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New Series: How Change Happens

how change happens Oct 12, 2020

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:27-28)

It seems like every day a new skirmish breaks out in our never-ending “culture wars.” Whether the fight is over COVID, race relations, abortion, or gender equality, we are more divided than ever in the battle over right and wrong.

Every four years, the American political machinery pitches the same strategy for winning these culture wars: Elect the right person and they will introduce new laws or appoint the right judges to legislate our desired brand of change.

But is this really how large-scale cultural change happens?

The evidence suggests that it is not. Just as Adam and Eve were called to “fill the...

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The Biblical Story of Work

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)

Over the past two weeks, we have looked to Scripture to refute two of the most common stories the world shares about the meaning of work: “The Office Story” (work is a meaningless means to an end) and “The Hamilton Story” (work is a means of justifying my existence). Both of these narratives about work are minuscule when compared to the epic narrative the Bible assigns to work.

So, what is “The Biblical Story” of work?

It starts “in the beginning” when God created work as worship in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1 and 2).

Once sin entered the picture, work became difficult (Genesis 3:17) and the world needed to be put back to rights. There was now a need for God’s Kingdom to come “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

Fast forward to the first Easter Sunday...

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“The World’s Going to Know Your Name”

What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14)

Last week, we saw how Scripture refutes what we might call “The Office Story” of work, namely that work is a meaningless drudgery we must endure in order to collect a paycheck to enjoy the truly meaningful things in life.

Today, we look at the second (and I would argue most readily believed) story of work, exemplified by the hit musical, Hamilton.

If you don’t know the story of Alexander Hamilton, here’s a quick recap. Before he was recognized as a Founding Father of the United States, Hamilton was an orphaned kid in the Caribbean whose youth was marked by unimaginable tragedy. By the grace of God alone, his neighbors recognized Hamilton’s formidable talents as a young writer and raised enough money to put him on a ship bound for New York, promising the young man that, “The world’s going to know your name!”

Hamilton vows to make good...

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New Series: A Bigger Story for Work

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth….So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:1, 27-28)

There has arguably never been a more hysterical commentary on modern work than The Office, the television comedy about the employees of Dunder Mifflin.

The cast is filled with men and women who hate their jobs almost as much as their boss, and could best be described as “actively disengaged” from their work—(Jim: “I am about to do something very bold in this job that I’ve never done before. Try.”) 

Dunder Mifflin’s employees would rather be anywhere other than the office—(Kevin: “I just want to...

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Why There’s No “Plan B” for Christians

into the unknown Sep 14, 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)

Today is the final devotional in a series that I pray has helped you dispel the idea of waiting to “feel a peace” about decisions at work and at home. Over the past two weeks, we have looked at a couple of biblical truths that can help us grow in confidence as we make tough choices:

First, God rarely gives us all the information we want before making a decision.

And second, God doesn’t need us to make any specific decision.

Today, we look at the third and final truth, which is related to the second: So long as we are obeying God’s Word, we can’t make a “wrong” decision.

When we read today’s Scripture (Romans 8:28), we typically think of “all things” in the context of negative things that happen to us: losing a job, shutting down a business, losing a loved one. Of...

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Do you need God to approve your plans?

into the unknown Sep 07, 2020

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)

We’re in a series debunking this idea that Christians should wait on a “sense of peace” before making big decisions, replacing that myth with three biblical truths that can grow our confidence to make tough choices. Last week, we saw the first truth, that God rarely gives us all the information we want before making a decision. Today, we look at the second: God doesn’t need us to make any specific decision.

If you’re reading these devotionals, it’s because you care deeply about doing your most exceptional work for the glory of God and the good of others. That is your overriding passion at work, and that of course is a wonderful thing! But that burning desire can easily lead to over-analyzing certain decisions, which ironically holds us back from participating in the work God is up to in the world.

I know I have...

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Stop Waiting for a “Sense of Peace”

into the unknown Aug 31, 2020

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. (Hebrews 11:8)

Last week, we debunked the myth that Christians should wait for an amorphous “sense of peace” before making big decisions.

This morning, I’m sharing the first of three biblical truths that can grow our confidence to make decisions at work and at home. Here it is: God rarely gives us all the information we want before making a decision.

That may not sound freeing, but trust me, it is. Hang with me for a minute.

Genesis 12:1 tells us that God asked Abraham to leave behind his country, people, and family and head to an undisclosed location—clearly information Abraham would have loved to have known before deciding whether or not he would obey. But as we just read in Hebrews 11:8, Abraham obeyed God despite the fact that “he did not know where he was going.” Do you think...

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New Series: Into the Unknown

into the unknown Aug 24, 2020

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)

Decisions, decisions. We are faced with a never-ending list of them at work and at home.

Which candidate do I hire? Do I get my MBA or get a job? Do we move or stay?

As Christians evaluate decisions like these, there’s a phrase we often utter once we’ve made up our minds: “I just feel such a sense of peace about my decision.” Or conversely, if we’re having difficulty making a decision, we’ll say, “I just don’t feel at peace one way or another.”

But once we have that amorphous sense of peace, the discussion is over. One pastor hit the nail on the head saying, “When an internal sense of peace becomes the ultimate rationale for decision-making, no one can question you. It’s the ultimate mic drop—akin to saying God told you to do something.”

There are a few...

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Deflected Glory and Unfinished Symphonies

Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. (Psalm 115:1)

After decades of working diligently toward his life’s goal, William Wilberforce witnessed the British Parliament vote to abolish the slave trade in 1807. Twenty-six years later, in 1833, Parliament would vote for full emancipation, freeing slaves throughout the British Empire. Wilberforce received the glorious news on his deathbed and went home to be with the Lord three days later.

The British people credited Wilberforce as the man chiefly responsible for the historic event, but Wilberforce was quick to deflect the glory back to God, recognizing that he was merely an instrument in the hands of his Maker.

When the nation was on the cusp of abolishing the slave trade in 1807, Wilberforce wrote, “How popular Abolition is just now! God can turn the hearts of men.” God undoubtedly used Wilberforce’s once-in-a-generation skills as an orator to...

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Wilberforce’s List of “Launchers”

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)

When we are engaged in the work God has called us to do in the world, some level of persecution is inevitable. For William Wilberforce, who had chosen to make abolition of the powerful slave trade the “Great Object” of his life, the persecution was intense.

Wilberforce had every reason to be afraid for his life. During his decades-long fight to end slavery, multiple slave-ship captains threatened Wilberforce’s life. One even challenged him to a duel. As one of his biographers wrote, Wilberforce “seriously believed he was likely to die violently when some enemy of abolition made good on one of the several threats he had received since becoming the cause’s chiefest champion.”

Thank God Wilberforce was surrounded by other believers who encouraged him to fear God more than man. On his deathbed,...

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