How to get revelation for your business and career

Read Time: 5 minutes

Who doesn’t want to do great things? Perhaps you want to build a business, have a successful career, or make a new idea come into fruition. Any one of those desires can be noble and God-honoring. 

But if you want to do great things, or bring anything worthwhile into the world, then there is a principle you will need to apply first in order to make it so. 

This principle is part spiritual, and part systematic. Part application. Part appeal.

Let’s look at reality first, though.

Most men dream, though they may never call it as such, of doing something meaningful, and even, dare I say it – intrinsically personal with their lives. 

But not for long. 

Most will pick up their dream or big idea for awhile, then get busy and lay it down. Or if they don’t abandon their pursuit completely, then they look at the lives of men who are not, perhaps, particularly spiritual, and wonder at how they can do so well in whatever it is they do. 

This observation creates a problem.

When the gap between execution and exasperation gets big enough, which is to say, the potential to succeed is less than the will to work, then good ideas or innovative businesses never become a reality. 

But make no mistake, this has nothing to do with motivation. Hard work won’t get this train to its destination.

There is a spiritual component at play.

Consider this steak and shake:

I fed you with milk, not with meat; for you weren’t yet ready. Indeed, not even now are you ready,
1 Corinthians 3:2

With slight frustration, we find Paul, coming back to a people he’s already taught, about things which have previously been discussed, and ideas which should already have been implemented.

These adults need baby food. A Gerber God.

Now, on some level, one might expect a little more patience from the Apostle. Who doesn’t needs to be told truth more than once. After all, even Peter is known to have said “So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have…” (1 Peter 1:12)

But Paul’s pain has to do with the latter part of his post; the meat of the matter. These Christians he’s addressing wanted “meat,” a heftier spiritual protein; yet they were unwilling to care for – or nurture their basic spiritual awareness and understanding when he wasn’t around. We know this because of the way in which he (Paul) responds. They wanted revelation without responsibility.

So what does this have to do with business and career? Often in life, God will happily give us a dream, albeit in the form of an innovative idea, job pursuit, or business venture. In our excitement, we take that idea and make it bigger, grander, or more pronounced. We’ll expand it to a place only day-dreams dare go; and there we are content to stay with our cloud of career. Happy, blissful, unaccomplished.

We’ll stay put in this blissful ignorance until something from outside “pops” our business-minded bubble. This often looks like a competing company doing better than ours, poor personal performance, or a previous idea you had having been executed by someone else. 

At this point, most of us wonder what we did wrong. Or worse, why we can’t get more spiritual revelation in how to succeed.

To understand how we can overcome this ambition killer, let’s look first at a common business practice, and then compare it to its spiritual beatitude.

Whenever you pursue a business venture or new job role of some kind, there are two things to always consider:

  1. Market Expectation
  2. Vertical-driven Opportunity 

It doesn’t matter if you have an entry level job, a humble small business, or hold the reins of a Fortune 500, one thing remains constant: 

There is already an outside expectation set about whatever value you think you bring. And you don’t get to define this expectation. Ever. 

It’s not because you aren’t capable of better thinking than the consumer or bossman either; it’s simply reality. The reality is there are already market drivers, or at a minimum, mental models (cognitive assumptions and biases) about how your business should perform and your job should be conducted. Maybe that’s unfair, but it’s the truth.

The implications, for that matter, can’t be overstated. A business will fail if it tries to move too quickly into a novel idea or innovation – without thoughtful consideration of what the market already expects from a similar product or service. Similarly, a well-meaning employee will fail at his job if he ignores the minimum responsibilities of his role in favor of his own ideas or conclusions (even if they’re good ones!). 

After all, you can’t rewrite the playbook until you know how the game is played.

You can’t rewrite the playbook until you know how the game is played.

Next, we can consider opportunity. When we think about opportunity, whether in the form of personal promotion at work, or new revenues from a niche, there has to be a prerequisite understanding of who is being served (boss, colleague, consumer) and what your opportunity might provide for them. 

Perhaps that’s not a revelation. 

But revelation is typically where we get it wrong as Christians. So let’s look at the spiritual side of this discussion.

Revelation is worthless, absolutely worthless, if personal stewardship is not first sovereign in the mind of the man who wants to do something great with his life. 

You could cook up the biggest business idea ever conceived, or worship and fast till your blue in the face, but if you’re not first stewarding the minimum expectations of your faith, and listening to the thresholds of your consumers or constituents, then your plans will never succeed – at least not in the way you dreamed it might. 

Why might you ask? Because there is nothing to graduate to. 

Revelation, whether it be in the form of business acumen or job expertise, is given to those who first steward the baseline expectations. The simple things. The minimum requirements, responsibilities, and revenues of which they’ve already been untrusted. There is nothing else to expect or graduate to without this first principle being applied.

Stewardship leads to revelation.

Consumer expectation leads to industry innovation.

This is the power of Jesus’ Parable of The Steward.

As I’m sure you’re aware, in the scriptural story, a manager gave his employees (stewards) varying amounts of income to invest while he was away. He didn’t give the amounts based on competency or character, simply his own sense of delight and delegation. 

But pay attention to the attitude of the poor steward. 

He takes the money (think opportunity), and actually considers a future with it, but when he finds himself unable to grapple with all the unknowns, he buries the potential he’s been given. 

His master is furious. 

“You could’ve at least put it in the bank!”’ He says upon his return.

In other words, “Why not do the minimum if you can’t see a path to momentum?”

