Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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Living on Mission for God

This summer I spoke on the topic of “Living on Mission for God” at the “By the Way” Conference at the Lexington Community Church in central Illinois. It was a great time at the church, as my wife Tammy and I got to meet many wonderful people and visit with their pastors. I wanted to share a brief summary of the message I delivered at the conference.
The theme of the conference was being mission minded in our everyday lives. I looked at how we – whether we work in a large organization, a small non-profit, are a stay at home mom, a student, farmer or are retired – can live out the mission God intended for our lives. How can we live on mission for God?
Drawing on the scriptures and a number of excellent books I have read, I started with some foundational information, looking at God’s mission in creating the human race and redeeming us for His glory, the mission of the church (the “Great Commission”), and how we can be a part of God’s mission as individual believers.  I summarized this section by indicating: Continue reading

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Without Luther, There Would be no Bach: How the Reformation Influenced Faith and Work Today. Bethany Jenkins writes “The life and work of Bach can teach us what the Reformation so beautifully captured—that our jobs can both love neighbor and glorify God. Through them we can embody the great commandments (Matt. 22:36–40). May we, therefore, offer our work to God by faith.”
  • Why Your Job Matters, No Matter What It Is. Jason Dollar writes “Once you view your vocation as God’s calling on your life for loving labor in His garden, then you’ll begin to appreciate your job so much more. Rather than drudgery and a longing to always be doing something different, you will use your vocation as a form of You will understand the great blessing you are to the lives of others, and how others bless you through their work. And you will feel great honor and dignity as an image-bearer of God regardless of your vocation.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More interesting article links on leadership, calling, and how your work matters
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of ‘The Accidental Executive: Lessons on Business, Faith, and Calling from the Life of Joseph’ by Albert M. Erisman
  • Snippets from the book ‘The Economics of Neighborly Love: Investing in Your Community’s Compassion and Capacity’ by Tom Nelson

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Is It OK to Stay in a Job Just for a Paycheck? In this roundtable discussion, Gospel Coalition Council members Ryan Kelly, Julius Kim, and Darryl Williamson discuss the relationship between work and material provision. They talk about ways that mundane work can become infused with purpose and about what sorts of truth we need to preach to ourselves when working in a job we don’t enjoy.
  • Paycheck or Purpose: Does Your Work Motivation Matter? Andrew Spencer writes “When we shift our focus from glorifying God to merely getting a paycheck, our work quickly begins to feel meaningless. The solution is, therefore, not to quit working for pay, but to refocus our vocational goal on the glory of God.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More interesting article links
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of ‘The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do’ by Jeff Goins
  • Snippets from the book ‘The Economics of Neighborly Love’ by Tom Nelson

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10 Ways Churches Can Regularly Connect with Church Members at Work During the Week

How can we close the gap between Sunday worship and Monday through Friday work? In Monday Morning Atheist Doug Spada writes that many Christians become “Monday Morning Atheists”, working as if there is no God at all. He writes that on Sunday, believers see the world through a spiritual lens, but when they get ready to work on Monday, their behavior all too often can’t be distinguished from anyone else’s. How can church leaders help with this situation? How can we help people see the value of what they do between Sundays?
Hugh Whelchel writes in How Then Should We Work that “Even for many Christians, work is often only a means to an end. Many Christians today have bought into the pagan notion that leisure is good and work is bad. They have also been misled by the sacred/secular distinction, which teaches that working in the church is the only “real” full-time Christian service.”  Amy Sherman writes in Kingdom Calling that “We must do a better job of inspiring our members about the role they can play in the mission of God and equipping them to live missionally through their vocation.”
Tim Chester writes in Gospel-Centered Work that work is commended in the Bible as a good thing. It is both a privilege and a blessing. But many still count down the days until they can retire. In Every Good Endeavor, Tim Keller writes that our daily work – whatever it may be – is ultimately an act of worship to the God who called and equipped us to do it. Keller writes that in the beginning God worked. Work was not a necessary evil that came into the picture later.  God worked for the sheer joy of it.
Here are several suggestions on what church leaders can do to help church members connect Sunday worship to Monday work:
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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

