Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

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Coram Deo: Books, Music, Movies, Faith and Work and More

What Makes This Blog Different from Others?

I hope you’ve been enjoying the spectacular fall colors we are having in the Midwest this year. We really enjoyed the vibrant red, orange and yellow colors over the weekend. Whether you are a new reader of our blog, or have been with us for a while, we’re so glad that you check us out from time to time. What makes our blog different from the many other fine blogs out there? Our aim for the past 16 years has been to look at culture from a Christian worldview. That means we will look at movies, music, books, news, etc. from a Christian viewpoint. I do a lot of reading and so if I find something that I think you might find of interest, we’ll include it in our “This and That” category. And a relatively new passion of mine is helping myself and others integrate our faith and work, so we’ll try to include plenty of information about that as well. If you have any feedback on how we can improve the blog, please send it to us at Blessings.

 Déjà vu All Over Again

For the third year in a row (the year prior to that they won the World Series), the St. Louis Cardinals advanced to the second round of Major League Baseball’s postseason. And for the third year in a row, they ended the season with three straight losses, this time losing to the San Francisco Giants. The Giants took advantage of every mistake (walks, poor fielding plays and missed opportunities to score) that the Cardinals gave them, and were definitely the better team in the National League Championship Series (NLCS).

My Cardinal season started way back on March 15 when Tammy and I saw the Cardinals play the Atlanta Braves at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in the Orlando area. I saw four regular season games and one in each of the first two rounds of the postseason. I got to enjoy the new Ballpark Village and celebrated my Covenant Seminary graduation with a family lunch and a trip through the Cardinals Museum at Cardinal Nation within Ballpark Village.  All brought me great joy.

Eating at Cardinals Nation

Cardinal Nation has high expectations, and no doubt we are spoiled. It’s just assumed we will go to the postseason each year. At the beginning of this season I told people that anything short of a return to the World Series would be a disappointment. So based on that, the season fell short of expectations. My favorite Cardinals’ beat writer Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch summed up the loss in the NLCS and the season well here:

But overall it was a fun year and I enjoyed watching the Cards, including the many Christians on the team, including Manager Mike Matheny, Adam Wainwright, Matt Holliday, Trevor Rosenthal, Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong.

Until next season….. Busch Stadium



October 28
Love Ran Red – Chris Tomlin
Rise – Trip Lee

November 4
Eye’M All Mixed Up: Remixes – TobyMac
Hallelujah for the Cross – Newsboys

November 11
After All These Years – Andrew Peterson
The Essential Collection – Passion
Cathedrals – Tenth Avenue North

~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~The Heart of Leadership

Book Review ~ The Heart of Leadership: Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow by Mark Miller

Movie Review ~ Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, rated PGAlexander adn the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Concert Review ~ Keith and Kristyn Getty at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoriagettys-in-concert

Music Review ~ Songs of Innocence Deluxe Edition – U2songs of innocence

More U2 stuff:

Quotable:  I thought I heard the captain’s voice But it’s hard to listen while you preach      -From “Every Breaking Wave” by U2

With so much of concern going on in the world these days, I smiled when I saw this cartoon from World Magazine:

World Magazine Cartoon

Visions of VocationVisions of Vocation Book Club

Steven Garber was the speaker at my Covenant Seminary graduation in May. Tammy and I are reading his newest book Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good. Below are passages we discussed this week from our reading of Chapter 5:

