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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

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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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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BOOK REVIEWS AND NEWS

Book Reviews

Silence by Shusaku Endo. Picador Modern Classics. 256 pages. Rep Mti edition 2017
***

The new film Silence, from director Martin Scorsese is based on this 1966 novel of historical fiction written by Japanese author Shusaku Endo. Scorsese, who writes the Foreword, had wanted to make a film of this book for many years. In the Foreword he writes about the problem of Judas, a theme that will come up throughout this book.
The novel is primarily written in the form of a journal and also in the third person by its central character, Father Sabastian Rodrigues, a Portuguese missionary. Father Rodrigues and his companion Father Francisco Garrpe arrive in Japan in 1639; the Christian church is underground to avoid persecution. Rodrigues has travelled to Japan to investigate reports that his former teacher and mentor, Christovao Ferreira, has committed apostasy.  The priest had not been heard from since 1633 when he was last seen in Nagasaki.
Their contact in Japan is a drunken man named Kichijiro. He denies when asked if he is a Christian. He is the Judas character in this book. He will show up again and again in the story.  Just when you think you can trust him, he will disappoint you, and then he shows up again. Can he be trusted? Or, will he betray the priests and turn them into the Japanese authorities? The Judas theme is key to this book. Father Rodrigues will often refer to Jesus’ words to Judas, “What thou must, do quickly” (John 13:27).
Father Rodrigues will also compare his situation with that of Jesus. The magistrate, Inoue, who is responsible for the interrogation and torture of all captured Christians, is the Pilate character in the book.
The book includes themes of faith, doubt, silence (of God, the sea, land, night and people), solitude, pain, betrayal, strength, weakness and martyrdom. Does God even exist? He has been silent in the midst of the persecution of the Japanese Christians.
The subject of apostasy is another key to this story. The Japanese not only want the peasant Japanese Christians to deny their faith by trampling on an image of Jesus (referred to as a fumi-e), no, they want priests themselves to commit apostasy. If they don’t, the peasant Christians will be tortured to death.
The book is well-written and very descriptive. You can feel the heat, rain, and the insects that Father Rodrigues encounters in “the swamp”, as Japan is referred to in the book. Tension builds as Father Rodrigues encounters his former teacher Father Ferreira.
SPOILER ALERT!  *** Ferreira has indeed apostatized, taken on a Japanese name, taken on another’s wife and children, and is writing a book to refute the teachings of Christ. He tells Rodrigues that he was to get him to apostatize. He goes on to tell Rodrigues why he had apostatized. ***
We go on to read about what happens to Rodrigues. Will he apostatize? Will he ever hear the voice of God, or will he remain silent?
As I read this book I wondered if I would be able to keep from denying Christ if my wife was being tortured. I pray that I would.

Gospel Hope for Anxious Hearts: Trading Fear and Worry for the Peace of God by Charles Spurgeon. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 170 pages. 2016. 
****

This is the second book I’ve read from the new Rich Theology Made Accessible series, the first one being on prayer by John Calvin.  The book includes ten wonderful sermons by the great Reformed Baptist Charles Spurgeon, preached from the Metropolitan Tabernacle pulpit in London where he served for 38 years. Among the topics covered in these sermons that will encourage believers are care, anxiety, peace, fear and rest. My only suggestion for improvement would be an Introduction to the book, giving the reader some context to these wonderful sermons – when they were preached, why these particular sermons were chosen, etc. I highly recommend this wonderful collection of sermons by Spurgeon, which are great for devotional reading. Continue reading


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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

book reviews
alexander-hamiltonAlexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. The Penguin Press. 818 pages. 2004
****

