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

  • By the Way Conference. I look forward to speaking again this year at the Lexington Community Church’s By the Way I’ll be speaking the evening of Thursday, July 12 on the topic of “How to Be Mission-Minded in our Everday Lives”. If you are in the central Illinois area, I’d love to have you stop by. More details to come.
  • Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace. That is the tentative title for the book I’ve been working on for about a year and a half now, with much more concentrated effort recently. I’m early on in the process with just over 30,000 words written. I would appreciate your prayers on this project and I’ll keep you updated on my progress.
  • When Work Stinks. Greg Forster writes “We walk—we work—by faith, not by sight. We trust that God is at work in our work, even if we don’t necessarily see or understand what he’s doing.”
  • Seven Marks of a Workaholic. David Murray writes “Workaholism is probably the most respectable sin in the Christian community, and maybe especially among pastors.”
  • The High Value of At-Home Work. In this episode of the Gospel Coalition podcast, Courtney Reissig talks about why work in the home matters to God. The message was recorded at the Gospel Coalition 2017 National Conference.

Click on ‘Continue Reading’ for:

  • More interesting article links – Real Life Examples, Influence at Retirement Age, Courageous Leadership and Answers to Good Questions
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Matt Perman’s book ‘How to Get Unstuck’
  • Snippets from the book ‘The Economics of Neighborly Love’

  • Influencing Culture Through All the Spheres of Our Lives. Hugh Whelchel writes “By doing all the work we are called to do in the light of God’s design and desire, we act as salt and light in the surrounding culture. The decisions we make, the example we are, and how we pursue relationships every day through our work all contribute to building a vocational mountain of influence.”
  • Don’t Waste Your Talent. Melissa Edgington writes “Let’s not neglect the opportunity that we have to use what God has given us. We should be working to develop our talents, to improve and be even better equipped to use our abilities for His glory and for the church’s good.”
  • 7 Ways to Glorify God at Work. Joshua Reich writes “On Sunday in my sermon, I looked at how to glorify God at work. Here are some of the ideas I shared (these are my ideas or from books and blogs I pulled from in my research).”
  • Small Steps of Faith Can Lead to God’s Purposes for You and Many Others. Bill Peel writes “Sometimes a relentless desire to do something can be the Spirit of God prompting us to take a small step of faith.”
  • More Than a Job, It’s a Vocation. Scotty Smith prays “So, no matter what our work it, help us see it less as a job, and more as a vocation—less as a way of just paying the bills, and more as a means of expanding your kingdom and revealing your beauty. Whatever you’ve given us to do, may we do it “as unto you”—the mundane and the momentous things, the boring and the exhilarating.”
  • Lord, Save Me from My Side Hustle. Rebecca Jones writes “Although Scripture encourages believers to be industrious and work cheerfully, with the whole of their hearts (Col. 3:23–24), it also tempers potential excesses with a reminder: that hard work and breathless work are not, in fact, the same thing.”
  • How to Start Your Own Faith & Work Institute. Jeff Haanen shares a few practical steps on how to get started with your own Faith & Work Institute.

REAL LIFE EXAMPLES:

  • Heroism Deconstructed: Serving Faithfully Through Our Work. Hugh Whelchel writes “While most of us will never have to land a crippled 737, what can we learn from Tammie Jo Shults about the opportunity each of us has to witness for Christ while we are doing our work?”
  • Andy Crouch and the Culture Makers. Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra writes “Author and speaker Andy Crouch isn’t Reformed. At least, not all the way. He came to faith through the charismatic renewal in the United Methodist Church; overall, much of his theology remains Wesleyan and Arminian. But when it comes to faith and work, Crouch is “100 percent Reformed.”

