If a man is lazy, the rafters sag.
We sat at lunch one day with a team from our office. It was a farewell meal for an intern who had joined us for three or four months. He was a very likable chap, had a bright mind, and was a genuinely nice guy. For our part, we had put him in tasteful accommodations, given him a car to drive, had him participate in some interesting projects, and given him exposure to life in Silicon Valley when all was well in Dot.com land. So at the end of it, all my wife asked, “What did you learn from your time with us?” His answer caused more than one person to nearly choke on their Chinese food: “I don’t like maintenance.” That was it. The grand conclusion from the twenty-year-old on what he had learned from his work stint: maintenance sucks.
The first to respond was our Information Technology manager (who, incidentally, spent most of his day maintaining other people’s computers). He gently explained...
The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and a sincere faith.
I Timothy 1:5
In the introduction to this letter, Paul tells Timothy his work assignment: “command certain men not to teach false doctrines.” Later he says (in verse 8), "We know that the law is good, if one uses it properly." There is a sharp contrast between a genuine movement of God, which has at its core "love, which comes from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and a sincere faith," and the complex formulation of institutions built around laws and structures and complexities made up by man.
As we deal in business, we will write contracts, deals will be signed, and plans will be made. In all of these things let us remember to have "love, which comes from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and a sincere faith."
Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Ephesians 6:13 (NLT)
We like to think of amazing accomplishments, great acts, momentum, and being on the offensive. But there are seasons where it is enough to just come out on the other side still standing.
“…so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet.”(The Message)
When suffering leads to perseverance that chisels out character that ekes out hope; when we have stared through the difficulties to the God-faced possibilities; when our knees have wobbled and our toes curled ‘round the clods’; when the day of evil has come — "and after you have done everything, to stand." Sometimes just showing up and standing is enough. The harvesting will come on another day.
Not as a contrast, but to preserve us from hopeless hanging around, while we are standing there are things we can do. Standing naked will not suffice. There is apparel even for...
There’s a difference between perpetually pontificating and persevering. The editor of the Manchester Guardian once said, “Comment is free; facts are sacred.” Every day billions of opinions are tweeted as facts. Zillions of sage advice tweets and posts might give the impression that there are billions of people doing amazing things. I too have opinions. While I am not prone to untamed tweeting I am in danger of confusing perseverance with pontification. It is one thing to hold an opinion and quite another to back it with the actions that lead to an outcome.
A little phrase caught my eye: “You need to persevere.” Like many of you, I am in the midst of planning for the next calendar year. This usually involves several months of revisiting old mind maps where I listed an unreasonable number of things I hoped to work on, then tweaking them for the coming year. I have done this long enough to know the difference between dreaming and planning. It is...
they are ripe John 4:35
When Jesus ventured into non-friendly territory he encountered a thirsty woman, turned her town upside down, and gave his disciples a wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee lesson. “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” He saw the opportunities, but they saw the obstacles.
"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.
What do you see in your workplace? Is it an environment where people are neutral to spiritual things? Perhaps you see it as disinterested, not caring much about God and all that...
Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan.
And Dan, why did he linger by the ships? Asher remained on the coast and stayed in his coves. Judges 5:17
Not that long ago the New York Giants won their 10th consecutive away game, an NFL record. Winning on the road is tough. There were “away game” players in Scripture with catchy names such as Barak, Benjamin, Ephraim, Issachar, Napthali, and Zebulun. They all played an away game, won, and their names are recorded in history. Let me set the context. Israel had been oppressed for twenty years, and their leader, a woman prophetess names Deborah, called on the nation’s leaders to fight their enemies. The opposition was formidable, but God had given an instruction, and Deborah passed it on.
“The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: 'Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead the way to Mount Tabor. I will lure Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his...
Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. Luke 11:34
Have you considered how much your life is impacted by the way you see things? Most of the time, I am convinced that the way I see things is the way they really are. The sad fact is that my eye does not see, focus and filter the way it ought to. My first problem is not my eyesight, but my worldview. My second problem is my culture which shapes my lenses. I generally attribute dark areas in my life to sin; here Jesus links them to the way I see things. This includes my presuppositions, my thought patterns, my assumptions, and my honed ability to see things in a way that suits my idiosyncrasies. I prefer a bad lamp to one that scatters the cockroaches in my soul.
I have been pondering the lens through which my three children see life. I love their uniqueness, cherish their differences. At the same time, I want their life-outlook—their eyes—to be good...
till I entered the sanctuary of God
Do you ever lack an understanding of the bigger context of life? Do you think your life is worse than others? Do you wonder why you have a hard time and those who don’t know God do fine? Asaph had the same challenge, and in Psalm 73 as he gives us a good reason to do “scorecarding,” to measure…but it has to be in the right context.
Although he is in a bad place personally, he knows enough about God to start with the general truth. “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.” This is as true as “God loves everyone.” It is true, but it lacks the personal touch. “But as for me, my feet had almost slipped…” What follows is verse after verse of bad news for Asaph and good news for the rich. Finally, he arrives at the middle of this song and says, “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me,...
but in the future Isaiah 9:1
I was reading Isaiah 9 and felt it had strong relevance to the challenge we see of getting people out of the common way of doing Christianity and into a kingdom walk. The big hurdle of “recruiting” people for this or that initiative has little to do with leave, time commitments, or finances; it has to do with the possible new future for people, and how our enemy is determined to help people avoid it. The two phrases that hit me from Isaiah 9:1 were “In the past…” and “but in the future.”
As we end another Venture season (which feels much like the Old Testament times when kings returned from war) I am so blessed that the future of many people has been radically changed by God’s interjection these past four or five months. The future of many consultants has been changed forever because of the training they received. They grew spiritually when they had to serve clients in a way that went beyond their skills...