C3 Leaders’ Advent Devotional 2020
Published by C3 Leaders
Part of C3 Leaders’ B2B Devotional Series
Editor: Devon Skaufel
Advent Devotional 2020 copyright © 2020 by C3 Leaders
My childhood holiday memories smell like a steak house.
My parents owned a restaurant, so we worked every holiday. Family holiday celebrations were with our staff at the end of the night. These memories are the fun, laughter, and joy of the post-shift “family” dinner…and that steak house aroma.
If you have ever worked in the “industry,” you get it. The smell of the restaurant sticks with you…or, better, on you. It is on your clothes. It is in your hair. It is everywhere. It goes with you.
In this Advent season, may I encourage you to put on the aroma of Christ. Our prayer is that this devotional, written by business and organizational leaders from the Puget Sound region, may immerse you in Jesus.
Christmas will be full of parties with fun, laughter, and joy. There will be work parties. You’ll enjoy family dinners. Gift giving on Christmas eve or morning. At these events, I hope people “sniff” Jesus on you. That they will know where you have been, in His Word and at work for Him. May you be the aroma of Christ.
Mason Rutledge, President
What is Advent?
WHAT IS ADVENT? Advent is the four-week season of preparation for Christmas. For many of us, unfamiliar with the liturgical year, there may be confusion around the meaning of Advent.
There is certainly anticipation in Advent…awaiting the arrival of Christ. That is part of the story, but there is more to Advent than expectations.
The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word meaning “coming.” Since the 6th century, Roman Christians have celebrated Advent as a part of Christmas. Their idea though was not about Christ’s birth in Bethlehem, but His second coming. It was not until the Middle Ages that the Advent season was linked to Jesus’ first coming at Christmas. Today, Advent marks the beginning of the Christian liturgical year.
Most importantly, Advent offers a special way for each of us to focus on the meaning of our Lord’s birth and to look expectantly to His coming again.
The encouragement is to use this time to turn again to the God who keeps seeking us in love. As we do that through reflection, reading and celebration, we will enjoy the great blessing of the Father who sent His only Son.
The following reflections are written by the broad C3 Leaders’ family. You will read devotions by some of our incredible C3 Forum Chairs, members of C3 Forums, members of the C3 Board, C3 Ambassadors, and friends of C3 Leaders.
Take time daily to read the Biblical passages and then reflect upon the brief devotional writing. You may also want to journal your thoughts and prayers. May God bless you.
Today’s Reading: Amos 1:1-5, 13-2:8, 1 Thess. 5:1-11, Luke 21:5-19
Devotional Written by Steve Brannon
C3 Forum Chair
Chairman of the Board, American Construction Company
It was our 40th anniversary and we were heading back to our honeymoon spot. Just 20-days earlier we had purchased a car. We left the house separately and being polite, I let my wife pull out first. One of us pushed the wrong button (I know who but am protecting the guilty) and the incorrect door closed as I backed out. Crunch! I leapt out to discover a damaged vehicle, a very dented garage door, and parts on the floor. My wife drove off without looking back, no doubt having loving thoughts of her husband with whom she had been connected these many years.
My thoughts were not as tender. Our brand-new car! I held the parts and could not believe it! I put them on the passenger seat floor and left. As I drove, I leaned over to pick up the parts, wondering if I could reinstall them. BANG! I looked up just as I sideswiped a garbage can.
It is easy to become distracted and not prepared for an unexpected occurrence. As Advent begins, let us not be asleep but alert, self-controlled, full of faith, hope, and love, and ready for the transformation that God will produce in our hearts as we give ourselves over to His work in our life.
- How do you react in the moment to the changes and difficulties that we are promised?
- Would you be accepting of God tearing down the institutions in your life for His purposes? Even the religious ones (like the temple)?
Today’s Reading: Amos 2:6-16, 2 Peter 1:1-11, Matthew 21:1-11
Devotional Written by Paul Perez
C3 Forum Chair
Executive Coach, Accelerated Breakthrough Coaching
If you were going to choose a “coming out” party date – as in, your grand debut into the world, where you unveil yourself as the “best thing since sliced bread,” or dare I say it, “the Savior of the universe,” would you do it four days before you were taken into captivity and five days before you were publicly shamed with a criminal’s death?
Yeah… me neither.
In fact, the story gets a little weirder when you look at the actual events, and not just the historical context. Unless I’m mistaken, what Jesus told His two unnamed disciples to do when He assigned them to go fetch the tethered donkey and its foal was in the modern-day equivalent, “Go to this parking lot and jack these two cars. If anyone asks you what you’re doing, say, ‘The Boss-man needs them,’ and you’ll be okay.”
