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 Can I Learn to Take Criticism? On this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper addresses this question “I think too much about what people think of me. In particular, when people criticize me, I really take it to heart. I know I should focus on Jesus. But I fail. Sometimes I cannot sleep as I think about what people said about me. It is worst at work. I really take my office job to heart and cannot deal with it when my boss criticizes anything about what I do. I might look cool and stay calm and polite, but I wilt inside. What can I do to overcome this feeling of hurt? How can I focus on Jesus instead of myself?”
  • Should I Charge Other Christians For My Expertise? On this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper responds to the question “I’m a graphic designer. I’m trying to live out my gift according to 1 Peter 4:10: ‘As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.’ How can I obey this verse without feeling resentful and bitter toward people — Christians and non-Christians — who mainly contact me because I have a skill that can fulfill their need, but who use my skills and never pay me for them? I often feel ‘used’ and deemed worthy for ‘friendship’ by what I can do, not who I am. My assumption is that if I did not possess this graphic-design gift, these people would never contact me. How do we think about the value of skills that are God-given, about the right of making a little bit of money from these God-given gifts to make a living?”
  • I Know I Matter to God, But Does My Work? Part III. Steve Lindsey writes “The work we do through our faith, faithfulness, and occasional long-suffering and trials become the very means God uses to shape us more into his image.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable…About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business by Patrick Lencioni
  • Quotes from the book You’re Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News by Kelly Kapic

  • Negative Consequences of Working a Job For a Long Time. Russ Gehrlein reflects on some of the challenges and blessings of working in the same job for a long time from a biblical perspective.
  • 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).
  • Not In It To Win It with John Maxwell. On this episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, Stanley visits with John Maxwell about how you can extend kindness to those you disagree with and pursue unity for your community.
  • How to be More Productive with the 3-3-4 System. Matt Perman writes “How can we take advantage of the “new start” of a new year to set goals and create plans that we won’t ditch right out of the gate?”
  • The Sacred Call to Normal Work: How the Reformation Renewed Vocation. Brian Hanson writes “The English Reformation permeated every facet of society, including the theology of work and one’s vocation. The English evangelical clergy reiterated two primary arguments regarding work and vocation, arguments that were transferred to the Puritan work ethic in the seventeenth century, both in England and in its American colonies: (1) all space is sacred space, and (2) diligence is an essential Christian virtue.”
  • 10 Ways Leaders Can Add Value to People. Ron Edmondson writes “If you are going to lead – wouldn’t you want to lead in a way which creates value in the lives of others and the organizations you lead? I think this would be true for all of us. Truth is that leaders have the power to add value to people in incredible ways.”
  • Mere Christians: David Green and Bill High. On this episode of the Mere Christians podcast, Jordan Raynor visits with David Green, CEO of Hobby Lobby, and Bill High, co-author of Leadership Not By The Book, to talk about why David has recently started giving less to missions and more to his employees, what Jesus might have told the 5 and 2 talent servants if they hadn’t doubled the Master’s money, and the best answer I’ve ever heard for why Christians shouldn’t retire.
  • Proverbs and Work. Bill Fullilove writes “Proverbs helps us see what work should be, is, and will be.  And in so doing, it helps us work with both hope and realism.”
  • How to Glorify God With Professional Accomplishment. Adam Nesmith writes “If glorifying God is truly your life’s goal, success at work will just be another avenue to worship.”
  • The Key to Organizational Health with Patrick Lencioni, Part 1. Organizational health is the greatest competitive advantage a company can achieve. So how do we get there? On this episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, Stanley and Patrick Lencioni discuss the key to organizational health.
  • Leaders Intercept Entropy and Absorb Pain. In this message delivered at The Center Memphis, Sandy Willson defines what leadership is, explains how Jesus modeled it perfectly, and offers hope for how we can lead like Jesus today.

Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week

  • The pattern for work: rearranging the raw material of God’s creation in such a way that helps the world thrive and flourish. Tim Keller
  • In all our everyday responsibilities and commitments—whether they involve investing millions or changing diapers, working on a factory assembly line or plowing a field or sitting in a boardroom—we can view them as the very instruments God will use for His purposes and to glorify His name. Alistair Begg
  • Mission includes our secular vocations, not just church ministry. Tim Keller
  • Your work is your mission field, and because of that there is a God-given dignity in what you do. Bryan Chapell
  • All labor is honorable. No one ever needs to be ashamed of an honest calling. The Word of God does not disparage the humblest calling. Charles Spurgeon
  • We may retire from our paycheck, but we never retire from work. We never retire from the privilege and responsibility of neighborly love. Tom Nelson
  • Can you imagine waking up excited to get dressed and head to your job because you feel it in your heart that God provided it just for you. You know that He has a plan and a purpose for you, that He has prepared you for this position. Russ Gehrlein
  • If required to choose between the two, I would much rather follow a humble leader than a supremely gifted one. Scott Sauls
  • The Lord is pleased with faithful work in every calling. Dan Doriani
  • All labor is honorable. No one ever needs to be ashamed of an honest calling. Whether a potter or a gardener, or whatever else one’s occupation may be, the workman need never blush at the craft or toil by which he earns his honest wage. Charles Spurgeon


Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable…About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business by Patrick Lencioni. Jossey-Bass. 256 pages. 2007

Most of us hate meetings, wanting to get out of them so that we can “go do some real work”. But Patrick Lencioni tells us that meetings are critical, and that there is no substitute for a good meeting. He also tells us that bad meetings almost always lead to bad decisions, which is the best recipe for mediocrity.
I read this helpful book several years ago and decided to read it again as I prepared to facilitate a NXTGEN Pastors soft skills module on how to run a meeting with our local Cohort.
In the book, Lencioni follows his usual format of using a leadership fable and then ending by summarizing the main points made in the fable.
The Fable
In the fable we meet Casey McDaniel, a former professional golfer who had trouble with his putting (the “yips”). He then started Yip Software and was successful in developing a golf video game. Casey was considered to be an ordinary CEO. Yip Software might have been twice its current size under the stewardship of a more focused and disciplined leader. There was a surprising lack of excitement among the people who worked there, and a subtle mediocrity that pervaded the organization.
Yip was plagued by horrible meetings. Important decisions—and the discussions that led to them—usually took place in Casey’s office, involving him and one or two other executives, depending on the issue. Casey and his leadership team agree for Yip to be acquired by Playsoft.
With Casey’s administrative assistant out on leave to have a child, Will, the son of a family friend was chosen to fill in. Soon, Will hears from Casey that Casey’s job as CEO may be in jeopardy due to his poorly run meetings. Will decides he will do whatever he can to help Casey maintain his job before J.T. Harrison of Playsoft attends one of their meetings in the near future.
Throughout the fable Will works with the executive leadership team to improve their meetings. He coaches them on four different types of meetings, each of which has a different purpose, format and timing. He teaches them about meetings having drama and how to mine for ideological conflict.
In discussing meetings, Lencioni tells us that the single biggest structural problem facing leaders of meetings is the tendency to throw every type of issue that needs to be discussed into the same meeting, like a bad stew with too many random ingredients. He writes that there should be different meetings for different purposes, and each of them serves a valid and important function. While it is true that much of the time, we currently spend in meetings is largely wasted, the solution is not to stop having meetings, but rather to make them better.
The four types of meetings discussed in the book are:

  1. Daily Check-In. The purpose of the Daily Check-in (standup, huddle) is to help team members avoid confusion about how priorities are translated into action on a regular basis.
  2. Weekly Tactical. Every team needs to have regular meetings focused exclusively on tactical issues of immediate concern. Whether it takes place weekly, or every other week doesn’t really matter. There are two overriding goals for the meeting: resolution of issues and reinforcement of clarity. Obstacles need to be identified and removed, and everyone needs to be on the same page.
  3. Monthly Strategic. These meetings allow executives to dive into a given topic or two without the distractions of deadlines and tactical concerns.
  4. Quarterly Off-Site Review. Effective off-sites provide executives an opportunity to regularly step away from the daily, weekly, even monthly issues that occupy their attention, so they can review the business in a more holistic, long-term manner.

I recommend all leaders read this book with a goal of improving the meetings that they hold.

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

We are reading through You’re Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News by Kelly Kapic. The list of demands on our time seems to be never ending. It can leave you feeling a little guilty–like you should always be doing one more thing.
Rather than sharing better time-management tips to squeeze more hours out of the day, Kelly Kapic takes a different approach in You’re Only Human. He offers a better way to make peace with the fact that God didn’t create us to do it all.
Kapic explores the theology behind seeing our human limitations as a gift rather than a deficiency. He lays out a path to holistic living with healthy self-understanding, life-giving relationships, and meaningful contributions to the world. He frees us from confusing our limitations with sin and instead invites us to rest in the joy and relief of knowing that God can use our limitations to foster freedom, joy, growth, and community.
Readers will emerge better equipped to cultivate a life that fosters gratitude, rest, and faithful service to God.

This week we look at the second half of Chapter 7: Do I Have Enough Time? Clocks, Anxiety, and Presence. Here are a few helpful quotes from this section of the chapter:

  • Your ability to react to stress is a gift from God.
  • Anxiety whispers in your ear not that you are a good creature made by God but that you are insignificant, a disappointment, even a failure.
  • Being present, in the sense of being fully engaged with God and others in our immediate circumstances, does not fit our world of hurry and its demands to do more, better, constantly. We struggle to be present, and I think this makes us all the more susceptible to anxiety.
  • We live the majority of time assuming God’s absence rather than his particular presence—not because he isn’t there, but because we are not attuned to his presence.
  • Those who experience the fear of the Lord discover that praying without ceasing does not require that we enter a monastery, but it does require a mindfulness of God’s presence. This fosters the fear of the Lord.
  • The fear of the Lord is not an escape from this world, but the only way of fully living in it coram Deo, before the face of God.

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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