Chapter 5: Come and See

  • This business of seeing ourselves as implicated is central to the covenantal epistemology. That we see ourselves as responsible, for love’s sake, is what the responsibility of knowledge is always about.
  • For people committed to lives of doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with God, it is never easy to craft a public policy that makes everything right for everyone. We know that at our best we still fall short—and someone somewhere will be hurt, falling through the cracks.
  • For Tolstoy’s men on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, it was in seeing that the one understood the meaning of his journey, just as it was in not seeing that the other missed the meaning of his journey. Central to the Telos Group’s mission is the conviction that it is in seeing what is going on that people will begin to understand the realities of the situation and begin to see themselves as responsible, willing to care about justice for all, not justice for “just us.”
  • And it is no surprise that when people see and hear, meeting real people with real lives, that a transformation often takes place. Relationship, revelation, responsibility. When we learn like that, we begin to see ourselves as implicated.
  • In the best of learning, in the truest learning, words have to become flesh, and more often than not it is in storied service that the eyes of the heart are awakened.
  • The covenantal epistemology is a way of knowing that sees the world through the lens of relationship. I know you, and I love you.
  • From the patriarchs on, God calls a people into being, naming them as his own and calling them to live in the world, remembering to remember the most important things.
  • Relationship, revelation, responsibility—the heart and soul of the covenant lived in and through the vocations of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David—and of course the same is true for the generations of people who saw themselves as belonging to God, known by him and loved by him. The Hebrew vision of life, grounded in the God who has “fashioned a cosmos out of love,” is covenantal. There is no other word that so captures the meaning of life lived before the face of God, responsible for love’s sake to God for history, for the way the world is and ought to be. The biblical vision is that the covenant becomes incarnate in Jesus. Wisdom and justice, sovereignty and mercy, compassion and kindness, anger and patience, all characteristics of the Holy One of Israel, become flesh in Jesus.
  • We can only learn the things that matter most when we come and see.
  • They “do the truth,” they put the truth into practice. Yes, they give flesh to the word.
  • And over many years, after many conversations, my conviction is this: moral commitment precedes epistemological insight. We see out of our hearts. We commit ourselves to living certain ways—because we want to—and then we explain the universe in a way that makes sense of that choice. It is why Augustine’s long-ago question still rings true: you cannot really know someone by asking, “What do you believe?” It is only when you ask, “What do you love?” that we begin to know another. We see out of our hearts? Yes, because we live out of our loves.
  • But what I have seen is, in the end, it is always a matter of one’s heart leading the way, one’s loves shaping one’s vision of the world and the way that a person will live in it. It was for Nicodemus, and it is for us. Words have to become flesh.
  • The story of the Samaritan woman in John 4 is its own wonder, offering another take on the meaning of incarnation.
  • But here the Word becomes flesh to the woman, and she sees something that she has never ever seen: a man can know her and still love her.
  • And the text says that Jesus came and lived for a while among them, incarnating words like holiness and mercy, wisdom and compassion. The people of the Samaritan village could see what the words meant as they were incarnated in their midst. Words have to become flesh.
  • Sometime later, Jesus returns to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish feasts and walks by the pool called Bethesda (John 5).
  • Sometimes, very strangely, we choose to love our wounds. Not so much that we openly embrace them, but so much that we cannot imagine living life without them. They have come to mean so much to us. We see ourselves in their light, or darkness, as the case actually is. And of course in the heartache of human life, it is out of our wounds that we wound others.
  • It is amazing grace that finds him in his desolation, and he hears, “Get up, take your bed and walk.” It is an invitation to respond from the one who knew that the man was responsible, able to respond. When all is said and done, what happens is a profound mystery that is finally beyond our explanation—and we can only be amazed at the grace given. Words have to become flesh.
  • For Mary, Martha and Lazarus, Jesus has been a friend, even as he has been a teacher.
  • Even if we do not fully understand the whys and hows of this story, it matters supremely that God is not a passive responder to life and death—and that he does not expect us to be.
  • Lazarus had not lost his humanity in his death—he had not become an automaton. The secret of his humanity was still his responsibility, as mysterious as it finally is.
  • The words fall flat if there is no ability to respond, to be responsible. Relationship, revelation, responsibility—always and everywhere the heart of the covenant, especially the covenant incarnate. Words have to become flesh.