What’s even more confounding is what Jesus had in mind when He rode in on the foal of a donkey. He knew He was riding to His certain human death – and eventually to His eternal heavenly dominion. His adherents thought He was riding in to be received to accept His earthly throne and vanquish all their national enemies forever. Truly, “His ways are above our ways.” Isn’t that both comforting and frustrating?
Following Messiah Jesus and belonging to Him is fraught with weirdness. That’s why the writer of Hebrews penned, “Without faith, it is impossible to please Him.” It truly takes faith – belief in the unseen – to really walk with God.
Soren Kierkegaard once said, “Life is lived forward, but understood backwards.” For those of us who have walked with Him for a while, and are still experiencing curve balls even as the days (especially of 2020!) unfold, it’s deeply reassuring that we belong to a God “Who sees the end from the beginning.”
This Advent season may our constant prayer and confession be, “Lead on, King Eternal! We trust You. We need you!”
- In what aspects of your life are you not relying on God?
- What are real changes you can make to give those things over to God?
Today Reading: Amos 3:1-11, 2 Peter 1:12-21, Matthew 21:12-22 NLT
Devotional Written by Wayne Johnson
C3 Forum Chair
Business Builder, Rise Champions Solutions
Today’s reading jumped out to me in three main parts and is timely for our world today:
- Amos v. 3:3-7 presents timeless WARNINGS about the cause and effect of sin in the world. The understanding as believers who have been intimate with Christ, we have a higher level of OWNERSHIP over sin in our personal lives and the world around us.
- 2 Peter 1:12 reminds us to “stand firm in the truth you have been taught.” The world and culture work hard to desensitize us and program our thoughts away from God’s truth. It is a daily battle. He instructs our ACTION in 2 Peter 1:19 to “pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place…”
- Finally, in Matthew 21:12-22, Jesus sends WARNING again to us about how easily corruption and greed can sneak into the church. But I want to focus on the last part of this passage where Jesus teaches us OWNERSHIP & ACTION we can take in our daily life against any obstacle personally facing us or appearing as a mountain-sized problem (v21) in our world today. (v22) ACTION: “You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”
- In your prayer today, is there any warning the Holy Spirit is bringing to your attention you need to pray against?
- What is a mountain you thought was too big to move, that you can begin prayerfully chipping away at today?
Today’s Reading: Amos 3:12-4:5, 2 Peter 3:1-10, Matthew 21:23-32
Devotional Written by Craig Detweiler
C3 Leaders’ National Council
President/CEO, The Wedgwood Circle
How do we align our faith with our actions? Jesus handled challenges to His authority with remarkable aplomb. In Matthew 21:23-32, Jesus refuses to toss pearls of wisdom before the Sanhedrin. He responds to their efforts to entrap Him with His own question regarding John the Baptist. If they maligned John’s teaching as “human,” they would risk the wrath of His followers. If they credited John’s work as “of God”, then they could not condemn his beloved colleague, Jesus. They respond with political calculations, preferring to be clever rather than honest. Jesus refuses to play their game of “gotcha.”
Instead, Jesus offers a parable that separates words and deeds. Saying the wrong thing (“I will not”) but doing the right thing (working in the Father’s vineyard) is better than mouthing lofty words (“I go, sir”) but not acting upon them. Grand promises are no substitute for performance. Those who seem outside faith circles may be more open to turning towards the Father. Religious leaders who mouth platitudes but fail to live out their convictions are far worse.
Jesus gives today’s business leaders eternal advice: under-promise and over-deliver. Put your claims into practice. Serve in our Father’s vineyard with gladness.
- When have you been pressed on your leadership and authority? How can we employ the wisdom of Jesus in changing the terms of the conversation?
- Advent is a season of preparation. How can we make more room for Jesus to align our faith with our practices this season?
Today’s Reading: Amos 4:6-13,
2 Peter 3:11-18, Matthew 21:33-46
Devotional Written by Taylor Boyd
Development and Logistics Coordinator, Cedarbrae Inc.
Today’s passage has timeless context, as we have all found ourselves reviewing and signing a lease for tenancy in some way or another. In those cases, we take special care to abide by the terms of that lease, so as to avoid breaking it.
The tenant in this parable has forgotten that the land, which they work, does not belong to them, though they view it with possessive eyes. We often get so caught up in our own pursuits and achievements that we forget our success comes solely from the Lord. While we mean well to produce fruit for the Lord, we may fail to give credit where it is truly due.
This parable, with its covert storyline and characters ends with an overt declaration warning the elders and high priests. Verse 43 says “Therefore I tell you; the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.”
During this Advent season, let us reflect on the type of fruit we produce for the body of Christ.
