Our Father in Heaven,
As we approach the time of year in which we celebrate graduations at many levels, we pray for our graduates.
For the high school graduate, we pray that they would build on the foundation of knowledge they have, and the relationships they have made, over the last four years. They may be heading into the workforce, a technical school or to college. We pray that you would provide them wisdom for their next steps. High school is just four short years of our lives, but important events take place and life-long relationships are made in high school that help form who we are, and are remembered for the rest of our lives, including class reunions.
For the college graduate, we pray for your guidance for their next steps in life. Those steps may include the beginning of their careers, maybe marriage and starting a family, or perhaps additional education. For those looking for a job and not having any success, we pray that you would comfort them with the presence of the Holy Spirit and a peace that surpasses understanding. Please give them patience and perseverance in this season of waiting. We pray that they would trust you to provide them a position in which they will serve you well with the skills and abilities you have blessed them with.
For those who will be getting married soon, we pray that you would be at the center of those marriages. For those continuing on in their education, we pray that they would be accepted into the universities of their choice, and that you would provide them with the needed finances and support system.
For the seminary graduate, we pray that you would provide them a call into ministry, where they can apply what they have worked so hard to learn. That call may be to the church, a Christian ministry or into the general marketplace.
Father, thank you for helping our graduates persevere in their studies, for giving them strength and energy to continue on when they couldn’t on their own. Thank you for helping them study for exams and write papers. Now, please give them wonderful celebrations with family and friends as they look forward to new beginnings. We ask that you would continue to care for them and guide their lives as they live Coram Deo, in the presence of, and before the face of God.
In Jesus name we pray, Amen
Trials and Suffering: A Conversation with Burk Parsons and Derek Thomas. Watch this conversion between Chris Larson, Burk Parsons and Derek Thomas. They discuss the reality of suffering from a biblical perspective, and consider God’s heart for His children in difficult times, correct wrong views of suffering, and provide pastoral counsel for sufferers and caregivers alike.
We Should Talk About Disney. Trevin Wax writes “It’s not only the overt aspects of gender ideology that we ought to be looking for when we watch Disney movies, but also the subtle aspects of the expressive individualist philosophy that undergirds the sexual revolution. That is where the real and most urgent battle is fought.”
Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles
Scottie Scheffler wins Masters, says “reason I play golf is I’m trying to glorify God”. Fifty-six days ago, Scottie Scheffler was a 25-year-old beginning his third full season on the PGA Tour, ranked 15th in the world but still seeking his first victory on the game’s top circuit. As of March 27, after winning three of five events, Scheffler shot up to No. 1 in the world. As of the evening of Sunday, April 10, Scheffler is now a Masters champion as well.
We’re Not Having a Work Crisis; We’re Facing an Identity Crisis. Denise Lee Yohn writes “For many of us, recent times have revealed the shortcomings of our current work. But that doesn’t mean we should take our job and shove it. Work remains a path toward fulfillment, but we’re better off pursuing it as a path toward formation. Work can be a way that God forms us into the people He intends for us to be – we just need to let Him.”
Should an Employee Ask for Health Insurance? Charlie Self responds to the question “I work for a Christian nonprofit that doesn’t provide health insurance for its employees. On the one hand, I know health insurance is very expensive, and I don’t want to seem greedy or faithless by asking to be insured. On the other hand, I don’t want to be fiscally irresponsible. I know that it just takes one accident or major surgery to bury a family in debt for decades. Should I ask for insurance? If so, what would be a gracious way to ask?”
How Can I Think About the Billy Graham Rule? Courtney Powell responds to the question “My job involves occasional one-on-one meetings with people of the opposite sex. Should I use the “Billy Graham Rule”? Are there other ways to protect others and myself, particularly in ways that are cognizant of my sin nature and don’t treat others as the problem?”
The Heart of a Leader: Insights on the Art of Influence by Ken Blanchard. David C. Cook. 197 pages. 2010. ***
This book is comprised of Ken Blanchard’s favorite sayings – most of which come from his books – along with a short reading accompanying the quote. Blanchard tells us that anytime you use your influence to affect the thoughts and actions of others, you are engaging in leadership.