Here’s the practical bit for us as men: 

You’re right. If you try and predict future outcomes, or bet on the best of your ideas, without first focusing on what the market and the manager already expects, then you will fail. You will be putting the cart before the horse. And you can’t win that way. The men that win, in life, in business, or in any other personal pursuit, are not so focused on seeking revelation that they are unwilling to steward the expectations already in place.

Maybe this sounds boring, but consider it a business-beatitude. 

If you want divine insight in business or career, then you must first ask yourself what you are willing to steward in order to receive revelation.

How to be a responsible Christian man

How to “hack” responsibility you don’t enjoy as a Christian man

Read Time: 4 minutes

“Be responsible.” is a slap-on-the-wrist-statement for most men.

It’s normally used as a rebuke for not getting the job done like someone thinks we should.

…not that you aren’t responsible.

You probably are…

But the act of responsibility, which is the obligation to do something or care for someone, is not just part of your job or work-role in life. For the Christian man, responsibly is much heavier, heavenly, and high above the simple work we do.

But let’s start with a reality check.

Most of us aren’t averse to more responsibility. We’re averse to responsibility pulling us away from the work we are passionate about.

Most of us aren’t averse to more responsibility. We’re averse to responsibility pulling us away from the work we’re passionate about.

We’re perfectly fine with a responsibility that we’re interested in.

Because it doesn’t feel “responsible.” It feels like ownership or creativity.

But we’ve all been faced with work we rather not do. And the truth is there will never be a point in life where we won’t have at least a few tasks that we don’t feel up to…well…doing.

There‘s good news, though, for anyone who’s up to the task of godly work. You can “hack” your knee-jerk reaction to new or more responsibility.

Start by meditating on this colossal, Church-of-Colossae scripture:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:23-24

Whatever you do, however you do it, and whomever you do it for, doesn’t matter. It’s all rolled up into a greater sense of reverence for the Almighty himself.

After all, so is your inheritance and reward.

So start by doing all your work as “unto the Lord,”

Not men.
Not managers.
Not any other moil of the day.

After all, God is not a taskmaster; though he is a Master of Tasks. In other words, He knows the best way for you to work alongside him.

Think of it this way: if God is your greatest passion then the responsibilities you would normally shy away from will just look like another opportunity to spend time with Abba.

In light of this, it’s best to eagerly pursue those responsibilities which you may dislike. They’re all an opportunity to have a working relationship with the Lord. Which by the way, is how your calling is discovered and purpose is fulfilled.

But granted, this mindset is easier discussed than executed; at least at first. Bolts rarely break without a wrench turn or two.

Our enemy knows this as well. And he will try and steal away this righteous thinking pattern (The Mind of Christ) from you.

He does this by attempting to make you anxious or stressed about a task, or by trying to make you forget that God already indwells you.

If he wins, responsibility will make you feel anxious.

Because you feel you’re doing it alone.

But you aren’t actually alone.

You’re in hot pursuit.

You passionately pursue the Almighty.
You passionately pursue the Kingdom.
You passionately pursue the work.

Responsibility just happens to be part of the fun.

God gave King Saul a similiar perspective when it came to his daily duty:

“Then the Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. Now when these signs meet you, do what your hand finds to do, for God is with you.”
1 Samuel 10:6-7

Most of us have experienced a “Lord rushed” moment – a time when we were turned into another man. “Born again” as the scriptures say.

But after that, most of us are left to fend for ourselves.

We know we’re saved – no issues there, but the question lingers: what does a new man do with his new life or the responsibilities that come with it?

He could try and “be” a good Christian.

He could wear Christian things or watch Christian media.

He could even get a fish-symbol bumper sticker to make sure the world really knew he’d changed his tune.

Somehow, though, those changes don’t stick, or worse, they bring the stress mentioned earlier.

So we try harder.
Or work harder.
Or if we’re really desperate, worship harder.

We do all of this to try and stem the tide of how we feel over how we function during the day.

But the solution is not to try harder; to buck up and eat our broccoli, or try and swallow responsibility like a pill the Divine Physician might fill for us. We’ll just get sick of (or stressed in) our work.

No. The Lord is much kinder than that.

He knows that responsibility and the recognition of “Kingdom Come” are always linked together.

Which is why he gives you the same freedom in your work as he did Saul. It’s an open offer: “…do what your hand finds to do, for God is with you.

Take it or leave it as you wish.

Whether by wrench, or worksheet, or endless paperwork you cannot see the end of, the best course of action you can take is to put your hands towards something worthwhile; regardless of how you feel about the work itself.

The Lord, if you let Him, will turn you into a man who continues to look and work more like Christ. This is the benefit of sonship.

A Christian Father and Son

The Myth of Work Life Balance

Read Time: 3 minutes

Twice in the last week, I’ve been asked about work-life balance. Most recently, with a close friend over pancakes; early in the morning before either of our work days began.

“How do you balance work with the rest of your life?” he said.

The question always comes with a bit of background.

Perhaps it’s a worry that work is taking up too much time, or that it’s somehow taking place of some other more important priority. The reasons are endless. And for most well-meaning men it’s something that comes up a lot – at least eight hours a day.

But the premise is the problem. Not the question.

So we need to start with the misconception.

There is no work and then life. No distinction of duty. No segregation of cause.

Now before you call the Twitter police, let me explain.

To do that, we’ll need to zoom out. Way, way out.

Heaven’s perspective, in fact.

