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:

  • Christian Lawyers Discuss Their Work. In this video, New Testament scholar Sean McDonough argues that the work modern lawyers do has its roots in the Bible, specifically Luke 10:25-29. Starting at the 9:06 point in the video, professional lawyers share how the Christian faith changes their approach to their work. This video is part of Jesus And Your Job, a video series on how Christians in different industries view their work.
  • The Honorable Edmund Moy, 38th Director of the U.S. Mint | Interview and Video. Bill Peel writesEd Moy served as Director of the US Mint (2006-2011). He is an advisor to presidents, a television commentator, an author, a business executive, a corporate director, as well as a pastor and follower of Jesus. Through his story, Ed shares how service to the Lord is more than a Sunday event but an everyday working reality.”

  • A Magazine about Work. The current issue of Light Magazine is on the topic of work. Russell Moore explains why teaching our kids to work is a vital part of parenting. Jason Thacker explores the rise of automation and its effects on the ever-changing job force. Justin Lonas looks at the challenges in rural America and how the church can be a helpful presence. And Carolyn McCulley chronicles the relationship between women and work and the factors that have made it so confusing.
  • When Work Gets Wearisome. Scott Sauls writes “It turns out that even Jesus, the one with enough power to speak the galaxies into existence by speaking, had to endure the Sisyphus experience in his work of saving souls and loving people, places, and things to life. Shouldn’t we, who are far less strong and far less perfect than he, expect similar things for ourselves? If Jesus, who will one day resolve every groan in his good creation, was subject to the groan, shouldn’t we expect to be also?”

  • Work with Your Whole Heart. Charles Spurgeon writes “Wholeheartedness shows itself in perseverance; there may be failure at first, but the earnest worker will say, “It is the Lord’s work, and it must be done; my Lord has called me to do it, and in His strength, I will accomplish it.”
  • The 5 Big Causes of Burn-Out. Patrick Lencioni writes “Over the past 30 years, I’ve watched plenty of friends, colleagues and clients get burned out at work, and I’ve experienced my own share of it.  I’ve recently come to the conclusion that there are different reasons for burning out, and that someone’s personality and worldview probably influence what their reasons are.  More important, I can’t help but think that if we understand what is driving our potential burn-out, we might have a better chance of addressing it.”
  • What Does “Christian Hedonism” Mean for Our Work? Hugh Whelchel writes “When we delight in God, we find the freedom and the strength to delight in his creation and the cultivating work he has set before us all. We can find joy in our vocations because we first find joy in God.”
  • Seven Steps for Serving Our Bosses and God Faithfully. Joanna Sanders writes “We all know Abraham—an imperfect man, but one of unfathomable faith as he obediently put his son Isaac on the altar in Genesis 22. But in Genesis 24, we see an awesome picture of faithfulness in Abraham’s servant as he ventures to Abraham’s homeland, at the request of his master, to find a wife for Isaac. If we break down this narrative, we see several steps emerge, and this unnamed servant (possibly Eliezer, according to Jewish tradition), becomes an unlikely model for us for faithful service in our own workplaces.”
  • Follow Your Passion in Your Profession? It Depends. Dr. David Leonard writes “Whether you’re a full-time student or a stay-at-home parent, God has called you to use your vocation to serve others and promote the common good, thereby acting as a vessel of his grace in a fallen world. That is certainly an ideal that we can all be passionate about, regardless of its practical outworking.”
  • Can Non-Believers See God Through the Biblical Meaning of Work? Anna Arnold writes “As we work alongside those who don’t yet know God, we can serve together knowing our motivation comes from the same place. As the source of all good things, God put that desire in all his image bearers. We can pray and trust that he will be revealed as we do our jobs honestly and to the best of our ability, serve the common good, maximize the potential of the resources we’ve been given to work with, and live out dependence and trust in him for all the results.”

LEAD LIKE JESUS:

  • Leading Great  Jesus introduced the most powerful, transformational, and inspirational leadership principle on the planet. Every leader you respect practices it. The leaders you don’t respect, don’t practice it. You can lead without it, but you won’t be a leader worth following unless you embrace it. Watch Andy Stanley talk on “Leading Great”.
  • 7 Principles to Lead as Jesus Led. Ed Stetzer writes “Jesus did not come to be your leadership guru. He came to die on the cross, for your sin, and in your place. Yet, he did lead. And we can learn from how he led. If we look closely, we see that his leadership was wrapped in humility and servanthood.”
  • The Kind of Leader God Uses. Bill Peel writes “According to God, leadership is more about who we are and the choices we make than the position of authority we hold. It’s about believing that what God says is more important than what the press says. It’s about understanding that putting on Christ is infinitely more empowering than putting on a power tie. It’s about what drives us—not what we drives.”
  • Courageous Leadership Part 1. On this month’s Andy Stanley Leadership podcast, Stanley begins a conversation about the role of courage in leadership.
  • 10 of My Biggest Leadership Mistakes. Ron Edmondson writes “I want to share some of the mistakes I’ve made. I hope at least one of them encourages other leaders.”

