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Courage to Follow

It takes courage to discover who you really are and to live from that center.

There is a story in one of the Gospels where Jesus, standing safely on shore, tells his soon-to-be disciples to give their fishing expedition one more try. This group was already dog-tired from a full night of fishing, and had nothing to show for it.

“Put out into deep water, and throw your nets out one more time.”

Against all common sense they rowed back out.  This whole affair was going nowhere — or so they thought.  To their delight the fishermen caught so many fish that their boats were swamped.

I made my decision to push out into the deep water, to discover and pursue the work that I was made to do.  I enjoy the challenge of the search and the process of discovery.  Some of our greatest innovations came to us through people who decided to persist in spite of adversity.

God is Redeeming Work Itself

God is Redeeming Work Itself

God Redeems Work

This is the first of several posts that I have written on the topic of God’s redeeming our everyday work lives, and I first started writing on this topic because I am interested in developing it into a talk.  I believe that God is in the process of redeeming work because I can see evidence of God’s moves in this direction through recent history, and I would like to explore this here and in subsequent posts.

I believe that God wants work to be meaningful and wants us to do work that we enjoy.

I came across a presentation by Dr. Denise Daniels of Seattle Pacific University.  Her presentation is titled “Redeeming Work:
 Living Out God’s Purpose in Our Work“.  It provided me with several eye-opening moments.  Until reading this presentation I had been of the opinion that the fall had doomed us to toil in tedium.  There was no escape.  Dr. Daniel’s presentation covered the fall, yet it enlightened me by introducing me to the concept that God, in fact, has redeemed work.

Dr. Daniels’s presentation reminded me that:

  • We are to co-create with God (Gen 1:28)
  • We have a responsibility to be stewards of God’s creation (Gen 1:28Gen 2:15).

Work can be viewed in 3 distinct phases

  1. Creation – work here was very good.
  2. Fall – work here is nothing but toil and hardship.
  3. Redemptive – work here gets back to how work was during the Creation.

Dr. Daniels delivers a considerably thought-provoking slide, and I am quoting verbatim here from slide 22, by listing the following areas were redemptive work mitigates the effects of the fall.

  • Facilitates Healing
    • Physical
    • Emotional
    • Spiritual
  • Provides Justice
    • Economic
    • Social
  • Restores Relationships
    • Household
    • Co-workers
    • Local Communities
    • Global Communities

The single thing that stood out the most is Dr. Daniel’s claim that God would like us to have autonomy (slide 21).  This is directly in line with work being done by Stone, Deci and Ryan (2009) on Self-determination Theory (SDT).  Autonomy plays a big part in workers overall satisfaction and organizational commitment. To see autonomy listed here is very intriguing, indeed, and I plan to work this into my presentation as well.


Daniels, D. (2008). Redeeming work: Living out God’s Purpose in our work [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from

Stone, D., Deci, E., & Ryan, R. (2009). Beyond talk: Creating autonomous motivation through self-determination theory. Journal of General Management, 34(3), 75–91.

Will Prayer Really Help My Business?

Will Prayer Really Help My Business?

I have never wrestled with such an all encompassing question as this: will prayer really help my business?

I find myself in the same situation in the world of business.  There are formulas, rules to be followed.  Show up on time.  Work hard.  Develop your brand.  All that.  I have tried following the rules only to learn that they don’t always work.  Sure, they turn out to be good advice, but no matter how much I show up on time, how hard I work or how well I develop my brand, it is eventually God that allows my work to amount to anything.  I make a presentation to a big prospect.  I have done my homework.  I have worked hard.  I put together everything the prospect said he wanted.  Now it is up to God to do what He will.  I think at some point it all comes down to this.  No matter how we try to tilt the odds in our favor it still comes back to our needing to rely on God for His provision.

I have prayed for many things over the past dozen years — more clients, more revenue, greater influence.  Sometimes it works out really well and I get exactly what I wanted.  Other times I get nothing.  No answered prayer, no guidance.  Just some sense of disappointment over the formula not working.

What are we to make of this?  Is God not reliable?  Doesn’t He care?

I am not much for quoting Bible verses, but I will add a piece of one here.  “…but it was God who made it grow” (1 Cor 3:6b, NLT).  The story behind the verse is that an early church builder, an apostle, wrote about people who were working together to build the church.  Each person had their own role, but it was God who allowed their work to amount to something.

Finding Your Voice – The Introduction

Finding Your Voice – The Introduction

The Key to Your Life – In Three Chapters

There those few lucky ones among us who are born knowing what they want to do in life.  For the rest of us, we get to work out this puzzle like doing longhand division — it takes time.

