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 In this course, Jeremiah Kumpf will teach you the best practices when it comes to finding a meaningful job in your desired industry. The keys to success boil down to leveraging tools like LinkedIn, creating a personalized strategy, and remaining diligent during the process.  Too often, college graduates expect that their first job after college will be handed to them as they walk across the stage at graduation. Universities do not pass out diplomas just because an individual enrolled in classes. Universities hand out diplomas to students after they complete the hard work over multiple semesters to earn their degrees. Similarly, the college graduates that land a job with the company they desire accomplished this because they earned a job offer through the researching, applying, and interviewing process. <<  TAKE THE COURSE FREE  >>    
  Paul, the writer of much of the New Testament, has a lot to say about abiding. “What is abiding?” you might be asking. “I’m not very good at sitting still.” Good question. We envision ourselves crossed legged in a low, drawn out hum. Praying for an hour at our bedside. Journaling. An impactful worship experience. We know we should spend time with God. We’ve heard our faith is a “relationship with God.” Still, what does that look like? What are we “supposed to be doing?” Teresa of Avila, a 16th century nun and activist, says this: “Mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us. The important thing is not to think much but to love much and so do that which best stirs you to love. Love is not great delight but desire to please God in everything.” Cultivating a relationship with God is like friendship with anyone. It needs time and shared experiences. Did you catch her advice on how to pray? Not to think much, but to love much. Doing that which cultivates your love. In Romans 12 Paul talks about how we change when we learn to abide. He says in verse 1, Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Right there in verse 1, we see the first glimpse of abiding. In view of God’s mercy. In other words, because you have reflected on God’s mercy. His sovereignty. How much he’s sacrificed for you. Because of this amazing gift, Paul urges a powerful response: to offer yourself back to the Lord. He doesn’t say, “Hey guys, you should probably do something nice for God, because he did something nice for you.” Paul has been practicing the habit of abiding; reflecting on God’s mercy, giving it more than just a passing glance. When we show up, desiring to know him better, he answers that prayer. Get quiet, ask him to help you understand who he is. Scripture says he gives wisdom, understanding, and even opens our eyes to see things from his perspective. Why are we so bad at abiding? Well, we usually spend every second of our interactions with God talking about ourselves. What we need, want, or are upset about. We rarely stop to ask about him. What he thinks, what he wants. Paul continues in verse 2, saying, Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Again, Paul is talking about abiding. “Being transformed” happens when we spend time with God. Talking with him like he’s right there in the room, asking his advice. “Renew your mind,” Paul says. Renewing doesn’t happen apart from God. It’s not an intellectual renewal. You can’t think your way to renewal. It’s not a series of logical questions and conclusion. Your mind is renewed, you’re transformed, when you abide. You talk like him, think like him, act like him. Stay. Remain in conversation. Let Him speak. Then you’ll know God’s will. It’s something we all want, but few have the patience for. Paul continues in verse 3-5. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. In other words, don’t obsess about you and your awesomeness. Your pride will derail you and the Body. How do we keep from focusing on ourselves? Abide. Focus on what God is doing. Listen. Develop a tender heart, willing to be transformed, re-calibrated, changed. Finally, in verses 6-8, Paul encourages us to use our gifts. For the good of the Church, the gospel, and the glory of God. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. You may think you’re insignificant. Paul encourages you to use them anyway. Why? The Body works when we all do our part. Abide in God’s presence, interact with him like your most valued friendship. Not “thinking much” but loving much, as St. Teresa instructs. When you do, you’re able to view your gifts from his perspective. You could have untapped gifts you don’t even know about! God created you for a purpose. Through you, God desires to reach the rest of the world, to be his hands and feet. To bring hope to the weary, to heal the brokenhearted, and to walk hand in hand with those who stumble. You are His instrument of peace.   Becky Nance is a mom of three girls, and wife to a worship pastor in central Iowa. She holds a M.A. in Ministry from Wesley Seminary with a concentration in Spiritual Formation. Becky spends much of her time mentoring young women, nurturing her babies, and crafting words to help shape the way we think about God.