- How well are we working the vineyard of the Lord?
- How will we continually renew our lease on our worldly lives to bear fruit for Christ?
Today’s Reading: Amos 5:1-17, Jude 1-16, Matthew 22:1-14
Devotional Written by Andrew DeMoss
“Many are called but few are chosen.” This is how Jesus ends Matthew 22:14. After lifting our spirits with an invitation extending to all people to join God in Heaven for the Ultimate Feast, Jesus throws in a wrinkle to leave us squirming in our seats.
In this parable, Jesus moves forward sharing how an attendee of said feast is singled out by the host for the garments he has worn. The garments do not match the occasion. As a result, this man is bound and cast out to a place where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Yikes, scary. So why would Jesus share this?
To wear the wardrobe of a Christ follower gets one ever closer to the ultimate party, with our Lord. As God, our host, meets His invitees He will do so with a scrupulous eye. He knows all the colors and shades of our hearts and souls.
When we accept this invitation, our work does not stop. Our Lord will demand that our hearts be draped in the same cloaks we don as followers of Jesus. Amos says to “Seek good, and not evil, that you may live.” The stakes are high. We must meet our call to Christ with love for Good and a hatred of Evil. To be chosen by our Lord is a responsibility like no other.
Reflection Question: Do the garments surrounding your heart match those that you wear upon your sleeve? The Lord demands we dress for the occasion.
Today’s Reading: Amos 5:18-27, Jude 17-25, Matthew 22:15-22
Devotional Written by Tim Jenkins
C3 Leaders’ National Council and
C3 Forum Chair
President, Colchuck Companies
Christ’s entry into the world reminds us of the sun dawning over the horizon: darkness is suddenly pierced, and the world warmed and illuminated. Amos tells us that Christ’s return will be even more precipitous, and our actions on that day will be just as suddenly brought into the light.
This should give us pause. Will Christ find us giving in to the “ungodly passions” that Jude mentions, causing divisions through actions that are “devoid of the Spirit”? Will He see us caught up in the affairs of the world, such as political and cultural wars that more often expose our own hypocrisy than reflect His light?
Most assuredly, our Lord will “let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream”. We can therefore let Caesar keep his possessions; they should be of no value to us. Our work is not to judge or condemn, but to reflect Jesus’ light into the dark places, making His unbounded love known to all we encounter. We can be confident that the brilliance of Christ’s light will cause evil to fade and the intensity of His love will melt away injustice.
Let us amplify this work during the Advent season and pray this is the work Christ finds us engaged in on that coming Day.
- Are you allowing yourself to be divided from your brothers and sisters?
- Is your focus on worldly things like culture and politics or things of God?
Today’s Reading: Amos 6:1-14, 2 Thess. 1:5-12, Luke 1:57-66
Devotional Written by Doug Waltar
Executive Director, Ingalls Creek Enrichment Center
We don’t really know what our expectations are until they are not met. And when our expectations come to light, we often get caught by surprise.
Today’s reading comes from Luke (a Gentile) who writes with the ‘outsider’ in mind. In this Gospel, we find expectations overturned on nearly every page!
People had clear expectations for naming Elizabeth’s son. Yet when named John (a surprise), Zechariah is given back his voice. As Zechariah praises God, the people are stunned, filled with awe, wondering about this child. God is about to do something new!
John the Baptist becomes the prophetic voice crying out “Get Ready.” We wonder, get ready for what? Filled with the Holy Spirit, Zechariah offers a hint, singing “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him.” Then, chapter two, Jesus is born and Simeon continues, “For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
Luke announces that expectations need to be re-shaped by a new story; the story of God’s unexpected coming to earth to show us how to live.
I wonder this Advent, how do our expectations need to be 1) unsettled, and 2) re-shaped to move us more fully into what God’s surprising salvation looks like today?
Today’s Reading: Amos 7:1-9, Matthew 22:23-33, Rev. 1:1-8
Devotional Written by Katie Robertson
Founder/Director, The Anchor Gathering
I have often found myself wondering what heaven will be like. I am confident that this passage is much more than the idea of being married and really about what we have to look forward to and the ultimate relationship we will have with our Lord God Almighty.
Earthly marriage has been a foretaste and all relationships will be closer, more intimate, and much more real when we are together in heaven. The bigger picture to focus on this Christmas time is the power of God and the promise of a risen life for eternity through Jesus Christ.
This passage brings to mind a vivid dream I had after my oldest daughter Karina, passed away at the age of 19. It brought such joy and hope and I think it was a vision of what heaven will be like. In the dream Karina was dressed in a white gown like an angel (just as this passage talks about) there was a forest green sash around her waist that matched her beautiful hazel eyes. I noticed her radiating face framed by her thick brown curly hair.
