Category Archive: Faith and Work Integration

  1. NIV Faith And Work Bible

    Leave a Comment

    The “NIV Faith and Work Bible” (FWB) seeks to help us integrate our daily work life with our faith in Christ. The extra biblical material in this study Bible, is edited by David Kim of the Center for Faith and Work (NYC) with a foreword by Tim Keller, the well-known author, teacher and previously Senior Pastor of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.  The FWB combines the well- known New International Version (NIV) translation of the Old and New Testaments with additional material “to help users deepen their understanding and experience of the gospel and to make them excited to engage their work in a new way.” There are thoughtful essays and introductions for each of the 66 books of the Bible. The additional material is organized around three main “features:”

    1.) A 31-Day focused “journey” or readings with the lofty goal of taking one through the entire story of the Bible;
    2.) 45 “Core Doctrines” of the evangelical (and reformed) faith and;
    3. “Deeper at Work “ articles of real life situations and applications.

    The FWB comes at a time when there is a great proliferation of faith at work ministries, websites and materials. It seems the Christian world has finally discovered the marketplace and the many believers in it everyday. This is a good thing and long overdue.

    My key impression is that the FWB contains some very thoughtful material on work and faith. It has an interesting approach to theological and doctrinal issues and how they relate to Christian living and work. This is done through the “Core Doctrines” section which is then followed by a “Deeper at Work” story. These personal stories are quite valuable. But a big question remains: Is doctrinal application what we are really after in business and professional people? Are we not looking for something simpler: like helping Christ-followers be “salt” and “light” and “ambassadors” in the business world. I have always thought that the value of doctrine is to help us understand and give us solid grounding for the core of the gospel. This is my fundamental problem with the FWB.

    However I have other issues:
    1. The FWB seems difficult to use. The 31 Day journey feature is buried in the Bible and one wonders immediately if it would not be more useful as a separate faith and work devotional. The material is good but it is hard to figure out. I began using it as a devotional and the material was impactful.

    2. The FWB lacks a word index and concordance so one cannot even do simple word studies. For example what does the Bible say about work? About greed? About leadership? This seems like a fundamental problem. One would expect a Bible geared to faith and work to be a reference for workplace related issues.

    3. From a practical use point of view FWB is a large desktop size Bible. It is just too big to carry for use at work or outside of work. One is certainly not going to go on business trips with this tome! We checked and could not find a smaller size.

    Overall, I applaud the attempt to create a faith and work Bible. My experience tells me that the typical Christian business and professional will not find this edition easy and applicable to everyday workplace issues.

  2. Business At Its Best

    Leave a Comment

    Business At Its BestBy Robert J. Tamasy

    Bob Tamasy, who writes many of the Monday Mannas and is a former CBMC staff member, has recently published Business At Its Best, Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace. The book consists of 53 brief chapters addressing a wide range of workplace topics including integrity, leadership, communications, goal-setting, decision-making, teamwork and many others.

    Each chapter is followed by open-ended questions for group discussion and personal reflection. Bob said his goal with the book is to show the truths and principles of the Scriptures are as practical and relevant for the 21st Century Marketplace as when they were written thousands of years ago.

    The book is available on Amazon.com.

  3. Every Good Endeavor, (Timothy Keller)

    Leave a Comment

    EveryGoodEndeavor TKeller

    HighlyRecommended

    Read a sample of: Every Good Endeavor

    New York Times bestselling author Timothy Keller shows how God calls each of us to express meaning and purpose through our work and careers.

    Book Review by Jim Firnstahl

    This thoughtful and important work is a must-read for every marketplace Christian. It is a meaningful perspective on faith and work life integration. One example is Keller’s definition of vocation:

    “A job is a vocation only if someone else calls you to do it and you do it for them rather than for yourself…our work can be a calling only if it is reimagined as a mission of service to something beyond merely our own interests.”

    Conversely, Keller argues that when work becomes a pursuit of self-fulfillment or self-realization it “slowly crushes a person.”

