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

  • Why Do You Work? Stephen Nichols writes “The chief end of our work comes in verse 31: “May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works.” Our work has meaning. Our work points to the One in whose image we are made. As we work, we bring glory to God. As we work, God is delighted with us. Now we have stumbled upon our answer to why we work.”
  • Is Your Work Spiritual Enough? Art Lindsley writes “How many of us feel our work is not “spiritual” enough or doesn’t matter in God’s grand design? Understanding this concept of a “priesthood of all believers” can help us see how all our vocations bear great importance.”
  • Can Meaningful Work Truly Be Found? Hugh Whelchel writes “For the Christian, life without work is meaningless, but work must never become the meaning of one’s life. We must find our identity in Christ, not in our work. Our union with Christ transforms our hearts and gives us the desire to serve him out of gratitude as we engage the world through our work.”
  • Are Biblical Principles Shaping Your Values? Hugh Whelchel writes “The more we are “all in,” the more our thoughts and actions align with God’s principles, the more we can glorify God, serve the common good, and further his kingdom in this time and this place—in our particular season on this earth. And it is in the process of bringing more flourishing to the communities we serve that we flourish, too ( 29:7).”
  • Faith and Work Integration: Trendy or Essential? Mark D. Roberts writes “It’s not just trendy to seek to do everything in the Lord’s name, including those things that fill most of our waking hours. Doing our ordinary work in the Lord’s name is an essential, though often overlooked, element of our calling. So, whatever you do—whether managing staff, selling products, leading organizations, changing diapers, teaching children, building start-ups, preaching sermons, making films, writing books, molding clay, or cleaning houses—do everything, yes, everything, in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

  • The Radicalness of Leadership Counsel in the New Testament. Glenn Brooke writes “Most of the attributes of leaders that we take for granted today originated not in antiquity, but with Jesus and in the New Testament church. Jesus modeled something new and countercultural: servant leadership.”
  • 5 Suggestions for Developing Trust as a Leader. Ron Edmondson writes “Trust is like gold in leadership. Without it, a leader will fail to build a healthy following. Change will be difficult to implement. Retention and recruitment of leaders becomes near impossible.”
  • 3 Actions Every Leader Can Take to Serve Their People. Ken Blanchard writes “I hope you think of yourself as a servant leader—but take it a step further and make sure you are taking the right actions to actively serveyour people. Be present and focus on each person individually, accept people’s strengths and help them overcome weaknesses, and encourage creativity by inviting everyone to share their perspective.”  
  • 7 Characteristics of a Great Manager. Stephen Graves writes “I’ve been studying, thinking about, talking about and writing about managing for a few decades now. I’ve learned from many great thinkers (Peter Drucker is a favorite), but I’ve learned mostly through the thousands of leaders I’ve worked with. These leaders have taught me so much over the years. Here are seven of the most important takeaways I’ve learned on how to be a great manager.”
  • 3 Leadership Cop Outs That Sound Spiritual, But Aren’t. Carey Nieuwhof writes “I often hear from people who say “We don’t any need more ideas/strategies/conferences/skills…all we need to do is ________,” and then they fill in the blank with something that sounds spiritual.”

  • Meaningful Work: A Quest to Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, and Feed Your Soul. Tabitha Rayner reviews the book Meaningful Work: A Quest to Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, and Feed Your Soul, Shawn Askinosie, founder of Askinosie Chocolate, and Lawren Askinosie, his daughter and the company’s chief marketing officer. She writes “This book is a must-read for anyone who longs to serve the world with their ideas.”
  • 7 Ways to Work Hard at Rest. Gavin Ortlund writes “Over the last several years I’ve been through busier seasons, and now God has kindly provided more of a sabbatical kind of season.  Here are some specific lessons I’ve learned along the way. Maybe they’ll help you to endure amid busyness and fatigue.”
  • Work as Vapor. Listen to this sermon from Russ Ramsey on Ecclesiastes 2:18-26, delivered at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville.

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are. John Wooden
  • Jesus came into this world not as a philosopher or a general but as a carpenter. All work matters to God. Tim Keller
  • Step aside if you think leadership is about you. Chris Larson
  • If required to choose between the two, I would much rather follow a humble leader than a supremely gifted one. Scott Sauls
  • God gives us talents and gifts so we can do for one another what he wants to do for us and through us. Tim Keller
  • Our job in life is not to be successful, but to be faithful. Billy Graham
  • What we do with our lives every day, whether at school, a desk job, or keeping the home in order, is our most basic opportunity to glorify God. That’s what your role in His story looks like day in and day out. Instead of waiting to be offered a new role, play the current one well. Trip Lee
  • Behind every specific call, whether it is to teach or preach or write or encourage or comfort, there is a deeper call that gives shape to the first: the call to give ourselves away – the call to die. Michael Card
  • You will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Tim Keller

FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:

Servant Leadership in Action: How You Can Achieve Great Relationships and Results. Edited by Ken Blanchard and Renee Broadwell. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. 265 pages. 2018
****

In the “Foreword” to this collection of essays about servant leadership, John Maxwell writes that he and Ken Blanchard have believed that the only way to create great relationships and results is through servant leadership. He writes that it’s all about putting other people first. Over the past several years, I have greatly benefited from the teaching on servant leadership from Maxwell, Blanchard and many of the contributors in this book.
In the “Introduction”, Blanchard writes that the world is in desperate need of a different leadership role model, as we have all seen the negative impact of self-serving leaders in every sector of our society. He tells us that servant leadership was central to the philosophy of Jesus. While several of the contributors are Christians, a major goal of the book is to prove that servant leadership has application in both secular and spiritual leadership in every kind of organization, including business, government, education, and places of worship.
The book is aimed at anyone in a leadership position. The contributors hope that one day all will be impacted by someone who is a servant leader, and self-serving leaders will be a thing of the past.

