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

  • Faith & Work Conference Livestream. If you are not able to travel to New York City for the Center for Faith & Work Conference don’t despair, you can watch the conference via livestream for just $35. “Join us via Livestream for this two-day event which is part of Redeemer’s Formation Conference Series! Explore how the gospel gives us a radical new vision: the issue is not that we expect too much from our work, it’s that we expect too little.” Speakers include Tim Keller, Katherine Leary and David H. Kim.
  • Made to Flourish. “Made To Flourish exists to equip pastors with a more integral connection between Sunday faith and Monday work, in order to empower them to lead churches that produce human flourishing for the common good.”

  • When It Seems Your Life is Going Nowhere. Scott Sauls writes “Although it is sometimes hard to believe that your work, done for God’s glory, has enduring significance, it absolutely does.”
  • Finding Glory in My Ordinary Year. Courtney Reisigg writes “One day I will do the work in a way that I want again, but until then I am asking for grace to find the glory in the ordinary days—even days where everyone else is helping me get by.”
  • 3 Ways to Help Your Students Discern Their Vocational Future. Meryl Herr writes “A theology of calling could be the anchor that these young people need. Our primary call is to follow Christ. Yet each Christ-follower also has a unique, or specific, calling.”
  • 7 Tips for Writing Your Personal Vision Statement. Hugh Whelchel writes “Having a clearly articulated personal vision statement gives you a template of purpose that can be used to initiate, evaluate, and refine all of your activities.”
  • Why Your Personal Vision is Important and How to Discover It. Hugh Whelchel writes “Discovering your personal vision helps you understand who you are in Christ, your talents, and your comparative advantages. It helps you know how to create the greatest value for yourself, your family, your church, your community and your work for the glory of God.”
  • How to Climb the Corporate Ladder – For Jesus’ Sake. In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper answers the question “How do I balance my earthly work with eternal work”
  • Work for the Common Good. God designed every human being to find agency in his or her vocation. “If we understand the “common good” as the truest good for all people, how can our work play a role in renewing the world? Author, speaker, and pastor Skye Jethani helps us contemplate how our work is not primarily for the gain of wealth and pleasure—but ultimately an opportunity to cultivate a better world for our neighbors.”

REAL LIFE EXAMPLES:

  • Christian in Food Services Discuss Their Work. “In this video, New Testament scholar Sean McDonough argues that the modern food services industry its roots in the Bible, specifically the gospel of Luke. Starting at the 10:54 mark, Christians who work in food services 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.”
  • Faith-and-Work Lessons from the Father of Christian Rock. Chuck Armstrong writes “As quoted in the Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?and elsewhere in Larry Norman folklore, Paul McCartney of the Beatles once told the Christian rocker, “You’d be a huge star if you’d shut up about religion.”

  • Rest While You Work Today. Michael Kelley writes “You can rest today while you work today. But that doesn’t mean you’re not at work. It doesn’t mean you’re not physically tired. It means instead that you can to your soul and say the same words that Jesus offered time and time again: “Peace to you.” He offered that greeting then and now for the same reason – that He is risen. And because He has risen, it is finished.”
  • Laziness is Idolatry. Jared C. Wilson writes “Laziness is idolatry. It is closely related to its opposite—workaholism. Both the sins of laziness and workaholism are sins of self-worship.“
  • 3 Spiritual Reasons You Should Take Control of Your Calendar. Michael Kelley writes “Maybe taking control of your calendar is actually a spiritual discipline; maybe it’s an act of discipleship.”
  • Is It Unfair to Others When You Succeed at Work? Anne Bradley writes “Thinking biblically and economically about income inequality helps us differentiate between legitimate efforts to invest our God-given gifts to serve others and selfish efforts to protect ourselves that only hurt others’ chances to succeed.”
  • Following Christ’s Example of Foot-Washing in the Workplace. Stevan Becker writes “We are called to be other “Christs” in our workplaces. This is only possible if we are filled with the Holy Spirit and being transformed by him.”
  • When Taking Risks in Life Doesn’t Pay Off. Tony Dungy writes “We make decisions with the best information we have, which often makes it seem like we’re in a fog.”

  • The Bathsheba Syndrome: The Ethical Failure of Successful Leaders. David Murray writes “I was talking with a military leader recently about the growing number of devastating moral failures among prominent Christian leaders. He mentioned to me a training seminar he attended on “The Bathsheba Syndrome” and its application in the military context.”
  • 7 Good Reasons for a Leaders to say “No”. Ron Edmondson writes “But sometimes I don’t say yes. I say no. And I believe it’s one secret to my success in ministry and leadership.”
  • How Managers Can Help Save the World. Joe Carter writes “Christians long ago recognized that for long-term spiritual success, missionaries had to train up pastors and teachers from within a country. Perhaps it’s time we applied that same thinking to improving the long-term material success of countries in need. By sharing our abundance of managerial knowledge, we could teach others how to be more productive—helping them create wealth for themselves and their neighbors.”

