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

  • 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!”

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Will There Be Work in Heaven?

How about you? Do you now or have you at one time thought that the only work that had value in God’s eyes was “full-time Christian work”, such as serving in the ministry as a pastor or missionary? Do you feel that there is “sacred” or “religious” work, and everything else is “secular work”, and that secular work is a necessary evil, just to pay the bills and support your family, and contribute to God’s mission, but having no real value in God’s eyes?  That is what many Christians think.

If we were to admit it, many of those we work with, and perhaps some of us, view work as a necessary evil. Most don’t look at their work as a vocation, a calling, or even a career. No, it’s just a job. They embrace Loverboy’s “Working for the Weekend” philosophy, celebrate reaching “Hump Day”, ask “Is it Friday yet?”, get the “Sunday Night Blues” as they think about going to work on Monday morning, and count down the days until they can retire.

I wonder if many have a low value of work because they think it is temporal. Many believe that work is something that we will only do on earth.  But is that true? Some reading I’ve been doing recently would seem to contradict that thinking.

Randy Alcorn, author of Heaven, writes of our work continuing in Heaven. He states “Work in Heaven won’t be frustrating or fruitless; instead it will involve lasting accomplishment, unhindered by decay and fatigue, enhanced by unlimited resources. We’ll approach our work with the enthusiasm we bring to our favorite sport or hobby. Because there will be continuity from the old Earth to the new, it’s possible we’ll continue some of the work we started on the old Earth.”

Paul Stevens in his book Work Matters: Lessons from Scripture writes that our final destiny is not a workless utopia, but a renewed world in which we will work with infinite creativity and fulfillment.

In his chapter “What Does the Culture Say?” in the new book The Gospel & Work, Daniel Darling writes that many, if not most, Christians see their workplaces as simple vehicles by which they can provide for their families, tithe their incomes to the church, and perhaps engage in occasional evangelistic conversations. The actual work seems unimportant in light of eternity. But he tells us, our job on Monday is not a means to an end—it is part of your divine calling to fulfill the mandate given to us as God’s image bearers. The cubicle, the garage, the classroom—these are sanctuaries where you are called to worship your Creator with your best work. Our work on earth, when done for the glory of Christ, passes the test of fire (1 Cor. 3:12–13) and is mere preparation for our perfected vocations in eternity.

Here are a few Bible passages to ponder on the subject:

  • We will serve Him day and night in His temple – Revelation 7:15
  • His servants reign forever and ever – Revelation 22:5
  • We will rule over many things – Matthew 25:23

How about you? Do you believe that work is only temporal and that we won’t have work in Heaven?  Why or why not?


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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.”

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Dream Realized: Teaching a Seminar at the PCA General Assembly 

Back in January, Tammy, my wife and biggest encourager, saw that proposals to teach a seminar were due at the end of the month.  It would be at the 2017 General Assembly, an annual gathering of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), my church’s denomination. She sent me an email and said I should submit a proposal. My first (and second, third and fourth) thoughts were to just delete the email and then be done with it. But I didn’t. Later, I looked at who had presented seminars at General Assembly the year before; a lot of the presenters were people I knew of, had read their books, etc. All the more reason for me not to submit a proposal. Eventually however, I submitted a proposal for a presentation entitled “Helping Our People to Connect Their Faith to Their Work and Callings”, hoping to bring my unique perspective of being a leader in a Fortune 50 organization, a ruling elder in my church and a seminary graduate to the growing faith and work conversation. Still, I knew that there wasn’t “a snowball’s chance…” that my proposal would be approved. But in God’s providence it was!
So last Sunday, Tammy and I (who usually fly anywhere over six hours away), started out on our adventure to Greensboro, North Carolina, which would cover us travelling through parts of seven states and more than 1,700 miles. We weren’t familiar with that part of the country, so we thought it would be fun to drive the eleven-plus hours each way. Friends and family members said it would be a beautiful drive, and it was. I especially enjoyed driving through the winding hills of West Virginia. We had a blast, breaking up the trip with a stop in Huntington, West Virginia on the way down and Cincinnati, Ohio on the way back. Once in Greensboro, we took a side trip to Boone, North Carolina where our nephew went to school and Blowing Rock, North Carolina, home of Jan Karon, author of the Mitford books. We got to travel the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, and watch a thunderstorm coming into the area.

Walking into the convention center to check out the room I would be speaking in, I ran into Tim Keller, one of my heroes, introduced myself and shook his hand. We then ran into our senior pastor of more than 22 years Bob Smart. Later that night, we joined our former Youth and Family Pastor, and all

around great guy, David Keithley, who is now the lead pastor  at Hanna City Presbyterian Church, and several other friends from our presbytery at Hops Burger, the top rated burger place in the country for a great meal and fellowship.
Pastor David did his best to recruit people to my seminar the next morning, even offering free Duck Donuts!

I had prayed for 15 to attend, and I was thrilled to have double that amount in attendance. Many of you told me that you were going to pray for me, and I so very much appreciate that. I felt God’s presence and peace throughout the one hour seminar. The seminar was recorded and is available for purchase here, but there was a problem with the microphone battery, so unfortunately, the first part of the seminar was not recorded.
It was an honor to speak at the PCA General Assembly, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity. Thanks so much for your prayers and good wishes.


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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.”