RETIREMENT AGE:

  • Older Men Still Have a Job to Do. Clarence Bouwman writes “Let the older men take their mentorship role seriously, being deeply aware that God leaves them in this life in order that they might model the gospel for the benefit of the younger and even seek out the younger to speak to them of the works of the Lord as they experienced them over the years.”
  • Debunking Four Myths about Retirement. Kristin Brown writes “Whether you’re retiring at 35, 65, or 95, keeping a biblical mindset about work will lead to a fulfilling and rich season of continued impact and eternal purpose.”
  • Faith and Work for Retirees: Serving Those in a New Season of Work. Luke Bobo writes “This month we will begin a series that explores what the Bible says about retirement and practical implications of Scripture’s teachings for retirees.”

LEADERSHIP:

  • 7 Ways to Pastor Professionals. Jeff Hannan shares these helpful suggestions on how pastors can reach out to those within the workplace in their congregations.
  • Three Dangerous Lies Ministry Leaders Believe. Eric Geiger writes “Over the last several years I’ve thought a lot about fallen ministry leaders. I’ve seen godly leaders I love and respect implode, and I’ve observed explosive lies beneath the surface bring devastating fallout to friends, family, ministries, and a watching world.”
  • Courageous Leadership Part 3. In this month’s episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership podcast, Stanley concludes a conversation about the role of courage in leadership.
  • Complete Content from the 2018 Leadercast Live Conference. For several years I enjoyed attended the Leadercast event. Brian Dodd has helpfully captured highlights from this year’s event.

  • Rich and Miserable – How Can It Be? Scott Sauls writes “If most of us spend forty or more waking hours each week devoted to work of some kind, how could we not consider how those hours are impacted by our identity as followers of Christ?”
  • How Can We Orient Our Professions to Serve Others? “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? In this ten-minute video, 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.”
  • What Does This Mean for People’s Daily Work? The Theology of Work Project writes “An integrated understanding of work from a biblical perspective needs to include a clear sense of Christian vocation or calling.”
  • Do You Have a Job, Career or Calling? The Difference Matters. Melody Wilding writes “Meaningful work is important to almost everyone, regardless of what that work entails. Luckily, research suggests that experiencing your work as a calling instead of “just a job” largely comes down to changing your perspective.”
  • So, What are My Twenties for, Anyway? Drew Moser writes “Yes, there’s another and better way to live your twenties. That way is vocation: a life lived faithfully with God in the many dimensions of life. When we live our lives through the framework of vocation, we may not have it all figured out, but we live with hope, purpose, and meaning.”
  • Does Jesus’ Current Location Matter for Our Work? Art Lindsley writes “If Christians today were to apply the truths of Christ’s ascension to their everyday work life, they would experience incredible freedom and power to pursue excellence in all sectors of society—the arts and sciences, business, politics, and in every workplace.”
  • Where Does God Want Me to Work? David Mathis writes “Given, then, that you are already embedded in a context, with concrete callings, how should you go about discerning God’s direction after graduation? Or how do you find God’s will for your work-life?”

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • We seldom get to excellent when we continually celebrate mediocre. Ron Edmondson
  • All men were created to busy themselves with labor for the common good. John Calvin
  • Our focus needs to remain on building integrity, not our image. John Maxwell
  • Leader, the more dependent you on achieving other people’s approval – the less willing you’ll be to follow God’s will at any cost. Ron Edmondson
  • God has not called you to be awesome. He has called you to be humble, faithful, and free. Leave the awesome to him. Scott Sauls
  • 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. Tom Nelson
  • The book of Genesis leaves us with a striking truth – work was part of paradise. Tim Keller
  • Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.  John Maxwell
  • Nobody likes working with a leader who is full of himself and works only for his own benefit. People want to work with a leader who displays humility. John Maxwell

FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:

How to Get Unstuck: Breaking Free from Barriers to Your Productivity by Matt Perman. Zondervan. 284 pages. 2018
****

