Coram Deo ~ The Blog

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

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Regarding Ferguson, Missouri by Tammy Pence

Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all who are dispossessed. Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy (Proverbs 31:8-9; Prov 17:26).

I would like to encourage everyone to read Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile’s two posts:

Here’s a few quotes:

This post is a recognition that evangelicalism is useless in its own back yard, with its own neighbors, while it changes its twitter avatars to identify with persecuted Christians half a world away.

Orthodox evangelicalism is dead to the marginalized because it’s so allergic to the margins. It wants its mainstream, its tree-lined streets of cultural acceptance, its reserve and respectability….the church has turned her head, closed her eyes, and pressed tight her lips.

“Well, the most pervasive mistake I have made was in believing that because our cause was just, we could be sure that the white ministers of the South, once their Christian consciences were challenged, would rise to our aid. I felt that white ministers would take our cause to the white power structures. I ended up, of course, chastened and disillusioned.” Martin Luther King in his book, Why We Can’t Wait

I have been concerned about the militarization of the police (using tanks, etc.). I realize their rationalization is that they want to be as well armed as the criminals. I am ashamed of strong-arm robbery and the rioting and looting occurring in Ferguson. Before the shooting of Michael Brown, I watched the video of an unarmed man, Eric Garner, choked to death by NYC police. What was his crime? He allegedly possessed “untaxed cigarettes.” I love our police protection, but they have options available to them before using deadly force. What has happened to the Protect and Serve attitude vs. looking at community members with distrust and suspicion?

It has been 13 days since Michael Brown was shot and killed. We have not heard the official autopsy results, nor have we heard the officer’s account of what happened. If it was a police officer that was shot and killed, do you think 13 days would go by without information on the investigation? It’s time for Christian people to stand up for justice.   If our leaders won’t show leadership courage then we need to start a grassroots movement.

He has told you, O man, what is good;  and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,  and to walk humbly with your God?  Micah 6:8

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It’s Back to School Week! (Groan….)



The GiverMovie Review: The Giver, rated PG-13

 Book Reviews:

Ice Bucket Challenge Inspires Unprecedented Giving to ALS

The ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” is filling social media feeds and celebrities have joined in on the craze. The challenge has helped raise $15.6 million in donations, compared with only $1.8 million during the same time period last year, according to the ALS Association

Watch: 20 great celebrity ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos:

Donate to support research to find a cure for ALS and provide much-needed services to patients and their families:










  • St. Louis Cardinal outfielder Matt Holliday has been using “The Heart” by NEEDTOBREATHE (one of my favorite songs of 2014) as his walk-up music lately.
  • Last week, Paul McCartney closed down Candlestick Park in San Francisco (it will be demolished). The Beatles had played their last live show on tour at Candlestick in 1966. McCartney played “Long Tall Sally”, the last Beatles song ever played on tour. Read more here:
  • Upcoming music releases this week include 20 by Jars of Clay, Anchor by Colton Dixon, Oxygen by Lincoln Brewster and In Motion: The Remixes by Amy Grant.
  • Tickets for Keith and Kristyn Getty’s October 17 concert at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria go on sale later this month. If you sign up to receive the WBNH radio newsletter you will be able to purchase discounted tickets. Read more here:
  • Speaking of the Gettys, check out this promotional video for their fall concert tour: Look for more information on tickets very soon!Michael W. Smith Christmas
  • It’s been a busy year for Michael W. Smith. First he released Hymns, a collection of traditional hymns for Cracker Barrel, then he released Sovereign, a new worship album, and on September 30, he will release his fourth Christmas album, The Spirit of Christmas with friends such as Bono, Michael McDonald, Carrie Underwood, Amy Grant and others. Read more here:
  • My good friend Chris Meyer has a band that I’d like to tell you about. It’s not just any band. They are a self-described group of normal folks who love music and give back to their community. So they take 80% of the funds they bring in and give it back to families and individuals in need (20% is needed for equipment, printing, etc.). They do not personally take any funds from their shows. Blurklezurps is a made up name that one of the band members used as a kid when his brother would ask him what was wrong with him as he had Tourette Syndrome (TS). The band decided they loved this name for two reasons:  First, no one in the band had had TS! Second, they are just a bunch of people who make mistakes and deal with everyday life like everyone else – they are just a bunch of Zurps! The Zurps started out 7 years ago and feel very fortunate to have helped numerous families and individuals in need over this time.  Chris says that “To see the smiles, tears, hugs, and to see some of them healed and then also to mourn with those that lost the battle but in the end they came to know Christ, that is a biggest gift our group has known – to know we touched a life that in turn gave theirs to God!” To find out more about the band and see where they are playing next, check out their website: www.theblurklezurps.comThe Zurps


  • Russell Moore writes about the shootings and subsequent violence in Ferguson (St. Louis) last week. He writes “Ferguson reminds us that American society has a long way to go in healing old hatreds. Our churches are not outposts of American society. Our churches are to be colonies of the kingdom of God. Let’s not just announce what unity and reconciliation ought to look like. Let’s also show it.” Read his article here. 
  • I had two classes with Dan Doriani at Covenant Seminary, the most recent being “Christian Ethics” in the Spring of 2013. Dr. Doriani was recently elected to the Gospel Coalition Council. Read more here:
  • Did you read about the $1 million baseball memorabilia find on the PBS Antiques Roadshow program recently? If not, check this out.  