    What I appreciate most about this book is that it values honesty in its discussion of the workplace. Keller is willing to acknowledge that like life itself, there is much disappointment and frustration in the typical career. He does not sidestep this reality and gains credibility for doing so.

    In order to have a balanced view of work, Keller believes one must see work as part of God’s plan to bring about “a future healed world.” It also helps if one can get a handle on the biblical answers to three key questions.

    Why do you want to work?

    The first section entitled “God’s Plan For Work” is a spiritual discussion we have grown accustomed to: God ordained work as good and even indispensible in the beginning (Genesis); Human transgressions have turned it into … real work with exhaustion and frustration. Unfortunately, this super positive view of the origin of work seems to add to the real frustration that we experience in the workplace everyday. Nevertheless origins are essential to gaining perspective and Keller is balanced, if not unimaginative, in his explanation.

    Why is it so hard to work?

    This question informs the section entitled: “Our Problems With Work.” This is my favorite by far and may be worth the price of the book. Now we are talking reality and hearing real-world experience. I am guessing this section reflects both the personal and pastoral experience of Dr. Keller. It reflects the critical reality of the workplace: Even if I bring the most positive and biblically informed view of work to my workplace, I am surrounded by fallen and unconvinced souls who do not always value dignity, meaning, or God. For most people in the world, work is not an uplifting experience. In Keller’s words, work can be: fruitless, pointless, selfish, and it can even reveal our idols.

    But there is hope. Keller is a pastor after all and he wants us to see the hope in Jesus’ Gospel. A hope which stems from an understanding that ultimately things will be put right by God Himself. So what if we began to view “work as partnering with God in His love and care for the world” as it is today? Would this perspective make things perfect? No, but it would keep us centered on God’s perspective, giving us “a particularly sensitive new moral compass,” and perhaps even “radically change our motives for work and fill us with a new and durable inner power that will be with us through thick and thin.”

    How can we overcome the difficulties and find satisfaction in our work?

    The third section, “The Gospel and Work” asks us to consider how our “worldview” might help us develop a “new story” for our work. As a Christian, I should understand that “the whole world is good” but that ” the whole world is fallen” and “the whole world is going to be redeemed.”

    Keller develops some helpful and practical ideas for applying the Gospel in business, addressing specifically the domains of business, journalism, education, the arts, and medicine. The perspective this section advocates is that it helps us to see ourselves not only as working with God but also with others. We share a “common grace” whereby “God blesses all people, so that Christians can benefit from and cooperate with-non-Christians.”

    In the final three chapters of the book, Keller offers “A New Conception of Work” (integration vs. dualism), “A New Compass for Work” (living Christian virtues) and “A New Power for Work” (wisdom and passion).

    A highly recommended book because it properly defines the difficult realities of the workplace and suggests possible approaches to integrate faith and work. A refreshing read when compared to the more common ‘Bible as a handbook for everything’ books.

     


  4. Monday Morning Atheist, (Doug Spada)

    Leave a Comment

    MondayMorningAtheistHighlyRecommended

    Read a sample of: Monday Morning Atheist, Why We Switch God Off at Work

    Book Review by Jim Firnstahl

    You should find this short book easy to read and its theme immanently identifiable. It is ideal for small groups because of its excellent companion materials.

    The book’s main thesis is that Christians, even well meaning authentic Christ-followers, are guilty of “switching” off God on Monday when they begin work. This highly practical and helpful guide wants to help Christians over-come the effects of centuries of false and unnecessary sacred-secular gap teaching and promotion. In fact our real work is where God has called and placed us.

    For the majority of us in the 21st Century, this is the marketplace. Thus it is our vocation or call from God; it is our mission field and our cross. We ought to expect our local church experience to be primarily about equipping us for this very purpose. We need this support because work is not easy given the sinfulness of humanity. And yet, we are responsible for positioning ourselves there as “salt” and “light” (divine flavoring and illumination) to help others begin to see the glory of God and His kingdom (Matt. 5:13-16).


Page 1 of 11