All of us are called, in Christ, to seek first the Kingdom.

Consider the words of Jesus:

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:33

Which may seem a bit vague, but it’s a big deal.

All of “these things,” such as time management, get in line behind our pursuit of Kingdom come; which is to say, the practical things God wants to do during the day. This includes the things we give priority (Full Chapter Here).

But this can get confusing.

After all, haven’t we been taught the priority should be:

God,
then Family,
then Work?

That sure sounds good. But there’s nothing particularly biblical about this priority-pyramid. That’s not to say it’s not well meaning. No doubt, it’s meant to be. Just not scriptural.

In fact, it creates some mental roadblocks for us. For starters, it creates a mentality that if you simply do your devotions, before coffee, kids or career, then you’ve covered the priority of God in your life for the day.

But the Divine is not a devotional. Nor do we set that relationship aside once we’ve done our due-diligence of prayer.

We “prayer without ceasing” as Paul, the Thessalonian-theologian said; involving the Almighty in all aspects of the day.

So let’s take off the top of the pyramid. Weave it through the day instead.

Next, we have the family. Who can argue with family?

Here again, we have a priority that, on the surface, looks good but shows that we have a more fundamental issue that needs to be solved.

In isolation, it communicates to our kids and spouse that there is a divide between community and career. But there shouldn’t be…

Growing up, I was always happy that my Dad didn’t wait for “Take Your Kid to School Day” to involve me in his life. He had me working on the car when I was barely twice as tall as the wrench he handed me. He also insisted on me helping out around the shop occasionally too. This didn’t just teach me work ethic, it showed me there wasn’t “work time” and “son time.” Simply life, and the time within it.

Now it may not be practical to bring family members to work, but you do well by everyone when you go beyond “Sorry, this is my job. The way life is.” No need to apologize. Pull family into your function, and function into your faith.

This is true of life’s emergencies too.

I had a mentor, many years ago, who was the owner of a successful surgical practice. He was a man of faith, well known in his community and he had a wonderful family too. He told me something very insightful about being successful in all camps.

“Pierce,” he said.

“Whatever deserves your time is your priority.” speaking of at-risk situations.

“If I have an emergency at work, and I don’t take care of it, it does affect my family. If I simply said family over everything, and then didn’t take care of what kept a roof over their heads, then I am not caring for my family.”

Of course, this mindset requires discernment. You can’t use a job to isolate or escape. But the principle is true.

Life is a matter of stewardship. Not segregation.

Life is a matter of stewardship. Not segregation.

In all things, we should strive to conform our priorities into something that models Christlikeness and Kingdom come. When we move away from segregation and into stewardship, we start to see that the Lord is in all and through all. This, in turn, allows us to think and pray about things holistically, and not simply as tiers of responsibility.

The result is less guilt, and more God, during the day.

the gift of leadership

The gift of leadership (and how to give it)

Read Time: 3 minutes

Leadership is a bit of a buzzword. The word has been branded, sanded and refined a million different ways so that anyone with enough energy can attribute an action, any action, to a leader-initiated one.

Thought leaders. Servant leaders. Leaders of men. If you don’t feel particularly competent in one type of leadership, no problem; there is probably another version you can try on for size without much difficulty. Maxell’s Law of the Lid won’t even slow you down. Now anyone can hide behind a “leader label.”

Part of the problem is principles. We know what good leadership looks like, so it’s easy to package it up nicely and put a bow on the whole ordeal for others to see. But once the wrapping is off, we don’t actually know what’s underneath. In other words, we can fake leadership really well.

The other issue is motivation. Sometimes we want leadership as a means to an end. Leaders get paid more. They’re seen more. They’re in high demand. So there are many reasons why one would want to be in leadership. Unfortunately, personal drivers don’t put others first. And eventually, this will put any leader-to-be back at the beginning.

So why lead at all? Where will it get you? Better yet, where will it get others who might win from your windfall of better judgment? You can start by setting all the leadership principles, techniques and convictions you have aside. Not because they’re not important, but because they won’t do you any good until you know what’s leading you. In other words, you have to know what you’re willing to follow for the long-term.

If you want to lead well, you need a crystal clear idea. An idea you’re willing to get behind. An idea that will keep you up at night, and require the help of other people to execute. Until you have an idea you’re willing to submit to and sacrifice for, your principles and techniques will only buy time. Eventually, people will pick up on the absence of substance driving you.

Which begs the question: What ideas do you follow?

Good leaders follow great ideas.

They get behind them. They protect them. They learn to let them lead. Sometimes they create them too.

The benefits of good ideas abound. For starters, when the big idea isn’t “you” the idea will end up with a life of its own. This is a force-multiplier. If you have identified the idea, but it lives with other people, then you have a higher likelihood of achieving the goals that drive it.

Perhaps that sounds simple, but the difference between your personal identity and a personified idea is huge.

One can leave with you. The other doesn’t.

This is important because growing teams only get behind things that stick around.

Call it a survival mechanism.
Call it existential urgency.

Just don’t call the shots.

When you don’t let ideas lead, leadership principles aren’t effective. And any principle that’s linked to people will always assume that something bigger is at stake than any one person doing the leading. So set yourself up to win, and put yourself behind a winning idea.

If we’re honest, the reason we rely more on principles than on ideas is because we’re insecure about our own leadership ability. It’s easy to learn the mechanics of leadership. We can learn how the pieces fit together without even having a reason to lead. In other words…

We know we need to lead well,
because we’ve been told to lead well,
but we don’t have a reason to lead well.