ROBIN WILLIAMS:Robin WilliamsCourtesy of World Magazine

Thoughts on Robin Williams ~ From Guest Blogger Katie Krolik

Terrible news last night. Peter Pan, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Genie…is gone. It’s hard to believe that someone who brought so much joy and, by all human standards, “had it all” left the world in such a dark way.

I would never claim to be remotely profound, in fact, 99 percent of the time I either don’t know what to say or I say completely the wrong thing. But, as I was driving to work this morning and nearly every radio station was talking about Robin, it had me thinking.

There is a lot of talk about mental illness in light of Robin’s passing. No doubt, depression is a very real and ugly thing. I’ve lived through that darkness and it was scary. By God’s grace, I was pulled out of the muck and found a reason to have hope.

Sometimes though, I think the term “mental illness” can be used a little loosely. Sometimes I think it is similar to the way that multitudes of excited, energetic kids are quickly “diagnosed” with ADD/ADHD and put on medication. Guess what, they are KIDS, and kids are usually energetic. (By the way, Ethan was one of those kids. His 1st grade teacher suggested that we have him tested and put on meds. Funny, after she moved his seat from facing directly in front of the class computer, and away from a group of other “talkers”, he showed no other signs of “ADD”. He doesn’t have ADD, she had way too many distractions around a young boy. At the end of the year, she admitted that she was completely wrong to try to diagnose him.)

Similarly, I think there should be a clearer identification and more education on what is and what are the signs of true clinical depression. It is our human condition to go through valleys. That doesn’t always equate to mental illness. There is a part of us that is missing, incomplete. We are lacking something, and we are all looking for something to fill the void. That is ingrained in all of us. But on top of that, God sometimes allows us to experience pain, hurt, disappointment, betrayal, and loss. Why? I learned that unfortunately, we don’t always get the answers this side of eternity. But, we know from His truth that He does all things out of love. That is who He is. I think He uses pain to teach us, bring us closer to Him, show us how weak we are and our need for Him, and even to bless us.

At the end of the day, we are not much different than Robin. We ALL have the capacity for self-destruction. We all are in need of a loving Savior to save us from ourselves. To love us when we don’t love ourselves. And to adore us when we feel utterly alone.

We will experience pain. That is a promise that comes from scripture. But where do we get our hope from? If we rely on the things of the world, when the valley comes, and inevitably it will, what will we have to stand on, to look to, to pull us up and give us a reason for hope? I am ‘Chief of Sinners’, and I am still learning every day. But by God’s constant prodding (because I am a slow learner), I lean more on Him as the source of my joy and certainly my hope. People will fail me, things lose their shine, and money is an imaginary security that can be gone tomorrow. When I was in the depths of despair from when I was 18 to 24, dealing with/running from tremendous grief and hurt, God was the one who rescued me time and time again. He loved me before I loved Him, before I surrendered to Him, and when I was in the midst of my sin. He gave me a reason to not only live, but to really breath in the freedom from darkness that only His power can bring.

The point of this is, when you hear the term “mental illness”, don’t let it gloss over the fact that in a way, we all have an illness. It is called sin and it makes us less than what we were designed to be. Sometimes medication is an absolute necessity. But I think the first question we have to ask is if our hurt is from a regular human longing that can only be cured by the ultimate Healer. His name is Jesus.

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.” Psalm 30:11-12


A religion of head-knowledge and theories will prove of no avail either in this life or that which is to come. -C.H. Spurgeon


Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus to all of my haters For the ones that think I forgot Him   And the ones who won’t let me say it I ain’t scared no more.  -Lecrae from “Fear”

 Integrating Faith and Work

What’s Best Next Book Club – Part 3What's Best Next

What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman

There is much to learn from this new book on productivity from a Christian perspective. So much so, that I’m going to share lessons learned from the book over a period of several weeks. I’ve highlighted a number of passages in Chapters 8 and 9 and would like to share some of them with you.

I’d encourage you to read the book along with me, and to visit Matt’s website at and in particular The Toolkit:

Next time we’ll pick up with chapter 10.

 The 5 Love Languages Book Club Week Nine   5 love

Last week, Tammy and I continued our summer book club of Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to a Love that Lasts. We covered chapter ten: Love is a Choice. Here are a few passages we highlighted:

  • Love doesn’t erase the past, but it makes the future different. When we choose active expressions of love in the primary love language of our spouse, we create an emotional climate where we can deal with our past conflicts and failures.
  • It’s the “I don’t love her anymore” mind-set that gives men the emotional freedom to seek love with someone else. The same is true for wives who use the same excuse.
  • Thousands of husbands and wives have been there—emotionally empty, wanting to do the right thing, not wanting to hurt anyone, but being pushed by their emotional need to seek love outside the marriage.
  • Fortunately, I had discovered in the earlier years of my own marriage the difference between the in-love experience and the emotional need to feel loved. Most in our society have not yet learned that difference.
  • The in-love experience that we discussed in chapter 3 is on the level of instinct. It is not premeditated; it simply happens in the normal context of male-female relationships. It can be fostered or quenched, but it does not arise by conscious choice. It is short-lived (usually two years or less) and seems to serve for humankind the same function as the mating call of the Canada goose.
  • The in-love experience temporarily meets one’s emotional need for love. In time, however, we come down from that natural high back to the real world. If our spouse has learned to speak our primary love language, our need for love will continue to be satisfied. If, on the other hand, he or she does not speak our love language, our tank will slowly drain, and we will no longer feel loved. Meeting that need in one’s spouse is definitely a choice. If I learn the emotional love language of my spouse and speak it frequently, she will continue to feel loved.
  • However, if I have not learned her primary love language or have chosen not to speak it, when she descends from the emotional high, she will have the natural yearnings of unmet emotional needs. After some years of living with an empty love tank, she will likely “fall in love” with someone else, and the cycle will begin again.
  • Meeting my wife’s need for love is a choice I make each day. If I know her primary love language and choose to speak it, her deepest emotional needs will be met and she will feel secure in my love. If she does the same for me, my emotional needs are met and both of us live with a full tank.
  • Few men, suffering from an empty emotional love tank, leave their marriage until they have prospects of meeting that need somewhere else.
  • Speak it frequently. “What if the love language of your spouse is something that doesn’t come naturally for you?” I am often asked this question at my marriage seminars, and my answer is, “So?” You see, when an action doesn’t come naturally to you, it is a greater expression of love.
  • Love is something you do for someone else, not something you do for yourself.
  • We discover the primary love language of our spouse, and we choose to speak it whether or not it is natural for us. We are not claiming to have warm, excited feelings. We are simply choosing to do it for his or her benefit. We want to meet our spouse’s emotional need, and we reach out to speak his love language. In so doing, his emotional love tank is filled and chances are he will reciprocate and speak our language. When he does, our emotions return, and our love tank begins to fill.
  • Love is a choice. And either partner can start the process today.
  • A key thought here is the idea of speaking our mate’s love language whether or not it is natural for us. Why do you think this is so fundamental to a healthy marriage?

Next week we will cover the two remaining chapters and finish our study of the book. Won’t you join us?

 R.C. Sproul Quote



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The Gettys are Coming!

Hymns for the Christian Life fall concert tour with Keith & Kristyn Getty and Friends is coming to Peoria.
Go to, and be sure to watch the video on the front page!
WHERE: Grace Presbyterian Church, 8607 N. State Route 91, Peoria, IL 61615
WHEN: Friday, October 17, 2014, 7:00 pm (there will be a Pastor’s/Worship Leaders luncheon at Noon)

Tickets go on sale August 26.
$15 each in advance for all general admission seats
$10 each for 10 or more
Age 15 and younger admitted free with paid adult
Tickets will be available at:
• WBNH Radio, 1919 Mayflower Drive, Pekin, IL
• Hoerr’s Berean Bookstore, 801 W. Lake St., Peoria, IL, Mon-Sat 10-7. Phone: (309)685-5995
• Christ Church, PCA, 1301 N. Linden, Normal, IL, M-F 9-4. Phone: (309) 452-7927
Gettys Tour Photo

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Coram Deo in Mid-August

We hope you enjoy our blog. Our desire is to serve our readers. If you enjoy the blog, would you consider posting a link to your Facebook site so that your friends can enjoy it? Thanks for helping us get the word out! Bill and Tammy


Book Reviews

Movie Reviews

  • Guardians of the Galaxy, rated PG-13
  • Boyhood, rated R
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey, rated PG




Pastor Mark Driscoll is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church—based in Seattle, Washington and the author of over 15 books. Mars Hill Church grew beyond all expectations to 13,000 people (and counting) and gathers weekly across 15 locations in five states. In 2012, Mars Hill was recognized as the third fastest growing church in the country.





  • A great way to start the day is to listen to Albert Mohler’s The Briefing, a daily worldview analysis about the leading news headlines and cultural conversations. This will be some of the best twenty minutes you will spend each day. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or listen on Dr. Mohler’s website here:
  • In addition to their primary site (, Ligonier Ministries has two sites that I would like to recommend to you. They are Renewing Your Mind (, which contains the daily radio program, and RefNet (, which features 7 X 24 of excellent teaching from R.C. Sproul, Alistair Begg, John MacArthur, Albert Mohler, Ravi Zacharias and others.
  • My friend Freddie Cornejo makes wonderful signs on a machine that he built (see the one below that he made for me which is in my office at work). The signs are available at a very reasonable price. To find out more and see other samples of his work, go to his Creative Routing Facebook site.Cardinals Sign





  • This article from Christianity Today states that we need to remember that leadership is Biblical, theological, and contextual. Read the article here.
  • John Maxwell writes that “Asking the right question of the right person at the right time is a powerful combination because the answers you receive set you up for success.” He has written Good Leaders Ask Great Questions, which comes out this October, to show the impact that questions have made on his life, share the leadership questions he asks himself and others and answer questions from others. Read more in this article titled “You Only Get Answers to the Questions You Ask” here.

