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

  • Six Ways God’s Presence Impacts Our Work. Russell Gehrlein writes “My desire is that many Christians will learn to practice the presence of God at work and experience the same joy that Brother Lawrence had.”
  • Facing Our Fear of Failure. Justin Poythress writes “One of the best ways to develop the next generation of leaders in the church is to create a culture which allows the freedom to fail.
  • Your Best Years Are Not Behind You. Patricia Raybon writes “That’s the biggest surprise to me about getting older: God doesn’t worry about age. He needs willing workers.”
  • 3 Things Your Calling is Not. Ivan Mesa writes “Maybe you’re not like me and have never experienced dark nights of the soul because of calling confusion. But I know if you’re a child of God and trusting in Christ, he has called you to himself and to others. So, serve people and God by pressing into the ordinary fullness of life.”
  • Faith and Work for the “Rest of Us”. Charlie Self writes “Welcoming and empowering retirees may compel a cynical world to take notice and glorify our Father in heaven as we ascribe dignity and worth to all work. Perhaps these steps of hospitality and thoughtfulness for the “rest of us” are providential conditions for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
 More interesting article links
 The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
 My Review of Immanuel Labor—God’s Presence in Our Profession: A Biblical, Theological, and Practical Approach to the Doctrine of Work by Russell E. Gehrlein
 Snippets from the book ‘The Economics of Neighborly Love’

  • Don’t Leave Your Convictions Behind to Get Ahead.  B. Charles writes “I would not have been called to my current church if I had abandoned the convictions that caused that first church to reject me. In fact, most of the doors that are open to me now would not be open if I had changed my convictions.”
  • 7 Things Pastors Should Know about Millennials and Work. Amy Sherman writes “I came to several conclusions that might help you better understand the millennials in your congregation. Here’s what I learned.”
  • Parenting and Work: Helping Our Children Gain a Sense of Belonging. Russell Moore writes “We live in an era that simultaneously fears and idolizes work. Our call in maturing the next generation is to teach our children to work “as unto the Lord” (Eph 6:7), while, at the same time, showing them that no matter how important work might seem, we are just training for our ultimate callings, in the age to come.”
  • The God Who Makes Jobs, Fills Jobs (Psalm 8). Tony Reinke writes “Countless occupations. And according to Psalm 8 all our legitimate jobs are traced back to God’s special design.”
  • Planning to Rest. Steve Graves writes “What everyone wants is the very thing that we need more than we realize. Rest. True biblical rest. A real break from the weight and pressure of life and work.”
  • Christian Calling Means Mixing Metaphors. K. Wall writes “Only when we meld the Bible’s metaphors in this way are we able to perform our work rightly in this world—neither idolizing it nor evading it. Christians are called to live out the Bible’s entire mix of metaphors.”
  • Reframing Retirement: Living with Purpose after Your Career. Paul Akin writes “Today, unprecedented opportunities abound for retirees (all of ages) to engage meaningfully in God’s mission.”
  • The Secret to Finding Work-Life Balance. Hugh Whelchel writes “Life balance is not about what we do. It is about a relationship.”
  • Work as Religion. Gene Veith writes “So even if machines start doing all of our work, we will still have vocations; we will still have neighbors; and we will still have plenty to do.”
  • Self-Leadership. On this episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership podcast Stanley begins a two-part conversation on the importance of self-leadership.

  • Do You Wish You Had Accomplished More? Vaneetha Rendall Risner writes “When the years go by and we have not accomplished what we had hoped to, we are left wondering what good our lives have been. We have a nagging feeling that somehow we haven’t measured up.”
  • Does Family Interfere with Your True Calling? Elizabeth Moyer writes “what if God is specifically calling me to these things? Would that change my attitude when I fold yet another load of laundry, make an extra trip to the grocery store, cook dinner for the billionth time, or mail one more package? You bet it would. Well, guess what? God iscalling me to do these things. He is calling to me love and serve my family, and these are just a few small ways I do that.”
  • Do Stay-At-Home Moms Act as a “Drag on the Economy”? Anna Arnold writes “Be encouraged. Just because what you do as a stay-at-home mom doesn’t make the news or get quantified in some tangible way, you have great value to our economy, our society, and, most importantly, to the God who made you. Keep bringing a little more of His kingdom through your work at home.”
  • What Is My Calling? (And Is That Even a Good Question?) Kevin DeYoung writes “In short, if this is what is meant by “calling”—know yourself, listen to others, find where you are needed—then, by all means, let’s try to discern our callings. But if “calling” involves waiting for promptings, listening for still small voices, and attaching divine authority to our vocational decisions, then we’d be better off dropping the language altogether (except as its used in the Bible) and labor less mysteriously to help each other grow in wisdom.”

  • Do You Truly Enjoy Your Job as Valerie Did? Dave Kraft writes “The manner in which we do our work, and the attitude which we have toward our work, sends a strong message to a watching world.”
  • He’s a Major-League Pitcher — and a Plumber — Whose Faith Helps Keep Him Focused. Bobby Ross Jr. writes “It’s not hard to stay humble when you’re unclogging a toilet. Or when you’re throwing gopher balls to Miracle League ballplayers swinging for the fences. At least that’s how Detroit Tigers ace Michael Fulmer, who works part-time as a plumber in the offseason and serves as a mentor to adults with developmental disabilities, describes his approach to living out his Christian faith.”

Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week

  • You will not have a meaningful life without work, but you will lose yourself if you say work is the meaning of your life. Tim Keller
  • It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it. W. Tozer
  • Great leaders don’t set out to be great. They set out to make a difference. Dan Rockwell
  • There are times in every leader’s life when he feels obligated to take people where he himself has not yet gone to walk farther than he has walked. At those times I must acknowledge my weaknesses, ask for God and others to help me, and summon the courage to take action. John Maxwell
  • Be more concerned with your character than your reputation because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. John Wooden
  • If God exists then every good endeavor, even the simplest ones, pursued in response to God’s calling can matter forever. Tim Keller
  • You can work without praying, but it is a bad plan; but you cannot pray in earnest without working. Do not be so busy with work for Christ that you have no strength left for praying. Hudson Taylor
  • One often sees a call only in retrospect. This too is God’s design; He reinforces our faith after we trust him, not before. Ravi Zacharias
  • Leadership principle: if nobody is following you aren’t leading, just taking a walk. Gospel: all the sheep were scattered so Christ walked to Golgotha alone. Sometimes faithful leadership is lonely for a season. Mike Leake

FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:

Immanuel Labor—God’s Presence in Our Profession: A Biblical, Theological, and Practical Approach to the Doctrine of Work by Russell E. Gehrlein. Westbow Press. 282 pages. 2018
****

Immanuel Labor is an excellent book on the subject of work, and a welcome entry into the growing library of books that help us to integrate our faith and work. In Part 1, the author looks at biblical and theological foundations. In this part, he writes that God created people to be His coworkers in expanding His kingdom on earth and that He is present in the work of His children in order to meet the needs of humankind and bring glory to Himself. In Part 2, he builds on what he discusses in the first part and gets practical. The author is a seminary graduate and his passion for this subject comes across on every page.
A main point he makes is that of God’s presence in the midst of our work. He writes that when he chooses to focus on the fact that God is present at work, it changes the way he performs his tasks, which enables him to fulfill His purposes. God is present whenever and wherever we find ourselves working. If God has called us to do ordinary work, and if it is work which He wants done in the world, then He will indeed be present in it.
I enjoyed the author sharing how he has experienced God’s presence as a government employee over the past thirty years. His desire is “to see ordinary workers who consistently integrate their faith at work experience God’s presence so that it becomes just as natural as experiencing His presence while reading His Word, praying on our knees, worshipping during a church service, or standing on a mountaintop”.
In this thorough treatment of work, the author covers many aspects of work, always backing up his points with scripture. He covers whether there will be work in Heaven. He tells us that many aspects of human work will continue in the New Jerusalem. He covers how a Christian is to work, telling us that we “work in proper relation to and in total dependence upon each member of the Trinity, allowing God to work in us and through us for His glory and for the good of His creation”. He writes that we are to obey our bosses just as we would obey Christ. I appreciated his look at the work of a mother from Proverbs 31 and how the Sabbath is critical to our understanding of a theology of work.
The author is well-read on the subject of work, and quotes from several excellent books on the subject. I appreciated his vulnerability and transparency as he wrote about his own job experiences.
He tells us that there are no perfect jobs, that all jobs will have thorns and thistles. God puts his people where they need to be at the right place and time for His glory.
The author tells us that God has placed us right where we need to be and that He has empowered you with all the skills you need to do this work for His purposes and glory. We must shine the light of Christ in dark places and become part of His work to bring common grace to all who are made in His image.

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 8: Wise Generosity

  • Thoughtful followers of Jesus wrestle with where to give their financial resources because wise stewardship is important.
  • Biblical generosity is not just about giving a particular amount or giving with a particular attitude, but also about giving according to particular wisdom.
  • Jesus cared not only about generosity but also about wise financial stewardship.
  • Each one of us must reflectively and prayerfully ask, Is my generosity being stewarded wisely?
  • Design-based giving challenges us to reconsider our generosity paradigm, reorder our heart loves, and reprioritize our giving.
  • At the heart of this design is a gracious generosity that looks through the lens of Scripture and sees the local church as the primary focus of our financial giving.
  • I would like to erect a theologically informed, paradigmatic scaffolding for giving based upon three bedrock ideas: (1) God owns it all; (2) we give God our best; and (3) the local church is plan A for the world.
  • All too often the confusion between first-fruits giving and grace giving leads to creative rationalizations for not tithing to a local church.
  • We are not to negate our responsibility for honoring God’s design by tithing to the household of God, our local church.
  • Properly understood, the biblical framework of design-based giving assists us in making wise stewardship decisions regarding the directional outflow of our generous giving. When we embrace design-based giving, we understand that God owns it all, that tithing to the local church is the baseline of God-honoring obedience, and that the local church is God’s plan A for his redemptive purposes.
  • A vital part of spiritual formation is growing in economic understanding, financial management, work productivity, and generosity. In this sense the local church is a school of generosity.
  • One aspect of loving Christ’s bride—a vital one—is our generous first-fruit giving, as well as Spirit-led, conscience-informed above-and-beyond giving. Design-based giving requires loving what Jesus loves, and reflects a properly ordered heart.
  • If embraced wholeheartedly, design-based giving provides a local church with the economic resources necessary to empower its catalytic gospel mission for the good of others, to the glory of Christ.
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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.

3 thoughts on “FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

  1. Bill,

    Thank you for your double blessing in today’s blog. In addition to your wonderful book review, you also posted another link to an article I wrote for the IFWE a few weeks ago. Thanks for your kind words and for giving me a wider audience. To God be the glory!

    Russ

  2. There’s a lot of great content packed in here. Thanks for sharing.

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