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.

Image of tea being poured with sugar and lemons available.

Practicing the Presence of God at Work, Part 6

Throughout this past week, I have been using the wisdom of Brother Lawrence to help us learn how we might recognize God’s presence in our workplaces. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were to get to the point where, unlike Jacob in Genesis 28:16, we might say about the places where we work: “Surely the Lord is in this place and I did know it! In fact, I know it every day!”

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Photo of Laverne and Shirley at wok among an assembly line.

Practicing the Presence of God at Work, Part 5

Recently, I was speaking to a group about the challenge and opportunity of seeing our work as an essential element of God’s own work, and a central part of our discipleship. After I finished, a man approached me. His face suggested that he was upset. After we shook hands, he said, “I’m not happy about what you taught tonight. All of this faith and work stuff is just fine for people who work in executive jobs, for business people and other professionals. But I’m getting sick and tired of faith and work conversations that feature business owners and entrepreneurs. Sure, they can be creative in following Jesus at work. But what about ordinary people? What about those of us who go to work, punch a clock, and do manual labor? What about those of us whose jobs are physically demanding or very boring? How does God make a difference in this kind of work?”

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Practicing the Presence of God at Work, Part 4

If you’re new to these devotions, I should say that my usual approach is to examine closely a passage of Scripture, drawing out from the text wisdom concerning the difference God makes in our life and leadership. This week, however, I’m doing something a little different. My devotions are based on Genesis 28:16, a passage in which Jacob recognizes God’s unexpected presence. But I’m drawing wisdom from a classic Christian book, The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. I believe we have much to learn from our mature brothers and sisters in Christ. I know I do.

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Group of happy young business people in a meeting at office

Practicing the Presence of God at Work, Part 3

I might have called this series of devotions “A Week with Brother Lawrence.” If you’ve been with us on Monday or Tuesday, you know that I’ve been using Lawrence’s classic book, The Practice of the Presence of God, to help us grow in our experience of God’s presence in our daily work.

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Image of Jackie Cooper's character washing dishes from The People's Choice, 1955.

Practicing the Presence of God at Work, Part 2

In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, I began to share with you some reflections based on the classic Christian book The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. This book will help us, I believe, to think about how we, like Jacob in Genesis 28:16, might recognize God’s presence in our workplaces, even if we have been unaware of his presence in the past.

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Painting "Monk in the Kitchen" 1880 by Hermann Kern

Practicing the Presence of God at Work, Part 1

I spent much of last week reflecting with you on Genesis 28:16. After encountering God in a dream, Jacob woke up and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place—and I did not know it.” I suggested that many of us might say the same thing about our workplaces, when we discover that God is present there.

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Painting of heart in hands titled "Take My Heart" by Gwen Meharg

Your Heart’s Desires

May he grant you your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your plans.” Psalm 20:4     Psalm 20 is a prayer for the king…

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Photo of the backyard of the Boerne House.

Seeing New Things in Scripture

Sometimes our life experiences help us to see things in Scripture we have never seen before. This happened to me as I read Genesis 26 in order to write today’s Life for Leaders devotion. I was struck by how much the theme of water runs through this chapter. In fact, eight times in Genesis 26 (26:15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 32) the narrative mentions wells for water. Wells are dug and filled with earth. Wells are celebrated and fought over. We understand, of course, that wells are necessary for the people in this story because without wells they would have no water. They and their livestock would either move away or perish.

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Mark Roberts with his children

Oh, No! Not Again!

Like father, like son. This can be a good thing, or a not-so-good thing. For example, people have often told me that my son, Nathan, looks like me. Now, I don’t know if he thinks this is a good thing or a not-so-good thing. But it certainly is a real thing, at least according to many people. (Of course, it’s hard for me to see the resemblance. But you can decide for yourself on the basis of this rather grainy, recent photo of Nathan, Kara, and me. Okay, okay, I know there is a slight hair color difference here.)

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Prepared beans and beef meat in a rustic bowl

Uh-Oh. That’s Not Good! Part 2

In yesterday’s devotion, we noticed a problem in the family system of Isaac and Rebekah. Isaac loved his son Esau, by implication, more than he loved his son Jacob. Why? Because Esau was a skillful hunter who would bring game for Isaac to eat. This kind of “love,” love that is earned by the performance of a child, isn’t really love and doesn’t reflect God’s own fatherly love for us. Moreover, it leads to negative behaviors in children and brokenness in families.

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Photo of baby cuddling with father.

Uh-Oh. That’s Not Good! Part 1

In today’s and tomorrow’s devotions, I want to speak specifically about parenting. These devotions will be directly relevant to those of us who are parents, of course. But even if you do not have children, these devotions can help you to be an encouragement to your friends who are parents and also to help them raise healthy children who know the love of God.

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Photo of senior businessperson with grey beard and hair in a decisive stance

The Conviction of a Leader

We often think of leaders as those who take charge, who set the course, who boldly establish direction and call others to follow. Yet, research on leadership has found that effective leaders are also good listeners, people who solicit and receive input from others, who are willing to change course on the basis of new evidence or wisdom. We who lead, therefore, must determine what kind of leadership is required at any given moment.

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Painting "The Vanity of the Artist's Dream" by Charles Bird King

Blessed in All Things

If someone were to sum up your life when you’re in your final days on Earth, wouldn’t you like it to sound something like Genesis 24:1? Someday, I hope it might be said of me, “Now Mark was old, well advanced in years; and the LORD had blessed Mark in all things.” Blessed in all things! Now that’s the kind of life I want to experience. In fact, I’d be happy with “Blessed in all things” as the epitaph on my gravestone.

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A Prayer for the Pulpit . . . and the Workplace

Growing up, one of my heroes was a Presbyterian pastor named Ben Patterson. He was the speaker at many of the Christian conferences I attended as a teenager. I was gripped by his theological insight and poetic skill. When I began work as a young pastor, I listened to dozens of Ben’s tapes, seeking to learn from him how to be an effective communicator of the Gospel.

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Owning a Bit of the Future

Genesis 23 begins with the sad news of Sarah’s death and Abraham’s mourning for her. Yet most of the chapter is taken up with the story of Abraham’s securing a place to bury Sarah. As a resident alien in Canaan, he did not own property and, therefore, lacked a suitable burial site for his wife.

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