The Work of Life.

The command to follow Jesus is so simple and yet so profound. How in our busy lives are we called to follow Jesus? What does it look like and how can we possibly carry out that task as we engage the world? This may be the great mystery that plagues the western church. How do we, as professionals, follow Jesus in all that we do?

The answer is simple when we break it down through a strictly theological lens. We do everything for the glory of God! While this is the correct answer, the details matter. What does it mean to do everything to the glory of God, or more appropriately, how do we do everything to His glory and for His namesake?

Before we can get into the practical application, we have to engage the heart around the action. Jesus continues to go after the hearts of the people that He engages and He currently is going after yours. This is an important point, not one to gloss over because it sounds like the Sunday school answer. It’s important because it’s the calling that has been placed on your heart as a believer in Christ. That is, to engage the hearts of the people that are in your life. You can do that at work, at home, in school, or even at the supermarket. Everything you do, gives you the ability to engage people, whom need to hear and see the Truth.

Understanding that premise, we can now start to functionally structure our lives around the mission of God while carrying out the tasks and demands of everyday life.

The question is, are you willing to engage in God’s mission in everything you do?

Just thinking about that question causes us to start refocusing our systems around the things that matter. Suddenly, our task managers end up with prayer lists on them. Our calendars start to reflect engagements with people, rather than boring and mundane meetings. Our days carry a different weight to them, a lighter weight, because we know that God himself is doing work through the work that we do. It gives us a sense of duty and honor to serve the God that saves and it pushes us to work with excellence because we know that our God is excellent. It fundamentally changes how we approach work and life. In fact, it erases that line.

I find David Allen’s work on this subject to be spot on. That is, that there is a lie that we have believed that there needs to be a work/life balance. To David, and I agree, the two can’t be separated. Work is life and life is work. Within the context of the Gospel, this all makes sense. We are constantly engaged in the mission of God (work), whether we are in the office or at home. While this may be daunting to think about, it actually frees us up to deeply engage relationships and deeply engage the Spirit throughout the day.

It doesn’t matter your workload, or if you have to work late. You are working for His glory. You are free to continue to work at home if the situation arises and you are free to take that lunch break to go out with a friend. This idea of freedom, had the potential to increase your overall production because the most cognitive of senses you are allowing your brain to recharge during those breaks. Switching tasks based upon your contexts if a vastly more productive model than the 9-to-5 model and the cognitive pressure of attempting to box work into a specific time.

Take some time to think about how you engage the work of life and the life of work. How would your life be different if you deeply engaged relationships, looking for areas to speak the Truth into?

Deep Work Questions:

1. How would your life change if you engaged in the mission of Jesus in everything that you do?
2. How could you utilize your productivity tools, to enhance your overall worship?
3. What barriers do you have to overcome to engage the mission while you are living?
4. Who is God calling you to engage in your natural rhythms?
5. How does your understanding of God’s excellence drive you to excellence?

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Living Above the American Dream

Your performance will drive you into a never-ending cycle of needing to do more. Trusting in His performance will drive you to rest.

Last week, while walking through the book of Romans, I was struck by something in the sermon.

Your performance will drive you into a never-ending cycle of needing to do more. Trusting in His performance will drive you to rest.

As I’ve pondered this quote over the past week I’ve started to form a framework that combines the best in productivity research and Gospel centrality. I have to admit, I’m a bit of a junky when it comes to cognitive research, especially in the productivity space. I find the way that God created us fascinating and inspiring. In a real sense, I believe that it’s imperative as Christian’s to start to understand our culture, the world around us, and how we can productively engage our lives for the Glory of the one true Kind.

The real question is this, are you stressed, overworked, tired, or have absolutely no margin in your life?

This is the American reality, at least it’s the reality that I observe and work through, each and every day. To put it in context, I’m a bi-vocational pastor with a family, and a job that requires on-call and off-hours work. My wife works/goes to school and our son is 2. Essentially, we negotiate our lives through shared calendars and the few special hours that we get to spend with each other. This, of course, is a season, but one that we have been hanging out in for the last two years. The reality is, our life doesn’t seem to the abnormal. If you replace the various aspects of our lives, with all the things that you have going on in your life, I’m confident that you will also see that your life is not that dissimilar to ours.

You might be asking at this point, why. Why even have this conversation, because this is just life. Working parents, young kids, life on life ministry. The reason behind starting this conversation is because unfortunately, (or fortunately), this is only the tip of the ice burg in terms what is competing for our cognitive, emotional and spiritual spaces. If the leading research is correct, our addictions to social media, text messaging, emails, and everything else that pulls our attention off the mission is staggering.

You may be wondering what that particular mission is and luckily it is far more simple than our lives.

Make the name of Jesus famous in everything.

I plan on writing through a lot of the processes and thoughts here. With each post, we will end with some Deep Work questions. Things to think about, ponder, and engage.

Deep Work Questions:

1. What in your life are you doing that is draining your energy?
2. What in your life do you do that recharges your battery?
3. Where do you spend the majority of your time?
4. What would you do if you could free up your time?
5. What systems do you have in place for organization and planning?