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Courage and Calling: Embracing Your God-Given Potential
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Courage and Calling: Embracing Your God-Given Potential

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  337 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
God has called you--first to himself, to know and follow him but also to a specific life purpose, a particular reason for being.This second call, to a defining purpose or mission in life, is often termed a vocation, from the Latin root meaning "calling." And while it has implications for your work or occupation, it also reaches wider. It includes your giftedness, your weak ...more
Paperback, 201 pages
Published December 15th 1999 by IVP Books (first published November 30th 1999)
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Apr 29, 2007 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone, but primarily recent grads searching for meaning in their careers and lives
Quite simply, I loved this book. It was one of those books where I just had to keep pausing in my reading and thinking about an amazing point that Smith had just made or a challenging question he had asked. As Daniel commented in his review, it tends toward being perhaps too organized with the lists and such, but that helps you to take more away from the book. More than a book about vocation, I think that Courage and Calling is a book about living with purpose and passion.
Feb 04, 2015 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Take time to reflect.

I've read a variety of books on the subject of calling, and most tend to fall into one of two categories. First, you have the books that talk about the nature of vocation and perhaps give a theological rationale for it. They are nice, but they are mostly informative. The second type is more a workbook that helps you figure out what it is you're good at, but rarely do they establish a solid rationale and framework that helps you understand your calling in the broader scheme o
Apr 07, 2007 Taija rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who desires to follow God's call on their life
Shelves: nonfiction
I read this book my last year in college with three wonderful women. The discussion among us as we read and examined our lives through this book was incredible. I cannot think of a better book to read before, during, and even after a "crossroads" of sorts. It is difficult to summarize what I gained from this book and even more difficult to distinguish what was gained from the book versus the discussion stimulated by it. I can only encourage you to read it with someone so you can benefit from bot ...more
Feb 03, 2009 Scott rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
This book sounds as if it would be one of those "God has destined you for greatness" types. But it isn't. It's about the continual, lifelong process of discerning your vocation/calling. This subject can be beaten to death, but Smith offers a fresh, life-giving take on things. I had Smith as a Prof. at Regent and I find him to be so wise, practical and challenging. I have heard a lot of these things before, so I skimmed large parts of the book- otherwise the book might receive higher praise from ...more
Sep 17, 2009 Brandon rated it really liked it
p24 Typical narrow understanding of a calling: "your only excuse for staying home and not going to the mission field is if by staying home you can do more to further the cause of missions than by going..."
p39 A common but unfortunate message: "God isn't looking for ability, but availability"
p73 "We will not be a source of wisdom, unless we bless"
p144 "We suffer with hope"
p150 "is something lost by abandoning oral confessions..."
p155 Being a hero v. Accepting limitations
p157 "Nothing represents m
Kevin McGlothen
Mar 03, 2016 Kevin McGlothen rated it it was amazing
I purchased this book while in college at a conference. This book is amazing. It helps you discover your God-given calling.
Amy T.
Jun 20, 2017 Amy T. rated it really liked it
A very good book full of so much wisdom. Personally, I felt that the first couple of chapters were too general and therefore lacked depth but Chapter 4 really started to go deep and it just got better from there.

The book is about vocation: what are we particularly and specifically called to accomplish in this life? What did God design us for? How does this relate to our jobs, our gifts, our passions, and our day to day lives? Smith outlines every facet that surrounds these questions and digs de
Feb 20, 2017 Alana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian, career
Another one on the list of career-related books I've been reading over the past 6 months, this one addresses more on the spiritual side of things by focusing not just on our career but on our calling, our individual mission in this life based on who we are. Career almost certainly is a part of calling, but while our careers may change throughout our lives, our calling/purpose/mission in life will remain the same (though it will likely be expressed in different ways depending on life stage and ci ...more
Mark Oppenlander
Sep 25, 2013 Mark Oppenlander rated it liked it
Shelves: theology
This is a solid book on the concept of Christian vocation, written by Dr. Gordon T. Smith, a long-time professor and administrator in Christian higher education. He has also been a pastor both in his home country of Canada and overseas. He currently works at Ambrose University and Seminary in Calgary, Alberta.

I work daily with students who are struggling with the question of career, calling and vocation. For this reason, I have given a lot of thought to the topics and themes explored in this boo
Reid Mccormick
Dec 21, 2016 Reid Mccormick rated it really liked it
“The glory of God is the human person fully alive” –Irenaeus

I follow a lot of higher education news and it seems like every day there is a new college list out. I’ve seen lists on which schools have the most beautiful campuses, which schools have the wealthiest alumni, best party schools, etc. But the lists that upset me the most are the ones that rank colleges or majors based on earning potential. Should anyone really encourage students to choose a major simply based on how much money they can
Sep 03, 2007 Daniel rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
update: just read this book again only this time read the revised and updated version. I still think Smith has some great pearls of wisdom. But here is where I find reading to be so reliant on context! his tedious-ness stood out to me more as did the lack of more concrete examples to his principles. also he is definitely writing to a specific audience, one that is Christian and has already gotten a one sided message about calling. his additions in the update were interesting but not necessary. I ...more
The book mainly focuses on vocational calling, although it also speaks briefly into various areas of calling. Smith shares that there are three callings we all have: the call to love, the call to walk with God, and daily callings. Vocational calling, he claims, involves all three and simply answers the question how we as individuals are to live out these callings.