There is nothing in the background driving our reason.

Once we’re aware of this, we can do the hard work of leading; which is finding the right idea to get behind.

So what is a good, leader-worthy idea?

A good idea is:

Bigger than you.
Better than the current situation.
Best with other people.

A good idea exists in spite of people, but it also benefits people.

This where most breakdowns of organizational leadership occur. Most leaders know “how” to lead, but they don’t know “why” they are leading. It is much, much harder to identify the idea than to organize an ideology.

Anyone can memorize a methodology. Few can identify a meaningful reason.

So do the hard work of leading. Once you’ve done the work of crafting the idea, making it clear and consistent, your principles will have power. Your techniques will take on an initiative of their own. This is the best gift you can give your team.

Anointed Man

How to get practical, nine-to-five anointing

Read Time: 4 minutes

Anointing is a big word. A black hole even. It’s elusive, powerful, and hard to put your finger on. But it exists. And everyone else seems to know what it looks like.

Most of the time those people are on stages. They sound good. They look sharp. They’re separated from the common man too. Which makes “it” seem even harder to nail down. But the truth is, anointing is useful, practical and needed to do your daily work effectively.

So what is anointing? And what effect, if any, does it have on a Christian man during the day?

Let’s start with the origin.

Anointing was first and foremost, used by shepherds to protect their sheep. Similar to Jesus with you.

Historically, the shepherd would pour olive oil over a sheep’s head and around their ears. This protected the animal from bugs and outside elements that could harm – or even kill it. So it was protection and provision; provided by the sheep’s master. An outcome of association.

Fast forward, and many ancient cultures would use anointing as a way of saying that a leader was set apart for a particular type of work. A king would be anointed with oil on his head. A priest might be as well. It was a sign that God was with a person for doing a holy task.

So anointing is both a sign and a signature. A mark of acceptance as well as a unique event. It is designed to support a leader and the things he needs to do.

Enter Christ.

“The Anointed One.” in literal translation.

He is a person – not a magic potion.

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22

You are already anointed, as it stands, but it is an outcome, or a foundation rather, of the presence of Jesus in your life.

This presence has a unique effect on your life – if you abide in it.

As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him.
1 John 2:27

Anointing signifies calling. It’s a pretty simple litmus test. Ask yourself: Would you believe someone is “called” if nothing set them apart? Doubtful.

Which is why you’ve been given a deposit.

First Christ sets you apart. Then capability.

They’re linked; joined at the triune hip.

So your growth then, within the work you do during the day, is a matter of priorities.

Not putting the cart making before the horse maker, so to speak.

This priority is for a good reason.

“…as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real…” scripture says.

His anointing will give you what you need to both remain in him and deliver the work you do during the day.

Take Bezalel, for example. This guy had talent for days.

The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you…”
Exodus 31:1-6

Ol’ Bezzy was filled with the spirit. For what? Not songs on Sunday morning. Not Bible Study on Wednesday. Not even a mission trip to Beliz.

He was given intelligence, and knowledge for craftsmanship (widdling included? Some questions only Jesus knows…).

These practical and creative assets were a gift. Given to him for the purpose of giving glory to God through every kind of hands-on work you can imagine. How cool?

So to recap…

You, yes you, are already anointed because you abide in Christ, and because he has his “seal of ownership” on you. That’s good news. From here, you only have to worry about your own conformity getting in the way.

Conformity kills anointing.

Simply because docility exalts another God. When you react to the day, instead of resurrecting it, work ends up worshiping the wrong God. So conform to Christ. He holds the task at hand.

The best way to get out of the habit of doing reactive work is by asking the Lord for wisdom. His anointing will teach you about all things.

Check.

Although to be fair, the context of 1 John 2:27’s verse could be understood as only what it means to live out a transformed life. No problem, that’s also true.

There is an additional promise which you can take ahold of since you are, in fact, “sealed.” as the Bible says.

If any of you needs wisdom to know what you should do, you should ask God, and he will give it to you. God is generous to everyone and doesn’t find fault with them.
James 1:5

If you need to be equipped to do more, see more, or be more (insert thing) God will generously give you what you need to accomplish the work. He is for you, after all.

So the difference then, between you and the guy on the TV, is likely very simple. He is in the habit of asking.​

What is the best audiobook devotional for Christian men?

Read Time: 4 minutes

What is the best audiobook devotional for Christian men?

Well…not many exist.

Which makes the good Christian audio devotionals for men all the harder to find.

Especially for biblical study.

You see, with an audiobook, you get a voice recording of devotional text that you listen to – rather than read. And since it is a word-for-word version of the written devotional, you engage your mind – and spirit, in a new way. First there’s scripture, then meditation.

You also get the benefit of being able to listen to an audiobook on a MP3 player, smartphone, or in your car (if it streams audio)

…which is what sets this new men’s devotional study apart in a big way.

Personally, I think it’s important that the narrator is a Christian and professes their faith in Christ as well.

Perhaps I’m old fashioned, but I think those things make a difference in the genuineness of the content.

Some things you can “sense,” if you know what I mean…

Why have an audiobook devotional study for men?

These days many men live from their cars, work from their phone, and learn from other types of media such as podcasts and sermons. Which is why the audiobook format is so popular. It is a portable way to learn and grow spiritually through hearing the Bible.

No doubt, traditional Christian devotionals are a great way to grow closer to God and learn about specific a Bible topic. But sometimes it’s hard to stop and read a paper book.

