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  • What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    by Dion A Forster
  • An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    by Dion A Forster
Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling. by Dion Forster and Graham Power.
Download a few chapters of the book here.

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Entries in Transform your work life (63)

Saturday
Jun282014

Pastoral care to Christians in the World of Work

This week I had the joy of speaking at a number of sessions at the Alpha Workplace Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - as always it was wonderful to be with my friends here and such a great blessing to see how the Church sensitively operates in this context.

At today's session I was asked to post the slides from my talk to the internet.  So, please find a copy of the slides (which are an 'un-formatted' copy, i.e., they do not have the Alpha branding and style sheet applied).

Then, for a description of the content here is part of a post from 2008 when I first developed this theology.  You can also download a 30 minute Audio recording for Radio Pulpit that discusses these ideas here: '5 paradigms that could change your work into worship' here (6MB MP3).  If you are interested here is a short preview of the book in which I wrote about the 5 paradigms - 'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling' (1MB PDF).  If you are interested in buying a copy of the book you can get it on Amazon here.  Finally, I have just recently been notified that an academic article that I wrote on research done among Christians in South Africa the world of work and Christian needs, is being published in the Journal 'Koers: Bulletin for Christian Scholarship' - if you are interested to read that article please drop me an email and I'll let you know when it is published.

Here is the little video clip that I used (which was recorded a few years ago with Graham Power).

My ministry changed radically about 9 years ago when a wealthy business person came to faith in Christ. He is a gifted and capable person who had made an incredible success of his companies. My first inclination, when he asked how he could serve the Lord, was to suggest that he get involved in the leadership of our Church, or perhaps run our Church's finance commission (clearly he was a gifted leader and a person who knew how to work with money). If I had suggested that to him the result may have been two things.

1) I may have helped one Methodist Church in a single city of South Africa to develop.
2) I'm fairly certain that in the process this new Christian would have become bored and frustrated with the task I had assigned him to and he would have moved on.

Thankfully I was dumb enough NOT to get him into that position - rather I invited him to join a small group that I was running specifically for business people. Here I knew his peers could start to disciple him on things like Christian worship, loving service, stewardship and the use of his influence and resources for Christ's Kingdom... The long and short of it is that the person I am talking about is Graham Power, who went on to start the Global Day of Prayer(which this year had between 300 and 400 million persons participating).

Graham has become a significant figure in world Christianity. God has used him to bring new excitement, passion, and drive to many Churches and denominations worldwide. Equally significant has been his influence among his peers (all leaders in their own right, either in business or politics) who have made some significant choices that have bettered the lives of many millions of persons in countries such as Ghana, Argentina, Kenya, the USA and a host of other nations.

I have come to consider this one fact: Graham was created by God to do business... It's what he does well, and he God blesses his efforts.

So, when Graham works to God's glory and towards the aims of achieving God's will for his companies, the industry in which he works, and the nation that he influences, then his work becomes worship!

So, here's a little audio recording that I did for my 'radio pulpit' show (The Ministry and Me), it was broadcast in the week of the 20th of August 2008, and you can order an audio copy of the CD from Radio Pulpit if you wish.

Download the '5 paradigms that could change your work into worship' here (6MB in MP3 format).

The show was broadcast in the week of the 6th of August and I have had many emails and calls about it. 

Let me know what you think!

 

Saturday
Sep222012

Blessed at the Alpha Workplace conference in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

I arrived in Malaysia just before midnight on Wednesday evening. This is the second wonderful opportunity that I have had to speak at the Alpha Workplace conference in Malaysia. Last year we met at the amazing Sutera Harbour in Kota Kinabalu. This year we are meeting at the DUMC Methodist Church with Dr Daniel Ho in Kuala Lumpur.

The purpose of this conference is to encourage integrate faith and work, and find ways to honour and serve God in every aspect and moment of life, not just in the local Church or on a Sunday.

Yesterday I had the joy of doing a plenary session on our book 'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling' see http://bit.ly/transformwork for details on this book.

Earlier in the day I had an opportunity to lead a workshop on the Unashamedly Ethical movement (see http://www.unashamedlyethical.com on that), and our campaign on Corruption and Poverty 'Exposed - Shining a light on corruption' (see http://www.exposed2013.com on this worthy campaign). We had a great response to all three topics. I am constantly blessed and encouraged to see how the Church here in Malaysia is serving society with love and courage. There is such remarkable creativity, works of mercy and justice, and a deep challenge to ethical and sacrificial living. It challenges me to find ways to be more faithful in my own life and ministry.

