Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Minister with Monday in Mind. This episode of the Gospel Coalition podcast is a message from Tom Nelson from the Gospel Coalition 2017 National Conference. The gospel speaks into every nook and cranny of life, including the work we’re called by God to embrace for his glory and the furtherance of the common good. Tragically, many church leaders fail to adequately equip congregants for their vocational callings. What’s really at stake when our gospel-centered churches fail to connect Sunday worship with Monday work? What changes will lead to greater pastoral faithfulness and more flourishing congregations?
  • How Whole Life Discipleship Changes Cities (Part 1). Amy Sherman writes “We will not see revitalization in our cities without individual congregants coming to a deep understanding and practice of whole-life discipleship. Congregants need to have a vision for how their daily callings—their professions, their family life, their call to citizenship—connect with God’s mission to bring renewal to all things, and particularly to the hurting parts of our cities.” Read Part 2 here.    Essays for the Common Good. Luke Bobo of Made to Flourish writes “Our new ebook, Essays for the Common Good: Nine Pastors and Churches Share How They Are Putting Ideas into Practice, is a compilation of essays representing nine pastors and churches whose experiences are as diverse as the contexts in which they serve. They are churches in large cities and churches in rural areas. They are churches with thousands of members and they are churches with small gatherings. But even with all the ways they are different, they each share a belief that the local church can act as a powerful agent of cultural renewal for the common good in their communities.”

REGARDING WOMEN:

  • The Faith-Work Gap for Professional Women. Katelyn Beaty writes “One of the most important findings of the Barna survey is that millennials (defined as Americans born between 1982 and 2004) are uniquely accepting of women in the workplace.”
  • Why Packing Lunches and Helping with Homework Have Eternal Value. Anna Arnold looks at the relationship between fulfilling our call to the family and flourishing.
  • How to Steward Your Passions in the Season of Motherhood. Ann Swindell writes “As Christian mothers, this question bubbles up often: How do we navigate the years of childrearing with our own desires to create and innovate and learn? While there’s no one response for every woman, it’s important to ask the right questions as we consider how to steward our passions and live faithfully in our current season.”
  • Be a Boaz in Your Business. Racheal Starke writes “If you’re a man blessed with authority and influence in the workplace, use it to protect and empower women. As you do so, you follow in the footsteps of not just Boaz, but Boaz’s greatest son, Jesus Christ.”

BIG BOSS MAN…OR LADY:

  • 5 Traits of a Great Boss. Dan Reiland writes “John Maxwell and Kevin Myers are two great bosses I have worked for in my ministry career. They are both strong visionary leaders, creative, empowering and love God. I’m grateful for them both. I have also known many bosses that other people work for who are a cross anywhere between Mr. Rogers and Godzilla. Extremes I know, but bad bosses are unfortunately all too common.”
  • 7 High Costs of Leadership Every Leader Should Pay. Ron Edmondson writes “Leadership should be expensive. If we desire to be leaders it should cost us something. Leadership is a stewardship. It’s the keeping of a valuable trust others place in you. Cheap leadership is never good leadership.”
  • The World Will Give You Trouble — Love Anyway. Scott Sauls writes “If you are a Christian leader, boss, or influencer, a time may come when your faith is costly to you and also to those whom you lead and serve.”

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10 Books I Plan to Read This Summer

The summer is a great time to get some reading in. I have several books on my “to be read” list (aka my “on deck circle”). Here are ten of them I hope to read this summer:

42 Faith: The Rest of the Jackie Robinson Story by Ed Henry

This book brings a different perspective to the well-known Jackie Robinson story. From Amazon: “Journalist and baseball lover Ed Henry reveals for the first time the backstory of faith that guided Jackie Robinson into not only the baseball record books but the annals of civil rights advancement as well. Through recently discovered sermons, interviews with Robinson’s family and friends, and even an unpublished book by the player himself, Henry details a side of Jackie’s humanity that few have taken the time to see.”

Work Matters: Lessons from Scripture by R. Paul Stevens

I recently started reading this book about work that was listed as recommended reading by Redeemer Presbyterian Church’s Center for Faith and Work. From Amazon: “In Work Matters marketplace theology expert R. Paul Stevens revisits more than twenty biblical accounts — from Genesis to Revelation — exploring through them the theological meaning of every sort of work, manual or intellectual, domestic or commercial. Taken together, his short, pithy reflections on these well-known Bible passages add up to a comprehensive, Bible-based theology of work — one that will be equally useful for seminars, classes, Bible studies, and individuals seeking to grasp more fully the theological dimensions of their daily labor.”

Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture by David Murray

I am a regular reader of David Murray’s HeadHeartHand blog and I appreciated his book Christians Get Depressed Too. From Amazon: “Drawing on personal experiences—and time spent counseling other men in the midst of burnout—David Murray offers weary men hope for the future, helping them identify the warning signs of burnout and offering practical strategies for developing patterns that are necessary for living a grace-paced life and reaching the finish line with their joy intact.”

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

My wife Tammy and I are reading and discussing this book this summer. I first heard about it from the Center for Faith and Work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church. From Amazon: “In this book, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans show us how design thinking can help us create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling, regardless of who or where we are, what we do or have done for a living, or how young or old we are. The same design thinking responsible for amazing technology, products, and spaces can be used to design and build your career and your life, a life of fulfillment and joy, constantly creative and productive, one that always holds the possibility of surprise.”

Working for Our Neighbor: A Lutheran Primer on Vocation, Economics, and Ordinary Life by Gene Veith

Gene Veith’s God at Work is one of the best books I read about integrating our faith and work. I’m looking forward to this new book from him. From Amazon: “In this elucidating work, Gene Edward Veith connects vocation to justification, good works, and Christian freedom—defining how the Lutheran contribution to economics can transfigure ordinary life, and work, with the powerful presence of God.”

Why the Reformation Still Matters by Michael Reeves and Tim Chester

I’ve read several of Michael Reeves books and seen him speak at the last two Ligonier National conferences. I also enjoyed Tim Chester’s book Gospel Centered Work. With this year being the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, this is a timely book to read. From Amazon: “In this accessible primer, Michael Reeves and Tim Chester answer eleven key questions raised by the Reformers—questions that remain critically important for the church today.”

Rediscovering the Holy Spirit: God’s Perfecting Presence in Creation, Redemption, and Everyday Life by Michael Horton

Over the years I’ve read several of Michael Horton’s books, seen him speak at conferences and enjoyed his White Horse Inn radio program. From Amazon: “In Rediscovering the Holy Spirit, author, pastor, and theologian Mike Horton introduces readers to the neglected person of the Holy Spirit, showing that the work of God’s Spirit is far more ordinary and common than we realize. Horton argues that we need to take a step back every now and again to focus on the Spirit himself—his person and work—in order to recognize him as someone other than Jesus or ourselves, much less something in creation. Through this contemplation we can gain a fresh dependence on the Holy Spirit in every area of our lives.”

The Mythical Leader: The Seven Myths of Leadership by Ron Edmondson

I enjoy reading pastor Ron Edmondson’s blog on leadership and am looking forward to this new book. From Amazon: “In The Mythical Leader, Edmondson exposes some of the most common misunderstandings of leadership, shares stories from his own experiences, and will help church leaders develop healthier patterns to improve their individual leadership.”

A Little Book on the Christian Life by John Calvin 

I’m looking forward to this new translation of Calvin’s classic book from Burk Parsons and Aaron Denlinger. From Amazon: “For centuries, disciples young and old have turned to this book for guidance in the Christian life. Today, it remains unique in its clear exposition of God’s calling for Christians to pursue holiness, endure suffering, and fulfill their callings. This is a book for every Christian to pick up, read, and apply.”

H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle by Brad Lomenick

I enjoyed reading Brad Lomenick’s book The Catalyst Leader and regularly read his blog on leadership. From Amazon: “He categorizes 20 essential leadership habits organized into three distinct filters he calls “the 3 Hs”: Humble (Who am I?), Hungry (Where do I want to go?) and Hustle (How will I get there?). These powerful words describe the leader who is willing to work hard, get it done, and make sure it’s not about him or her; the leader who knows that influence is about developing the right habits for success. Lomenick provides a simple but effective guide on how to lead well in whatever capacity the reader may be in.”

These are the books I’m looking forward to reading or listening to this summer. How about you? What’s on your reading list?


