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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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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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