  • Jesus spends the night before the crucifixion, Passover night, with his disciples, and several chapters of John are given to that (John 13–17).
  • Stories do matter, and believing the true story of human life under the sun will give meaning to our vocations, as denying it will prove the implosion of our vocations.
  • In every generation the most honest people have always understood that if there is not a story to make sense of my story, then why not “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die”? The teaching of Jesus is never disconnected from the tensions of life, from the questions and concerns of real people in the world that is really there.
  • The central themes of the covenantal epistemology are written into the story. Jesus initiates a deepening of the relationship, revealing more of himself in the process, and then sets forth their responsibility—which is summed up by the crucial connection of knowing with doing. This is the covenant made flesh. Words have to become flesh.
  • The final story here is in the last chapter of John’s Gospel, the story of the disappointed and perplexed disciples returning to their fishing (John 21).
  • Two of the most common and most ordinary human activities, working and eating, are sanctified in the story, made holy by Jesus, showing all with eyes to see that in the new heaven and new earth these will be an integral part.
  • He could have shown them anything, he could have done anything. The resurrected Lord that he was, he could have done something noticeably “religious” for them, like baptism or the Eucharist. He could even have preached to them or prayed for them. What he chose to do was honor their work and then eat with them.
  • Working, eating—these are central to human vocation, in every culture and every century.
  • And then he invites them to respond with their labor and their lives, seeing even the most ordinary things of life as sacramental, made new as they are by the reality of the resurrection. They are signposts in a strange land of the world that someday will be. Words have to become flesh.
  • A couple of years ago, I invited a group of folks to our home for dinner. We call these Vocare evenings “conversations about calling”, together pondering the meaning of Berry’s essay “Two Economies.” In earlier conversations, we had discussed the essay and decided it would be worth a more prolonged conversation because his vision of an economics of mutuality was remarkably rich. The essay sets forth “two economies,” a lesser economy and a greater economy.
  • Berry believes that wherever we look in the world there are lesser economies: farms, villages, cities, regions, states, even nations.
  • He says that for him the greater economy is “the kingdom of God,” but that people are free to call it what they want.
  • What he does not give freedom for is whether there is a greater economy, or whether the greater economy is in fact the final arbiter of all economic visions.
  • It is important to understand this about Berry: he writes for everyone, translating his own deepest convictions in language that the whole world can understand. He is not writing for a parochial audience, for people who necessarily think like he does, who believe like he does. And in everything he writes—poetry, novels, essays—he sees the world in terms of the covenantal cosmos, of relationship, revelation and responsibility. But he is a translator, using images and words to connect to the wider world.
  • Berry is writing about the truth of the human condition, situating human beings in relation to God and to history.
  • For some, the Berryian vision is for a time out of mind, a world that has long passed away. That is not fair to him or to the world. But there is a tension here, and I have said to him on a few occasions, “If what you were arguing were simply nice ideas for nice people who live in nice places, then I would not be interested. But what you are saying is true, and so it is our responsibility to figure out what it means for where we are.”
  • These are the truest truths of the universe: We do not flourish as human beings when we know no one and no one knows us; we do not flourish as human beings when we belong to no place and no place cares about us. When we have no sense of relationship to people or place, we have no sense of responsibility to people or place.
  • Perhaps the saddest face of the modern world is its anonymity, to live as if I am known by none and belong nowhere.
  • From road rage on freeways to the casually cruel crime of the city to the existential angst of being lost in the cosmos, when we are not in relationships that matter, it is almost impossible to see ourselves as responsible to and for others.
  • Berry is writing about a covenantal cosmos, about life in the world where knowing and being known is critical if we are to flourish. This one theme runs through the body of his work: We must learn to live incarnationally, committed to particular people and particular places. If we are to have honest lives, we will have to incarnate who we are and what we believe with those people and in those places.
  • In every century and every culture there is an integral connection between knowing and doing, and it is most fully expressed in love. For glory or shame, we choose to live in love—or not. But there is also a greater economy, the kingdom of God, and in it we live and move and have our being—or not. Our flourishing depends upon our seeing these truths as true to the way the world really is. If we are to understand our place in the world, we have to find a way into that vision, somehow somewhere. Come and see.

