Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


Leave a comment

FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Rest ≠ Idleness. Watch this two-minute video from Courtney Reissig. She states “As a stay-at-home mom, it can be really hard to think about balance in the work of the home because we don’t have a boss.”
  • The Biblical Solution to Unproductivity and Laziness: Begin With Your Heart Motives. Lara d’Entremont writes “The truly productive person is motivated by a desire to deny themselves, serve others, and glorify God with their time. Because of what God has done for them (dying on the cross to give them eternal life) their primary concern is showing others that same love and glorifying God in that.”
  • Know Your Comparative Advantage to Make Better Decisions. Anne Bradley writes “Knowing your gifts and focusing on them is important for faithful stewardship. It allows us to specialize, especially with regard to things we produce and sell through our labor (our work). This specialization frees us from having to be good at everything and allows us to trade with others.”
  • Profitable Fails. David Murray writes “The basic difference between successful people and the rest of us is that they’ve learned to fail well. They humbly embrace their mistakes, use them as opportunities to learn, and persevere until each shot got them nearer the bulls-eye.”
  • Monday’s Preparation Brings Friday’s Success. Ron Edmondson writes “I find the more deliberate I am to pre-plan my day and week the more productive I feel at the end of the week.”
  • The Dangers of Success. Tim Keller writes “Success can easily cause us to forget God’s grace, because our hearts are desperate to believe that we can save ourselves.”
  • In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell states that discipline allows us to have a life to do what we need to do, not what we want to do. If we cannot discipline ourselves, life will become hard for us.
  • Redirection Not Retirement. Peter Markgraaff writes “Retirement is an opportunity for a redeployment, a recalibration, a reset, revival, reform, and a new trajectory.”
  • How to Receive Constructive Feedback with the Gospel in View. Kristin Brown writes “Getting constructive feedback is going to happen. In more theological terms, it’s part of the sanctification process—being changed to be more like Christ.”
  • When the Gospel Invades Your Office: Tim Keller on Faith and Work. Matt Smethurst interviews Tim Keller about “working for the weekend”; how the counternarrative of the gospel addresses our propensity to idolize or demonize, to overwork or underwork; how to counsel discouraged employees; and more.”
  • Why Your Church Needs to Talk about Vocation. Amy Sherman asks “Why does it matter to have a strong theology of work? Why should congregational leaders help their flock connect faith and work? Why should we talk about vocation when there are so many other worthwhile things we could talk about, like evangelism or compassion ministry? Why does it matter?”
  • 17 Powerful Workplace Scriptures. WorkMatters writes “Many scriptures are found throughout the Bible that support the importance of our work to God. Each contain God’s wisdom and views about our work, the importance of our work, or how we should conduct ourselves while performing our work.”

Continue reading


Leave a comment

FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

CALLING AND VOCATION:

  • Pursue Your Vocation. Tim Challies writes “If you are going to run to win, you, like Jesus, must pursue your vocation.”
  • Your Calling is More Than Your Job. Art Lindsley writes “Before we devote ourselves to a job or role, as Christians, we should devote our lives to God. Before he calls us to a job, God calls us to himself. That is and always will be our greatest call. Our answer to this call should inform and transform every area of life.”
  • Rethinking Christian Calling. Kyle Borg writes “You don’t need a divine calling to confirm the decisions in your life. In a sermon Augustine once famously said, “Love, and do what you will.” Not to tinker unnecessarily with the words of Augustine, but if I can modify that slightly I would say: glorify God in whatever you do, and do what you want. Glorify God in your relationships, and marry who you will. Glorify God in your studies, and study what you will. Glorify God in your job, and work where you will. Glorify God, and do what you want.”
  • Jesus Calls the Disciples (Matthew 3-4). Jonathan Pennington and Alice Mathews of the Theology of Work Project write “Does a call from Jesus mean that we have to stop working at our current job and become a preacher, pastor, or missionary?”
  • Work as Ministry. John A. Bernbaum writes “Viewed biblically, every Christian has ministerial rank! After all, if we are going to be “Ambassadors of the King,” ministerial rank is required.”
  • How God Sees Your Work. Listen to this Table Podcast with Darrell L. Bock and Stephen Ramseur.
  • There’s Nothing Ordinary About You. Art Lindsley writes “Many of us have lost our sense of dignity and self-worth. As a result, we are blind to our own inherent creativity and God-given talents.”
  • One Calling, Multiple Expressions. What does it mean to have a calling? How can we each know what it is we’re meant to do? Annie F. Downs reminds us that God has a specific call on each of our lives and no matter what our vocation is, our role matters.
  • On Calling, Ambition and Surrender. Many of us struggle to discern our role in God’s bigger plan for the world; some of us even struggle to see God’s plan at all. We’re unsure of our purpose, or uncertain of how we can use that purpose to bring renewal to our communities. Pete Richardson helps executive, church, and cultural leaders hone in on their life purpose and perspective. He reveals some of the questions we need to ask ourselves, and the results we can expect when we respond to God’s very personal assignment for each of us.