BOOKS ~          


    • Trip Lee will return this fall with Rise, his first album in more than two years. A book Rise: Get Up and Live in God’s Great Story will follow in January.
    • Jars of Clay 20To celebrate 20 years of music making, Jars of Clay has recorded a collection of 20 intimate acoustic versions of their songs chosen by their fans. The project has two songs from each of their studio albums recorded live, along with the accompaniment of small string ensembles, and a few friends. The album, which releases August 19, also includes two new tracks.
    • Lecrae is a believer who is a making a difference in the rap/hip-hop culture. His Anomaly may be my most anticipated album of the year. It will released on September 9, though he has released three songs thus far to those who have pre-ordered the album, including the lead single “Nuthin”, a message to today’s music artists who aren’t saying anything. Here are the lyrics:

(Chorus) Here we go again in circles
I think I heard it all
We been here before
But we need something more
Something more
Something more
What you say
I can’t hear cause you

Ain’t talking ’bout nuthin (ain’t talking ’bout nuthin)

What you talking ’bout
They be talking ’bout the same old thing
Imma have to call a foul in the game
What you talking ’bout
A little money now you all OG
Talking ’bout it’s all eyes on me
They ain’t talking ’bout nuthin

Let me guess you counting money to the ceiling
Difference ‘tween us like at least a couple million
It’s foreign cars, pretty girls everywhere you go
Yeah I heard it 30 times on the radio
Lou Vuitton ain’t gon’ pay you for that bragging
And Donatella prolly never heard your album
Yeah they probably ’bout to label me a hater
But I know these people greater than the songs they created
It’s little homies in the hood regurgitating
And everybody watching thinking that you made it
The truth is for a few designer labels and a little bit of paper now you 12 years slaving
Hey but you ain’t Lupita
So why you beat up and pushing people to lean on the devil
Copping a seizure
It sound like you put your feet up
You still a slave and money can’t buy you freedom partna’

Tell me why the song’s on in my car (hear the radio)
Why the song on in my gym (what they saying now)
And the song’s stuck in my head (I can’t take no more)
I still don’t know what y’all saying
Lemme lemme lemme do this
Imma be a straight shooter
And we was made in his image
Why we so Judas
Talking bread like we at the last supper
Throwing money at these women make it rain in the summer
I ain’t advertising brands on the radio
They expensive and I know they ain’t gon’ pay me for
Telling kids to go in debt, for the ‘vette that they’ll prolly never get
But I talk about it every song
And every song talking ’bout they selling work on every corner
Don’t talk about the laws, taking kids away from mommas
Don’t talk about your homie in the trauma cause he shot up
Or what about your young boy messing up the product
They don’t talk about the bond money that they ain’t have
And everybody snitch on everybody in the jam
They don’t talk about the pain, they don’t talk about the struggle
How they turn to the Lord when they ran into trouble
Imma talk about it
I don’t care if the world try to swallow me
I turn my back to ‘em, tell ‘em all follow me
I know you gon’ label me a hater
But inside you are greater than the songs you creating man

Hey man, the way I see it
I think we were made for more
Than just, ya know, the simple things that we aspire toward
We were made for more than just telling stories about
How much money we can get by selling poison to people
It’s time to talk about who we are and who we can be
And we need to build each other up and not put each other down
I feel like we not talking about nothing right now

Integrating Faith and Work

Am I desiring and seeking the temporal and eternal good of my neighbor with the same zeal, ingenuity and perseverance that I seek my own? -John Piper

The more a person counts as loss his own righteousness and lays hold by faith of the righteousness of Christ, the more he will be motivated to live and work for Christ. -Jerry Bridges

Andy Stanley opened the event, and it was his job to tell us what it means to be a “Beyond You” leader, and to create a “Beyond You” culture in your organization. He stated:

  • “Beyond You” leaders fearlessly and selflessly empower leaders around them as well as those coming alongside them.
  • Fearlessly. Leaders who are not afraid of the 25 year-old kid who is smarter than you. “Beyond You” leaders will pour themselves these leaders even though they may take their place someday.
  • Empower. Every leader has power. What leaders need to learn is how to leverage your power/influence for the sake of those around you.
  • Andy stated that the Big Idea is: The value of a life is always measured by how much of it was given away. He said that this is often apparent when we hear about the impact someone has had on others at their funeral.
  • “Beyond You” leaders celebrate generosity and selflessness. We celebrate generosity, but sometimes envy accumulation.
  • We should spend more time on leveraging influence for the sake of others rather than accumulation.
  • He gave us three things to begin doing:
    • Make as few decisions as possible. Refuse to make decisions that other people can make. This is empowering. We need to say: “You decide”. As your organizational authority increases, your organizational IQ decreases. As you go up, you’ll know less and less about more and more things because you are responsible for more. You have authority, but not competency. Just because I have the authority, I don’t have to use it. Give it to others.
    • Work for your team. “Beyond Leaders” ask: “What can I do to help?” How can I leverage my influence/power/position to help you do what I’ve hired you to do?  How can I work for you? I want to loan you my influence/power/position. Ask for 1-3 things you can do to assist your team members.
    • Empty your cup. “Beyond Leaders” should ask: “What can I do to fill their cup”? Some object and say that they will do this when they’re the boss. No, start now.

