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.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Independence Avenue Southwest, Washington, DC, USA

A Prayer of Martin Luther King Jr.

Today’s devotion features a prayer by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose life and work we remember today with a national holiday in the United States.

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A pregnant woman looking into a crib

Until Christ is Formed in You

The New Testament speaks of our being conformed or transformed to be more like Christ. But in an unusual use of language, Galatians 4:19 talks of Christ being formed in us, almost as a fetus is formed within its mother. If we unpack that language, we understand that God is at work in us, helping us to be more and more like Christ on the inside. This is another case of God’s “inner work” in which we are blessed to participate.

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A pink neon sign that says "breathe"

A Hopeful Perspective on Inner Work

2 Corinthians 4 acknowledges that while our physical bodies are declining, “our inner nature is being renewed day by day” (4:16). God is working in us by the Spirit, preparing us for unimaginable glory in the future. Today, our responsibility and privilege involve joining God in this inner work. We do so with confident hope that, in time, God will complete the good inner work God is already doing in us (Phil 1:6).

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The word "mindfulness" in cursive on a piece of paper

An Invitation to Inner Work

Scripture has much to say about the importance of what’s inside of us. In the Bible, we discover how we can do inner work in a distinctively Christian way, and how this work isn’t just ours, but is something God does in and with us. For now, however, I want to answer the “Should we be doing inner work?” question with a resounding “Yes.” Though God certainly cares about what we do with our lives and the fruit they produce, there’s no question that God cares deeply about our inner lives, what the Bible regularly refers to as our hearts. Through the gospels, Jesus invites us to join him in the inner work he’s already begun to do in us. 

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Clarifying Your Purpose in the Third Third of Life, Part 10

In the last few years, I’ve talked with dozens of people in the third third of life, asking them how they’re doing, what challenges they face, and what gives them meaning and joy.

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Third Third in the News – January 2024

Here are some of the third-third news stories from last month that captured my attention.

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A street sign showing a picture of a hiker walking

The Purpose of Life for Leaders

The De Pree Center produces _Life for Leaders _because we want you to experience the life of God both now and in the future. We’re motivated by what Jesus once said, “The thief comes only to steal and to destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). We want to you grow in your relationship with God through Christ so that you experience abundance in every part of life, including your leadership. Whether you lead in business or education, in arts or government, in profit or non-profit contexts, in church or family, in the studio or the athletic field, we want you to experience God’s life so that your leadership might reflect the values, truths, and love of God. 

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A group of women standing in front of a sign that says "BLOOM"

God’s Work and Your Work

As you begin a new year, it’s good to remember that your work matters to God. Moreover, as you work, God is working in you and through you and with you. Psalm 90 shows that God will help your work to prosper. This is true for all sorts of work, not just that for which you are paid. Yes, God will help you to prosper in your job (or jobs). But God will also join you in the work of parenting, grandparenting, caregiving, volunteering, and serving. If you’re a young, stay-at-home parent, God will bless your work. If you’re a retired third thirder, God has a purpose for your life and can prosper the work you do in retirement. Thus, with the psalm writer, we pray, “O prosper the work of our hands!” 

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Mountains in Kluane National Park and Reserve of Canada

God is Still God Today

On the first day of 2024, we don’t know what lies ahead in this year. Sure, we have our expectations and hopes. But we also feel the uncertainties in our lives and in the world around us. We could easily become afraid. But if God is our refuge and strength, and if God is our very present help in trouble, then we will not fear no matter what happens. God is still God today. God is still our Wisdom, our Guide, our Healer, our Protector, our King, and our Savior.

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A nativity scene showing an older wise man or shepherd and Baby Jesus

The Intergenerational Implications of Christmas

The Christmas story makes it clear that you matter to God and God’s work no matter how old you are. You aren’t too young for God to use you. Nor are you too old. Moreover, as God uses people of all ages in the divine plan, those people not only contribute individually but also interact intergenerationally. Christmas underscores the intergenerational work of God. 

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Two Christmas ornaments - the larger one is broken

The Benefits of a Not-So-Perfect Christmas

So, if you had a perfect celebration of Christmas yesterday, that’s wonderful—a glimpse of the age to come. But if, like most people, your Christmas wasn’t everything you hoped it would be, then take heart. Jesus came into such a world as yours. Jesus understands. Moreover, through the Spirit, Jesus is present with you today much as he was present in the flesh two millennia ago. Thus, if your Christmas was not what you hoped it would be, or if even if you’re feeling powerfully sad, Jesus gets it. More to the point, _Jesus gets you_.

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Staff of the De Pree Center

Merry Christmas from the De Pree Center

On this day on which we celebrate the birth of our Savior, we want to wish you a merry Christmas! May you experience God’s love and peace today and in the year to come!

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Christmas Proves that God is on Your Side

God is on your side, not only in that God has saved you through Christ, but also in that God has called you to be on God’s own side, so to speak. The God who is at work mending and restoring the entire universe has chosen to use you in this effort. Your life, therefore, has extraordinary, indeed, eternal meaning. Moreover, God has also chosen to dwell within you through the Holy Spirit so that you might be reassured that you are God’s beloved child and so that you might be empowered to participate in God’s redeeming work. This is indeed wonderful news—news that we know to be true, in part, because of the reality of Christmas. 

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God Works in All Things With Us for Good

As God’s beloved children we get to share in the lavish benefits of God’s grace. But Romans 8:28 adds something more. We also get to share in God’s work in the world. This work isn’t just what we might call “religious” work. It isn’t only about church, evangelism, and mission. Rather, God is working with us in “all things” for good, including what we do in our daily jobs, in our parenting and grandparenting, in our cultural engagement, and in our citizenship.

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The Surprising Groaner

Romans 8 encourages us not to hold back in Advent as we observe and experience the “sufferings of this present time” (8:16). We are invited and emboldened to “groan” in prayer, knowing that God not only hears us, but also joins us in our groaning through the indwelling Spirit. Thus, our groaning draws us near to the heart of God. 

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