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 

  • Crush Your Career Podcast. Check out Dee Ann Turner’s new Crush Your Career She is a leader worth following.
  • How You Can Make It Without Faking It. Jacqueline Isaacs writes “Success is not overstating your expertise. It is deeply understanding how God made you and seeking wholeheartedly to use your gifts and talents to bring glory to God, rather than bring attention to yourself.”
  • Talent: Use it or Lose It. Howard Graham writes “Have you ever seen someone waste their God-given talents? It’s brutal to see someone who is full of potential and possibility not use their talents, gifts, and opportunities. Do you ever wonder how you can use your own gifts and talents in more meaningful ways?”
  • Motherhood as Vocation. Kate Harris writes “Defining motherhood as a meaningful part of God’s work gives it honor.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling by Andy Crouch
  • Snippets from the book Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy by Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson

  • Working as for the Lord. No matter our vocation, we are to work diligently to serve our neighbors, thereby testifying to the transformative power of the gospel. In this message from the 2021 Ligonier National Conference, Steven Lawson explores how our present vocations matter for eternity, explaining that we bear witness to the truth of the Lord by working hard and putting others before ourselves in our daily labors.
  • Five Ways to Grow into Our Calling. Dee Ann Turner writes “Growing into our calling and leading from it propels us to the work we have been made to do.”
  • Our Work is Our Worship. On this episode of Breakpoint, John Stonestreet states “Christians should be with God’s people and serve wherever we can. At the same time, Scripture is clear that everything done well to God’s glory is also worship.”
  • The Only Way to Do the Work of a Lifetime. Tim Challies writes “The degree to which we fulfill our duties is the degree to which we honor our God-given purpose.”
  • Worship: A Key Bridge in Connecting Faith & Work – Part III. Robert Covolo concludes his helpful three-part series exploring the bold claim that worship is essential to bridging the gap between faith and work.
  • In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell encourages us to be a grace giver to others.

  • 5 Tests of a Leader. Steve Graves shares a few common, but dangerous, storms that can wreak havoc in the heart of a leader. He writes “Every time we pass the test, our moral authority goes up. Every time we fail, our composite leader score is weakened.”
  • Servant Leadership and Reputation. Russ Gehrlein writes “I do not know what your situation is like at work.  I do not know what kind of reputation you have with your team, your customers, or your superiors.  However, I do know that if needed, you can begin today by serving them all in a Christ-like manner with humility, diligence, and grace by meeting their needs on a consistent basis.”
  • Called to Lead. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace is available in both a paperback and Kindle edition. Read a free sample (Introduction through Chapter 2).
  • The Meaning of Christian Leadership. Scott Cormode writes “One short verse of the Bible summarizes Christian leadership. At the fractured founding of the church in Corinth, “[Paul] planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase” (1 Cor. 3:6 KJV). In Christian leadership, God’s action is the decisive work. Paul and Apollos tended the Corinthian crops, but God made them grow.”
  • John Maxwell on How to Develop Next Generation Leaders. On this episode of the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast, Carey talks to John Maxwell about how to develop next generation leaders before they’re ready, how and when to hand things off, and what playing golf and eating at buffets can teach you about who people really are.
  • Defining “Leader”. Dave Kraft defines Christian leadership as A Christian leader is a servant of God who is called by God to shepherd, motivate, develop and equip some people of God to accomplish an agreed-upon vision from God”.

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • No one has ever been called to do something he or she wasn’t suited for. Calling always matches who you are. John Maxwell
  • We are successful only when we have character that is greater than our gifts and abilities, and humility that is greater than our platforms and influence. Scott Sauls
  • God gives spiritual gifts to each member of the body of Christ as part of our design. Believers are to use these supernaturally empowered talents and skills everywhere we work for God’s glory, in and out the church building. Russ Gehrlein
  • Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge. Simon Sinek
  • God never intended for your life to a be vacation, but an occupation. Glorify Him with your work. Steven Lawson
  • All Christians are called as Christ’s ambassadors into the places where they live, work, play, and worship, with the glorious purpose of leaving it better than they found it. This is, we might say, the universal Christian job description. Scott Sauls
  • If Jesus was raised from the dead, it changes everything: how we conduct relationships, our attitudes toward wealth and power, how we work in our vocations, our understanding and practice of sexuality, race relations, and justice. Tim Keller
  • Mission includes our vocations and not just church ministry. Tim Keller
  • What are the gifts God has given you and how are they bring used for the work of his kingdom? Paul Tripp