I appreciated and benefited from the author’s first book, What’s Best Next, reading it twice, once in a book club with colleagues at work. Reading that book, while I would recommend it as it complements this work, is not necessary to gain the full benefit from this new book. The goal of this book is to get you unstuck in your productivity in work and life, do it in the right way – a God-centered, gospel-driven way – and enable you to stay unstuck through obstacles. It is about conquering busyness, doing great work, and escaping average for a cause greater than yourself.
The author aims to give brief insights on how to get unstuck from specific issues surrounding personal effectiveness. He wants you to do more of what God calls you to do and do it better. In short, the book is about accomplishing God’s purposes without getting stuck. The author wants to help you find what God wants you to do, and then for you to do it with excellence and through obstacles. He addresses how to accomplish God’s priorities using quick tips for getting unstuck in common time-management dilemmas.
Being productive as a Christian is ultimately about doing good for others. The author writes that being unstuck is about fundamental change, not just short-term or superficial change. Getting unstuck is also about staying unstuck as well. You consistently have to get things done, done well, and with continual improvement. Being unstuck is ultimately a positive concept. It is getting the right things done through obstacles again and again for the good of others and the glory of God.
The author addresses numerous aspects of getting unstuck. Below are some of my takeaways:

  • Personal effectiveness. This is the skill of leading yourself every day to get the right things done in the right way, for the right reason, and in the shortest possible amount of time. It is about developing a vision for your life.
  • Lack of vision, lack of execution, and obstacles. These are what get us stuck. To be unstuck is to be getting important work done through obstacles, and to keep doing it – over and over again.
  • Time management. The reason we get stuck in our time management is because we act on the basis of urgency rather than importance. The biggest reason we have to start with our time is because that is where the limitation is.
  • Your priorities are the things through which you can make the greatest contribution. Without setting priorities you ultimately get stuck. He states that if you practice prioritizing day after day, over time you will have developed an ongoing pattern of effectiveness.
  • This enables us to operate from the importance paradigm rather than the urgency paradigm.
  • This is central to effectiveness because it puts routine elements of a task on autopilot so that you can give your focus to the higher-level challenges involved.
  • Personal Management. One of the aims of a good approach to personal management is to enable you to get into the “zone” easily. The zone is the state in which you are able to do your best work in the most efficient way. It is when you are operating at your highest capacity.

A subject of the book I particularly benefited from was deep work, which means giving total focus to your work so you can get more done in less time.
Each of the relatively short chapters end with a helpful “Unstuck Clinic”, which includes core points, exercises and resources.

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 7: Wisdom and the Modern Economy:

  • If we are to love our neighbors wisely and to be faithful in our vocational callings, then we not only need theological insight but also sound economic thinking to guide us.
  • In addition to diligence of labor, a foundational building block of vibrant economies is the concept of private property rights.
  • Private property rights are strongly affirmed throughout Scripture.
  • Private property rights are vital to modern economies.
  • While the Scriptures strongly affirm private property rights, the ultimate owner of all of creation is God himself.
  • Both in Scripture and in economics, proper self-interest is a foundational building block for human flourishing.
  • Throughout Scripture the opportunity to create value through our work is strongly affirmed, and when that opportunity is thwarted through unjust means it is forbidden.
  • In modern economies the principle of providing economic opportunity is foundational to both the fairness and vitality of the social and economic ecosystem. Providing equal economic opportunity—not equal outcomes—for all is the goal that must be vigorously pursued.
  • Money, and the trade it makes possible, furthers the common good and greatly enhances our ability to love our neighbors—both local and global.
  • When property rights are well defined and contracts are consistently enforced, profits perform an important function within modern economies.
  • The apostle Paul, who like Jesus spoke a great deal about money, makes it clear that it is not money per se but rather an inordinate love of money that must be avoided.
  • Specialization of labor makes sense as a foundational building block in modern economies. Specialization also reflects God’s design.
  • We must also remember common-grace talents and spiritual gifts operate not only within the church on Sunday but also within the workplace on Monday. We not only walk in the Spirit, we work in the Spirit.
  • Although the scope of government involvement in economics is debated, there is consensus that government has a role to play in a vibrant economy.
  • Financial institutions also play a vital role in facilitating well-functioning capital markets.
  • The institutions of government, finance, family, and education all play an indispensable role in a flourishing modern economy.
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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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