CHRISTIANITY AT WORK:

Continue reading


Leave a comment

FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Every Job a Parable: What Walmart Greeters, Nurses & Astronauts Tell Us About God. Bill Peel reviews this new book by John Van Sloten. He writes “Chances are you’ll find someone he interviewed doing work like you do, and sees God at work in their work. Van Sloten calls the jobs he writes about “parables” because each one is a real-life, lived-out story depicting some aspect of God’s work and tell us something about God.”
  • Made to Flourish National Conference. Common Good is the annual national conference for the Made to Flourish organization. Common Good 2017 (cg2017) will be Friday, October 13, 2017. The central Kansas City location will be at the Sheraton Crown Center, and they we will also have several local sites throughout the country. National speakers include Amy Sherman, Andy Crouch and Tom Nelson.
  • wellbeing@work: Chris Schroeder of PCMC.Bob Chapman writes “Most leaders understand their influence on team members’ lives during work hours, but often enough, they don’t think about how their leadership affects team members outside of the workplace as well. The way you lead impacts the way people live.”
  • Why You Should Not Copy Spurgeon’s Schedule. David Murray writes “While there is much to commend in the schedule—his weekly Wednesday Sabbath with his family, for example—I want to offer a caution lest any pastor try to implement a modern version of this.”
  • 5 Goals of Vacation for the Leader. Ron Edmondson writes “What is the purpose of vacation? Another way I might ask this question: What are the goals you have for vacation?”
  • Stop Overspiritualizing ‘Calling’. Bethany Jenkins writes “Our primary calling is to know Jesus Christ. That’s his resounding voice in his Word. Yes, in addition to his Word, he has given us gifts and talents—as well as prayer and community—and called us to different stations. But there’s no perfect job and, even if we love our work, we often only experience that in retrospect after years of deep labor, working heartily as unto the Lord.”
  • Is It Just Tiredness You Are Dealing With, Or Is It Actually Exhaustion Leading to Burnout? Dave Kraft writes “In my work with leaders and the churches in which they serve, I am encountering (more so than ever before) those who are very tired.”
  • Is Your Job a Living Sacrifice? In looking at Romans 12:1-2, John Piper states “The goal of these two verses is that you find the way of life at work and your home that makes Christ look at valuable as He really is. That’s what worship is.”
  • #KingofDreams. Steve Graves writes “Do strategy and Scripture have anything to do with each other? I’m convinced they do. Sometimes it is clearly stated in a single passage and other times it is embedded deep in the narrative or overall context.”
  • The 10 Commandments of Leadership. Brian Dodd shares these helpful 10 Commandments of Leadership, some the concepts were taught to him by John Maxwell.
  • Great Leaders Develop Leadership Vocabulary. Ron Edmondson writes “Great leaders understand the power of their words. The things they say develop the culture of the organization, team member’s perceptions of their individual roles, and the overall health and direction of the organization. Great leaders, therefore, choose their words carefully.”
  • The Greatest Leader in America. Patrick Lencioni writes “The truth is, our greatest leaders usually don’t aspire to positions of great fame or public awareness. They choose instead to lead in places where they can make a tangible, meaningful difference in the lives of the people they are called to serve.”
  • The Difference Between Your Job and Your Work. In this short post, Dan Cumberland writes “Few jobs bring a perfect alignment between your real work and your job. The more you can do your work in and through your job, the more connected you’ll feel to what you do.”
  • Five Reasons a Team Lacks Joy. Eric Geiger writes “A joyless team harms the people on the team and those the team serves.”
  • Work as Calling. Watch this forty-minute messages from Os Guinness (author of The Call, the best book I’ve read on the subject of calling), at the 2013 Gospel at Work Conference.
  • Your Job Doesn’t Define You. Megan Sauers writes “Are we compelled by the fact that He loves us? That is the most important thing. Not what we do, but that He loves us!”

Continue reading


Leave a comment

FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

REAL-LIFE EXAMPLES:

  • How Art Can Inspire Us to Fear God. Bethany Jenkins interviews Erika Huddleston, an artist and designer in Texas, about how she integrates her faith and work.
  • I Wasn’t Born to be a Golfer. Sean Martin interviews professional golfer Webb Simpson. Simpson states “I don’t think about my gifting as that unique compared to other Christians. It just happens to be that my gift is golf, whereas another guy’s might be preaching, and another’s might be business. I think the Lord has spread us out for his purposes and for our enjoyment of him. My gifting just happens to be in golf.”
  • How Student Success Can Call Forth the Imago Dei. Bethany Jenkins interviews Jennifer Tharp, director of student success at The King’s College, about how she integrates her faith and work.
  • Life and Leadership Today with Donnie Smith. In this episode of Life and Leadership Today, Ronnie Floyd talks with Donnie Smith, about how he integrates his faith and work. Donnie recently retired as President and CEO of the largest beef and poultry producer in the world, Tyson Foods.
  • Unscripted. Gabe Lyons sat down with Ernie Johnson Jr. to talk about what it means to live out your faith in public places. It’s hard to connect vocation to religion at times, but Ernie’s encouragement is to implement beliefs in all areas of life.
  • On Mission to Save 70% of Your Shower Water. Bethany Jenkins interviews Philip Winter, co-founder and CEO of Nebia, currently reinventing the way people interact with water in their daily lives, about how he integrates his faith and work.

