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

  • How Does the Bible Define a Hero? Because We Need True Heroes More Than Ever. Anne Bradley writes “It is through our work that we can make the greatest contributions to God’s kingdom. It is through the work of our hands that we offer our strengths where others are weak.”
  • Three Things to Consider Before Joining the Great Resignation. John Pletcher writes “perhaps you’re still contemplating a transition. Or perhaps your new transition isn’t as positive of a change as you had hoped. Here are three things to remember, whether you’ve already transitioned or you’re still considering a change.”
  • 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.”
  • What Does Loving God Have to Do With Your Job? Steven Lindsey writes “I’m going to quickly cite 4 reasons why this comprehensive command to live in wholehearted devotion to God and love for your neighbor on a consistent daily basis throughout your life is not only possible but is, in fact, achieved mostly through your work.
  • Farming Flowers to the Glory of God. Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra interviews Jonathan Herb, asking what he’s learned from his employees, how the farm ministry fared during 2020, and if we should all move to the country to grow corn and chickens.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership. Written and read by Colin Powell
  • Snippets from the book Discipled Leader: Inspiration from a Fortune 500 Executive for Transforming Your Workplace by Pursuing Christ by Preston Poore

  • What Does the Gospel of John Teach Us About Work? Russ Gehrlein continues his series of sharing of excerpts from his book Immanuel Labor—God’s Presence in Our Profession that highlight some of the key biblical principles from the theology of work that come out of a specific book or genre.
  • Create Clarity. In this short video, Mark Miller discusses the first of three best practices for “Act As One”, Create Clarity.
  • 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).
  • Faith & Work: Historically, How Did Followers of Jesus Serve the Poor? In this episode of The Gospel Coalition Q&A podcast, the third in a six-week series on faith and work, Amy Sherman answers the question, “How did followers of Jesus serve the poor?”
  • Our Work and the Flourishing of God’s Creation. Hugh Whelchel writes “The purpose of our work is to reweave shalom. God created a world made for shalom and then filled it with his image bearers and told them to go and make more shalom because the more God’s creation works like it was supposed to, the more He is glorified.”
  • Os Guinness (author of The Call). On this episode of The Call to Mastery podcast, Jordan Raynor visits with Os Guinness, author of The Call, to talk about the surprising friendship between Guinness and William Wilberforce, why a rhythm of “engagement and withdrawal” is a key to redeeming our time, and why Christians should be bold to carry “the future key of history” into our places of work.
  • The 8 Paradoxes of Great Leadership with Dr. Tim Elmore. Leadership is a constantly evolving practice. What worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. On this episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, Dr. Tim Elmore and Stanley discuss how in order to be great leaders, we must be willing to step up to the challenge of a “both/and” perspective, rather than stepping back into the stifling familiarity of “either/or” practices.
  • How to Find Meaningful Work in a Changing World with Michaela O’Donnell. On this episode of the Faith & Work Podcast, Joanna Meyer and Jeff Hoffmeyer talk with Michaela O’Donnell about her new book Make Work Matter: Your Guide to Meaningful Work in a Changing World. They discuss practical steps and provide tools to help you discern what to do next in your career.
  • How Do I Write a Personal Mission Statement? On this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper responds to the question “How do I, as an average Christian layperson, go about coming up with a personal mission statement? Should we be strengths/talents-oriented about it? Focus on roles? Should we mostly focus on spiritual needs in the church, both locally and globally? And how do we avoid letting this statement grow so broad that we get overwhelmed to the point that such a statement does nothing to actually help focus our energies?”

  • God created us as His coworkers with various talents so that He could meet all of the complex physical, mental, social, and spiritual needs of people. God loves people through us. Russ Gehrlein
  • Retirement from a lifelong vocation can be difficult, especially for those with Protestant work ethics. Properly, though, the laying down of a vocation after many years of work is a kind of Sabbath, a kind of reward for service rendered. Gene Veith
  • If you have been given authority – whether as a parent, a teacher, a government official, or a small group leader – it is something God gave to you (Daniel 4:17), and God holds you fully responsible for what you do with it (Deuteronomy 17:18-20). You now must, as much as possible, represent Him in your leadership. Tim Keller
  • Success in retirement depends in great measure on the way we lived beforehand. Paul Tournier
  • There is no ideal place for us to serve God except the place He sets us down. Charles Spurgeon
  • It has been said that most people today worship their work, work at their play, and play at their worship. Burk Parsons
  • Who will you look to define your identity – yourself, your friends, your job, your spouse, your culture, your children or your wise and loving Lord? Paul Tripp
  • All of life can be a sacrifice to God: the ways in which we listen in class, treat our colleagues at work, respect our employers, and serve our spouses. Alistair Begg
  • If you don’t nurture your character daily, you can be most admired by the people who know you least, while the people who know you best struggle with you the most. Carey Nieuwhof

