Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

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  • Pastor, Visit Their Workplace. Justin Buzzard writes “Because God designed people to work, my congregants spend most of the week at their workplace. I realized years ago that a powerful way to know and love my church members is to visit them there. I want to know this massive part of their lives. There’s a connection that can happen in the workplace that’s more holistic than a conversation in the pews or at a coffee shop.”
  • Community and the Cubicle. The High Calling blog writes “What would it look like to extend the community-cultivating power of the gospel into our cities, into our workplaces, into our churches? How would the workplace change?”

REAL-LIFE EXAMPLES:

  • Astros Chaplain: Play for God and Pray to Win Kate Shellnutt interviews the Houston Astros Chaplain Juan Jesus Alaniz. Alaniz states “We try to get them to that higher-level perspective, instead of just “I’m playing for my country. I’m playing for my family. I’m playing for my Astros fans.” No, you’re playing for the Lord. The Word of the Lord never comes back empty, so we keep sharing those things with them. It’s nice to see them respond.”
  • World Series Winning Baseball Player Shares His Faith in God. Kristen Undset writes about World Series Champion Jose Altuve, who states ““We need to not just ask God but thank Him for everything like our health, our family. And ask Him to bless our homes and to always be present in our daily lives. And to keep us safe is most important.”
  • Faith at Work. Russell Shorto writes “Chuck Ripka is a money lender – that is to say a mortgage banker – and his institution, the Riverview Community Bank in Otsego, Minnesota, is a way station for Christ.”
  • Building Houses for God’s Glory | Merle and Dave Stoltzfus. Bill Peel writes “David and Merle Stoltzfus take Psalm 127 very personally as residential developers in eastern Pennsylvania. But they don’t just build structures, they build communities. Because they believe that God is in their work, the Stoltzfus brothers take Jesus’ command to love our neighbor seriously.”
  • The Kind of Leader Worth Following. Scott Sauls writes this tribute to Tim Keller.

YOUR WORK MATTERS TO GOD:

  • The Value of Our Work. Listen to this interview with Bryan Chapell about how God values our work.
  • How the Reformation Revolutionized Diaper Changing. Greg Forster writes “Luther wasn’t the first to see this calling to serve God in all of life, which theologians call the doctrine of vocation. And those who came after him have contributed significantly to our understanding of it. But Luther was one of the most important champions of this doctrine in history.”
  • Why Dishwashing Matters in God’s Kingdom. Hugh Whelchel writes “Even though our work has eternal meaning, it doesn’t mean it will be easy. But it does mean that we can live a fully integrated life, where there is no division between the sacred and the secular, where our Christian faith infiltrates all of who we are and what we do, not just on Sundays, but on Mondays, too.”

CHARACTER MATTERS:

  • One of the Most Uncommon Corporate Values and How to Live It Out.John Kyle writes “We are not called to simply have romantic thoughts about the idea of warmth. We’re called to live it. We’re called to be passionate advocates for it—even in the workplace, even when our colleagues are hard to love.”
  • 15 Ways to Be a Kinder, Gentler Leader, Part 1. Shawn Lovejoy writes “Early on in my leadership, I often did the right thing but went about it the wrong way. As I grew as a leader, I recognized the need to do the right thing and also go about it in the right way.”
  • 7 Lazy Leadership Practices. Ron Edmondson writes “If you’ve been practicing lazy leadership, the best response – as to any sin – is to repent, turn away, and do the hard work of leadership. You and your team will benefit greatly.”
  • 8 Contrasting Signs of an Insecure Leader. Jared C. Wilson writes “It is worth exploring, then, how closely related opposite character traits or behavioral characteristics may actually be. The following list of leadership characteristics contains 4 sets of 2 contrasting signs, all of which — counterintuitive though it may seem — reveal insecurity.”
  • The Problem With A Lack Of Character. Tony Dungy writes “So often there is such an emphasis on results that it doesn’t matter how you get them. Moving up is more important than the wayyou move up. It doesn’t matter what kind of person you are, just what kind of player you are. It doesn’t matter if you follow the rules or break them, just as long as you come out on top.”
  • The Relationship Between Sin and Work. Richard Phillips points out three features of the relationship between sin and work, along with rest, that will take us deeper in understanding.”