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25 Quotes on Leadership from The Catalyst Leader by Brad Lomenick

The Catalyst LeaderI recently read Brad Lomenick’s book The Catalyst Leader: 8 Essential for Becoming a Change Maker. He included a number of excellent leadership quotes. Below are 25 of them:

  • We must never compare our beginning to someone else’s ending. Instead, we need to seek God’s plan for us as He reveals our callings to us. It’s important we focus on what God has called each of us to do, and not compare our callings to others.
  • Ambition must be grounded in wisdom. Inspiration must be pursued with integrity. Dreams must be built with boundaries. And passions need the steady hand of principles to guide them.
  • Every Christian has two callings in life: a spiritual one to salvation and also a vocational calling. The first informs the way you’ll live out your second calling.
  • When you are living out your calling, your work will be better, and you will naturally want to work harder.
  • Leaders who make the biggest impact also have the strongest sense of calling.
  • Calling is not necessarily about a title, position, or even a certain career, but more about a vision and purpose for your life that spans all the seasons of your vocation.
  • If we don’t learn to be content with who God has made us and called us to be, then we will never reach our potential as influencers.
  • Leaders who are willing to share honestly about their own struggles immediately gain influence.
  • No matter where you work, your job can be an act of worship and service to God.
  • Those who desire to influence and impact others will never reach their full potential unless they develop a contagious love for the One who has called them.
  • If we believe we are called by God to the work we do, then we bear the responsibility of doing this work with an unrivaled standard of excellence.
  • Set standards that scare you, and work to achieve them.
  • Once we discover our calling, we have a responsibility to pursue that calling with authenticity, passion, vigor, and distinction.
  • Without courage, your calling is crippled.
  • What would you pursue today if you weren’t afraid to fail? If you knew for certain that you were the one to make it happen? Go do that.
  • The road to success is many times put together through multiple failures. Allow for and even encourage your team to fail as they attempt to succeed.
  • Leading with character is the standard for every decision we make and the foundation for how we interact with one another and with our community of leaders.
  • Your character will determine your level of leadership and even your legacy.
  • Remember that your character and integrity is built over time in the insignificant moments when you think no one is watching.
  • Humble leaders are willing to pass on the credit but absorb the criticism, push others higher while making themselves lower, and put the desires of the team ahead of their own.
  • Being a steadfast leader means doing what you say you are going to do.
  • When people see you living a life of integrity and accountability, they’ll trust you.
  • Leaders who others want to follow have a vision that is inspiring and powerful.
  • A catalyst leader wants to work together with all kinds of leaders and organizations, without worrying who gets the credit.
  • Every leader—regardless of age—should have at least one mentor and should be mentoring at least one other person.


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

The Catalyst LeaderBOOK REVIEW: The Catalyst Leader: 8 Essentials for Becoming a Change Maker by Brad Lomenick. Thomas Nelson. 2013. 288 pages.
***

Brad Lomenick led and directed a movement of young leaders called Catalyst for 12 years. He is now in a strategic advisor role with Catalyst, along with several other organizations. In this book he gives us a road map, filled with stories from his experience of leading Catalyst, offering practical advice the readers can incorporate into their lives and work.

Lomenick partnered with the Barna Research Group on this project. Through a series of questions, Barna was able to probe the thoughts, opinions, and passions of 1,116 self-identified Christians ages eighteen and older. The survey data is included in the appendix to the book.

Lomenick writes that becoming a catalyst leader means becoming a change maker—someone who leverages his or her influence for the betterment of the world, the collective good of others, and the greater glory of God. He states that this is possible by developing the eight essentials for becoming a change maker.

He begins by discussing the first essential – Called. He writes that only about one-third of Christians feel called to the work they currently do. The definition of calling that Catalyst used was:  God’s personal invitation for me to work on His agenda, using the talents I’ve been given in ways that are eternally significant.

He recommends that leaders develop “Calling Statements”. Lomenick’s calling statement is:   To influence influencers through gathering, inspiring, connecting, and equipping them to become change makers.

Lomenick discusses the eight essentials for becoming a change maker. You might be a good leader with only a few, but in order to be a true catalyst leader you need all eight. They are:

  1. Called
  2. Authentic
  3. Passionate
  4. Capable
  5. Courageous
  6. Principled
  7. Hopeful
  8. Collaborative

Lomenick includes many helpful resources throughout the book, including “8 Questions on Calling for a Year-End Review”. He ends each section with a pertinent list of “Five Leaders You Should Know”. He includes several profiles of leaders, and fifty change makers on the rise. I found this to be a very helpful book.