Have you ever found yourself thinking, What am I supposed to be doing with my life? Maybe you’re already praying, “God, would you show me what you want me to do? To be? I’ll do whatever you want, just tell me what it is!” It’s the million dollar question, the one we want desperately answered. Maybe it’s the fear of the unknown, or the need for assurance; to know we’re taking the right steps, going down the right path.  The added pressure from outside noise can make things even more complicated. You might be getting advice (wanted or not) from your parents, teachers, extended family. Your pastor might be encouraging you to seek the will of God, find out what He wants for your life.  Let's take a look at what God intended from the very beginning.  When God created the world, the heavens and the earth, and every living creature, He formed mankind in His image. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” He then instructs them to take care of the earth. We call this the Imago Dei, being made in the image of God. It’s easy to take this concept and apply it to what we “do.” We’re caretakers, we’re farmers, we’re planters. We’re leaders, organizers, and planners. Being made in the Imago Dei is a little more complicated. It’s a relational concept as much as a logistical one. We’re made in God’s image so we can connect with Him and have a relationship with Him. It doesn’t mean that God is like us, it means we are a little bit like Him. Enough that we can know Him on an intimate level. What does this have to do with my life? you might be asking. Everything. After the great debacle in the garden, after that first bite of apple, after “the fall of man” as theologians refer to it, everything that has been created is met with discord. Everything goes from order to disorder. Sadly, this discord colors the relationship between God and man, along with our roles and responsibilities. We’re supposed to be living in harmony with God and creation. We're supposed to have our needs met, without any toil of our own, happily playing the role of caretaker. With a bite of apple, our work turns into a grueling need for survival. However-many-thousands-of-years later, it looks like spreadsheets and graphic design and multimedia marketing campaigns. But that’s just the cliff notes. Enter Jesus, who lives a perfect life, and sacrifices Himself so that we can be granted mercy when we don’t deserve it. As Christians, we are called to live like Christ. The Imitatio Christi, the imitation of Christ. Jesus brings harmony to the discord that plagues us. When we live in the Imitatio Christi, we are choosing to live like Christ, bringing harmony to the discord we encounter. It means choosing harmony in our own hearts, and harmony with others. No, this doesn’t mean we sit happily around a campfire singing our favorite worship songs. True harmony looks like peace and (agape) love, whether we feel peaceful and loving, or not. We are created in the image of God, and are called to live our lives in the imitation of Christ. The relationship between the two, Imago Dei and Imitatio Christi, has to do with God’s original intention for man, before the fall. We were created in God’s image, with roles and responsibilities on the earth, and to be in right relationship with Him. What does this have to do with my career path? you ask again. God cares about your career path, and He cares about your life. If you’ve given your life to Him, you are His child. But - and this is a big but - when we look at God’s original intentions for us, we can see that He cares way more about our relationship with Him than our career path. The thing is, you can take the wrong path, and He can still use you. Your detour will not deter Him. When you grow in Scripture, become spiritually mature, sit at his feet, strengthen your prayer life, He can use you. When you have an intimate and abiding relationship with Him, He can use you, any time, and anywhere. On the flip side, you can choose the right career path, but without maintaining a relationship with God, He has little room to use you. This will ultimately lead to a strained and “surfacy” relationship. Our relationship with God is like any other. If we invest in it, the closest friendship blooms; if we neglect it, the friendship grows stale. Created in His image, God is always inviting us closer. He will always want a more intimate relationship with you. He wants all of you, and He wants to give you all of Himself. You may catch yourself wondering aloud, “What am I supposed to be doing, God??” Resist the temptation to demand an answer, and ask Him for more of Himself, instead. When we do this, when we live in the Imitatio Christi, we are fulfilling the initial role that God intended for us, the true Imago Dei. This is what we’re supposed to be doing with our life. Everything else is just details, that He always manages to fill in for us, in His time.   About the Author Becky Nance is a mom of three girls, and wife to a worship pastor in central Iowa. She holds a M.A. in Ministry from Wesley Seminary with a concentration in Spiritual Formation. Becky spends much of her time mentoring young women, nurturing her babies, and crafting words to help shape the way we think about God.
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