Nov 142012
 

Few books adeptly addresses the conundrum of work from a Christian world view. Work is such a consuming part of our lives, often unsatisfying, yet there is something good about work that both the Biblical text and even Ayn Rand (a vocal critic of Christianity) acknowledges. And it’s a common quest for people to want to find meaning to work, and the meaning of life, though often without a metaphysical or religious framework.

But Christian answers have too often come up short, like these (excerpted from page 22 in the print edition) — the way to serve God at work is…:

  • to further social justice in the world
  • to be personally honest and evangelize your colleagues
  • to just do skillful, excellent work
  • to create beauty
  • to work from a Christian motivation to glorify God, seeking to engage and influence culture to that end
  • to work with a grateful, joyful, gospel-changed heart through all the ups and downs
  • to do whatever gives you the greatest joy and passion
  • to make as much money as you can, so that you can be as generous as you can

By contrast, this new book Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work by Dr. Tim Keller with Katherine Leary Alsdorf released this week and ably presents a robust understanding of work– the desire, the difficulty, and the satisfaction of work. (ed.note: I substituted my own words here for the book’s 3 sections; and I do wonder why the book wasn’t named “The Meaning of Work”)

Read more about this book in this interview with Tim Keller and Listen to God’s Work and Ours – interview with Tim Keller

And courtesy of Dutton, Penguin Group (USA), I’m giving away a free hardcover copy of Every Good Endeavor here at djchuang.com (which is host to the first Tim Keller web page on the internet.) Win a copy of the book by doing at least 1 of these 4 tasks – add a comment, tweet this contest, like the facebook.com/DuttonPenguin page, and/or follow @DuttonBooks on twitter. 4 chances to win! Contest ends on 11/15 12:00am midnight Eastern Time.

Enter the contest and win Tim Keller’s new book on work – Every Good Endeavor

Up your odds by entering other contests at servantsofgrace and godhungry, or just buy the book now in hardcover or as a Kindle ebook.

[disclosure: I received a review copy of this book]

Jan 272011
 

Experimenting. Exploring. Ideating (brainstorming). Strategizing. These are the things I love doing and am great at doing. If you (or someone you know) would like my services in any of these areas, please do contact me so we can discuss how I could be of valuable help.

Now, the back story.

Much of my life has been trying to figure out what I was created to do and what I’m best at doing. It’s been a lot of trial and error, transitioning between many jobs and careers. Over the years I’ve become better at matching what I get paid to do and what I love to do. (Please don’t misunderstand: this isn’t about bragging nor venting my frustration.)

One thing has helped me the most. I recently discovered my “GodShape” with Angela Ferraro. Angela has a very valuable ministry at Sandals Church called the GodShape process, where she discerns and describes one’s unique God-given shape. I’d even say she has a kind of anointing and gift for synthesizing one’s personal narrative (story) through interviews and several common assessments (like Myers-Briggs and StrengthsFinder).

And, when a person operates in his/her unique GodShape (gifts & skills, desires & passions), that’s his/her best contribution to the world. Why the world isn’t better place, and why the Church is crippled from being all it could be, is people not operating in their GodShape. Implication: too many are in a bad fit.

What’s my GodShape? Here’s the first rough draft, very tentatively worded: “An idea scientist on a playground lab who provokes breakthroughs to a new ideal, flourishing state.”

Not exactly an easy find for a job opening. Thus my dilemma in crafting the words for what I should be paid to do, especially in this season of transition. Will you help me articulate it better?

The drawing at right illustrates my GodShape and my story. I’d worked within the box (shaded gray) where job descriptions were clear and specific, and I had skills to do those things. But to do just that, I’m drained and not energizing. (Not to mention the many things I don’t do well.) The action verbs (in blue + green) within the circle are things I do that better match my gifts and passions, but that’s not the ultimate fit. I do those things as a means to the end of finding the breakthrough solutions (strategies) for an individual or an organization. Then I’d be better off to hand off the solutions for others to run & implement.
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Jan 182010
 

2010 is a brand new season for my work life. I am now working as a freelance consultant, aka independent contractor.
new season
In addition to being available for short-term projects, I’ve just started working with Worship Leader Magazine and its media group [cf. press release]; I will continue to work with Leadership Network, where I’d been joyfully employed for 3 years; and, I’ll stay involved with L2 Foundation, where I’ve served for 9 years.

Here’s an overview for what I’m available for hire ::

  1. strategist for web & social media
    multi-channel approach to effectively connect with your audience, using blog, twitter, facebook, podcast, videos, webinars, and more
  2. facilitator for collaboration & strategic planning
    developing tactics for maximizing opportunities & overcoming challenges
  3. training and speaking on topics specifically designed for your context, including: church, ministry, technology, and collaboration

I am located in Aliso Viejo, California, between Irvine and San Juan Capistrano. Let’s connect by phone or your preferred mode of communication, so we can discuss how I may be of service to you and/or your organization.
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Oct 062009
 

Small talk is not my forte’. I can talk about weather or sports for maybe 30 seconds tops. Those are the conventionally safe topics. Work usually comes up early in the conversation, as in “what do you do?” People too quickly associate one’s identity with their work / profession / career.

There are some topics not good for small talk: “… it is not safe to discuss subjects that society deems controversial such as religion or politics.” Yet, politics get lots of air time, even though it’s controversial. Lots of mainstream media and social media time at that.

One British etiquette website describes what’s safe and not safe for small talk conversations:

Which topics are safe for small talk? …

- The weather, eg “It’s a lovely day today, isn’t it?”
- Sport, eg “Have you been watching Wimbledon?”
- Hobbies, eg “What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?”
- Work, eg “What sort of work do you do?”

… Which topics are best avoided for small talk? …

- Money, eg “How much do you earn?”
- Politics, eg “Who did you vote for at the last election?”
- Religion, eg “Do you believe in God?”

Yawn.

What about philosophy and religion? Now these two topics make for much more INTERESTING conversations!

Sep 052006
 

My workshop this past weekend was provocatively titled “Doing Work You Love: Godly Wisdom for Career Choices.” Knowing what I know of people who live in the New York metro area, or anywhere for that matter, career and work would be a hot topic for young adults attending a weekend conference.

Here’s my workshop notes in PDF, Doing Work You Love, and related references:
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Apr 282006
 

Helen Lee is one of the editors who worked on the Growing Healthy Asian American Churches book we’ve been discussing here. She is also cofounder of the Best Christian Workplaces Institute, and formerly an editor at Christianity Today.
I was able to find a way to pull together an interview, asynchronously conducted over email amidst our crazy adventure-filled lives: For Helen, that’s being a Mom of 2 young ones, among other things; for me, that’s being a guy of 2 jobs, and lots of ideas on the side.

DJ: Thank you for playing a vital role in being a part of a team that put this book together. What did you enjoy most about the book project?
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Jan 112005
 

[a lost entry reconstructed]

Reading Lee’s musing about what he learned on vacation triggered a revelation for me. I might be a workaholic! It’s not a hard confession, but it’s just not how I think of myself (self-perception being as influential as it is).

What shook me up about Lee’s musing was that I too don’t know what to do on vacation or when I have too much time on my hands. In fact, what my natural gravity seems to move towards is emotional self-destruction.
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