This is a book that you can read at your own pace. I chose to read a few “chapters” (quote and short reading) each day. Here are 20 of my favorite quotes from the book:
The more attention you pay to a behavior, the more it will be repeated. Accentuating the positive and redirecting the negative are the best tools for increasing productivity.
An effective leader will make it a priority to help his or her people produce good results in two ways: making sure people know what their goals are and doing everything possible to support, encourage, and coach them to accomplish those goals.
No one of us is as smart as all of us.
When you stop learning, you stop leading.
Leadership is a high calling.
Leading at a higher level is the process of achieving worthwhile results while acting with respect, care, and fairness for the well-being of all involved. It’s only when you realize that it’s not about you that you begin to lead at a higher level.
Good leaders are committed to helping their people win. When someone fails, they accept responsibility for that failure.
The main job of a leader is to help his or her people succeed in accomplishing their goals. And when people accomplish their goals and win, everyone wins.
Think more about your people, and they will think more of themselves.
Character is following through on decisions.
Vision is knowing who you are, where you’re going, and what will guide your journey.
An important way to motivate your people is to make sure they know where they are going. See that each person’s goals are clearly defined and that he or she knows what it means to perform well. This will give people a clear focus for their energy and put them on the road to becoming high-performing, empowered producers.
Leading people is the opposite of trying to control them; it’s about gaining their trust through your integrity, developing their potential through your partnership, and motivating them through your affirmation.
The only job security you have today is your commitment to continuous personal improvement.
Servant leadership is more about character than style.
The primary biblical image of servant leadership is that of the shepherd. The flock is not there for the sake of the shepherd; the shepherd is there for the sake of the flock.
Am I a servant leader or a self-serving leader?
Leadership is not something you do to people. It’s something you do with people.
rue servant leaders want feedback because they are anxious to know whether their interactions with their people are helpful and effective.
To be successful as a leader, you must know the values of your organization and live by them. You’ve got to walk the talk.
The End is the multi-talented (pastor, conference speaker, author, rapper), Trip Lee’s first new album since 2016’s The Waiting Room. Lee has said that the title symbolizes coming to the end of ourselves, where one door closes so another can open. Themes on the album include Lee’s return to music after six years, dealing with illness for fifteen years, Christ being better than riches, Heaven, divisions in our society, fame, things he wishes were different in the world, having nothing left to prove, love for his wife and new life in Christ.
Here are a few brief comments about each song: Let Go – This song was written and produced by Lee. Most of the vocals on this song are handled by Chastity (Chazz). Lee sings only the fourth verse.
Key lyric: Lord, grab my soul
Lose my hold on things that hold me back
Right Out the Gate – This hard-hitting song was written and produced by Mashell and Lee. Some thought he had left music, but he’s back, still on his game.
Key lyric: Thought he was gone, I think He back
He ain’t wait long, on the attack
Still unashamed, you know it’s facts
Paul McCartney The Lyrics 1956 to the Present by Paul McCartney and Paul Muldoon. Liveright. 905 pages. 2021 ****
This book is the result of approximately 50 hours of conversations about Paul McCartney’s songs over 24 sessions between McCartney and Paul Muldoon that took place between 2015 and 2020. In all, 154 of McCartney’s songs are included in the book. The lyrics of the songs are included, along with McCartney’s thoughts about the song, including what specifics lyrics were about, and how the song came to be. Many rare photographs are included in the book. McCartney wrote the Foreword and Muldoon the Introduction.
Along the way, you’ll find out interesting information such as:
•“Here, There and Everywhere” is McCartney’s favorite of his songs.
• He would include “I Saw Her Standing There” among his best work.
• McCartney’s parent’s attitudes weren’t religious, but they were good people and they showed McCartney and his brother a good way. In school and in church, he was given more formal religion, but he writes that his own sense of goodness, of a certain kind of spirituality, had already come from home. Today, he is not particularly religious in any conventional sense, but rather believes in the idea that there is some sort of higher force that can help us.
• 98% of his songs come from a musical idea, not a lyrical idea.