I often felt that the focus was a bit too heavy on vocational calling and how to practically walk toward that. Based on the title, I
Dec 05, 2016 Peter rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
In July 1998, my wife and I had the privilege of attending a Summer School retreat at Schloss Mittersill in Austria. One of the speakers was Gordon Smith, who gave a series of talks on vocation. I found the talks thoughtful and inspiring - they helped me to clarify my thinking about work, leisure, family and organisations.

Having bought cassette tapes of Smith's talks, I returned to his ideas subsequently, but it was only recently that I investigated his writing and found that he had distilled t
Sep 27, 2013 Jim rated it it was amazing
A wise and practical look at the vocations God calls us to as individuals and a helpful guide in understanding how we are meant to serve Him in all that He has made us to be.

I would recommend this book to anyone who finds themselves in a time of transition, whether deciding what to do after high school or university, or looking for a new job or career later on in life or even in thinking through what to do with your retirement. If you are concerned with how to serve God with your life, wherever
Lee Bertsch
Jul 06, 2016 Lee Bertsch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read other books on this subject, there was not a lot of new ground covered. But that does not take away from the fact that it is an excellent resource. His chapter on "the chapters of life" was especially relevant and helpful to me. The author is presently a post secondary school administrator and instructor. Not surprisingly, the way he invites his readers to process things, seems skewed toward those in "professions". Who is writing the book to help skilled trades people "embrace their ...more
Matt Maples
This was an interesting and somewhat insightful book. I think that Gordon Smith's market place examples show a lack of understanding of the modern business market, but I do think that there are a lot of great nuggets of truth for us to take in from this book. I really like his perspective on career vs. vocation and that our jobs should not define who we are, and we are not free to stop following our God given purposes no matter what age we are.
Jul 25, 2014 Vickie rated it liked it
Shelves: spiritual-growth
I really, really wanted to give this book 3.5 stars. The writing is scholarly and repetitive. But the ideas! I am still processing the ideas and absorbing the concepts days after completing the book. Thinking of "vocation" as something that I "must" do instead of my "career" is requiring some internal adjustments. I settled on a "3", but may upgrade later to a "4".
Steve Hazell
May 04, 2015 Steve Hazell rated it liked it
I had to read this book for a class I was taking so I may be biased in my review from being forced to read it. I thought much of the content was great however the writing was terrible. It was SO repetitive and dry. From a content perspective I would give it 4.5 stars but from a literary perspective 2 stars. I just averaged those for my rating.
Aug 10, 2009 leighcia rated it liked it
I read this book over a 24-hour women’s retreat and remember that it was calming and reassuring in my never-ending struggle to figure out what to do with my life. If I remember correctly, the book explored the idea of vocation—that God calls us to specific tasks (not necessarily in the form of career) in different seasons of our life.
Jan 26, 2009 Joseph rated it liked it
Shelves: ivp
I find Gordon T. Smith to be full of wisdom--that is where I feel the strength of this book lies. Reading this book over the past few months was like attending a very good seminar on the topic of Christian calling and vocation that was very practical and timely. Not the most engaging or exciting read, but very helpful as a whole.
Erin Payseur
Jan 26, 2016 Erin Payseur rated it liked it
I am using this book for a class I am teaching this fall on Vocational Calling. It has some great prompts for discussion and personal reflection. Calling is a concept that is both challenging to understand and even more challenging to discern. I am looking forward to seeing how students respond to the text and how useful it is to them in discerning God's call on their lives.
Jul 27, 2007 Emily rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: searchers for purpose
far better and more applicable than a purpose-driven life, this book isn't just another "how to get to God" book. g.smith gives a good balance of scriptural passages, research from multiple disciplines (psychology, sociology, philosophy, etc.), and his own perspective on how we can live and work today while remembering our true God-given calling.
Dec 02, 2016 Cindy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-living
It is biblical remind you the purpose in life, how you can explore your calling use the 7 gifts mentioned in the Bible as well as using the practical mordern Briggs Myers personality type tests. Also remind Howe calling, vocation can change as you enter different stage of your life
Adam Shaeffer
There was a lot to like in this book, and I enjoyed it, but at the end it wasn't all that I had hoped it would be. I did appreciate the encouragement throughout to know ourselves and recognize how vital that knowledge is if we are to live out our calling and vocation.
Andy Dix
Apr 21, 2015 Andy Dix rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How to finally figure out and start living one's purposeful life!

If I could give this book 10 stars I would. This is a book I wish I was gifted enough to write. Don't just read it, live it daily!
Carolyn Ogrosky
Jul 09, 2012 Carolyn Ogrosky rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most helpful books I've read in a long time. The author gave great theological as well as practical advice to the person, like me, who is still in search of discovering her vocation. I highly recommend this!
Aug 29, 2007 Katherine rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one.
I am being forced to read this for school.

In the end I felt this book gave me absolutely no information I did not know and I also disliked the tone of the writing. Trashed before finishing -- I moved on to the next book for the class as directed.
Jan 16, 2014 Liz rated it really liked it
Shelves: sp-curriculum
Courage and Calling is one of those Christian formation books that's helpful no matter what stage of life you're in. Smith fleshes out calling, vocation, and purpose from the perspective that God has given us unique and specific ways to follow Him and experience Him in our life's work.

Jan 24, 2013 Paige rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian-genre
This book has some excellent insights. On vocation and calling. Author is a bit redundant in his writing style but still worth the read if you are on the path of self discovery and Gods plan and purpose for life.
Luke Waite
Feb 22, 2016 Luke Waite rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: College Students
Smith totally changed the way that I think about calling and vocation. By the time I finished this book I had a brand new outlook on life, work, family, and passions. I highly recommend this book if you are at a crossroads in your life or just need to be encouraged and have you passion revived.
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