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles:

REST:

  • Work Is Not Your Life: Why Sabbath Rest Is Essential. Hugh Whelchel writes “God rested not because he was tired, but because he had completed his work. God wanted to teach us that work is not an end in itself, which is why he instituted the Sabbath.”
  • How to Embrace Rest When Work Never Ends. Courtney Reisigg writes “Since work is a fluid part of my life (as a stay at home mom), with no real beginning and end, a question keeps arising in my own mind, and maybe in yours as well: What’s the difference between rest and play?” 
  • How to Harness Sleep to Boost Your Productivity. Michael Hyatt writes “When we face time crunches, sleep is often the first thing to get cut. It may seem efficient and even smart at the time, but it’s not.”
  • A Christian’s Secret Weapon to Prevent Burnout: Shalom. Hugh Whelchel writes “We must learn to live lives that are integrated around a single, common purpose. Here, we as believers have a secret weapon in the war against burnout. Our singular purpose is to glorify God, fulfilling this mission by living lives based on his design and desire.”

WORKING AT HOME:

REAL-LIFE EXAMPLE:

  • Every Role in the Assembly Line Matters. Bethany Jenkins interviews Matt Carter, pastor of preaching and vision at the Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas about how he integrates his faith and work.

YOUR PURPOSE:

  • The Why. In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell states your why is your purpose.When you find your WHY you find your Way. Lose your WHY you lose your way.
  • What’s the Purpose of Business? HINT: It’s Not Maximizing Shareholder Value. Hugh Whelchel writes “Work was given to us by God as a tool to bring about flourishing for his creation. We all need to act purposefully to see that it is used for this end.”
  • Only One Platform Will Last. Karen Swallow Prior writes “Our real platform is the life we are living and the work and ministry we are already doing. Platform is our proven track record and the authority we’ve gained in whatever area God has called us to—whether we work out of the home and take care of children, or teach and research as a professor.”
  • Why Don’t All Jobs Matter?Paul Krugman writes “I don’t want to sound unsympathetic to miners and industrial workers. Yes, their jobs matter. But all jobs matter. And while we can’t ensure that any particular job endures, we can and should ensure that a decent life endures even when a job doesn’t.”

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

Speaking Updates. Thanks for the words of encouragement about a few faith and work presentations I have coming up. The first will be at the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) General Assembly in Greensboro, North Carolina. I’ll be speaking at 8:00 am on Wednesday, June 14. The title for that presentation is “Helping Our People Connect Their Faith to Their Work and Callings”.  The second will be at 6:15 pm on Thursday, July 6  at the By the Way Conference at the Lexington Community Church. The working title for that presentation is “Disciples at Work”.

WOMEN AND WORK:

  • Working Women are Leaving the Church. Here’s How to Bring Them Back. Diane Paddison writes “It is possible to stem the tide of working women leaving the church. See that working woman, acknowledge her, and provide opportunities for her to connect, learn, and serve. With the church’s help, she can transform her family, her workplace, her church, and her community with the gospel.”
  • Is Homemaking Part of God’s Economy?Anna Arnold writes “So, take heart (John 16:33)! Be encouraged. Just because what you do as a stay-at-home mom doesn’t make the news or get quantified in some tangible way, you have great value to our economy, our society, and, most importantly, to the God who made you.”
  • At-Home Work—Not Just for Women. Courtney Reissig writes “But the work of the home is for everyone. The home isn’t just filled with women or mothers. It’s often filled with children and a husband. Sometimes it’s filled with other family members and houseguests, too.”

REAL LIFE EXAMPLES:

  • The Golfer Who Won the 2012 U.S. Open. Sean Martin interviews Webb Simpson, who has won four times on the PGA Tour, including the 2012 U.S. Open, and has ranked as high as No. 5 in the world, about how he integrates his faith and work.
  • Why John Wooden’s Teams Won. John Maxwell writes “Most of you who are reading this are interested in winning and learning how you can get ahead at your own businesses. So let me share with you two things that helped set Coach Wooden apart from other coaches.”
  • The Navy Captain Who Said No to the Dream. Jason Cook interviews Voresa Booker, a retired Navy captain who served our country for more than 30 years, about how she integrates her faith and work.
  • Conversations with Consequences. I was encouraged to hear about Steven Garber, who gave the address at my graduation ceremony in 2014, working with Covenant Theological Seminary on a DMin degree in “faith, vocation and culture”.
  • When Tragedy Touches Every Part of Your Job. Abby Perry interviews Val Anderson, the executive director of His Grace Foundation (HGF), a nonprofit organization that provides physical, emotional, and financial support to patients and families on the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit (BMTU) of Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH), about how she integrates her faith and work.

YOUR WORK MATTERS TO GOD:

  • The Value of Work. In this episode of the Unlimited Grace podcast, Bryan Chapell answers questions about how God values our work.
  • Check Your Bias at the Door—Manufacturing Jobs Have Dignity, Too. Anne Bradley writes “We were designed to reflect the creativity of the One who designed and brought us into being. We need to be proactive about affirming the dignity of others in their work, just as we need to possess a balanced, honest understanding of our own value in society and to our God.”
  • Christ-Like Submission at Work. Watch this three and a half minute video clip from J.D. Greear about three things that Christ-like submission at work means.
  • Wanted: A Meaningful Job. Hugh Whelchel writes “Can you see your work through God’s eyes? Do you see how meaningful your job is to God? Embracing his perspective should put the work of every Christian, no matter what it is, at the top of the “most meaningful job” list.”
  • 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?”
  • 3 Transforming Truths About Your Work. Tom Nelson writes “God cares a great deal about your work. How about you? Are you increasingly seeing your work as God sees it? What does faithful stewardship in your vocation look like? Are you being slothful or diligent? Has work become an idol in your life? Or are you seeing your work and workplace as a primary place for your spiritual formation and gospel mission? What steps do you need to take to embrace a more seamless gospel faith that narrows the Sunday-to-Monday gap? Your work really does matter.”

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