letter of commendation. And it wasn’t written with mere ink or on stone, but by the Spirit on human hearts. The salvation of the Corinthians themselves was all the commendation Paul needed.

If we follow Paul’s imagery carefully, we wouldn’t have expected him to set up a contrast between human hearts and tablets of stone. He’s just spoken of natural letters written in ink, and you don’t use ink on stone. We would have expected Paul to say something like, “Not on papyrus, or parchments, which fade away along with the ink written on them.” But he doesn’t say that. He contrasts “tablets of human hearts”—literally, “tablets that are hearts of flesh”—with “tablets of stone.”

Why? Well, the false apostles (i.e., those whom Paul was defending himself against in 2 Corinthians) were Judaizers. They were teaching that circumcision and keeping the ceremonial law of Moses was necessary for salvation. And so by changing the contrast from “written on paper” to “written on tablets of stone,” Paul is contrasting the impotence of the law in under the Mosaic Covenant with the almighty sanctifying power of the Spirit under the New Covenant, which has now dawned with Christ.

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I’ve written on a lot of issues and biblical passages on here over the last few years, but the one thing I haven’t tackled was the issue of abortion.  The reason I haven’t tackled it was because I didn’t have the time to explore the topic in the comprehensive manner that I normally lean towards (i.e. like this or this or this).  I still haven’t found the time, and the kind of post I’d like to write requires a lot of research.  I have started my research and wanted to share something that I’ve already learned:

The Abortion Guarantee.

It doesn’t take much reading of Scripture to learn that God has a heart for the widows, orphans, poor and oppressed.  In Scripture, God is abundantly clear in revealing his concern for those groups (Ex. 22:22-27, 23:1-3, 23:6-8, 23:10-11; Lev. 19:15, 23:22, 25:35-43; Deut 14:28-29, 15:7-15, 24:14-22; Ps. 9:9, 10:16-18, 34:4-7; 35:10, 41:1-3, 68:5, 103:6, 146:5-9; Is. 1:16-17, 10:1-4, 58:1-12; Jer. 7:5-7; Ez. 22:23-29; Zech. 7:9-10; Mal. 3:5; Mark 12:38-40; Rom. 15:25-27; Gal. 2:7-10; 1 Tim 5:3-8; James 1:27, 2:15-17, etc.).  The Lord hears their cries, comes to their aid, and is angry at those who mistreat them.

The Lord indeed comes to the aid of the widows, orphans, poor and oppressed, but there is a specific group of people that has a special place on his list of priorities, even above them:

Children.

God gets angry at the oppression and abuse of children.  God gets furious when they are killed.

Destroyed_city

Consider the following: Continue Reading…

On January 22, 2006, Kobe Bryant did the unthinkable.  He scored 81 points in a single NBA Basketball Game. One of the greatest players to play the game, accomplished one of the greatest feats in the history of basketball.

And I was there.Kobe-Bryant-81-Points-197x300

You should have seen me. I couldn’t get out of the arena fast enough to call anyone I knew with a cell-phone.  I called my high school basketball coach.  I called my teammates.  I told random people on the street.  For a few months I would figure out ways to bring it up in conversations. And then slowly as time went on, I didn’t talk about it as much. I still figure out ways to stick it into sermons or blog posts, but over time my excitement of that moment has become less than it once was.

I feel like the same thing happens with evangelism. As time passes after our big day, we lose our passion and boldness. Suddenly, something that came so easy for us only a few years ago dissipates.

I believe that Scripture is filled with daily practices that the Lord has given to us, that, if we see the connection to evangelism, will lead us to a greater motivation to share.

Here are three habits that will kindle the fire for your personal evangelism:

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Are there apostles in the church today?

Just ask your average fan of TBN, many of whom consider popular televangelists like Benny Hinn, Rod Parsley, and Joel Osteen to be apostles. (Here’s one such example [see page 22].)

Or, you could ask folks like Gerald, RicardoArsenio, Charlezetta, or Richard. They not only believe in modern-day apostleship, they assert themselves to be apostles.

A quick Google search reveals that self-proclaimed apostles abound online. Armed with a charismatic pneumatology and often an air of spiritual ambition, they put themselves on par with the earliest leaders of the church.

So what are Bible-believing Christians to think about all of this?

Well, that brings us back to the title of our post:

Are there still apostles in the church today?

At the outset, we should note that by “apostles” we do not simply mean “sent ones” in the general sense. Rather, we are speaking of those select individuals directly appointed and authorized by Jesus Christ to be His immediate representatives on earth. In this sense, we are speaking of “capital A” apostles – such as the Twelve and the apostle Paul.

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Not since Little Shop of Horrors have we seen a dentist portrayed as so thoroughly villainous as was done in last week’s wanton social media feeding frenzy. Mystifyingly, in the same news cycle that exposed the trafficking of infant body parts in the US, a story about one of many poached animals in Zimbabwe received the lion’s share of media attention.dentist steve martin

Don’t get me wrong, hunting without the proper permit is quite dastardly indeed. I’m a cat person (and a sub-Saharan resident) so I get that news of a dead lion with a name Americans can pronounce is more newsworthy than the countless anonymous extinction-bound rhinos that are poached every year for their horns. But more newsworthy than locals selling babies’ lungs without a permit? Really?

Incidentally, paying to shoot lions is not only legal in Zimbabwe, but actively encouraged by its tourism authorities. The Rhodesian Ridgeback dog was bred specifically to hunt lions (Rhodesia is Zimbabwe’s maiden name). And so, if the paperwork had been in order no one would have batted an eyelid or typed a tweet. Odd.

This is a good week for our theology and zoology to intersect. It behooves us to recap what we know about God’s view of animals.

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In 2 Samuel 11, it seemed like everyone was sending someone somewhere. David does some sending (2 Sam 11:3, 6); Joab sends Uriah (2 Sam 11:6) and later a messenger (2 Sam 11:18); even Bathsheba sends people (2 Sam 11:5). But throughout all of this sending in chapter 11, there is someone eerily missing: God. We’re left wondering, “Will God get involved and do some sending of His own?”

In chapter 12, we get our answer. God takes over this mess of a situation. He gives David enough time to feel the weight of his sin, and then sends His prophet Nathan to confront David (2 Sam 12:1). He does so by telling a story of a rich man who takes a poor man’s ewe lamb pet, and cooks it for his visiting friend. And although everyone would agree that it was an absolutely evil thing to do, David’s reaction is over the top, He screams “As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die” (2 Sam 12:5).

David recognized that it was a wicked thing for a man with plentiful herds to kill the only companion a poor man had so they could enjoy a meal. The problem, though, is that David had no business calling anyone out on their sin at the moment, since he had just murdered many innocent people! He committed adultery (2 Sam 11:4), impregnated Uriah’s wife (2 Sam 11:5), took Bathsheba as his own (2 Sam 11:27), and then killed Uriah and other soldiers (2 Sam 11:17) just to cover up his evil. After killing a human being, David is nevertheless incensed that the rich man would kill a lamb.

In the next verse, Nathan utters two words that will sink David’s heart forever: “Attah Ha-ish!” “You are the man!”

And if that doesn’t sound bizarrely similar to the events of this past week, I don’t know what does.

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