Next week we’ll read chapter 6. Won’t you join us?


Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?What's Best Next

What’s Best Next Book Club

We continue with our overview of this new book on productivity from a Christian perspective. I’ve highlighted a number of passages and would like to share some of them from Chapter 18 – Harnessing Time Killers

How then SHOULD We Work? Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work Book Club

How Then Should We WorkThis week we conclude our overview of Hugh Whelchel’s fine book How Then Should We Work? Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work with Chapter 6. Whelchel is the Executive Director the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics and has a passion and expertise in helping individuals integrate their faith and vocational calling.

God at WorkNext week, we’ll begin a new faith and work book club on Gene Veith’s book God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life. This looks to be an excellent book to read with peers with work.

Beyond the Ark header
Doug Michael Cartoon

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Another Red October

Big CityFor St. Louis Cardinals fans, Red October doesn’t refer to the color of the maplefamily photo tree leaves. No, it means post-season baseball. Fans are arguably enjoying the greatest stretch in team history. On Tuesday night last week, on the strength of a Matt Adams’ home run, the Cardinals advanced to the National League Championship Series (NLCS) for the seventh time in the past eleven seasons. Now they’re tied 1-1 with the San Francisco Giants. I’ve been blessed to see the Cardinals in the World Series in 2004, 2006, 2011 and 2013. Will it happen again in 2014?

 Extending Our Reach

Would you help us get the word out on our blog? If you have enjoyed and been blessed by what you read here, would you consider posting a link to the blog on your Facebook site and sharing with your friends, asking them to do the same if they enjoy what they read here? You can also click on the link on the top right side of the home page ( to “Follow”, and receive emails each time the blog is updated. Thanks so much!

 Lessons from the Upper RoomRecommended Resource ~ Lessons from the Upper Room by Sinclair Ferguson

For the last week, I’ve immersed myself in these twelve messages from one of my favorite Bible teachers. In fact, R.C. Sproul has described Sinclair Ferguson as the greatest Reformed Theology teacher of our generation. In this new series, Ferguson covers those wonderful chapters from the Gospel of John that cover his Upper Room or Farewell Discourse, chapters 13-17. The series runs about five hours, about the same time, Ferguson states, that the actual events described in these chapters took place.
A few things to highlight in this series are:

  • Ferguson describes Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, kneeling and washing the feet of all, including ones that would soon deny and betray him. Shouldn’t we follow his example?
  • If you are a Christian you follow a crucified Savior. We share in the fellowship of his sufferings.
  • Simon Peter is probably the favorite apostle of many Christians because we are most like him in failing so often.
  • Ferguson states that John 14: 1-3, often read at funerals, may be the most well-loved verses from the Gospel of John, more so than even John 3:16, because they are so comforting:  
  • Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
  • Resources we have in the Gospel are greater than the troubles we face.
  • Jesus says that He is the way to the Father in John 14:6: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
  • Jesus must leave them so that He can send the Holy Spirit, something that the apostles couldn’t understand, and I’m sure it would have been difficult for us to understand as well.
  • Jesus prayer to the Father in his so-called High Priestly Prayer.

I highly recommend this series to you. You can watch the first message from the series “Foot Washing in Five Stages” here:
You can find out more about how to purchase the series here:

Teri's photoGuest Blog:  Teri Williams, Director of the Spoon River Pregnancy Resource Center

I am still marveling at the opportunity I had today. In all the years I have discussed options with pregnant girls/couples, rarely have I known the choice that was made regarding the pregnancy —if they were contemplating abortion–after they left. In fact, to my knowledge, I have only learned the outcome 3 times out of so many. Yes, this is hard.

The first time was actually several years ago. I had talked with a teenage girl, explained details of her options, including abortion, and she had left very unsure about carrying the pregnancy to term. So I was left to wait and wonder. I do know heaven will reveal truth, but here on earth we wait. Well one day I was at Big Lots : ). As I rounded the corner of the aisle—there was the same girl very obviously several months pregnant! My mouth dropped open, I may have even gasped and she turned to look at me. She smiled and said, “Yes, I decided to carry!” And we hugged.

Today, I actually had the privilege of meeting and holding the baby. His mom had texted me earlier in the week to come over and see him as I was “pretty much the reason he was even here!” That statement knocked me over! The memories of our many conversations have flooded over me. With her permission we are going to share parts of this situation with all of you on Facebook. I am still in awe and very thankful. To be continued.