It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership. Written and read by Colin 
Powell, with Tony Koltz. HarperAudio. 2012 

Colin Powell recently died at age 84. He led an incredible life. He was born to Jamaican immigrant parents in 1937 in New York City. He was an average student at best at City College of New York (CCNY), who excelled in Army ROTC. Powell’s love for the U.S. Army resonates throughout this book. Powell has said that when he was a lost 17-year-old at CCNY, ROTC saved him and kept him in school. He states:
“I found my place. I found discipline. I found structure. I found people that were like me and I liked and I fell in love with the Army those first few months in ROTC, and it lasted for the next 40-odd years”.
Powell was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant of infantry in 1958, and served in Germany, Korea and Vietnam. He was appointed National Security Advisor to President Reagan in 1987 and eventually rose to the top military post, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He retired from the military in 1993 and served as Secretary of State to George W. Bush from 2001-2005.
Powell previously wrote a 1995 memoir My American Journey in 1995. This book is less a memoir than a collection of recollections over 45 short and fast moving and interesting chapters. Most of the stories are from his 40 years in the military, though some are from his time in government, in particular his infamous 2003 speech at the United Nations about Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction. Of that situation, he writes that it is the first and probably last time he will address it in print.
Powell starts out the book with what has become known as his “Thirteen Rules” and the story about them. The rules are:

  • It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
  • Get mad, then get over it.
  • Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
  • It can be done!
  • Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
  • Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
  • You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.
  • Check small things.
  • Share credit.
  • Remain calm. Be kind.
  • Have a vision. Be demanding.
  • Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
  • Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

He addresses what has become known as the “Powell Doctrine”, a term that was invented by journalists and largely based on principles from Caspar Weinberger, President Reagan’s Secretary of State. The doctrine can be summarized as saying that war should be avoided, but when it has been determined that you will go to war, force must be applied in a decisive manner.
In another story he recalls what was known as “The Pottery Barn Rule”, based on Powell’s advice to George W. Bush in 2003 regarding Iraq. Powell stated “If you break it, you own it”. Somewhat humorously, Pottery Barn had no such policy and was not happy that the phrase was connected with them. Although Powell tried to clear up the confusion for Pottery Barn, the name has stuck.
He covered his four rules for intelligence staffs, which can be applied by leaders in any field:

  • Tell me what you know.
  • Tell me what you don’t know.
  • Then tell me what you think.
  • Always distinguish which from which.

He includes themes such as kindness, how import it is for leaders to listen to their people and the importance of family. He has an interesting section of the book on celebrity and his friendship with Princess Diana. He also makes brief mention of his Episcopalian faith a few times.
There are some stories toward the end of the book that I feel could have been left out, such as what he likes and dislikes in a hotel room and the gifts he received and gave other dignitaries. These were interesting, but not up to the quality of the rest of the book
The stories Powell includes are all about people – those he respects, those who have helped him, and sometimes just ordinary people like the sidewalk hot dog vendors he loved to frequent in New York City. The result is a portrait of a leader who is reflective, self-effacing and grateful for the contributions of those he has worked with and come in contact with. In the end Powell writes:
“It’s all about how we touch and are touched by the people we meet. It’s all about the people”.
I listened to the audiobook version of the book, which was very well read by Powell. Highly recommended.

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

We are reading through Discipled Leader: Inspiration from a Fortune 500 Executive for Transforming Your Workplace by Pursuing Christ by Preston Poore.
Discipled Leader provides struggling, stuck, or merely surviving Christian business leaders with a framework to grow their influence through becoming a redemptive (i.e., change for the better), Christlike presence in the workplace and living a more fulfilling life.
This week we look at Chapter Three: Believe. Here are a few takeaways from the chapter:

  • The central question of confidence for the discipled leader is … “Are you trusting God or yourself?”
  • When we are assured of God’s salvation in our lives, then we know we can trust him with everything else in our everyday experience.
  • Genuine assurance of salvation in Christ naturally leads to a steadfast peace in every other area of life.
  • When you place your confidence in God and his purposes instead of working in your own strength, he will fit you into a work much bigger and more meaningful than you imagined.
  • People can tell if you have confidence, and if you don’t, they will not follow you. If you do, they will see you as competent, and they will trust and follow you.
  • Discipled leaders learn to elevate God rather than themselves.
  • Cultivating God-confidence gives you the courage to do things outside your comfort zone.
  • The key to unlocking your potential is to make the choice to reach toward it. Be intentional.

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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