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

REAL-LIFE EXAMPLES:

  • How Art Can Inspire Us to Fear God. Bethany Jenkins interviews Erika Huddleston, an artist and designer in Texas, about how she integrates her faith and work.
  • I Wasn’t Born to be a Golfer. Sean Martin interviews professional golfer Webb Simpson. Simpson states “I don’t think about my gifting as that unique compared to other Christians. It just happens to be that my gift is golf, whereas another guy’s might be preaching, and another’s might be business. I think the Lord has spread us out for his purposes and for our enjoyment of him. My gifting just happens to be in golf.”
  • How Student Success Can Call Forth the Imago Dei. Bethany Jenkins interviews Jennifer Tharp, director of student success at The King’s College, about how she integrates her faith and work.
  • Life and Leadership Today with Donnie Smith. In this episode of Life and Leadership Today, Ronnie Floyd talks with Donnie Smith, about how he integrates his faith and work. Donnie recently retired as President and CEO of the largest beef and poultry producer in the world, Tyson Foods.
  • Unscripted. Gabe Lyons sat down with Ernie Johnson Jr. to talk about what it means to live out your faith in public places. It’s hard to connect vocation to religion at times, but Ernie’s encouragement is to implement beliefs in all areas of life.
  • On Mission to Save 70% of Your Shower Water. Bethany Jenkins interviews Philip Winter, co-founder and CEO of Nebia, currently reinventing the way people interact with water in their daily lives, about how he integrates his faith and work.

YOUR CALLING:

  • Motherhood is a Calling. “Motherhood is not a hobby; it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.”
  • One Calling, Multiple Expressions. Annie F. Downs reminds us that God has a specific call on each of our lives and no matter what our vocation is, our role matters.
  • Your Calling is Clear: Look to Genesis 1 for Direction. Hugh Whelchel writes “The significance of all of our work, in our jobs, our homes, our communities, and our churches, is directly related to its connection with God’s work.”
  • A Glimpse of Gory: How Knowing God Empowers Your Work. Andrew Spencer writes “If our perspective on our daily work is limited to earning a paycheck or solely navigating the success and failures of a single week, we can easily grow cynical and listless. Our perspective on work can be renewed and inspired if we have in view the glory of the God whom we serve.”
  • Root Your Identity in Christ, Not in Your Current Role. In this two-minute video is taken from David Platt’s message titled “Defining Calling”, he states “We must always be careful to root our identity in our call to salvation.”

CHARACTER MATTERS:

  • Godly Values in the Workplace. Ken Costa writes “In whatever role you find yourself, you will have influence. God cares more about how we work than where we work. Whether a banker or a baker, a lawyer or marketing executive, army officer or nursery nurse, we need to be faithful to God, living his values in the workplace.”
  • Developing the Character to Avoid Compromise in the Workplace.Art Lindsley writes “Our choices are serious matters. That little mark on the center of your soul moves you down one road or another, to be one kind of person or another.”
  • The Ultimate Character Test Any Great Leader Passes. Carey Nieuwhof writes “The longer I lead and the more I see, the more I’m convinced that character ultimately determines a leader’s true success.”
  • Wanted: Honest Opinions. Steve Graves writes “If you have a point of view, learn how to give it with humility but conviction. Assume your honesty is a crucial piece of sound decision making.”

  • Your Home Is More than a Place to Produce and Consume. Courtney Reisigg writes “We don’t need to recover the productivity of the home for the sake of a completed to-do list. We need to recover the productivity and contribution of the home for the good of the world and the people our work serves.”
  • In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell states that you get energy when you are doing something that you are passionate about, believe in and it energizes you.
  • You’re Not God, So Get Some Rest Today. Watch this two-minute video from Courtney Reisigg about rest, a topic I’ve been hearing a lot about recently.
  • Soul of Work: Presence. The soul houses how and why we do what we do. It’s the epicenter of reform, continually seeking to mend what’s broken, always driving towards the unseen. In this 25-minute video, David H. Kim, Director of the Center for Faith and Work investigates what it means to work from the soul, to add depth, thoughtfulness, and passion to our most basic skills and loftiest goals.
  • Doing What Only You Can Do. On this month’s Leadership podcast, Andy Stanley concludes a two-part conversation about only doing what only you can do. Download our Application Guide for this podcast below for key takeaways, questions for reflection and/or discussion, and resources mentioned in the podcast.
  • Will There Be Jobs in Heaven? In this four-minute video, Randy Alcorn answers the question, “Will we have jobs in heaven?”
  • Why Feelings Matter from Someone Who Thought They Didn’t. Dan Rockwell writes “One reason engagement levels are abysmal is leaders push for performance but neglect purpose.It’s impossible to pour yourself into something when you don’t know why it matters.”
  • The Power of Recognition (7 Steps). In this “Tuesday Tip”, Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes “It’s no wonder the #1 job complaint is ‘you can do a hundred things right and not hear a darn thing about it.’”
  • 2016 Faith@Work Summit Videos. Videos from the 2016 Faith@Work Summit are now available. Conference messages are from Amy Sherman, R. Paul Stevens and more.