It was such a wonderful sight to see her healthy normal self with no cancer she had endured for so long. I saw her standing in a vaulted Northwest lodge with massive fir beams. We ran towards each other and embraced in the most amazing way it felt for a minute like it was eternity. I was so taken with holding her tight I had missed her immensely and dreamt of being reunited in heaven. Suddenly she leaned back grasping my forearms and said with excitement, “Mom I have SO much to show you!” and then suddenly I woke up.
This is the hope we have in Jesus Christ the greatest gift to celebrate this season. He has SO much to show you this Advent!
- How can you share the greatest gift of Jesus Christ this Christmas?
- What do you look forward to in heaven?
Today’s Reading: Amos 7:10-17, Rev. 1:9-16, Matthew 22:34-46
Devotional Written by
Senior Associate, Centered
Fred was given six months to live – over three years ago. He is now 91 years old, and his daughter keeps asking him, “Why do you think God has given you this extra gift of time?” He has not had an answer until last week, when he shared that he has had an epiphany. With tears in his eyes, he said “I have thought a lot about loving others over the years, but I never realized or received how much God loves me. I never understood that I need to receive His love in order to love others. I didn’t realize that He is actively involved in our lives. So, it matters that I pray.” What a blessing to receive this truth.
In Matthew 22, Jesus clearly reveals that we are created for relationship, and the greatest commands are to love God with our heart, soul, and mind, and love our neighbors as ourselves. This is our purpose for living. And our identity is received and clarified by His love for us. “We love because He first loved us.” I John 4:19
In this season of Advent, it is good to focus on the truth that love is a person- it is Jesus. And through Him, we are invited into a relationship with the living God of the universe. Every moment, we have a choice to step into His presence, to pay attention to what He is doing, and to ask how we might join Him. He is with us- Emmanuel. The question is, am I with Him?
“Giving and receiving love is at the heart of being human. It is our raison d’etre. It is about knowing ourselves to be deeply loved by God as the first step in becoming genuinely great lovers of others and God.” David Benner
Fred’s understanding of this truth is an answer to over 50 years of prayer- my prayers. He is my dad, and this is truly a miracle.
In this season of Advent, may we take time to meditate on God’s great love for us, a love so great that He sent His son. And may we intentionally pass it on.
- Do you pause each day in prayer to reflect on God’s great love for you?
- Are you loving others as an outpouring of that love?
Today’s Reading: Amos 8:1-14, Rev. 1:17-2:7, Matthew 22:1-12
Devotional Written by Eric L. Drivdahl
Principal, Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl Architecture
In our family, food equals love. The holidays are high time for copious expressions of love in the form of hand crafted meals of homemade goodness and home baked pies – no kidding, the typical pie to person ratio at these events tends to hover around 1:1. These family holiday meals are my nearest personal experience akin to the kingly wedding feast described in today’s gospel reading. It pains me as a business leader that those who were invited to such a feast “…paid no attention and went off – one to his field, another to his business.” (Matthew 22:5 NIV).
Our family holiday meal extravaganzas only come around a couple of times a year and I honestly struggle to imagine choosing to miss out on pecan pie with whip cream. Yet the truth is our Fathers’ banquette is perpetually before us. Jesus himself declares He is “the bread of life” and whoever comes to him will never go hungry (John 6:35). The question we must ask ourselves is…are we entering into the banquette of our King, or are we going off to our field, our business, our hobby, our Netflix distraction?
The glorious reminder of this season is, there is a Kingly banquette spread out before us and we are the privileged guests. Clearly, in God’s family, food equals love as well – the love of Jesus born to offer himself as our bread of life. Let’s pay attention…and enter in!
- Are you going about your life as if you’re invited to the banquet?
- Are you waiting to prepare for the banquet till you’re ready?
Today’s Reading: Amos 9:1-10, Rev. 2:8-17, Matthew 23:13-26
Devotional Written by Chris Seiple
C3 Leaders’ National Council
CEO & Co-Founder, The Sagestone Group
Ouch. Who knew that little-baby-Jesus-in-a-manger would one day say such harsh things! The Pharisees had a problem. So concerned with their image, they forgot their identity. So certain of their rules, they forgot their relationships. So consumed with process, they forgot their purpose. So much so that they were unable to see what the scriptures had said for so long—that He had been born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), the Son of David, to defeat death, and proclaim His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven. But they couldn’t see Him Who made the blind see (John 9); just as Simon (the Pharisee) couldn’t see the woman washing the feet of Jesus (Luke 7:44).
