Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

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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?


3 Important Types of Goals Needed to Grow

John Maxwell on GoalsI think it’s important to have goals. In his “Seven Steps to Success”, John Maxwell lists the first step as making a commitment to grow daily. With the pace of change in our lives, including new technology, if we aren’t growing, we are really moving backward. Maxwell has written that while change is inevitable, growth is optional. And to insure that you are continuing to grow, you need to establish and write down your goals.

I have work-related goals, ministry-related goals and personal growth goals. I think it’s important to strive for improvement in all areas of life. I break these goals down into:

  • Daily Goals
  • Short-Term Goals
  • Long-Term Goals

Daily Goals My Dad is a list-maker, and that’s probably where I get it. I keep a running “Priorities” list. I review and update the list each morning, and then work from it throughout the day. I put my daily goals in order, with those that are most important that day in red. Those are the ones that are important to complete that day, and are usually associated with a “due date”. I keep the list in a Word document, while others use OneNote or Evernote. The important thing is to use something that is easy for you to update. We know that unexpected items come up throughout the day that have to be addressed. However, when I’m being really efficient, and working on those items that are most important that day, I’m working on items on the list. What do you do to focus on what is most important each day?

Short-Term Goals Some of these goals may also be listed on the “Priorities” list I mentioned above. If they are, they would be further down on the list. You may have a goal to be at a certain weight, take a class, start a blog or read a particular book by the end of the year for example. These goals should be written down, so that you are always thinking about them. Some work may need to be done now just to prepare for the goal (begin a diet/exercise plan, order the book, register for the class, etc.). How do you keep your short-term goals in mind, while striving to deliver on your daily objectives?

Long-Term Goals These are goals that are important to you, but are larger, will most likely take more time to achieve and won’t be achieved in the short-term. Common goals in this area are education related. Perhaps you would like to get your Masters Degree, or begin work on a professional certification or designation. Goals such as these will often take years to complete. However, it’s good to have them on your radar, or they will drop off. If your long-term goals seem overwhelming, you can break them down into smaller tasks.  For example, if I’m wanting to go back to school, what are my plans regarding:

  1. finances? apply for scholarships, grants, loans or make my savings plan NOW
  2. childcare?
  3. scheduling my time to study?  setting aside a quiet place to study?
  4. application/registration due dates?

Sometimes these goals could be classfied as dreams, such as writing a book. Maxwell has written that goals give us focus, but dreams give us power. Sometimes these goals are personal such as adopting a child or buying a house. In each case, you need to have the finances to make this happen. In any of these instances, Maxwell states that there are no short-cuts to a place worth going. What are some of your long-term goals and what are you doing now to prepare for them?

I was talking to some colleagues recently about being in my comfort zone, that area where you are familiar with the job and feel that you can really make a difference. Years ago I had a trusted supervisor who said that it was a bad thing to be comfortable. I didn’t like what he said at the time, but I later understood his reason for saying it. Some people lose their intensity and slack off when they get too comfortable. Maxwell states that if we are growing however, we are always going to be outside our comfort zone. Are you willing to move outside of your comfort zone to achieve your goals?

These are just a few thoughts about using goals to help us grow. Do you have goals? Why or why not? What other thoughts do you have about goals?

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Integrating Faith and Work: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and WorkGood Leaders Ask Great Questions by John Maxwell

Book Review: Good Leaders Ask Great Questions: Your Foundation to Successful Leadership by John C. Maxwell


Should you do what you love, or love what you’re doing?

Can Work Ever Be Good News? Here is the beginning of a series of ten posts featuring artwork from the Christians in the Visual Arts exhibit, “Work: Curse or Calling?

Three Points about Common Grace Every Businessperson Should Consider. Dr. Vincent Bacote looks at the relationship between common grace and business that was addressed Calvin College Business Department and the Acton Institute co-sponsored the Symposium on Common Grace and Business.

Yes, You Do Know Your “Calling”. Dan Miller addresses the subject of calling and includes a 48-minute audio on “Is Your Job Your Calling?”

On this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell discusses the word ‘contentment’.

Only the Gospel, Not Our Vocations Can Truly Change Us. In this excerpt from his book Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work, Tom Nelson writes “Hard work, however noble, without a relationship with the Father proves empty, meaningless, and despairing.”

