Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

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Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articlesslacker

  • Extreme Work: Striving and Sloth. Robert Alexander writes “Rather than seeing work as something God has given us, we are prone to two opposite but equivalent errors: striving and sloth. Workaholics (the strivers) and slackers (the slothful) are controlled by fear, pride, and/or unbelief – rather than seeing themselves as imitators of God.”
  • Six Ways God’s at Work in You — At Work. Keith Welton writes “In reality, the workforce is not only how God works through you; it is a place where God works inside of you, conforming you to the image of Christ. He may feel distant, but he’s not. He is using the difficulties and pressures in your job right now to focus you in at least six areas.”
  • Faith and Work. This sermon, from Tim Keller, is the seventh sermon in Redeemer Presbyterian Church’s current series “Where We are Going: The City and the Mission”. It’s a series focused on Redeemer’s gospel based core values and is part of a special season at Redeemer called “Rise”.
  • The Calling Course. Dan Cumberland has posted three helpful videos in his Calling Course. Here’s the first one “What We Talk About When We Talk About Calling”.
  • Switching Fields: From Professional Soccer to Pastoral Ministry. Former soccer player Gavin Peacock writes “But the Lord gave me another calling still: to be a minister of the gospel. I’ve been a Christian since I was 18, but the call to pastoral ministry came 10 years ago.”
  • In this “Minute from Maxwell”, John Maxwell states a mentor is one who “goes the way, knows the way and shows the way”.
  • When Work Feels Fruitless. Leah Hollingsworth writes about being called to the work of a mother.
  • The Key to Great Companies. Dave Ramsey talks about creating an amazing company culture by oversharing with your team.
  • Affordable Housing Should Reflect God’s Heart. Angela Shepherd interviews Matthew Rooney, chief operating officer of MDG Design + Construction, an affordable housing construction and development firm in New York City, about his work.

CONFLICT:

  • In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell states that if you are going to lead people you are going to have conflict.  You need to embrace it.
  • Dealing with Conflict in Healthy and Biblical Ways. Dave Kraft writes “Knowing how to deal openly and honestly with conflict with coworkers, friends and family is critical to good leadership.”
  • 4 Rules to Prevent Destructive Conflict. Alan Zimmerman writes “You must be extremely careful about the words you use in any conflict situation.  They can literally make or break any chance you have of resolving the conflict.” Here are three more rules.

LEADERSHIP:leaders vs. managers

BY THE NUMBERS:

