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Rest as a sermon for the ambitious

You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)

As we’ve seen over the past three weeks, viewing our career as a calling from God and working for His agenda rather than our own can have a dramatic impact on the way we do our work. The faith of Chick-fil-A’s founder, Truett Cathy, has influenced the company in countless ways, some of them more subtle than others. But on this final entry of this devotional series, we’ll take a closer look at Chick-fil-A’s most overt expression of faith: the fact that since the company’s founding in 1946, they have controversially remained closed on Sundays.

Like most great entrepreneurs, Truett Cathy worked tirelessly to start up Chick-fil-A. At the beginning, the...

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Reading the stories of those we work with

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20)

Have you ever read today’s passage (commonly known as the Great Commission) and felt a sense of guilt of not being a “full-time missionary,” going to make disciples of all nations?

I know I have. But years ago, the teaching of Pastor Kennon Vaughan forever changed my thinking on this subject. Commenting on Jesus’s words in Matthew 28:19, Vaughan says, “The word ‘Go’ literally means ‘having gone.’ The...

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Excellence with a capital “A”

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)

Throughout Scripture, we are commanded to do everything with excellence, not doing anything half-heartedly. Why? Because when God creates, He does it with excellence, and as His image-bearers to the world, we should seek to imitate Him in every way possible. In the words of the British novelist, Dorothy Sayers, “No crooked table legs or ill-fitting drawers ever, I dare swear, came out of the carpenter’s shop at Nazareth. Nor, if they did, could anyone believe that they were made by the same hand that made Heaven and earth. No piety in the worker will compensate for work that is not true to itself; for any work that is untrue to its own technique is a living lie.”

Few businesses demonstrate a commitment to...

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New Series: Chick-fil-A and the Call to Create

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)

Few things bring me more happiness than a Spicy Chicken Sandwich, perfectly golden-brown waffle fries, and a Diet Coke from Chick-fil-A. To say I’m a Chick-fil-A superfan is a bit of an understatement. But it’s not just fried chicken, Icedream Cones, and Chick-fil-A sauce that I love. It’s the company itself, built steadily over decades by men and women who love Jesus Christ and exercise their love for Him and others through their work.

For my book, Called to Create, I interviewed and researched 40+ Christian entrepreneurs and creatives, trying to understand what it looks like to live out God’s call to engage culture through the workplace. In my research, Chick-fil-A came up time and time again as one of the best examples of what it looks like to integrate...

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Misreading the most cross-stitched verse of all time

out of context Feb 24, 2020

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Over the past four weeks, we have been examining a few of the most popular Bible verses and how their meaning can only be properly understood when read in context. Today’s verse is no exception.

This just might be the most cross-stitched verse of all time, found on countless pillows, keychains, and coffee mugs. I mean, who doesn’t love the promise of prosperity and hope for our careers and families? The only problem is, these promises weren’t made to you and me.

These promises were made to a specific people, at a specific point in time, under a specific set of circumstances. The Lord delivered this promise to Israel in the midst of His punishment of His people. Just a few verses prior to this famous passage, we are told that God had “carried [Israel] into exile from Jerusalem to...

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When God gives you more than you can handle

out of context Feb 17, 2020

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

If you’ve ever heard someone say, “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” and wondered where that’s found in the Bible—it’s not. But this verse is where that lie is typically derived from.

1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that God “will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” This, of course, is wonderful and true! As James 1:13 makes clear, God himself is incapable of tempting anyone.

But somewhere along the way, we took 1 Corinthians 10:13 way out of context to wrongfully claim that God will never give us more than we can handle. Nowhere is that promise found in Scripture, and I think we all know from experience that this cliché isn’t true.

The...

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Can we really “do all things” through Christ?

out of context Feb 10, 2020

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

We’re in a four-week series on Bible verses that are frequently taken out of context at work. Today’s may be one of the most abused passages in all of Scripture.

The athlete tattoos Philippians 4:13 on his arm to provide inspiration for the big games.

The sales executive recites the verse before her big pitch.

The author keeps these words on a post-it note to push toward a seemingly impossible deadline.

We tend to use this verse as a bite-sized motivational speech to inspire our striving. Ironically, the context of this verse in some ways inspires the opposite. Philippians 4:13 was not written to fuel your ambitions. It was written to cultivate contentment.

Take a look at the verse in the context of Paul’s words which precede it: “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have...

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New Series: Out of Context (What 4 popular verses actually mean for our work)

out of context Feb 03, 2020

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

This may be one of the most quoted verses in the Church today, and for good reason. This verse contains a wonderful promise; but it’s not the promise we sometimes claim from this passage.

This verse is frequently taken out of context to provide hope amidst difficult circumstances. Have you lost your job? Did your business fail? Has your spouse filed for divorce? As your brother in Christ, I am terribly sorry for your difficult circumstances, but I beg of you not to use this verse to claim that God must have something better in store for you. That is not what this verse means.

When circumstances are not what we would choose for ourselves at work or at home, we must remember three things.

First, God is sovereign and in control, even when our circumstances might suggest otherwise. As Job said in...

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How We “Proclaim the Excellencies” of God at Work

master of one Jan 27, 2020

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)

The most visited attraction in Barcelona is not a theme park or a soccer stadium. It’s an unfinished church that has been under construction for more than 135 years.

If you visit la Sagrada Familia, you’ll instantly see why the church is so popular. For starters, it is truly awe-inspiring. But there’s a second reason why the church is such a draw. In an age that prioritizes speed over everything else, the pace at which la Sagrada Familia is being built commands our attention.

We are used to seeing restaurants built in weeks, houses in months, and skyscrapers in just a few years. The idea of spending more than thirteen decades building a church is simply incomprehensible to most. It is that commitment to slow, masterful work that draws millions of...

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The 3 Keys to Mastery

master of one Jan 20, 2020

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God….And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him….Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:3,17, 23-24)

In the past few weeks, I’ve made the case for why Christians should focus on pursuing mastery of one thing at a time vocationally and what we should be looking for in our “one thing.” Today, we’ll take a glimpse at how you can achieve mastery of your craft for the glory of God and the good of others.

In my team’s extensive research for my new book, Master of One, three keys to mastering any vocation came up time and time again.

Key #1: Apprenticeships

In James 4:6, we are told...

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