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

  • How Cancer Gave Me a New Perspective on Work. Chip Roper writes “Medical work, which we have now been the regular recipients of for eight months, can teach us something about work in general.”
  • How to Pray When You Hate Your Job. Tom Nelson writes “We may deeply struggle with our work, our workplaces, and the fellow image bearers we encounter in our vocational responsibilities. Yet it is in and through our jobs that we are called to provide for our material needs, to worship God, to be spiritually formed, to incarnate and proclaim the gospel and indwell common grace for the common good.”
  • Experiencing God’s Presence in my Military Service (Part 2). Our friend Russell Gehrlein writes “This is the second article of a two-part series on this topic. In part 1, I reflected on five aspects of how I experienced God’s presence as I served in and with the U.S. Army over the past 34 years.  Here, I would like to continue to expand my thoughts by covering my next five observations.”
  • The Intrinsic Value of Business to God. Bill Peel writes “The Bible provides rich resources Christian business leaders can use to guide their vision for enterprises that glorify God.”
  • Teaching Kids to Live as Christians Through Work. Andrew Spencer writes about his desire that his children learn to value work.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Reviews of The Leader’s Greatest Return: Attracting, Developing, and Multiplying Leaders by John Maxwell and An Uncommon Guide to Retirement: Finding God’s Purpose for the Next Season of Life by Jeff Haanen
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

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New and Upcoming Books that You Might Be Interested In

I love to read, and there are several new and upcoming books by some of my favorite authors that I’m excited about, and that you might be interested in as well. Here are a few brief comments about each of them.

The Enneagram Collection by Beth McCord

Beth McCord follows up her best-selling book Becoming Us: Using the Enneagram to Create a Thriving Gospel-Centered Marriage (written with husband Jeff), with The Enneagram Collection, individual books for each of the Enneagram types.
From the Amazon description:
“Each book teaches about the strengths, challenges, and opportunities for that personality type in order to lead to a more meaningful life, lasting relationships, and a deeper understanding of God and yourself.”

To Seek and to Save: Daily Reflections on the Road to the Cross by Sinclair Ferguson

Respected theologian Sinclair Ferguson follows up his Christmas devotional Love Came Down at Christmas: Daily Readings for Advent, with a devotional for Lent.    From the Amazon description:
“Each day you’ll be invited to:
• Read a passage of Luke’s Gospel and a short meditation by Sinclair Ferguson
• Reflect on a thought-provoking question
• Respond in prayer and praise as you journal”

Click on ‘Continue Reading’ to read about these upcoming books:


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • God Will Provide the Ability You Need. Jon Bloom writes “We are never truly alone in the work God gives us to do. God willprovide all the ability we need.”
  • God Still Loves Hard Work: Labor for Christ in a Cursed World. David Mathis writes “Work is good. And work is cursed. Such is our lot in this age, until the creation is set free from its bondage to corruption and enters with us, the redeemed, into the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Romans 8:21). Even then we will not sit around doing nothing, but we will be freed to work and move and expend ourselves in joy, finally unencumbered by the curse. In the meantime, we learn to work, despite the curse, at our work.
  • “Dirty Job” or Not, There’s Dignity in Productivity. Logan Smith writes “All work, manual or mental, is worthy of dignity and respect. Without work, gardens go wild, skyscrapers cease to rise, books fail to be written, robots stop being coded, and diapers fail to be changed. Without work, change does not occur. Without work, God’s purposes do not progress, and we do not fully reflect God’s nature.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Leadershift: The 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace by John C. Maxwell
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life

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10 Quotes about Servant Leadership from John Maxwell

I recently read John Maxwell’s classic book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of  Leadership with a mentee, something I’ve done a number of times over the past ten years. We came across Chapter 5: The Law of Addition, which states that leaders add value to others. This is perhaps my favorite of the laws. I wanted to share these 10 quotes on servant leadership from the chapter:

  • I believe the bottom line in leadership isn’t how far we advance ourselves but how far we advance others. That is achieved by serving others and adding value to their lives.
  • If you are a leader, then trust me, you are having either a positive or a negative impact on the people you lead. How can you tell? There is one critical question: Are you making things better for the people who follow you?
  • Being an “adder” requires me to get out of my comfort zone every day and think about adding value to others. But that’s what it takes to be a leader whom others want to follow.
  • The best place for a leader isn’t always the top position. It isn’t the most prominent or powerful place. It’s the place where he or she can serve the best and add the most value to other people.
  • Great leadership means great service.
  • When you add value to people, you lift them up, help them advance, make them a part of something bigger than themselves, and assist them in becoming who they were made to be.
  • Effective leaders go beyond not harming others, and they intentionally help others. To do that, they must value people and demonstrate that they care in such a way that their followers know it.
  • Leaders who add value by serving believe in their people before their people believe in them and serve others before they are served.
  • Inexperienced leaders are quick to lead before knowing anything about the people they intend to lead. But mature leaders listen, learn, and then lead. They listen to their people’s stories. They find out about their hopes and dreams. They become acquainted with their aspirations. And they pay attention to their emotions. From those things, they learn about their people. They discover what is valuable to them. And then they lead based upon what they’ve learned.
  • I believe that God desires us not only to treat people with respect, but also to actively reach out to them and serve them.

Do you have any good quotes about servant leadership to share?


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Faith & Work Conference Livestream. If you are not able to travel to New York City for the Center for Faith & Work Conference don’t despair, you can watch the conference via livestream for just $35. “Join us via Livestream for this two-day event which is part of Redeemer’s Formation Conference Series! Explore how the gospel gives us a radical new vision: the issue is not that we expect too much from our work, it’s that we expect too little.” Speakers include Tim Keller, Katherine Leary and David H. Kim.
  • Made to Flourish. “Made To Flourish exists to equip pastors with a more integral connection between Sunday faith and Monday work, in order to empower them to lead churches that produce human flourishing for the common good.”

  • When It Seems Your Life is Going Nowhere. Scott Sauls writes “Although it is sometimes hard to believe that your work, done for God’s glory, has enduring significance, it absolutely does.”
  • Finding Glory in My Ordinary Year. Courtney Reisigg writes “One day I will do the work in a way that I want again, but until then I am asking for grace to find the glory in the ordinary days—even days where everyone else is helping me get by.”
  • 3 Ways to Help Your Students Discern Their Vocational Future. Meryl Herr writes “A theology of calling could be the anchor that these young people need. Our primary call is to follow Christ. Yet each Christ-follower also has a unique, or specific, calling.”
  • 7 Tips for Writing Your Personal Vision Statement. Hugh Whelchel writes “Having a clearly articulated personal vision statement gives you a template of purpose that can be used to initiate, evaluate, and refine all of your activities.”
  • Why Your Personal Vision is Important and How to Discover It. Hugh Whelchel writes “Discovering your personal vision helps you understand who you are in Christ, your talents, and your comparative advantages. It helps you know how to create the greatest value for yourself, your family, your church, your community and your work for the glory of God.”
  • How to Climb the Corporate Ladder – For Jesus’ Sake. In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper answers the question “How do I balance my earthly work with eternal work”
  • Work for the Common Good. God designed every human being to find agency in his or her vocation. “If we understand the “common good” as the truest good for all people, how can our work play a role in renewing the world? Author, speaker, and pastor Skye Jethani helps us contemplate how our work is not primarily for the gain of wealth and pleasure—but ultimately an opportunity to cultivate a better world for our neighbors.”

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Center for Faith and Work Podcast. I’m very excited about this new podcast from the Center for Faithcenter for faith and work and Work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. Listen in on weekly talks, lectures, and conversations about the intersection of theology and culture as it applies to our everyday work. Topics range from vocational-specific (business, law, arts, education, etc.) to practical resources regarding prayer, discernment, calling, and more.
  • Joy and the Power of a Dream. Steven Garber, who spoke at my Covenant Seminary graduation in May, 2014, writes that the film Joy “a remarkably insightful account of creativity and imagination and gumption and grit, together forming a vocation in the life of Joy Mangano, played by Jennifer Lawrence”.
  • The Fashion Brand with a Heart for Adoption. Bethany Jenkins interviews Sara Brinton about her work. Brinton is the leader of marketing for Noonday Collection, a socially responsible fashion brand, and believes that entrepreneurship can be a sustainable solution to poverty and injustice.
  • 6 Techniques for Getting the Most Out of Continuing Education. Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes “It’s never too late to make continuing education a center piece in your life.  These six strategies will help you tap into the power of continuing education.”
  • How Do You Define Success? John Maxwell writes “Success means having those closest to me love and respect me the most.”
  • 10 Ways to Increase Results in Meetings. One of my pet-peeves is poorly run meetings. They are frustrating and a waste of already busy people’s time. Selma Wilson offers these ten helpful ways to ensure your meetings have positive outcomes.
  • Labor of Love? Jamie Winship writes “What does it mean to work for the Lord on a daily basis? Do people who work wholeheartedly, as if they are serving the Lord, look any different from those who work hard just to get ahead in life? And if so, how?”
  • Work Is Worship. Enjoy this short video that shows that our work life is an act of worship.
  • Are Spiritual Disciplines Meant for My Work? Jessica Schaeffer writes “Keeping company with Jesus ought to be sustained throughout the day. He is not companion and Lord only when a Bible is open in the lap. We don’t leave him on the shelf with our devotional books and prayer journal.”
  • What the Image of God Means for Our Dignity and Work. Art Lindsay writes “Every person is created in the image of God, full of dignity, with unique talents and gifts to use for the glory of God in their work. One reason why so many Christians fail to discover their vocation is because they don’t fully understand what it means to be made in the image of God.”