YOUR CALLING:

  • Motherhood is a Calling. “Motherhood is not a hobby; it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.”
  • One Calling, Multiple Expressions. Annie F. Downs reminds us that God has a specific call on each of our lives and no matter what our vocation is, our role matters.
  • Your Calling is Clear: Look to Genesis 1 for Direction. Hugh Whelchel writes “The significance of all of our work, in our jobs, our homes, our communities, and our churches, is directly related to its connection with God’s work.”
  • A Glimpse of Gory: How Knowing God Empowers Your Work. Andrew Spencer writes “If our perspective on our daily work is limited to earning a paycheck or solely navigating the success and failures of a single week, we can easily grow cynical and listless. Our perspective on work can be renewed and inspired if we have in view the glory of the God whom we serve.”
  • Root Your Identity in Christ, Not in Your Current Role. In this two-minute video is taken from David Platt’s message titled “Defining Calling”, he states “We must always be careful to root our identity in our call to salvation.”

Continue reading


Leave a comment

FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Doing What Only You Can Do. In this episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership podcast, he begins a two-part conversation about onlydoing what only you can do.
  • Far and Away, This is Always Listed as the Biggest Time Waster by Most Leaders. Dave Kraft writes “For the most part, meetings I have experienced over 49 years of Christian ministry are poorly prepared, poorly executed, with poor follow-up.”
  • The Freedom of Working to Please Jesus, Not People. Hugh Whelchel looks at what freedom at work looks like from Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert’s excellent book The Gospel at Work: How Working for King Jesus Gives Purpose and Meaning to Our Jobs.
  • 4 Reasons Your Work Matters Today.Michael Kelley writes “Does our work really matter? And if the answer is “yes,” then are there reasons for that answer that go beyond the scope of a particular vocation? In other words, does our work matter regardless of what our position is?”
  • Character. In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell states that reputation iswho people think we are, and character is who we really are.  For years, I’ve defined character as doing the right thing when nobody was watching. How would you define character?
  • Is the Protestant Work Ethic Still Alive? Hugh Whelchel writes “As we become serious about being “salt and light” in our communities, we can have the same effect as yeast in a loaf of bread, providing a significant moral framework that positively influences those around us.”
  • How the Protestant Reformation Renewed the Church, Our Work and Society. Hugh Whelchel writes “We are called to reshape andreform our world to be the place God originally intended it to be—restoring order, loving and serving each other with integrity and honesty, meeting each other’s needs, and creating something of value from the raw materials he has supplied—all through the work of our hands.

 

GOOD AND NOT SO GOOD LEADERSHIP:

  • Isolated Leaders are Dangerous Leaders. Eric Geiger writes “The sting of criticism, the burden of the responsibilities, and the pace of leadership can nudge a leader towards isolation, but every step towards isolation is a step towards danger.”
  • 5 Warning Signs That Laziness Is Creeping into Your Leadership. Eric Geiger writes “Like all sin, laziness can slowly creep into our lives and leadership. If we fail to address the temptation to move toward laziness, we become unfaithful in our leadership.”
  • Giving Credit Where Credit is Due. Bob Chapman writes “Leaders, next time you’re ready to celebrate with your own particular touchdown dance in the end zone, think about how you got there. I would bet that it wasn’t a solo effort. Think about what a simple act can mean to those who participated in this triumph. They want to know they matter, and sometimes, just a simple high five is a way to help them know that their work is appreciated.”
  • Leading with Control Versus Leading with Influence. Ron Edmondson writes “Leaders, if you want to to have a healthy team environment, you must learn to control less and influence more. The differences are measured in the results of creating a healthy team.”
  • Why Busy Leaders Make Bad Leaders. Carey Nieuwhof writes “I’ve noticed that people who usually tell you they’re busy are often bad leaders. Or flip that. Talk to highly effective leaders and you’ll notice they rarely tell you they’re busy.”

REST:

  • Better Than Busy. Colin Noble writes “What would happen to our 24/7 switched-on world if the people who came to Jesus for rest regularly took a day of rest from distraction, work, and busyness? What would this weekly habit have to offer to the world in which we find ourselves — a world that restlessly continues to search for peace amid busyness?”
  • Trusting and Resting in God’s Work as We Do Our Work.Scotty Smith prays “Heavenly Father, we LOVE the freedom grace gives us to work without any concern for merit or deserving, personal failure or not measuring up.”
  • The Power of Deep Rest. Tim Keller writes “There is a symbiotic relationship between work and rest. Of course, we know this at one level. We get away from work in order to replenish our bodies and minds. Resting, or practicing Sabbath, is also a way to help us get perspective on our work and put it in its proper place.”

Continue reading


Leave a comment

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?