Best of the Week: Your 9-to-5, The Purpose of Advent, and The Ideal Missional Community

In Best of the Week we link to a handful of the best articles, videos, books, etc. that we have come across in the last week. We hope this will point you to some of the right places and give you gospel-rich tools and thoughts for life and mission.

Your 9-to-5 is Not in Vain

“When success seems elusive, it’s important to remember that fruitlessness is a common experience for everyone. Our struggle isn’t evidence of God’s displeasure toward us, but a reminder that the world we live in is still awaiting full redemption (Romans 8:20–21).”

This is a good read after listening to Paul Jaso’s message from a couple of Sundays ago at Remedy, The Gospel Changes Everything About Work. This one addresses how to approach seasons of work, or a whole job that seems to be fruitless.

Prepare Him Room

“We take a few tentative steps forward. We know this child, and we know this girl. But the scene is strange to us. It does not look anything like the manger scenes and illustrated books of our childhood. Our Advent traditions did not prepare us for the earthy realness of the real Advent.”

This is the article I read an excerpt from on Sunday. It’s a GREAT storytelling of the original manger scene. Jon Bloom beautifully presents the scene in a way that stands in shocking contrast to the sterile, pristine ideas most of us have in our minds. This will help orient your mind around the real weight and purpose of Advent, causing us to reflect on the meaning of the coming of Jesus over and above all of the contemporary things that compete for our attention during this time of year.

What Child is This?

We like to recommend Look at the Book videos to you. This one is a closer look (10 mins long) at one of the passages we go to at Christmas-time, examining some of the characteristics of the one who would be born to Mary on that first Christmas. It helps put the event into perspective by looking at some of the spiritually and eternally significant details of this particular baby.

Eyes to See

“Simply put, on any given Sunday there is a small country church, at the end of a sleepy dirt road, attended by a handful of people, where the gospel is preached.  Likely, the preacher spends the day before Sunday, not in a well-appointed study, but on the bumpy seat of tractor.  His sermon is not fancy or filled with rhetorical flourish.  But his sermon is the gospel.  And, unbeknownst to him or his humble congregation, the unseen countless hosts of heaven gather round, pressing their faces against the windows to take in every beautiful word.”

This is a great perspective into what is most valuable and how we measure our success. Keep reading to the end where the writer describes where the angels go to church and how it might actually look for them to long to look into the gospel that we so often take for granted.

Rethink the Ideal Missional Community

“What does it look like to bare one another’s burdens and be devoted to one another in our culture? What logistic decisions and sacrifices must we make to ensure an environment where we grow in our love for one another? How do we share life when life is scattered and full? How will we communicate and share burdens? If we don’t have much time, how will we make the most of the time we do have? How do we exist in spiritual unity and physical separation?”

People often generically refer to Acts 2 as the model for how church community ought to look. But like we’ve said many times before, we don’t live in the first or second centuries, AD. Our lives are much different than theirs. Here, Brad Watson explores the priorities and commitments that were behind those particular expressions, and asks some helpful questions about how we can apply those principles to our own context.

Have a good week!