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Setting Boundaries With Your Time

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:16 (NIV)

Throughout the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John repeatedly note the amount of time Jesus spent in solitude—away from the disciples, the crowds, and the busyness of his ministry. The frequent mention of this behavior suggests that Jesus was a master at setting boundaries with His time. Likewise, if we are to effectively manage our time and make our greatest contribution to the world, we too must establish clear boundaries with our schedules.

Like Jesus, this should start by allocating regular time for prayer (Mark 1:35) and study of God’s Word. Most of us are are used to the idea of tithing our money. But what about tithing our time? If we fill-up our schedules with demands from work and home and then try to find time to spend in prayer and study of God’s Word, we are setting ourselves up for failure. If you haven’t already, take some time this week to determine...

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New Series: Time Management Principles from God’s Word

Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:13-14 (NIV)

I get asked for a lot of time management advice. Not because I’ve got this topic “figured out,” but because I’ve had a tremendous amount of practice seeking to balance the many different productive activities in my life. In addition to serving as the CEO of a venture-backed technology startup (Threshold 360), I am also an author, doing my best to help my fellow Christians connect the gospel to their work. At home, I am a husband and a father to two wonderful girls under the age of three. To say my life is insane right now is a bit of an understatement. But by the grace of God alone, I am “managing” it all and still somehow get 7...

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The Boldest Entrepreneurs on the Planet

responding to failure Jun 18, 2018

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Galatians 3:26-27 (NIV)

Immediately before Jesus spent forty days in the desert resisting relentless temptation by the adversary, he was baptised in the Jordan River. The last two verses of Matthew 3 recount the event: “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.’”

The very next verse (Matthew 4:1) says, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” The fact that these events are found back-to-back aren’t coincidental. Before Jesus kicks-off his public ministry with what must have been an agonizing forty days alone in the wilderness with...

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Hope in Times of Failure

responding to failure Jun 11, 2018

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 (NIV)

In the booming Chicago of the 1860s, there lived a young Christian family of six whose patriarch was a prominent lawyer and investor. All was going well for the young man and his family until the Great Chicago Fire destroyed much of his real estate. The loss was significant, but it paled in comparison to the tragedy the man would experience just two years later when his wife and daughters were in a shipwreck as they sailed from New York to England. All four daughters died in the crash. Upon arriving in England, the mother telegrammed her husband in Chicago. “Saved alone,” she said.

The husband left Chicago right away, sailing off to England to meet his grieving wife. We don’t know much about his journey across the Atlantic, but I have to imagine the man spent his days alone, grieving his loss and...

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New Series: Responding to Failure

responding to failure Jun 04, 2018

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 (NIV)

Contrary to what some “spiritual self-help gurus” preach, the God of the Bible does not promise us success. If anything, Scripture makes clear that Christians are all-but guaranteed adversity and failure. From Paul to Peter, from Joseph to Job, the Bible is filled with stories of men and women who experienced great failures both personally and professionally. Throughout these stories, Scripture reveals a God who isn’t concerned with our “success,” but is very much concerned with our sanctification and how our failures can be used to mold us into His image.

Today, more and more Christians are embracing the call to create, taking risks to bring about new businesses, ministries, art, books, music, and other forms of culture as a means of serving others. It’s never been easier to follow God’s call to create! But we...

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As You Are Going…Make Disciples

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 (NIV)

Over the past three weeks, we have been exploring the biblical truth that every Christian is a “full-time missionary” and unpacking what I’m calling the Three Myths of Missions which block us from really embracing our roles as disciple-makers. The third and final myth of missions that we will unpack this week is that in order to fulfill the Great Commission, you must “go” away from your current vocation and...

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The Laughable Myth of Missions

“Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon?” Mark 6:3 (NIV)

In order to embrace the idea that every Christian is a full-time missionary, there’s a second myth of missions that we need to look to Scripture to refute. Here it is: The calling of pastors and “full-time missionaries” is somehow “higher” than the call to other vocations.

As we saw in last week’s devotional. God called human beings to work, giving all work inherent meaning; thus, there should be no sense that one person’s vocational calling is higher, more meaningful, or more eternally significant than another.

But the fact is, there is an unspoken hierarchy of callings in the Church today that says that if you are really sold out for Jesus, you will abandon your current work and spiritually “level-up” to the role of a pastor or...

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The Call to Cultural Creation

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 1:28 (NIV)

The idea that every Christian is a full-time missionary may sound new or at least like a fresh perspective. Why is that? As we will see throughout this devotional series, God’s Word makes crystal clear that each of us is called to make disciples of Jesus Christ no matter what job we have or where we live. So why does this concept sound new? I believe it’s because the Church has bought into three myths of missions which we will look to Scripture to refute over the next three weeks.

The first myth that the Church has subscribed to for some time now is that work is largely meaningless unless you work as a “full-time missionary.”

Have you ever felt like your work is less important or eternally meaningful than that of...

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New Series: Every Christian Is a “Full-Time Missionary”

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 (NIV)

I grew up dreading sermons on the topic of missions. It’s not because I don’t love missions; in fact, I can think of nothing more exhilarating than sharing the name of Jesus with a lost world. I love as 1 Peter 2:9 says to “declare the excellencies” of our God, telling others about the miraculous work Jesus has done on my behalf. But for years, any time I heard that a pastor would be preaching on missions or that we...

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“The Most Unproductive Thing You Can Do”

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

We’ve come a long way in 20 days.

In the first 10 days, we sketched out a biblical narrative of work; then we saw five ways in which our work matters in light of that narrative; and over the past few days, we examined four ways we should do our work in light of those previous truths.

Today, we see one final way we should work: To work productively towards God’s agenda in this world, we must stay rooted to “the vine” by regularly communing with our Lord. 

Jesus said that apart from him, “you can do nothing” of value to him and his kingdom-building purposes. In the words of author Matt Perman, “To live your life without God is the most unproductive thing you can do.”

If you want your work to be worship—a means of serving God rather than...

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