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

  • By the Way Conference. I look forward to speaking again this year at the Lexington Community Church’s By the Way I’ll be speaking the evening of Thursday, July 12 on the topic of “How to Be Mission-Minded in our Everday Lives”. If you are in the central Illinois area, I’d love to have you stop by. More details to come.
  • Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace. That is the tentative title for the book I’ve been working on for about a year and a half now, with much more concentrated effort recently. I’m early on in the process with just over 30,000 words written. I would appreciate your prayers on this project and I’ll keep you updated on my progress.
  • 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.”
  • Seven Marks of a Workaholic. David Murray writes “Workaholism is probably the most respectable sin in the Christian community, and maybe especially among pastors.”
  • The High Value of At-Home Work. In this episode of the Gospel Coalition podcast, Courtney Reissig talks about why work in the home matters to God. The message was recorded at the Gospel Coalition 2017 National Conference.

Click on ‘Continue Reading’ for:

  • More interesting article links – Real Life Examples, Influence at Retirement Age, Courageous Leadership and Answers to Good Questions
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Matt Perman’s book ‘How to Get Unstuck’
  • Snippets from the book ‘The Economics of Neighborly Love’

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8 Upcoming Books That I’m Excited About

Here are 8 upcoming books, and a brief description of them, that I’m looking forward to:

The Affectionate Theology of Richard Sibbes by Mark Dever
To be published March 1.
From Amazon’s description:
“In a time of political turmoil and religious upheaval, Richard Sibbes sought to consistently apply the riches of Reformation theology to his hearers’ lives. He emphasized the security of God’s covenant, the call for assurance of salvation, and the place of the heart in the Christian life. In The Affectionate Theology of Richard Sibbes, Dr. Mark Dever gives readers a penetrating look into the life and theology of this fascinating figure.”
This book is a part of the Long Line of Godly Men series, edited by Steven Lawson.

Servant Leadership in Action: How You Can Achieve Great Relationships and Results. Edited by Ken Blanchard and Renee Broadwell.
To be published March 6.
From Amazon’s description:
“We’ve all seen the negative impact of self-serving leaders in every sector of our society. Not infrequently, they end up bringing down their entire organization. But there is another way: servant leadership. Servant leaders lead by serving their people, not by exalting themselves. This collection features forty-four renowned servant leadership experts and practitioners–prominent business executives, bestselling authors, and respected spiritual leaders–who offer advice and tools for implementing this proven, but for some still radical, leadership model. Edited by legendary business author and lifelong servant leader Ken Blanchard and his longtime editor Renee Broadwell, this is the most comprehensive and wide-ranging guide ever published for what is, in every sense, a better way to lead.” I’m reading an advance copy of this book now. It includes contributions from some of my favorite leadership authors such as Ken Blanchard, Patrick Lencioni, Dave Ramsey, Mark Miller, Henry Cloud, Stephen M.R. Covey, Simon Sinek. It’s a wonderful book for those who want to lead like Jesus did.

Take Heart: Christian Courage in the Age of Unbelief by Matt Chandler
To be published March 20.
From Amazon’s description:
“The Christian culture that has underpinned Western society for centuries has been eroded. We’re now at the point where to disagree with people on issues such as marriage and sexuality, is seen as hateful. Christians are no longer seen as honorable, but as bigots. But history testifies that the more people try to destroy Christianity, the more it grows. So, we are entering an exciting period of time because we’re back in the place where Christ’s church can thrive – at the margins of society. In this stirring, passionate book, Matt Chandler shows us we need Christian courage like never before, and how to live with compassion and conviction, able to look around positively and reach out confidently. It encourages us not to be thwarted by fear, but to depend on God and have confidence that Christ will build his church, despite continual marginalization. A must-read for any Christian who wants to understand how to stand firm and walk forwards in an increasingly secular culture.” Continue reading


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My Favorite Books on Faith and Work, Calling and Productivity