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4 Reasons Why I See Leadership as a Calling

MaxwellIf you are pursuing a leadership position and someone would ask you why, would you have a good answer for them? Is it for the perceived power, money, prestige, title or status that comes with a formal leadership position? Or do you consider it a calling?

Now I guess I should first define what I mean by “calling”. Dictionary definitions of calling include:

  • A strong desire to spend your life doing a certain kind of work (such as religious work), and
  • The work that a person does or should be doing.

The Bible speaks of calling a number of times. For example, we are called to God in our salvation. A good passage to illustrate this meaning of calling is in the so-called “Golden Chain” of Romans 8:30:

And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified.

As I’ve mentioned previously, Os Guinness has written in his excellent book The Call, that our primary calling as followers of Christ is by Him, to Him, and for Him (think of the above verse). Our secondary calling, is that everyone, everywhere, and in everything should think, speak, live, and act entirely for Him. Our secondary callings can be our jobs or vocations. It is the latter meaning of calling that I am writing about here.

Now I never intended to be a leader. It wasn’t something that I pursued. I guess I would call myself a reluctant leader. As an introvert, who tended toward shyness and a lack of confidence, being a leader was certainly a stretch and to be honest, it still can be at times.

When working for a contract cleaning company while attending college, one of the managers reached out to me and asked if I would be willing to take on a little more responsibility. The new assignment would result in a few cents more per hour so I said yes. As time went on I would take on more and more responsibility. And just like that, I’ve now been in a leadership position at a Fortune 100 company for more than 35 years, an elder in my church for nearly 20 years, and have served on the leadership team for two professional organizations. Today, I can say that I see leadership as a calling.

I’m still an introvert and still learning daily how to be a better leader. As a life-long learner, I hope that continues for as long as I live. See my article about what I’ve learned from the leaders I’ve been blessed to work with here. John Maxwell often states that leadership is influence, nothing more and nothing less. I continue to strive to be a leader that others will want to follow.

In my “Calling, Vocation and Work” class near the end of my time at Covenant Seminary, we were assigned to write a course paper on a vocation. I chose to write on leadership; in that paper I wrote:

Although leadership was not the direction that I thought I would go while in college (nor was I a believer at that time), it is the vocation that God has placed me in and equipped me for. The Scripture verse that I most associate with my work is Colossians 3:23: Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. (ESV)

Why do I see leadership as my calling? Here are four reasons:

  1. Being a leader, particularly a servant leader, aligns well with my faith (see my article “4 Reasons Why I Aspire to be a Servant Leader”. I enjoy coming alongside people (team members, mentees, etc.) and doing whatever I can to help them solve problems, develop and succeed in their vocations. After all, I see Jesus as the greatest example of being a servant leader. An excellent book to read on this subject is Lead Like Jesus: Lessons from the Greatest Role Model of All Time by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges.
  2. As a leader, I help to drive results. Driving results helps my team or organization to succeed. There is a great deal of satisfaction that comes from leading a team to a goal or achievement.
  3. As a leader, I help people to be successful. Ken Blanchard writes that he tries to help everyone “get an ‘A’. I like to help the members of my team rise to the level or position that they are capable of (and interested in). I also enjoy helping emerging leaders to get into a formal leadership position through mentoring relationships.
  4. As a leader, I help people to play to their strengths. I’ve seen the powerful difference a change in work assignments that better align to an individual’s strengths, can make. People are more energized, excited and passionate about their work when we can find them work that aligns to their strengths.

Those are just a few reasons why I feel that leadership is a calling for me. But we can also have multiple (secondary) callings. Jeff Goins in his book The Art of Work talks about having a portfolio of callings. If someone were to ask you what your calling is, what would you say?