I’m Currently ReadingKilling Patton

Book Review ~ Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II’s Most Audacious General by Bill O’Reilly and Martin DugardThe Judge

Movie Review ~ The Judge, rated R

Music Review ~ The Greengrass Session by Keith and Kristyn GettyGetty's EP






  •  David Mathias of Desiring God writes that “It is at the height of Christian virtue in a fallen world, and its exercise is quite simply one of the most difficult things you can ever learn to do.” What is he writing about? Self Control. Read his article “Self Control and the Power of Christ” here:
  • Desiring God has introduced a new video podcast from John Piper called Look at the Book. You can check out the Look at the Book labs and sign up for the video podcast here:
  • Stephen Miller of Desiring God writes that “Sometimes it seems as if many believers feel the need to alter who they are when they come to God in prayer, particularly when others are around.” He goes on to state that “Jesus taught the Apostles pray simply, humbly, confidently, according to God’s word, and for God’s glory.” Miller sums up Jesus’ teach in five guiding principles. You can read them in his article “Be Yourself in Prayer” here:



  • Justin Taylor interviews some of the authors of Fallen: A Theology of Sin. This got my attention as a few of my former professors at Covenant Seminary wrote chapters or edited the book – Robert Peterson, David Calhoun and Robert Yarbrough. In addition, Bryan Chapell, former President of Covenant Seminary and current Senior Pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, also wrote a chapter.
  • The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible will be released October 28. It features new stories and testimonials by Phil Robertson and his son Al, a pastor with more than 22 years of experience. Together they offer fresh wisdom on biblical values and how everyday people can apply them to their lives. Features include:Duck Commander Bible
    • Full text of the New King James Version Bible
    • A personal welcome note from Phil and Al Robertson
    • 125 articles on the top 24 most-searched topics on BibleGateway
    • Life application and scripture references supplement each article
    • 30 days of life-changing testimonials
    • Topical index and reading plans



  • Albert Mohler writes that “A giant milestone in the moral revolution passed last week when the U.S. Supreme Court turned down every single appeal from several states on the issue of same-sex marriage.” He goes on to write that “The remaining federal courts were put on notice that same-sex marriage is now the expectation of the Supreme Court and that no appeal on the question is likely to be successful, or even heard. You can expect the lower courts to hear that message loudly and clearly — and fast.” He writes that “The decision made clear by the Court will lead, automatically, to the fact that 30 states will have legal same-sex marriage within weeks, if not days. The news from the Court means that the vast majority of Americans will live where same-sex marriage is legal, and three fifths of the states will have legalized same-sex marriage.” Read his entire article “The Vindication of Antonin Scalia — A Sad Milestone for Marriage and Morality” here:
  • Ebola is in the news these days. Check out the article “Ebola Explained: What You Should and Shouldn’t Worry About” here: of World MagazineWorld Magazine Cartoon


Cardinal Church Sign

Quotable:  When we think too lightly of sin, we think too lightly of the Savior. –Charles Spurgeon


Integrating Faith and Work: Connecting Sunday to Monday

 Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?

How then SHOULD We Work? Book Club – Chapter 5How Then Should We Work

This week we continue our book club on Hugh Whelchel’s book How Then Should We Work? Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work. Whelchel is the Executive Director the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics and has a passion and expertise in helping individuals integrate their faith and vocational calling. This week we cover the material in Chapter 5: The Future: Work, Calling, and Cultural Renewal. The Gospel at Work

The Gospel at Work Book Club – Chapter 8

I’m involved in a book club with peers at work discussing The Gospel at Work by Greg Gilbert and Sebastian Traeger. Last week we looked at Chapter 8: What Does It Mean to be a Christian Boss?

What’s Best Next Book Club – Chapter 17What's Best Next

We continue with our overview of this new book on productivity from a Christian perspective – What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms The Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman. I’ve highlighted a number of passages and would like to share some of them from Chapter 17: The Art of Making Time.

