God in the Midst of an Imperfect Life

God in the Midst

I’m working my way through Gordon MacDonalds book, A Resileint Life. MacDonald guides his readers through a journey that is designed to help his readers examine their life in order to learn from their past, prepare for their future, and with God’s help finish well.

MacDonald suggests that his readers write out their life story. Outlining and documenting all of the personal key events and circumstances that have led a person to where they are today. It was through that process, as I’ve refelcted on my life, a major theme to my life story became clear.

God has always been present in the midst of my imperfect life.

I’ve come to realize there are plenty of voices in my head speaking into my being. Many of which tell me what a failure I am. How I ought to give up. Telling me I’m no good, and generally discouraging me from moving forward. But there’s another voice in my head that speaks into my soul as well. Literally, it’s a still small voice that continually calls me to a higher and greater good no matter my situation or circumstances. This still small voice in my head reminds me that:

God’s Work in me is not hampered because of my imperfections

Romans 8:28–30 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been calledk according to his purpose.

God’s Love for me is never withheld because of my imperfections

John 3:16–18 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned.

God’s plans for me never change because of my imperfections

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God’s presence never leaves me because of my imperfections

Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

God’s voice affirms the truth of who I am in Christ. His voice reminds me that I’m not alone. That He is with me and wants the best for me. The only thing that has spared me from giving up in total despair is God’s still small voice reminding me of God’s presence in the midst of my imperfect life.

What voices are speaking into you soul? Is there a voice in your head calling you onward, reminding you that God is with you in the midst of your imperfect life?

Keep Chipping Away


y new mantra at work is, “keep chipping away at it.” I picked it up from a conversation I had with a co-worker. We were talking about a new business relationship I was developing. Truth is, I was somewhat complaining about how slow that relationship was progressing. That’s when my colleague said, “well just keep chipping away at it”! That relationship you want to build will happen, it’s going to take time.


Chipping away1

Have you ever had one of those moments when someone told you something that you really needed to hear, but you didn’t want to hear it? This was one of those moments for me. I was searching for the next big thing I could do to build that business relationship more quickly. I wanted a “silver bullet” quick fix to get where I wanted to be. Honestly, hearing “just keep chipping away at it” rubbed me the wrong way. But the more I thought about it, the more I knew, that was right.

I was growing weary in my efforts to build a key business relationship and it was effecting my perspective, dampening my spirit and I was losing heart.

As I was thinking about what to do next, the words of the Apostle Paul came to mind.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

Like the farmer who consistently cultivates his crops little by little by applying the proper amounts of fertilizer, pesticides, water etc. we humans cultivate relationships by “doing good” for one another.

Truth is, it’s the small acts of doing good, done consistently, motivated by the right intentions, that make a big difference at the proper time, if we keep chipping away at it.

Working on a Prayer – 4 Reason Why I Make Prayer a Daily Work Practice


rayer is one of the primary ways the Lord works in and through the life of Christians. However, when it comes to praying for our work it is often ignored. Perhaps the constant noise of our culture fills our minds with distractions. At work, time is tight and the demands of our work need quick attention, leaving little time for prayer. Many people don’t connect prayer to their work, or fully understand the power of prayer. I fell into this last category until I was confronted with a situation out of my control.


The first time I honestly prayed to the Lord was when my youngest daughter was born. There were complications during her birth that paralyzed her left shoulder. I felt totally helpless, insufficient, and unable to handle the emotions I was feeling, let alone being a supportive husband. I was a mess.

I prayed. In my heart I cried out to God to help my daughter. Over time, my prayer was answered and her arm began to recover.

As a sales manger developing a new sales territory and breaking into a new market, was a big task. I decided to make my assignment a subject of daily prayer. My continual prayer was that God would open up doors of opportunity. That I would get to meet and serve the right people. I prayed that I would develop good working relationship with those I met. Over a year of “called calling” we witnessed some amazing networking opportunities that were totally unplanned. The result was meeting the right people, at the right time that resulted in sales and further opportunities which in turn lead to meeting more key people. I’m convinced we wouldn’t have found the sales and manufacturing space we have today we without prayer. In addition, through prayer just the right people came to out attention to fill job openings we had. I could go on and on about how prayer has made a big difference in my work but let me share 4 reasons why I make prayer a daily work practice. And maybe you should too.

1 When I lack wisdom and understanding in a given situation, I pray.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5)

When I’m stuck and can’t come up with an answer to a problem I pray and patiently wait for the Lord to inspire my thoughts and bring clarity to my thinking.