ReFrame has launched! ReFrame is a 10 week video-based discipleship course that helps you answer questions such as “how does my story fit into God’s story?” and “does my day-to-day life matter to God?”  It features lectures by Regent College faculty, interviews with prominent Christian thought-leaders, and stories of everyday Christians asking questions about how the Gospel reframes their lives.

Work is a glorious thing. John Piper writes “Come, leave off sloth and idleness. Become what you were made to be. Work.”

Why Most Web-Sites Are Hard To Use – And What To Do About It. Matt Heerema writes that most web-sites are unnecessarily difficult to use, and there is one core reason for this.

The Seven Qualities of Perfect Teammates. Dan Rockwell writes “Everyone is irritating. They either do things that bug you, or, they leave something undone, and that bugs you. What does a perfect teammate look like?”

What’s in It for Me? What motivates your leadership choices? A desire to succeed, a need for human applause, or a desire for God’s approval?

John Maxwell BookJohn Maxwell writes leadership lessons from the great prophet Elijah from his upcoming book Learning from the Giants.

Eight Ways to Honor Your Leaders. Brad Lomenick writes that “Leading is not easy. And it’s even more difficult if those on your team aren’t equipped well to follow. We all have leaders that we work with, for and around. And every leader I know values being honored and respected. Honor is a really big thing. And incredibly important as it relates to being part of a team.

How to Get Things Done: Using Your Calendar Effectively. Tim Challies continues his series on productivity from a biblical perspective. In this article he focuses on a scheduling tool – calendars.

What Does It Take to Manage Your Faith, Work, and Family? Diane Paddison writes “When you’re in that important meeting and your phone rings, you should take the call, but not before you’ve laid some important groundwork.”

Quotes from Matt Perman:

  • The role of the leader is to help build intelligence, judgment, and character. It is not to control people.
  • Servant leaders also see themselves as accountable to those they lead.        

Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?

What’s Best Next Book Club What's Best Next

What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman

We continue with our overview of this new book on productivity from a Christian perspective. This week we look at Chapter 21: Managing Projects and Actions.

God at Work Book ClubGod at Work

God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life by Gene Edward Veith Jr.

When we recently visited St. Andrews Chapel where R.C. Sproul is one of the pastors, this book was the church’s “Book of the Month”. I’m excited to read it. We’ll look at a chapter each week – won’t you read along with us? This week we cover Chapter 3: The Purpose of Vocation.

The Gospel at Work Book ClubThe Gospel at Work

The Gospel at Work: How Working for King Jesus Gives Purpose and Meaning to Our Jobs by Sebastian Traeger and Greg D. Gilbert

I’m involved in a book club with peers at work discussing this book. Last week we concluded the book with beginning with Chapter 10: Is Full-Time Ministry More Valuable Than My Job?


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January 15, 2014

Adjustments to 2013 Favorites List
I had previously listed The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug as an honorable mention (runner-up) film, along with Fruitvale Station to Captain Phillips for my top film of 2013. We had seen The Hobbit on IMAX 3-D, but unfortunately I was tired from studying for my final exam and slept through what now appears to have been about half of the film. We saw it a second time on New Year’s Day and I was just blown away. So I have to amend my top movie listing to show The Hobbit as number one.
I also inadvertently left off two other items. First, “Ordinary Love” by U2 was left off of my best songs list. The song, their first new one in years, was included in the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which is reviewed this week. And second, I left off the excellent Downton Abbey from my list of top television shows.

JOSEPHNew Book Review ~ Joseph and the Gospel of Many Colors by Voddie Baucham Jr.

New Music RevFading Westiews ~ Fading West by Switchfoot and High Hopes by Bruce Springsteen High Hopes

New Movie Reviews ~ Nebraska and MandelaNebraskaMandela

Leadership Book Club ~ WEEK THREE

As we continue working through John Maxwell’s classic book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, this week we’ll look at the following two laws:
• The Law of Victory: Leaders Find a Way for the Team to Win
• The Law of the Big Mo: Momentum is a leader’s best friend

John Maxwell has his own page with lots of New Book Reviews – click here.