The 5 Love Languages Book Club    5 love  

Last week, Tammy and I continued our summer book club of Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to a Love that Lasts. We covered chapter nine: Discovering Your Own Love Language. Here are a few passages we highlighted:

  • Discovering the primary love language of your spouse is essential if you are to keep their emotional love tank full. But first, let’s make sure you know your own love language.
  • What is your primary love language? What makes you feel most loved by your spouse? What do you desire above all else? If the answer to those questions does not leap to your mind immediately, perhaps it will help to look at the negative use of love languages. What does your spouse do or say or fail to do or say that hurts you deeply?
  • If it grieves you deeply that your spouse seldom gives you a gift for any occasion, then perhaps your primary love language is “Receiving Gifts.” If your deepest hurt is that your spouse seldom gives you quality time, then that is your primary love language.
  • Another approach to discovering your primary love language is to look back over your marriage and ask, “What have I most often requested of my spouse?” Whatever you have most requested is probably in keeping with your primary love language.
  • Another way to discover your primary love language is to examine what you do or say to express love to your spouse. Chances are what you are doing for her is what you wish she would do for you.
  • Thus, you may discover your own language by asking, “How do I consciously express my love to my spouse?”
  • I have suggested three ways to discover your own primary love language:
  1. What does your spouse do or fail to do that hurts you most deeply? The opposite of what hurts you most is probably your love language.
  2. What have you most often requested of your spouse? The thing you have most often requested is likely the thing that would make you feel most loved.
  3. In what way do you regularly express love to your spouse? Your method of expressing love may be an indication that that would also make you feel loved.
  • Two kinds of people may have difficulty discovering their primary love language. The first is the individual whose emotional love tank has been full for a long time. The second is the individual whose love tank has been empty for so long that he doesn’t remember what makes him feel loved. In either case, go back to the experience of falling in love and ask yourself, “What did I like about my spouse in those days? What did he do or say that made me desire to be with him?” If you can conjure up those memories, it will give you some idea of your primary love language.
  • Another approach would be to ask yourself, “What would be an ideal spouse to me? If I could have the perfect mate, what would she be like?” Your picture of a perfect mate should give you some idea of your primary love language.
  • Having said all of that, let me suggest that you spend some time writing down what you think is your primary love language. Then list the other four in order of importance. Also write down what you think is the primary love language of your spouse. You may also list the other four in order of importance if you wish. Sit down with your spouse and discuss what you guessed to be his/her primary love language. Then tell each other what you consider to be your own primary love language.
  • Once you have shared that information, I suggest that you play the following game three times a week for three weeks. The game is called “Tank Check,” and it is played like this. When you come home, one of you says to the other, “On a scale of zero to ten, how is your love tank tonight?” Zero means empty, and ten means “I am full of love and can’t handle any more.” You give a reading on your emotional love tank—10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, or 0, indicating how full it is. Your spouse says, “What could I do to help fill it?” Then you make a suggestion—something you would like your spouse to do or say that evening. To the best of his ability, he will respond to your request. Then you ask your spouse the same questions, in the reverse order so that both of you have the opportunity to do a reading on your love tank and to make a suggestion toward filling it. If you play the game for three weeks, you will be hooked on it, and it can be a playful way of stimulating love expressions in your marriage. Incidentally, if you have still not discovered your primary love language, keep records on the Tank Check game. When your spouse says, “What could I do to help fill your tank?” your suggestions will likely cluster around your primary love language. You may request things from all five love languages, but you will have more requests centering on your primary love language.

You can take this assessment to determine your love language here:

Next week we will cover Chapter 10: Love is a Choice. Won’t you join us?

R.C. Quote

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Christian Piling On – Flag on the Play!

OK – how many of you have actually read Ann Coulter’s entire article before responding?
Yep – the headline was obnoxious, but the purpose was to get you to read on.

Accusations of Christian narcissism? That hurts my pride and self-esteem! Can we please mull over her comments before we shout our knee-jerk reactions?

Does it reek of elitism to spend $2 million to send Americans back to the USA to receive a special treatment currently unavailable in the rest of the world? The Good Samaritan might have sent ‘one of the least of these’ from Liberia to receive treatment instead. Or maybe ask that the $2 million dollars be spent to make more of the vaccine to be shipped over to Liberia.

Ann’s next question is a good one, “Can’t anyone serve Christ in America anymore?” As she sarcastically states, “America is in a pitched battle for its soul but… no, there’s nothing for a Christian to do here.” Let’s be honest, you’re a lot more glamorous in your home church when you go on a week’s missions trip overseas than when you faithfully and quietly serve those in need here at home. Hence, Ann’s example:

Right there in Texas, near where Dr. Brantly left his wife and children to fly to Liberia and get Ebola, is one of the poorest counties in the nation, Zavala County — where he wouldn’t have risked making his wife a widow and his children fatherless.
But serving the needy in some deadbeat town in Texas wouldn’t have been “heroic.” We wouldn’t hear all the superlatives about Dr. Brantly’s “unusual drive to help the less fortunate” or his membership in the “Gold Humanism Honor Society.” Leaving his family behind in Texas to help the poor 6,000 miles away — that’s the ticket.

Would I dare make the suggestion that the $40,000 your church collected to send teenagers to help at the orphanage in Guatemala for a week be better spent? Maybe send the $40,000 to the orphanage to build their own school and send the teenagers to a local rescue mission to experience serving? Did the kids raise that $40,000 themselves by working – raking leaves, washing windows… or did mom and dad help them send out a few fundraising letters so other people could pay for their trip? More things to mull over before piling on.

