Your Identity Doesn’t Come from Your Work

So, you’re at a gathering and you meet someone for the first time. He asks you a key question so that he knows who you are: “What do you do?”What we do is so inextricably linked to who we are. It just is. Why? Because, in the beginning, God made humans this way!In Genesis, God says,“Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule...” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blesse … [Read more...]

Finland’s Educational System Works. Why? Because of Subsidiarity and Sphere Sovereignty.

In a recent Op-Ed piece, William Doyle, an American who recently accepted a position as Lecturer on Media and Education at the University of Eastern Finland, wrote about his extremely positive experience with the Finland public education system. "For five months, my wife, my son and I experienced a stunningly stress-free, and stunningly good, school system. Finland has a history of producing the highest global test scores in the Western world, as well as a trophy case full of other recent No. 1 … [Read more...]

Creation Is a Manifesto

We Christians sometimes try to be holier than God, especially when it comes to creation. We act as if the world is under the sway of the evil one. And we get our escape pods ready, practically eager to abandon creation, convinced that God doesn’t really care about it either.But that’s hardly God’s take on creation. Indeed, in the Incarnation, the Word made flesh, the Creator of the universe moves into our neighborhood. The infinite, transcendent God becomes embodied like us. And did you notic … [Read more...]

Joy’s Story: The Value and Dignity of Work

David Spickard is the President and CEO of Jobs for Life (JfL), a global non-profit organization that engages and equips the local Church to address the impact of joblessness through the dignity of work. He wrote an amazing story at Live58 that explains why work is so integral to what it means to be human and to participate in God's mission in the world.Joy grew up in a home absent of work. Her mom got by on public assistance and her dad was nowhere to be found. Child support from her dad was … [Read more...]

The Professor as Scholar

I have a friend at a major research university who teaches on Thursday aftenoons 3-5, and when he learned my hours of teaching he asked with a snarl "How do you get anything done?" I have another friend, a high school driver's education teacher who never reads a book but who teaches from 7:20am to 3:30pm with a one hour break and who also coaches after school, who asks me regularly, "Is It because you can't stand the pressure that you don't do anything?" I have another friend, a manual laborer … [Read more...]

Three Reflective Questions to Improve Your Job Performance

I recently spent a couple of hours thinking about my job instead of actually doing it.I mulled over the current state of affairs at work, my priorities, my recent accomplishments, where my time is being spent, and so on.I guess you could say I was reflecting.To some of you, this may sound like a colossally assinine waste of time, but self-reflection is actually one of the defining qualities of a high-performance leader. Which I am attempting to be, and I hope you are too.We get so busy in … [Read more...]

Common Grace for the Common Good

COVENANT SEMINARY Commencement Address, May 2014I suppose I was a favorite of the librarians in my hometown. Week by week I would come in, see what was on the shelf, and bring several books home. My favorites were of the frontiersmen who made their way across America, crossing the great Mississippi and up the long Missouri, over the Rockies and into the great beyond, the West, in all its majesty and mystery.But if the biographies of Jim Bridger and Kit Carson captured me, there was … [Read more...]

Leadership Influence: Beyond the Stereotype

What is a leader?Is a leader someone who has all the answers? Is it someone with authority? Or, is it someone who makes the sacrifices necessary to empower and encourage others to engage and to work together toward common goals and solutions?Some of us have experienced people who think of themselves as leaders, who have an arrogant swagger, a desire for power, a smug know-it-all attitude. And we naturally find such an image unseemly.This is not the image of Jesus, the most influential … [Read more...]

Playing It Safe Will Never Change the World

The dust swirled in the hot humid air as I trudged home from school. I slipped the report card next to Mom’s purse, hoping she would just sign it and give it back with cool indifference.No such luck.In our home, earning a mediocre grade was a major event, close to dental surgery or transmission work. Mom saw the “C” in social studies, and for the next hour, I was on the receiving end of a one-sided conversation about what that word meant. There would be no average in our family. We came f … [Read more...]

Four Things to Do When You Make a Mistake at Work

Each summer, as a teenager headed for college, I was determined to make as much money as possible. My dad, a roofer, needed the help. There were perks:  free transportation in Dad’s '52 Chevy, a lunch packed by mom, and a paycheck that didn’t bounce.Reality is, I wasn’t a good roofer. My lines were often crooked and, if left uncorrected, would ruin the run of shingles going all the way up the house. My patient dad would help me rip up the offending row, and we’d start over.On one hot Augu … [Read more...]