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 Articles

FOR YOU EEYORES OUT THERE – YEAH YOU!EEYORE

  • Limits.  In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell states that some people put limits on themselves, negatively impacting their ability to reach their potential.
  • 6 Things To Give Up If You Want To Be Effective. Kevin Lloyd shares 6 “conditions” he has noticed in people that limits their ability to make an impact.
  • In this “Minute from Maxwell”, John Maxwell states that the fruit of the tree is out on the limb. We need to quit hugging the tree trunk.
  • Essentials for a Flourishing Life. Stephen Graves gives four reasons why a long view of life is essential for a flourishing life.
  • 3 Ways to Unleash the Power of Determination. In this “Tuesday Tip”, Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes “Failures use their circumstance to give up, while successes use their circumstances as a reason to get going.  And determination is the resolve to meet every obstacle with the assurance that it can and will be overcome.”

MAKING AN IMPACT:impact

  • The Difference Between Your Job and Your Work. Dan Cumberland writes that “Your job is what you do to pay the bills while your work is about making an impact.”
  • 5 Things That Will Kill Your Impact. Stephen Graves writes “Impact is not just a power score or some random popularity contest. Nor is impact simply your online influence (i.e., Facebook likes). Impact is much deeper and long-lasting. It’s the change you bring about in the lives of others. It’s about changing the way people think, act, believe, live, purchase, and more.”

CALLING AND VOCATION:vocation

  • The Calling Podcast. On this first episode of The Calling, Christianity Today’s managing editor Richard Clark talks with Russell Moore about his call to bring the Kingdom of God to local churches, his traumatic first ministry experience, and how local churches ought to approach the outside world.
  • Reconciling the Whole World. This article from the Theology of Work project states “If we love the people we work among and try to improve our workplaces, products, and services, then we become agents of Christ’s reconciliation.”
  • Four Ways to Flip the Switch on Work as Worship. Chris Chancy writes “Understanding that God has called us to worship him in our work is only part of the process. Incorporating this theology of work into our lives requires intentionality.”

CHARACTER MATTERS:

  • Trust, Must or Bust. In this “Tuesday Tip”, Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes “How can you sow the seeds of caring so you reap the harvest of trust? At a minimum, it involves four behaviors.”
  • What Productivity Can’t Do. James Kinnard writes “Our true purpose in improving our productivity should be to serve others.”
  • 10 Questions That Build Better Teams. John Maxwell says that influence comes through inquiry. What does that mean? It means ask good questions, get good answers, and you gain more influence in your leadership.character
  • Solving a Problem is Often a Matter of Perspective. Ron Edmondson writes “It’s frustrating, as a leader, when you feel you’ve done your best to address a problem, but people still have a problem. The problem – from their perspective – still exists.”
  • Why Not Architect Your Own Life? Michael Hyatt writes “Our daily existence requires coordinating a million variables: just think of all the personal and professional obligations and aspirations we constantly juggle. Yet most of us do so without a plan.”
  • Distracted by Excellence. Carson Weitnauer examines a few reasons why we need to cautiously guard against a naive appreciation for excellence.

LEADERSHIP:

  • 5 Ways to Lead When You’re Limping. Ron Edmondson always provides helpful insights. He writes “The truth is, the best leaders I know have a limp of some nature. It may not be visible, but if you are around them long, they will display remnants of a previous injury.”
  • 5 Characteristics of Weak Leaders (And How Not To Be One). Michael Hyatt shares five flaws he noted in George B. McClellan as he read Doris Goodwin’s book Team of Rivals. These characteristics practically define what it means to be a weak leader. And the list doubles as a convenient self-evaluation tool if you want avoid becoming one.”
  • 10 Things You Get When People Follow You Out of Obligation or Admiration. Selma Wilson writes “There are leaders of influence and leaders who hold position power. There are leaders we have to follow because they hold power over us and there are leaders we want to follow because they challenge us, inspire us, and compel us to live on purpose and mission.”
  • 5 Core Values of Great Leaders. The EntreLeadership Team writes “The key to becoming a great leader is serving your team and everyone around you by putting them first. If you do, you’ll be paid back in full with loyalty, hard work and extraordinary results.”
  • 20 Leadership Tips in Tweet Length. Ron Edmondson offers this helpful leadership tips.LeaderCreateLeaders
  • 5 Reasons Effective Leaders Never Say, “I’m So Busy”. Scott Cochrane writes You’ll never hear an effective leader get caught in the “I’m so busy trap” because they know it can actually communicate something quite different…”
  • Leaders – Let Your Ego Leak. Brad Lomenick writes “Ego leak is the practice of ridding oneself of pride through the pipeline of praising others around you. Practice purging pride by praising people.
  • Over-Led and Under-Managed. Some people think that leadership and management are the same, but they are not. Dan Rockwell writes “Chaotic organizations are over-led. Stagnant organizations are over-managed.”
  • 14 Benefits Desperate Leaders Experience. Brian Dodd writes “Are you persevering?  Are you desperate?  If not, you will never be as successful as you could be.”
  • 5 Lessons I Learned When Just Starting Out. John Maxwell shares five leadership lessons from the first church he led that have been foundational for him and his
  • Introverts in Leadership. In this episode of the 5 Leadership Questions podcast Todd Adkins and Barnabas Piper are joined by Kevin Spratt, to talk about introverts in leadership and the distinct challenges, advantages, and disadvantages introverts have.
  • 7 Practices of Leaders Who Build Healthy Workplace Cultures. Brian Dodd shares these practices from Dayton Moore’s book More Than a Season. Moore is the General Manager of the World Series champion Kansas City Royals.
  • The Power of Drawing a Leadership Line in the Sand. Scott Cochrane writes “Do you have clear core values? Good. Now, put them to work in real-life situations.”
  • Why a Leader Often Needs to be Mean. Brian Dodd writing about Shawn Lovejoy’s Be Mean About the Vision, writes “Being mean about the vision is being intentional about the vision.”
  • 24 Leadership Traits from the Proverbs 31 Woman. Selma Wilson writes “Whether married or single, here are 24 leadership traits we see in The Proverbs 31 woman that we can aspire to have in our own lives.”
  • The Long Nose Leader. Dan Rockwell writes “You can’t bring out the best in others while looking down your nose.”
  • Why Many Leaders Have Few or No Close Friends. Dave Kraft shares ten reasons why pastors struggle with finding friends.
  • 3 Ways to Lead Through a Struggle. Kevin Lloyd writes “Seasons of leadership bring struggles and difficulties. No matter how accomplished or experienced we are, moments arise when we feel like we are stumbling through a class that we can’t pass.”

BOOK REVIEWS 

Living ForwardLiving Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy. Baker Books. 2016.
***

In this very practical and useful book, author Michael Hyatt and executive coach Daniel Harkavy of Building Champions introduce readers to the concept of a Life Plan – which they consider a GPS for your life – and its importance in providing vision and a destination for both individuals and organizations such as Chick Fil-A. The Life Plan is a living document that will help individuals to be healthy in all phases of life – relationships, financial, spiritual and physical.

The book includes ten chapters divided into three sections – Understand Your Need, Create Your Plan and Make it Happen, and helpful Life Plan templates at http://livingforwardbook.com/.  The Life Plan is based around three powerful questions:

  • How do I want to be remembered?
  • What Matters Most?
  • How can I get from here to where I want to be?

The book includes a lot of personal stories to illustrate the points made and would be helpful to all people (those in business, non-profits, stay at home moms, students, etc.) and at any stage of life. You just need to be ready to make a positive change in your life. The authors do not want their readers to come to the end of their lives with regrets.

I found the book to have some similarities to other good books I’ve recently read, such as Intentional Living by John Maxwell, What’s Best Next by Matt Perman and The Art of Work by Jeff Goins.  A quote that I really appreciated from the book was “Self-leadership always precedes team leadership”.

The book ends with the key points being repeated in a helpful summary.

 Visions of VocationVisions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good by Steven Garber. IVP Books. 256 pages. 2014. 
****

Steven Garber was the featured speaker at my Covenant Seminary graduation in May, 2014. Not long afterwards, my wife and I read and discussed this book. It is best read slowly, as he weaves in stories of the band Jars of Clay, Jena Lee Nardella, Wendell Berry, U2, John Le Carre, J.I. Packer, and many others along with books and films in this wonderful book. Reading it had the feel of having a conversation with him in a coffee shop or his living room.
Garber is the principal of the Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation & Culture, which is focused on reframing the way people understand life, especially the meaning of vocation and the common good. They see that vocation is integral, not incidental, to the mission Dei. He writes that this book invites the reader to “come and see” that this vision of vocation is being lived out by men and women who are committed to a faith that shapes vocation that shapes culture.
He writes that there is not a more difficult task that human beings face than to know the world and still love it. A recurring question that he asks throughout the book is: “Knowing what I know, what will I do”? He indicates that in thousands of important and different ways, each story is formed by asking and answering that question.
Other penetrating questions he asks in the book are:
• How does one learn to see with the eyes of the heart, to see oneself as responsible for the way the world is and isn’t?
• Can we know the world and still love it?
I enjoyed his profiles of people who chose to love with honesty and integrity. He writes that those people “see themselves as implicated in the way the world is and ought to be. They see themselves as having vocations that call them into life, into the world – into a way of knowing that implicates them, for loves sake.” He writes that they are people who have vocations in imitation of the vocation of God knowing the worst about the world, and still loving it. They learn to live in the tension of life, living with what is and longing for what will be for the sake of the world. He writes that they become “hints of hope”.
He shares his belief that the most important question is “What do we love?” He states that what we believe and how we live is formed by the way we answer that question.
This is a rich book. Read it slowly, and ponder what Garber writes. It will be time well spent.