And not just because life is busy either.

What is the best audiobook devotional for Christian men?

Bestselling Christian Mens Devotional
Power Love Sound Mind Ranking

So yes, I am partial. Power Love Sound Mind has been fun to create. And it’s been humbling to watch the ebook version achieve a nice ranking as well. It has ministered to many men. Which, to be honest, was a big reason why we created the audiobook. I wanted to make the Mind of Christ as approachable as possible.

A lot of hard work and production detail went into creating this devotional as an audiobook version. Philip Andrew Hodges, the audiobook’s narrator (not to mention Ted Dekker’s and twenty other books), has a fantastic voice, and his conviction comes through crystal clear in the stereo audio.

In fact, one of the unseen details that makes this devotional audio quality SO GOOD is the equipment he used in production. This ain’t your grandma’s bible study mic set up. No tin-can preaching here.

All fifty-two weeks of this men’s devotional were recorded on a Heil PR40 microphone and PreSonus AR8 board.

Sound like techy-talk? In simple terms, it’s best-in-class audio sound.

The Heil PR 40 has a new dynamic microphone technology which is designed for sophisticated recording and commercial broadcasts. It actually produces the widest frequency range available in a dynamic microphone, which you’ll appreciate in the way it captures Phillip’s voice.

“But what about the content?” you may ask.

Great question. I’d be asking the same thing.

The audiobook follows the same content structure and framework that the ebook version does (you can still get it FREE btw). There is a reason it’s been so well received. Power, Love, Sound Mind is a biblical study about the Mind of Christ. And it’s designed, written, and organized for men.

What makes it a “Christian” Men’s Devotional?

Well, I’m kind of partial to the term “soul strategy.” I think it gets to the heart of the matter. Plus, the book is written (and narrated) in “Manguage.” Brass-tacks, black-coffee-and-no-cream, practical language.

So, here is how it works:

Power. Love. Soundness of mind. These three pillars build up the “Mind of Christ” within you.

When one of them is weak, your spirit man suffers. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

This devotional will help you grow in spiritual strength by doing one (and only one) power-packed excerpt per week. Each one focus on one of these pillars. With the new, one-of-a-kind framework, you’ll make progress by covering your bases once a month.

A month? Yes, a month. In a month, you will cover all three pillars. You’ll do this 52 times. At the end of a year, you’ll be a stronger Christian man. But best of all, you’ll recognize the Mind of Christ within you.

What version of the Bible does this study use?

Four. The NIV is referenced in the majority, but so is the ESV, and the KJV. The Message is used once. I know…”it’s a paraphrase.”

I don’t disagree, but it broke down a hard topic towards the middle of the book.

I’m sure you can appreciate that. At the end of the day, I like to get out of the way, and let the scripture do the heavy lifting.

How long does it take to listen to each devotional audiobook track?

Not long. It’s made for guys on the go. No Kumbaya’s are included. Most weeks take about two minutes a listen. The Weekly Application is the hard part. After all, what good is hearing the word and doing nothing about it?

Here is a sample of Week 13. There are fifty-two more just like it (minus the music).

Ready to get your copy of the audiobook?

Hop over to Audible and get it today!

A Leadership Principle From King Jehoshaphat

Read Time: 4 minutes

Kings and careers and leaders and jobs are all appointed. Every role at work is a gift from God as well. Which means, when a situation at work arises that feels foreign, stressful, or threatening, we do not have to worry. There is a good outcome waiting for us. There is an invitation to experience the Almighty too. This was certainly true in the life of King Jehoshaphat.

Jehoshaphat (Yehoshafat in Hebrew. Pronounced yo-so-fat….awkward), was one of Israel’s greatest leaders, reigning from 873 – 848 BC. He was king under a divided monarchy and constantly had to balance his leadership role with the pressures of outside influence. His work began at the ripe old age of 35.

His legacy of leadership, is perhaps most notable, when he, and the rest of Judah, are about to be put under siege. Long story short, an entire alliance of foreign nations had plotted against him. The plan was to conquer Judah in all-out war. If we haven’t all been there before…

There are a few things a smart-and-savvy king might do with this information.

He might increase military spending.

He might try and out-strategize the opponent.

He might draft a larger army, to have more people on his side.

Jehoshaphat did none of these things.

Instead, he worships.

Directly in conflict, in the valley of the battle – where anyone else would be mentally preparing to fight. He worships. The cojones on this guy…

…you know the rest of the story.

These rogue nations, on the way to take him out, disagree and destroy each other instead. They didn’t even “run it by the board members.” They march to their own demise instead, killing each other along the way.

In the aftermath, Jehoshaphat is left with only one job.

He has to pick up the plunder.

A far cry from what the nation had expected earlier that day.

After this “battle,” the valley is also given a new name. The Valley of Beracah. Which translates to: the valley of blessing.

Incredible.

The battlefield had become a blessing. The hindrance was now holy.

In Christ, there is a blessing in the valley. A means in a meaningless situation.

In Christ, there is a blessing in the valley. A means in a meaningless situation. In this account, the benefit nearly overwhelmed the soldiers. After the battle, It took three days for Judah’s army to pick up the “equipment, clothing, and items of value” that were left over. Which is important. The ground of war was covered in the gratitude of worship.

Now, remember, this whole thing started with leadership. Humility in the heat of battle. Jehoshaphat’s original prayer was “…we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” How familiar that prayer sounds. Many of us do not know what to do either when we’re backed into a corner.