2 When I’m confronted with difficult circumstances and start to worry, I pray.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God,s which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phillipians 4:6–7)

Worry is thinking over and over again what could possible happen in a given situation. Worry doesn’t get a person anywhere and doesn’t help solve a given situation or problem. It’s just not helpful. Prayer is the link to the peace of mind and heart that God provides giving a person a sense of confidence in His ability to help work through difficult circumstances.

3 When I get discouraged, I pray.

In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. (Psalm 18:6)

The challenges and frustrations of work can be emotionally draining. Discouragement can erode confidence and cloud judgement and perspective. Prayer connects the heart to the one who can ultimately help and re-energizes the spirit.

4 When I need to refocus my life, I pray.

The Apostle Paul prayer for the Ephesians 3:14–19 was for them to refocus on the richness and power they had on knowing God and his love for them.

In Tim Keller’s new book Prayer, Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God, he writes.

““Prayer is the only entryway into genuine self-knowledge. It is also the main way we experience deep change—the reordering of our loves. Prayer is how God gives us so many of the unimaginable things he has for us. Indeed, prayer makes it safe for God to give us many of the things we most desire. It is the way we know God, the way we finally treat God as God. Prayer is simply the key to everything we need to do and be in life.” (18)

‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ (Jeremiah 33:3)

Prayer is a powerful. It’s through prayer that the Lord works his will and way in and through our work and life. What’ going on in your work or life that needs you to be closer to the Lord? PRAY.

4 Things To Look For When Deciding What Opportunities to Choose


pportunities come to us in a variety of ways. Some come by hard work and intentionality. Some come by being in the right place at the right time. Some come along that are a result of someone else’s generosity. Some don’t look like opportunities at all but more like circumstances to avoid. Regardless of how opportunities show up, Christians see opportunities as coming from the hand of God (Matthew 25:14–30) to do good with the time, talents and treasures they have.

Opportunities 660x375

With all of the opportunities that we have available to us today, choosing the right one can be a challenge. What do you look for when presented with an opportunity that guides your decision to invest yourself in it or not?

Jesus speaking to his disciples tells them a parable we know as the Parable of the Talents. A parable about faithfully using the time, talents and treasure given each person with the opportunities they have. We learn 4 things to look for when deciding what opportunities to choose.

  1. Favorable opportunities fit our abilities. In the Parable of the Talents, each person was given a different amount of money to steward according to their abilities. Favorable opportunities will fit our gifts, talent and abilities and give us the chance to see them grow.
  2. Favorable opportunities stretch our faith. Every time you step out to make good from an opportunity, you are saying that you trust in the Lord to work in ways that will help you accomplish your goal. Stretching your faith means stepping outside your comfort zone, to engage your gifts and talents in new ways. In addition, stepping out into new opportunities by faith give us a chance to become more of what God designed us to be.
  3. Favorable opportunities require effort. Initiative, creativity and hard work are needed to see opportunities pay off. Two of the three servants in the parable were faithful with what they had and doubled their share. One servant, the lazy servant, did not take the initiative to make good and missed the opportunity given him. (Matthew 25:26–30)
  4. Favorable opportunities provide a rich reward. – Our gifts and talents are to be used to be productive and brings about a sense of satisfaction and joy in the end.

The one talent servant didn’t take advantage of the opportunity given because he was afraid and ended up squandering away his chance to make good. What opportunity are you considering right now. How will you chose what to do?

3 Ways to Find Meaning in Your Work


n a recent Forbes blog post by Susan Adams, she writes that the majority of Americans – 52.3% are unhappy at work, according to a report by the Conference Board, a New York -based nonprofit research group. This is an astonishing statistic considering the average worker spends approximately 80% of their time at work in a job they dislike.


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Apparently the majority of people in the workforce, and you may fit into this category, no longer hold a high view of work and have given up on finding a fulfilling purpose for the work they do. The challenge is to reinvision work as a place where you can express who you are in a way that is beneficial and meaningful. How do you reinvision your work and find meaning in what you do.

3 Ways to Find Meaning in Your Work.
  1. You bring meaning to your work. This goes against the grain of today’s popular notion that work holds the meaning people are searching for. Think about it this way. Who you are, your gifts, talents and abilities are filled with meaning. Your life long purpose can be implemented in and through your work. Our work gives us the opportunity to express who we are and the contribution we want to make that can impact the the world for good. You bring the ultimate meaning to your work. Uncover that and you will find your work more fulfilling and rewarding.
  2. Recapture the biblical view of work. From the opening pages of the biblical narrative God “went to work” in the creation process. Man was created and assigned to cultivate,to make something of creation. Humanity went to work in creating a greater good, a flourishing culture. Therefore all work has inherent value and meaning. It contributes to the flourishing of people and society. This means that your work fits into the larger global narrative of humanity when it contributes to the flourishing of culture and mankind.
  3. Your work is the most powerful way to make a difference in the world. Your work brings value to the culture by producing cultural goods that serve to enhance society. Your work is the place where you can daily serve others in a way that has a positive impact on their lives. It is through your work that you can influence others for good and bring a level of biblical restoration that helps to create a better society where all people flourish.