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • On Leaving Things Better Than We Found Them. Scott Sauls, author of Jesus Outside the Lines, the next book my wife and I will read together after completing Tim Keller’s Prayer, writes “Our work doesn’t feel meaningful but because our perspective about work lacks a biblical imagination. Dorothy Sayers says that the church is largely at fault for this crisis.”
  • The Gospel Goes to WorkWhy I Wrote My New Book. Stephen R. Graves writes about his new book The Gospel Goes to Work. It looks interesting and I plan to read it soon. Look for a review in the coming weeks.
  • What’s Next on Your Leadership Journey? Mark Miller writes “I believe there are four primary domains in which leaders must ultimately demonstrate competence if they want to maximize their influence and their impact. Although circumstances beyond our control often mess with the natural order of things, I do believe there is a logical sequence of steps or stations in a leader’s development.”
  • What is the Most Meaningful Job in America? Would you believe that there was a three-way tie in PayScale’s list of the most meaningful jobs that also pay well? Top 30 Must Read Leadership Articles from October. I always look forward to Paul Sohn’s compilation of the best leadership articles each month.
  • Top 30 Must Read Leadership Articles from October. I always look forward to Paul Sohn’s john-hawkins-Hawkins-Welwood Homescompilation of the best leadership articles each month.
  •  The Road to Humility: An Interview with John Hawkins. Bill Peel interviews John Hawkins, who states “I’m called to serve Christ—and, by the way, we build homes.” Hawkins is president of Hawkins-Welwood Homes and 30-year veteran of the real estate/homebuilding industry.
  • 12 Ways to Rise After Being Thrown Under the Bus. Dan Rockwell discusses how leaders might deal with being thrown under the bus, which he defines as someone elevating their status and lowering yours in front of others.
  • Word+Life A Prayer for a God Honoring Work Life. I first read this wonderful prayer in Kevin Halloran’s new book Word + Life: 20 Reflections on Prayer, the Christian Life, and the Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, which I highly recommend.
  • Put Fear In Its Place – Lessons From a Former Airline Executive. Scott Dickson is the former CEO and president of Vanguard airlines, a position he took in early 2001 with full understanding that it was a turnaround situation. The airline was in trouble, and it was his job to reverse a bad situation. Then 9/11 changed everything. In his book, Never Give Up: 7 Principles for Leading in Tough Times, Scott shares lessons he learned and biblical principles he implemented at Vanguard and other airlines where he served. Here’s an excerpt from the book.
  • Collaboration. In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell talks about the value of collaboration.
  • Which Job Should You Get Based On Your Personality Type? [Infographic]. Paul Sohn writes “Does your current job fit your personality? Or the better question is, should I find my job based on my personality type?” Check out his interesting infographic included in his article.
  • Ten Differences Between a Boss and a Leader. Eric Geiger writes “Some bosses are leaders, but not all of them. It is possible to be a boss and not be a leader, or be a leader without being a boss.”
  • work mattersCultivating Gospel Readiness at Work. Tom Nelson, author of the excellent book Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work, writes “I believe Jesus’s parable of the talents encourages us not only to gospel readiness but also to more seamlessly connect our Sunday faith with our Monday work.”
  • 3 Ways to Eliminate Your Stress. Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes “Are you feeling too much stress on the job? Are you feeling pressured to do more and more?  You may even be wondering whether it’s worth it.”
  • Five Ways to Stop Spending Time Managing Time. Rick Segal shares five applications Christians might employ for buying back time for the purposes for which they were given it by God.
  • Life Always Triumphs in the Garden. Carey Bustard interviews Louise Brewer, who lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where she is part of a flower team, a women’s bible study, and an ESL program at her church.
  • Art for Whose Sake? Art can broadly be defined as human skill applied to give shape or “form” to “something.” With that in mind, is it possible to avoid art in the church? In this video message entitled “Art for Whose Sake,” Dr. R.C. Sproul teaches us the proper place art has in the church and our lives.
  • Scott Rae: Calling, Work and Vocation [The Gospel and the City]. Watch this helpful 43-minute lecture.
  • A Powerful Lesson from Jesus in Handling Conflict. Ron Edmondson writes “When you’re facing conflict in life and leadership — when you’re angry — take time to make a whip. It changes everything.”