Official BIS Logo

Get your Tickets Now!! Michael Card’s Biblical Imagination Conference Returns to Christ Church in Normal in April.
Singer/songwriter, Bible teacher and author Michael Card will bring the Biblical Imagination Conference Matthew: The Gospel of Identity, to Christ Church (PCA) in Normal, Illinois April 25-26, 2014. The Sunday night concert will be held at East White Oak Bible Church, so that we can accommodate more people (as the 2012 concert filled our sanctuary).
You can purchase conference tickets (which includes the concert) at:
You can purchase concert only tickets at:
Conference (includes the concert) tickets are now $48; after February 25, $58. Tickets for the concert only are now $13; after February 25, $18.
If you are coming from out of town, we are excited to offer special conference hotel rates at the Hilton DoubleTree hotel. Just mention the Biblical Imagination Conference and you will get a $79 rate on a standard room, which includes their breakfast buffet. Reservations need to be made by April 18 to receive this rate. (309-664-6446)
More information about the Biblical Imagination Conference can be found at the conference site at
Additional Biblical Imagination Conference and Michael Card resources can be found at:
We hope you can join us for the conference and/or concert. Please pass this information along to others you feel may have an interest. If you have any questions at all, please contact me at or at (309) 452-5438.

This and That
• Join the Duck Commander family on January 15 at 9:00pm on A&E for the Season 5 premiere of Duck Dynasty. These two new episodes promise to be filled with lots of laughter, lots of fun, and more of the crazy stuff you have come to know and love from the Robertson’s. We will get to meet Rebecca Robertson as she makes her debut and then there is a surprise family member we’re going to meet. Could it be Mrs. Si? Who knows?

• Fernando Ortega has been invited to sing with guest speaker Ravi Zacharias at the Mormon Tabernacle. Tickets are sold out but you can watch the event live on the internet. The event is this Saturday, January 18th from 6:30-8:30 p.m. MST. You can watch it here.

• Next Tuesday, January 21 at 6:30pm, Dr. Sproul will be live online via video answering your theological questions. You will be able to submit questions to him in real-time or in advance by using #AskRC on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Check out more at

• Ligonier Ministries is offering the e-book version of R.C. Sproul’s commentary on the Gospel of John free during the month of January. Read this article for more information:

• Each month Christianaudio offers a free audio book download. This month they are offering the ESV Hear the Word Audio Bible, a great choice and the translation of the Bible that I have used since it was introduced in 2001. Download your free copy here.

• 12 Years as a Slave and American Hustle were big winners at the January 12 Golden Globe Awards. One of my favorite new television shows Brooklyn Nine-Nine also was a surprise winner. Read more here:

• In a recent interview with Marie Claire Magazine, pop star Katy Perry, a former contemporary Christian artist, announced that she no longer believes in Heaven or Hell nor professes to be a Christian. Read more here:

• At least two more Christian publishers are investigating concerns of plagiarism regarding Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Read this article from World Magazine here:

• John Piper writes “Since 2007, millions of people have read books and taken inventories designed to find our strengths. These are useful for positioning people in places of maximum effectiveness.” Read his article “Don’t Waste Your Weaknesses in 2014” here:

• On January 1, Desiring God revealed their redesigned website. Check out the article announcing the upgrade here:

• Check out this article from The New York Times about the current Calvinist revival:

• Kevin DeYoung recently posted “10 Questions for the New Year”. Read that helpful article here:

• Ligonier Ministries recently compiled the best articles from their blog from 2013. Read the articles here:

• John Piper was one of the speakers at the new Cross conference, a new Missions conference for students. The below article captures some of the best quotes from the conference, as well as a video of one of Piper’s messages “The Chief End of Missions: The Supremacy of God in the Joy of All Peoples”:

• Desiring God recently compiled their best videos of 2013. You can view them at this article:

• Desiring God also revealed their top 13 posts of the year. You can read them here:

• Collin Hansen recently compiled the Gospel Coalition’s Editor Choices for 2013. Check them out at this article:

• Ed Stetzer recently published this article on the 10 best church signs of 2013. Check them out here.

• Tim Tebow has been hired by ESPN as an analyst on their new SEC Network. Read more here:,0,

• Needtobreathe will release Wasteland, their follow-up to 2011’s excellent The Reckoning, on April 15.