I have a passion for integrating my faith and my work and talking to others about how to do it. Over the past few years, I’ve read a number of helpful books in the faith and work, calling and productivity genres. Below are my favorites:

Five Books on Integrating Faith and Work

  • Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work by Tim Keller with Katherine Leary. Keller helps to illuminate the transformative and revolutionary connection between the Christian faith and the workplace. He encourages believers to think about their work through the lens of a Christian worldview. He structures the book around three questions: Why do we want to work? Why is it so hard to work? How can we overcome the difficulties and find satisfaction in our work through the gospel? This book introduced me to Redeemer Presbyterian Church’s Center for Faith and Work, something I would like to model in my community.
  • Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work by Tom Nelson. Nelson looks at Os Guinness’ discussion of our primary and secondary callings in his excellent book The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life and focuses on our secondary calling (to do a specific work) in this book. He looks at work through a biblical lens in the first section of the book and focuses on how God shapes our lives in and through our work in the second section.  The author, who is a pastor, includes helpful “Questions for Reflection and Discussion” and a “Prayer for Our Work” at the end of each chapter. He mentions that the Center for Faith and Work at Tim Keller’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church (mentioned above) has been a catalyst for his church to think more intentionally about equipping their congregation in vocational mission.
  • God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life by Gene Edward Veith. This book is an exposition of the doctrine of vocation and an attempt to apply that doctrine in a practical way to our life in the twenty-first century. He first looks at the nature of vocation: the purpose of vocation, how to find our vocation, how God calls us to different tasks and how He is present in what we do in our lives. Then he looks at specific vocations (as a worker, in the family, as a citizen, and in the church), and specific problems common to them all.
  • Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good by Amy L. Sherman. This is a book about vocational stewardship that is primarily written for pastors and ministry leaders, particularly those already committed to leading missional churches (those that seek to follow King Jesus on the mission of making all things new). It would be an excellent book for these leaders to recommend to those they lead to help them integrate their faith and work.
  • Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good by Steven Garber. The author invites the reader to “come and see” that the vision of vocation he writes about is being lived out by men and women who are committed to a faith that shapes a vocation that in turn shapes culture. He writes that there is not a more difficult task that human beings face than to know the world and still love it. A recurring question that he asks throughout the book is “Knowing what I know, what will I do?” This book is best read slowly as he weaves in stories to illustrate his points.

Two Books on Calling

  • The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life by Os Guinness. The author writes that there is no deeper meaning than to discover and live out your calling. He states that there is no calling without a Caller, and if there is no Caller, there are no callings, only work. He states that it is never too late to discover your calling, which is deeper than our jobs, our career, and all of our benchmarks of success. He discusses our primary and secondary callings and the two distortions (Catholic and Protestant) that have crippled the truth of calling. An excellent abridged version of this book is available entitled Rising to the Call.
  • The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do by Jeff Goins. This book is an excellent introduction to the subject of calling. It’s easy to read, interesting and practical. The book is organized into three major sections – Preparation, Action and Completion. In those sections he covers seven overlapping stages of calling – Awareness, Apprenticeship, Practice, Discovery, Profession, Mastery and Legacy. In each stages he uses interesting stories to illustrate the stage. In the Appendix, he includes a summary of the seven stages, seven signs you’ve found your calling and seven exercises to complete. He also includes questions for discussion that will be helpful if you’re reading and discussing the book with others.

Two Books on Productivity

  • Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity by Tim Challies. This new book is an extremely efficient, well-organized, easy to read and practical book. The author’s aim is to help the reader do more of what matters most and do it better. He writes that our productivity depends to a good degree on identifying and using the best tools (management, scheduling and information), for the job and then growing in your proficiency with them. He also discusses concepts such as a “Weekly Review” and includes helpful “Action Steps” at the end of each section.
  • What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman. The author states that the book is about getting things done and making ideas happen with less friction and frustration from a biblical perspective. He helps the reader think about productivity as Christians. He aims to help us live the life that God has called us to live and live it with maximum effectiveness and meaning. He introduces us to the concept of Gospel Driven Productivity, which looks at not only what the Bible has to say about getting things done, but also learns from the best secular thinking. He uses the DARE Model – Define, Architect, Reduce, and Execute.