When you reinvision your work as a place where you can express your purpose, work can become full of meaning and an endeavor you can give your life to.

The question you need to ask of yourself is, what is the contribution you want to make that only you can do? How do you bring meaning to your work?

6 Management Practices That Draw The Best Out Of Others


eam building is one of the most rewarding aspects of managerial leadership. Developing a dynamic team is a relational process that requires intentional focus and the wise use of managerial authority.


Team building puzzle eveloping concept 17503818

Managers have a certain amount of authority and thereby power associated with their positions. When used for the good of others, managers can empower others, unleash their latent potential and draw the best out of others and build effective teams.

As a manager, my natural tendency is to see organizations and people flourish. This desire and life long passion has led me to learn about and implement 6 management practices that has drawn the best out of others and turned a group of workers into a dynamic leadership team.

6 Management Practices that Draw the Best out of Others:
  1. Lead Yourself before you seek to lead others. Self leadership, exercising internal discipline in order to consistently be at your best, must be job one. This practice helps develop personal credibility with those you are leading, the glue that others can rally around.
  2. Know your people – Management is a highly social/relational process. Therefore, getting to know your team members strengths, weaknesses is essential to align work that plays to their strengths.
  3. Build trust with your people – Trust changes everything. Building trusting relationships with your team members is the best way to gain and maintain a collaborative spirit, open and honest communication, and team synergy.
  4. Coach your people – Coaching is an intentional approach that seeks to draw the best out of others. Whether its correction, training, or equiping, coaching communicates you care and are concerned for your team mates well being. Coach others for success.
  5. Release Your People – Good people don’t need constant monitoring. If you’ve implemented practices 1–4, let your people do their job. Get out of their way and let them be productive.
  6. Have Fun with your people – This maybe one of the most overlooked practices. One of the most productive team building exercises I ever did was getting together with my team and watch a funny movie, just laughing together as a team. It’s “good medicine” for the soul and brings people together.

If managers focus on building and developing their people their work becomes more enjoyable, productive, and effective.

What other management practices have you used to build dynamic teams?

Much to be Thankful For


ike many, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love it when my wife pulls out the holiday decorations at this time of the year and makes our home even more warm and comfortable. The food! The pumpkin and apple pie she is making as I write this blog, will be awesome! I can’t help but reflect on God’s goodness, provision and providential care of our lives. There is much to be thankful for.


I am extremely thankful for my lovely wife, Catherine. July 2014 marked our 38th wedding anniversary. The Lord has worked in and through our lives in ways that we never would have imagined. I am thankful for the the couple we have become.

I am thankful for our family. For our two daughters and their families. How they have grown and blossomed into beautiful women, and terrific moms.

I am thankful for our 4 awesome grandchildren. They keep us busy and on our toes whenever we get together. Catherine and I have the privilege of influencing them for Jesus and praying for them everyday.

I am thankful for the work the Lord has provided me as a way to meet my family’s needs, as a way to use my gifts and talents and as a way to contribute to the flourishing of society and contributing to the greater good of our culture.

I am thankful that God has shown me that all things in life are right on schedule according to his providential care and timing. I am thankful for the hope I have for the future that God has been planted in my heart.

Ecclesiastes 3:11–13 – He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men that to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil – this is the gift of God.

My mom passed away last week at the age of 82. I had the opportunity to share the Lord with her many years ago and I am so thankful that she trusted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Now I know she is rejoicing with her heavenly father in his presence. No more pain no more suffering.

More than anything else, I am thankful for the transforming power of the Gospel. For the forgiveness of my sin. For renewing my heart and mind with a new perspective on life that helps me see things as a gift from God. For showing me the way to life in all its fulness by resting in the total finished work of Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5: 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

As you reflect on Thanksgiving what are you thankful for?

The Search for Significance Part 2 – 2 Powerful Ways to Reimagine Your Work and Discover New Meaning For What You Do


he search for significance, living a life with meaning and purpose that makes a positive contribution towards a greater good, as Solomon chronicled in his journal Ecclesiastes, can be a futile and empty pursuit if the motivation and attitude is one of selfish gain. In Solomon’s chasing after fulfillment through knowledge, pleasure, and work he came up empty.