  • Mentor3 Types of Mentors Every Person Needs to Help Them Grow. John Maxwell writes “A mentor is someone who teaches, guides and lifts you up by virtue of his or her experience and insight. They’re usually someone a little farther ahead of you on the path—though that doesn’t always mean they’re older! A mentor is someone with a head full of experience and heart full of generosity that brings those things together in your life.”
  • 3 Warning Signs Your Team is Aligned But Not Attuned. Eric Geiger consistently offers helpful leadership content. He writes “A team that is aligned but not attuned feels very focused, but also very rigid. While a lot is accomplished, over time people feel used. Here are three warning signs your team is not attuned.”
  • 3 Ways Leaders Drive People Nuts. Dan Rockwell writes “Imagine the person on your team who drives you nuts. Realize you drive others crazy too, but they’re afraid to tell you.”
  • 3 Methods Jesus Gave Us For Learning. Chris Patton writes “We need to follow His lead. We need to teach and learn in the more intimate setting that comes with a group of only a handful.”
  • 4 Risks That Exaggeration Poses to Your Leadership. Scott Cochrane writes “As a leader you must certainly project optimism. But when you cross the line into hyperbole you run four significant risks.”
  • 4 Temptations Christian Leaders Face. Dave Kraft writes “Here are four temptations to be aware of as a leader, which are not so blatantly obvious as sex and money.”
  • 4 Ways to Work Less. Dan Rockwell writes “Ego causes leaders to over-estimate their own talent and underestimate the talent of others.”
  • 4 Ways to Experience Joy in Your Calling. Mark Dawson continues his series on calling.
  • Criticism5 Necessary Character Traits for Handling Criticism Well. Eric Geiger writes “Criticism is going to come. Those who handle it well have these five character traits.”
  • 5 Ways to Make it Through a Difficult Season. Gavin Ortlund writes “If the problem is severe, you probably need to extract yourself from the environment. But when God calls you to endure in difficult environments, here are five strategies I’ve learned to abide by.”
  • 6 Questions to Find Your Reason for Being. Dan Rockwell writes “The most important decision servant leaders make is about mission. The second concerns who to serve.”
  • 6 Simple Ways to Grow as a Leader. Brad Lomenick writes “Leadership can be overwhelming, especially in regards to the daunting task of “continual growth as a leader.”
  • 7 Sins of Selfish Leaders. Art Rainer writes “Strive to be a generous leader. Leaders are stewards of people. Give yourself to them, and they will give themselves to you.”
  • 7 Thoughts to Consider when Implementing Change. Brandon Conner writes “Leading people through change is an inevitable part of leadership. In order to lead effectively, however, leaders must see change as a process more than a decision or a vote.”
  • 7 Excuses I’ve Heard for Not Leading Well. Ron Edmondson writes “As much as we need good leaders, it seems whenever I meet a leader struggling in their role, rather than admit it could be them, often I only hear excuses. It must be easier to pass blame than to own the problem as our own.”
  • 10 Principles for Personal Productivity. In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper provides advice for our daily schedules so that we can make the most of life for Christ?”
  • 10 Reasons Leaders Should Not Answer This Question. Brian Dodd writes “One of the worst things leaders can do is answer questions no one is asking.  Don’t answer the question no one is asking.”
  • 10 Things Which Drive Me Crazy in Leadership. Ron Edmondson writes “There are some things in leadership which I could honestly say I despise. Ways people behave. Things they do.” He writes that while he has probably been guilty of some of these in his career, he hated when he did them as well.

What's Best NextBook Review:  What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms The Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman. Zondervan. 352 pages. 2014.

Matt Perman previously worked at Desiring God Ministries, the ministry of John Piper, who wrote the Foreword to this book. Perman states that this book is about getting things done and making ideas happen with less friction and frustration from a biblical perspective. It was one of my top books of 2014 and I just finished reading it a second time, with a few wonderful friends at work in a faith and work book club.

Perman wants to help us think about productivity as Christians. His aim is to reshape the way we think about productivity and then present a practical approach to help the reader become more effective with less stress and frustration, whatever we are doing. He wants to help us live the life that God has called us to live and live it with maximum effectiveness and meaning. He also wants to help equip us to do good in radical, creative ways – for missions, ending extreme poverty and bringing justice.

He introduces us to the concept of Gospel Driven Productivity (GDP), which looks at not only what the Bible has to say about getting things done, but also learns from the best secular thinking. The essence of GDP is that we are to use all that we have, in all areas of life, for the good of others, to the glory of God.  He states that true productivity is not first about efficiency – doing things right and doing them quickly – but effectiveness – doing the right things.

He uses the DARE Model, which is:

  • Define
  • Architect
  • Reduce
  • Execute

The author includes a lot of helpful resources, including interviews about productivity with leaders such as Albert Mohler, chapter summaries that include the Core Point of the chapter, a key scripture verse, etc.

One of the main reasons that Perman wrote the book was for the reader to see everything we do in a new light so that we can become an agent for good, right where we are, to the glory of God.  And that’s a pretty good reason to read this book.

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • What is the thing that if YOU don’t do it, nobody else can? What r u uniquely gifted to do? Find that & invest time. Andy Mineo
  • Some leaders are humble. Others are driven. The great ones are both. Dan Rockwell
  • Faithfulness always leads to fruitfulness in the eyes of God but not always to successfulness in the eyes of men. Burk Parsons
  • Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. John Wooden
  • Productivity will not bring purpose to your life, but will enable you to excel at living out your purpose in life. Tim Challies
  • Explore the power of leading in a different way. Lead to serve rather than be served. Ken Blanchard
  • When did it happen that a life purposed to help ordinary people locate God in their ordinary struggles become too small a thing? Zack Eswine
  • All vocations are intended by God to manifest His love in the world. Thomas Merton
  • The chief arena in which we serve God is the vocation of our everyday lives. Matt Perman 

