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Defining Excellence

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and...

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New Series: The Myth of Work-Life Balance

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

You can’t open Twitter or Instagram without seeing someone talking about “work-life balance.” It seems like all of us are searching for this elusive ideal.

There are two things that have long bothered me about our collective striving for work-life balance. First, I think the term is steeped in an unbiblical view of work which says that “work” is a necessary evil in order to enjoy the truly meaningful things in “life.” By its very nature, the term treats “work” and “life” as separate—as if work isn’t a critical part of our lives. You and I know that this is not at all what the Bible teaches. The Hebrew word avodah is translated into our Bibles to mean “work,” and “worship,” and “service.” The writers of Scripture didn’t see work and...

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Jesus and the Meaning of Work

the meaning of work Sep 30, 2019

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:6-7)

In this three week series, I have been making the case that the core reason why nearly 9 out of every 10 people are unhappy at work is that they have an unbiblical view of the meaning of work, either expecting too little meaning from their work or too much.

As we have seen, the Bible clearly disqualifies both of the extreme ends of this spectrum, which leaves us with this question: What does the Bible point to as the true meaning of work? How can we find meaning and joy in our work without looking to our careers for ultimate meaning and self worth? The answer is found in the life of Jesus Christ.

The Bible gives us very little information about what Jesus was doing between the ages of twelve and thirty. One of the few things we do know is...

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The Idol of Calling

the meaning of work Sep 23, 2019

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. (Genesis 11:1-8)

In this three week series, I am making the case that the core...

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New Series: The Meaning of Work

the meaning of work Sep 16, 2019

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)

According to Gallup’s recent State of the Global Workplace report, 85% of workers are disengaged from their jobs.

That number is so alarming, it can be hard to wrap your head around, so let me say it a different way: Nearly 9 out of every 10 people find little to no joy or meaning in the thing they are spending more than a third of their days doing.

This is the opposite of human flourishing, and it’s certainly not what God intended when he created work as a form of worship in the beginning.

It seems like everyone has an opinion as to why...

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The Biblical Promise of Power

Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank. (Proverbs 22:29)

Over the past few weeks, we have been looking at Jesus’ exchange with the disciples in Mark 10:35-45. In this passage, James and John ask if they can sit in the places of greatest honor alongside Jesus in the Kingdom of Heaven. If our inherent desire for greatness and power was sinful, this would have been the perfect time for Jesus to say so. But he didn’t. Jesus didn’t diminish the disciples’ desire greatness. He simply redirected it.

Look back at Jesus’s response to James in John, recorded in Mark 10:43-45: “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus is essentially saying, “You want to sit at the right hand of the...

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The DNA of Kings and Queens

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)

Last week, we read Mark 10:35-45 where James and John pulled Jesus aside to ask for the places of highest honor in the Kingdom of Heaven. I’ve always been fascinated by this passage, because I think most modern readers expect Jesus to harshly rebuke the disciples’ desire for greatness. But that’s not what Jesus does.

Look at Mark 10:43. Following the disciples’ shameless request, Jesus doesn’t say, “How dare you ask to sit by my side in glory.” Instead, Jesus starts his reply with, “whoever wants to become great among you.” Jesus goes on to redefine what greatness truly is (which...

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New Series: The Good in Our Desire to be Great

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.” When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them....

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Fred Rogers’s Daily Routine

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Believing that Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was his way of “repairing creation,” Fred Rogers was intensely serious about his work. As we’ve seen over the past few weeks, that sense of calling heavily influenced Rogers’s motives for his work as well as what he produced on-air. But his faith also influenced how he went about his work in three prominent ways.

First, before Rogers left for work each morning, he committed himself to the reading of Scripture. Without daily reminding himself of the gospel, Rogers would have been unable to effectively demonstrate the love of Christ on television. As one of Rogers’s former staffers once said, “I think [Fred] had very Christlike qualities, and that is part of what drew children. Children know a fraud more than anyone….He was one of the most...

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How to Make Goodness Attractive

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 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 12:28-31)

Fred Rogers had a vision for a children’s television show that would “make goodness attractive.” But not just any “goodness.” Rogers was convinced that he could make the goodness of Christ and the gospel winsome to the world.

Due to the public funding of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Rogers couldn’t be explicit with the gospel message on-air. But he was convinced that...

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