LEADERSHIP:

  • Lessons from the Radical Leadership of Jesus. Pete Scazzero writes “For the last 18 months, I have been meditating on the leadership of Jesus in Matthew’s gospel. It has shaken me. The Holy Spirit has challenged me to honestly look at the Western church model of leadership that lives in me more than I care to admit (i.e. bigger, better, more, faster), and invited me to drink more deeply of Jesus’ life and leadership. I have summarized my learnings into five lessons for your reflection and prayer.”
  • Tired? Damaged? Regrets? God Wants to Recruit You. Scott Sauls writes “If history repeats itself, then in all likelihood leaders like me will discover in the end that it was not chiefly through our great plans, preaching or vision that God brought life into the world—but through our weakness.”
  • How to Maximize a Team’s Performance. Tony Dungy writes “We have all seen organizations that have floundered and not lived up to their expectations, despite talented individuals. But I have seen numerous organizations accomplish much greater outcomes when each piece is functioning well within the whole.”
  • Good Leaders Are Stewards of God’s People. Vera R. Jackson writes “Whatever our specific position in the marketplace, God is calling us to steward it with holiness and righteousness.”
  • The One Thing Great Leaders Can’t Escape. Dan Reiland writes that “Sacrifice is the most overlooked essential in spiritual leadership.”

  • How to Live on Mission in a Secular Workplace. Eric Weatherbee writes “God has called me to live a life on mission, and for me that includes a call to full-time ministry. But I have run away from what God was calling me to do and have actually spent my entire career up until this point working in healthcare administration. As I’ve grown more spiritually mature, God has been more persistent in the call to make the name of Jesus known to all and make disciples through vocational ministry. I want every moment of my day to be spent furthering the Kingdom.”
  • Call to Ministry, Call to Business: It’s All Godly Work.Hugh Whelchel writes “At IFWE, we would suggest a different model for understanding all God has called us to do. It is based on the teaching of scripture and three simple but important questions.”
  • “It is Good”: A 5280 Fellows Experience. Tim Barr writes “There were four key things that stood out to me when reading Genesis Chapter 1 that I had not considered before. These key elements apply to our work as people and our approach to business.”
  • 4 Thoughts on Finding a Mentor. Ron Edmundson writes “If you want to find a mentor, you’ll have to be intentional.”
  • Tabletalk on Vocation. The November daily studies in Ligonier’s Tabletalk magazine deal with the subject of vocation.

  • Lord, give me character that is greater than my gifts, and humility that is greater than my influence. Scott Sauls
  • Those tasked with leadership must be the slaves of all, following their Master, who “did not come to be served but to serve…” Tim Keller
  • To lead well, we must first follow Jesus well. Tom Nelson
  • Is your life a compelling signpost to point others to where life is found? Tom Nelson
  • A well-kept heart is nonnegotiable for spiritual leadership, but so is a well-kept schedule. Tom Nelson
  • From cradle to grave, the local church is remarkably designed to be a dynamic environment for leadership development. Tom Nelson
  • I believe the ability to think others-first is the cornerstone of great leadership. Mark Miller
  • The best leaders I’ve met with over the years tended to listen more than they spoke. They may ask great questions, but then let others talk. Ron Edmondson
  • Power, approval, comfort, and control are meta-idols that hold sway over our daily lives. Tim Keller


FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:

Self-Leadership and the One Minute Manager: Gain the Mindset and Skillset for Getting What You Need to Succeed, Revised Edition by Ken Blanchard, Susan Fowler and Laurence Hawkins. William Morrow. 160 pages. 2017
****

