Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles
- 5 Questions You Must Answer to Lead Change, Part II. In this second part of her article on leading change, Selma Wilson writes “Your primary job in leading change is communication and communication is always a two way process – speaking and listening. Communication must include opportunities for open questions and dialogue.”
- 20 Quick Leadership Reminders. Here is a helpful list of leadership tips from Brad Lomenick.
- Four Mistakes Leaders Make When Handling Conflict. Not all conflict is bad, as Patrick Lencioni teaches. Eric Geiger writes “Unhealthy conflict spoils the unity and morale of the team. Unhealthy conflict distracts from the mission.”
- How Leaders Can Balance the Past and the Future. In this episode of the 5 Leadership Questions podcast Todd Adkins and Barnabas Piper visit with Eric Geiger about how leaders can balance having a healthy awareness of past with the right focus on the future. It’s so easy to fall into one extreme or the other and both extremes harm an organization.
- 27 Leadership Quotes and Lessons from Andy Stanley on Making Vision Stick. Brian Dodd shares these quotes and lessons from Andy Stanley’s excellent book Making Vision Stick.
- 12 Great Leadership Questions Every Leader Should Be Asking. One of John Maxwell’s recent books was Good Leaders Ask Great Questions. Ron Edmondson offers us twelve great questions that every leader should ask.
- No Big Men in Christ-Centered Leadership. Bob Osbourne writes “When I became a Christian, though, God overhauled my life. I began seeing people not as objects to use but as people made in God’s image with unique abilities, passions, and interests. My responsibility as a leader was to serve them.”
- 5 Reasons Leaders Tend to Micromanage. Ron Edmondson shares common excuses for micromanagement.
- The 10 Practices of the Coaching Leader. Dan Rockwell writes authoritarian leaders are becoming dinosaurs today. He states that if you expect you lead, you need to coach. Here’s part two of his series on coaching leaders.
- 11 Ways to Think Better Thoughts. Check out this infographic of 11 ways of thinking outlined by John Maxwell from his latest book JumpStart Your Thinking that will give you a starting point to thinking better thoughts, making better decisions and, ultimately, succeeding more often in your life and work. Your thoughts are the starting place for success.
- The Biblical Call and Plan for Productivity. Listen to this interview with Tim Challies on his excellent new book Do More Better.
- Does God Care about Efficiency? Matt Perman writes “As with God, so also with us. Care about efficiency. But care about beauty and service most of all.”
- How Jazz Music Teaches Us to Trust God. Bethany Jenkins interviews John Raymond, a jazz trumpeter, composer and educator about his faith and work.
- Trust: Better to Give Than Receive. Bob Chapman writes “To get trust, you have to freely give it. This is a tough concept for many people. It’s the opposite of what we normally think. We think of trust as something to be earned. We’ll trust someone when they give us proof that they can be trusted.”
- Calling and Work. Mark McConnell writes “You might not be a pastor, you might not be a missionary, you might not be in so-called full-time Christian service, but God has called each of us: to glorify Him in all that we do, to serve Him in all that we do, and to witness to His love and grace in Christ Jesus.”
- 3 Ways to Make Difficult People Less Difficult. Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes “what can you do with the difficult people in your life, starting right now? After all, you may not be able to avoid all the difficult people. And you may not be able to turn every difficult person around. But there’s quite a bit you can do to make these encounters less upsetting.”
- Four Questions to Spot the Difference Between Healthy Tension and Unhealthy Conflict Eric Geiger shares some information about tension and conflict that are in line with what Patrick Lencioni writes in The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, one of my favorite business books.
- Development. In this “Minute from Maxwell”, John Maxwell discusses development, a word that signifies improvement, making progress, growth, etc.
- 7 Signs You’ve Become Too Busy for Your Own Good. Alli Worthington writes “But there are signs our body gives us if we’re paying attention, signs that may look different for each of us. For some the warning signs may be emotional. For others they might be physical, relational, or spiritual. But rest assured, if you are over capacity, you will soon find out— the hard way.”
- The Secrets of Success, Week One: Health. John Maxwell begins a new series looking at “three critical decisions that impact everything else in your world. If you can win these three each day, you are on your way to living life successfully.” He begins by looking at the area of our health.
- How to Avoid Life’s Flat Tires. In this short video, Dave Ramsey shares the seven areas of life in which you need to set goals this year . . . and every year in your future. Use the Wheel of Life as a guide for keeping your life balanced and flat-tire free.
- Strategies for When Life Seems Aimless. In this episode of “Ask Pastor John”, John Piper addresses a question about waiting when life seems to be aimless and going nowhere, specifically when it comes to a career.
- Rise to every occasion, give our best effort, and make those around us better as we do it. John Wooden
- The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away. Pablo Picasso
- If your purpose hasn’t been fulfilled, that means the most important part of your life is still to come. Persist without exception! Andy Andrews
- Celebrate and recognize your colleagues as they do things right. You can make a difference in their lives! Ken Blanchard
- You want to do large things famous and fast. But most things that truly matter need small acts of overlooked love over a long period of time. Zack Eswine
- Your greatest leadership moments will probably be ones that nobody else sees. Private faithfulness leads to public impact. Brad Lomenick
- Serve God with integrity, and if you achieve no success, at least no sin will lie upon your conscience. Charles Spurgeon
- The Bible says that our real problem is that every one of us is building our identity on something besides Jesus. Tim Keller
- The leaders who get the most from their people are the leaders who care most about their people. Simon Sinek
The Gospel Goes to Work: God’s Big Canvas of Calling and Renewal by Stephen R. Graves. KJK Publishing. 168 pages. 2015
I have read a number of books about integrating our faith with our work. I enjoyed some of the unique perspectives to this issue that the author brought forward in this new book.
