Four Sermons on Work
In the past several months, I’ve been honored to give four different sermons on work in the Denver Metro area. If you have some time this week, download them onto your iPhone or iPod (remember those?) and listen on your way to or from work. I’d love to get your feedback.
Here they are. I’ve included the title, time & place, biblical text, description, brief outline, and highlights for your scanning pleasure. Happy listening.
“The Gospel as Public Truth”
Listen Now: The Gospel as Public Truth
Date: July 27, 2014
Location: Fellowship Denver Church
Key Text: Acts 25:23-26:27
Description: Why does it seem like the public worlds of business, politics, technology or art seems so isolated from the world of church? In this sermon, Jeff Haanen explores Paul’s testimony before King Agrippa and Festus in Acts 25-26 to find a model for cultural engagement for our modern culture. Based on Paul’s own call, Jeff explains what it means to be a witness and servant of the gospel of grace in our work and culture today.
I. My Story: Does God also care about the public world?
II. Paul testified to the gospel publicly before King Agrippa
III. Modern culture – like ancient Rome – divides public truth from private values
IV. Living out the gospel as public truth: What Jesus didn’t do in his culture
V. Living out the Gospel as public truth: Servant and Witness
“Before King Agrippa, Paul testified to the gospel in the most public of places.”
“The early church believed Jesus’ message: Repent, believe the good news. The kingdom of God is near. They refused to privatize their faith because they believed that the first and final affirmation they made about all of reality was that Jesus is Lord.”
“When engaging culture, Jesus didn’t choose the path of the Essene or the Zealot…He chose a third path. That of servant and witness.”
“Wisdom and Work”
Listen Now: Wisdom and Work
Date: July 6, 2014
Location: New Denver Church
Key Text: Ecclesiastes 3:9-13
Description: With growing student debt, nagging unemployment, and an epidemic of workplace disengagement globally, how should we understand our work? Qohelet, the author of Ecclesiastes, could see the futility of seeing work only as a means to accumulation, ambition, or self-actualization. But he could also see that work was a gift from God, and a way to “do good” while we live. In this sermon, Jeff Haanen unpacks the wisdom of the sages and applies it to our work lives today.
I. Globally the world is disengaged from their work
II. Qohelet – the author of Ecclesiastes – saw the futility of accumulation, abmition, and self-actualization through our work
III. Work is a gift.
IV. Work is an opportunity to serve.
“Money is not nothing. It’s important. But if it’s the driving factor in work choices, we’ll have found ourselves exchanging the hours of our lives for cars, houses, trips, and REI camping gear that we’ll leave to somebody else.”
“Do what you love. We’ve said it for so long to graduating college seniors it’s become almost gospel. Do what you love. Do what you’re passionate about. Don’t settle for just a job. Follow your dreams. But is this wisdom or just hot air?”
“The door into God’s will for our work is not my talents, my opportunities, or even what the world needs. It is gratitude.”
“Sheep and Goats: Loving the World Through Work”
Listen Now: Sheep and Goats: Loving the World Through Work
Date: November 23, 2014
Location: Littleton Christian Church
Key Text: Matthew 25: 31-46
Description: The parable of the sheep and the goats is one of Jesus’ most well-known calls to justice. Yet what is he talking about when he said “I was hungry, thirsty, and in need of clothes” and you cared for me? In this sermon, Jeff Haanen connects this parable to daily work – the way we serve the needs of others every day. In it he notes the difference between sheep and goats today, and draws lessons for our modern success-oriented culture.
I. In this parable, Jesus is not just talking about isolated acts of charity, but instead our work.
II. Goats serve themselves – and ignore the needs of others.
III. Over a lifetime, we actually become either sheep or goats.
“What does it take for just a single loaf of bread to feed my hunger? … The difference between me going hungry and me being satisfied by just a loaf of bread is the work of dozens – if not hundreds – of other people. It was people working, serving the needs of others.”
“I believe those whose work is the home, with kids and household work, each of these needs to met almost everyday! I’m hungry! I’m thirsty! I’m sad and lonely! I need clothes on! I’m in prison! Ok…maybe not in prison literally. But certainly in the chains of original sin that must be disciplined regularly.”
“As we take a look at judgement, let’s not be afraid, but also let’s not be arrogant. C.S. Lewis once said that we had spent far too much time and energy thinking about who gets into heaven and who doesn’t. The better way to think about it is who’s walking toward God and who’s walking away from him.”
Listen Now: The Creator
Date: October 14, 2012
Location: Littleton Christian Church
Key Texts: Genesis 1:1-3, 2:2-3; Psalm 104:31
Description: Why is it that we spend so much time and effort at work, and yet find it difficult to speak about our daily work at church? This need not be. God’s own work of creation is a model for human work. From creating skyscrapers to manufacturing silly putty, we are “made in the image of the maker” and to work as an expression of the image of God in us. We were not designed to merely go to work, get money, buy stuff and die. Work is part of our creative calling, and the way in which we offer ourselves to God.
I. Why talk about work at church?
II. God’s work is creative.
III. We are made in the image of the Creator.
IV. Too often our work today is defined only by making money, consumption, and then trying to escape from the job.
V. Creativity is a paradigm for shaping culture.
“God said in Exodus 20: ‘Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall do all your work…’Why should we rest one day a week and not work? Because that’s what God did. His rhythm of work and rest must become ours.”
“Every week we humans make skyscrapers, sirens and spaghetti dinners. Dorothy Sayers was right: ‘Man is a maker, who makes things because he wants to, because he cannot fulfill his true nature if he is prevented from making things for the love of the job. He is made in the image of the Maker, and he himself must create or become something less than man.’”
“What would it look like to start gather with other Christians in your field, to talk about your work, talk about your creative calling, and needs you see around you, and begin to serve God through your vocation?”