Solomon’s conclusion on pursuing work under the sun, that is Solomon’s way of saying, without God, or without a faith based view, as a means of gaining a meaningful and significant life is summarized in the following brief but thought provoking statement.

“So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 2:17

I can identify with Solomon when he says that work is grievous (a burden) to him. Who hasn’t encountered difficulty at work from time to time and found their work frustrating? However, when work is viewed from a Biblically Christian faith based perspective, work and works complex challenges takes on a different meaning. Therefore, When it comes to our work, what we believe about work, determines how we interpret difficulty, challenges, success, failures and yes how work can contribute to a meaningful and significant life.

Dorthy Sayers, the first women to graduate from Oxford and an outstanding Christian thinker and author had a lot to say about the nature of work and workers. In her very popular essay “Why Work” she writes.

Unless we do change our whole way of thought about work, I do not think we shall ever escape from the appalling squirrel cage of economic confusion in which we have been madly turning for the last three centuries or so, the cage in which we landed ourselves by acquiescing in a social system based upon Envy and Avarice.

Fascinating! We find ourselves in the same kind social system today that Sayers described years ago. Work as a way of one upping others and a constant striving to gain fortune and fame sometimes at the expense of all else. This is the same thing Solomon discover and described in his journal.

And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. (Ec 4:4).

Sayers purposed as a way out of this “rat race” mentality is to reconsider the nature of work and to look at it from a different perspective. With this thought in mind let me suggest 2 powerful ways to reimagine your work.

2 Powerful Ways to Reimagine Your Work

  1. Your work is a gift from God and one way to fulfill your life mission. I must admit, for the longest time I did not view my work as a gift from God, or as a way to fulfill my life mission. I had a rather negative view of the work I was doing. I viewed work as a necessary evil in order to make a living and buy the stuff I and my family wanted. I’ve since come to realize that I viewed work outside the church setting as “secular” not sacred. The great reformer Martin Luther made a significant contribution to the way Christianity should view work.

Luther’s message was that value is found in the quality of the work and the attitudes of the individual rather than the nature of the work itself. One of the purposes of vocation was for men to serve one another and bring order to the world. This requires people to do different jobs in society, and maintains that work outside the church has value in God’s economy.

All work that contributes to the cultivation and flourishing of culture has great value when viewed with the understanding that God has ordained work to create a greater good for society at large. Therefore, your life mission exercised at work gives you a platform to truly make a difference within your sphere of influence.

  1. Your work is a way to serve a greater good. Sayer wrote her essay during WWII. She observed that the prevailing attitude of the workforce became focused on serving a greater good, winning the war and securing freedom. They saw their work as making a positive contribution towards the common good of society. A way, if you will, of saving lives. With this attitude, the workforce found significant meaning in what they did. Their personal sacrifice, and the challenges they faced was the price one pays to accomplish a job well done.

Hold on you may say. You don’t know what I do for my work. You are right I don’t. At first I didn’t make the connection between my work and it serving a greater good either. After all I work as a sales professional. How does that contribute to the creation of a better culture? After some thought here’s what I’ve discovered.

1. The work God has given me is an opportunity to serve other people. 
 + I serve my customers by helping them solve specific work problems thereby helping them achieve their work goals. 
 + I serve my company's owners and managers to be a blessing to them, not a "curse". 
 + I serve my coworkers. Helping them to flourish and find meaning and purpose in what they do. 
 + I serve my wife by providing financial stability and a way to meet our needs. 
 + I serve my work with excellence and competence that reflects well on the sales profession. 
2. The work God has given me is an opportunity to cultivate a good honorable business that contributes to the well being our of customers and our city. 
3. The work God has given me is an opportunity to demonstrate God's heart towards other people. 
4. The work God has given me is an opportunity let others see the power of God at work through prayer. 

There are probably more things I could list, but you get the idea.

Once I began to reimagine my work from a Biblical Christian faith based perspective, bringing God’s purpose for work squarely into focus, I began to think about my work in terms of it being a gift and a blessing from the Lord and as one of my primary ways of making a positive contribution to the great good of society. Now my work has for me a greater sense of meaning and significance.

How do you view your work? How would reimagining your work from a Biblically Christian faith based perspective give you new meaning and purpose for your work?

The Search For Significance: Part 1 – 4 Insights About Life in the Fast Lane


he desire to live a life of significance is a common goal among many people. To meet this compelling need we drive ourselves to achieve, doing just about anything to make people happy, spend countless dollars on appearing just right, strive and toil hours at work to gain notoriety, fortune and the accumulation of material possessions. It’s a rat race that seems never ending and can’t be won by running faster.