favorite quotesTop 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week

  • See everything you do, in all areas of your life, as means of serving God and Matt Perman
  • Practice isn’t the thing you do once you are good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good. Malcolm Gladwell
  • Since God is in charge, you can be called to a vocation, but not called to be successful in that vocation. Tim Keller
  • No man has a right to be idle . . . where is it in such a world as this that health, and leisure, and affluence may not find some ignorance to instruct, some wrong to redress, some want to supply, some misery to alleviate?  William Wilberforce 
  • People-centered leadership is all about love. Care about your people enough to share with them how much of a difference they are making. Ken Blanchard
  • Leaders need unbiased/unfiltered feedback from outside your organization. People more often tell you how great you are when you are paying their paycheck. Brad Lomenick
  • Too many folks entertain themselves into failure. Successful people are always growing, reading, learning. Be intentional. Dave Ramsey
  • You can either lower goals to match your effort or you can raise your effort to match your goals. Coach K
  • People lose their way when they lose their why. Michael Hyatt

Andy Andrews Quote

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 3: The Good News of Work

  • The wonderful and glorious news of the gospel is that our standing before and relationship with a holy, righteous God is not based on anything we have done or could possibly do but on what Jesus has already done on our behalf on the cross. It is not by our works but by his stripes that we are healed.
  • We can find ourselves thinking deeply about our work without thinking deeply about the gospel. But this is something we simply must not do. There is really no good news about our work without the good news of the gospel. For the gospel is the transforming power that changes us.
  • Hard work, however noble, without a relationship with the Father proves empty, meaningless, and despairing.
  • The work we do will not win us favor with our Father. Yet as new creations in Christ, transformed from the inside out, we are able to again do the work we were created for.
  • An essential aspect of presenting our Christian faith to the world around us is seen in and through the diligence we exhibit in our work.
  • In all aspects of our lives, including our workplaces, we display to those around us the light of the glory of Christ who indwells us.
  • Our good works take on many dimensions, and we must see that our daily work is a significant part of the good works that glorify God.
  • One of the ways that we are salt and light and act as redemptive agents in this broken world is to live out a faithful presence in the workplace.
  • A large stewardship of our calling in the workplace is faithfully showing up every day and demonstrating to others around us our good in and through our work.
  • As image-bearers of God, who is a worker, we must remember that our work has intrinsic value in itself and is to be an act of worship. We also must grasp that our work has instrumental value in that it provides for our economic needs, allows us to care for the needs of others, and creates a sphere of influence for the gospel to be lived out and shared.
  • Without knowing Christ, your work will never be all that God intended for it to be. Without knowing the One who created work, your work will never be ultimately fulfilling. The good news of work is that we can be transformed—that our work can be transformed.

The Advantage by Patrick LencioniThe Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business by Patrick Lencioni

Patrick Lencioni is one of my favorite business authors. His books The Advantage and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team are among my favorites. I recently started reading and discussing The Advantage with two colleagues at work. I’m sharing key learnings from the book and this week we look at

Question 3: What Do We Do?

  • This question is the simplest of the six and takes the least amount of time and energy to address. The answer lies at the opposite end of the idealism scale from why an organization exists and is nothing more than a description of what an organization actually does. No flowery adjectives or adverbs here. Nothing ethereal or abstract. Just an unsexy, one-sentence definition—something your grandmother can understand (no offense to grandmas). The answer to this question is something we call an organization’s business definition (but never a mission statement!).
  • If an organization’s reason for existence answers the question, Why?, then its business definition answers the question, What? It’s critical that it be clear and straightforward.
  • The point is just to make sure that the leadership team is crystal clear about, and can accurately describe, the nature of the organization’s business so that they don’t create confusion within the rest of the company or, for that matter, in the market. It’s as simple as that.
  • I’m always surprised when I ask members of a leadership team to quietly write down a sentence or two about what they think the organization does, and I find that there is more discrepancy than I or, more important, they had thought. Taking a few minutes to make sure everyone is on the same page is always worthwhile.
  • It should be noted that an organization’s business definition can change over time, but only when the market changes and calls for a meaningful shift in the fundamental activity of the organization.
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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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