As we advance through Advent, ask yourself, and your loved ones: Do we see Him? Do others see Him in us? If we are to care about the things that Jesus cared about, if we are to love the people Jesus loved—that is, everyone—then these verses beg of us a simple command: Put Christ back in Christmas.
Christmas is the business of Christ. So be about the business of justice, mercy, and faithfulness. See Christ and see the most marginalized. See Christ and see (the sometimes secret) suffering of others. See Christ and recover the awe for the miracle of His birth, and the mystery, majesty, and mercy of His reign. See Christ and let Him be bigger than your imagination. See Christ and allow the best of faith to defeat the worst of religion.
- What is the difference between identity and image?
- What is the visible evidence to accuse you of being His follower?
Today’s Reading: Haggai 1:1-15,
Rev. 2:18-29, Matthew 23:27-39
Devotional Written by
Host/Speaker, Hope Now Radio
Anyone living in the Northwest, perhaps in the country, is familiar with the Iconic Nike corporate logo (the Swish) and its accompanying challenge to “Just Do It.” The marketing department at Nike assumed that their consumers would understand their priorities and accept a little help from Nike to meet them. Living a life of ordered priorities is part and parcel of our Christian calling. Without it our lives become purposeless and we end up as self-indulgent.
All three of the texts before us today clearly communicate God’s priorities for His people. Each of these texts also makes it clear that misplaced priorities result in God’s judgment and subsequent punishment. Let me elaborate…
- In Haggai 1:1-15 God tells His people to build His house before they build their own.
- In Revelation 2:18-29 God tells His people to invest in eternity instead of giving into the deception of society’s values.
- In Matthew 23:27-39 Jesus condemns the religious people of His day for building their own kingdoms and seeking their own righteousness instead of “seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness.”
God’s direction for His people is clear, and He grieves when we walk in another direction.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus entered the stream of human existence with God’s priority for His life firmly in place. He came to accomplish our salvation. As a result, He, “Just Did It” which led to His powerful exclamation from the cross, “It is finished.” May this season produce in us a similar confidence in God’s priorities for our lives.
- Are you building God’s house before your own?
- Whose righteousness are you seeking after?
Today Reading: Matthew 24:1-14, Rev. 3:1-6, Haggai 2:1-19
Devotional Written by Steve Bell
C3 Leaders’ National Council
Chief Executive Officer, Bellmont Cabinets
These passages remind me of a plaque that hung in our home while I was growing up. “Only one life, will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”
These three passages all deal with misplaced priorities:
- Living in luxury while God’s work
and house (literally and figuratively) lie in shambles.
- Being overconfident in our own work and institutions.
- Fake news of living for Christ but pursuing our own worldly pleasures.
My father’s passion was to meet international students at Portland State University and introduce them to Christ. At his memorial service, one of those students got up and shared that “Mr. Bell served the Lord out of love, not duty.” How often do we find ourselves serving God out of habit and obligation rather than from the pure joy of what Christ did for us on the cross?
As we read these passages, we find that Israel did repent, and God blessed them. Our man-made institutions will fail, we will face persecution but we who preserve to the end will prevail. To the church at Sardis, Jesus said, “I know your works. You have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead. Wake up.” He entreats us to stay faithful and our names will never be removed from the book of life.
As we enjoy and experience this Advent season let us be reminded that Christ may have come as a babe, but His true mission was to give His life that we might live. And may we serve the Lord out of love, not duty this Advent.
- Are you serving the Lord out of love or duty?
- In what ways can you bring love and joy back into your life this season?
Today’s Reading: Amos 9:11-15, 2 Thess. 2:1-3, 13-17, John 5:30-47,
Devotional Written by Frank Trieu
Vice President of Business Development & Industry Relations,
Evergreen Beauty College
Today’s reading come from John 5:30: “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?”
With only 12 days before Christmas, the world shouts, “You must do this” and “You must buy that” during this season. As December 25th approaches, her words are so tempting. Why am I drawn to it … maybe because it’s easy and familiar?
However, 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 does not call me to do what is easy. “May our LORD Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” The world needs our testimony, to bring glory and honor to this Season. My brothers and sisters need ME to live out God’s incredible love through my deeds and through my words.
As you reflect on today’s devotional, I pray that the Spirit envelopes you in understanding, wisdom, and courage, so you may live out God’s love. I also pray those hearts you encounter today, may be open to your testimony.
- How is God calling you to help others prepare for the Season of the Child?
- Are you continually looking for these opportunities?
Today’s Reading: Zech. 1:7-17, Rev. 3:7-13, Matthew 24:15-31
Devotional Written by Preston O’Malley
Controller, MN Custom Homes
The return of Jesus will be seen as a dark and frightening time for most. As believers, this is the time we’ve been preparing for and provides us hope every day. It’s clear from scripture that our preparation today for this moment is a requirement to help provide clarity when Jesus’ return comes.