SUCCESS AND AMBITION:

  • In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell states “Success is knowing your purpose in life, growingto your maximum potential and sowing seeds in others.”
  • The Peril of Success. Tim Challies writes “It is good to desire success, but better to desire sanctification. It is good to dream of achieving goals, but better to dream of attaining godliness.”
  • One Checkpoint For Your Ambition. Michael Kelley writes “So what are you striving for today? What are you working hard at? Where is your ambition? If you want to know whether or not that ambition is healthy, don’t just examine your heart; look to your treatment of other people. It’ll show you.

LEADERS:

  • 7 Characteristics of the Greatest Leaders I Know. Chuck Lawless share thecharacteristics he’s most often seen in the greatest contemporary leaders he’s known.
  • How Leaders Win the War on Worry. Scott Cochrane writes “Leaders must maintain the discipline to avoid needless worry is because of the mental energy it can cost them.”
  • 4 Ways to Process The Emotions of Betrayal as a Leader. Ron Edmondson writes “Betrayers will come. The way we deal with them often determines the future quality of our leadership.”
  • The Key to True Authenticity in Leadership. Scott Cochrane writes “Bring a healthy dose of discernment into every authentic conversation. It can start by giving the right information, at the right time, to the right people.”
  • A Leadership Quandary: To Change or Not to Change. Ron Edmondson writes “There is a fine line between making things better and messing things up. One of the great challenges for the leader is carefully considering the balance intention between instigating change for the good of the organization or team and allowing progress to continue without interference.”
  • “Don’t Be That Leader Who…” Top 10 Annoying Leadership Practices.Scott Cochrane writes “It begins and ends with character development. The underlying cause of each of these habits is a character flaw that must be addressed. Often it’s arrogance, selfishness, or lack of self-awareness. Sometimes its lack of discipline or insecurity. It begins and ends with character development. The underlying cause of each of these habits is a character flaw that must be addressed. Often it’s arrogance, selfishness, or lack of self-awareness. Sometimes it’s lack of discipline or insecurity.”
  • One Thing That Separates Good Leaders from Great Leaders. Dan Reiland writes that thedifference between good and great is consistency.
  • Questions to Ask an Older, Godly and Fruitful Leader. Dave Kraft writes “If you are a younger leader, or new at leadership but a bit older, here are some suggested questions you may want to ask of a more seasoned, godly and fruitful leader.”

CHURCH LEADERSHIP:

  • The Pastor’s Challenge: Workplace Visitations. This summer, Made to Flourish is challenging our network pastors to visit their congregants at their workplaces. These visits could be one-on-one meetings, lunch appointments, or shadowing them for a day. If their job doesn’t allow for you to visit during the work day, consider visiting their workplace on a weekend or outside their work hours, or simply meet over lunch to learn specifically about their work.
  • The Cost of Leadership. Nick Kennicott writes “Although the biblical qualifications are quite straightforward, there are two ways that many churches have abandoned what God has said about biblical order and leadership and have inserted worldly qualifications into the equation.”