The Rat Race

In the Biblical book of Ecclesiates, Solomon the wisest and riches man who ever lived, chronicles his personal journey in search of significance, happiness, and fulfillment, by living “life under the sun”. In other words, life without God. He tried to find what would bring lasting and ultimate fulfillment in life by pursuing knowledge, work and pleasure. The kinds of things many “strive and toil” after today in an effort to find a fulfilling and meaningful life. His pursuit amounts to what we might call today living life in the fast lane. The insights he gained from his experience will give you pause to reflect on your motivations for you professional and personal pursuits.

4 Insights About Life in the Fast Lane:

  1. There is a repetitive nature to living life in the fast lane that leads not to a meaningful life but instead to an anxious existence. We call this repetitiveness the Rat Race. A constant striving that never seems to end. Ultimately creating an alienation from meaningful relationships with others and a right perspective on work and wealth.
  2. There is an uncertainty to living life in the fast lane. Circumstances in life can change at a moments notice. If you build your life on striving and toiling to accomplish and accumulate material stuff and circumstances change, the very foundation of our lives are threatened and can be destroyed.
  3. There is a sense of emptiness to living life in the fast lane. If striving and toiling is all there is in order to gain meaning and fulfillment in life, life can feel frustrating and pointless instead of satisfying once we realize the temporary nature of it all. The joy of success quickly vanishes and is replaced by an emptiness that forces us to strive and toil again and again to regain the joy that vanished.
  4. There is a hopelessness to living life in the fast lane. Solomon tells us that life under the sun or, life apart from God, lacks the ultimate purpose for which we were created and for which life and work has for us.

Leaving life in the fast lane and truly moving towards a life of significance begins with an honest assessment of our motives, thoughts and beliefs about life, work and wealth. In part 2 of this series, we’ll take a look at the meaning and purpose of work and how having a right understanding of our work can contribute to a life of significance.

Until then how would you define success? What are your motives for what you do or don’t do in life and at work? Are you living life in the fast lane, striving for significance but coming up empty?

Self-Management: The Secret for your Ultimate Success

The ability to manage, or lead oneself is a leaders number one priority. In fact, the more responsibility and authority a leader or manager has, the more important self management is in order to properly handle such responsibility for the good of others. Remember, from within out of a person flows what they think, do and say.

Former CEO of Visa, Dee Hock writes in “The Art of Chaordic Leadership”, The first and paramount responsibility of anyone who purports to manage is to manage self: one’s own integrity, character, ethics, knowledge, wisdom, temperament, words and acts.

Managing and leading requires a person to have a level of self discipline, and self aswareness that allows them to think and act with emotional and an intellectual clearity. Improving ones ability to make good decisions and to correctly interpert their circumstances and relate well with other people. Managing ones self first isn’t easy and many avoid the effort because it is challenging. However, here are five things a manager must know that can make managing ones self doable.

5 things managers must know to manage themselves.

  1. Know your natural talents. You are at your best when you know, understand and stay within your gift and talent mix. That is where your level of compentency rises and your have the most influence and integrity.
  2. Know your limits. Each of us has a limited capacity. Its tough to admit that but its true. Know the size and scope of your abilities and again, stay within those pararmeters. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. I took a position that I thought I could handle because I was having a level of success in the role I had. It didn’t take long for me to realize I was in over my head. It’s tempting to move into a bigger role. But before you do take a close look at the scope of the position, the level of decision making, the span of control you’ll have etc. Be honest with yourself and compare your natural talents with the requirements of the role you are looking at. Resist the temptation and don’t get in over your head.
  3. Know where you are going.What is the vision for your life and work? What is the single most important contribution you want to make in your career? You can’t manage and lead well if you don’t know where you are going. Taking the time needed to answer these questions will help you get personal and professional alignment.
  4. Know what’s important to you. Getting clear on what’s important to you is essential to knowing what you value most in life and in your profession. Your values are the non-negoitionables you stick to in times of uncertainty. They give you a compass which guide your decisions and determine what you will and will not do. Values are priorities that tell you how to spend your time. Knowing what’s important to you helps you make good use of the resources you have available.
  5. Know what you need to stop doingOften we take on to much in an effort to fulfill some false expectations others have of us. Or we are trying to be something that were not so others will like us. Whatever the case may be, doing things that we need not do prevents us from being ourselves. What are you doing right now that drains you of your emotional energy? What are you doing that produces mediocre results? What are you doing that could be done better by someone else? Say no to the things that take you away from your strength and prevent you from being yourself.

If you want to manage somebody, manage yourself. Do that well and you’ll be ready to stop managing and start leading. -John Maxwell, Developing the Leader Within.

What are some of the ways you manage yourself?