There is good news though.

God does not need your equipment, clothes, or valuable talent – the things that you might think would accomplish a good outcome. When He steps into a situation, be it an office argument, a delayed project, or some stressful work environment, He will provide the practical means to move forward. He’ll fill your valley. You may not even want to leave.

So then, there is a principle for all of us. Leaders know their marching orders. They understand that their position, whether high or low, is a matter of inheritance. There are no kings which the Lord does not appoint, after all.

This is true for your job and the role within it as well. Whether you think that you are well equipped, or have no idea what to do, the posture, for you, remains the same.

Worship is the tip of the spear. It’s what you lead with. It’s how you face the work and obstacles ahead of you. Jehoshaphat knew this too. Consider his sergeant-level-strategy, right before battle:

After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

“Give thanks to the Lord,
for his love endures forever.”
2 Chronicles 20:21

Why did he praise the Lord for love? Why not strength, authority, or power?

One reason.

The Lord’s love is practical.

It has a goal in mind.

Love is the best weapon of war there is. Every battle can be won by it. Every situation will conform to it. It’s your best bet when you do not know what to do. But you’ll have a hard time recognizing it if you aren’t already worshiping him.

Consider this truth in the context of Psalms:

“He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing love to his anointed, to David and to his descendants forever.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭18:50‬ 

“He gives his king.” Note the “his king” part. Why is this important? Roles, especially leadership roles, belong to God. Your role, in Christ, is anointed. It belongs to him. Which means, the Lord will look after you. He will give you great victories during the day. You’ll be left with nothing to do – except pick up the plunder of his provision. A very good place to be.

By the by, that phrase translates the same whether you read this translation, this translation, or…even…this translation.

So next time, when you do not know what to do, or you feel the world (or even just the nine-to-five) is against you, use worship as your primary tool to overcome conflict. It sets your sights on the right authority and reminds you that your position is inherited. You might be surprised by how situations change as they react to the Lord’s love.

The Theology of Thought Leadership

Read Time: 2 minutes

There are many types of thought leaders in the world.

…Oprah

…Deepak Chopra

…the guy at the gym who just discovered plant-based protein.

Just to name a few.

And no matter your knowledge niche, there is always someone ready to give you their two cents, regardless of whether it pays to heed it.

Which leaves us with a question: In all of the noise, how do you sift out the good advice from the bad?

For leaders, this is an especially important question. Namely because whatever we consume, we clone in others.

Hebrews, the Bible’s big book on faith, gets us started. The crux of the principle we’ll look at is in verse twenty-four:

and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Hebrews 12:24

It’s a bit of an odd verse. But here’s the meat (without the Matt Redman):

Two men died.

And both in a similiar way.

Violently. Unjustly.

The difference, however, between these two men, was in their nature.

Abel’s death, as tragic as it was, could only speak to humanity’s fallen nature. There was nothing redeemable about him dying. It was evidence of eternity without God. But that’s about it.

Christ’s death, on the other hand, proclaimed the power of God. His blood (Jesus’), had better things to say about life (spoiler alert).

His blood backed him up. It gave His words weight.

Once, before his crucifixion, Jesus had this to say about it:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10

Up until His resurrection, people had to take this kind of statement on faith. It was an extension of experiencing Him in the streets and synagogues. After the grave, however, His blood spoke a better word.

In other words, His resurrection had rhetoric. Because He spoke to what He knew.

This is important. People speak to what they know.

A person may be a bright speaker, and educated on many things, but if they don’t have or know the nature of Christ, they can only speak from a human hope. Nothing else.

You cannot speak to that which you do not know. You cannot guide where you have not gone.

In life, there will be many thought leaders, videos, and podcasts…a plethora of all kinds of content available for you to consume. Many of which are worldy, wise and well-meaning. But if their nature is that of a dead man, be prudent. They may be an expert on every kind of “dead work” under the sun…their advice will not benefit a man in the land of the living.

There is a better word. But you can work on yours here.

Did you enjoy this post? Learn more about what it means to live with Power, Love and Soundness of Mind by getting this once-per-week devotional study:

Four Steps - Christian Integrity for Men

Nonnegotiable ~ The 4 Daily Principles Every Man Needs To Be Successful

Read Time: 4 minutes

Integrity is a target. Our principles, the arrows.

Integrity tends to be one of those things we think about after we’ve done something wrong. The absence of air. We know we need it. And we know great leaders have it. But for most of us, integrity is in the ether.

In Church, we’ve limited it to lying, timeliness and being responsible.

As an example, If a guy returns a library book before it’s past due while going the speed limit on the highway and also listens to Bethel Worship (radio version), we’d say he has integrity. If he goes 75 in a 65, well…we have issues.

Which isn’t wrong, per say, but there is a better question to ask. Our beliefs shape our behaviors, after all.

In order to shape our behavior, we can ask ourselves:

What principles govern my behavior?

It’s an important question because it’s different for every guy.

When you know which behaviors behoove your success, you’re more likely to stick to them where you’re at a crossroads. It also means your name will carry value. Because it’s backed by something concrete.

Proverbs says it like this:

Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.
Proverbs 29:18

When you have a set of standards, you are, in reality, creating a vision for your future. You are also, by definition, saying no to any alternate realities that present themselves for your approval.

So, are you living in reality? If so, which one?

Every man needs non-negotiables; A set of standards that he will not move on.

