Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

INTEGRATING FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

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integrating faith and work

  • “My First Hope Is That We Can Change the Default around Work”. Here’s an interview with Missy Wallace of the Nashville Institute for Faith and Work. The Institute ministers to professionals by providing them with resources to integrate their faith and work.
  • Opportunities to Show Love at an Aluminum Sheet Mill. Trilla Newbell interviews Joel Baker, who lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, and works for Alcoa as a senior operating manager, about his vocation.
  • Staying In Your Gift Zone, But Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone. Dave Kraft writes “We should be open to the challenge of moving out of our “comfort zone,” but careful about moving out of our “gift zone” into the “danger zone.”
  • Becoming a Balanced Leader? Impossible? Dave Kraft writes “Attaining balance is a hopeless dream…it will never happen…why strive for it? Is this really true? Is living in balance as a disciple of Jesus, a leader, a biblical concept? Is the current leadership “rat race,” that most leaders I know find themselves in, a capitulation to our fast-paced culture or should it be embraced as normal and acceptable? I believe the answer is found in making a distinction between two types of balance.”
  • 16 Ways to Lead Through Sadness. Dan Rockwell writes “Some of the world’s great leaders held hands with sadness, Lincoln and Churchill for example. It wouldn’t surprise me if you do too. Sadness isn’t the end of leadership. It may be a beginning.”
  • More Encouraging Videos from the Faith@Work Summit. Some more great talks from the Faith@Work Summit have now been posted. (Here’s the first set , here’s the second set, and here’s the third set.).
  • John Maxwell on Respect. In this “Minute with Maxwell” video, leadership expert John Maxwell discusses respect.
  • Making Change Happen. Andy Stanley talks about three things you have to do if you are going to bring about organizational change.
  • Wondering How God Works in Our Ordinary Lives? Titus 3:14 Has Answers. Kathryn Feliciano asks “Where is God working in your daily routine?”
  • Teenage Temptations, Old and New. Becca Benson writes “Sexual immorality is not a new topic. The world has known of it since the days of Genesis. This generation of teens is not the first to experience the temptation and pressures of sexual immorality. But are they walking in a time of different and maybe even greater pressure?”
  • Wisdom on our Work and Vocations: Two Great Anthologies. Chris Armstrong, in looking at two books, writes “Both books provide ample food for thought on this important topic of vocation, including reflections both on what the Puritans, modifying an idea of Calvin’s, called our “general” vocations (to be disciples of Christ) and on our “particular” or “special” vocations (to do whatever work we end up pursuing). Most illuminating to me is the wealth of material on how secular work can be understood as divine vocation.”
  • What does the Wall Street Journal know about the meaning of work? Will Messenger writes “So maybe the Wall Street Journal is on to something after all, even if the true source of meaning at work is not the corporate mission statement, but the Lord of heaven and earth.”
  • 3 Reasons a Leader Should Never Respond to Criticism in Anger. Leaders receive criticism every day. Ron Edmonson write “While I believe we should always speak truth in love and correcting false statements against us may have a place, I do not believe responding to criticism with immediate anger is ever appropriate.”
  • How Leaders Should React When Someone Disappoints. Peter Bregman writes “High performing leaders expect a lot of themselves and the people around them, as they should. But when people fall short of those expectations, the way leaders handle their disappointment can mean the difference between a return to high performance and a downward spiral of failure.”
  • 20 Quotes from “Spiritual Leadership” by J. Oswald Sanders. Eric Geiger writes “Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders is a classic book, one of the greatest leadership books in print today. Its depth and breadth of biblical wisdom and practical application are nearly unmatched in a single volume.”
  • The One Thing Your Leadership May Be Missing! Dave Kraft writes “I am personally fascinated by people’s sleeping habits and their corresponding productivity or lack thereof. Leaders are notoriously poor sleepers trying to convince themselves that they can do just fine (and get more done) on 4-6 hours sleep despite all the study and research that says otherwise. If you doze off while reading this, you may be guilty! Here is Michael Hyatt on the subject.
  • Living the Gospel at Work. Bill Peel writes “The workplace is filled with spiritually hungry people.  Most of them, however, won’t connect their gnawing emptiness with their need for God unless they can see the difference He makes in us.”
  • Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career. Unless… Matt Perman writes “This is a fantastic TEDx talk by Larry Smith. In a very compelling way, he shoots down all the excuses people make not to go after what they are truly passionate about in life.”
  • You May Be the Only Bible They Read. Bill Peel writes “The workplace is filled with spiritually hungry people. Most of them, however, won’t connect their own emptiness with their need for God unless they can see the difference Christ makes in a Christian’s life.”
  • Four Little Known Qualities of Godly Leaders. C. Patton writes “I would like to share what I learned about great, godly leaders from Dr. Crawford Loritts, a pastor in Atlanta, GA. Loritts talked about four qualities or characteristics of great, godly leaders during his segment in Dennis Rainey’s Stepping Up video series. Even these are not commonly found in leadership books, I believe we all need to seek these qualities. If we do, I believe God can better use us to point others to Him.”
  • Is the gap between pulpit and pew narrowing? New research conducted by the Barna Group for the Center for Faith & Work at​ LeTourneau University shows a substantial uptick in the number of pastors who say they preach on the topic of work. However, most church-goers still doubt the significance of their work to God.

 Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?

Generous JusticeGenerous Justice Book Club

Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just by Tim Keller

Tammy and I are reading and discussing this book by Tim Keller. This week we look at Chapter 4: Justice and Your Neighbor

  • The text that most informs Christians’ relationships with their neighbors is the parable of the Good Samaritan.
  • Do you love God with every fiber of your being every minute of the day? Do you meet the needs of your neighbor with all the joy, energy, and fastidiousness with which you meet your own needs? That is the kind of life you owe your God and your fellow human beings.
  • What was Jesus doing with this story? He was giving a radical answer to the question, What does it mean to love your neighbor? What is the definition of “love”? Jesus answered that by depicting a man meeting material, physical, and economic needs through deeds. Caring for people’s material and economic needs is not an option for Jesus. He refused to allow the law expert to limit the implications of this command to love. He said it meant being sacrificially involved with the vulnerable, just as the Samaritan risked his life by stopping on the road. But Jesus refuses to let us limit not only how we love, but who we love.
  • By depicting a Samaritan helping a Jew, Jesus could not have found a more forceful way to say that anyone at all in need—regardless of race, politics, class, and religion—is your neighbor.
  • I have preached this parable over the years, and it always raises a host of questions and objections, many of which sound like the kind of questions that the law expert would have asked. No one has helped me answer these questions more than Jonathan Edwards. In 1733 he preached a sermon entitled “The Duty of Charity to the Poor.” The word “neighbor” is found in the sermon nearly sixty times, and the discourse stands as one of the most thoroughgoing applications of the parable of the Good Samaritan to a body of believers that can be found anywhere. The heart of the sermon is a set of answers to a series of common objections Edwards always heard whenever he preached or spoke about the duty of sharing money and goods with the poor.
  • We don’t wait until we are in “extremity” before doing something about our condition, he argued, so why should we wait until our neighbor is literally starving before we help?
  • We ought to have such a spirit of love to him that we should be afflicted with him in his affliction.”
  • Another objection comes from people who say they “have nothing to spare” and that they barely have enough for their own needs. But one of the main lessons of the Good Samaritan parable is that real love entails risk and sacrifice. Edwards responds that when you say, “I can’t help anyone,” you usually mean, “I can’t help anyone without burdening myself, cutting in to how I live my life.” But, Edwards argues, that’s exactly what Biblical love requires.
  • In dealing with the objection that many of the poor do not have upright, moral characters, he counters that we did not either, and yet Christ put himself out for us.
  • When answering the objection that the poor have often contributed to their condition, Edwards is remarkably balanced yet insistently generous. He points out that it is possible some people simply do not have “a natural faculty to manage affairs to advantage.” In other words, some people persistently make sincere but very bad decisions about money and possessions. But what if their economic plight is more directly the result of selfish, indolent, or violent behavior? Christ found us in the same condition. Our spiritual bankruptcy was due to our own sin, yet he came and gave us what we needed.
  • Edwards says that we should not continue to aid a poor person if that person continues to act “viciously” and to persist in the same behavior. Yet Edwards has a final blow to strike. What about the rest of the person’s family? Sometimes, he says, we will need to give aid to families even when the parents act irresponsibly, for the children’s sake.
  • Your neighbor is anyone in need.
  • Jesus is the Great Samaritan to whom the Good Samaritan points. Before you can give this neighbor-love, you need to receive it. Only if you see that you have been saved graciously by someone who owes you the opposite will you go out into the world looking to help absolutely anyone in need. Once we receive this ultimate, radical neighbor-love through Jesus, we can start to be the neighbors that the Bible calls us to be.

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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