Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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Jesus: The Ultimate Servant Leader


The greatest leadership model of all time was Jesus of Nazareth. I believe that the best way to lead is through servant leadership, which was demonstrated by Jesus. That’s how I’ve tried to lead in the business world, non-profit organizations and the church. Briefly, I can summarize leadership as:

  • Casting a compelling vision of a better future.
  • Getting people to believe in that vision enough to follow the leader
  • Developing and multiplying leaders.
  • Effectively executing on the vision.

In complete agreement with the Father and Holy Spirit, Jesus came to us with a purpose, which we read about in Luke 4:17-21:
And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.  And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus’ purpose in coming to us was to:

  • Proclaim good news to the poor
  • Proclaim freedom for prisoners
  • Recover sight to the blind
  • Set the oppressed free
  • Proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • How God Uses Our Failures at Work. Russell Gehrlein writes “The Bible teaches us that failure is one of the main tools God uses to make us more Christ like. He transforms us through these experiences if we allow Him to do so. In addition, God sometimes opens up new opportunities to serve Him.”
  • 5 Ways to Leave a Legacy Through Mentoring in Retirement. Jeff Haanen writes “What if the 87% of Baby Boomers who believe in God decided that a central way they were going to spend their retirement was by mentoring young people through their local church? What if America’s retirees traded comfort for purpose, and swapped retirement villages for communities of intergenerational friendship?”
  • Dad Secret: What if I Enjoy Work More Than My Family? Chap Bettis writes “Be faithful in the drudgery and little things. God didn’t just give you two children to influence, but eternal souls to cultivate. And your daughters have only one dad.”
  • Five Productivity Tips for Busy Leaders. Matt Perman shares five essential things to keep in mind as you aim to effectively lead your team, organization, business, or church.
  • Ordinary Work, Extraordinary Opportunity Tim Challies writes “But while work may not be exciting and may not be particularly fulfilling, I’ve been struck recently by how much our joy can be improved or eroded by people who work very ordinary jobs.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Whatever You Do: Six Foundations for an Integrated Life, edited by Luke Bobo
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life

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THIS & THAT: A Weekly Roundup of Favorite Articles, Cartoons & Quotes

  • How LGBT Pride Month Became a Religious Holiday. Joe Carter writes “LGBT Pride Month is not a just a secular commemoration of a people but a religious celebration of a belief—the belief that “Gay Is Good” and that moral opposition to homosexual behavior or transgender ideology is inherently bigoted.”
  • PCA Sides with Nashville Statement over Revoice’s Approach. Kate Shellnutt writes that faced with more proposals addressing LGBT issues than any other topic, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), the denomination that I am an elder in, last week approved measures to affirm the Nashville Statement and launch its own study committee on sexuality. Denny Burk includes a video of the debate.
  • The Theological Legacy of Rachel Held Evans. Anne Carlson Kennedy writes “Evans made a way in the Bible Belt for advantageous, unorthodox, incoherent interpretations. Most of all, she nursed ordinary people into a strange comfort, not of bringing the difficult and terrifying questions of life and death to be answered by a kind and merciful Savior in the life-giving Scriptures, but of finding refuge in their own doubts, their supposedly unanswerable questions. This is perhaps the most tragic portion of her legacy, and one with which the church will have to wrestle for many decades to come.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More interesting article links
  • Great cartoons
  • Favorite Quotes of the Week

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Leadership Lessons from a Mother of Triplets

We can learn leadership lessons every day from people in all vocations, including that of a mother. Russell Gehrlein, in his book Immanuel Labor—God’s Presence in Our Profession: A Biblical, Theological, and Practical Approach to the Doctrine of Work writes that the Proverbs 31 woman was a role model not just for women, but for all workers. In her book Glory in the Ordinary: Why Your Work in the Home Matters to God, Courtney Reisigg writes that she has learned that God is glorified in the mundane (boring, dull or monotonous) work as much as He is in the magnificent.

I’ve recently been learning leadership lessons from our niece Jana, a mother of triplets who were born at just 28 weeks. When a family member saw the above photo of Jana holding the three boys, she called her Wonder Woman. Indeed. Here are 7 lessons that we can learn from Jana (aka Wonder Woman) as she cares for Max, Lincoln and Zeke:

Preparation – Long before the triplets were born, Jana was preparing by reading books and talking to other mothers of triplets. Leaders need to prepare before taking on a formal leadership position. They should secure mentors, leaders that they trust and respect, read books on leadership, attend learning events and try to get into positions in which they can demonstrate leadership, even if they don’t yet have the title.

Trust God – Jana and her husband Tony trusted God to provide them children, even though the odds were against them as time went on, and God was faithful to them. (Read about their “Baby Journey”). Then, they had to trust God that the babies would be able to get to 28 weeks before birth, and again God was faithful. Christian leaders too have to trust in God – to prepare them for leadership, to secure a leadership position and for daily guidance as they lead their teams.

Efficient and organized – Leaders have much on their plates and have to be efficient and well organized or they will quickly become overwhelmed. As a mother, Jana is extremely organized and efficient. Imagine caring for three newborn babies. I would be overwhelmed with one, so seeing how Jana cares for three continually amazes (and tires) me. At this point in time, the boys need to eat every three hours. To get ready for the feeding, she prepares their bottles and changes their diapers. After feeding them, it’s “playtime”, which is basically trying to keep them awake for another half hour or so. And that’s every three hours.