These are my favorite faith and work, calling and productivity books. Do you have others to add to the list?


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25 Great Quotes from What’s Best Next by Matt Perman

What's Best NextI recently completed a wonderful study of Matt Perman’s excellent book What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms The Way You Get Things Done, with some friends in a faith and work book club at work. It was the second time I had read the book since its release in 2014.

There is so much of value in the book that it is extremely difficult to pick out just a few favorite quotes, but here are 25 that I found particularly helpful. I would highly recommend that you read this book on “Gospel-Driven Productivity”.

  1. True productivity is not first about efficiency — doing things right and doing them quickly — but effectiveness — doing the right things.
  2. Productivity is about making a contribution and giving more than we get so that God gets the glory (not us).
  3. A radical concern for others is to be at the heart of our productivity and at the heart of everything we do every day.
  4. Being productive is not just about getting things done. It’s about being a useful person, making a contribution, and leaving things better than you found them.
  5. Generosity is to be the guiding principle for our lives. This is both the right thing to do and the way to be most productive. It is the surprising, counterintuitive key to productivity.
  6. The overarching principle of the Christian life is that we are here to serve, to the glory of God. According to the Bible, a truly productive life is lived in service to others.
  7. If our works are to be truly productive — that is, affirmed by God at the final judgment and last forever — they need to be done with a love for God at the center. Anything else is ultimately idolatry
  8. One of the best forms of generosity in our work is excellence. Excellence matters not only because it is right and exciting in itself, but even more significantly because it is a way of serving people.
  9. The fundamental way to know what’s best next — to make good decisions in an age of unlimited options — is to be a person of character
  10. Discernment based on love is the way to know what’s best.
  11. The core principle of effectiveness is to know what’s most important and put it first.
  12. The ultimate foundation of your mission is not your character or even correct principles. It’s what God has done for you in Christ and the fact that, if you believe in Christ, God is now your Father.
  13. The purpose of life is to know God, enjoy God, reflect his glory back to him in the pursuit of justice and mercy in all things, and do this in community with others through Jesus Christ.
  14. Your mission is the ultimate reason for your existence — forever. It is your chief why. Your life goal is the concrete what. It is the chief way that you seek to fulfill your mission.
  15. You need to have an overarching, passionate, God-centered aim to your life — an overarching goal and message that flows from your mission and directs the priorities of your life.
  16. Your roles are all callings from God and thus avenues of worship. You can serve him just as fully in the “secular” areas of your life as you can in the spiritual areas.
  17. God designed the world so that there will always be more things for us to do than we are able to do. This isn’t just so we learn to prioritize; it’s so that we learn to depend on one another. And that’s what delegation enables us to do.
  18. Put first things first, and stop doing second things. The fundamental ways to reduce are through delegating, eliminating, automating, and deferring (DEAD).
  19. Multitasking seems like a way to save time but actually costs more time and is, in fact, impossible. It is inefficient because it makes both tasks take longer. But it is also impossible because you cannot literally multitask. The human brain simply cannot focus on two things at once. God is the only multitasker.
  20. Ask in everything: How can I build others up? This brings us back to the fundamental principle behind everything: You are here to do good for others, to the glory of God. All productivity practices, all of our work, everything is given to us by God for the purpose of serving others.
  21. Since Gospel-Driven Productivity is about putting our productivity practices — and all that we have — in the service of God’s purposes, that means we will put our productivity practices in the service of fighting large global problems and bringing the gospel to all nations.
  22. See everything you do, in all areas of your life, as means of serving God and others.
  23. It is in our vocations that we take our faith into the world and the gospel spreads most fully. Whatever your job is, wherever you are, it is both meaningful in itself and a means of advancing the gospel. It is through your work that God changes the world.
  24. We can go even farther and say that non-ministry vocations are the key to the spread of the gospel globally, because our vocations are the chief way we bring our faith into the world. The gospel spreads through our vocations.
  25. We must have a robust doctrine of work if we are going to reach the nations with the gospel.

