Tag Archives: Work

Reflecting God’s glory wherever you are

UnfashionableMartin Luther was once approached by a man who enthusiastically announced that he’d recently become a Christian. Wanting desperately to serve the Lord, he asked Luther, “What should I do now?” as if to say, should he become a minister or perhaps a traveling evangelist?

Luther asked him, “What is your work now?”

“I’m a shoemaker.”

Much to the cobbler’s surprise, Luther replied, “Then make a good shoe and sell it at a fair price.”

In becoming Christians we don’t need to retreat from the vocational calling we already have. Nor do we need to justify that calling, whatever it is, in terms of its spiritual value or evangelistic usefulness. We simply exercise whatever our calling is with new God-glorifying motives, goals, and standards – and with renewed commitment to performing our calling with greater excellence and higher objectives.

~ Excerpted from Unfashionable by Tullian Tchividjian

Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. ~ Colossians 3:17 (The Message)

  • Interacting with our family
  • Waiting in the check-out line
  • Phone conversations
  • How hard we work when no one is watching
  • The way we carry on at sporting events
  • It’s how we ___________ (fill in the blank)

It’s not so much what we do that brings glory to God as it is the manner in which we do it.

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Glory of God, influence with the world, Motivation, Religion and Spirituality, Work

God of my… some things

At one time I trusted God with everything; my marriage, my family, my work, my friendships, etc. I was confident that His plans were better than my plans. Life and faith in God were simple and straight-forward.

But somewhere along the way things got out-of-hand.

  • Pressures of life began to squeeze our marriage and less time together meant less of a foundation to stand together against the various assaults that came at us. There were times when we were ready to throw in the towel and quit!
  • As the kids got bigger and ventured out into the world there were new struggles with kids that were cruel and situations that were unfair but beyond our control.
  • Unhealthy work environments began to sap my passion for ministry and without realizing it I slipped into “survival mode.”
  • And then there’s the issue of people! I know how messed up and hurtful human beings can be because I am one. Relationships that don’t get handled well don’t fix themselves or go away; they come back to bite you in the butt!

In short… life got messy and complicated!

What happens when our current faith in God gets trumped by our circumstances of life? Ancient believers referred to this experience as the “dark night of the soul” – a crisis of faith that either destroys our trust in God or drives us deeper into Him.

My first encounter with this was a bit daunting! But I’ve come to embrace this as a healthy and normal part of our journey with God. I’m learning not to dread such moments but to see them as an invitation from God to go deeper in my trust of Him.

The song God of My Everything by Bebo Norman has come to be a powerful reminder that no matter how complicated life gets or how out-of-control it might seem, I can still trust God with everything. If the video below doesn’t play then click here.

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Filed under Commitment, Doubt, Faith, Family, God, intimacy with the Lord, Life in General, Marriage, Music Video, Parenting, Trusting God, Work

Don’t put Jesus first this year!*

Here’s my best advice as we head into a new year.

Don’t put Jesus first this year!

No – that’s not a typo and yes – I’m serious. But before you write me off as having lost my mind please hear me out.

It’s fairly common, at the start of a new year, to pause and evaluate the past year. This usually leads us to a renewed commitment to follow after Jesus and it tends to look like this:

1.  God/Jesus
2.  Family
3.  Vocation/work

The problem is that a list like this tends to compartmentalize life in a way that doesn’t fit neatly into a real, ordinary day.

I take calls from my family when I’m at the office and I occasionally do office stuff when I’m home with the family. And separate time alone with God doesn’t always work first thing in the morning when an urgent phone call wakes me up and I have to attend to something related to work or a family member.

The neat and tidy list of 1, 2, 3 seldom fits into an ordinary day and tends to take Jesus out of those places that we most need Him!

As Steven Furtick puts it: “You end up removing Jesus from where you spend the majority of your time and putting Him on an island by Himself. The biggest island maybe, but an island nonetheless.”

Colossians 1:15-20 describes how Christ Jesus is supreme. It spells out how everything – both visible and invisible – was created through Him and for Him. How everything was reconciled through Him and how all of creation is held together by Him and in Him.

Jesus is supreme because He is at the center of everything!

So instead of putting Jesus first, let’s make Him the center of everything in our lives.

Not Jesus first and then my marriage but Jesus in the center of my marriage! Not Jesus first and then my kids but Jesus in the center of my kids! Not Jesus first and then my vocation but Jesus in the center of my work!

