Stewarding Our Vocational Power in the New Year

Are you thinking about how to approach life and discipleship in the New Year? Our resolutions can’t all be about weight loss, can they?! If you are giving thought about how to integrate your faith into all of life, maybe this short talk I gave during a Flourish San Diego learning community session this last year could help spur on your thinking and pursuing:

We set out to build a church, and we come across the promise of gifting for the benefit of the church and the kingdom…

“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, [5] so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. [6] Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them:..” Romans 12:4–6(ESV)

“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—[5] one Lord, one faith, one baptism, [6] one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. [7] But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” Ephesians 4:4–7 (ESV)

Then over time, we adapt this list to the programmatic needs of the church. We focus on hospitality, who will welcome and serve those that attend our church? Musical gifting, who can we train to lead musical worship in the church? Teaching Children, who will tackle the ever-present need to serve in ministry to kiddos? On and on it goes. Practical needs surrounding the weekly gathering of the church take precedent.

We tend then to not recognize gifting but need and pigeonhole people into meeting them.  We might see vocational expertise but we see them through a lens of what they can do for the church. So we tap the graphic designers or electricians to do the work of the church and trust that the successful entrepreneurs will give lots of money to the church.

What then develops over time is perhaps a big machine. The only thing that matters is the machine and our sense of mission, place, and vocation are sacrificed on the altar of church success. But this is not the church we find being built in the New Testament… 

There is another way, yes gifts are given by the Spirit for the health and flourishing of the body, but that is not exclusive to within the walls of the church, because the church flourishes when all of its parts, all of its members recognize and use the passions, talents, opportunities for kingdom good. 

This is discovering and stewarding our vocational power. 

This is seeing people as individuals with various gifts, called to be a redemptive, renewing force in our world, that others may experience the renewal that is found in Christ. 

This is the equipping for ministry the church is called to, laboring to expose and give examples of how vocation is sacred and our place has a purpose. Shall we be about this work? Let’s.

What Are You Resolving Toward?

The other day I saw someone tweet that they were hesitant to take on a new fitness challenge into the new year, something they needed, because people would essentially make fun of them for setting resolutions. After all, no one keeps resolutions.

The opposite is true. People do keep resolutions. All the time in fact and not just at New Years. If people could not keep the determination to make changes in life, there would never be any and we would all be dead. But the social backlash or fun-making at the crowds at the gym at the beginning of the year is perhaps a coping mechanism with our own inability to live a resolved life.

Spiritually, we rejoice that salvation is not kept by our ability. It is secure, kept, and brought all the way home by Christ himself. Then in the natural we realize that Jesus won’t eat less sugar for us. While we are helped by the Holy Spirit we still have to shut the pie hole, run the miles, read the books, enjoy the out-of-doors, build relationships with family and friends, spend less or more strategically, and whatever it is you should be resolved about!

So go ahead and make that change. Plan to do it, make a resolution. I am cheering you on and you will find it is worth it.

Worthwhile – November 30, 2018

Each week I read or encounter a number of things that are worthwhile and I want to get in the habit of sharing them with you. Below are things of worth from the recent weeks. 


There has been a lot of talk since Thanksgiving about the death of John Chau, a missionary killed trying to engage with an unreached people group. The conversation has raised some important questions about taking the name of Jesus to those who haven’t heard and the waning zeal of professing Christians to evangelize. Garrett Kell shares a worthwhile perspective here. Tim Challies also gives key points to keep in mind along with a poem to give us perspective, read him here.  


Advent is not all egg-nog and yuletide cheer. It can be a difficult time for many and in the church, we need to have clear eyes to see this reality and care for one another in the midst of it. Zach Eswine has a post about preaching lament at Advent that is helpful to preachers and the rest of us as well. Read that here


Finally this week, when it comes to living fully in our day it helps to understand our context and the deeper levels of thinking and culture we swim in. This Cultural Moment is a podcast from John Mark Comer and Mark Sayers full of insight and worthwhile perspective. Check it out on your podcast app or here

Flourishing and Single in the Church

Often times, when we talk about church growth or planting a common marker of health is when families, especially young families start to attend and make the church their own. This is a good thing and pastoring a small church with some amazing families, I get the inclination. But what of those single, both by choice or by circumstance? If the church is meant to be their family as well, how are we endeavoring to give them space for flourishing?

Part of the problem is expectation. In the church, there is an assumption that human completion is in pairing off. While this is a wonderful and biblical thing, it is not the only thing. So as a church maybe we stop assuming a single person needs to be married. Instead, we should be taking steps to integrate everyone into the life of the church regardless of relational status.

Next, do single people have a voice in the decisions of the church, in the progress of the life of the church? Give them a place and hear them. Let single people communicate what support they need and how you can best encourage them in the faith.

Then in our preaching, and discipleship, the ideal presented is following after Jesus, surrender all of our lives, married, single, whatever, to our Savior for his glory and our good. Are we up for this?

I know that at Reservoir we have a way to go before we are seen as a church for the flourishing of single people. But let’s lean into it and see what the Lord will do.