In this picture you see a great panel of Christian business and Church leaders L-R, Alvin Ung, Ken Costa, Datin Kathleen Chew Yeoh, Dr Philip Lyn, Dr Daniel Ho (Taken with Instagram at Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC)).

Please pray for the Church in Malaysia and the work of Alpha across the world!

Monday
Jul092012

Pantai Baptist Church and meeting good friends

Yesterday was another wonderful day here in Malaysia.  

Young Soon, the director of Malaysian Care collected me from my hotel in Sentral KL at just before 8am. We drove the short distance to Pantai Baptist Church where I was kindly given an opportunity to preach in their two morning service.  Pantai Baptist Church (formerly First Baptist Church) is a wonderful, vibrant, socially engaged, Christian community.  The worship was wonderful - I always find being in worship with sisters and brothers across the world as a rich and deep experience of grace.  There is an aspect of worship that makes me feel at home, among family, not matter how far I am from home.

Marvin Wong is the minister of this thriving Church.  As we chatted we discovered that we have many friends and interests in common.  Marvin did his studies in Cambridge and knows Wesley House well.  He also knows Mark Greene from the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity (LICC) and Peter Heslam from Cambridge's Transforming business (Enterprise solutions to poverty) institute.

I had a chance to talk about the importance of integrating faith and every sphere of life (work, politics, economics, community life etc.)  Marvin had asked that I share from my book 'Transform your work life', which was a great joy.  I am passionate about that message.  Of course I also focussed on 'EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption' and the Unashamedly Ethical campaign.

A few persons asked me to post my powerpoint slides from the sermon online.  So, here they are! The title of the sermon was a question:  Are you a Monday morning atheist?  

Simply stated, an atheist is someone who acts as if they have no faith or belief in God.  Sadly, I have experienced that many Christians live parts of their lives as if they are atheists - sure, we find it easy to be people of faith in 'places of faith' (like a Church building or Church service), but do we live our work life, or social life, our community life with the awareness that God is present there?  Do we ask God to guide, direct and inform our decisions, choices and actions at work, when we are given a chance to cast a vote, to participate in shaping an institution or making ethical decisions?  It is critical that we recapture our responsibility as Christians to be 'salt and light' in the world - working for the transformation and renewal of every aspect of society, to the glory of God and for the blessing of all people and the rest of creation.

Last night was a wonderful time of friendship as I went to dinner with Alvin Tan and one of his leaders Charlie.  Alvin and I have been good friends for a number of years - he is one of the leaders of the Global Day of Prayer and Unashamedly Ethical in Malaysia.  He and Charlie blessed me with a relaxed evening of good conversation and fellowship.  It is wonderful to know such brothers in Christ.

Saturday
Oct152011

Monday morning atheist?

I am sitting at the departure gate to Johannesburg - tonight I fly from Cape Town in order to speak at the Edenvale Baptist Church's two services tomorrow morning and spend some time with their leaders reflecting on what it means to be faithful to God's mission for them in the world.

As always I am excited and blessed by this opportunity!

I have chosen the question 'Monday morning atheist?' as my theme. My friend Doug Spada wrote a great book with that title (you can fin out more about him and the book at http://www.worklife.org - Doug is an amazing guy, and his book is one of the best I have read on being a Christian in the world of work).

Simply stated, I have come to realize that many Christians may behave like disciples of Jesus on Sunday, but many others act like atheists on Monday. We worship in Church on Sunday, but on Monday we act as if we have no faith! This is so sad since the world of work is one of the greatest opportunities for us to live out our faith in Jesus and work to establish his transforming and healing Kingdom in business, education, the arts, politics, the family and a host of other critical aspects of our lives!

Much of what I'll be talking about comes from my book 'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling!'. You can order copies of the book (or download a few free chapters) from the links on the left hand side of this blog.

Of you're interested in inviting me to come and share some of what the Lord has been doing among us in the world of work, please drop me a line. I'd be honored to come and spend some time with you or your group!

Please pray for us as we gather tomorrow! God bless,

Dion

Sunday
Oct022011

Alpha Malaysia work place ministry conference - please pray with me

On Tuesday (4 October 2011) I will be leaving Cape Town for Malaysia for the Alpha Malaysia work place ministry conference.

I am so excited about this event! The Lord has given me such a deep love for the people of Malaysia - I have had the immeasurable privilege of visiting there many times in the last few years. I have a number of very close friends there. Cynthia Wong, the head of Alpha in Malaysia, contacted me some time last year after getting a copy of my book 'Transform your work life' and asked if would come and speak at the their conference.

Among the speakers at this event will be Graham Power, Doug Spada, Tan Shri Dato' Francis Yeoh, Dato' Sri Idris Jala, and Ps. Dr. Philip Lyn.

