Monday, April 23, 2012

What Are Your Excuses?

There are lots of excuses for not living out your faith at work. How closely to your excuses match some historical reasons given by Bible characters?

Adam has the distinction of giving the first excuse in history--"the woman you gave me made me do it." Followed immediately by "the devil made me do it." (Gen. 3)

Saul told Samuel that he wasn't obeying God but that it was for a good cause (to worship the very God he was disobeying, 1 Sam. 15).

As a man was inviting guests to a great banquet, they were all too busy with other things (Luke 14).

The man with one talent was too afraid to do what his master wanted (Matt. 25).

And of course, the king of excuses would have to be Moses. While watching God's presence in the form of a bush bonfire, Moses had one excuse after another ("they won't believe me, I don't speak well, I just don't want to, etc., Exodus 3).

What's your excuse for not living out your faith at work?

Monday, April 16, 2012

That Doesn't Make Sense

When you compare what God says and what a lot of people in business say it takes to succeed, it doesn't always make sense to follow God at work.

Jesus said to love your enemies. God calls us to love the unloveable. As Christians, we should forgive even when others hurt us deeply.

How are you at obeying the tough things?

If you struggle, you're not alone. Saul was good at trying to follow God while balancing what made sense. In 1 Samuel 15, Saul was commanded to completely destroy the Amalekites. But that didn't really make sense to him. The sheep and cattle could be used to reward the troops. Keeping the king alive would give Saul a great trophy. Saul obeyed God as long as God's commands made sense to Saul.

Be careful at trying to use common sense to make decisions. Follow God, even when it doesn't fit with what others are telling you.

Monday, March 26, 2012


How much are you praying at work? I was thinking about that question the other day. There's a lot for which you should be praying.

Be sure to
pray for your supervisor (1 Timothy 2:1-4). It doesn't matter whether you like him/her. God tells you to pray for those in authority over you.

Pray about the decisions you make (Joshua 9). That's not just the big decisions (although certainly you should be taking those to God. Pray for even the smallest decisions.

Of course, you should also be
praying for everyone around you that doesn't know Jesus (Matthew 9:36-38). Pray that God will send people (maybe you) into their lives to show them the way.

If there's something worrying you, pray for that also (Philippians 4:6-7). Know that your Father knows what you need.

It seems like an oversimplification to say that's a lot to pray for. Make prayer part of your work.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Finding Just the Right Words

A few weeks ago, my daily reading passage was Matthew 10 where Jesus sends out his apostles to tell the Judean people about Him. As He gives them instructions, one of the things that He says is "do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time, you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." To be honest, I didn't think much about that particular passage at the time (it's verses 19-20).

Then, two weeks ago, someone came to me. This person wanted to talk to an unbeliever about Jesus but she wasn't sure what to say. I thought of Matthew 10:19-20. The context is different (Jesus was telling His disciples what to do when they were arrested), but I think the passage applied, just the same. After the conversation, this person felt she said all the wrong things, but as she described what she said and the questions the other person had asked, it seemed to me like she had said everything she should have said.

I think one of the biggest reasons that we don't tell others about Jesus is that we don't know what to say. I think another big reason that we don't tell others about Jesus is that we don't think about it. This person's experience reminded me about two things. First, sometimes I don't feel enough desperation regarding the people around me that need Jesus. Second, when I'm telling people about my faith, I don't need to worry about what I say--I just need to open my mouth and let the Spirit work.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Gentle and Calm or In Your Face

I was reading something today that really made me think about how we talk to others. In Matthew 17:24-27, Peter asks Jesus about paying taxes. Jesus first makes a comparison between earthly kingdoms and heavenly kingdoms. Jesus tells Peter where he can find money for the tax. But first, and this is what I thought was particularly relevant, Jesus says “But so that we may not cause offense…” Another version says, “not to offend.” In other places, Jesus emphasized treating others gently (Matthew 11:28-30 and 12:20). What’s interesting is that Jesus did not treat everyone gently. In Matthew 12, he had strong words for the religious leaders. He drove merchants and money changers out of the temple with a whip! Why were those circumstances different? Why was it ok to offend in some situations but not in others?

I think there is at least one difference between the times where Jesus is confrontational and the times when he does not want to offend that is relevant for us. When it comes to sharing God’s kingdom, Jesus is bold and unapologetic. When it comes to talking to people in day-to-day interactions, especially if those people are not in powerful positions, he is gentle and careful to not offend.

In terms of relating to us and to our workplaces, when you are telling people about your faith, you should be bold and unapologetic. When you are confronting something that is wrong (such as unethical business practices), you should be courageous and true. When it comes to other interactions, you should be gentle and look to not offend.

Monday, February 20, 2012


As I was thinking about today's post, I looked back at the last year's analytics data. Like many websites, I have software that counts the number of visitors and the pages that they look at. I was just curious regarding what posts were the most popular ones. The introduction that's linked to "about this blog" was easily the most popular. The second most popular posts were "grace" and "ambition."

The ambition post was one that I wrote at the beginning of 2011. As I think about the upcoming year and my goals, it's all too easy to focus on the accolades that I hope come from accomplishing those goals. It's a powerful temptation to think about getting ahead, receiving praise and money for what I plan to do. It's not that God is against success--just see what He did for Joseph. But that success should never be the goal. Our goal should always be to use our talents to honor god through our work.

It was a little disappointing to read the ambition post and know that I struggle with that temptation just as much now as I did on January 5, 2011. Which is why I'm glad the grace post was just as popular. It's critical to remember that God sees my growth as a process, not a one-time event. He knows that I'm going to struggle and fail. And He loves me (and you) anyway.

As I began this year, I made goals for the year just as I always do. But this year, one of my earliest posts on this blog was about grace again. It makes it easier to remember that, when I mess up, God is still there.

Monday, February 13, 2012


This weekend, my wife and I watched the movie “Facing the Giants.” In the movie, the main character, Grant Taylor, is a high school football coach who hasn’t had a winning record despite six years at his school. He has parents that are call on the principal to fire him. One of his assistants is less than supportive. His players doubt him and the program. Basically, just about everything that could be going wrong in his professional life is going wrong.

Like a good movie, everything worked out in the end for Coach Taylor. But what I really liked was what he said to his players at a pivotal point in the movie. “It’s not about you…When we win, we’re going to praise God. When we lose, we’re going to praise God.”

The only way you can honor God when things are going right is if you recognize that life and all its accomplishments are not about you. Coach Taylor demanded that his players give 100% of themselves to whatever it was that they were doing—
God wants our best work. But after that, the rest is up to Him.

What giants are you facing? Feeling pressure to perform or else? Feeling like everything that you tried fizzled out? Surrounded by people who expected failure? Remember to give 100%. But after that, remember that the rest is up to God. Win or lose, all you have to do is honor Him.