• Engage

    Please, no more!

    I thought this fall would usher in the return of normal work hours in offices and schools, eating in restaurants, and gathering with friends. But COVID-19. It feels like we’ve lost so much this year. How can we move forward into fall when we continue to grieve the loss of so many aspects of our used-to-be “normal” life?

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    Fear or Faith at Work?

      What’s the most challenging aspect of living out your faith at work? Some of us work at home or with other Christians, so being salt and light, and talking about our faith, come naturally. But many of us work in places where talking about Jesus and faith are discouraged. And some workplaces are downright hostile to Christians, so speaking openly could mean the end of our employment. For all of us, shining the bright light of Jesus in a very dark place can feel scary––even dangerous. The average worker faces situations and decisions every day that test the boundaries of WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?). Fear is real. We’re…

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    Why Work?

      Cultures flourish and deteriorate based on how they answer these questions: Why do people exist? Is there some greater meaning to life? What’s our purpose in the here and now? Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” If we’re honest, we all want to know the why. So what if someone told you, “You were born to work.” Seriously? We understand the need to work, at least in terms of providing financial means for individuals and their families. And clearly “born to work” isn’t referring to living in captivity, so there must…

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    Your Workplace Is Your Mission Field

    In my last column, I mentioned that while putting my husband through seminary, I spent nine years working for a subsidiary of a S&P 500 company. And although for the past twenty years I’ve been in vocational ministry, I’m grateful for what I learned in my so-called secular job. Here’s my encouragement to those working for a living—whatever the vocation:  Know that your ultimate employer is the Lord.  Paul advised the Colossian believers, “Whatever you are doing, work at it with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not for people” (Col. 3:23). If God is the one for whom we ultimately work, we can’t get lazy as soon as the…

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    Job or Ministry—Must It Be One or the Other?

    While putting my husband through seminary, I spent nine years in the financial services sector working in Human Resources. The parent company has morphed and divided, but basically it’s an S&P 500 company. So, as you can imagine, we had quite the food chain going.  Initially, I thought of myself as “working a secular job” while my husband was preparing for ministry. I certainly did not view myself as being “in ministry.” Never mind that I had multiple opportunities to minister to my fellow workers—one lost her sister-in-law when a worker in her home murdered her. One guy was surprised I expressed empathy when his marriage ended due to his wife’s…

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    Work in Heaven?

    As Labor Day approaches, most Americans anticipate a well-deserved day off work. For many of us, the daily grind has become just that––a complete grind––and we regularly count down the days to weekends, holidays, vacations, and even retirement (5,406 days for me). But what if work isn’t supposed to be a grind? And what if our work doesn’t end with our time on earth? Have you ever considered what the Bible reveals about work in heaven? We know that the Bible represents one continuous story from Genesis through Revelation, and God’s story starts in a Garden (Gen 1–2) and ends in a City (Rev 21–22). This Garden to the City…

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    Leadership and Friendship—Are They Mutually Exclusive?

    With whom can you be yourself—totally raw and without filters—without expectations? Someone recently asked me this question. Several names came to mind, but I realized my list was short. This person advised, “You need these types of people in your life, people who will listen to you without expectations or judgment, with whom you can climb down off the mentorship and ministry pedestal.” Regardless of the world in which you work or serve—corporate, construction, education, marketing, medical, ministry, research, restaurant, the arts, or the home—being a leader can make finding raw-and-without-filters friendships difficult. Why is that?   First, leaders are visionaries. They lead the charge. They think outside the box.…

  • Heartprints

    How Mothers Reveal the Image of God

    Motherhood reveals the image of God in a profound way. I witnessed my friend, Melissa, mother her kids. She peacefully prepared three plates of food for her young boys. Yogurt. Chicken. Ketchup. Noodles. They sat around and ate while trying to teach the baby to say “Bible” and instead he shouts, “Jack, Jack.” The room laughs. Later that night she held her toddler on her lap for sweet face-to-face time before bed. He curled into Melissa like her lap belongs to him. It does. Her arms, her face, her knees that bend low to listen. Her hands that hold the book at bedtime. In some ways her body belongs to her…

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    Is Working Less the Right Christian Response to Society’s Over-Work?

    “I really try to put away my work phone on the weekends.” “I really want to be fully present with my family this weekend and not focused on work.” Twice in the past week, I’ve heard these phrases from well-meaning Christians. I’ve also said similar things myself lately. Yet the more I think about our approach to work, the more I realize that our thinking might be flawed.   As American believers surrounded by a society focused on over-work, we want to stand out. We don’t want to be slaves to our jobs and servants to our paychecks. We want our faith to be central, reflected in all we do.…