The book is organized into six parts:
Part One: Fundamentals of Servant Leadership
Part Two: Elements of Servant Leadership
Part Three: Lessons in Servant Leadership
Part Four: Exemplars of Servant Leadership
Part Five: Putting Servant Leadership to Work
Part Six: Servant Leadership Turnarounds

Short essays are written by a literal “Who’s Who” of leadership, authors that have had a positive impact on my leadership such as Blanchard, Patrick Lencioni,
Stephen M.R. Covey, Mark Miller, Simon Sinek, Marshall Goldsmith, Henry Cloud and Dave Ramsey. Blanchard provides a short introduction to each of the essays.
There is so much of value in this book that it can be overwhelming. What I would recommend is to go through the book and read Blanchard’s short introductions to decide if you want to read that particular essay at this time.
A few of the many takeaways I had from the book were:
What is Servant Leadership? by Ken Blanchard
There are two parts to servant leadership:

  • A visionary/direction, or strategic, role – the leadership aspect of servant leader; and
  • An implementation, or operational, role – the servant aspect of servant leadership.

To me, servant leadership is the only way to guarantee great relationships and results.

Servant Leadership at the Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey
I became increasingly convinced that the practices of servant leadership and trust are inextricably linked. Today, I find it difficult to talk about serving without also talking about trust – and vice versa.
The strong bias of the servant leader is to extend trust to others.

The Evolution of Servant Leadership by Simon Sinek
Though someone may choose servant leadership for the results, the reason we continue to practice the discipline is for the joy of the journey.

One Question Every Servant Leader Should Ask by Marshall Goldsmith
Am I willing at this time to make the investment required to make a positive difference on this topic?

In the Service of Others: When Leaders Dare to Rehumanize Work by Brene Brown
Servant leadership and shame culture cannot coexist for a simple reason: the foundation of servant leadership is courage and shame breeds fear.

Compassion: The Heart of Servant Leadership by Craig Groeschel
True servant leadership means you are called to care – not to just feel sorry for someone or feel sympathy or empathy – but to do something. Why? Because to say you care, and then not act, is to not care at all. True servant leadership cares. And because it cares, it must act.

A Baptism of Leadership by Erwin Raphael McManus
We tend to want God’s power but not His character. Yet only when we embrace His character are we trustworthy with His power. Servant leadership understands that our calling is not to overpower but to empower.

Jesus: The Greatest Example of a Servant Leader by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges
For followers of Jesus, servant leadership is not an option; servant leadership is a mandate.

Leading is Serving by Dave Ramsey
If there’s one key to servant leadership, it’s pretty simple: put other people first.

This would be an excellent book to read and discuss with other leaders in a “Book Club” setting.

Servant Leadership in Action Livecast was held on February 28. You can watch the event here.

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

The Economics of Neighborly Love: Investing in Your Community’s Compassion and Capacity, is the new book by Tom Nelson, author of the excellent book Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work. Why not consider reading along with us? Download The Economics of Neighborly Love Study Guide from Made to Flourish.

Chapter 3: HUMAN FRUITFULNESS AND MATERIAL WEALTH

  • Wealth creation is something we are created and called to do in the world.
  • Throughout the history of the church there have been two prominent and diverging views of wealth. One view insists that wealth and material wealth creation are intrinsically corrupting and therefore must be avoided at all cost. This view contends that the right path for the true Christian is to renounce all wealth. The other view contends that material wealth and wealth creation are essentially good and are part of our creation design and cultural mandate. In its best forms this view admits that wealth can be perilous in our fallen world, while nevertheless advocating that wealth must not be avoided but rather carefully stewarded in love for God and our neighbor.
  • Today, in many Christian circles, wealth is seen as anything but a gift to steward well.
  • I believe material wealth is a gift rather than a curse.
  • There are two common and dangerous distortions advocated under the banner of Christian teaching. The first distortion is what we might call the poverty gospel.
  • Inherent in this distorted biblical teaching is that material poverty brings spiritual riches, and material abundance inevitably brings spiritual poverty.
  • Those who embrace the poverty gospel in its many explicit and implicit forms make a theological error by too closely wedding evil with material prosperity.
  • The prosperity gospel. A second dangerous distortion regarding material wealth is the prosperity gospel.
  • Proponents of the prosperity gospel believe the creation of wealth is an authenticating sign or a direct causal apologetic for God’s blessing. Prosperity gospel adherents assert that God wants everyone to be materially prosperous.4
  • A closer examination of Jesus’ teaching as well as other biblical texts reveals a parting of company with both the poverty gospel and the prosperity gospel.
  • Seeing that wealth is neither to be avoided nor praised but rather stewarded wisely and generously, how should we think about material wealth creation?
  • The key principle we see both in the cultural mandate and in economic theory is that wealth creation is an exponential dynamic. This means the work of cultivating the Garden of Eden was a call to steward the raw materials of God’s creation and to create something that wasn’t there before, multiplying it many times over for the flourishing of all (Gen 2:15).
  • My sense is that likely a combination of spiritual, moral, cultural, political, legal, and technological factors has influenced the rapid trajectory of human economic betterment in the last two hundred years.
  • Jesus’ sobering reminder “to whom much was given, . . . much will be required” (Lk 12:48) is both a timely and timeless word in this time of human economic betterment.
  • We must be careful to avoid two dead-end roads of faulty thinking. On the one hand, we may be tempted to think that those who don’t have as much as we do are lazy or don’t have enough faith. On the other hand, we may convince ourselves that those who have more than we do are greedy and selfish.
  • Being productive in our work within our economic system—flawed and imperfect as it may be—is an important way we bear God’s image and love others.
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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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