People! (As my sister the teacher always says) – It’s not an either/or situation. We serve Christ here at home and overseas. Ann is just pointing out our desperate need to address “the virus of spiritual bankruptcy and moral decadence” here in America. I think that would preach well on a Sunday morn’n!

Ann’s next point – are we tired of fighting the culture wars here in the good ol’ USA and instead go serve in third world countries? There’s a few folks that are vocal, but the rest of us (including me) sit back in our comfort and security and keep our lips zipped. I love Lecrae, a Christian rapper, who is taking on an entire rap/hip-hop culture in need of redemption. Not in an arrogant, ‘looking down my nose at you’ way, but entering in by using his gifts and making a huge difference.

By the way, I love medical missions and the hearts of those willing to serve and sacrifice in those areas, but let’s stay on point. We’re examining ourselves in regards to narcissism. We love to ‘throw money over the wall’ into Christian organizations, but are we really willing to get out of our comfortable lives and fly to Liberia, quietly serve at a local medical clinic or speak up against political correctness? Remember, my argument is that both are correct – medical missions to Liberia AND serving here in America. Since I’ve been reading Eric Metaxas’ biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I thought this quote from Martin Niemöller might spur us on.
Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

I ask the Christian community to set aside Ann Coulter’s inflammatory language (that’s what has brought her notoriety and it works!) and examine the questions she poses. We also need to question our reactions when someone says something we disagree with. Can we continue a dialogue, or just respond with “If you remain a fan of Ann Coulter after reading this, you are as pathetic as she is.” That name-calling stuff is just ugly; just as ugly as calling someone’s choices ‘idiotic’ or ‘pagan foolishness’. That sort of reminds me of liberal-leaning folks that call me a ‘homophobe’ when I disagree with them, or that won’t shop at Hobby Lobby, or won’t eat at Chick-Fil-A because they disagree with the owner’s beliefs. Hmmmm….

Are you willing to discuss this with me? If not, feel free to pile on. It’s time for some Christian courage. Bring it on! Or, I might just take a lesson from our dear President and avoid anything of substance or any controversy – fly to Martha’s Vineyard, shoot some pool and play a round of golf.

Tammy Pence, Normal, IL

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Coram Deo ~ Living Life Before the Face of God 8.5.2014

Upcoming Releases

The fall always features the release of several new books and albums. Below are a few upcoming releases that you may have an interest in:


  • You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis Chan and Lisa Chan – August 26
  • The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent by John Piper – August 31
  • Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good: The New Mitford Novel by Jan Karon – September 2
  • Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II’s Most Audacious General by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard – September 23
  • The Upper Room: Jesus’ Parting Promises for Troubled Hearts by John MacArthur – October 1
  • Untitled book on John Owen by Sinclair Ferguson – October
  • Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World by Michael Horton – October 7
  • Gray Mountain: A Novel by John Grisham – October 21
  • Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Tim Keller – November 4
  • Untitled biography of George H. W. Bush by George W. Bush – November 11.
  • Updated edition of The Reformation Study Bible in the English Standard Version (ESV) – Early Winter

And here is a book scheduled for release in early 2015:

  • It Is Finished: 365 Days of Good News by Tullian Tchividjian – January 1


  • Anchor by Colton Dixon – August 19
  • In Motion: The Remixes by Amy Grant – August 19
  • 20 by Jars of Clay – August 19
  • Anomaly by Lecrae – September 9
  • Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong by King & Country – September 16
  • Christmas album (title to be determined) by Michael W. Smith – September 30
  • Love Ran Red by Chris Tomlin – October 28

Movies (films that I want to see)

  • Boyhood
  • A Most Wanted Man
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey
  • The Good Lie
  • Interstellar
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
  • Exodus: Gods and Kings
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb


I’m Currently Reading

Movie Reviews:

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, rated PG-13
  • Get on Up, rated PG-13
  • America: Imagine the World Without Her, rated PG-13

Music Review:   Sovereign – Michael W. Smith

 Book Reviews:  

Integrating Faith and Work



  • John Piper has authored a new e-book titled The Marks of a Spiritual Leader. You can download it FREE here: You can read the related article from Desiring God “Own Your Own Desperation” here:
  • Each month Christianaudio offers a FREE audio book, announced on the first day of the month. Anna and the King written by Margaret Landon is the free audiobook of the month for August. From their website: “This poignant story of Anna Leonowens and the King of Siam has captured the fancy of millions worldwide through not only the book, but the play The King and I. Wonderfully narrated by Anne Flosnik and nominated for a prestigious Audie Award in 2013, it is certainly one of the most entertaining audiobooks we have given away”. To download your copy, go to:
  • Speaking of FREE e-books, Ligonier Ministries continues to add books to their Crucial Questions series, which are free in e-book format. There are now 20 books in the series. Check out all of them here, including three new ones:
  • George W. Bush has written a biography of his father, George H.W. Bush. It will be published November 11. According to the publisher, the book will cover the elder Bush’s whole life and his influence on his son, from George W.’s “childhood in West Texas to his early campaign trips with his father, and from his decision to go into politics to his own two-term presidency.” Read more here:



God’s Hall of Fame

This crowd on earth
They soon forget
The heroes of the past.
They cheer like mad
Until you fall
And that’s how long you last.

But God does not forget
And in his Hall of Fame
By just believing in his Son
Inscribed you’ll find your name.