- When the situations of our world and country seem to be dark, what hope is provided to you in the passages from Revelations and Matthew?
- What has it looked like in your life to obey God’s command to persevere? Do you find yourself pursuing him daily?
- Jesus’ return will come suddenly without time for preparation. Is there someone in your life you’ve wanted to share the eternal hope Christ brings us? Have you been sitting on the sidelines? Our time to share the Word is now, before His return.
Today’s Reading: Zech. 2: 1-13, Rev. 3: 14-22, Matthew 24: 32-44
Devotional Written by Dustin Stoker
Chief Operations Officer, The Northwest Seaport Alliance
“But concerning THAT DAY and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”
Jesus is referring to THE DAY that He will return again. The earth as it is will be destroyed and a new heaven and earth will be created…true paradise for eternity!
I have to be honest, as I read this passage, I am filled with so many emotions – ranging from longing and hope to fear and sadness. I am perplexed by the emotional diversity these words stir in me. Ones that are so opposite. How is this possible?
As I work through the words of King Jesus it has me longing for the afterlife with Christ. One that is filled with joy, peace, and true perfection. However, as I continue to ponder the words, I feel some level of fear and sadness. Much of this is because I cling onto the things of this world — my wife, children, family, and friends. Will it change? These relationships are all great things that are gifts of the Lord, yet I cling to them as if they are the center of my existence. It calls into question who is at the center of my life? Is it God? Am I worshiping and finding comfort in the Creator or the created? God blesses us with the gifts of this world…yet my sinful nature turns them into idols.
As we move through Advent and celebrate the arrival of the true King, it is my hope that each of you will desire him to change our hearts. To desire Jesus over the created.
Jesus is coming again! All things will be made new and perfect! Am I ready Lord? Come King Jesus!
- What emotions do you experience when you think about Jesus’ return?
- What things do you cling to in this life that hold you back from being ready for HIS return?
Today’s Reading: Zech. 3:1-10, Rev. 4:1-8, Matthew 24:45-51
Devotional Written by David Roberts
C3 Leaders’ Board Member
Sr. Manager Supply Chain Executive, Boeing
A few years ago, my wife and I were walking through New York City when we noticed a striking quote on the side of a trash bin. The statement went something like this, No one cares who had the idea first with the image of an idea scribbled on a napkin on one side, and All Hail the Doers! on the other. Although this statement was written to describe the money focused arena of Wall Street the DOER aspect of life stuck with me.
When Christ was explaining the second coming to the Disciples in Mathew 24 He expresses in verse 46, “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes” (NASB). The NASB version is purposely chosen because of its accurate translation of “doulos” into slave as the original Greek word only means. The word carries much baggage in today’s environment and within this country but it is important to use this word as Christ is giving us as Christians a command to DO God’s work as no one knows the day and time of His arrival to redeem this fallen world. Christ’s words are just as powerful today as when He first said them and God’s promise of blessing for the diligent Slave for Christ is binding for eternity.
- Do you as a Christian view yourself as an employee or slave for Christ?
- If God was completely sovereign over you, just as a master is over a slave, how would this affect your everyday life?
Today’s Reading: Zech. 4:1-1, Rev. 4:9-5:5, Matthew 25:1-13
Devotional Written by Ezechiel Bambolo
Executive Director, Antioch Adoptions
“Joy to the world The Lord is come…” (And He’s coming again! Psalm 98)
Leadership has a reputation of being a very lonely place. As it pertains to our day and time, very little else has brought a historical global challenge for business, personal, and spiritual life as we’ve seen in the year 2020.
The paraphrased lesson of today’s devotional scriptures is “Endurance = Stay Vigilant + Stay Practical” in the covering or the Holy Spirit. Zech. 4:6 says, “…Not by might or by power, but by my Spirit…” We are all exhausted (Matt 25:5) but only the prudent won’t give up hope and instead remain practical in the Holy Spirit at the definite second coming of our King.
You may have the capacity and have proven worthy (thriving) yet remain practical and with a heavenly perspective.
“No more let sins and sorrow grow…” In the words of Asa (2 Chron 14:11), ” LORD, there is no one besides You to help in battle between the powerful and those who have no strength, so help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.”
- Has leadership left you in a spirit of exhaustion or an awakening?
- Are your lamps trimmed (soul in proper order) with extra oil (Holy Spirit’s anointing), or have you reached your wits end attempting to power your way through?