The conference takes place in a remarkable venue - the resort of Sutera Harbour in Kota Kinabalu. This resort was developed by the Christian Businessman Edward Ong. He is a man who truly understands what it means to engage in responsible, ethical and sustainable business that brings blessing to the community in which business is done.

Once the conference is done and we have also spoken at the Skyline Church I shall be heading to Hong Kong for some meetings and work before returning home by the 13th of October.

I would truly appreciate your prayers for this special trip, please pray with me that God works in a special way to encourage, inspire and renew the participants. Please also pray that as I share and minister that the Lord will use my me in spite of my weaknesses to achieve His will for transformation in business. Please could you also pray for Cynthia and her wonderful team. Lastly, could I please ask you to keep my wife Megan and our children, Courtney and Liam, in your prayers? Megie is still recovering from surgery to her wrist and so that places an extra little bit of pressure on her with me away.

I will be posting updates on my twitter feed, on tumblr, and also here - so please do check in on all of those platforms for updates. Thanks for your partnership in ministry!

Thursday
Jun092011

The start of the Global Day of Prayer International Conference in Jacksonville, FL

This morning we started the Global Day of Prayer international conference in Jacksonvillve, FL. Pete Sanchez, the author of the song 'I exalt thee' opened the conference in devotion and prayer.  Right after that Graham Power, the founder of the Global Day of Prayer, and Isebel Spangenberg, our International Coordinator, spoke about the GDOP movement - how is spread from one stadium of believers in prayer in Cape Town on the 21st of March 2001, to over 400 million believers praying in large and small gatherings in every nation on earth in 2010 on Pentecost Sunday.

Graham has such a powerful testimony because of his courage in obedience to God.  When he felt that God had called him to call Christians to pray for their city, nation and the world, and to turn from their wickedness, he simply hired a stadium and starteg gathering people!  The rest is history!

Isebel spoke wonderfully about how Christians in every nation and continent have embraced this call.  In 'closed countries' three or four believers gathering in homes and places of work.  In other countries hundreds of thousands of Christians gather in stadiums and open air places.

Of course the intention of the Global Day of Prayer is to awaken Christians to understand that they have a role to play in the transformation of their nations.  The establishment of God's grace in healing, economic wellbeing, social harmony, and God's loving power in all of creation.

The scripture that best sums up this movement is 2 Chronicles 7.14 which says:

If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.

Tomorrow we will listen to Steve Johnstone, the international coordinator for the Unashamedly Ethical movement - Steve is an incredible speaker!  I'm looking forward to hearing what he has to say about ethics, values and clean living.

If you're interested in reading more about Graham's testimony please see the book that I wrote on his life and ministry called 'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling'.  

And if you would like to read more about the wonderful movement of the Global Day of Prayer, then please see the great book written by Diane Vermooten called 'Not by Might nor by Power'.

 

Saturday
Jun042011

I leave for the USA tomorrow - already missing my family!

First Coast Global Day of Prayer

Tomorrow I'll fly from Cape Town to JHB, from there to Dakar, to Washington and then to Jacksonville - it is a marathon 33 hour flight / transit.  I did it in March.  I'm seriously praying for good seats all the way through!

We'll be in Jacksonville form the International Conference form the Global Day of Prayer, and then the international broadcast from the anchor stadium event at the Veterans Memorial Stadium on the 11th of June.

Please see http://www.fcgdop.org for details of the conference and the Stadium event on Saturday.  If you're in Florida I would love to see you!  Please come along to the conference and say hi!  We'll be speaking at two plenary sessions and a total of 6 breakout sessions.

From there I'll be heading to New York to spend some time with the folks from the Gotham Fellowship, an initiative of Tim Keller's Church (Redeemer Church, New York City).  Gotham focusses on ministering to people in the world of work, helping them to discover and fulfil their Kingdom potential through using the skill, influence and ability to work for the establishment of God's Kingdom of grace in every aspect of society.  I met Katherine Leary and David Kim here in Cape Town earlier in the year and was so impressed by the work that they're doing!  I can't wait to spend some time with them!

Fortunately I fly directly to JHB from New York and then back to Cape Town.  I'll be leaving the US on the 15th and be back in South Africa on the 16th of June. Take a look at this cool picture of my kiddies, Courtney and Liam - I took the picture at Steers when we stopped for some ice cream.  This photo was made with a great little app called 'wordphoto'.

Please pray for my family while I'm away - it is always tough to be away from Megie, Courtney and Liam. I will Skype (FaceTime) them daily, but it is not the same as being at home!