I tell you, friends,
I would not trade
My name however small
Inscribed up there
Beyond the stars
In that celestial hall.

For any famous name on earth
Or glory that they share
I’d rather be an unknown here
And have my name up there.

— Unknown




I will kneel in the dust
at the foot of the cross,
where mercy paid for me.
Where the wrath I deserve,
it is gone, it has passed.
Your blood has hidden me.

Mercy, mercy,
as endless as the sea.
I’ll sing Your hallelujah
for all eternity.

We will lift up the cup
and the bread we will break,
remembering Your love.
We were fallen from grace,
but You took on our shame
and nailed it to a cross.

Mercy, mercy,
as endless as the sea.
I’ll sing Your hallelujah
for all eternity.

May I never lose the wonder,
oh, the wonder of Your mercy.
May I sing Your hallelujah?
Hallelujah, Amen.
[repeat 3x]

May I never lose the wonder,
oh, the wonder of Your mercy.
May I sing Your hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Amen.

I will kneel in the dust
at the foot of the cross,
where mercy paid for me.

 5 loveThe 5 Love Languages Book Club Week Six  

Tammy and I completed week six of our summer book club reading Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to a Love that Lasts last week. We covered the final love language, physical touch. Here are a few passages we discussed:

• Physical touch can make or break a relationship. It can communicate hate or love.
• To the person whose primary love language is physical touch, the message will be far louder than the words “I hate you” or “I love you.”
• That does not mean that all touches are created equal. Some will bring more pleasure to your spouse than others. Your best instructor is your spouse, of course. After all, she is the one you are seeking to love. She knows best what she perceives as a loving touch. Don’t insist on touching her in your way and in your time. Learn to speak her love dialect. Don’t make the mistake of believing that the touch that brings pleasure to you will also bring pleasure to her.
• Love touches may be explicit and demand your full attention such as in a back rub or sexual foreplay, culminating in intercourse. On the other hand, love touches may be implicit and require only a moment, such as putting your hand on his shoulder as you pour a cup of coffee or rubbing your body against him as you pass in the kitchen.
• Once you discover that physical touch is the primary love language of your spouse, you are limited only by your imagination on ways to express love. Coming up with new ways and places to touch can be an exciting challenge.
• Try new touches in new places and let your spouse give you feedback on whether he finds it pleasurable or not. Remember, he has the final word. You are learning to speak his language.
• All societies have some form of physical touching as a means of social greeting.
• There are appropriate and inappropriate ways to touch members of the opposite sex in every society.
• Within marriage, however, what is appropriate and inappropriate touching is determined by the couple themselves.
• Counselors’ files are filled with records of husbands and wives who are trying to grapple with the emotional trauma of an unfaithful spouse. That trauma, however, is compounded for the individual whose primary love language is physical touch. That for which he longs so deeply—love expressed by physical touch—is now being given to another. His emotional love tank is not only empty; it has been riddled by an explosion. It will take massive repairs for those emotional needs to be met.
• If your spouse’s primary love language is physical touch, nothing is more important than holding her as she cries. Your words may mean little, but your physical touch will communicate that you care.
• Crises provide a unique opportunity for expressing love. Your tender touches will be remembered long after the crisis has passed.
• Pete is only one of many individuals for whom physical touch is the primary love language. Emotionally, they yearn for their spouse to reach out and touch them physically. Running the hand through the hair, giving a back rub, holding hands, embracing, sexual intercourse—all of those and other “love touches” are the emotional lifeline of the person for whom physical touch is the primary love language.
• The chapter ends with a “Your Turn” section, where the author asks that you “Recall some nonsexual “touching times” that enhanced intimacy between the two of you. What made these times special?”

Next week we will cover chapter nine – Discussing Your Primary Love Language. Won’t you join us?


I appreciated this cartoon from World Magazine:
World Magazine Cartoon

Regeneration by RC Sproul

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Coram Deo ~ Living Life Before the Face of God 7.30.2014


Book Reviews:

Movie Review:  And So it Goes with Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton

Music Review: Terms of My Surrender by John Hiatt

INTEGRATING FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday




          • The Decatur Celebration will be held this weekend, August 1-3. Contemporary Christian singer Jamie Grace will be in concert on Sunday at 5:45pm and 8:30pm at the Christian Stage: out the video for Steven Curtis Chapman’s excellent new song “The Glorious Unfolding” here:
          • Switchfoot performed their new single “When We Come Alive” from their #1 album Fading West on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson on July 22. You can watch their performance here:
          • TobyMac will bring his Worship, Stories and Songs tour to Braden Auditorium on the Illinois State University campus on December 11! The tour will feature Matt Maher and Ryan Stevenson. The “Worship, Stories & Songs Tour” will be a totally different TobyMac show, a time where it’s not about the lights, smoke or big stage. Instead, it will be more intimate and personal, a “storyteller’s night” where Toby will share where the songs came from. Tickets go on sale August 4. For more information, go to as well as Mac
          • Lecrae’s new album Anomaly is available for pre-order on iTunes. It will be released September 9. With the pre-order, you will get immediate downloads of “Nuthin” and “Fear”. Guests on the album include Andy Mineo, Kari Jobe and King & Country. The pre-order checks in at #2 on the Hip-Hop/Rap charts and #10 on the overall Top Albums charts, with the two downloads coming in at #12 and #13 on the Hip-Hop/Rap chart.
          • Speaking of Lecrae, he will be bringing his Anomaly tour to the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago on Sunday, October 26. Special guests will be Andy Mineo and DJ Promote.


