One of the surprising things about Jesus is that He came to us as a manual laborer, an ordinary carpenter. The Greeks would have wanted a philosopher-king; the Romans would have preferred a brave and noble statesman. Interestingly, our Sovereign God came in the garb of an ordinary laborer from the backwaters of Galilee.

In ancient cultures, people had great disdain for ordinary work. They stigmatized manual labor like farming and caring of children as work fit only for servants. The Egyptians wouldn’t eat with ordinary Hebrew shepherds (Gen. 43:32). Pharao’s daughter found Moses in the river and her first mothering instinct was to hire a Hebrew servant to take care of the baby (Exodus 26:10).

The Hebrew word AVODAH (work) in Genesis 2:15 is rendered as “service,” “work,” or “craftmanship” in many places in the Bible, yet at other times it is translated as “worship.” Avodah is the word used to describe the back-breaking hard work of the Hebrews making bricks as slaves in Egypt (used four times in Exodus 1:14).

Interestingly, the same word is used of the skilled workers who built the tabernacle (Exodus 35:24); the fine craftmanship of linen workers (1 Chronicles 4:21); and in the context where Solomon assigned priests for their temple ministry in 2 Chronicles 8:14.

The point is that whether they were making bricks, crafting fine linen, or leading people in corporate worship, the Old Testament teaches a seamless connection between work and worship. 

Did you cringe at yesterday’s preaching on sex? I did. And we all should. Here are three reasons why it is okay to cringe at this preaching series:

1. It’s cage fight between the gospel and today’s culture of sensuality. The preaching yesterday made many people squirm on the inside because while we believe the gospel in our hearts, our bodies have a secret liking to the world’s culture of sensuality. I know it was not an easy topic to preach about. I understand Pastor Kix’s struggle to speak truthful words without offending our cultural sensibilities. Some words sounded a bit sleazy to my ears but I think more than the issue of word choices, the preaching was very unsettling because it brought to light the part of our lives that we would rather not surrender to the scrutiny of God’s Word. When the Bible exposes things that we secretly love to keep, it triggers our natural instinct to grab a cover and pretend we are fine.

It’s here. The topic that I (half) hoped would never appear in the preaching calendar of Victory is finally here. Sex. What does the Bible say about sex? Should the church talk about it? Do you have to be pure (for at least four weeks) to be qualified to talk about it in your discipleship group? Do you need to be married to preach it? How do you talk about it with a straight face in your victory group? Do you worry that if you admit your struggles, your spiritual leadership would be ruined? And what do you do when someone in your group sounds obviously proud (and unrepentant) of his experience?