Today’s Reading: Zech. 7:8-8:8, Rev. 5:6-14, Matthew 25:14-30
Devotional Written by Jason Keil
CEO, Polaris Payments
Close your eyes and picture Jesus saying this: “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” How would you like to hear that?
In this passage, three servants are charged with the responsibility of managing their master’s money while he is away on a trip. The first two servants invest the money, but the third servant is afraid and buries the money.
The servants took different approaches and reached radically different results. The first two servants are rewarded for their effort: “You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many.” The third is scolded for his poor stewardship of the money.
Just like the servants in the parable, Jesus has made His followers stewards of His greatest treasures: His ministry. We are like the teenager whose parents have handed us the key to the car or the manager charged with an important business operation. How will we choose to take care of what God has entrusted us?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for all that you have entrusted to me. Help me not to be controlled by fear or laziness. Give me the wisdom to know where to invest my energy and the courage to take meaningful action.
- What has God given you to steward?
- What areas of your L.I.F.E. (Leadership, Influence, Finances, and Expertise) are God calling you to better manage right now?
Today’s Reading: Zech. 8:9-17, Rev. 6:1-17, Matthew 25:31-46
Devotional Written by Jorge Ramos
C3 Leaders’ Board Member
Attorney, Community Law Firm, PLLC
This passage presents a stark reality, believers and nonbelievers will face judgment for God is good and His Kingdom is just. Jesus mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount that He will someday say to unsuspecting individuals who thought they were His followers, “I never knew you; depart from me…” (Matthew 7:23).
Here we have Jesus discussing acts of kindness and compassion that mark a true follower and citizen of His Kingdom. These are ways for Him to know you and for you to experience Him through actions.
Jesus said earlier in Matthew 6:3 that when we give “do not let the left hand know what your right hand is doing.” The righteous in our passage did not know they were serving their Master but simply did the work the Spirit had empowered them to do and had placed in front of them.
Let us strive to make loving others a genuine desire, not a chore. New habits are formed by experience. As author Bob Goff famously coined, LOVE DOES.
- When we serve, do we do it out of genuine care?
- Are we totally lost in the moment or can we see a suffering or needy person in front of us?
Today’s Reading: Genesis 3:8-15, Rev. 12:1-11, John 3:16-21
Devotional Written by Mary Coday
Ophthalmologist, Overlake EyeCare
God’s love for us is so great that He sent His Son on the greatest mission of all: to rescue us from our sin. He did not send him to condemn us, but to save us. Jesus came as the light of the world! In order to be saved, we must receive the light and come out of any darkness.
As typified by Adam in the garden of Eden, our sin, as instigated by the serpent, causes separation from God. But God promises that the offspring of the woman (Jesus) will crush the serpent’s head. In Revelation, the ancient serpent, the one who accuses us day and night, Satan, is hurled down!
How is this worked out in our time? In the passage in John, we see a difference between those who live by the truth and come into the light and those who do evil and hate the light. Which person do we choose to be? Our choice to live by the truth of God’s word daily is not merely a personal preference. There is an ongoing battle raging between the One who is sent to save us, and the Accuser who is out to separate us from God. The Bible tells us who wins in the end, but we are in the middle of that battle.
Often, we run into situations where we have the choice between light and darkness, where we can choose to live by truth or do evil. We are all sinners, but we can overcome by the blood of the Lamb, who cleanses us from sin. Let us all be granted the grace to choose to live in the light.
- What situations have you encountered where you had to deliberately choose between living according to the truth of God’s word over your personal preference?
- What are some helpful things that encourage you or give you strength to follow the truth of God’s word?
Today’s Reading: Zeph. 3:1-13, Titus 1:1-16, Luke 1:1-25
Devotional Written by Paul Bishop
President & COO, Griot’s Garage
Standing to the right of the alter of incense within the tabernacle, the angel of annunciation Gabriel brings news of answered prayers to Zechariah, to all the assembled worshipers praying outside… and to this world.
“Do not be afraid, your prayer has been heard,” the messenger affirms the good news that God has brought hope to a barren place. Elizabeth will bear a son, filled with the Holy Spirit from birth and whose purpose is “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
God brings hope to our collective wilderness, to these gray days, to this time of Advent when we make ready for the Lord. During this liminal time, we’re called to prepare as we wait on the threshold in anticipation of what God is about to do.
It’s easy amidst the noise, busyness and pageantry of the world’s holiday season to get distracted, to move beyond the waiting, to push past the preparation that God is calling us to during Advent.
Zechariah missed it at first. “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God…” came the response to Zechariah’s doubt.
God calls us to turn aside, to be silent, to listen. How is it with your soul He asks?
- Are you waiting in anticipation of what God will do?