What would it look like for Jesus to be at the center of every aspect of our lives?

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* The seed idea for this blog came from Steven Furtick

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Filed under Choices, Commitment, Discipleship, Family, God's Will, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Marriage, New Years, Priorities, Work

Work is more than a four letter word!

For most of us its the start of another work week. We’ve taken time to gather with our church family to celebrate God and be reminded that life is His story; but now its time to leave all that behind and head back to work. Or is it?

Do we leave God behind when we leave church? Is that building we gather in really the house of God, the place where He resides? Or does God dwell in us and go with us wherever we go? It’s the later one in case you’re not sure.

God goes with us and intends for our work to be a mission field. James Campbell expresses it well in this excerpt from his book About My Father’s Business.

I live to glorify God by loving, serving, and challenging others to be all they can be, and to give all of themselves to Jesus Christ. This is what I am attempting to do in every venue of my life every day. I approach work from two perspectives at the same time:

How can I do my job and do it well?

How can I make a difference for Christ in the lives of the people I will meet today?

These two drivers must work together. Committed Christians who are lousy workers have little influence. And great workers whose faith in Christ is always kept secret have little value in building God’s kingdom. Every day, we have two jobs. We are to be great employees, managers, and business owners. But our other job is to be a secret (or not so secret) agent for God. We are to look at our coworkers, subordinates, clients, superiors, vendors, and owners through the lens that God looks through, and then to love, serve, and challenge them to move toward Christ, one step at a time. “Go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19).

Gathering with our church family is like showing up for practice or getting together in a huddle. Monday thru Saturday is when we get on the field and participate in God’s great adventure of touching others with His grace and truth.

May you and God have a great work-week together!

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Making $320,000 look like chump change!

There was an article a while back delving into the true value of a good kindergarten teacher. Anyone have fond memories of kindergarten or the impact your teacher had on you?

This article described that the average kindergarten teacher makes about $30,000 a year. Research, however, has estimated that when you take into account the additional money earned by adults who had a good kindergarten teacher, those teachers are actually worth about $320,000 a year!

That’s no typo! Good kindergarten teachers are making 10x the impact their salary indicates. This does not mean that if you happen to be underpaid in your current occupation you can blame it on your teacher. But it does demonstrate that what we earn can’t define our worth. Salaries, big or small, do not necessarily correspond to our real value.

There are many occupations today in which people pour themselves out for the good of others or the Kingdom of God but don’t get heavily or adequately compensated. You need to understand that you are of more value than the number on a paycheck. What you’re doing and the impact you’re making is significant, even if your salary package is not.

  • Teachers
  • Civil Servants
  • Military Personnel
  • Mothers
  • Nurses
  • Social Workers
  • Church volunteers
  • I’m sure you could add to this list…

I doubt that any of us are getting a $320,000 raise any time soon. But perhaps we could give our perspectives a $320,000 raise and understand that the value of what we’re doing is far greater than the money that we’re making.

Your worth is determined by the God who is in you and the impact He’s making through you. And believe me, it actually makes the $320,000 look like chump change.

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Filed under Children of God, influence with the world, Kingdom of God, Life in General, Loving others, Parenting, Serving, Work

Business as usual?

Imagine being in your local bank for an ordinary transaction. As you finish up and get ready to leave the teller asks: “Now, is there anything I can pray about for you?”

Sound far-fetched? It happens every business day in Otsego, Minnesota at the Riverview Community Bank. Co-founded by Chuck Ripka, the bank was designed to minister to the needs of the people in the community. 

Businessman Ken Eldred writes about it in his new book, The Integrated Life. The bank is so popular that people drive up to three hours to do their business with “the bank that prays with people.”

This approach has made Riverside Community Bank not only popular but successful. The bank actually exceeded its own asset and income projections by nearly two years! 

Too often, those of us who follow Jesus compartmentalize our lives, separating the spiritual realm from all the other aspects of our life – especially our work. That’s not what Jesus taught. Paul understood this when he wrote:

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~ Colossians 3:17

You don’t have to own or start a business to integrate your work and your faith. Every job is a mission field with daily opportunities to demonstrate the values and priorities of living out God’s kingdom – loving God and loving others.

Surrender your work to God and invite Him to use you to touch the lives of others!

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Filed under Authenticity, influence with the world, Life in General, Work