Please also pray for me and our team as we speak at various conferences, events and meetings. Etienne Piek from 24/7 Prayer, Steve Johnstone from Unashamedly Ethical and Isebel and Dawie Spangenberg from Global Day of Prayer will join Graham Power and I on Tuesday.

Also, on Thursday we'll be launching the American edition of Transform your work life at the GDOP conference! I am very excited about that! Thanks so much Mark Russell and Russell Media for their incredible work on the book!

I'll post updates here and on my twitter, Facebook and tumblr feeds as often as I can.

Friday
May062011

God, this world, and heaven.

So much of what I write about, teach about, and do, (or at least try to do), is to help Christians realize how important they are for God's purpose to transform and heal the world in which we live daily - 'our world'. Far too often we place our emphasis on 'heaven' and in doing so we neglect the earth.

The following quote expresses so clearly how I feel about faith and life:

The Kingdom of God … is about the transformation of this world into holiness, not the evacuation of this world into heaven.
~ John Dominic .

This concept is expressed even more clearly by my favorite South African Bishop, Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

I don’t preach a social gospel; I preach the Gospel, period. The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is concerned for the whole person. When people were hungry, Jesus didn’t say, ‘Now is that political or social?’ He said, ‘I feed you.’ Because the good news to a hungry person is bread.
~ Desmond Tutu.

Heaven is important, but so is the earth! God's plan for you is a plan for your life today! Don't miss it!

Thursday
May052011

Penang - wonderful people, a beautiful place!

Last night Steve Johnstone (from Unashamedly Ethical), Pr Looi Kim, Eugene and I arrived in Penang. It is a beautiful Island in Malaysia.

 

Penang sunrise.jpgWe were met by members of the Marketplace Ministry committee (isn't it great that they have an organised committee to encourage, support and develop marketplace ministers?)

 

Over the next 4 days we'll be speaking at various events with Pastors, Marketplace Leaders, Local politicians, and then on Sunday we'll be preaching various Churches. In particular we shall be launching Unashamedly Ethical, and talking about the critical relationship between Pulpit ministers and Marketplace ministers for Transformation.

 

Please join us! If you're looking more information please visit the NECF website.

 

I would also appreciate your prayers for Steve, myself, the local team and all of those who will participate! Transformation is God's desire, and God's idea. Let's pray that together we can take another step within His will!

 

I took the picture in this post when I got back from my morning run along the beach. It is a beautiful place! It reminds me a little of the Strand back home.

Monday
May022011

Transform your work life! Turn your ordinary work day into an extraordinary calling!

Workplace Christians.jpgThis morning I will doing one of the keynote talks at the Malaysian Unashamedly Ethical conference in Kuala Lumpur - I'll be focussing on one of the places that is least dealt with by the Church. The reality is that,

98% of Christians are not prepared for 95% of their working lives.

In fact, I'll be speaking about how we can focus not on the 24 hours of the week that most Churches make their primary work - I'll be talking about the other 166 hours of the week, one of the least reached places on earth - the 9 to 5 window!

I'll upload my slides (and hopefully some audio) here as soon as I am able to.

In the meantime if you're interested in reading a number of posts, insights, and some encouragement to help you transform your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling, then please scan through a few of these posts.

Sunday
May012011

CanaanLand publishes 'Transform your work life'

CanaanLand books.jpgMy friend Larry Lee did such an awesome job of publishing our books, Transform your work life' and 'Not by might nor by Power' in Malaysia!

 

They look great and feel fantastic - I bought a few copies to bring back to South Africa. The copies on the left of this picture are Malaysian. Super!

 

Thanks Larry!

 

To order copies of the books in Malaysia please visit Canaanland here.

Saturday
Apr302011

Day 2 of the 2011 Methodist Prayer convention in Sibu, Malaysia

Last night more than 3500 people packed the main hall of the Kingwood Hotel conference center for the opening of the Methodist Prayer convention. Bishop Hwa Yung and Graham Power spoke about the global prayer movement. What was most significant for me was the 'concert of prayer' in which the entire gathering prayed together around critical issues in the world for almost an hour!

Today we continue with the conference. I shall be speaking at the Tamil Plenary sessions at 9.00 on the Bible and Prayer, then Graham and I speak on Unashamedly Ethical and Transform your work life over lunch to a group of 400 business people, after which I will speak at the evening plenary on the Holy Spirit and prayer.

Thank you for your ongoing prayers for us.

Please could I encourage you to pray for the people of Syria today - they are facing extreme oppression as they protest for democracy. Also please remember our sisters and brothers in the United States of America who have faced the ravages of nature as tornadoes devastated parts of the South.