4 Reasons Why It’s OK to Enjoy Having a Professional Job: Reason 4

As we near the end of our discussion, we have learned that we have every reason to enjoy the season God has us in. Like Paul, it does not make us any less ministers and like Jesus, we are salt and light in a world that desperately needs truth. We even see that Jesus addressed many of his messages to those in the mainstream, work-a-day life-because it is where the need is. If you are still feeling bad with the fact that you like being in the work place…I hope our last reason will put you at ease.

Reason 4: ‘Whatever’ in the Greek means…Whatever!

Whatever answerWhatever in the Greek means…Whatever! Colossians 3:23 states “Whatever you do, work at it with all  your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”. Throwing it back to the Greek, the word we  read as whatever is hos, which translates as “who, which, what, that”. Seems like an all-encompassing  definition if you ask me.

So you are literally under divine order to embrace what God has given you to do whole-heartedly. Not to mention that, seeing as God is more about the heart than the action (Ps. 40:5- 7), there is a difference between obeying and doing something with your whole heart.

As a last word of encouragement, whether you enjoy the challenge of a day job or you are challenged to enjoy it, know that this season is where you are meant to be. You are daily being equipped to run your race, not someone elses. And that, my friends, is a freeing thought indeed.

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4 Reasons Why It’s OK to Enjoy Having a Professional Job: Reason 3

In our previous post, we explored the impact that light has in dark places and the importance it carries. I think we can all agree that the Great Commission thing is a pretty big deal. Jesus agreed…which brings us to our third reason:

http://www.danijohnson.com/2008/reaping-and-sowing-part-1/Reason 3: Jesus anticipated you’d have a day job.

Most of Jesus parables were framed as working. Whether he was referring to sowing seed in a field or  to a servant stewarding his master’s wealth, he equated the work of the gospel with, well, work.

If Jesus were targeting those in full time ministry, I can’t help but think he would have mentioned a Levite or  priest (in something other than the story of the Good Samaritan). In fact, most of Jesus teaching and equipping was targeted at those who were “in the real world”.

Jesus’ message was aimed at those in the trenches. Using parables that people related too is one of the huge markers of Jesus’ earthly ministry.  I’m no marketing major, but it stands to reason that best practices haven’t changed that much in 2000 years. You put resources where you are looking for a return. Jesus was no different…and in some way, we are that return.  Even Paul spoke strongly to the need of excellence in every area.

Stay tuned for our 4th and final reason.

Staying the Course – The Importance of Not Quitting: Part 1

I’m going to be quite frank: I’m not a fan of my day job.

I mean…don’t get me wrong. I take great pride in being bivocational, serving as a full-time volunteer youth pastor with a permanent governmental position on the side.

But on some days, I’m telling you…I seriously consider buying some “Just for Men” products just to combat premature greyness potential.

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After all, it’s hard to stay engaged at work when you sense your passion bucket is drying up…when the only thing keeping your midday heart afloat is a splintered desire for excellence.

‘Cause truth is: Sometimes, it’s easy to want to quit…to unplug and refresh, especially when you feel you’re heart and résumé are headed in opposite directions.

However, when we soak in the Word and rest in the arms of Christ, we can find value in steadfast persistence, even when our circumstances don’t make sense. Yes, we may be burning for a reset compass to the tune of 90°, maybe 180°, but this doesn’t have to compromise our faith in staying the course.

Think about the ministry of Christ…

Whenever Jesus encountered a difficult situation, what’s the first thing he did? He yielded. He relinquished his prerogative and instead, referenced the Father so he could be filled with wisdom and understanding.

In other words, Jesus lived what God said…because he saw his life as a pure reflection of the Father’s heart and continually established the hope of glory as his vanguard.

Thus, the more Jesus yielded, the more supernatural strength he received, which in turn, helped him not only stand firm in the midst of trials, but also live a lifestyle of perpetual obedience.

