Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Links to Interesting Faith and Work Articles

  • 32 Leadership Books. Here is a diverse list of 32 leadership books recommended by Todd Adkins, Eric Geiger and Barnabas Piper on this episode of the 5 Leadership Questions Leadership Podcast. I’ve read nine of the books listed.
  • 12 Killers of Good Leadership. Ron Edmondson writes “It’s not that the person can’t continue to lead, but to grow as a leader — to be successful at a higher level or for the long-term — they must address these killers.”
  • Top 10 Ways Leaders Waste Time (And 10 Time Hacks to Help You). Cary Nieuwhof writes “Any idea what your time wasters are? And even if you do, any idea how to fix them? Here’s some practical help.”
  • 5 Leadership Questions about Public Speaking. In this episode of the 5 Leadership Questions podcast Todd Adkins, Daniel Im, and Barnabas Piper talk about leading and public speaking. What are good habits? Who are the best public speakers we’ve heard? How can someone improve at public speaking? What are the best resources to help someone improve?
  • 4 Ways Leaders Create Capacity in the Organization. Ron Edmondson writes” Leaders know the more capacity the organization has the more potential it has. And when the organization begins to exceed its capacity for too long things eventually staff. To spur growth – increase capacity.
  • Put Your Dreams to the Test. Last week, John Maxwell offered a special 5-part series on his daily “Minute with Maxwell”. Ownership. Passion. Pathway. Cost. Significance
  • Culture vs. Vision: Is it Really Either-Or? John Maxwell looks at how culture and vision work hand in hand.
  • Amazon: Easy to Critique, Easier to One-Click. Lisa Slayton writes “Healthy cultures are deeply intentional and develop over time when we implement values and invest in good people, processes, and environments. They needn’t be lavish, but they must value people for who they are, not simply what they do.”
  • Don’t Work Yourself to Death. Bill Peel writes “We all have periods when we need to move fast and work longer hours to meet deadlines. But these times need to be balanced with times when we slow down and rest—mindful that our welfare and success are always in God’s hands, not ours.”
  • 13 Multipliers that Elevate Average to Remarkable. Dan Rockwell shares how small multipliers can make service remarkable.
  • Faith & Work Ministries. More than a thousand ministries serve Christians in the workplace. These organizations offer an array of resources online, in print, and through personal interaction and mentoring. Here’s a helpful list compiled by the Center for Faith & Work at LeTourneau University.
  • Embedding Faith’s Roots into Your Work. Andy Mills developed the following perspective on what the Bible says about work. These 9 points provide a practical foundation for Christians asking what the Bible says about how we should approach our work.
  • Working for Fairness and Transparency in Agribusiness. Jason Kong is the general chemistry laboratory supervisor for the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Read about how he integrates his faith and work.
  • How Introverts Succeed in an Extrovert World. As an introvert myself, I appreciated this article from Dan Rockwell.
  • Mentoring that Works. Mentoring that Works. Mark Miller shares ten helpful thoughts on mentoring
  • What Your Questions Reveal. In this video, Andy Stanley talks about three things your questions you ask will reveal.

Time for Every Thing by Matt Fuller. The Good Book Company. 144 pages. 2015

Time for Every ThingThis is another helpful book from the Good Book Company. The author is the Senior Minister at Christ Church, Mayfair in central London. Though I was not familiar with the author, over the years I’ve read several books about time management so this book caught my attention.

Fuller writes that many of us feel a famine of time, never having enough of it to accomplish our goals, constantly running from one thing to the next. He writes that obsessing about time, being burdened by a lack of time and feeling guilty all the time is bad. How we can get off this hamster wheel is what this book is about.

Fuller writes that time is a gift that we’re designed to enjoy. What needs to change is how our hearts view the 24 hours we are given each day.

In the first half of the book Fuller lays the foundation in terms of how we view time, busyness, and burdens. In the second half, he looks at how we use our time well (and avoid using it badly), in the areas of work, family, church and leisure.

He shares five helpful burdens that have been placed on us:

  • Religious rules
  • The need to prove ourselves
  • Striving to achieve respect
  • The expectations of others
  • The needs of others
  • Trying to be secure

He writes that feeling burdened is a sign that something is wrong in our view of life, because there is something wrong in our view of God. To deal with the above burdens that weary us, he looks at what Jesus is offering us. He tells us that only if we fully embrace what Jesus has done to win our salvation, and live out our status as someone who is saved—will we be able to take off the other burdens that he mentions.

Fuller looks at how to be busy, yet calm, by living our lives in dependence upon the Lord, rather than living functionally in independence from Him. He encourages us to live each day in trust, rather than with anxiety. He suggests two ways that we can waste our time – by being idle or easily distracted and by being focused on and dedicated to the wrong things. But Jesus has called us to make the most of the time that we have been given by him, to be used for him.

Fuller states that we need to look carefully at the competing demands upon our time and plan our time so that we don’t waste it. We need to consciously decide where we place boundaries on our use of time, or we will be at the mercy of others and boundaries will be imposed upon us.

The book ends with a number of examples of how people the author knows have chosen to use all their time in freedom in the area between neglect and idolatry.

He writes that we have to regularly make time to work out how best to use our time. All of our time belongs to the Lord. We must do all that we can to make the best use of our brief time here on earth. We do it trusting in him, serving him and following him, and looking forward to being with him.

I found this to be a helpful, theologically sound book on considering how to use the time we have been given by the Lord.

Kingdom Calling BOOK CLUB – Won’t you read along with us?