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • God’s most effective leaders don’t rise to power in spite of their weakness; they lead with power because of their weakness. Joni Eareckson Tada
  • Sabbath: Organizing our work around our rest and our lives around our worship, and not reversing the order. Scott Sauls
  • The greatest contribution of a leader is to make other leaders. Simon Sinek
  • No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • When did you last give up significant power in order to serve someone else? Tim Keller
  • If you would prosper in your work for Jesus, let it be heart work, and let it be done with all your heart. Charles Spurgeon
  • When we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. Wendell Berry
  • Labor is light to a man of cheerful spirit; and success waits upon cheerfulness. The man who toils, rejoicing in his God, believing with all his heart, has success guaranteed. Charles Spurgeon
  • Each time, it’s in His name I go out there to perform and compete and use His gifts in the right way. Steph Curry
  • Mission includes our vocations and not just church ministry. Tim Keller
  • Vocational discernment is not an exact science with clear answers. Grounded in the gospel of grace, a theology of unique calling invites young people to a lifelong journey of vocational discernment in which they root their identities in Christ. Their accomplishments and life choices do not define them — faithfully following Jesus does. As young people root their identity in Christ, their secondary callings find their proper place within their vocational pursuits. Meryl Herr

FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:

Developing the Leader Within You 2.0 by John Maxwell
****

Twenty-five years after it was first published, John Maxwell has significantly updated (almost 90 percent!) this classic book, which was the first leadership book he wrote, and has since sold in excess of a million copies. When he wrote it, he was still a pastor, and he thought it would be his only leadership book. It is the first of his books that he recommends leaders read, and also to use to mentor others.

In the book he reviews 10 critical components of authentic, personal leadership. He removed two chapters from the original edition that were focused on developing staff and replaced them with chapters on servanthood and personal growth. Helpful application sections are included at the end of each chapter.

Below are the 10 components he covers in the book and a few brief takeaways I had from each:

Influence

  • Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.
  • One of the best investments you can make as a leader is to develop your influence.
  • True influence begins with the heart, not the head.

Priorities

  • Focus on what matters most and let the others wait.
  • If everything is a high priority, nothing is a high priority.
  • Leaders need to create margins (opposite of overload; white space on their calendars) for their life.

Character

  • Working on your character is never ending.
  • Followers care more about what we do, than what we say.
  • Trust is essential for leaders.
  • Character always counts.

Lead Positive Change

  • Leaders should not just welcome change, but they must champion change.
  • Leaders can’t be complacent.
  • Do you have the credibility to make the change you desire to make?
  • Point to your successes.

Problem Solving

  • Leaders continuously deal with problems each day.
  • Great leaders approach problems through the lens of opportunity.

Attitude

  • Have a “whatever it takes” mindset.
  • Leaders aren’t complainers.
  • Great leaders see failure as a companion to success.

Serving People

  • Leaders are servants (servant leadership).
  • Leaders add value to others.
  • Think about what you do best that will allow you to serve others best.

Vision

  • Without vision you will never develop the leader within you to the fullest.
  • All effective leaders have a vision of what they must accomplish.
  • Vision becomes the energy behind every effort and the force that pushes through problems.

Self-Discipline

  • Self-discipline makes the leadership uphill climb possible. Everything worthwhile is uphill.
  • Self-discipline isn’t a given, you have to develop this skill.
  • Spend the majority of your self-discipline in your areas of strengths and passion.

Personal Growth

  • Growth matters. Make it a priority.
  • Personal growth increases hope. It teaches us that tomorrow will be better than today.
  • Growth means change.
  • Nobody wants to be average.
  • Make personal growth your daily habit.

As with all of the author’s books, the book is filled with interesting stories and quotes. It is also very practical, with helpful worksheets included, and bonus material you can access on one of the author’s websites.

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.

This week we look at Chapter 5: Loving the Neighborhood  

  • The Bible tells us we were created to work together, cultivating blessings from the created order and expressing neighborly love in and through the collaborative work we do every day. This reality should cause us to reconsider what Jesus desires as he calls us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
  • We don’t worship our work—that is idolatry. But from the beginning our work was designed to be a primary way we worship God.
  • If we care about maintaining biblical fidelity, as well as cultivating human flourishing, then economics matters.
  • Would we not look at economics differently and value economics more if we saw economic interaction as the place where value is created and where collaborative neighborly love is exchanged?
  • While there is certainly no perfect economic system, I am persuaded that the free-market economic system we currently have is the best system for economic behavior and exchange because it allows for proper self-interest, responsibility, incentive, and human collaboration.
  • The power of the gospel transforms neighbors and neighborhoods, speaking into every facet of economic life and paving the way for redemptive collaboration with others.
  • As people see our work and the kind of workers we are, as well as the ways we add value to others and how we care for the neighborhood, they will get a powerful glimpse of who Jesus is and why he matters so much to our broken world.
  • In both sins of omission and commission, we all need a posture of repentance for not loving our neighbor and not seeking the common good through our economic activity.
  • Are you living as salt and light in your vocation? Are you doing good work, whether or not that work brings a paycheck or other financial reward? Are you stewarding well your vocational power and influence?
  • While the free-market economy is the best less-than-perfect system we currently have, one possibility for making the free market better is to move beyond approaches that look to the sole bottom line of profit and to move toward triple bottom-line approaches that take into account not only profit but also promoting the flourishing of people as well as the planet.
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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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