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. John Maxwell
  • Provided your heart is set on God, when you work, serve, or otherwise do good, you’re never wasting your time. You may not see it clearly until later (maybe not until Heaven), but God has His purposes in present trials, mundane experiences, and daily duties. Randy Alcorn
  • It is not “well done, good, and successful servant” but “well done, good and faithful servant.” Iain H. Murray
  • A leader who develops people adds. A leader who develops leaders multiplies. John Maxwell
  • Real work is a contribution to the good of all and not merely a means to one’s own advancement. Tim Keller
  • Jesus came into this world not as a philosopher or a general but as a carpenter. All work matters to God. Tim Keller
  • Whoever says ‘I’m just here to collect a paycheck’ is forgetting Creation shows us work is an absolute good (Gen.1). Whoever says ‘I only want to be fulfilled in my work’ is forgetting Sin shows us work is broken (Gen. 3). Tim Keller
  • I dedicate myself to doing good. Christ is responsible for that. The purpose of life is to be found through having Christ in your life, understanding what His plan is, and following that plan. Julius “Dr. J” Erving
  • Leaders are nothing without the people they serve. Dan Rockwell

FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW

How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge: Leveraging Influence When You Lack Authority by Clay Scroggins. Zondervan. 214 pages. 2017
***

The author is the lead pastor of the original and largest campus of North Point Community Church in Atlanta, which averages over 12,000 people in attendance each week. The book is written for those not currently in a “position” of leadership in your organization, but you have ideas and vision for how things can be done better. The book is about how to cultivate the influence needed to lead when you’re not in charge. The author writes about believing the lie that authority is a prerequisite for leadership.
He states that near the core of what makes a person a leader is their sense of identity. He indicates that your identity is the conception you have of yourself. He then reviews three common identity traps that snag young leaders, especially when they are trying to lead without being in charge. He reviews five basic components of identity. He states that nothing has affected his leadership more than listening to what God has to say about his identity. He states that if you fail to believe what God says about your identity, you will fail to reach the potential he’s put in you as a leader.
He addresses ambition of the leader, and that in its purest form, there’s nothing wrong with ambition. Believing that you need a position of authority to exercise your ambition is a lie. He looks at the two distortions of our ambition as leaders.
He states that when most people think about the challenges of leading when they aren’t in charge, the most common excuse they give for their failure is their boss. He tells us that if you’re working for a bad leader, at the very least, you can use this opportunity to learn how to avoid becoming the leader you despise when others are working for you in the future.
Among the other helpful topics he covers are self-leadership principles, the importance of critical thinking, passivity and “challenging up” (challenging your boss).
The author tells us that one of the best things you can do today is to begin asking yourself questions about how and why you want to lead when you’re in charge. Then, we should start leading with those answers in mind.
The author, in his 30’s, writes in such a way to appeal to young readers, using many references from modern culture (movies, television programs, music). He also uses many helpful examples from his own life when he was not in charge.
Below are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • Influence always outpaces authority. And leaders who consistently leverage their authority to lead are far less effective in the long term than leaders who leverage their influence.
  • The first step to master in becoming a leader who leads well when not in charge is how to model what it means to be a follower.
  • Every good leader is also a critical thinker.
  • Great leaders don’t get defensive.
  • Challenge privately. Champion publicly. Do not confuse these two!
  • You can tell the character of a leader not by how they are treated by their equals, but by how they are viewed by those under them.
  • Leadership is not about waiting until people call you a leader. It’s about doing everything you can to lead right where you are.

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, 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 4: The Fruitfulness of Faithfulness

  • Jesus came not only to save us from our lives of sin but also to save us for lives of flourishing and fruitfulness.
  • The human fruitfulness Jesus has in mind during the Upper Room Discourse not only looks back on the prophetic past but also to the future day when he will make all things new.
  • When Jesus spoke of fruitfulness in the upper room, he affirmed that redemptive history was anchored in him and moving toward a glorious goal in the new heavens and new earth. Jesus also knew that a time of final judgment awaited fallen humanity and the broken world.
  • From original creation to final consummation, human fruitfulness is not only an important biblical theme—it is a serious mandate.
  • The fruitfulness of intimacy. First, the fruitful life is a flourishing relational life. As image bearers of the trinitarian God, we were not only created with work in mind but also relational intimacy in mind.
  • The fruitfulness of character. A fruitful life is also an increasingly Christlike life.
  • The fruitfulness of contribution. A life of fruitfulness is not only manifested in a growing intimacy with Christ and increasing Christlike character, but also by productive contribution to the world.
  • No matter what our vocational calling is, whether our work is paid or not, our contribution of productivity is a vital manifestation of the flourishing, fruitful life from which we serve and love others.
  • Success distortion. The first common distortion of fruitfulness is the success distortion. Through this distorted lens, the truly fruitful life presented in Scripture is co-opted by the cultural narrative of success manifested in material or quantifiable terms.
  • Mediocrity distortion. On the flip side of the success distortion is the mediocrity distortion, where external, quantifiable measures of fruitfulness are not merely dismissed but at times deemed inherently unspiritual.
  • Pietistic distortion. A third common distortion of the biblical picture of fruitfulness is the pietistic distortion. The pietistic distortion focuses on the personal, privatized, inward, and nonmaterial aspects of human fruitfulness.
  • Jesus desires to produce the fruit of intimacy, character, and productive contribution in the lives of all who follow him.
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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 38 years and a St. Louis Cardinals fan. Before retiring I served as a manager at a Fortune 50 company; I'm 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 2 Corinthians 5:21 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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