Work Prayer

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

work mattersWork Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work by Tom Nelson

If you find yourself anywhere on the spectrum from workaholic to weekend warrior, it’s time to bridge the gap between Sunday worship and Monday work.  Striking a balance between theological depth and practical counsel, Tom Nelson outlines God’s purposes for work in a way that helps us to make the most of our vocation and to join God in his work in the world. Discover a new perspective on work that will transform your workday and make the majority of your waking hours matter, not only now, but for eternity.

Dr. Nelson is the senior pastor of Christ Community Church in Kansas City and also the President of Made to Flourish, a pastors’ network for the common good. This is one of the better books that I have read on integrating faith and work.  This week we look at highlights from

Chapter 2: Is Work a Four-Letter Word?

  • The Bible does provide a helpful framework that paves the way for understanding why work is a mixed bag of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
  • In Genesis 1 and 2 we are presented with a delightful picture of work as God originally designed it to be.
  • The Bible clearly tells us that while work is not a result of the fall, work itself was profoundly impacted.
  • In this broken world, God’s original design for our work has been badly corrupted, and we feel it in the depths of our being every day.
  • The Genesis writer emphasizes that under the curse, work has a new dimension to it. Work is now toilsome and difficult.
  • Genesis chapter 3 tells us in very riveting language that we are broken people who live and work in a broken world. Something has gone badly awry. Our work is not what it ought to be.
  • At this point in redemptive history, the work we do and the workplaces we inhabit are filled with difficulty and pain. Someday this will not be the case, but for now we must not expect otherwise. Our work has been deeply affected by the devastating consequences of sin.
  • The work we do can also seem empty and meaningless.
  • The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us that work in this fallen world is a mixed bag. Work is both a curse and a gift. Work greets us with both frustration and exhilaration. Our work gives evidence of our glorious creation as well as our great estrangement from God and our need for a Savior who will redeem us from sin’s devastating curse.
  • Rather than worship God through our work, we can easily and subtly begin to worship our work. Work can become an idol in our lives.
  • One of the ways we make work an idol is workaholism.
  • Instead of making work an idol, we can erroneously view our work as really no big deal. When work is distorted, we easily make leisure an idol and become a slothful person.
  • The common notion of a long, leisurely, and self-indulgent retirement is not something Scripture endorses, and in many ways it reflects the distortion of slothfulness.
  • Dualism, put simply, is wrongly dividing something that should not be divided. This all too often takes place in our work. When we wrongly distinguish one type of work from another, placing value on some types of work at the expense of others, we fall into the distortion of work dualism.
  • Work dualism sees through a bifurcated lens in the form of a two–story world. The upper story is seen as a higher vocational calling, one devoted to the church or religious or sacred work. The lower story is viewed as a lower vocational calling, one devoted to secular work.
  • Work dualism can be seen in various Christian traditions. For example, the language of “full-time Christian work” is commonly used to describe those whose vocational calling is to be a pastor, missionary, or parachurch worker. However, a proper and biblical understanding is that all Christians are called to “full-time Christian work,” doing good work well for the glory of God, regardless of their specific vocation.
  • Many followers of Jesus live their entire lives in the workplace under the soul-suffocating distortion that their work is not as important and God honoring as the work of a pastor or missionary.
  • In reality, there is no more sacred space than the workplace where God has called you to serve him as you serve the common good.
  • How are you approaching your work? Are you viewing your work through an idealistic or a realistic lens? A perfect job or career is not only unrealistic, it is theologically untenable.
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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 37 years, a St. Louis Cardinals fan, a manager at a Fortune 50 company, a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, and in leadership at my local church. I enjoy speaking about calling, vocation and work. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinders themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony and Achiever, and my two StandOut strengths roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book and Colossians 3:23 my favorite verse. Some of my other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Prodigal Son (originally titled A Tale of Two Sons) by John MacArthur and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music, with Lecrae, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo being some of favorite artists.

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