Monday, August 19, 2013

Being faithful with the little things

"[The Kingdom of God] is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.” Mark 4:31-32

A few weeks ago, my wife Vicki and I had the opportunity to visit Andy Stanley’s church, North Point. What a great experience. Andy is such a good communicator and we were lucky because it was his first week back from a summer break he took with his family. He showed pictures of Jerusalem and Rome during his message and talked about the humble beginnings of the “church”. When Jesus predicted the “church”, he explained, it had nothing to do with the buildings but the original word used in that passage was ecclesia, referring to an assembly of people. What started as a dozen followers, now, is millions of people spanning the globe. I like how Mark Roberts with The High Calling explains these humble beginnings in his Daily Reflections blog:

“Yes, Jesus stirred up the crowds and distressed many Jewish leaders. Yes, he was popular among common people, especially those who needed healing or deliverance. But, for the most part, Jesus didn’t even show up as a blip on the radar screen. As ancient Roman historians recounted the key events and people of the first-century A.D., Jesus received only the tiniest mention. Though God’s reign was truly present in the ministry of Jesus, it was small and apparently inconsequential. In time, however, it would make its full impact known.” 

In his blog, Mark goes on to explain how God uses us to expand His kingdom no matter how insignificant we THINK our work is:

“Sometimes we Christians forget the image of the mustard seed and the encouragement it brings. We look at huge, successful ministries and discount the importance of our local churches. Or we see a few Christians who impact millions of people and figure that our contribution doesn’t count. In fact, however, God has chosen to use that which appears to be inconsequential in the work of his kingdom. Our calling is not to make a big splash for God, but rather to be faithful in our part of the world. The mustard seed of God’s reign will grow through us in our workplace, family, school, community, church, and society. We may not see it. We may not think we’re making a major impact. But God will be at work in and through us, extending his rule in our world.”

I am so excited about the mission of The Ripple Effects and the tools that will soon be available to each one of us to help us be more intentional about LIVING OUT OUR FAITH in our workplaces. I feel like God had me plant a mustard seed about three years ago and I feel like I have made numerous trips to Home Depot for fertilizer and even miracle grow but it wasn’t until recently that I gave it over to the master gardener that I am now seeing the first signs of plant life breaking through the soil!

Jeff Baugus
The Ripple Effects

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Patience is a virtue, so I have heard.

Psalm 130:5 (NIV) I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.

Patience is a virtue, so I have heard. It is so hard to wait on the Lord sometimes, isn’t it? My thoughts, my mission, my passion is busting at the seams for what I see TRE can and will be. A couple of great meetings with some trusted friends this week helped me to take a step back and revisit our main mission at TRE and that is to reach out to those folks within our workplace mission field that are far from God. While we continue to add to our TRE community, I know it is vitally important to remain rooted in this main purpose and for us to provide resources and tools to our members to not only help them in business but to also help them to remain focused on our main mission.

To help us keep focused on this mission, we are starting a study in September around the book “God in The Marketplace” by Henry & Richard Blackaby. Stay tuned for more details on this soon. If you want to go ahead and order the book so that you are ready, Amazon has good conditioned used copies. I found my copy on Amazon for 1 cent plus $3.99 shipping. After reading through several chapters I am seeing how this can literally be a handbook for living out our faith in our workplaces and to help others fulfill the mission that God has given them within their workplace.

Jeff Baugus
The Ripple Effects