Essentially, when we discern the ministry of Jesus, we see how holy surrender is the best way to never give up.

But maybe you’re still scratching your head, wondering how this relates to the humble workingman stuck in cubicle country. I mean…it’s not like these factoids can ease the burden of two rush hour commutes a day or the patronizing, unprofessionally filtered dialogue ponging up the airwaves and hallways…

or can it?

You see, studying the nature and ministry of Christ not only inspires us to live a life worthy of the calling set before us (Ephesians 4:1), but also compels us to take up our cross (Matthew 16:24-26). Without it, there’s no way we can expect our natural perspective to calibrate to where it needs to be.

And yet, on the flipside, I understand the profile of the unfulfilled employee whose frustration mounts whenever a co-worker is promoted out of bias or when another is  intentionally disregarded.

However, whenever I feel suffocated or ignored by a colleague, I remember the attitude Christ had whenever he encountered animosity.

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And suddenly, my crap doesn’t feel so…crappy anymore.

True, I may be tempted to vent steam in the face of what feels like discriminate functionality. But glory to God if I’m hard-pressed. Glory to God if I feel abandoned…if I’m stuck in a jam and the only way out is reliance upon His unfailing masterheart.

Bottom line: You may find yourself in a bland situation, feeling like you’re filing your creativity away …or stuck between provisional responsibility and a dream pursuit.

But whether you feel pinned under overwhelming pressure or hardened by lifelessness, the point is: Don’t quit…but stay the course!

Remember each season of your life is a stepping stone in the direction of the unfathomable calling God has for you. So don’t believe the lie that God doesn’t care about the job you do…or that everything has to make sense in order to embrace the opportunity in front of you.

Instead, press in, press through and put yourself in a position to hear God’s heart and voice, so when you hear His call, you won’t hesitate to obey even if you don’t fully understand the answer. For God always sees the ultimate goal and nothing is impossible with him (Luke 1:37). After all, He not only sees the light at the end of the tunnel – He is the light.

Let’s pray…

God, we want to be difference makers at our jobs, even though it may seem most of the people we work with tick the living shrek out of us. God, we want to love what’s hard, not just what’s easy. We don’t want to give up and surrender the chance we have to be light in the darkness. We may not be a fan of what we do. We may not see how this pertains to our calling. But by faith, we’re going to believe there’s a purpose behind the position you’ve blessed us with. We don’t have to see it to believe it and we don’t have to like it to live it. At the end of the day, we’re going to be obedient. And we trust that you’ll create and develop in us a stronger desire to selflessly serve while standing tall in adversity. It’s not about us. It’s all about you. So take this numb heart and breathe life back into it so we may be able to give life back to others. Amen!”

4 Ways to Maximize Time Efficiency: Part 2

Last week, we discussed the first two points in our 4 Ways to Maximize Time Efficiency series. Today, we’ll wrap things up with two more…

3. Shut up and drive. For the bivocational pastor, there’s something majestic about the open road…something soothing as to what it represents.

For example, I find the open road not only the epitome of dedication, but also an outlet where quiet time and dreaming come together. Unfortunately, many treat “drive-time” as nothing more than a trivial agenda item, unaware of how it can be used fruitfully.

But think about it: the world we live in requires motion to function, so why not use it constructively? ‘Cause truth is: Sometimes, we gotta shut up and drive if we’re ever going to embrace the joy in stillness and find breakthrough in our Kingdom pursuits.

Granted, a drive from ‘point A’ to ‘point B’ may not sound too exciting. But perhaps there are other options you enjoy that also can’t be helped, like exercise or household chores.

At any rate, it’s important to identify with whatever helps us align to the heart of God. For when we start capitalizing on these experiences, we’ll find we’re not only advancing the most important relationship in our lives, but also integrating efficient time management into things we can’t control.