Beyond the Ark headerDoug Michae cartoonl


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Kicking One off the Old ‘Bucket List’

Concert Review ~ Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band at The Fox Theatre in St. LouisRingo at the Fox

Ringo in Concert

I grew up, and remain, a huge Beatles fan. Though I never saw them perform (they stopped touring in 1966), I have seen Paul McCartney in concert eleven times, the late George Harrison on his only US tour in 1974, and unfortunately never saw John Lennon in concert; he was murdered in 1980. Seeing Ringo Starr in concert was on my “Bucket List”. He tours often with an assortment of artists known as his All-Starr Band. The current lineup has been together for three years, something that hasn’t been done since Ringo started touring with the All-Starr Band back in 1989.
Last Friday when I eventually did see Ringo in concert was one fine day. After stopping at Busch Stadium to get my NLDS t-shirt and having a great lunch at Pappy’s Smokehouse, my favorite place to eat in St. Louis, we checked into the Hotel Ignacio, a small boutique hotel within walking distance of the Fabulous Fox Theatre, where the concert was held.
The Cardinals were opening the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers and the best pitcher in baseball, Clayton Kershaw. I watched the first few innings from the Triumph Restaurant next to the hotel, and Kershaw was dominating, giving the Cardinals only one hit and leading the Dodgers to a 4-1 lead. By the time I found my seat at the Fox a few minutes later, the score was 6-1. I continued to monitor the game throughout the two hour concert, and the Cardinals won in a thriller 10-9.
Ringo, who is 74 years old, was in great physical shape and strong voice on this night in front of an enthusiastic sold-out crowd at the unique Fox Theatre. He opened with “Matchbox” shortly after 8:00 pm, and the night was off and running. The background vocals of the other six members of the band also added much to Ringo’s twelve songs.
The night was equally split between Ringo and the All-Starr Band, which was comprised of Todd Rundgren, Toto’s Steve Lukather on guitar, Mr. Mister bassist Richard Page, Santana/Journey keyboardist Gregg Rolie, drummer Gregg Bisonette and percussionist/saxophonist Warren Ham. Rundgren, Lukather, Page and Rolie each did three of their songs, in addition to Ringo’s twelve songs, Beatles and solo songs.
It was obvious that Ringo and the entire band are enjoying what they are doing on this tour. Ringo would often flash the peace sign as he repeatedly said “Peace and Love”. There was a red star on his drum and stars served as the artwork on the curtain. Surprisingly, unlike most concerts these days, there was no video screen for this tour.
You can check out the entire set-list and the review of the concert from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch here:

The Good Lie


Movie Review ~ The Good Lie, rated PG-13




Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgment seat;
Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last

Read Nathan’s article “Only One Life” here:

  • I found this Q&A from the folks at Crucial Skills to be of interest, not only for those in the workplace, but all of us. Read “Atoning for Past Mistake”.   
  • This week’s Andy Andrews’ podcast looks at what makes a successful coach, as well as Andy’s criteria for being coachable. Listen to it!
  • Each day John Maxwell offers a short video on a word of the day that someone writes in about. This one is about the word “kind”. Watch it here:
  • John Maxwell writes that “….ALL ethics boils down to one thing: ‘The Golden Rule’. Essentially, asking the question, “How would I like to be treated?” is an integrity guideline for ANY situation.” He states that we like to be treated in six different ways in the workplace. Read what they are in his article titled “The Right Thing 101” here:
  • Dr. Alan Zimmerman in this “Tuesday Tip” indicates that he learned what produces excellence, mediocrity and failure, and then began to realize the difference between winners and losers. Read more here in his article titled “The One Thing that Separates the Winners from the Losers”.
  • Have you visited “Place for Truth”, the website for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals? Check it out at
  • The “casual conversations about things that count” will soon be expanding with a new website. The new site will maintain the same URL address and house the weekly Mortification of Spin podcast, but will feature articles from each of the three hosts: Carl Trueman, Todd Pruitt and Aimee Byrd. Also, listen this fall for several podcasts that will be recorded before, and even include participation from a live audience! Lots of surprises are coming; don’t miss them at


  • Ligonier Ministries Teaching Fellow Steven Lawson writes: “It is my great privilege to introduce to you the inaugural issue of Expositor Magazine, the print magazine of One Passion Ministries. Through the bi-monthly publication of Expositor, we desire to address the historical, biblical, and theological dynamics and practice of expository preaching. In addition, Expositor will serve pastors, preachers, students, teachers, and lay people by examining historical and current issues related to biblical exposition. Please visit for more information and to subscribe.”
  • Richard Phillips writes that Philippians 1:6 develops the theme of God’s preserving grace—which ensures the perseverance of His own—in three points. Read about those three points in his article “God is Faithful to Preserve His Own” here:
  • