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

  • God Will Provide the Ability You Need. Jon Bloom writes “We are never truly alone in the work God gives us to do. God willprovide all the ability we need.”
  • God Still Loves Hard Work: Labor for Christ in a Cursed World. David Mathis writes “Work is good. And work is cursed. Such is our lot in this age, until the creation is set free from its bondage to corruption and enters with us, the redeemed, into the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Romans 8:21). Even then we will not sit around doing nothing, but we will be freed to work and move and expend ourselves in joy, finally unencumbered by the curse. In the meantime, we learn to work, despite the curse, at our work.
  • “Dirty Job” or Not, There’s Dignity in Productivity. Logan Smith writes “All work, manual or mental, is worthy of dignity and respect. Without work, gardens go wild, skyscrapers cease to rise, books fail to be written, robots stop being coded, and diapers fail to be changed. Without work, change does not occur. Without work, God’s purposes do not progress, and we do not fully reflect God’s nature.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Leadershift: The 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace by John C. Maxwell
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life

  • How Are You Influencing Those Around You? Tony Dungy writes “If you take only one thing from this post, let it be this: Relationships are ultimately what matter—our relationships with God and with other people. The key to becoming, what I call a mentor leader, is learning how to put other people first. You see, the question that burns in the heart of the mentor leader is simply this: What can I do to make other people better, to make them all that God created them to be?”
  • The White-Collar Gospel. Matt Rusten writes “When work becomes a window for the worship of God and an avenue to love our neighbor, it reclaims its proper, dignified place. But until first things are put first, work will remain on the altar, and the religion of workism will remain an elite—and exhausting—alternative to true faith.”
  • Wisdom and Sabbath Rest. Tim Keller writes “In practical terms, how do we figure out how much time we need for Sabbath rest, and how do we spend that time?”
  • On Pastoring Members in the Workplace. On this episode of the 9Marks podcast, Sebastian Traeger (co-author of The Gospel at Work), joins Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman. “Pastors, the vast majority of people in your church will spend tens of thousands of hours at work. How will you help them connect the gospel to their work, their own Christian discipleship to their jobs? In this conversation, Jonathan Leeman interviews Mark Dever and Sebastian Traeger about these topics.”
  • Rethinking the Rest of Life. Bill Peel writes “The question is not how can we live the rest of life in care-free ease, but how can we productively use the days God gives for His greater glory? While we may retire from a paid vocation, we never retire from working for God.”
  • How Can I Do Performance-Based Work without Becoming Lazy or Prideful? In the Gospel Coalition’s new “Thorns & Thistles” column, Matt Rusten responds to a question about how to practically surrender our performance-based work to the Lord without becoming either prideful on the one hand or lazy on the other?
  • Why Does God Want Me in This Lowly Job? Art Lindsley writes “Seeing our work as a calling helps to reorient our thinking about its value. God calls people to a variety of different things and at different levels of responsibility. No job is more valuable than the other. Our identity is not in our job title but in the One who called us to the work in the first place.”
  • Working for Shalom Where God Places Us. Russell Gehrlein writes “I addressed the topic of bringing righteousness and reformation to the workplace in my book, Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession.  I would like to share some excerpts from my book. I am hoping they will inspire you to walk in Jesus’ resurrection power to bring His peace to a world that so desperately needs it.”

CALLING:

  • Your Calling and God’s Will. Cam Hyde writes “We want to know God’s will. We want to follow His plan. We want things to go well for us. We want favor and want to operate in the best possible circumstances. Maybe that’s why trying to discern a calling and following God’s will can really stress us out. We certainly don’t want to screw up our lives.”
  • Knowing the Why, What and How of Your Calling. Art Lindsley writes “We have lost sight of this perspective, and, as a result, we have lost any sense of calling. What is calling, and what does it mean for our lives?”
  • Every single person has a calling, a vocation, a divinely appointed station and role in life. Here are seven questions to help you discover your calling. Watch this short video from David Murray.

RETIREMENT:

  • Don’t Waste Your Retirement. Jeff Haanen writes “Indeed, now is the time for pastors, scholars, and Christian leaders to paint a more beautiful picture of work, rest, vocation, and aging for the millions of older adults longing to hear God’s voice for the next season of life.”
  • Saving Retirement. Jeff Haanen writes “As retirement looms for Baby Boomers, a growing number of them—both Christians and their neighbors—are discontented with current cultural assumptions about it. They’re asking new questions about money, work, time, family, leisure, and a life of purpose.”

Top Faith and Work Quotes of the Week

  • Sin has caused our affections to stray, propelling us to worship relationships, achievement, and work – everything but God. Tim Keller
  • Productivity is not merely doing things right, but first and foremost doing the right things for the right reasons. Tom Nelson
  • Nothing in creation (not your spouse, children, friends, job, possessions, etc) was designed to give you identity, no, the function of created things is to point you to the One in whom identity can be found. Paul Tripp
  • Work is simply taking the raw material of creation and developing it for the sake of others. Tim Keller
  • Your identity should be more secure than your latest results Carey Nieuwhof
  • Next to faith this is the highest art: to be content with the calling in which God has placed you. Martin Luther

FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:

Leadershift: The 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace by John C. Maxwell. Harper Collins Leadership. 288 pages. 2019
****

John Maxwell has added value to me as a leader through his books and speaking. I’ve read most of his books, and used one specifically, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, in several mentoring relationships over the years. At 72 years of age, Maxwell has written one of his best books yet with Leadershift: The 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace.
Maxwell writes that to go forward, leaders need to move faster, thus the need for leadershift. He describes leadershifting as “the ability and willingness to make a leadership change that will positively enhance organizational and personal growth”.
He writes that if you want to be successful as a leader, you will need to learn to become comfortable with uncertainty and make shifts continually. We will need to embrace change every day, and be willing to let go of what worked yesterday and learn new ways of seeing, doing, and leading.
The author shares 11 leadershifts that he has made in his leadership journey. I highlighted a number of passages as I read through this book, which I am also discussing with a few friends in a book club. As you read through the leadershifts, some will resonate with you more than others. My two favorites were those on moral authority and calling. Below I share my top three quotes from each leadershift.