This book, originally published in 2005, introduced a proven path to empowerment in the format of a quick-read parable.  In the increasingly fast-paced world of work, this updated edition is more relevant than ever as it gives readers three tricks to managing themselves.
We are introduced to Steve, a new advertising account executive. His first ad campaign for United Bank is rejected as “garbage” by the bank president. Stunned and afraid that he will be fired, Steve, instead of driving back to the agency, comes upon Cayla’s Café, in an unfamiliar neighborhood. There he meets the owner, Cayla, doing magic tricks for children. Little does he know that Cayla, a protégé of the One Minute Manager, will help to change his life, and perhaps save his job.
Cayla meets Steve who is full of excuses, and sees himself as a victim. She proceeds to teach him about self-leadership, something the One Minute Manager had taught her and asked her to pass on to others. She tells him that he will be ready for self-leadership when he accepts responsibility for his own success. She tells him that empowerment is something someone gives you, while self-leadership is what you do to make it work.
She will teach Steve three “tricks” of self-leadership:

  1. Challenge assumed constraints. An assumed constraint is a belief that limits your experience.
  2. Activate your points of power. She teaches him about five points of power – knowledge power, personal power, relationship power, task power and position power. She tells him that perhaps his greatest assumed constraint was not realizing his own power.
  3. Be proactive! Get what you need to succeed! The two most powerful words to get what you need to success are, “I NEED”. When you use the “I need” phrase, you are coming from a position of strength.

Cayla introduces Steve to the Situational Leadership II Model, which includes the Development Continuum. The Development Continuum is a model of four stages people usually experience when they are learning to master something. For each development level, the model provides a corresponding leadership style to provide you with the appropriate amount of direction and/or support you need. For example, when your competence is low, you need direction. When your commitment is low, you need support.
This is a helpful, quick-read, that you will benefit from reading.

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

I first heard about this book from the Center for Faith and Work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC. This week we look at Chapter 10: Failure Immunity

  • Once you become a life designing person and are living the ongoing creative process of life design, you can’t fail; you can only be making progress and learning from the different kinds of experiences that failure and success both have to offer.
  • This is the first level of failure immunity—using a bias to action, failing fast, and being so clear on the learning value of a failure that the sting disappears (and, of course, you learn from the failure quickly and incorporate improvements).
  • Designing your life is actually what life is, because life is a process, not an outcome.
  • When you remember that you are always playing the infinite game of becoming more and more yourself and designing how to express the amazingness of you into the world, you can’t fail. With the infinite-game mind-set, you are not just adept at failure reduction—you are truly failure-immune.
  • In this way, you energize a very productive cycle of growth, naturally evolving from being, to doing, to becoming. Then it all repeats, as the more-like-you version of you (your new being) takes the next step of doing, and so it goes.
  • A perfectly planned life that never surprises you or challenges you or tests you is a perfectly boring life, not a well-designed life.
  • Embrace the flaws, the weaknesses, the major screwups, and all the things that happened over which you had no control. They are what make life worth living and worth designing.
  • Failure is the raw material of success, and the failure reframe is a process of converting that raw material into real growth. It’s a simple three-step exercise: 1. Log your failures. 2. Categorize your failures. 3. Identify growth insights.
  • Screwups are just that—simple mistakes about things that you normally get right.
  • Weaknesses are failures that happen because of one of your abiding failings.
  • Growth opportunities are the failures that didn’t have to happen, or at least don’t have to happen the next time. The cause of these failures is identifiable, and a fix is available. We want to direct our attention here, rather than get distracted by the low return on spending too much time on the other failure types.
  • Failure immunity comes from knowing that a prototype that did not work still leaves you with valuable information about the state of the world here—at your new starting point. When obstacles happen, when your progress gets derailed, when the prototype changes unexpectedly—life design lets you turn absolutely any change, setback, or surprise into something that can contribute to who you are becoming personally and professionally.
  • In life design, there are no wrong choices; there are no regrets. There are just prototypes, some that succeed and some that fail. Some of our greatest learning comes from a failed prototype, because then we know what to build differently next time.
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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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