Bottom line: Consider your “open road” and make sure to block time for it.

istock_000007370546medium-250x3004. Stay communally connected. Let’s be real: It can be hard finding time for relationships outside of work and family. Stress, life changes, technology, unforeseen conflicts…it’s like life is a merciless jungle and we’re all trying to survive it one day at a time.

But let’s get real: It can be super easy making excuses when it comes to faithfully stewarding community. Stress, life changes, technology, unforeseen con…oh wait, I’ve already said that.

Truth is: If you want to have time for people, you gotta make time for people. After all, that’s what community is all about – being intentional about pursuing meaningful relationships in an authentic way.

Of course, not every relational road is a straight-a-way, given life has a way of creating dead-ends from time to time.

However, if you’re reaching out to people at work, school or church, but still find it hard to connect, fear not! Instead of withdrawing, try engaging people with similar interests through meet-up websites, local Facebook groups, recreational leagues, etc.

Either way, by choosing to stay communally connected (or at least making the sincere effort), you’ll discover a more complete joy that organically comes when God’s love is made apparent.

4 Ways to Maximize Time Efficiency: Part 1

paperwork-time-efficiency-02-22884394Have you ever wished there were more hours in a day? I know I have…many times, in fact. No doubt, in this day and age, we’re all circus performers, doing our very best to juggle all of life’s responsibilities. Yet, if we’re completely honest with ourselves, we’ll eventually realize how easy it is to hide a lack of discipline behind a love of distraction. True, we may be genuinely busy, but we’d be kidding ourselves if we believed we’re busy all the time. The fact of the matter is: if we look hard enough, we can find golden opportunities in our day to be good stewards of the time given to us. And as we’ll discuss later on, in the case of the bivocational minister, such truth can go a long way in expanding the tent pegs of ministerial effectiveness.

So with that said, here are four ways one can maximize time efficiency…

  1. Create daily/weekly time blocks for quiet time, planning, study…and rest!

Call me “old-school”, but I’m a firm believer in purposeful planning…in carving out set periods of time to plan, prep and soak in the Word. I know, I know. I’m no fun. Psh, whatev. But seriously, we live in a time that tolerates a “go with the flow, pedal to the medal” philosophy. We think if we push hard and fast enough, we’ll get everything done the way we want it. However, the problem with this approach is it’s not a reliable solution. In the long run, such thinking will only lead to skewed priorities, relational frustrations and burnout.

Truth is: If you want to righteously juggle a full load, it’s imperative to employ healthy time-management skills. As Solomon says in Ecclesiastes, there’s a time for everything … but at the end of the day, it’s up to us to use it wisely. By designating daily and/or weekly opportunities for quiet time, planning, studying and rest, you’re ultimately embracing a balanced diet of #smartlifechoices.

  1. Maximize free time.

When it comes to effectively managing multiple agendas, a good place to start is by maximizing free time. As an example, let’s assume a bivocational pastor has a standard day job adhering to labor law guidelines, and thus, grants 60-90 minutes of free time between snack and lunch breaks. Do you think the pastor, in his right mind, would waste such valuable time on social media and Candy Crush Saga? Of course not!

In order to maximize free time, it’s imperative to breathe purpose into inevitable stopping points…from the mandated lunch break to the compulsory bathroom break. For me, often times, the best way to get ahead is to give myself the opportunity to get ahead. And when I slow down enough to thoroughly analyze a typical day’s routine, I find more time gaps exist then I previously thought!

And true, time may seem to fly faster off the clock or on the go; however, don’t let this stop you from effectively maximizing it, whether it’s balancing your checkbook, drafting an important text, making a phone call or outlining a sermon. Truth is: You’ll feel freer when you create more free time with the free time you’ve been given.

So press on, challenge yourself…and don’t allow yourself to be intimated by time restraint. Either way, the goal here is to find appropriate outlets linking the “light-bulb” ideas that surface at work to time blocks (see point #1) set aside to complete them.

Stay tuned next time for “Part 2” where I’ll expound upon my final two points