I call these standards “Tenants”. They change with my season in life and they keep me centered throughout the day.

Here are the ones I have now:

Here’s how it works. There are four parts:

1. My Daily Question
2. My Tenants
3. My Truth
4. My Verses

Decisions of character, should always be made in advance.

Together, they keep my decisions centered throughout the day. And in effect, my name has value because of the things I value.

First, I have a daily question. Right now, I want to know whether I’m practicing righteousness.

Righteousness is a weird word.

You either think of the 80s or the Old Testament. So I did a study and saw that it’s both a position of my relationship in Christ, and an aspect of Christlikeness that I should practice. So, I’m working on it. The question was different a few months back, when I was aiming for maturity in a different topic.

If I have an opportunity to go against the standard I’ve set for myself, the question comes up quickly in my mind and reinforces my behavior. I ask myself the question nearly every day.

Next are My Tenants. Right now I have three. I could have more – if I have a specific goal, for instance. But I like to keep it lean.

I’ll speak to the last one, “I want to be a faithful husband.”

My wife and I recently bought a new car. I’d been in need of a new one for awhile and it was a long-anticipated purchase. So I was starry-eyed about the different options I had available to me.

At the dealership, we picked a car and sat down for financing.

When they presented the monthly payment, it was fair, but $75 dollars higher than we’d decided on earlier. In reality, we could’ve afforded a car payment that was twice as expensive. But as a team, we decide where our money is best spent. So I said “No” to their terms and explained to the dealer what our priorities were.

He pushed. I stayed non-negotiable.

He asked if I could meet in the middle. I said no.

And they met my terms. Which was great. What made me the happiest though, was that I stuck to my tenant “I want to be a faithful husband.”

In a different reality, I could’ve left her out of the decision – or justified the purchase because “I earned it” or any other selfish ideal. But she and I are one now. We make decisions together and I’m better for it. Having that tenant in my head meant that I felt no pressure from the sales guy in that moment.

My word to myself, is my bond.

Last, I have “My Truth.” And no, I don’t mean some absence of the absolute.
My Truth is a point of personal integrity. A fact that is true of me.

In this case, it’s:

“I am a man, who if on a stage, has no hidden sin habit.”

This is something I’m personally sensitive to. I enjoy public speaking and I want to do more of it. I’ve also known a few men that have fallen hard because they had a public platform and private pain-point. Eventually, the two collided. To support me, I have a friend that calls me regularly to ask how things are. I think of it as an oil change. Regularly maintenance (accountability) keep the engine running well and issue free.

I also have a verse or two that support my tenants. They glue my goals and God together. You don’t necessarily need one of these, but I think scripture is wonderfully practical.

Tenants are a powerful way of deciding what kind of man you want to be. They help you lead yourself. They also make decisions easy when you’re presented with a reality that is an alternative to what you’ve already said is most important to you. Consider making a list today of your own tenants. You’ll be happy you did.

do who christians commit suicide go to hell?

Do Christians who commit suicide go to hell?

Read Time: 7 minutes

I hadn’t planned on writing about suicide this week. There are a number of things on my heart and mind that I would like to take priority. But because of the heightened reality of it in the news, and some not too distance Christian examples, I wanted to spend some time on the topic. If only because it’s good for us to understand what the Bible says about the subject. “Study to show yourself approved” as we’re told.

The Bible sets a bar:

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”

That bar, for everyone, is high.

This is true in the past. This is true in the future. Even a virtuous man, by virtue of not being God, would fall short of God’s glory. He’s not God. How could he share in something that doesn’t belong to him?

Which is where the concept of sin comes from.

Sin, in shorthand, is anything that cools the kiss of freedom in our lives. The size of the sin is not significant. Each one separates us from our Maker in similar ways.

So a gift was given to mend separated souls. And it’s free. It always has been. It always will be.

Most of the time, we call it Salvation. It’s the name given to God’s good gift, through his son, Jesus.

We could talk a lot about how wonderful it is. But the heart of it is “God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.”

Full Verse Here

Some things simply can’t be earned by a Human. We call one of those things “Grace.” It’s one of the favorable conditions of Christ’s contract with us. “Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” as the Good Book says.

But let’s be clear…

If I never got frustrated in traffic again. If I never lied again. If I never did another bad thing. Again. It would remove no less doubt in God’s mind about the lack of His glory I possess.

At best, I’m drowning in my own dogma.

But to God’s credit, we’ve been given a life raft called “Love.”

“God is Love” as scripture says. Subject and verb.

Dog paddling in an ocean is only impressive if it gets me to shore. In the same way, I don’t argue my goodness with God based on my ability to swim around sin. I enjoy the raft for what it is. Love.

In the same way, we don’t measure sin.

We’re awash in it without Him.

We could. We could say that one bad thing is worse than another. But what good would that do? If we do believe the Genesis story, then we know that eating the wrong fruit was enough to condemn a man and wife to hell. So if we do want to compare apples to oranges, it’s best not measure the fruit of our own lives.

The bar, my friend, is high. Most High.

So on to the subject of Suicide.

There is one sin that the Bible says is different. Just one.

Not murder. Not sex. Not stealing.

Jesus tells us about it in the books of Mathew, Mark and Luke.

We’ll stick with Matthew for now.

For sure, I tell you, all sins will be forgiven people, and bad things they speak against God. But if anyone speaks bad things against the Holy Spirit, he will never be forgiven. He is guilty of a sin that lasts forever.” Jesus told them this because they said, “He has a demon.”