FAITH AND WORK BOOK REVIEW:

Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling by Andy Crouch. IVP Books. 284 pages. 2013  
*** ½

I originally read this book as a part of my “Calling, Vocation and Work” class at Covenant Seminary a few summers ago. The book is listed on the Center for Faith and Work site as one to read if you want to learn how to integrate your faith and work. As a result, I went through it again not long ago, this time, listening to the audiobook version.
The author tells us that the book is for people and a Christian community on the threshold of cultural responsibility. He tells us that the book is his attempt to point Christians toward new, and also very old, directions for understanding our calling in culture, and he hopes to offer us a new vocabulary, a new story and a new set of questions. His hope is that when you finish this book, you will have discovered that culture is not finally about us, but about God
The first five chapters of the book are dedicated to discussing culture. The next six chapters are dedicated to discussing culture in the biblical story. The last five chapters are dedicated to discussing Christian’s calling in light of the nature of culture and the gospel.
The author tells us that culture is what we make of the world. It always bears the stamp of our creativity, our God-given desire to make something more than we were given. Making sense of the world, interpreting its wonder and its terror, is left up to human beings alone.
This is not a light read, but it is an important one. Here are ten of my favorite quotes from this book:

  • What is most needed in our time are Christians who are deeply serious about cultivating and creating but who wear that seriousness lightly—who are not desperately trying to change the world but who also wake up every morning eager to create.
  • There is no such thing as “the Culture,” and any attempt to talk about “the Culture,” especially in terms of “transforming the Culture,” is misled and misleading.
  • All culture making requires a choice, conscious or unconscious, to take our place in a cultural tradition. We cannot make culture without culture. And this means that creation begins with cultivation—taking care of the good things that culture has already handed on to us. The first responsibility of culture makers is not to make something new but to become fluent in the cultural tradition to which we are responsible. Before we can be culture makers, we must be culture keepers.
  • The greatest danger of copying culture, as a posture, is that it may well become all too successful. We end up creating an entire subcultural world within which Christians comfortably move and have their being without ever encountering the broader cultural world they are imitating.
  • God’s first and best gift to humanity is culture, the realm in which human beings themselves will be the cultivators and creators, ultimately contributing to the cosmic purposes of the Cultivator and Creator of the natural world.
  • To put it most boldly: culture is God’s original plan for humanity—and it is God’s original gift to humanity, both duty and grace. Culture is the scene of humanity’s rebellion against their Creator, the scene of judgment—and it is also the setting of God’s mercy.
  • So, can we change the world? Yes and no. On a small enough scale, yes, of course we can. But the world is sufficiently complex, not to mention sufficiently broken, that the small scale of our own cultural capacity is never sufficient.
  • Culture changes when new cultural goods—concrete, tangible artifacts, whether books or tools or buildings—are introduced into the world.
  • Stewardship means to consciously take up our cultural power, investing it intentionally among the seemingly powerless, putting our power at their disposal to enable them to cultivate and create.
  • Vocation—calling—becomes another word for a continual process of discernment, examining the fruits of our work to see whether they are producing that kind of fruit, and doing all we can to scatter the next round of seed in the most fruitful places.

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

Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy by Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson

Drawing on years of research, ministry, and leadership experience, in this new book Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson explain why Sunday morning worship and Monday morning work desperately need to inform and impact one another. Together they engage in a rich biblical, theological, and historical exploration of the deep and life-giving connections between labor and liturgy. In so doing, Kaemingk and Willson offer new ways in which Christian communities can live seamless lives of work and worship.

This week we begin looking at Chapter 5: The Pentateuch Bringing Work into Worship. Here are a few takeaways from this first section:

  • God liberated Israelite workers in part so that they could offer their work as worship to him.
  • There is an innate human instinct to lift one’s vocational harvest up to God in an act of worship. This ancient and primal desire is still cultivated in the gathered worship of many agricultural churches around the world.
  • In a number of texts God is understood to be hovering over the farmer’s offering, inhaling the aroma of the work itself.

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 40 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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