- Have you gotten caught up in the busyness around you?
Today’s Reading: Zeph. 3:14-20, Galatians 3:10-22, Luke 1:26-56
Devotional Written by Jacinta Tegman
CEO, CRISTA Ministries
All the wonder of Christmas is wrapped up in this precious passage. Here, a young woman barely more than a girl, is visited by an angel with an astonishing message, “You will conceive and give birth to a son.” The same angel had previously visited Zachariah, a respected priest, with an equally bewildering message, “Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son.”
For Zachariah, his aged wife was promised a son. This was certainly beyond the norm but somewhat in the realm of possibility. Elizabeth had a husband. For Mary it was completely outside the realm of possibility. She did not even have a husband.
We see two individuals both challenged in faith. One, a religious leader. The other, a humble peasant girl.
The responses of these two individuals processing the words of the angel are vastly different. Zachariah asked “how can” this be. Mary asked “how will” this be. Just a one-word difference in response to the impossible. One response was filled with doubt. The other response was filled with faith.
Zachariah experiences a silencing because he lacked faith. Mary experiences a release of the most beautiful song in all of Scripture, the Magnificat. In Mary’s response the Lord pours out upon her blessing, insight, wisdom, and praise. The difference? Mary believed God in the face of the impossible.
- Where are you facing the impossible?
- What response will you choose and how will that impact your influence?
Today’s Reading: Isaiah 59:1-15a; Galatians 3:23-4:7, and Luke 1:67-80
Devotional Written by Joe Castleberry
C3 Forum Chair
President, Northwest University
My fondest memory of Christmas harks back to the holiday of 1997 when my family lived in Ecuador and faced our most severe financial challenge ever.
My wife Kathleen had creatively stretched our meager resources to make sure our two little girls, aged 8 and 6, would enjoy a season full of food, gifts, art, and joy. I will never forget the surprise and warmth I felt when they eagerly presented their perfectly chosen gifts to the daddy they loved so devotedly.
That memory sums up the miracle of Christmas to me like no other—that God loved us enough to send Jesus to be born and die to save us, and God now fills us with the Spirit of the Son, so that we cry out “Abba” (father) (Galatians 4:6).
John wrote, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1).
Christmas is about a child and children, about a gift and giving, and we celebrate it best when we not only exult in the greatness of God’s gift to us, but also when we as His children return to God the gift of our total devotion and love.
- Do you fully grasp the sacrifice God made for us?
- Do you live your life with that love on the forefront of your mind and your actions?
Today’s Reading: Isaiah 59:15b-21, Phil. 2:5-11, Matthew 1:18-25
Devotional Written by Bob Lonac
C3 Leaders’ National Council and C3 Forum Chair
Bob Lonac Consults
The birth of Jesus has arrived. On the one hand, it is a very ordinary event. He was born like every other human being (Jesus identified with us in every way). Even more down to earth, His mother was not married. The point here is that this birth came from a baby that developed in the mother’s womb, and His birth happened as every other baby has ever been born. However, ordinary nature stops with this side of the story.
On the other hand, His mother and future Father had never had sex before His birth. He was “Conceived by the Holy Spirit.” This had been prophesied in Isaiah 7:14 Behold a virgin shall conceive. This prophesy was clearly so far-fetched, so unbelievable it must have gotten bad reviews. It was supernatural and unique!
Secondly, they understood that he has indeed God with us, Immanuel. A down to earth God. Also, one of a kind.
Third He was named Jesus. He would by word and deed open the way for every single person on earth to enter into eternal life by the forgiveness of their sins. Also never happened before or since.
So, the most ordinary common event assures us that it did happen in actual fact. It is no fairy tale. The second, unique, supernatural, most amazing event in human history is still making way for all of us to enter into the fullness of God.
Reflection question: The birth of Jesus was miraculous. Has it become more mundane or uneventful as you’ve celebrated year after year?
What is C3 Leaders?
Serving as a leader is a lonely business. We do not want you to go it alone, nor does our Lord. Community has been His model since the beginning of time.
C3 Leaders convenes groups of like-minded leaders in small groups, called C3 Forums, and in events. We talk about business, we talk about Jesus and we are committed to each other in on-going, peer-learning relationships.
It is our mission to change our commerce, culture, and community – the three “C’s” – for Jesus and His Kingdom principles.
We believe that change happens through business. As business leaders’ lives are transformed, communities, employees, marriages, families, and individuals are enhanced. That is why, We Do Business with God.
P.O. Box 85
Bellevue, WA 98009
How Do I Learn More about C3 Leaders?
Check out a C3 Forum: www.C3Leaders.com/moreinfo
Join a C3 Event: www.C3Leaders.com/events