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

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Essays for the Common Good: Nine Pastors and Churches Share How They Are Putting Ideas into Practice. Edited by Luke Bobo.
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

  • God’s Presence with Senior Executives. Russell Gehrlein writes “Let me unpack some of what the Old Testament patriarch Joseph displayed as a divinely appointed executive, share some of the struggles those in high-level leadership positions face, and summarize what I have observed in those who have integrated their faith at work well.”
  • Don’t Use ‘Calling’ to Avoid Serving. Kevin Yi writes “We are not called to use people in our church for our glory, but to serve them for God’s glory. Rather than using the idea of “calling” and “gifts” to make excuses for why we can’t serve a subset of church members, we should be exhorting one another to take risks in loving and serving others even when it stretches us outside of our comfort zone.”
  • Ten Principles for Personal Productivity. On this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper responds to the question “What advice do you have for the daily schedule-making to make the most of life for Christ?”
  • Building Businesses That Glorify God and Create Flourishing. Hugh Whelchel writes “Christians who run businesses today have the opportunity to build companies that bring flourishing to the communities they are called to serve. They have the ability to create financial, social, and spiritual capital and then reinvest it back into the communities they serve.”
  • The Servant Leader. What lessons should we draw from the fact that Jesus washed his disciples’ feet? How did people think about foot washing in the ancient world, and why was it necessary in the first place? On this episode of The White Horse Inn, the hosts discuss the fascinating cultural background to this scene in Chapter 13 of the Gospel of John, which helps to shed light both on the significance of Jesus’ actions and what it means for us today.
  • Francis Shaeffer’s Call to End the Sacred-Secular Divide. Andrew Spencer writes “Thus for Schaeffer, true Christianity impacts the totality of our lives and proclaims the gospel more fully than mere words. It points toward our efforts to transform the world around us and bring every square inch under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.”
  • You Calling is More Than a Job or Career. Hugh Whelchel writes “It’s easy to get confused about what “calling” means. It’s often mixed up with “job” or “career.” Calling is much more than a job or career. It embraces all of life. It is like an umbrella, covering the whole of life, and under which your job or career fits.”
  • Leadership Lessons from Chick-Fil-A. Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra interviews Steve Robinson about Chick-fil-A, the fast-food restaurant that inspires such an unlikely level of loyalty among both employees and also customers—and what lessons it can teach the church.
  • 5 Reasons Why Our Work Matters to God. Daniel Darling writes “Too often we assume our people are as cloistered with books and Bibles as we are, and our sermons fail to connect with where the average person is. But if we are going to disciple well, we must disciple our people in the way that they do their jobs.”
  • How Blue-Collar Work Enhances the Common Good. Gage Arnold writes “Through our participation in the world we discover the way things should—or ought—to be. This is true in our understanding of God, of man, and our work.”
  • Godly Leaders Welcome Correction. Phillip Holmes writes “Great leaders can’t be righteous and always right. Whether a leader decides to welcome correction ultimately determines where their allegiance lies and whether they will ever be considered truly great.”

Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week

  • Work of all kinds, whether with the hands or the mind, evidences our dignity as human beings—because it reflects the image of God the Creator in us. Tim Keller
  • Leaders are not called to work; they are not called to fill a position, make money, or use their authority to manage people. Leaders are called to serve. Dee Ann Turner
  • In the Christian view, the way to find your calling is to look at the way you were created. Your gifts have not emerged by accident, but because the Creator gave them to you. Tim Keller
  • Neither work nor career can be fully satisfying without a deeper sense of calling—but “calling” itself is empty and indistinguishable from work unless there is Someone who calls. Os Guinness
  • When people find their calling in their work it changes everything, because they change things for the people they serve. Dee Ann Turner
  • We must resolutely refuse to play the word games that pretend calling means anything without a Caller—and we must not allow people to play such games on us. If there is no Caller, there are no callings—only work. Os Guinness
  • Work is not all there is to life. You will not have a meaningful life without work, but you cannot say that your work is the meaning of your life. If you make any work the purpose of your life—even if that work is church ministry—you create an idol that rivals God. Tim Keller
  • What would it look like for Christians to become those who live most beautifully, love most deeply, and serve most faithfully in the places where we live, work, and play? Scott Sauls
  • Every morally good task has dignity, whether the laborer sweeps floors or runs a company. Dan Doriani

FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:

Essays for the Common Good: Nine Pastors and Churches Share How They Are Putting Ideas into Practice. Edited by Luke Bobo. Made to Flourish. 154 pages. 2017
****

This book, edited by Luke Bobo, features essays written by nine pastors who are finding innovative ways to seek the shalom of the cities where they live, and giving thought-leadership to how faith connects with work and the economy. Each essay is written by a pastor who is part of the Made to Flourish network. They each share a belief that the local church as God designed it can act as an agent of cultural renewal for the common good.

Below are helpful thoughts from each chapter of the book:

Introduction Common Good Springs from Common Grace Luke Bobo

  • As benefactors of God’s special grace, we are called to show common grace to others.
  • Championing the common good means working diligently so that all human beings, have access to at least three E’s: quality education at all levels, an affordable edifice (or home), and the economy (i.e., access to gainful employment and wealth creation).
  • Pursuing the common good requires us to not retreat from engagement with our increasingly post-Christian and religiously pluralistic society; rather, we are called to love our neighbors in concrete ways no matter what they believe, just as Jesus commanded us in the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:34-40).
  • As the body of Christ seeks the common good by pursuing actions and conditions that allow all individuals to flourish, our homes, our workplaces, our communities and our cities will also flourish.

Nothing Special: Why the Call to “Fulltime Christian Service” is So Dangerous Dr. James E. Baucom, Jr.

  • I suggest that our failure to state clearly that all followers of Jesus are called with equal consequence and specificity to their daily work is the primary reason the faith, work, and economics movement has struggled to gain traction in many instances, especially in the local church.
  • Every whole-life disciple of Jesus Christ is called to work for the common good in specific ways.
  • The whole counsel of Scripture is that every person God has created, he has also designed for a specific calling. Not everyone hears and answers this call, of course, but it is there to be discovered and answered by any who will seek it.
  • It is high time that we all stopped pretending that clergy are uniquely called of God for the common good.
  • Every disciple of Jesus is specially called by God to do specific work for the common good.

In Chicago, Hope Works Brad Beier

  • We felt compelled to work at helping our neighbors to work.
  • Hope Works provides an individualized delivery model to address each person’s unique circumstances, especially for the person struggling to enter the job market at the lowest level.
  • Hope Works assists people one-on-one to overcome long-term unemployment and help them and their families to flourish.
  • Every day our story continues, our partnerships expand, and our impact grows for the common good and the glory of God.
  • Work produces hope.

Beautiful and Believable: Solving the Problem of the (Invisible) Church and the Common Good Dru Dodson

  • Too often, discussions regarding economic development and the common good in society ignore the local church as an active agent.
  • The church was never meant to abdicate responsibility for the common good to government agencies and nonprofits.
  • The church is meant to be a kingdom outpost.
  • The local church cannot continue to be invisible either in Christian discussions about the common good or in our practice of how we go about economic empowerment and community development.
  • In most of our churches there is little understanding of the Bible’s economic teaching. Salvation is understood primarily as pertaining to an afterlife destination, not to human flourishing in the here and now. There really is a huge gulf between clergy and laity when it comes to life beyond Sunday.
  • These are the critical components that the contemporary U.S. church needs to recover in order to effectively seek the common good of our communities. These components are (1) recovering apostolic function as seen in chapter one, (2) recovering the Didache as outlined in chapter two, and (3) recovering good works as our top priority, as emphasized in chapter three.
  • The New Testament documents were written to congregations to strengthen and stabilize these young kingdom outposts in their life and mission. We need to reform our way of reading these documents so that we follow the instruction of Christ and His apostles for making disciples.
  • Good works are to encompass and consume our attention, our families, our jobs, our vocations, our very lives. Good works are not an extracurricular activity. In a missional, non-Christian culture, good works are job one.
  • The frontline of the mission is not the church office. The frontline of the mission is the marketplace.