To find out more about Matt’s ministry and check out some helpful resources, go to his website.


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articlesslacker

  • Extreme Work: Striving and Sloth. Robert Alexander writes “Rather than seeing work as something God has given us, we are prone to two opposite but equivalent errors: striving and sloth. Workaholics (the strivers) and slackers (the slothful) are controlled by fear, pride, and/or unbelief – rather than seeing themselves as imitators of God.”
  • Six Ways God’s at Work in You — At Work. Keith Welton writes “In reality, the workforce is not only how God works through you; it is a place where God works inside of you, conforming you to the image of Christ. He may feel distant, but he’s not. He is using the difficulties and pressures in your job right now to focus you in at least six areas.”
  • Faith and Work. This sermon, from Tim Keller, is the seventh sermon in Redeemer Presbyterian Church’s current series “Where We are Going: The City and the Mission”. It’s a series focused on Redeemer’s gospel based core values and is part of a special season at Redeemer called “Rise”.
  • The Calling Course. Dan Cumberland has posted three helpful videos in his Calling Course. Here’s the first one “What We Talk About When We Talk About Calling”.
  • Switching Fields: From Professional Soccer to Pastoral Ministry. Former soccer player Gavin Peacock writes “But the Lord gave me another calling still: to be a minister of the gospel. I’ve been a Christian since I was 18, but the call to pastoral ministry came 10 years ago.”
  • In this “Minute from Maxwell”, John Maxwell states a mentor is one who “goes the way, knows the way and shows the way”.
  • When Work Feels Fruitless. Leah Hollingsworth writes about being called to the work of a mother.
  • The Key to Great Companies. Dave Ramsey talks about creating an amazing company culture by oversharing with your team.
  • Affordable Housing Should Reflect God’s Heart. Angela Shepherd interviews Matthew Rooney, chief operating officer of MDG Design + Construction, an affordable housing construction and development firm in New York City, about his work.

CONFLICT:

  • In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell states that if you are going to lead people you are going to have conflict.  You need to embrace it.
  • Dealing with Conflict in Healthy and Biblical Ways. Dave Kraft writes “Knowing how to deal openly and honestly with conflict with coworkers, friends and family is critical to good leadership.”
  • 4 Rules to Prevent Destructive Conflict. Alan Zimmerman writes “You must be extremely careful about the words you use in any conflict situation.  They can literally make or break any chance you have of resolving the conflict.” Here are three more rules.

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles Patrick Lencioni quote

  • Four Productivity Lies. Tim Challies writes “I have invested a lot of effort in understanding productivity and emphasizing it in my life. Eventually I came to peace with it. But I only did so after addressing some of the prevailing lies about it.”
  • Entitlement. In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell discusses what entitlement means to him.
  • 9 Ways to Glorify God at Work in Your “9-5”. Paul Sohn writes “I stumbled across a blog post from John Piper, which he spoke at a conference called Engage whose mission is to equip young professionals in the workplace. The 9 ways Piper he suggests how young professionals can glorify work are worth memorizing.”
  • Trust: A Currency For Christian Business. Chris Patton writes “As Christian business owners and leaders, we need people to trust us. We need employees to trust us so we can lead them. We want our customers to trust us so they will buy our products or services and remain loyal to us. Our vendors need to trust us to pay them accurately and on time or they will not continue to service us.”
  • Four Huge Distractions in Meetings and How to Fight Them. Eric Geiger writes “One of the biggest culprits of disengagement in a meeting are distractions. Distractions can steer emotional energy, creative thinking, and collective wisdom away from the important matters being discussed.”
  • Are You Putting the Gospel to Work? Steve Graves writes “Make no mistake; every community has men and women putting the gospel to work. Those who work next to them and live in community with them know them as catalytic vessels of salt, light, and the sweet perfume of the gospel.”
  • The Centennials are Coming. Mark Miller talks about the Centennials. He writes “They are a cohort of approximately 73 million young people born between 1997 and today. And guess what… in many areas, they see the world differently from previous generations.”
  • How I Work: An Interview with Melissa Kruger. Joe Carter interviews Melissa Kruger, a Women’s Ministry Coordinator, writer, wife and mother, about how she works.
  • How to be a Great Mentor. Dan Rockwell writes “Great mentoring is more than developing skills, helping people create connections, and navigating organizational politics.”
  • Lessons from the First 20 Years, Part 2. In this edition of the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, he concludes a conversation that explores the best, most effective leadership principles learned in the first 20 years of his organization.