John Maxwell quoteFaith and Work Quotes

  • Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it. Lou Holtz
  • Your career is never going to die for you. If you don’t fulfill its dictates, it will punish you all your life. Tim Keller
  • One often sees a call only in retrospect. This too is God’s design. God often reinforces our faith after we trust Him, not before. Ravi Zacharias
  • Over and over we’ve seen that people cannot achieve beyond what they really believe. Andy Andrews
  • All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them. Coach K
  • We are most likely to succeed when ambition is focused on noble and worthy purposes and outcomes rather than on goals set out of selfishness. John Wooden
  • Take time for silence. By beginning and ending each day peacefully, you’ll help everything in between remain under control. Dr. Alan Zimmerman
  • Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you. Saint Augustine
  • People want leaders to model the values of the organization daily, not occasionally. Mark Miller

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

Kingdom CallingKingdom Calling: Vocational Calling for the Common Good by Amy L. Sherman

I first read this book in a “Calling, Vocation and Work” class with Dr. Michael Williams and Dr. Bradley Matthews at Covenant Seminary two summers ago. King Jesus is on a mission to bring restoration in every sphere of society and has invited His followers to join Him in this Kingdom-advancing work. Learn to deeply, creatively and intentionally steward your vocational power in ways that advance foretastes of the coming Kingdom of shalom for our neighbors near and far.

It’s an excellent book, so let’s read it together. This week we’ll look at Chapter 13 – Pathway 4: Participate in Your Church’s Targeted Initiative:

  • Can you image a congregation that targets a particular community for long-term, deep investment and then “plugs in” marketplace professionals for meaningful and strategic service? Or envision a slightly different story, one of a church that doesn’t pick a particular place for radical, long-term engagement, but rather, a specific issue. Are any churches actually doing these sorts of things? An honest answer is, well, not many. But there are some.
  • In this chapter, we’ll look in detail at two congregations-Southwood Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Huntsville, Alabama, and Crossroads in Cincinnati, Ohio-that are testing out, in the real world, kingdom-oriented transformational initiatives that involve vocational stewardship. One has targeted a specific neighborhood in its city; the other, a specific issue. Both have been at their labors for several years; neither is anywhere near finished. Their stories offer us much by way of inspiration and instruction.
  • The two have some things in common when it comes to mission. Both are externally focused. Both believe that a narrow and deep outreach ministry focus is far more effective than the mile-wide, inch-deep approach that characterizes many congregations. Each has committed to long-term investment. Additionally, at both Southwood and Crossroads, church leaders had to be captured by the missional call of the gospel of the kingdom before they could launch into their impressive initiatives. And leaders and congregants at both congregations had to experience punched-in-the-guts compassion. At both churches, attention to mobilizing congregants for service according to their specific skill sets and passions has evolved over time.
  • Southwood’s journey into robust, holistic community development ministry in its city began with painful repentance. Roughly three years into his pastorate, Mike Honeycutt became convicted that Southwood had “become a church very much inward-focused … and not really reaching our community very well.”
  • At Crossroads in Cincinnati, the central focus of the church’s inch-wide, mile-deep outreach is not on a particular neighborhood, but on a pressing cause: promoting justice in the face of the evil of international sex trafficking.
  • Let’s look at several lessons they’ve learned. First, leaders at both churches recognize the importance of preaching and leading with an emphasis on the kingdom-on the church’s external focus for mission in the community and the world.
  • A second lesson from these churches is that a narrow and deep strategy makes sense not only because it is more effective in terms of tangible results for the people or communities served; it also makes progress more visible. And that contributes to the ongoing motivation of the congregation.
  • Third, the stories of these churches reveal that success requires significant financial commitment. To mobilize such commitment, intentional leadership and directed preaching were required.
  • A fourth lesson learned is that, while both churches strongly affirm the value of mobilizing congregants by their skill sets, they do not see vocational stewardship as their exclusive method of lay mobilization. There is a call for everyone to serve, for all to take responsibility. And there are many opportunities for service that require no particular professional training or experience. In short, there’s a place for everyone, not just white-collar professionals.
  • Finally, this pathway, particularly as expressed in neighborhood-targeted ministry, requires a mindset of mutuality. When a church of largely middle- or upper-middle-class congregants, many of them white-collar professionals, gets engaged in a low-income neighborhood, the risk of paternalism is high. Church leaders must work hard to help their highly talented laity to see their own poverty and need. A great way of doing so is to teach the biblical definition of poverty, namely, “the absence of shalom in all its meanings.” Poverty is not only material; it is relational and spiritual as well. Given the universal implications of the Fall, all humans-including those materially non-poor-are poor in one way or another. This understanding can help congregants who are not economically poor to avoid considering themselves as superior. It also can help congregants find places of commonality with the members of the target community.

Next week we’ll conclude our look at this outstanding book.