          • Christianaudio is offering a $5 Fiction Sale on a number of their fiction titles. The sale goes through July 31. Check it out here.
          • Reformation Heritage Books will be publishing a KJV (King James Version) Study Bible with Joel Beeke as General Editor this fall. To find out more, go this site:









5 loveThe 5 Love Languages Book Club Week Six  

Tammy and I completed week five of our summer book club of Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to a Love that Lasts last week. We covered the fourth love language Acts of Service. Here are a few passages we highlighted:

  • By acts of service, I mean doing things you know your spouse would like you to do. You seek to please her by serving her, to express your love for her by doing things for her.
  • Such actions as cooking a meal, setting a table, washing dishes, vacuuming, cleaning a commode, changing the baby’s diaper, dusting the bookcase, keeping the car in operating condition, paying the bills, trimming the shrubs, walking the dog, changing the cat’s litter box, and dealing with landlords and insurance companies are all acts of service. They require thought, planning, time, effort, and energy. If done with a positive spirit, they are indeed expressions of love.
  • When you were dating Mark, what convinced you that he really loved you? What made him different from other guys you had dated?” “It was the way he helped me with everything,” she said. He was the most wonderful person I had ever met, but after we got married that changed. He didn’t help me at all.”
  • In fact, love is always freely given. Love cannot be demanded. We can request things of each other, but we must never demand anything. Requests give direction to love, but demands stop the flow of love.”
  • Mark, I want you to list three or four things that if Mary chose to do them would make you feel loved when you walk into the house in the afternoon. If making the bed is important to you, then put it down. Mary, I want you to make a list of three or four things that you would really like to have Mark’s help in doing, things that, if he chose to do them, would help you know that he loved you.” (I’m big on lists; they force us to think concretely.)
  • Requests give direction to love, but demands stop the flow of love.
  • “I can do those things. In the past, I have felt overwhelmed because no matter what I did, it was never enough.”
  • You may be wondering, if Mark and Mary had the same primary love language, why were they having so much difficulty? The answer lies in the fact that they were speaking different dialects. They were doing things for each other but not the most important things.
  • When they were forced to think concretely, they easily identified their specific dialects.
  • When they started speaking the right dialects, their love tanks began to fill.
  • I would like to make three other observations. First, they illustrate clearly that what we do for each other before marriage is no indication of what we will do after marriage. Before marriage, we are carried along by the force of the in-love obsession. After marriage, we revert to being the people we were before we “fell in love.” Our actions are influenced by the model of our parents, our own personality, our perceptions of love, our emotions, needs, and desires. Only one thing is certain about our behavior: It will not be the same behavior we exhibited when we were caught up in being “in love.” That leads me to the second truth illustrated by Mark and Mary. Love is a choice and cannot be coerced. Mark and Mary were criticizing each other’s behavior and getting nowhere. Once they decided to make requests of each other rather than demands, their marriage began to turn around. Criticism and demands tend to drive wedges. With enough criticism, you may get acquiescence from your spouse. He may do what you want, but probably it will not be an expression of love. You can give guidance to love by making requests: “I wish you would wash the car, change the baby’s diaper, mow the grass,” but you cannot create the will to love. Each of us must decide daily to love or not to love our spouses. If we choose to love, then expressing it in the way in which our spouse requests will make our love most effective emotionally.
  • What we do for each other before marriage is no indication of what we will do after marriage.
  • There is a third truth, which only the mature lover will be able to hear. My spouse’s criticisms about my behavior provide me with the clearest clue to her primary love language. People tend to criticize their spouse most loudly in the area where they themselves have the deepest emotional need. Their criticism is an ineffective way of pleading for love. If we understand that, it may help us process their criticism in a more productive manner.
  • People tend to criticize their spouse most loudly in the area where they themselves have the deepest emotional need.
  • A doormat is an inanimate object. You can wipe your feet on it, step on it, kick it around, or whatever you like. It has no will of its own. It can be your servant but not your lover.
  • When we treat our spouses as objects, we preclude the possibility of love. Manipulation by guilt (“If you were a good spouse, you would do this for me”) is not the language of love. Coercion by fear (“You will do this or you will be sorry”) is alien to love. No person should ever be a doormat.
  • Allowing oneself to be used or manipulated by another is not an act of love. It is, in fact, an act of treason. You are allowing him or her to develop inhumane habits.
  • Love says, “I love you too much to let you treat me this way. It is not good for you or me.”
  • Learning the love language of acts of service will require some of us to reexamine our stereotypes of the roles of husbands and wives. These are changing, but models from our past can linger.
  • Love says, “I love you too much to let you treat me this way. It is not good for you or me.”
  • A willingness to examine and change stereotypes is necessary in order to express love more effectively.
  • Remember, there are no rewards for maintaining stereotypes, but there are tremendous benefits to meeting the emotional needs of your spouse.

Each chapter ends with a helpful discussion question.

Next week we will cover the final love language, Physical Touch. Won’t you join us?

J.I. Packer on Meditation


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