LEADERSHIP:

Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week Bob Chapman Quote

  • The leader’s job is to inspire people to work together in the service of something greater than themselves. Eric Geiger
  • We are most likely to succeed when ambition is focused on noble and worthy purposes and outcomes rather than on goals set out of selfishness. John Wooden
  • Tell me how many things you’ve finished, not how many you’ve started. Dan Rockwell
  • We’re made for work and rest, not toil and leisure. Andy Crouch
  • We must find a purpose or cause to pursue otherwise all we have left are our imperfections to focus on. Simon Sinek
  • With all the negative going on in the world, it is important to lead with a mindful and open heart and be the change you wish to see. Ken Blanchard
  • Clarity is the preoccupation of the effective leader. If you do nothing else as a leader, be clear. Marcus Buckingham
  • Your team will mirror you. If there is something you don’t like, you probably created it. Brad Lomenick
  • Leaders who attempt to make all the decisions are stunting the growth of their people and their organization. Mark Miller
  • When something bad happens you have three choices: You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you. Coach K

Matt Perman BookBOOK REVIEW:  Creating a Business Plan that Actually Works: Especially, But Not Only, for Faith-Based Organizations by Matt Perman. What’s Best Next. 33 pages.
****

Matt Perman is the author of the excellent 2014 book What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done. That book was so helpful (I’m reading it a second time with colleagues at work) that I’m going to be interested in anything that he writes. He is an important voice in helping people integrate their faith with their work. In fact he states that this resource will be especially helpful for those looking for a resource that makes the integration of faith and work explicit. He encourages us to see our work as an act of service, to the glory of God, stating it is at the heart of how to glorify God in our work and do your business plan in a gospel-centered way.

He writes that this short e-book was written to provide guidance for how to create a business plan that actually works––a plan that will truly help you in launching your new business, department, or other large initiative, without getting you stuck in the details of over-planning. It also gives specific guidance for how to create a business plan from a faith-based perspective.

He defines a business plan as simply a guide or road map for your business, new department, or other large effort. It will help us think through and articulate your mission and values, main objectives, core audience, comparison organizations or competitors, financial plan, core activities, marketing plan, and other key realities. A business plan is not just for those starting a new business. Perman states that if you’re starting anything or want to refine what you’ve already started, a business plan is a key step.

In looking at how to create a business plan that actually works and to do so in a way that relates to the Scriptures, we should learn from the best business minds (Jim Collins, for example), common grace realities as well as the Bible.

He takes the reader through each of the sections of a business plan and briefly explains what they mean and how it translates into the ongoing fabric of our business. He also includes some helpful resources that you may find useful. He stresses that the process of developing a business plan is as important as the final result; as the activity of thinking through your business or new endeavor in this way prepares you for effective implementation.

This short book contains much helpful information and is well worth your time to read it. I know I’ll be sharing what I learned here with others, including my sister-in-law who is the Director of a Pregnancy Resource Center.

