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Posted by on Oct 16, 2017 in Art, vocation, Work | 0 comments

“Wood and Nails” – Work Songs: The Porter’s Gate Worship Project

“Wood and Nails” – Work Songs: The Porter’s Gate Worship Project

  For the next several days, I will be featuring new songs from a beautiful new project I had the chance to witness in person recently in New York City: Work Songs: The Porter’s Gate Worship Project, Vol. 1 (Live) Back in June 2017, a group of talented musicians, such as Josh Garrels, Audrey Assad, and Latifah Alattas, was convened by Isaac Wardell, the Director of Worship Arts at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Virginia. Wardell noticed a surprisingly lack of mainstream worship songs focused on the theme of vocation. So he convened a community of leading worship artists and the result was a new album that, in my view, is the finest musical contribution to the church on the theme of vocation since the era of the Reformation.    The first song I’ll post here is “Wood and Nails (featuring Audrey Assad and Josh Garrels).” Enjoy – especially on your way to work this week.      “Wood and Nails”  [Verse 1] O humble carpenter, down on Your hands and...

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Posted by on Oct 12, 2017 in business, Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, vocation, Work | 0 comments

How Does Your Work Impact Those Down the Line?

How Does Your Work Impact Those Down the Line?

  Have you thought about the people affected by your work who you may never meet? Learn more in this excerpt from the e-book “The Call to Commerce: 6 Ways to Love Your Neighbor Through Business.” Catch the first post here on the blog as well.  3. Love Your Supply Chains Months ago, I had a moving conversation with Tim Dearborn, a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary and former vice president at World Vision International1. He shared the story of visiting a church built on slave forts in Ghana. As he sat in the cathedral, he could almost hear the cries of 19th century slaves echoing below. I asked him, “What do you think are the modern ‘churches built on slave forts’ today?” That is, what are the systemic injustices that Christians have knowingly – or unknowingly – supported in the modern world? He replied with two simple words: “Supply chains.” Rarely do we think about the labor conditions of those who sew our shirts or make components for our...

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Posted by on Oct 11, 2017 in business, Economy, Work | 0 comments

The Call to Commerce: 6 Ways to Love Your Neighbor Through Business

The Call to Commerce: 6 Ways to Love Your Neighbor Through Business

  “And who is my neighbor?” This question is just as pressing to us in 21st century America as it was 2,000 years ago. A legal expert, “who wanted to justify himself,” posed this question to Jesus. In response, Jesus told the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Like that expert, we look around the world today and see pressing needs at every turn: self-centered leadership, ignorance, poverty, political instability, disease, and spiritual darkness. Overwhelmed at the needs pouring into our digital devices, we ask “What can I really do?” Our temptation, like that of the Levite and the priest in the parable, is to walk past the needs of others and go about our day. Yet two surprising twists in Jesus’ parable can give us hope. First, the hero of the story is a Samaritan, a member of a mixed ethnic group despised by the Jews. Though the religious insiders – a Levite and a priest – pass by, it’s the heretic, the outsider, who stops to help. The...

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Posted by on Sep 29, 2017 in business, Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, Faith and Work Movement, Work | 0 comments

Making a Permanent Impact on American Society?

Making a Permanent Impact on American Society?

  “Dealmakers: Episode I” – Pete Ochs I often imagine what collective impact between business leaders, churches, government, nonprofits and ministries might look like. What would it look like for us to partner together to make a permanent, generational impact on American society? When it comes to work, in many ways, our society is hemorrhaging. The labor participation rate for men age 24-55 is at its lowest point since the Great Depression; 10 million men are either unemployed or looking for work; today there are 70 million Americans with a criminal background, many of whom can’t find a good job due to their past. What if the Christian business leaders we all know decided to hire the millions of men and women with barriers to employment? Could the Church step up to meet a critical need – and develop the knowledge, best practices, and vision for loving our neighbors through good jobs? This is a big task – maybe too big. But I feel like things are changing. TC...

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Posted by on Sep 26, 2017 in Craftsmanship & Manual Labor, Work | 4 comments

Colorado Needs a Renewed Vision of the Craftsman

Colorado Needs a Renewed Vision of the Craftsman

  Colorado needs a renewed vision of the craftsman. Lately, everybody is talking about workforce development. This week the Biennial of the Americas featured a discussion on the topic. Careerwise Colorado continues to make headlines placing youth in apprenticeships across the state. The Denver City Council’s economic and workforce development group is hosting a series of roundtables to address the woeful shortage of construction labor. And for good reason. The Association of General Contractors of America says that 85 percent of Colorado companies are having a hard time filling craft positions, like carpenters, concrete workers, and electricians. Though good paying jobs are in ample supply, technical and “middle skill” labor is sorely needed. To meet this need, noble efforts like Build Colorado emphasize career paths and high pay to try and fill the thousands of pipefitter, mason, and management jobs. But there is a critical gap in the trades pipeline: our k-12 educational system. Greg Schmidt, CEO at Saunders Construction, says, “Though we have carpenters making over $40,000/year and superintendents making $75,000-$100,000/year,...

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Posted by on Sep 13, 2017 in Theology, Work | 0 comments

The Prayer of Awareness

The Prayer of Awareness

  Several weeks ago I sat down to breakfast with my friend and spiritual mentor Barry. Since Barry is the CFO of a publicly traded company, I’m always wanting to talk business. Turn arounds, strategies, stock price, leadership. Yet he continually takes the conversation back to a moment-by-moment relationship with Christ. “My spiritual director shared with me a practice that I’ve found very helpful,” Barry said. “And it centers on the concept of awareness. The first step in this prayer is just this: (1) Recognize that Jesus is aware of you in this moment.” Awareness. Interesting thought. One of my unspoken barriers to prayer is that Jesus is high, far off, and mighty – and that I need to get in the right room, position, or posture to pray. But the truth is that Jesus, who is with us to the very end of the age, is aware of me right now. At a computer. On the way to the bathroom. In a meeting. In the car. Putting on...

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