This detailed and well-written biography of an important figure in the founding of our country inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda’s highly successful (11 Tony Awards, Grammy Award and Pulitzer Prize for Drama) musical Hamilton.  I read the book to find out more about Alexander Hamilton and to better understand the musical, which I will be seeing soon.
Hamilton was born in the West Indies, the exact date not known, with the author using the year 1755. Hamilton was around slavery growing up, and the theme of slavery comes up throughout the book. As his parents were not married, he would forever be referred to as a bastard by his enemies, such as second President John Adams. Hamilton’s experienced difficulties early on with his father abandoning the family, his Mom dying of a sudden illness and the first cousin he and his half-brother would go to live with committing suicide.
Hamilton was self-taught, and his Christian faith was strong early in his life, waning in the middle years, and becoming strong again late in his life. He wrote poems, the first of which was published in a newspaper in 1771. This would lead to being given the opportunity to go to America for an education, eventually landing at Kings College (now Columbia University).
Hamilton excelled in his speeches and writing. One of the things that impressed me about Hamilton was his voluminous writing.  He would also excel in military service, becoming a Captain the Battle of New York. George Washington would ask him to join his staff as his secretary, with a rank of Lt. Colonel, serving more as what we would know as a Chief of Staff.  The author states that it is difficult to conceive of their careers apart from each other. They would have a mutual respect which grew even stronger late in Washington’s life.    The author takes us through the events leading to the development of our nation, beginning with the Boston Tea Party.
Hamilton would leave Washington’s staff, frustrated that since he was so valuable to Washington, the president had blocked several possible other opportunities for him.  He would become an attorney, as did Aaron Burr, whose grandfather was the great theologian Jonathan Edwards. Several times the author will show how Hamilton’s and Burr’s lives intersect.
Hamilton would be instrumental in founding the Bank of New York, the oldest stock still being traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and later a new Federalist newspaper, the New York Evening Post, the oldest continuously active paper.
Hamilton would marry Elizabeth (Eliza) Schuyler, a Dutch Reformed Christian, and they would have eight children. By this time, Hamilton had drifted from the faith of his youth, and he would never have a church affiliation.
Women were attracted to Hamilton, and this would later lead to one of his major failures, a long-time affair with Mariah Reynolds, a married woman. This would lead to blackmail payments to her husband. Hamilton was suspected of financial collusion with Mariah Reynolds’ husband. James Monroe would later be involved in making the documents of Hamilton’s affair public, something Hamilton would never forgive him for, and would later lead to both threatening a duel.
The author shows Hamilton “warts and all”. He was against slavery, but may have owned a few household slaves. He made an ill-advised 6 ½ hour speech at the Constitutional Convention, wrote a long pamphlet about his affair and another long one against Adam’s presidency. He also had a long time association with William Dewars, a man of questionable character.
I enjoyed reading about how our government was put together (Congress, Supreme Court, Electoral College, Bill of Rights, Coast Guard, our financial system, etc.), so long ago and yet relatively unchanged in 2017. The controversial Alien and Sedition Act brings the current day issue of immigration into the story. Hamilton wrote the majority of the Federalist Papers, with help from Madison and a little from John Jay.
Hamilton would become Treasury Secretary and have conflict with Madison over the debt issue. He would also have ideological differences with Thomas Jefferson, who was Secretary of State under President George Washington.
The French Revolution plays prominently in this story. We read of the Jay Treaty protest in New York City, where Hamilton’s temper got the best of him and he threated to resort to violence.
Washington chose not to serve a third term as president, leading to the first contested presidential election. Adams was elected, but felt that Hamilton was disloyal to him. Adams would take many low blows at Hamilton, and would become another of his political enemies.
Hamilton would speak out against Vice President Burr’s quest to become the Governor of New York in 1804, leading to murderous rage in Burr, which eventually led to their duel and Hamilton’s death. Ironically, the author states that without their political rivalry, the two lawyers could have been good friends.
This fascinating book contains a number of recurring themes such as slavery, Aaron Burr’s role in Hamilton’s life, Hamilton’s political relationships – positive (Washington) and negative (Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Clinton and Burr), his affair with Mariah Reynolds, his poor judgment regarding William Dewars and the faith of Hamilton and wife Eliza.
Reading this book really helped me to be able to follow and understand the excellent Original Broadway Cast recording of the musical Hamilton. Recently, the Hamilton Mixtape was released, executive produced by Hamilton creator/composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, and featuring performances of some of the songs from the musical by popular artists such as Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Usher, John Legend, and the Roots. Both releases contain adult language, though a “clean” version of the Hamilton Mixtape is available. Continue reading


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

CALLING, PURPOSE, VOCATION AND DESTINY:vocation

  • God Sees Value in Your Work and Callings e-book. I would appreciate your prayers as I work on a short e-book about my journey in seeing that God values our work and callings, not just those that are in “full-time Christian work”. I’m looking to see if with my unique perspective (nearly 37 years in leadership at a Fortune 50 company, nearly 21 years as an elder in my church and a recent seminary graduate), I might have something fresh to add to the faith and work conversation. We’ll see. Over the past few years I’ve written a lot about this. Now I am pulling all of that together in one place and then hopefully get the opportunity to speak to more groups about what I’ve learned on this journey. Thanks!
  • Three Ways Calling Impacts Our Lives. Art Lindsley writes “We live before an audience of One and are called by him to give our lives for others.”
  • Discover Your Destiny. Bill Peel writes “Do you ever have questions about your purpose? What you have to offer the world? Why you even exist in the first place?”
  • More Misunderstanding of Vocation Gene Veith writes “Anyone, of any tradition, who writes about vocation needs to start with the great theologian of vocation:  Martin Luther.  According to him, vocation is God’s calling to love and serve our neighbors in the tasks and relationships that He gives us.  Also, our “jobs” are only one facet of our vocations and probably not the most important:  we also have callings in the family, the church, and the society.  And our vocations are not just where we find our fulfillment but also where we bear our crosses.”
  • Know Your Why. Ken Costa writes “True identity cannot be self-motivated; it is given by God. Our tasks are to live out our true callings as uniquely shaped by God.”
  • In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell states that purpose keeps us focused.  It is the engine that drives your leadership. Each day you want to make sure that your life is filled with purpose.
  • Reviving the Biblical Doctrine of Work in America. Hugh Whelchel writes “The biblical doctrine of work has to play a larger part in our worldview if we are to be effective. This is a vision that sees our work as important to God and as a gift from God, bestowed on us to influence the world for his glory and the furtherance of his kingdom.”
  • What Does the Bible Say about Finding Personal Job Satisfaction? Russell Gehrlein writes “Do you have a sense that God has designed and prepared you to do what you get paid to do? Are you filled with contentment and the peace that passes all understanding, resting in God’s grace that has led you safely thus far and will ultimately lead you home?”
  • Where God is Calling You. Ken Costa writes “The fact that we are passionate about something is often a sign that this is where God is calling us to be.”

REAL LIFE EXAMPLES:

  • aaron-rodgers-green-bay-packersHow Aaron Rodgers Saved the Packers’ Season. Speaking about Patrick Lencioni’s book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (my favorite leadership book, and one that can be used for business, church, non-profit, etc.), Green Bay Packers’ quarterback states “”One part of the book that especially talked to me about this team was communication and conflict and being comfortable having issues with teammates and resolving them and moving forward in a positive way and not having that fear of conflict, which I think alienates and isolates individuals. Being comfortable talking to people and letting them talk to you about issues they have and being constructive and positive in your reaction to that.”

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