StandOut 2.0BOOK REVIEW:  StandOut 2.0: Assess Your Strengths. Find Your Edge. Win at Work by Marcus Buckingham. Harvard Business Review Press. 211 Pages. 2015
****

I’m a big Marcus Buckingham fan, having read all of his books, with the exception of the one he specifically wrote for women. Eight years ago, when on the leadership team for a professional learning organization we brought him to our community as a part of his book tour for Go Put Your Strengths to Work, one of the most impactful business books I have read. He briefly revisits his “Love it/Loathe it” exercise from that book here, an exercise I continue to use both on and off the job.

Buckingham writes that although the strengths-based approach to managing people is now conventional wisdom, performance appraisal systems remain “stubbornly remedial”. In this new book, Buckingham has taken his StandOut strengths assessment (introduced in 2011) and dramatically increased its power.

A few of the enhancements are:

  • To make our strengths visible, he has designed a StandOut Snapshot that can be used to present the very best of ourselves to our teams and organizations.
  • To give us a way to keep learning, he has provided us with our own personal learning channel.
  • The StandOut assessment has been made to be a “front door” to an online performance system that is entirely strengths based. He wants us to think of StandOut as a toolbox, in which each tool is designed to tackle one aspect of performance management. To help us do more of our best work, the reader will receive a weekly “Check-In” tool that will capture our weekly priorities and track how engaged you feel week by week.
  • Leaders will find an employee survey tool that can be used to see what your team is thinking and feeling, as well as a performance tool to evaluate the performance of each member.

The above enhancements are designed to help you and your teams to leverage your strengths and manage around your weaknesses. The new tool is not just a descriptive tool but also a prescriptive tool. The StandOut assessment measures you on nine strengths roles and reveals your top two “strength roles”. The book provides you with a key to input and take the assessment, which will take about fifteen minutes. Your results will reveal how you come across to others.  Buckingham shares with the reader three lessons for building your strengths.  He calls the StandOut assessment an innovation delivery system. It delivers to those who complete the assessment weekly practical innovations, tips and techniques that you can use to sharpen your edge and win at work. I plan to share my assessment with team members and mentees and encourage them to take it as well.

Don’t Waste Your Life Book Club – Won’t you read along with us?

Don't Waste Your LifeDon’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. Crossway. 192 pages. 2003  

Other than the Bible, this small book by John Piper has had the most influence on my life. It played a key role in my returning to seminary after ten years in 2005. I have read it almost each year since it was published in 2003. Listen to John Piper describe the book in this less than two-minute video.

This week we look at Chapter 2 Breakthrough – the Beauty of Christ, My Joy:

