Session One: Our Sin and Our Careers
Using Isaiah 44:6-22, Patric noted how idolatry is like feasting on ashes. Sounds awful to begin with, but eventually it becomes "normal". Feasting on ashes causes us to grow malnourished, emaciated, and eventually die. The Isaiah passage vividly depicts the foolishness of worshiping idols-
Isaiah 44:17-22 And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, "Deliver me, for you are my god!"  They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand.  No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, "Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?"  He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, "Is there not a lie in my right hand?"  Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.  I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.
In order to view our jobs rightly, we have to acknowledge our propensity toward idolatry. We may not make actual carved statues to worship, but we certainly tend toward worshiping things that are not God- which is idolatry. Patric noted that idols lead us to false worship, distort our reality, and enslave our affections. The Isaiah passage depicts idols which are wood, metal, and stone. They represent things that will supposedly give comfort, control, security, etc. Obviously these are false gods and lead to heartache, despair, and hardship. Idols for us could be our career, money, education, reputation, or accomplishments. In the same way wooden idols are worshiped and relied upon, so also are these modern idols tempting us to give devotion to them.
Very importantly, Patric pointed out that idols are not in themselves evil, but are made so by our misplaced affections toward them. As a working definition,
"Idols are good and basic things which have been elevated to being ultimate things, leading to false worship, distorted views of reality, and enslaved affections."
He delineated between Surface idols and Deep idols so as to show us what drives our actions. Surface idols include our reputation, salary, influence, title, authority, lifestyle, etc. Deep idols (that which drives pursuit of surface idols) are comfort, control, security, success, and approval. Instead of mastering these things, they have the ability to master us. That's what idols do. When we believe that things, rather than the One True, Living God will make us happy, we are in serious peril.
Session Two: The Cross and Our Careers
Continuing the "Cross" part of the "Sin-Cross-Redemption" continuum, Patric addressed our sin problem with our only sure hope- the cross of Christ for me. Here Patric sited Romans 5-
Romans 5:6-11 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.  More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Paul is telling us that God's love for us is so great, so strong, so overwhelming that when we were still his enemies, still rebellious, orphaned children who would not and could not respond to his love, that it is precisely here that God chose to pay the price for our sins! Further, Christ has paid for all our sins, past, present, and future. Not just my sins up until I became a Christian- all of my sins, for all of my life! Patric noted the three key aspects of Christ's work on our behalf- First, His love for us. Second, His forgiveness of our sins. Third, His righteousness given to us.
When our perspective is reoriented in light of what God has provided by the cross of Christ, our jobs and other things take their proper place, they cease to be idols. They remain "good and basic" things. In light of the cross, we are able to look at ourselves, our jobs, and our identity in a whole new way. Patric closed this session with a profound statement- Without a clear understanding of what has been accomplished for you on the cross, our idols will always seem to provide more for us than God.
Session Three- Our New Identities and Our Career
Our chief sin is idolatry. Our sin is met totally by Christ's work on the cross for us. This means redemption can be applied in all areas of our lives, especially our careers. Patric asked a few provocative questions:
1. Do you think God wants you to be successful at your job?
2. Do you think He wants you to be a winner? get promotions? make more money? Become well known in your work place?
3. What are the best things we can ask for from God when it comes to our jobs?
4. What is it that Jesus would want us to ask for, for ourselves?
The answer to these questions can be stated this way- The very best thing that God could do for you- and is in fact doing for you even now- is to make you perfectly like Christ. One of the primary means that he is using to accomplish this is through your career. Patric sited a poignant passage of Scripture-
Philippians 3:7-11 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—  that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Christ-likeness for the glory of God is the goal of redemption. God uses our jobs to accomplish this. What does being more like Jesus mean? Simply put, it includes being secure as sons of God. Being more like Jesus also includes total dependence on the Father. Further, being like Jesus means loving others in such a way that they can clearly see how much God loves us and what He has done for us in Christ.
Perhaps the most valuable teaching came in Patric's final a word on the tools God uses to accomplish Christ-likeness in our lives. God will use several tools to make us more like Jesus. He uses the tool of success. If success will make us grow closer to Him, He'll use it as a sanctifying tool in our lives. He also uses the tool of failure! If causing us to fail in our job will make us grow closer to Him, trust Him more, be more like Him, then He does want us to be a failure!
* Understand that every success in our work and every setback has the possibility-humanly speaking- to bring us closer to God or to push us farther away.
*God is zealously pursuing a program of spiritual formation in our lives. Everything-especially our jobs- is something He desires to use to make us more like Christ.
*Begin to look for God's "fingerprints" to determine what He is trying to teach us. Success and failure in our jobs are tools God will use equally.
*When it comes to our careers, it isn't all about you! God has cleverly camouflaged you as a workman, engineer, salesman, lawyer, manager, etc. so you can reach those around you with the gospel.