  • Chapter 1 – Discover Who You Are
  • Chapter 2 – Discover the range of work that calls to you
  • Chapter 3 – Pick something in the range and go for it

But First, An Introduction

All good books have an introduction.  For the faith-based among us this introduction is your getting connected to your Creator.  Ask Him why you are here.  Ask Him why He created you.  Don’t stop asking until you have an answer.  Some people stick with this question for only a few hours until they get an answer.  For others it may take years before they get an answer.  Keep pressing.  This is the best time you could possibly spend.

You can hear an answer in a number of ways.  See if any of the following pertain to you:

  • A particular magazine, book, or TV show “speaks” to you.
  • Your friends say that you are good at a particular skill or particular range of skills.
  • You get a great sensation in your “heart” when thinking about a certain job or career.
  • You feel that you identify with the main characters in a movie.

For more on a faith-based approach to learning who you are, see It’s Your Call by Gary Barkalow.  This is perhaps the single best book I have ever read on the topic of calling.  You will also want to take a look at Wild At Heart by John Eldredge, in particular, chapters 1 through 3.

In upcoming articles I will unpack key milestones in chapters 1, 2 and 3.


Following Your Call Leads To Healing

Following Your Call Leads To Healing

This is the second post in a series that I am writing on how God is redeeming work.  My major premise here is that originally intended for work to be productive, enjoyable and a natural extension of who you are.

In my earlier post where I kicked off the series, I mentioned I came across a presentation by Dr. Denise Daniels of Seattle Pacific University.  One of the biggest insights I gained from Dr. Daniels’s presentation is that redemptive work facilitates

  • Physical healing
  • Emotional healing
  • Spiritual healing (Daniels, 2008)

Likewise I have also found a post from Dennis Sy who wrote a post titled Redeeming Work. Here Dennis makes the point that “No longer is work a necessary evil. It is now a calling.”

Is it possible that by following our respective callings that God will lead us to work that nurtures our souls and heals our bodies?


Daniels, D. (2008). Redeeming work: Living out God’s Purpose in our work [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from


It Is Never Too Late

It Is Never Too Late

I enjoy breaking myths — especially ones that tend to hold us back the most.

The one I want to address today is: You’re too late.

Sometimes this one also takes the forms of “You’ve missed your window” or “You’re too old.”

In this blog I feel  I don’t talk about faith as much as I should. Today, however,  I’m going to open that window — the window I don’t open nearly enough in my writing.

[shareable cite=”John Eldredge”]Eternal life has already started.[/shareable]

John Eldredge, author of Moving Mountains: Praying with Passion, Confidence, and Authoritypoints out to us in his writings that, for people of the Christian faith, eternal life isn’t something that starts when we die. In fact, eternal life has already started.

Let that sink in for a moment.

You will never die.

Of course, the body you now have will not make the transition to eternal life. The bonus here though is that you get a new body, one that doesn’t get sick or wear down.

What does this mean for the life that you’re living now?

This is a total test run.

If life so far has not given you the opportunity to live out your greatest hopes and desires, I have great news for you – you’re going to have plenty of time!

In fact, you’re going to have forever.

[shareable cite=”Jason R. Owens”]You are Never Too Old to Start![/shareable]

  • If you tried to start a business and failed
  • If you tried writing a book that never got published
  • If you designed a program that never caught on
  • If you wanted to have kids but couldn’t
  • If you wanted to buy a house but couldn’t
  • If you kept getting passed over for a promotion
  • If you didn’t have a good childhood
  • If you felt invisible
  • Unloved
  • Unqualified

I have great news!

  • You will have the business you’ve always wanted
  • You will publish the book and it will be widely read
  • The program you want to design will catch on to greater effect
  • You will get to feel the joy of having kids
  • You will live in a house you could never possibly imagine
  • You will no longer be ignored for your talents
  • You will be promoted and have amazing authority
  • You will feel the joy of a child who has a caring Father
  • You will be widely known
  • Loved
  • Well-qualified

Is it too late to start moving towards your dreams? Is it too late to start taking the steps you felt were long out of your reach?

Absolutely not!

Start today.

Get a head start. Develop your skills.

Deal with your demons.

You’ve seen the bumper sticker “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

Does it feel too good to be true?

“Too good to be true” is exactly what you get when you’re living in the Kingdom.

[shareable cite=”Jason R. Owens”]Buckle your seat belt. It’s going to be a great ride![/shareable]

Are You Ready for a Larger Story?

Are You Ready for a Larger Story?

You were made for something more!  Down deep most of us know this.  We get a sense of it when we go to the movies or we feel our hearts tug as we read a good story.  It comes as a haunting voice that we can hear only when we slow down long enough to listen.

