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Christmas Vocations

christmas vocations Dec 06, 2021

But after [Joseph] had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21)

As we embark on our study of the vocations of some of the principal players in the Christmas narrative, we stop first at Jesus’s earthly father, Joseph.

In Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55, we learn that Joseph worked as a “carpenter.” My concordance says the Greek word tektōn that we translate to “carpenter” can also be understood to mean “a craftsman” or “an artisan.” In other words, Joseph worked to create new things for others. And of course, per the custom of the time, Joseph’s children (including Jesus) would have worked alongside him.

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One Final Way to Prepare to Share the Gospel with Your Co-Workers

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15)

Today marks the conclusion of this series exploring five simple things all of us can do to prepare to share the gospel with those we work with. Here’s a reminder of the first four:

  1. Be so good they can’t ignore you
  2. Be a friend
  3. Identify yourself as a Christian
  4. Pray that God would open doors to move from the Surface, to the Serious, to the Spiritual

And here’s the fifth: Be prepared to give an answer for your hope.

If you’ve done numbers 1-4 on our list, eventually somebody is going to ask you,

Why do you never respond to emails on Sundays?

You don’t seem nearly as anxious as the rest of our team. Why?

Why did you and your husband adopt instead of having another child biologically?

If God is good, why did I get fired?

My mom is dying. What do you believe about heaven?...

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From the Surface, to the Serious, to the Spiritual

And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. (Colossians 4:3-4)

In this series, we’re looking at five simple ways to prepare to share the gospel with those we work with. We’ve already explored three:

  1. Be so good they can’t ignore you
  2. Be a friend
  3. Identify yourself as a Christian

Once you’ve done those things, let me encourage you to pray that God would open doors to move from the Surface, to the Serious, to the Spiritual

I think a lot of us feel like it is up to us to pry open doors to share the gospel with others. But that wasn’t the Apostle Paul’s approach. Hear his words in Colossians 4:3: “Pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ.”

God alone can make people receptive to the gospel. We pray to that end, and...

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3 simple ways to identify yourself as a Christian today

Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God. (John 12:42-43)

We’re in a series walking through 5 simple things all of us can do to put ourselves in a better position to share the gospel with those we work with. We’ve already explored the first two: Be so good they can’t ignore you and be a friendBut those things clearly aren’t enough. At some point, you have to identify yourself as a Christian!

A few years ago, I stepped down as the CEO of a tech startup to focus full-time on creating content like these devotionals. Given the nature of my new work, I naturally started talking about my faith much more publicly on social media. In response to those posts, more than a couple of customers and co-workers from my past tech startup...

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How my co-worker Tim invited me to share the gospel with him

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35)

We’re in a series exploring 5 simple things all of us can do to put ourselves in a better position to share the gospel with those we work with. Last week, we looked at the first: Be so good they can’t ignore you. This week, we turn to the second: Be a friend.

Jesus commanded that we are to love one another as he loved us. And “by this”—by loving others well, by being a good friend—they “will know” we are his disciples.

So simple. Yet so profound. 

We ought to be known as the people in our offices who genuinely love our co-workers, not just the product of their work. We ought to be the ones asking our co-workers about their kids, making time to go to lunch, and delivering meals when a co-worker welcomes a...

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5 Ways to Prepare to Share the Gospel with Co-Workers

You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)

As I’ve written about before, sharing the gospel with those we work with is far from the only way our work matters to God. But it is a way. Your job can be a powerful vehicle for following Jesus’s command to “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). 

Now, Jesus is not saying in this verse that you have to change your vocation or location to participate in his “Great Commission.” The Greek word poreuthentes that we translate “go” in “go and make disciples” is what’s called an aorist tense passive participle. What in the world does that mean for you? It means that a far more accurate translation of Jesus’s words is, “Having...

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The difference between “busyness” and “hurry”

redeeming your time Oct 25, 2021

Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve….[The next day, upon] reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. (Mark 11:11,15)

The life of Jesus and his disciples was busy (see Mark 3:20-21 and John 11:5-9). But as my friend John Mark Comer has pointed out, “[Jesus] never came off hurried.” Pastor Kevin DeYoung put it this way: “[Jesus] was busy, but never in a way that made him frantic, anxious, irritable, proud, envious, or distracted by lesser things.” 

So, what’s the difference between busyness and hurry? 

Busyness is having a lot of meetings on your calendar. Hurry is scheduling those meetings back-to-back forcing you to sprint from one to the...

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3 Rhythms of Counterintuitively Productive Rest

redeeming your time Oct 18, 2021

Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28)

In the mid-1800s, Americans fled to the West in droves in search of gold and a better life. But according to The Emigrant’s Guide to California published in 1849, it was the gold-rushers who rested most—specifically by observing the Sabbath—that reached their destination the quickest. As the guide shares, Those who [laid] by on the Sabbath, resting themselves and their teams,” reached gold country “20 days sooner than those who traveled seven days a week.”

The gold rushers’ example illustrates a fascinating paradox: Oftentimes rest is the most productive thing we can do. 

And not just Sabbath rest! As the scientific community now understands, bi-hourly breaks throughout the workday and an eight-hour “sleep opportunity” every night are...

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Omnipresent God, Unipresent Jesus

redeeming your time Oct 11, 2021

While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50)

Now more than ever, our world offers the illusion that we can be fully present in more than one place at a time. But it’s just that—an illusion. You know how I know? Because we’re not God and even when God himself came to earth in human form, he traded in his godly omnipresence for the human unipresence you and I experience today.

Like us today, Jesus had to deal with frequent distractions that competed for his attention. A man threw himself at Jesus’s feet as he was walking (see Mark...

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Jesus and “a purpose harder than steel”

redeeming your time Oct 04, 2021

Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come. (Mark 1:38)

When you study the gospel biographies trying to understand how Jesus stewarded his time, one glaring truth jumps off the pages: Jesus was crazy purposeful. In the words of the great Dorothy Sayers, “Under all his gentleness there is a purpose harder than steel.” Nobody in Jerusalem had more things competing for their attention, and yet Jesus always seemed to be able to discern the essential from the noise.

No passage of Scripture illustrates this better than Mark 1:29-38. After driving out some evil spirits at the synagogue, Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law and a bunch of her neighbors. Understandably, the town’s residents wanted more of Jesus the next day. But Jesus said no. Why? Because he had already committed his time to a bigger yes. In response to the people’s request for more of his time, Jesus said, “Let...

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