SOLOIST TO CONDUCTOR The Focus Shift

  • Good leaders see more than others do, and they see before others do.
  • Being a good leader is about helping people reach their potential.
  • Good leaders shift from being self-focused to others-focused. They give more than they take.

GOALS TO GROWTH The Personal Development Shift

  • Growth’s highest reward is not what we get from it, but what we become by it.
  • Failure isn’t failure if you learn something from it. That’s how you can make failure your friend.
  • Leaders who possess humility are confident yet feel no need to draw attention to themselves.

PERKS TO PRICE The Cost Shift

  • I lead because of what I can do for other people. That’s the best motivation to lead others.
  • As leaders we can’t deny reality, nor should we try to sugarcoat it when communicating with our people. We need to bring reality into the conversation as soon as possible.
  • What sets great leaders apart from all other leaders is this: they act before others and they do more than others.

PLEASING PEOPLE TO CHALLENGING PEOPLE The Relational Shift

  • Pleasing people is not the same as leading people.
  • To get the best out of people, leaders must ask for the best from people.
  • We must be willing to serve others, and servant leadership isn’t difficult if we value people.

MAINTAINING TO CREATING The Abundance Shift

  • Good leaders are flexible and their plans are fluid. They allow for creativity. They plan, but they look for options.
  • Leadershifting from maintaining to creating allows you to lead people into the land of abundance and opportunity.
  • If you desire to be successful and to be the best leader you can possibly be, you cannot settle for the familiar. You cannot live in your comfort zone. You need to be willing to be uncomfortable.

LADDER CLIMBING TO LADDER BUILDING The Reproduction Shift

  • Success comes from building upon your strengths and making the most of them, not from bringing your weaknesses up to par.
  • When you show the people you work with that you are willing and able to serve, then they will be willing and able to serve.
  • A lot of leaders are too quick to give direction when what they need to do is ask questions.

DIRECTING TO CONNECTING The Communication Shift

  • The goal of connecting is to find common ground with the leader initiating.
  • Too many leaders don’t ask enough questions—of themselves or others.
  • If you want to be a connecting leader, become a better listener. Invite others to hold you accountable.

TEAM UNIFORMITY TO TEAM DIVERSITY The Improvement Shift

  • Diversity slowly marked me with this thought: people different from me could make a positive difference in me.
  • If you dismiss the ideas of and potential contributions of others, especially of those offered by people different from you, you will never reach your potential and neither will your team.
  • If we can connect where we’re similar and contribute using our differences, we can accomplish great things.

POSITIONAL AUTHORITY TO MORAL AUTHORITY The Influence Shift

  • Moral authority is the recognition of a person’s leadership influence based on who they are more than the position they hold.
  • You don’t get to grant yourself moral authority. You can choose to strive for it, but only others can give it to you, and they must do so freely.
  • if you gain moral authority, it makes you worthy of respect, inspires trust and confidence, and enables you to lead at the highest standards of performance.

TRAINED LEADERS TO TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERS The Impact Shift

  • I would rather try something big that is almost impossible than something small that won’t make a difference.
  • If you want to lead any positive change, you need to realize this: transformation begins with you. If you are not willing to change, you are not going to be able to help anyone else.
  • To be transformational, leaders must develop and reproduce leaders.

CAREER TO CALLING The Passion Shift

  • Your calling, when you find and embrace it, will result in the merging of your skills, talents, character traits, and experiences.
  • Finding your calling is like finding your why—the reason you exist, your purpose for living.
  • No one has ever been called to do something he or she wasn’t suited for. Calling always matches who you are.

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

The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life by Os Guinness is the best book on calling for the Christian that I have read. The first time I read it was in Dr. Phillip Douglass’s wonderful “Spiritual and Ministry Formation” class at Covenant Seminary in 2013. In 2018, on the 20th anniversary of the book, Guinness published a revised and updated edition.

This week we’ll look at highlights from Chapter 3: Differences Make a Difference

  • The differences are clear between the major answers to the search for purpose in life, and they lead in entirely different directions.
  • The first is the Eastern answer, which includes Hinduism and Buddhism. If the final reality is an impersonal ground of being (the so-called “undifferentiated impersonal”), what is the purpose of life for each of us as individuals? The answer in brief is, “Forget it and forget yourself.”
  • The second is the secularist answer, which includes atheists, most agnostics, naturalists in science, and a large number of humanists. If the final reality is chance and there is no God (or gods or the supernatural) to consider, then purpose is up to each of us to decide and achieve for ourselves by ourselves. We don’t discover it—we decide it.
  • The third is the biblical answer, which is common to both Jews and Christians and is the main shaping force of the dynamic sense of purpose characteristic in Western civilizations. From this perspective, the final reality is neither chance nor an impersonal ground of being, but an infinite personal God who has created us in his image and calls us into relationship with himself. Our life-purpose therefore comes from two sources at once—who we are created to be and who we are called to be. Not only is the call of our Creator the source of the deepest self-discoveries and growth in life, it also gives our lives an inspiration and a dynamism that transforms them into an enterprise beyond any comparison.
  • Count the cost, consider the risks, and set out each day on a venture to multiply your gifts and opportunities, bring glory to God, and add value to our world. Answering the call is the road to purpose and fulfillment in your life.
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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 39 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.

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

  1. Bill,

    Thanks for adding my article to your blog today.

    Russ

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