We want to be the hero.  We want to have adventure in our lives.

The good news is that there is plenty of adventure out here for those who seek it.

An epic story started thousands of years ago, and now you have a vital role to play.  We need you.

Your New Identity

For many of us pursuing our best selves means trading in our current jobs in favor of self-employment.

We leave behind the identities we formed during the 5 years we spent in engineering, the 10 years we spent in accounting, or the 20 years we spent in HR.

The “sensible” thing to do would be to continue what we learned at our employer.  If you worked in accounting, then become self-employed as an accountant.

But most of us don’t want to do the sensible thing.

When I talk to people who have left corporate America they are not continuing their old roles.  Often they shed the accountant or HR title for something like chef, app developer, or even guitarist.

People sometimes choose a path that you might think was for the younger crowd.  I’ve known plenty of people who want to go on the road — at age 40+!  Some as public speakers, some as workshop leaders.  Others want to start their own ministry.

Our hearts don’t always lead us to do what is sensible, but following the heart is often great medicine.

[Tweet “Following your heart is the best thing you can do.”]

We Need You

Please know that without you, our world slows to something less than perfect.

  • Apsiring chefs, we need the new dish that you will cook.
  • Authors, we long to hear another great story.
  • Dancers, we love to watch you.

When you hold in your gifts, when you play small, it does no one any good.

You inspire us to take our own first steps towards greatness.

Let your light shine!

We you realize that living from your gifts and calling enables and inspires others to do the same, it gives you even more encouragement to continue on your path.

 Your Adventure Awaits

Over the years I have come to realize that the thrill of being self-employed doesn’t come from being my own boss.  The thrill comes from stepping into uncharted waters.

I remember when my wife and I were first married, and she would say, “Let’s go hiking and have some adventures!”  Several hiking trips later I realized that “adventure” does not always mean “fun” or “safe”.

Be prepared my fellow traveler — if you seek self-employment, you will have plenty of adventures.  I can’t guarantee they will be fun, and most of them are far from safe.

[Tweet “There is plenty of adventure out here for those who seek it.”]

[reminder]What is the larger story that you feel called into? Continue the conversation on facebook, twitter, or linkedin.[/reminder]

1 Reason Failed Plans Can Be Your Biggest Rescue

1 Reason Failed Plans Can Be Your Biggest Rescue

It is snowing.

A lot.

In this part of the country that much snow means trouble.

All we can do at this point is weather the storm.

Which means a lot of sitting.

And waiting.

There are plenty of other things I could be doing today. Productive things. Work-related things.

While my only choice is to dial down my angst, part of me secretly loves times like these. Times where my plans get interrupted; times when all I can’t go 90 miles an hour.

When I stop moving for too long, I really start to take stock of my life.

This been such a rescue for me in the past. These sitting and waiting times have saved me from continuing down a road I shouldn’t have been on. A wrong turn that I was trying to solve by going faster.

I imagine you’ve had times like this too. Times when you were…

  • traveling for work, and get stuck in a massive delay at the airport.
  • waiting for a tow truck to pull you out of a ditch.
  • stuck in the waiting room of the quick-change oil change place that has had your car for over an hour.

These are great opportunities for reflection, and sometimes I suspect that God arranges moments like these to slow us down, to get us out of our usual frenzied pace.

Then, and perhaps only then, do we ask ourselves the most dangerous question we will ever ask ourselves:

What am I doing here?

The reason this question is so dangerous is because the answer has the potential to up end our lives.  Daring to ask that question could lead us to all sorts of other wild places such as the desires of our heart, and how we could have abandoned them so long ago.

If we ask that dangerous question we could also start to think about our calling, and if there even is such a thing as having a purpose, and if so, how we can find it.

And then we begin to realize that yes, there is such a thing as a calling. We begin to see people living from their purpose, and we begin to want that in our own lives as well.  We forgive ourselves for taking the wrong turns, we forgive ourselves for our former misplaced priorities. We begin to see our way out of the fog.

The next time you find that life has hit your pause button, and you are not going to catch the flight, or get your car back, or do anything that was on your list for that day, take a few minutes… no…take an hour to sit with this question: “What am I doing here?”

If you stay with it, I promise you, answering that question will lead you on more adventures that you can possibly imagine.

[feature_box style=”12″ only_advanced=”There are no title options for the choosen style” alignment=”center”]

When I let my wife proofread this article, she said I needed to follow it up with some practical how-to behind my suggestion. So, here it is…

Here is one exercise I put together that will allow you to start working toward your future right now.  I hope you enjoy it.[/feature_box]

Click to Start Exercise