What Is Success?

If you think success is having tons of money, you’re going to find yourself in a very, very sad place. Success is not about having millions of dollars. I know all kinds of people from all walks of life that have plenty of joy, and not one of them has even close to a million dollars. Why are they so joyful? It’s because they don’t find their joy in money.

Joseph was successful because the Lord was with him. When he went to work, his bosses looked at him favorably. I think his fellow workers probably appreciated him and enjoyed his company. He didn’t upset them. He said things that encouraged them. And when he did something at work, it produced good results.

All of this happened because Joseph relied on the wisdom of God. Joseph didn’t do what he thought was right. He did what God said is right. Joseph asked God for wisdom.

You can be just as successful as Joseph! You can say to God, “Help me make a decision. Help me to make a decision that will allow things to prosper in my place of work.” Then your work will prosper, because you allowed God to talk to you and guide you in it. You allowed Him to show you what you need to do to help your employers succeed.

That’s how Joseph gained favor in the eyes of his bosses. God showed him what to do, and he worked hard at it. So he succeeded!

This is how I focus my efforts. If I went to the field every day and work really hard on being a side-armed pitcher, I would not find success, because that’s not what I’ve been asked to do. Or I could say, “I’m going to learn to throw a knuckleball,” and then I could work really hard on that. But if that’s not the wisdom that God is giving me, I’m not going to be very good. It wouldn’t matter how hard I worked at it!

It’s not just about working hard. It’s about working wisely. It’s about using the wisdom that God has given you.

I know what you’re saying right about now. What about all the nonbelievers that have tons of success? Of course a nonbeliever can still succeed in his work! He probably works really hard in certain areas that he knows brings success. He goes to work and says, “I know what works so that’s what I’m going to do, and I’m going to work really hard at it and do it well.” And he does.

But now think about this. What if he finds Jesus? What if he then uses the wisdom that God gives him? Not only does he use his own wisdom, he also uses God’s wisdom. And then what happens? Now he not only does his own work, but he does the Lord’s work too. He finds a joy he couldn’t have known in any other way. It’s a joy that you cannot match, and that is success!

See you Monday.

The Holiness of Success

Sometimes people wonder what keeps me focused on social justice. They ask me, “What makes you do all this for other people?” Well, I do it because I care about other people. I love them, and I love the God that created them. It’s the same God that created me. He saved my life! So I want to help save others.

I’m focused on success for the same reason. I focus on success because I want to achieve something, not only for myself, but for those who do not have. I’m talking about those who do not have food, or clean water, or a mom and dad to love them, or even basic freedom.

I’d love to see that same approach to success take root in the world on a global scale. Continue reading

What Is Success?

If you think success is having tons of money, you’re going to find yourself in a very, very sad place. Success is not about having millions of dollars. I know all kinds of people from all walks of life that have plenty of joy, and not one of them has even close to a million dollars. Why are they so joyful? It’s because they don’t find their joy in money.

Joseph was successful because the Lord was with him. When he went to work, his bosses looked at him favorably. I think his fellow workers probably appreciated him and enjoyed his company. He didn’t upset them. He said things that encouraged them. And when he did something at work, it produced good results. Continue reading

Grace At Work – Part 2

Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for GOD’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
Run to GOD! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
your very bones will vibrate with life! Proverbs 3:5-8

There’s a difference between going to work with a grace-based mentality, and going to work with a legalistic mentality. A person living in grace will say, “God will show me how to work to become successful.” But legalism says, “I will work hard, so that God will see how hard I work and make me successful.” Continue reading

Grace At Work – Part 1

Then the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were confined in the prison, had a dream, both of them, each man’s dream in one night and each man’s dream with its own interpretation. And Joseph came in to them in the morning and looked at them, and saw that they were sad. So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in the custody of his lord’s house, saying, “Why do you look so sad today?”

And they said to him, “We each have had a dream, and there is no interpreter of it.”

So Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, please.” Genesis 40:5-8

When we are learning about grace, the story of Joseph has so much to teach us. It is such an apt illustration of what life can be like if we live by the Spirit. If we live by the Spirit, our deeds will reflect that. If we live in grace, then we will live a righteous life. We don’t need the law to tell us what to do. In the Spirit-led life, we know what to do. Continue reading

From Prison to Palace: Joseph’s Life in Grace

I’ve been writing so much about grace in family life, but God gives us grace in our work too. Make yourself available to hear His wisdom, and He’ll show you where to focus your efforts. The next thing you know, you’ll succeed in everything you do.

Just look at what the story of Joseph can teach us. It’s such a good story! But it’s more than that. There is so much wisdom in it. There is so much to Joseph.

The story goes like this: Joseph’s brothers are jealous of him, so they sell him to some traders who take him to Egypt. In Egypt, Joseph is sold into the household of Potiphar, who managed the Pharaoh’s household. Continue reading

Can’t Do It Without Him

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

In a Spirit-led life, our deeds are righteous. But they don’t belong to us. If I am a righteous man, it’s only because I have the blood of Jesus on me. If I live a righteous life and make right decisions, it will be because Jesus is in me and works through me. I can’t boast about that.

I can’t do this without Him. Continue reading

How to Catch More Fish

Welcome back! Thank you for all your support for my first book! I’m looking forward to doing more writing, starting right now.

I’ve been learning to look at everything through the dialectic of law and grace. It’s amazing to me how the whole Bible just opens up and begins to live, once I look at it this way.

The story in John 21:1-14 serves as a great example. That’s the story where the resurrected Jesus miraculously fills the disciples’ net with fish, right? So what happens?

The disciples fish all night and don’t catch anything. When morning comes, Jesus is already on shore. He has built a fire, and He’s already cooking His own fish. You can imagine the conversation. The disciples say, “Hey, you caught fish!” And Jesus replies, “Yeah, where’s your fish?” The disciples tell him, “We’ve been working all night, and we don’t have any fish!” So Jesus says, “Well, why don’t you throw your nets over there?” And they say, “Jesus, have you not heard us? We labored all night and have not caught anything.” Continue reading

And He Will Return

“I love you.”

I see the homeless guy, and I love him. I’m going to help him if I can. That’s being Jesus. That’s the movement I’m asking you to join. It seems simple, and you might think, “Of course, that’s how I was raised,” but most of us still don’t do it very well. I don’t do it very well. There’s so much more I could do to love my neighbor as myself. I keep trying!

The movement to love our neighbor as ourselves is stirring. It is stirring in this world. It is awesome to see.

I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes Americans forget that there’s any other country out there. Continue reading

The Funny Thing About San Francisco

Here’s the funny thing about San Francisco. For the first seven years of my professional career, I said, “No chance I’m ever signing with San Francisco. I will not go there.” People would ask me, “Why not?” And I would tell them, “Because I don’t agree morally with that city, and I don’t agree politically with that city.”

Anytime my team went to San Francisco to play, either the A’s or the Giants depending on the league I was in, we’d always stay in San Francisco. I would stay in my hotel room the entire time. I would only come out to go to the ballpark. When it was time to get on a train, I wouldn’t even leave the hotel and wait on the sidewalk. Instead, I’d stay inside and look out the doors. As soon as the BART came, I’d run to it, get on, and go to the field. I didn’t want anything to do with that city. Continue reading