Surviving Three (Bummer) Realities of the Workplace

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Later this summer, I’ll be turning 30. I graduated from college eight years ago. And yes, I’m starting to find gray hairs.

But on a lighter note … Now that I have almost a decade of work experience under my belt (which is now a few notches looser), I’ve realized there are a handful of lessons my 16 years in the school system failed to teach me. For those of you who recently graduated or are maybe still getting settled in the professional atmosphere, allow me to share my vast old man knowledge with you. I recognize not everyone has desk jobs exactly like mine, but if you do, you might be experiencing a bit of a rude awakening with #adulting.

Here are three realities in office-land I’ve had a tough time adjusting to, plus some advice for how to get through.

Read the full post on Boundless here.

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Seek Meekness in the Age of the Guru

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Over the past couple years, I’ve noticed a strange phenomenon online and through social media. Maybe you’ve noticed it, too. Seemingly out of nowhere, we have entered into a new age of the internet: The age of the guru.

Almost every week I receive an invite to sign up for an email newsletter or subscribe to a YouTube channel or like a new Facebook page or listen to a podcast from an acquaintance who has an exciting new business opportunity or has decided to become a “coach.”

Especially since I’m a writer and work in marketing, I get bombarded with these things all the time. I routinely get invited to seminars and video series guaranteeing to “exponentially grow my platform” and coach me into becoming a high-level influencer.

Since I work at a church, I get email newsletters (that I don’t remember signing up for) with “7 secrets every leader needs to grow a ministry” and “9 new trends your church needs to adopt today” and “12 things I did that BLEW UP my ministry to inner-city balloon artists!” (See what I did there?)

Read the full post on Boundless here.

Rock Stars Need Amazing Grace, Too

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Recently two major musicians made announcements and career changes that I find very interesting, and they may serve as an important wake-up call for us believers.

Earlier this year, the metalcore group Underoath announced a comeback album and accompanying tour. The group had taken a highly publicized hiatus in 2013, but they recently returned to the spotlight in April with a new album and new single. Christians embraced the group (particularly vocalist Aaron Gillespie) for many years for their faith-filled lyrics matched with highly acclaimed music. That combination was — and still is — rare in “Christian” hard rock.

This new album, however, comes with an “explicit” label and includes language and themes many fans weren’t expecting. In recent magazine interviews and several Twitter dialogues, the band confirmed they no longer consider themselves a “Christian band.”

Before we go any further, I want to make one thing very clear: My point here is not to point fingers or criticize any of these artists. In fact, my goal is quite different. I think we — as Christian fans, followers and friends — may need to adjust our expectations and reactions to our beloved rock stars.

Read the full post on Boundless here.

Learn to Stretch Your “Ought” Muscles

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I have really strong “ought” muscles. Just like having huge biceps, living with these ought muscles is both a blessing and a curse. And I would know, because I also have huge biceps. Or, at least I ought to.

Let me explain: My eyes and my heart are often strongly drawn toward injustice. When I see something wrong in the world, I have a tendency to get rather agitated because I see how it ought to be.

When I see children around the world without clean water, something deep within me twists, because that is not how it ought to be. When women are treated poorly and not given equal opportunity as men, my ought muscles twitch. When political corruption takes over yet another headline, my inner Popeye rolls up his sleeves, hops on a table and bellows, “That’s all I can stands and I can’t stands no more!”

Read the full post on Boundless here.

Be Grateful For Your Dead Grass

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My wife and I are in the process of buying a new house. If you’ve ever gone through this before, you know it can be a pretty huge and daunting task. Finding the right house is a pretty big challenge by itself, but then you get to do all sorts of fun things with insurance and warranties and inspections and appraisals and roofers and electricians — and who even knows what escrow actually is?

For our little family, this move is an exciting blessing. Ever since we had our first kiddo six months ago, we realized how quickly we outgrew our space. Babies don’t actually take up that much square footage, but my goodness they actually kind of do! When I start daydreaming of what our lives will be like with a basement and an extra bedroom and actual storage space, I get pretty giddy with excitement.

But then,

  • I remember the backyard is full of dead grass and weeds.
  • We’ve never had a basement, but this one is kind of small.
  • Our bedroom has its own bathroom, but the door is in an annoyingly inconvenient spot.
  • The kitchen is fine, but it sure would be nice to have better countertops.

Read the full post on Boundless here.

A Case for Hometown Pride

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I’ve lived in Kansas most of my life. If you’ve never been to Kansas, let’s save some time and get all the jokes out of the way:

  • No, there aren’t tornadoes every day.
  • I don’t own any ruby slippers and have yet to see a flying monkey.
  • We actually have buildings and highways in the midst of the wheat and corn.
  • We do have electricity and Wi-Fi and Starbucks and cars and high-definition TVs.
  • Locals won’t laugh if you make a “not in Kansas anymore” joke.

Yes, to most of the world, my home state is one you typically drive through and fly over. I get it: We don’t have mountains or beaches or huge cities or noteworthy landmarks. I remember kind of despising my hometown of Wichita growing up. Compared to the rest of the world, Wichita seemed boring and unremarkable. I dreamed of moving to a big, exciting city like New York or Chicago where real things happened.

Read the full post on Boundless here.

Learning from the “Bad Guy” in “Black Panther”

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The latest release in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been surrounded by buzz and excitement for months — and rightfully so. Unlike other Marvel movies, “Black Panther” brought in new audiences and purposely broke the mold of a typical superhero movie.

For the first time, a young black man was the focus of a major full-length superhero film, but it wasn’t just that — this story also featured powerful female figures, and the film creators were purposeful in hiring a black director and writers and a majority black cast and crew. The story of Black Panther was much bigger and more significant than just a strong dude in a sweet cat costume jumping out of spaceships and onto moving cars. It’s a statement that anyone of any color can be a hero — not just good-looking white guys named Chris (I’m looking at you, Evans, Hemsworth, Pratt and Pine).

I think it’s wonderful the film is performing so well at the box office and getting Certified Fresh reviews from critics. Beyond all that, though, I want to take a look at a different aspect of the film that I think is significant for us as believers to consider.

Read the full post on Boundless here.