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • When work is your identity, if you are successful it goes to your head, if you are a failure it goes to your heart. Tim Keller
  • Only transformed workers can transform work. Matt Rusten 
  • When does a job feel meaningful? Whenever it allows us to generate delight or reduce suffering in others. Though we are often taught to think of ourselves as inherently selfish, the longing to act meaningfully in our work seems just as stubborn a part of our make-up as our appetite for status or money. Alain de Bottom
  • Believe in Christ and do whatever needs to be done in your profession. Martin Luther   
  • Any job that serves humanity and inwhich one can glorify God is a Kingdom job. Leland Ryken 
  • The priesthood of all believers did not make everyone into church workers; rather it turned every kind of work into a sacred calling. Gene Veith
  • God cares more about how we work than where we work Ken Costa
  • Our daily work can be a calling only if it is reconceived as God’s assignment to serve others. Tim Keller
  • “The problem is not that we expect too much from our work, but that we expect too little from our work. David Kim  

 

FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:

Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture by David Murray. Crossway. 208 pages. 2017 
****

The author, whose blog is daily “must reading” for me, writes of serious physical experiences that he believes God gave him not only to teach him, but also to help other men (he is working with his wife to write a similar book for women) who have burned out or are about to.  Life had become a restless, busy blur of ministry obligations and opportunities for him.
The book is addressed to Christian men in general, but with a regular focus upon Christian ministry leaders in particular. He writes of his experiences of coaching men who have experienced burnout through the “Reset Garage” and five grace deficits. He states that as long as these five grace deficits exist in the lives of Christians, the wrecker’s yard is going to keep filling with broken and burned-out believers. But by connecting God’s grace more and more to our daily lives—by growing in these five graces—we can learn how to live grace-paced lives in a burnout culture. That’s what the book will train the reader to live out.
Through this book, he helps the reader to reset your life so that you can avoid crashing, or recover from it, by establishing patterns and rhythms that will help you live a grace-paced life and get you to the finish line successfully and joyfully.  He wants to persuade you to a better and more useful life; but also wants to persuade you of the seriousness of your situation.
He begins with a helpful checklist arranged in categories that will help the reader to identify danger signs that our present pace may prematurely end our race.  What he wants us to do is to give us a reality check, to find out where we really are, how you really are, and who you really are. The next step is to analyze your checklist, to gauge the seriousness of these warning lights. He writes that there is a way back, a way to reset your life, to get all of the dimensions back on track, and start enjoying a grace-paced life. He writes that what excites him the most about resetting men’s lives is seeing the new joy with which they now run their races.
The author then helps us to figure out how we got to where we are, and what caused these various issues. In the rest of the book he takes the reader through repair bays in the Reset Garage, as he helps us perform a step-by-step reset of our life. Throughout he shares relevant texts from the Bible, examples from his own life and his experiences counseling other men, as well as helpful research. He writes that although these are all life events over which we have little or no control, we are responsible for our reactions to them. Our responses can make some situations, or their impact upon us, better or worse.
In the repair bays, he covers such topics as rest, leading with humility in the home and the local church to practical things like spiritual disciplines, time management, diet, and exercise. Throughout he is practical, grace centered, serious, transparent, realistic and encouraging as he shares his own story and the stories of others. This book, one of my favorites of the year, would be a good book to either read individually or perhaps even better yet with other men in our always connected culture.

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

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans  Knopf. 274 pages. 2016

My wife Tammy and I are reading and discussing this book this summer. I first heard about it from the Center for Faith and Work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church. This week we look at Chapter 1 – Start Where You Are:

  • Design thinking can help you build your way forward from wherever you are, regardless of the life design problem you are facing. But before you can figure out which direction to head in, you need to know where you are and what design problems you are trying to solve.
  • Problem Finding + Problem Solving = Well-Designed Life
  • In design thinking, we put as much emphasis on problem finding as we do on problem solving.
  • Deciding which problems to work on may be one of the most important decisions you make, because people can lose years (or a lifetime) working on the wrong problem.
  • These are all gravity problems—meaning they are not real problems. Why? Because in life design, if it’s not actionable, it’s not a problem.
  • People fight reality. And anytime you are arguing or fighting with reality, reality will win.
  • Even in the face of daunting realities, you always have some freedom you can exercise. Find it and take action there.
  • The key is not to get stuck on something that you have effectively no chance of succeeding at.
  • We want to give you the best shot possible at living the life you want, enjoying the living of it, and maybe even making a difference while you’re at it.
  • The only response to a gravity problem is acceptance. And this is where all good designers begin.
  • That’s why you start where you are. Not where you wish you were.
  • In order to start where we are, we need to break life down into some discrete areas—health, work, play, and love.
  • It’s impossible to predict the future. And the corollary to that thought is: once you design something, it changes the future that is possible.
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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence. I’m married to my best friend. I’m a St. Louis Cardinals fan, a manager at a Fortune 100 company, a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people determine their callings, develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. My favorite book is the Bible, and some other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul and Crazy Love by Francis Chan.

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