Why Racial Reconciliation is Necessary for Effective Faith, Work, and Economic Integration Anthony Emerson

  • A local church’s effectiveness in integrating faith, work, and economics is largely measured by how well the poor and vulnerable in its community are flourishing.
  • One cannot seriously discuss class, poverty, or economics in the United States without taking a hard look at race.
  • Today, key economic factors continue to be correlated with race. Poverty, rate of homeownership, wealth, income, education-level—these all are significantly affected by one’s race.
  • Perhaps the most egregious form of racial injustice today is mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on the social and economic well-being of black and brown men
  • If a church is to faithfully practice faith, work, and economics integration for the common good, it is necessary to address economic injustice. With race being a locus of economic injustice in the American context, local churches are called to directly seek racial justice.
  • One cannot separate work and worship. Work is worship. A pastor is to equip his people to do their work well, to worship God with all of their lives.

The Condition of Our Flocks and the Common Good Benson Hines

  • Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) serves needy communities by focusing not on their needs, but first and foremost on their assets.
  • If a church gains an understanding of its people’s assets, it can confidently respond to community requests and obvious needs with an army at the ready.
  • Church leaders can also scrutinize the various skills, experiences, and passions of their membership and then devise “common good” efforts grounded in those assets.

Fake News, False Gospels, and a Life of Faith in the Rusting Bible Bet Travis Lowe

  • In this paper, I will envision the role of the Church in an economic wasteland. I will also share exemplary stories from Church history and testimonies of how God is using the Church I serve to bring flourishing in Appalachia.
  • Historically, the Church has led in at least three areas I see as crucial to bringing renewal to economically challenged small towns across America. These three areas are innovation, networking, and justice.

Toward a Revival of Good Works John E. Pletcher

  • Christ-followers who make an impact on the kingdom recognize the kingdom of God is tangible. They let God reign over their daily work, and they extend His reign through that work.
  • Many congregants have found great collective satisfaction in their longtime foreign mission commitment, and yet they have struggled to see themselves as local missionaries and their workplaces as mission fields.
  • All of life’s work is to be done as a spiritual act of worship with the ultimate aim of pleasing Christ (1 Corinthians 10:31 and Colossians 3:22-25).
  • No matter what their profession, Christ-followers can render satisfying, joyful, Christ-honoring work.

Smart People Don’t Know Their Neighbors: On Moral Proximity and Mission Matt Proctor

  • What if persons close to us were more important than our ideas and concepts, plans and proposals about being missional?
  • A definition of moral proximity: nearby individuals and institutions (both geographically and relationally) carry a weightier ethical responsibility than those individuals and institutions farther away. In short, loving thy neighbor really means your neighbor.
  • Who is near you? What are their needs? Do you know their names? If I were to ask you this question, could you answer “Who is your neighbor?”
  • Principle #1: Neighbor love starts inside the church and intentionally moves out.
  • Principle #2: Neighbor love necessitates evangelism.
  • Principle #3: Neighbor love starts where you are, right now.

How God is Using Broken Churches to Join Hands with Their Broken City for the Common Good James Risner

  • Hope4Riverside, a coalition of churches and city leaders working hand-in-hand for the common good of our city.
  • Despite our challenges, we’ve seen signs of sustainable revitalization, largely through the continual building of relationships centered on the common good.
  • Whereas a silo mentality had driven each of our churches to feel like skittish, disconnected passerby on the fringes of Riverside, now the church joined hands with the community as allies for the common good.

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

This week we look at Chapter 8 “By Him, To Him, For Him” from Os Guinness’s excellent book The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose for Your Life. Here are a few good takeaways from the chapter:

  • Neither work nor career can be fully satisfying without a deeper sense of calling—but “calling” itself is empty and indistinguishable from work unless there is Someone who calls.
  • We must resolutely refuse to play the word games that pretend calling means anything without a Caller—and we must not allow people to play such games on us.
  • If there is no Caller, there are no callings—only work.
  • We must restore the primary calling to its primary place by restoring the worship that is its setting and the dedication to Jesus that is its heart.
  • We are not primarily called to do something or go somewhere; we are called to Someone.
  • We are not called first to special work but to God.
  • We must avoid the two distortions by keeping the two callings together, stressing the primary calling to counter the Protestant distortion and secondary callings to counter the Catholic distortion.

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.

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