Fuller

Author: Mark Roberts

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.

Where Do You Belong?

Where do you belong?

As you read this question, what first came to mind for you? Did you think of your family? Or did you envision you friends? Maybe your community? Where do you fit? In what relationships do you find love, meaning, and security?

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Are Covenants Relevant to Business Leaders?

In yesterday’s Life for Leaders edition, we focused on the covenant God established with Noah, his progeny, and, indeed, all creatures on earth. I talked about how covenants are like contracts, though distinctive in their binding and one might say “serious” character. We might talk about the covenant of marriage, for example. But we would not say that we established a covenant with someone to paint our house.

You may have wondered if the notion of covenants is relevant to today’s world beyond the church. Do covenants matter, for example, in the business world?

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A Distinctive Contract with God

Contracts. We all have them, by the dozens. In business, government, and in our personal lives, contracts provide structure and order for relationships that are essential to all of life. Contracts tell us what is expected of us and what we can expect from others. Without contracts, both explicit and implicit, our lives and our work would quickly unravel.

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Trusting God in Spite of Your Circumstances

There are times when it’s fairly easy to trust in God’s love, to rejoice in his salvation, and to sing because he has been good to us. I think of times in my life when I was overwhelmed by God’s blessings, when I could hardly believe how good my life was. My heart was filled with thanks and praise.

Yet, there are other times, aren’t there? Times when life is hard, when sorrow fills our hearts, when we wonder if God is even there for us.

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A Pointer to Christ

In many and varied ways the Old Testament points to the new, especially to God’s work in Jesus Christ. We think, for example of prophetic texts that promise salvation through God’s special ruler (Isaiah 9:1-7). Yet, beyond specific prophecies, Christian readers of the Old Testament see other kinds of pointers to Christ. One of these is found in Genesis 8:20-21.

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Do Our Actions Affect God’s Actions?

The sovereignty of God is one of the great mysteries of Christian faith. I’m certainly not going to sort it all out in one edition of Life for Leaders. I couldn’t do so definitively in a thousand! Today, my purpose is fairly modest. I want to help us pay close attention to one surprising verse in Genesis 8 so that we might see how this verse helps us answer the question: Do our actions affect God’s actions?

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How Do You Worship God?

In yesterday’s devotion, I reflected on how the very first thing Noah did after leaving the ark was to build an altar in order to offer sacrifices to God. He made worship a priority.

I believe this and I believe it’s important. But I also believe that how we talk about Noah’s worship of God can limit our understanding and practice of worship. Allow me to explain.

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Do You Pause For Worship?

The story of Noah and the flood raises all sorts of fascinating questions. We might wonder if the flood account is history, theological fiction, or a combination of both? We might be distressed by God’s decision to wipe out all creatures on earth, with the exception of Noah and those who joined him in the ark. And so forth and so on.

As worthy as those questions are of consideration, I’m going to focus our attention on the end of the flood story as told in Genesis 8.

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Can We Know the World and Still Love It?

In the Life for Leaders edition “Don’t Miss the Beauty,” we were encouraged not to miss the beauty of this world that God built in from the beginning. As you read that devotion, you may have felt a bit uncomfortable. A nagging question may have troubled your soul: How can we delight in the beauty of creation when the world is so filled with injustice, suffering, and brokenness?

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The Striking Priority of Beauty

I’ve been reading the Bible for fifty years. I’ve read and studied Genesis 2 at least thirty times: in my personal devotions, while preparing for preaching, and in my grad school Hebrew class. I have poured over every word of this chapter time and again.

Today, I saw something new in this text. I’d never seen it before. Once again, I’ve experienced the fathomless depth of Scripture. I’m eager to share with you what I’ve learned. I will do so beginning in today’s devotion.

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Submission Is Essential for Leadership

As we read Psalm 2 today, our context is quite different. We no longer have human kings ruling over us. Moreover, we have come to understand that Psalm 2 points ahead to the one who was fully the Son of God. Thus, when we read verse 12, we hear a call to kiss, that is, to submit to Jesus, the Son of God.

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Our Dual Identity

Some of my favorite heroes have a dual identity: Clark Kent is Superman; Bruce Wayne is Batman; Peter Parker is Spider-Man. The list goes on and on. You and I also have a dual identity, though, unlike the comic book heroes, our dual identity isn’t secret. It’s plainly revealed in Scripture, beginning in Genesis 2:7.

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Should I Keep the Sabbath?

For centuries, Christians have debated the question of Sabbath keeping, proposing a wide range of answers, often with more heat than light. Thus, it seems almost foolish for me to think that I can responsibly address the question “Should I keep the Sabbath?” in one short devotional. Nevertheless, I want to offer some basic parameters that might help guide our thinking and practice.

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If God Rested, Shouldn’t We?

I was raised to value hard work. My family, my church, and the culture of my youth rewarded me when I was productive. So did my college and graduate school experience, as did the churches in which I served during the first half of my life. I remember one performance review I had as pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church. Before our meeting to talk about my efforts, I had told my reviewers that I was working at a pace that was not sustainable. I asked for their help in reshaping my priorities so that I might do what was most valuable for the church without burning myself out. When it came time for our face-to-face conversation, they told me that, for the most part, I was doing a good job. But they recommended that I teach more Bible classes, invest more in my staff, and be more available to the congregation for counseling. Basically, they wanted me to work more. This, of course, tapped into my inclination to work too much, not to mention my inherent desire to please. More work, less rest. That’s the ticket to success and fulfillment.

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Why Did God Rest?

Recently, my wife and I moved from Texas to California. Our final day in Texas was a crazy one as we scrambled to sell some of our possessions, give away many more, and take a bunch of junk to the dump. Then, after the movers finished emptying our house, we spent hours cleaning, getting everything ready for the new owners so they might move into a tidy, welcoming home. We didn’t leave until 10:45 p.m., having worked steadily from 7:00 a.m. By the time we finally arrived at our motel early the next morning, we were exhausted and more than ready to rest.

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