Building her team – Leaders need to build their teams, As Jim Collins stated in his classic book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t, they need to get the right people on the bus (their team), the wrong people off the bus and the right people in the right seats. As you can imagine, Jana can use all of the help she and Tony can get to help them care for the boys. She needed to build a team of people who could assist them, especially during the daytime when Tony is at work. And of course, as a mother, she has to build her team with people she can trust. She has done an excellent job building a good team of family and friends that she can depend on.

Training her team – Training your team is a key aspect of leadership. Do you really think that the customer service at Chick Fil-A would be so consistently excellent if the team members had not received good training? Jana has had to train her team members – some of whom had never changed a diaper (Ahem…my wife and I) – on how to prepare a bottle, how and when to feed the boys, “play time”, how to wash bottles, swaddling, etc. In addition, she has to provide updated instruction to her team members as things change (feeding schedule changes, medication, etc.).

Planning – As a leader, I would plan for the following day late each afternoon. I would check my calendar and see what meetings were going to be held that I needed to prepare for, and what assignments were going to be due that day. Planning is critical to Jana’s leadership as well. She needs to know who is coming to assist her that day and at what time they are coming. She also considers if there is anything out of the ordinary that will take place that day, such as a doctor appointment, or if it is a day that she (a nurse) will be working.

Patience – A servant leader will demonstrate patience when things aren’t going according to plan. They will find out what the problem is, rather than “flying off the handle”. I’ve seen Jana show an incredible amount of patience when one of the boys doesn’t want to sleep, finish his bottle, or is just being fussy. And demonstrating patience is even harder when you get as little sleep as Jana does.  Along with patience, she loves to have fun with the boys and make them smile, which is a great trait in a leader.

These are 7 leadership lessons I’m learning from Jana. I’m sure that there will be more in the future. What leadership lessons have you learned from mothers?


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My Mid-Year Favorites

As I’ve done for a number of years now, I want to share with you my mid-year favorites from 2019 in a variety of categories. Except for books, these are all items that were released, or took place in 2019. For books, I include my favorite books that I read during 2019, regardless of when the book was published. Enjoy!  Please let me know what you think of my list, and also share some of your favorites.

Movies
Top Choice: Avengers: Endgame

Other films that I’ve enjoyed, in order are:
Toy Story 4
The Upside
The Biggest Little Farm
Amazing Grace
American Gospel: Christ Alone
Apollo 11
Free Solo
They Shall Not Grow Old
Tolkien
Stan and Ollie

Click on ‘Continue Reading’ to see my mid-year favorite albums, songs, books, blogs, podcasts, conferences, TV shows, concerts and new resources. Continue reading


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My Review of SPIDER-MAN:  FAR FROM HOME

Spider-Man: Far from Home, rated PG-13
*** ½

Spider-Man: Far from Home is an entertaining sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, and the 23rd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film includes comedy, romance and some of the usual Marvel action/violence, along with some relatively light adult language.
The film is directed by Jon Watts (Spider-Man: Homecoming), and written by Emmy nominee Chris McKenna (Community, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), and Emmy nominee Erik Sommers (American Dad!, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle). The film had a budget of approximately $160 million.
The film picks up after the end of Avengers: Endgame. Peter Parker, played by Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Homecoming) is mourning the loss of his mentor Tony Stark/Iron Man who died at the end of Avengers: Endgame. Peter’s aunt May, played by Oscar winner Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny) hosts a benefit for the those returning from “the Blip”, Thanos’ finger snap of destruction that eliminated half of the population. They have returned five years later, just as they were, but everyone else has aged five years.
Peter is hoping to just be your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man by night, and a normal high school student in Queens by day along with his best friend Ned, played by Jacob Batalon (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers). Peter is excited about a trip with his science class to Europe, where he plans to tell M.J., played by Zendaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Greatest Showman) his feelings for her. Peter doesn’t even pack his Spider-Man suit for the trip. Continue reading


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My Review of YESTERDAY

Yesterday, rated PG-13
***

Yesterday is an entertaining summer romantic comedy, but it does include some content issues. The film is directed by Oscar winner Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) and the screenplay is written by Oscar nominee Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and Funeral, Love Actually).
Jack, played by British actor Himesh Patel in his feature film debut, a former teacher, is a struggling musician when he’s not stocking shelves in a retail store.  He usually plays to very small audiences, and has just played his last concert, a disaster, in Suffolk, and is ready to give up on his career short of a miracle.  His manager when she’s not a high school teacher, longtime friend, roadie, and only fan is Ellie, played by Lily James (Downton Abbey, Cinderella, Mama Mia! Here We Go Again), tells him that miracles can happen.
On his way home that night, there is a 12 second worldwide blackout. During the global blackout, Jack on his bike is hit by a bus. He is injured and wakes up in the hospital, with his face bruised and cut and his two front teeth missing. Ellie tells him that the accident is a message from God.
When Jack plays the Beatles song “Yesterday” to Ellie and a few of their friends after he gets out of the hospital, they have never heard it before, and are amazed that Jack wrote it. Jack insists that it was written by the Beatles. Jack soon realizes that since the blackout nobody has any recollection of the Beatles (or Coke, Harry Potter or cigarettes for that matter). We see him search the internet and find no reference to the band, or John, Paul, George or Ringo. He decides to take advantage of this, and he fills his bedroom walls with Post-It notes of every Beatles song that he can remember, and frantically tries to remember as many lyrics as possible. Then, he begins to play the Beatles’ songs, taking credit for writing them. Continue reading