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New Series: Master of One

master of one Dec 30, 2019

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1-2)

There’s an old saying that goes, “He’s a Jack of all trades, and a master of none,” used to describe someone who is good at many different things but not excellent at any one of them.

I don’t have a problem being a Jack of all trades, but I do think we Christians ought to have a big problem with being described as “masters of none.”

Why? Because the essence of the Christian life is to glorify God (or, in the words of John Piper, “reflect his greatness”) and love our neighbors as ourselves. How do we fulfill that call through our work? By doing our work masterfully well and being “imitators” of God’s character of excellence (see Ephesians 5:1).

The opposite of mastery is mediocrity, and mediocrity is nothing short of a failure of love and...

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The Final Advent

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you….Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the hip….Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the Lord. All Kedar’s flocks will be gathered to you, the rams of Nebaioth will serve you; they will be accepted as offerings on my altar, and I will adorn my glorious temple. Who are these that fly along like clouds, like doves to their nests? Surely the islands look to me; in the lead are the ships of Tarshish, bringing your children from afar, with their silver and gold, to the honor of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor. Foreigners will rebuild your walls, and their kings will serve you. Though in anger I struck you, in favor I will show you...

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Jesus the Gardener

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’s body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). (John 20:11-16)

Two weeks ago, we looked at Jesus’s first appearance to humankind at the very beginning of time. Last week, we looked at his...

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Christmas at the Carpenter’s

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they 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, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luke 2:15-20)

In just a couple of weeks, we will celebrate Jesus’s second appearance to all of humankind that first Christmas morning.

As you fix your eyes on the baby in the manger, I would encourage you to expand the aperture to view the rest of the scene. Take a moment to focus not just on the newborn king, but also on...

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New Series: Jesus the Creator, Carpenter, Gardener, and King

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. (Colossians 1:15-16)

Let us begin by meditating on Jesus’s first appearance to humankind at the very beginning of time.

Today’s passage makes clear that Jesus—along with God the Father and the Holy Spirit—was present at the creation of the world. Furthermore, “all things” were created through Christ. In other words, Jesus is the Creator God we read about in Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created.”

Before God tells us he is love, before he tells us he is holy, before he tells us he is Savior, God wants you and I to know that he is a creative, productive, working God.

As I’ve written about before, this idea of a God who works is unique in the long...

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Mutual Submission at Work

colossians on work Nov 25, 2019

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 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. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism. Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven. (Colossians 3:18 – 4:1)

Over the years, I have written frequently on Colossians 3:23 (Whatever you do, work at it with all your...

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What does it mean to “set your mind on things above”?

colossians on work Nov 18, 2019

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)

The third chapter of Colossians starts with a stark reminder that as Christians, we have “died” and our “life is now hidden with Christ.”

What does this truth mean for our work? Does it mean that we are no longer to care about our work and the things that captured our attention pre-salvation? Is that what we are to assume Paul meant by his command that we “set our minds on things above, not on earthly things”?

Not at all. If that is what Paul meant, he wouldn’t have called us to “work with all your heart” just a few verses later (Colossians 3:23). Paul is not calling us to forget about...

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New Series: Colossians on Work

colossians on work Nov 04, 2019

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. (Colossians 1:15-16)

Here, in the first chapter of Colossians, we find a profound theological truth: “all things were created” and “all things have been created through [Jesus Christ].”

So, Jesus was present at the beginning of time, creating all “things in heaven and on earth.” But, as we know, on the sixth day, God passed the baton of creation to us, calling us to “fill and subdue” the earth with our own acts of cultural creation.

This begs the question: When we create today, is it God who creates, or us?

John 1:3 tells us that “Through [Christ] all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” And in Hebrews 3:4, Paul says that...

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Embracing Imbalance

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. (Matthew 3:16-4:2 NIV)

Over the past few weeks, we have been examining what it looks like to pursue “whole-life excellence” as opposed to “work-life balance”. In the final devotional in this series, I’d like to argue that in order to be excellent in every role we’re committed to, we must, like Jesus, embrace seasons of imbalance in our lives.

In Matthew 3, we witness the beginning of Jesus’s public ministry as John baptizes him in the Jordan River. Now, with Jesus’s new season of work just beginning, you might reasonably expect him to...

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Designing Whole-Life Excellence

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, “This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.” (Luke 14:28-30 NIV)

In this four-week series, we are exploring what it looks like to pursue “whole-life excellence”, as opposed to the seemingly unattainable ideal of “work-life balance”.

Last week, we looked at the first step to achieving whole-life excellence: studying Scripture and those we serve to define standards of excellence for each of the roles in our lives.

With those standards defined, it is now our responsibility to (as honestly as we can) evaluate whether or not we are on the path to fulfilling each role with excellence, and if we’re not, make the necessary adjustments.

About a year and a half into my tenure as CEO of...

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