With great transparency and humility and extraordinary energy, John Simontacchi shares his extraordinary journey of transformation. John describes the numerous times that God’s amazing hand of grace rescued him from life-threatening situations and guided his career, even before he really even “believed” in God. Most dramatically, John explains how the escalation of his career was accompanied by the slow deterioration of his heart until in his 60’s he was given just a few months to live. Once again, God’s amazing grace provided a 20-year old heart for his aging body, and with that heart came direction toward a new career. John Simontacchi was given a new heart both figuratively and literally, and the message of this transformed man is to trust and surrender.
As a senior partner in a global consulting firm and a deacon in the Catholic Church, Gauthier Vincent is uniquely positioned to contemplate the intersections and integration of faith and work. He shares 12 ways he has found to ground his work in his faith, and explains how he applies these practically on a daily basis in his own life.
- Embrace the purpose of your work (remember all the people whose welfare our work contributes to)
- Realize your freedom (just follow Christ)
Ideas 1 and 2 are about growing in gratitude and in spiritual freedom
- Practice a life of virtues at work (even work becomes a good habit, i.e., virtue and a school of selflessness)
- Do it right and make it beautiful (beauty always leads to contemplation)
- Always be cheerful (joy calls on Joy)
- Live the Gospel literally whenever you can (as you take the last seat and sub-optimize your work, you trust in the Lord)
- Welcome Christ in everyone (look at the Christ image in all, from the CEO to the janitor)
Ideas 3-7 are about living the right way, as a child of God
- Cultivate the Presence of God during the day (turn your heart to the Lord with ejaculatory prayers, sweet words, e.g., as your watch beeps every hour)
- Practice the Examen (reflect on your day and look for how the Lord touched you through consolations and desolations)
- Begin and end your day in a contemplative mood (begin with a time for Scripture and Silence and the Silent Presence will stay with you during the day)
- Let the cross transform you (above age 25 one learns essentially through failures and suffering; there the Lord comes closer)
- Love the world and everyone in it (if you don’t work with love you deprive your co-workers, family, clients, etc.. of the real value of your work, i.e., the love with which you work)
Ideas 8-12 are about the mystical life at work, the life of union with the Beloved
Although he generally hates talking about himself or his past, Terry Wilcox humbly and transparently shares the amazing journey of his life with Jesus. Terry explains the decisions that set the course for his life–accepting Jesus, surrendering his life to the Holy Spirit and telling God he would embrace any opportunity God provided to talk about Him–and he reveals the incredible adventures that were in God’s plan for a “farm boy from Western Pennsylvania who barely got through college”. Terry also shares the conclusions of a life lived fully with Jesus–God is faithful and His grace is sufficient.
With great humility and vulnerability, Richard Williams shares his amazing journey “from selfishness to servanthood . . . from death to life”. After talking about growing up in a loving home of 13 children with a mother who cared for everyone and a father who learned to read at 54, Williams explains how the desire to “succeed” and “fit in” as a college graduate in a professional career led him to years of drug addiction that eventually destroyed his “successful life” and even his relationships with his family.
He then tells us about the amazing journey back to “life” that began when he arrived at Pivot Ministries in Bridgeport, CT. Richard transparently shares his 12-year transformation from a new Pivot student whose life was “all about me” to the Executive Director of the ministry–a position that is “all about the well-being of others”.
Dan Haseltine tells us that a songwriter’s job is to describe the world as it is and as it it could be, and he presents his vision of both.
Starting with a painfully vulnerable description of his childhood, Haseltine explains how a dysfunctional and volatile family life pushed him to music, and how music led him to mission. He transparently shares the generational brokenness that resulted in him growing up without access to a father, and then reveals how watching the Live Aid concert in 1985 transformed his understanding of rock and roll and permanently fused in his mind “music” and “mission”.
After describing the unlikely genesis of Jars of Clay at a small college in southern Illinois, Haseltine explains how the band was led to use its platform of musical success to embrace mission by starting the charity Blood:Water.
In telling this story, Haseltine reveals two lessons he has learned about humanity. First, that human beings often try to control or destroy things we do not understand, and second, that we long for “spaceless embrace” with each other but continually drive wedges between ourselves. Haseltine then offers his vision of the world “as it could be”.