Kingdom CallingKingdom Calling: Vocational Calling for the Common Good by Amy L. Sherman

I first read this book in a “Calling, Vocation and Work” class with Dr. Michael Williams and Dr. Bradley Matthews at Covenant Seminary two summers ago. King Jesus is on a mission to bring restoration in every sphere of society and has invited His followers to join Him in this Kingdom-advancing work.  Learn to deeply, creatively and intentionally steward your vocational power in ways that advance foretastes of the coming Kingdom of shalom for our neighbors near and far.

It’s an excellent book, so let’s read it together. This week we’ll look at Chapter 3: Why We Aren’t the Tsaddiqim.

  • In many of our churches, our gospel is too small. While it is rightly centered on the vital atoning work of Jesus on the cross, it fails to grasp the comprehensive significance of his redemptive work. Consequently, it fails to direct Christ-followers into the righteous lifestyle of the tsaddiqim, who gladly join Jesus on his grand mission of restoration.
  • The glorious truths celebrated in this too-narrow gospel do not, in themselves, capture the full, grand, amazing scope of Jesus’ redemptive work. For Jesus came preaching not just this gospel of personal justification but the gospel of the kingdom. Jesus’ work is not exclusively about our individual salvation, but about the cosmic redemption and renewal of all things.
  • One of the ways the too-narrow gospel permeates evangelicalism is through contemporary worship music. The incomplete gospel is not only preached from pulpits but also sung by worship bands. Much of contemporary Christian music cultivates and reinforces a me-and-Jesus mentality. And that matters, because theological shortcomings in the music we hear on Christian radio or sing on Sunday mornings affect our beliefs.
  • Not only is the me-and-Jesus gospel reinforced in many popular worship songs, it also permeates a good deal of the most popular Christian books.
  • The best discipleship books often were marked by a kingdom gospel theology. The most popular Christian books typically focused on the individual Christian’s relationship to God.’° To oversimplify, the books strongest on a robust theology that could undergird the life of a tsaddiq are generally not the books being chosen by the highest percentages of Christian readers.
  • Just as much worship music does little to move us beyond the individualistic, narrow gospel, many “Christian living” books reinforce that me-and-Jesus mindset.
  • With a reductionist understanding of the good news, Sider wrote, too many believers think they can simply accept the gospel and then “go on living the same adulterous, materialistic, racist life” that they lived before.”
  • Dallas Willard. His 2006 book The Great Omission is based on the claim that, because the narrow gospel prevails in evangelicalism, we gain converts but not followers of Jesus.
  • This too-narrow gospel focuses believers missionally only on the work of “soul winning.”
  • It has little to say about Jesus’ holistic ministry or the comprehensive nature of his work of restoration. It focuses on the problem of personal sin only, thus intimating that sanctification is a matter only of personal morality (rather than that plus social justice). It focuses believers on getting a ticket to heaven, but doesn’t say much about what their life in this world should look like. Put differently, it focuses only on what we’ve been saved from, rather than also telling us what we’ve been saved for.
  • If the too-narrow gospel is the first reason we aren’t the tsaddiqim, the closely related second reason is our inadequate views of heaven.
  • Against the popular view of heaven as an ethereal existence on clouds, the biblical view is that God will remake both heaven and earth and join them together forever.
  • Distorted understandings of heaven and the afterlife have a corrosive effect on Christians’ thinking about how to live this life in our routine, workaday world. If we (mistakenly) believe that at the end, the earth will be completely destroyed23 and that just our souls will live on forever, it’s a bit hard to imagine being tsaddiqim who are passionate for such things as environmental stewardship or cultural reformation.
  • But these aren’t the only reasons we’re not the tsaddiqim. Another key reason is that the very positions of prosperity and power that make possible righteous stewardship that can advance justice and shalom also serve as sirens calling us away from kingdom sacrifice.
  • The siren songs of prosperity make it imperative that preachers in middle-class and wealthier congregations urge their members to join small accountability groups. There they can ask one another the hard questions about how they are managing the faith-eroding qualities of privilege, wealth and power.
  • The problem of isolation. Finally, beyond this issue of troubling temptations, Lindsay’s research identified another problem: the insulation of Christian professionals from people outside their socioeconomic class.
  • Today, in cities at home and abroad, many of God’s children continue to cry out for justice and shalom. Evangelical churches in America have innumerable opportunities to rejoice these communities. This will happen when our churches produce Christ-followers who live as the tsaddiqim.

Quotes about Faith and Work

  • We succeed at our very best only when we help others succeed. Jim Collins
  • It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task that will affect its outcome. Coach K
  • If it is important to you, you will find a way. If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse. Coach K
  • A life lived listening to the decisive call of God is a life lived before one audience that trumps all others – the Audience of One. Os Guinness
  • Before you tell me what you know, start by proving what you can do. Action builds credibility. Brad Lomenick
  • When I hear somebody say ‘I’m going into full time ministry’…I want to throw up…because it communicates…that there’s a part-time option, and there isn’t. R. Paul Stevens
  • We don’t build trust when we offer help. We build trust when we ask for it. Simon Sinek
  • To a man who lives unto God, nothing is secular, everything is sacred. Charles Spurgeon
  • Leading from the middle – celebrate those below you, collaborate with those beside you, and anticipate for those above you. Brad Lomenick
  • Leader, most likely you will control the lid on your leadership potential by how well you empower others. Ron Edmondson
  • Successful leaders have buckets of wisdom filled with things that didn’t work. Dan Rockwell