  • If there is only one life to live in this world, and if it is not to be wasted, nothing seemed more important to me than finding out what God really meant in the Bible, since he inspired men to write it. If that was up for grabs, then no one could tell which life is worthy and which life is wasted.
  • The driving passion of my life was rooted here. One of the seeds was in the word “glory”—God’s aim in history was to “fully display his glory.” Another seed was in the word “delight”—God’s aim was that his people “delight in him with all their heart.” The passion of my life has been to understand and live and teach and preach how these two aims of God relate to each other—indeed, how they are not two but one.
  • No one outside Scripture has shaped my vision of God and the Christian life more than Jonathan Edwards. His life is inspiring because of his zeal not to waste it, and because of his passion for the supremacy of God.
  • Delighting in God was not a mere preference or option in life; it is our joyful duty and should be the single passion of our lives. Seeking happiness in God and glorifying God were the same.
  • Here was the greatest mind of early America, Jonathan Edwards, saying that God’s purpose for my life was that I have a passion for God’s glory and that I have a passion for my joy in that glory, and that these two are one passion. When I saw this, I knew, at last, what a wasted life would be and how to avoid it.
  • God created me—and you—to live with a single, all-embracing, all-transforming passion—namely, a passion to glorify God by enjoying and displaying his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life.
  • The wasted life is the life without a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples.
  • The Bible is crystal-clear: God created us for his glory.
  • Life is wasted when we do not live for the glory of God. And I mean all of life. It is all for his glory.
  • We waste our lives when we do not pray and think and dream and plan and work toward magnifying God in all spheres of life.
  • God created us for this: to live our lives in a way that makes him look more like the greatness and the beauty and the infinite worth that he really is.
  • We were made to see and savor God—and savoring him, to be supremely satisfied, and thus spread in all the world the worth of his presence. Not to show people the all-satisfying God is not to love them.
  • The really wonderful moments of joy in this world are not the moments of self-satisfaction, but self-forgetfulness.
  • Love has to do with showing a dying soul the life-giving beauty of the glory of God, especially his grace.
  • Every good work should be a revelation of the glory of God. What makes the good deed an act of love is not the raw act, but the passion and the sacrifice to make God himself known as glorious.
  • If you don’t point people to God for everlasting joy, you don’t love. You waste your life.
  • All heroes are shadows of Christ. We love to admire their excellence. How much more will we be satisfied by the one Person who conceived all excellence and embodies all skill, all talent, all strength and brilliance and savvy and goodness.
  • God loves us by liberating us from the bondage of self so that we can enjoy knowing and admiring him forever.
  • Would you feel more loved by God if he made much of you, or if he liberated you from the bondage of self-regard, at great cost to himself, so that you enjoy making much of him forever?
  • Now we see that in creating us for his glory, he is creating us for our highest joy. He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.
  • That is the single, all-embracing, all-transforming reason for being: a passion to enjoy and display God’s supremacy in all things for the joy of all peoples.
  • God created us to live with a single passion to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives.
  • Jesus is the litmus test of reality for all persons and all religions. He said it clearly: “The one who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16). People and religions who reject Christ reject God. Do other religions know the true God? Here is the test: Do they reject Jesus as the only Savior for sinners who was crucified and raised by God from the dead? If they do, they do not know God in a saving way.
  • There is no point in romanticizing other religions that reject the deity and saving work of Christ. They do not know God. And those who follow them tragically waste their lives.
  • Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain.


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Do You Have a Personal Mission Statement?

Change the WorldI’ve been reading and discussing Matt Perman’s excellent What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms The Way You Get Things Done with a few friends in a faith and work book club. Recently, we’ve been reading about how to create our own personal mission statements.

Perman writes that mission statements are biblical, and that we can find them throughout the Bible. He states that there are three main components to a good mission statement. He looks at each component using Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as the foundation. He states that the entire sermon is about the purpose of life and as such is our mission statement. The three components of our personal mission statement are:

  • Core purpose. Our core purpose states our overall reason for existence. Perman indicates this is where we state the biblical purpose of life in our own words, and in a way that reflects our uniqueness and that applies to us. How would you state your core purpose?
  • Core principles. This section of our mission statement contains our answers to the question “What main principles am I going to use to guide my life?” Perman tells us that something passes muster as a core principle in our lives if it is something we would hold to even if we were punished for it. To state it another way, these are the principles we would hold to even if it was to our disadvantage. Perman suggests listing our top twenty guiding principles based on what God has revealed about our purpose and what glorifies Him. What principles would be on your list?
  • Core beliefs. Perman tells us that our core beliefs lay a gospel foundation underneath our mission. They answer the below two questions:
  • Our identity. Who are we?
  • Our ultimate destination. Where are we going to end up at the end of all of this?

Perman offers the following as sample core beliefs:

“I am a child of God who has been forgiven and redeemed by Christ alone, through faith alone, to the glory of God alone.”

If you were to write your core beliefs, what would they look like?

Perman writes that the ultimate foundation of our mission statement is not our character or our principles, but what God has done for us in Christ, and the fact that if we believe in Christ, God is our Father.

I’m in the process of writing my personal mission statement. Why not try drafting up yours? If you do, I’d love for you to share it with me.

Also, I’d recommend you read Matt’s book What’s Best Next. This is already the second time I’ve read it.