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Why the “End Times industry” drives me crazy

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. (Exodus 8:1 ESV)

A few weeks ago, we saw that it was the horrific working conditions of the Israelites that was the impetus for their exodus from Egypt. But if we’re not careful, we can mistakenly believe that God freed his people so that they could spend all their time worshiping him through song and sacrifices in the wilderness.

But that’s not at all what we see. Seven times between Exodus 4:23 and 10:3, the Lord states his purpose for delivering his people. Over and over again he declares, “Let my people go, that they may serve me.” Commenting on this passage, one theologian says that “God did not deliver Israel from work. He set Israel free for work.” But work as he had originally intended it. 

This sets up a theme we see throughout Scripture: Salvation isn’t an end in itself. It is a means...

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How to “stand in for God” at work

Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. You are to say everything I command you” (Exodus 7:1-2)

God could have set the Israelites free all on his own. He could have taken human form, walked straight into Pharaoh’s palace, and led the Israelites out of Egypt for good. 

But that wasn’t his strategy as today’s passage makes clear. The Lord said to Moses, “I have made you like God to Pharaoh.” In other words, while God could have done this work on his own, he chose to do it through Moses and Aaron. 

Why? Was it because God had more important things to do? No. It’s simply because this is how God has always chosen to operate. All throughout Scripture, we see that while God is perfectly capable of working on his own, more often than not, he chooses to work in this world through human beings. 

That was true with Moses thousands of years ago, and...

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2 excuses we make to not obey God at work

“So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:10)

God just said he would free the Israelites from their oppressive work conditions in Egypt, which undoubtedly brought Moses great joy. After all, he once killed a guy for the way he treated an Israelite worker (see Exodus 2:11-12). 

But what God said next broke Moses’s grin: “I am sending you,” Moses, to do this work. Exodus 3:11 - 4:10 records four excuses Moses makes for why he’s not the right person for this job. Today, I want to look at two of those excuses we borrow all the time to avoid doing the hard things God calls us to do.

Excuse #1: I’m not qualified! Immediately after hearing God’s words in today’s passage, Moses said, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11) to which God replies, “I will be with you” (see Exodus 3:11-12). In other...

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3 biblical responses to frustrating work

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians. (Exodus 3:7-8a)

We’re in a seven-week series extracting wisdom for our work from the exodus, and in today’s passage, we find the impetus and trigger for this monumental event: Work! Or to be more specific, the horrible working conditions of God’s people.

The Egyptians had “made [the Israelites’] lives bitter with harsh labor…[and] worked them ruthlessly” (Exodus 1:14), screaming “Get back to your work!” (Exodus 5:4), and, “Make the work harder” (Exodus 5:9). So God’s people “groaned in their slavery....and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God” (Exodus 2:23).

And as today’s passage shows us, God heard the cry of his people and acted...

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7 things the exodus teaches us about our work

The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. (Exodus 1:15-17)

The midwives in today’s passage play a starring role in Exodus 1. What can Shiphrah and Puah teach us about our work today? At least two things.

First, that God uses the nobodies of this world to do his work. To fully appreciate this truth, we must understand the context of today’s passage. The King of Egypt (AKA Pharaoh) had a problem. In Exodus 1:9-10 he’s quoted as saying, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us….we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave...

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What baby Jesus’s lack of vocation says about our own

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given. (Isaiah 9:6a)

We’re in a four-week series exploring the vocations of some of the characters of Christmas. This morning, we come to the principal of the nativity scene: Jesus himself.

Now, you may be thinking, Hold up a minute, Jordan, this is a series on “Christmas Vocations” and Jesus didn’t yet have a vocation lying there in the manger. That is precisely what I want you and I to focus on today. 

While Jesus would one day hold vocations as a carpenter, preacher, and king, for the first years of his life he had no work. Instead, the Creator chose to be entirely dependent on the work of his creatures. Theologian J.I. Packer marveled at this truth saying that “the Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, unable to do more than lie and stare and wriggle and make noises, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child.”

Do you see the absurdity...

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Paul was “afraid” his work was “in vain”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. (Luke 2:16)

Since our first date 16 years ago, my wife Kara and I go to the historic Tampa Theatre every December to see It’s a Wonderful Life. And even though the film is more than 75 years old, the theater is packed every year. Why? Because the movie’s protagonist, George Bailey, encapsulates a timeless desire of the human heart to do work that matters.

If you haven’t seen the film, here’s the gist. George Bailey was raised in the small town of Bedford Falls, but he dreamed of doing “something big, something important.” But life got in the way and George remained stuck in his hometown working an obscure job he saw little purpose in. It took a literal miracle for him to see just how impactful his life and work had been.

Scripture tells us nothing about who made the manger Jesus slept in his first night on earth. But I’m willing to...

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5 signs Jesus is your consultant and not your King

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed. (Matthew 2:1-3)

Those last words are one of the great understatements in all of Scripture. Herod was more than “disturbed” by the news of Jesus. He was apoplectic because this new “king of the Jews” represented a direct threat to his throne.

Herod knew there can only be one king in a kingdom. Either you are on the throne or someone else is. There is no in-between—no compromise whatsoever. Which is why, after hearing of this threat to his career, Herod unleashed one of the most grotesque campaigns of violence in history (see Matthew 2:16). 

But Herod isn’t the only king we see in today’s passage. We’re also introduced to the Magi—the...

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How to instantly make your secular workplace sacred

[Mary] brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7 KJV)

It may surprise you to learn that the infamous “innkeeper” of the nativity is never explicitly mentioned in Scripture. But clearly, someone had to deliver the news to Mary and Joseph that there was “no room for them in the inn.”

What can we learn from this nameless hotelier? At least two things.

First, God often chooses to reveal himself to us at work. Whoever this innkeeper was, they were undoubtedly swamped that first Christmas Eve as a census brought an influx of travelers to Bethlehem (see Luke 2:1-3). You can imagine the innkeeper rushing to check people in and clean out rooms, just trying to keep his or her head above water. 

That’s when God literally showed up on the innkeeper’s doorstep. God didn’t meet the innkeeper in the temple but at their place of...

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C.S. Lewis’s Narnia vs. JFK’s Camelot

For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:18-20)

The parallels between C.S. Lewis and John F. Kennedy are eerie, to say the least. Both men were Irish. Both went by the nickname Jack. Both were war veterans but ultimately gained fame through their writing and speaking. And both men died on November 22, 1963, within one hour of each other.

From that point forward, their paths diverged considerably. Kennedy’s death dominated the front page of every major newspaper on earth. In most papers, Lewis’s death wasn’t even mentioned. While more than 800,000 people lined the streets to watch Kennedy’s funeral procession, there was no procession at all...

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