  • James Brown: Dedication to Christ in Every Sphere of Influence. On this episode of the BreakPoint Podcast, Warren Cole Smith interviews sportscaster and journalist James Brown.  Brown talks about taking his faith into every sphere of his life, from personal fitness, to athletics, to education, to journalism, to entrepreneurship.
  • Job Clubs: One Way Churches Can Implement “Economic Wisdom”. Amy L. Sherman writes “How can churches take steps to better integrate economic wisdom throughout their churches and neighborhoods? One method is through job clubs. A job club, or a gathering of job-seekers for mutual support and encouragement, often involves networking and some training — with the focus on effective job-searching skills.”
  • Three Guys, Three Chainsaws. Steve Graves writes “So do you want to hire great workers? Hire workers that work hard, smart, and productive. Want to unleash great workers? Give them purpose and meaning.”
  • Accelerating Culture, Part 2. On the September Andy Stanley Leadership podcast, Stanley concludes his conversation with Dave Katz, CFO of Coca-Cola Consolidated, about what it means to accelerate culture within your organization.
  • Matrix Design. Listen to this broadcast from iWork4Him with Patrick Bertsche and Ivette Franco of Matrix Design, located outside of the Chicago area. Matrix works closely with end users to develop, build and install robotic automation systems. Hear their faith backgrounds, and what they are up to now, and how they are furthering the Kingdom via business.
  • Kathy Peel writes “Despite efforts to create the illusion of a perfect home on Instagram or Facebook, there’s no such thing as a perfect home. But there is such a thing as a good home–a place where family members walk through the door and say, “Wow, it’s good to be home!” A place where family members help each other flourish personally and do the will of God.” Listen to Kathy’s interview on  iwork4Him.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More interesting article links
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Believe It: My Journey of Success, Failure, and Overcoming the Odds by Nick Foles with Joshua Cooley
  • My Review of Birds of Pray: The Story of the Philadelphia Eagles’ Faith, Brotherhood, and Super Bowl Victory by Rob Maaddi
  • Snippets from the book ‘The Economics of Neighborly Love’

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Faith-Work Integration: Trendy or Essential? Mark Roberts writes “Doing our ordinary work in the Lord’s name is an essential, though often overlooked, element of our calling. So, whatever you do—whether managing staff, selling products, leading organizations, changing diapers, teaching children, building start-ups, preaching sermons, making films, writing books, molding clay, or cleaning houses—do everything, yes, everything, in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
  • Work: Curse, Blessing, or…? Ross West writes “Work, then, is our divine assignment to develop our world on God’s behalf. Furthermore, work is the means by which we carry out that assignment.”
  • When Work Stinks. Greg Forster writes “We walk — we work — by faith, not by sight. We trust that God is at work in our work, even if we don’t necessarily see or understand what he’s doing. We trust that God is at work in the world around us, even in the midst of darkness and evil. The triumph of God’s holy love is our hope; it is our hope for eternity, and our hope for today.”
  • The Dignity of Every Kind of Work. Scott Sauls writes “Every kind of work that creates something new or enhances something broken or lacking is glorious because of how it intersects with God’s ongoing, creative mission in the world.”
  • In All things: 6 principles to Help Guide Your Work. Bill Wells writes “Whether paid or unpaid, for profit, or nonprofit, God doesn’t care as much about what we do as he does about how we do it.”
  • Eight Leaders Talk about Faith and Work. Bill Peel writes “The Center for Faith & Work at LeTourneau University and Jim and Martha Brangenburg of iWork4Him joined up to record eight interviews with some friends who are serious about following Christ in their work and all of life.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More interesting article links
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of The Gospel at Work: How the Gospel Gives New Purpose and Meaning to Our Jobs (Updated and Expanded Edition) by Sebastian Traeger and Greg D. Gilbert
  • Snippets from the book ‘The Economics of Neighborly Love’

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Coram Deo and the Integration of Our Faith and Work

This blog has been named Coram Deo since it originally started as a monthly church newsletter way back in September, 1998. The phrase means so much to me that my license plate is CORMDEO!
I first became aware of the Latin term “Coram Deo”, sometimes associated with Martin Luther, years ago at the end of the daily teaching studies of Ligonier Ministries’ monthly magazine Tabletalk. R.C. Sproul, the founder of Ligonier Ministries, has written that the big idea of the Christian life and its essence is coram Deo.  He writes that the phrase literally refers to something that takes place in the presence of, or before the face of, God. To live coram Deo is to live one’s entire life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, to the glory of God. He tells us that to live in the presence of God is to understand that whatever we are doing and wherever we are doing it, we are acting under the gaze of God. God is omnipresent. There is no place so remote that we can escape His penetrating gaze.
Dr. Sproul tells us that the Christian who compartmentalizes their life into two sections of the religious and the nonreligious has failed to grasp the big idea. The big idea is that all of life is religious or none of life is religious. He tells us that to divide life between the religious and the nonreligious is itself a sacrilege.
Sproul then addresses coram Deo and our callings and vocations, and this is what I want to bring your attention to. He states that if a person fulfills their vocation as a steelmaker, attorney, or homemaker coram Deo, then that person is acting every bit as religiously as a soul-winning evangelist who fulfills his vocation.
That makes sense, doesn’t it? As we carry out our vocations we do so coram Deo, in the presence of, and before the face of God. Knowing this has provided me a direct line of sight between my faith and my work.
What about you? Do you divide your life between the religious (church, spiritual disciplines, etc.) and the nonreligious (work, household chores, raising your children, etc.)?  Or, do you carry out your vocations and callings coram deo, in the presence of, and before the face of a holy God?