Archives For Business

Week 2 of Faith & Work at The Point Church in Seymour, Indiana swerved into a less inspiring “work theology” revelation: work is broken. You probably didn’t need a biblical scholar to tell you this, your own experience informs you every day.

Work was created perfectly, but we experience it imperfectly. Work isn’t the result of sin, but it is corrupted by sin. This is where we live.

The bible has a lot to say about the brokenness of our work, and in turn, what we can do about it. I hope this both challenges and inspires you.

YouTube Preview Image

My friends at The Point Church in Seymour, Indiana invited me to teach a 4-week series on the intersection of our faith and the work we do in the “secular” world each day. What God’s Word has to say about this subject might surprise you.

When we work, we “image” God, we cultivate His creation, and we love our neighbor. I hope this encourages you as your alarm clock goes off tomorrow.

YouTube Preview Image

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 11.40.21 AM

Last week I sat in a hotel conference room in Dubai for a three day meeting with the following list of people:

• The head of the Russian Pentecostal Church who oversees a Gospel movement that stretches across 11 time zones.

• The pastor of a multi-site South African Church of 30,000 people and two of his staff who are leading a Gospel-restoration movement that is transforming cities.

• A German church-planter and businessman who started 50 congregations throughout Deutschland and is launching business models to support them.

• The leader of an European ecumenical movement that is drawing hundreds of churches together across England for the sake of city renewal.

• The pastor of a 6,000 member Kenyan church and Bishop in the Kenyan Assemblies of God who is building self-sustaining revenue models through schools, housing, and retail that support his church and meet the needs of the community.

• The pastor of a massive Ugandan congregation that cares for 4,000 mothers infected with HIV and their children.

• Two French pastors that are having unheard of Gospel impact on their cities in a post-Christian culture that has long replaced Christianity with secularism.

• The President of a global-impacting missions organization and chairman of a major Christian University.

• The oldest grandson of a famous American evangelical preacher (you would know very well) and acting pastor of a large church in Florida.

• The 80-year-old founder of a global missions organization that has tangibly taken the Gospel to millions of children across the world.

• The pastor of the largest church in India.

• A half dozen other brilliant pastors, missiologists, and organizational leaders.

ª (Oh, and I can’t forget my “Pastor-preneur” brother-in-law who leads a fantastic congregation in Bloomington, Indiana).

Needless to say, I instinctively felt small. Very small. Even as I typed this list my flesh fought back the feelings inferiority. What am I doing in this room? What stories do I have to share that can possibly measure up to what these men are accomplishing? How will the work of my hands ever make that kind of impact? As we obsess and compare within certain circles, it’s easy to shrink.

But throughout the course of our three days together, various members of the aforementioned “superstars” (my word, certainly not theirs) shared insights on the book of Nehemiah, the tumultuous and inspiring story of the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls after years of lying in rubble. Each citizen was given a designated section of the wall to rebuild, and therein lies our answer.

Each of us has been assigned a portion of the wall to rebuild. Our portion.

When I feel small, it’s because I’m focusing on someone else’s portion. Someone else’s calling. Someone else’s work. My responsibility is to the work of my hands.

If you’re feeling small today, I challenge you to recenter your attention on what God has called you to. What can you touch? What can you impact? What can you restore? Because all of it – all of us – are vitally important to the overall work at hand.

Now get back to rebuilding.

Are Things As Bad AsThey Seem?

A few months ago we started opening every staff meeting at our company by sharing “wins.” Big wins, small wins, it doesn’t really matter. Just something positive and encouraging to set the tone for our time together.

Surprisingly, this proved to be much more difficult than I expected. Even when prompted for the positive, our conversations just seemed to instinctively divert back toward something that was not working properly and needed to be fixed.

Identifying a problem was natural. Celebrating a win was hard work.

But we determined to contend for the good things first. Once we’ve properly celebrated, then we can focus on the difficulties with a sense of healthy perspective. The world isn’t actually collapsing in around us. There are good things happening. We are making progress. We just proved it!

It’s subtly changed my outlook on things and (I think) the overall tone of our times together. Which got me thinking…

What if we made that same pact with each other when it came to sharing our thoughts on social media?

If our newscasts replaced “it bleeds it leads” with opening storylines of beauty, hope, and restoration.

If dinner conversations with the family always kicked off with the day’s successes?

Life’s tough, and the world is a scary place. There are endless challenges to meet and gut-wrenching problems to solve. But I wonder how much worse things seem simply because we’ve forgotten how to celebrate?

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”

‭‭—Philippians‬ ‭4:8-9‬ ‭MSG‬‬

prayer

I’ve been praying this prayer every day for awhile now.

Not these exact words in a rote, memorized fashion. But this general heart cry, aimed at recalibrating my spirit in a vital way each day.

And it’s changing everything. Take a look:

“Lord, today I put You back on the throne. I put You back at the center. I so readily replace you Jesus. It’s not even conscious most days. I instinctively cling to other saviors that I fully know are powerless, yet in the moment they seem so natural and necessary.

Money.

Power.

Pleasure.

Control.

But it’s not just the “ugly” imposters, Jesus, there are some seemingly beautiful ones that take over, too.

Family.

Morality.

My job.

Sports.

My kids’ happiness.

Good things, even gifts from you, that slowly become my ultimate treasures. Things I can’t imagine living without. Things that I so easily allow to define who I am. Things that replace you, Jesus.

My heart manufactures these false saviors on its 24-hour fraudulent assembly line. And so today, Lord, I make a conscious effort to stop my insane manufacturing process. I repent and return to you. Forgive me and help me. Get me on your page today, Jesus. Lead me to your solutions, Jesus. Introduce me to your people, Jesus. Give me your heart, Jesus.

Everything beautiful cascades from my life through my connection to You. So today, I return again. To my only Savior. My only hope.

Jesus on the throne. Jesus at the center.

Amen.”

As I look back over the last year of posturing myself before God in this way, some subtly developed, yet definitive patterns have emerged:

• New Ideas: Exciting concepts and possibilities have suddenly been unearthed, ideas that are far above my creative pay grade.

• Unexpected Relationships: Dots have begun to miraculously connect, creating the opportunity for trajectory-changing partnerships.

• Surprising Opportunities: Out-of-the-blue phone calls have uncovered stunning new possibilities.

• Gut-Wrenching Heartache: Yeah, this is the part no one likes to talk about. But when I ask Jesus to help me destroy my false gods, I must be ready for a massive onslaught of anxiety, pain, discouragement, sadness, questioning, sleepless nights, failure, disappointment, grief, betrayal, and suffering. Putting Jesus at the center takes my life on a different journey than the one I saw in my mind. Sometimes in a major fashion, but always in a thousand little ways that destabilize the trust I had placed in anything other than Christ Himself. If you pray this prayer, brace yourself. Jesus doesn’t share His throne with others.

• Unexplained Courage: A boldness has emerged in the face of fear and suffering, a courage that can only be explained by Something Greater.

Jesus on the throne.

Jesus at the center.

Pray this prayer every day. I dare you.