McCartney states that the life he has led – as a musician, performer, singer, songwriter – is incredible. He still feels like he’s just playing at it.
The book, which is beautifully put together, includes some adult language sprinkled throughout. Although in excess of 900 pages, the book is not intimidating, as the lyrics and photos included make the book read much shorter.
The book is a joy for McCartney/Beatles fans, and is a good companion to the six-part McCartney 3,2,1 television series McCartney did with Rick Rubin.
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BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ Providence by John Piper
I’M CURRENTLY READING…. Continue reading →
Do you have any regrets in life? These regrets might be very significant, such as who you married, or didn’t marry; how you raised your children; how you have handled significant relationships in your life; or perhaps vocational decisions you have made.
Perhaps you’re like Frank Sinatra, when he sang in “My Way”:
Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again too few to mention
But my guess is that we all have at least a few regrets in our lives.
Recently, I listened to an interesting Ask Pastor John podcast with John Piper as he answered a question about regrets from a 72-year-old man about how we should handle our regrets. You can listen to that episode here.
As I find myself closer to the end of my journey than the beginning, this episode really resonated with me. My nearly 38-year career with a Fortune 50 organization is now complete, and I’m in a new season of life, with different goals and opportunities to serve. But I do have regrets, some of which are: Continue reading →
What is Transgenderism? Rosaria Butterfield writes “Ultimately, the feeling of disconnect between one’s body and one’s sense of gender is a consequence of the fall and its effect on our hearts, minds, and bodies.”
We’re in a Strange World. Now What? In this episode of the Crossway Podcast, Carl Trueman explores the history of Western thought with the view of answering two simple questions: How did we get here? How should the church respond?
How to Focus in Prayer: 7 Tips. Wondering how to focus in prayer and fight the distraction that derails you? Kevin Halloran, author of When Prayer Is a Struggle shares 7 practical tips for fighting distraction in prayer in this video.
How to Offer Correction. Guy Richard writes “Giving criticism is frequently necessary, but if we cannot give that criticism constructively then we ought not to give it at all.
Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles
Do We Need to Confess All Workplace Mistakes? Charlie Self responds to the question “If something goes wrong in the workplace, and no one is asked to own the problem, should I speak up and claim fault or should I just fix the problem and move on? What if someone else made the mistake—am I obligated to “rat them out”?”
How Should a Christian Handle Being Sued? Charlie Self responds to the question “I own a small business, and a former customer has brought a legal claim against it. The complaint is completely false, but proving this in court would be costly to the point that my business might not even survive. My lawyer says I must settle with the complainant, though to do so is basically an admission of guilt. Should I fight for justice or protect my business by settling?”
How Does Adam’s Sin Impact Work? Russ Gehrlein writes “On my drive in to work several months ago, I had the chance to reflect on the effects of Adam’s sin. It took me by surprise when I realized some of the implications of this doctrine on my everyday work.”
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).
Developing Leaders with Carol Tomé. On this episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, Carol Tomé, CEO of UPS, and Stanley discuss why a leader’s priority should be to invest in their team and the impact doing so can have.
Leaders are Made. Howard Graham writes “We find a great example in the Gospel of Mark of how Jesus, the perfect leader, uses his followers’ mistakes to teach them to be better leaders.”
Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
More links to interesting articles
The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
My Review of Good Work: How Blue Collar Business Can Change Lives, Communities, and the World by David Hataj
Snippets from the book Discipled Leader: Inspiration from a Fortune 500 Executive for Transforming Your Workplace by Pursuing Christ by Preston Poore
I attended a learning event where we were talking about how difficult the calling of a pastor is. Let’s face it, you don’t pursue that particular calling for the money. In most cases, a leader will earn much more in a general marketplace position than they will in the church. The hours are long. Pastors don’t have set “9 to 5” hours, they are always “on call”. In most cases, a pastor does not get the respect that a workplace leader would receive. And while a pastor will occasionally be told how a particular sermon blessed someone, it is often a difficult and lonely calling.
That got me to thinking that in general the call of leadership is a lonely calling. Now, there are certainly many, many joys of leadership. Some of the things that I really enjoy about leadership have been: Continue reading →