He tells us that the book is about work and the gospel. Not ministry work only, but every kind of work. He aims to focus on the question: What more can you and I do to engage the gospel through our work? He introduces the reader to what he calls the four-act gospel, which provides a comprehensive grid of meaning for our lives, including our work. He states that work itself is a service to God. He argues that the message about the gospel’s integration with work is needed as much now as it ever has been, if not more so.
He provides a different way of looking at the integration of faith and work. He first talks about a lowest-common-denominator application of the gospel that is relevant to all workers and all workplaces. This is what he calls the Baseline. Then, there are individualized applications of the gospel for each of us in our particular wiring and for our particular organizations. He calls this the Blue Sky.
He tells us that The Baseline is the starting point or universal minimum for all people in all environments, regardless of their personality, title, age, background, and other particulars. The Blue Sky represents the boundless horizons of what could be when someone personalizes any idea or insight.
He tells us that the gospel going to work will look different depending on where we work and what we do. He tells us that when we merge the baseline/blue sky pair with the individual/organizational pair, you get The Gospel Goes to Work Grid. It covers the whole range of workplace expressions of the gospel. He then looks at each quadrant in detail as well as four foundation stones. The four foundation stones are:
- Foundation Stone 1: You give evidence of your calling
- Foundation Stone 2: You display character on the job
- Foundation Stone 3: You deliver skill consistently
- Foundation Stone 4: You model service to others
I found his list of a “Gospel 500” (think of the Fortune 500) to be of interest. He lists organizations that would make his list in each of four regions of the Blue Sky. Among those listed that you may be familiar with are Chick Fil-A and Hobby Lobby.
He writes that we all must ask and answer, “How does the gospel go to work in my industry and especially in my particular organization?” He feels that this is the most penetrating question anyone can ask in his or her faith and work. It requires vulnerable personalization. And it demonstrates a mature faith that depends on God doing His work His way. He writes that the gospel is intended to penetrate, permeate, and alter the way we consider our work and do our work.
I enjoyed this book and its unique approach to the important issue of how we integrate our faith and work and recommend it to you.
Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?
Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. Crossway. 192 pages. 2003
Other than the Bible, this small book by John Piper has had the most influence on my life. It played a key role in my returning to seminary after ten years in 2005. I have read it almost each year since it was published in 2003. Listen to John Piper describe the book in this less than two-minute video.
This week we look at Chapter 7: Living to Prove He Is More Precious Than Life
- If we walk away from risk to keep ourselves safe and solvent, we will waste our lives.
- If we look like our lives are devoted to getting and maintaining things, we will look like the world, and that will not make Christ look great. He will look like a religious side-interest that may be useful for escaping hell in the end, but doesn’t make much difference in what we live and love here.
- Why don’t people ask us about our hope? The answer is probably that we look as if we hope in the same things they do.
- Jesus loves faith-filled risk for the glory of God.
- If we want to make people glad in God, our lives must look as if God, not possessions, is our joy.
- Sometimes I use the phrase “wartime lifestyle” or “wartime mind-set.” It tells me that there is a war going on in the world between Christ and Satan, truth and falsehood, belief and unbelief. It tells me that there are weapons to be funded and used, but that these weapons are not swords or guns or bombs but the Gospel and prayer and self-sacrificing love (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). And it tells me that the stakes of this conflict are higher than any other war in history; they are eternal and infinite: heaven or hell, eternal joy or eternal torment (Matthew 25:46).
- One of the marks of this peacetime mind-set is what I call an avoidance ethic. In wartime we ask different questions about what to do with our lives than we do in peacetime.
- If we are going to pay the price and take the risks it will cost to make people glad in God, we move beyond the avoidance ethic. This way of life is utterly inadequate to waken people to the beauty of Christ. Avoiding fearful trouble and forbidden behaviors impresses almost no one. The avoidance ethic by itself is not Christ-commending or God-glorifying. There are many disciplined unbelievers who avoid the same behaviors Christians do. Jesus calls us to something far more radical than that.
- The better questions to ask about possible behaviors is: How will this help me treasure Christ more? How will it help me show that I do treasure Christ? How will it help me know Christ or display Christ? The Bible says, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). So the question is mainly positive, not negative. How can I portray God as glorious in this action? How can I enjoy making much of him in this behavior?
- Oh, how many lives are wasted by people who believe that the Christian life means simply avoiding badness and providing for the family.
- Television is one of the greatest life-wasters of the modern age. And, of course, the Internet is running to catch up, and may have caught up.
- The greater problem is banality. A mind fed daily on TV diminishes. Your mind was made to know and love God.
- Oh, that young and old would turn off the television, take a long walk, and dream about feats of courage for a cause ten thousand times more important than American democracy—as precious as that is. If we would dream and if we would pray, would not God answer? Would he withhold from us a life of joyful love and mercy and sacrifice that magnifies Christ and makes people glad in God? I plead with you, as I pray for myself, set your face like flint to join Jesus on the Calvary road.