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Darth Vader and Elder Brothers

‘Your brother has come [home],’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ (Luke 15:27-30)

Self-discipline—whether with time, food, or money—is a good, God-honoring thing (see 1 Corinthians 9:24-27). The problem is when discipline becomes an ultimate thing and thus turns into a life-sucking idol. 

How can you know when you’ve crossed over to the dark side of discipline? One sign is that you are unwilling to extend grace to others who are less...

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The Dark Side of Discipline

Don’t you know that when people run on the race track everybody runs, but only one person gets the prize? Run in such a way that you’ll win it. Everyone who goes in for athletics exercises self-discipline in everything. They do it to gain a crown that perishes; we do it for an imperishable one. Well then: I don’t run in an aimless fashion! I don’t box like someone punching the air! No: I give my body rough treatment, and make it my slave, in case, after announcing the message to others, I myself should end up being disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NTE)

If you’ve read my book, Redeeming Your Time, you know that I’m a disciplined guy. I get eight hours of sleep almost every night, I only check email once a day, and I delete and reinstall Instagram every 24 hours so I don’t drown myself in that infinity pool of content.

Some of you may be thinking, Man, Jordan, it sounds like you might be a little too disciplined. ...

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Shepherds and Religious Professionals

christmas vocations Dec 27, 2021

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord….So [the shepherds] hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child (Luke 2:8-11,16-17)

You just discovered a piece of earth-shattering news. You pull open Twitter or Instagram to share it, but you know you’re going to need some help to spread the message. Who will you tag in your post? @CNN? @POTUS? @TaylorSwift13? If the news is religious in nature, maybe you’ll tag @Pontifex or @YouVersion? 

Those would all be logical...

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Is Parenting More Important Than Your Job?

christmas vocations Dec 20, 2021

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:26-28)

It’s likely that Mary worked exclusively inside the home as a wife and mother. What can her vocation tell us about our own? At least three things. 

First, God sees you and your work, even when the world doesn’t. Mary was a peasant teenage girl living in a backwater town. We don’t know what work she was doing before Gabriel showed up, but we can be certain it was obscure. Mary was the anti-influencer. Nobody knew her name. Nobody, that is, except God.

God saw Mary’s faithfulness when nobody else did, and for that, she was “highly favored” in his eyes. This reminds us that even when we work in...

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The Pinnacle of Zechariah’s Career

christmas vocations Dec 13, 2021

…an angel of the Lord appeared to [Zechariah], standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John….he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed...

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Christmas Vocations

christmas vocations Dec 06, 2021

But after [Joseph] had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21)

As we embark on our study of the vocations of some of the principal players in the Christmas narrative, we stop first at Jesus’s earthly father, Joseph.

In Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55, we learn that Joseph worked as a “carpenter.” My concordance says the Greek word tektĹŤn that we translate to “carpenter” can also be understood to mean “a craftsman” or “an artisan.” In other words, Joseph worked to create new things for others. And of course, per the custom of the time, Joseph’s children (including Jesus) would have worked alongside him.

...

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One Final Way to Prepare to Share the Gospel with Your Co-Workers

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15)

Today marks the conclusion of this series exploring five simple things all of us can do to prepare to share the gospel with those we work with. Here’s a reminder of the first four:

  1. Be so good they can’t ignore you
  2. Be a friend
  3. Identify yourself as a Christian
  4. Pray that God would open doors to move from the Surface, to the Serious, to the Spiritual

And here’s the fifth: Be prepared to give an answer for your hope.

If you’ve done numbers 1-4 on our list, eventually somebody is going to ask you,

Why do you never respond to emails on Sundays?

You don’t seem nearly as anxious as the rest of our team. Why?

Why did you and your husband adopt instead of having another child biologically?

If God is good, why did I get fired?

My mom is dying. What do you believe about heaven?...

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From the Surface, to the Serious, to the Spiritual

And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. (Colossians 4:3-4)

In this series, we’re looking at five simple ways to prepare to share the gospel with those we work with. We’ve already explored three:

  1. Be so good they can’t ignore you
  2. Be a friend
  3. Identify yourself as a Christian

Once you’ve done those things, let me encourage you to pray that God would open doors to move from the Surface, to the Serious, to the Spiritual

I think a lot of us feel like it is up to us to pry open doors to share the gospel with others. But that wasn’t the Apostle Paul’s approach. Hear his words in Colossians 4:3: “Pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ.”

God alone can make people receptive to the gospel. We pray to that end, and...

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3 simple ways to identify yourself as a Christian today

Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God. (John 12:42-43)

We’re in a series walking through 5 simple things all of us can do to put ourselves in a better position to share the gospel with those we work with. We’ve already explored the first two: Be so good they can’t ignore you and be a friendBut those things clearly aren’t enough. At some point, you have to identify yourself as a Christian!

A few years ago, I stepped down as the CEO of a tech startup to focus full-time on creating content like these devotionals. Given the nature of my new work, I naturally started talking about my faith much more publicly on social media. In response to those posts, more than a couple of customers and co-workers from my past tech startup...

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How my co-worker Tim invited me to share the gospel with him

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35)

We’re in a series exploring 5 simple things all of us can do to put ourselves in a better position to share the gospel with those we work with. Last week, we looked at the first: Be so good they can’t ignore you. This week, we turn to the second: Be a friend.

Jesus commanded that we are to love one another as he loved us. And “by this”—by loving others well, by being a good friend—they “will know” we are his disciples.

So simple. Yet so profound. 

We ought to be known as the people in our offices who genuinely love our co-workers, not just the product of their work. We ought to be the ones asking our co-workers about their kids, making time to go to lunch, and delivering meals when a co-worker welcomes a...

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