Mathew 3:28-30

If I’m in the raft, there is only one thing that pokes a hole in it.

But let’s say, as some do, that suicide is murder. And that you can’t say “I’m sorry.” in the act of doing it (since no one ever has mixed emotions about things).

Which by the way, is saying that correlation is causation. Which we would never say. But let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that the cause is correlated correctly.

It’s a jump. But who doesn’t like a trampoline?

Moving on.

What then, is the biblical definition of murder?

Jesus had some thoughts:

Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
1 John 3:15

I’m no gymnast, but that bar seems really high.

Does that mean that gossip is attempted murder?

By His measurement, I’d say so. But I’m not a Levitical-law-lawyer. That’s a different bar exam.

Someone who was, however, is King David. David “a man after God’s own heart,” who gave Christ the honorary name Son of David, killed a man in order to sleep with his wife. And he lied about it. But we’ll just ignore this elephant in the room.

No wait. Let’s go a step further.

Let’s say that two people, in full knowledge and belief of the gospel, died. One committed murdercide. The other gossiped, and was hit by a bus. Neither one had a chance to apologize for their actions. Is Saint Peter turning both of them away at heaven’s gates? (Since when is Peter a lobby boy anyway?)

Since we aren’t measuring the amount of wild oats someone sowed, I’ll let you answer the question for yourself.

New question.

Which verses say that I have to name every sin before I die in order to be saved? Which amendment to the Christ-constitution do I need to be aware of? Also, what does it imply for people who died in a coma, or who were medically sedated when they passed? Is Alzheimer’s capable of undoing the Almighty’s work? Does being scared while I drown mean I’m without faith?

Should we write new sin rules for every edge case? There are…lots of them.

Where then, do we draw the line? Jesus, if you’re interested, did draw a few in this account.

But I digress…

We are told God never “leaves us or forsakes us” here. And here. I don’t think we need a verse to know that, but it’s nice of scripture to say so nonetheless. Is there another lost gospel where I can find an exception? Perhaps the Q Document or some lost Dead Sea Scroll?

We could just take this from an entirely different angle too and look at the verses that cover the sin of suicide. But…there are….zero.

Zero verses on the topic.

Zero ancient laws for it.

Zero Sermon-on-the-Mounts about the magnitude of the subject.
Which is probably by design.

In fairness, the Bible does tell us a few stories where suicide is mentioned.

One with a King named Saul. One with Judas Iscariot. The Bible never positions their behavior though.

Saul killed himself because he was about to be killed. Judas, after he realized what he had done to Jesus, gave back his blood money and killed himself in sorrow. Which no one would ever say is appropriate except for the fact that some do because of what he did.

So. That’s awkward.

Last, but certainly not least, we have Samson. Samson killed himself.

He intentionally made a building fall as a last-ditch effort to settle the score with some Pagans. He killed himself on purpose – with the purpose of killing other people. We could argue that he was forcibly blind and imprisoned so it was justified- but we won’t. We could also say he was a kamikaze. But we won’t say that either.

Hebrews 11, The famous Hall of Faith chapter of the Bible, mentions Samson as one of the great people who model faith in action. Because he was. Also awkward. When Romans says that “neither life nor death” can separate us from the love of God I guess it applies to him too.

So where does this idea that suicide is the Chutes-and-Ladders of Hell (horrible game idea) come from?

Since it’s not in the Bible, we have to look somewhere else.

Specifically, Augustinian and medieval theology. Which is a mix of superstition, Greek and Roman ideas neatly packaged into something we call cultural bias.

But there is one thing we know about it. Suicide is a tragedy. A tragedy that happens to 34,000 people a year. *Nearly* once every 15 minutes.

Like you, I would forgive my friends of any tragedy – whether they caused it or not. I’m sure I speak for most when I say that you would likely do the same. So then, are we more forgiving than God? Or is God a calculator – continually moving numbers to settle our balance sheet? If God is a calculator, then so is Salvation. And everything is a game to get on God’s good side.

Which as we know, is the opposite of what scripture says:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

So how should Christian’s approach suicide, and it’s predecessor, depression?

Julie Cerel, a board chair of the American Association of Suicidology and a psychologist told USA today:

“Having depression and being in a suicidal state twists reality. It doesn’t matter if someone has a wife or is well loved, they get so consumed by the depression and by the feelings of not being worthy that they forget all the wonderful things in their lives.”

The Bible has two thoughts regarding how we should act. One in the New Testament. One in the Old.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Romans 12:15

You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.
‭‭Leviticus‬ ‭19:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

​Leviticus, if you’re curious, is not being literal. Israel didn’t have a problem with people cursing other people who had Otosclerosis. They also didn’t put Stumble BlocksTM in front of the blind. The Bible does, however, ask us to have a practical empathy for each other; to make an effort to understand the pain and depression others feel.

For the person who struggles with severe depression, they are in many ways blinded by the way they feel. They are also, in many ways, lied to by the enemy. It is not something they move away from on their own.

The position of the Christian, is always to try and be the hands and feet of Jesus. This doesn’t change, if heaven forbid, someone passes from this life by their own hand. At the very least, we don’t speak ill of them. At best, we pray for and support their families in the wake of their absence. Mourning with those who mourn.

The Almighty knows those who know Him. If ever there was a time when someone needed a loving God, you can imagine it would be in their darkest moment. Much like many of us.

If you or someone you know struggles with thoughts of suicide, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

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But this has a great one!

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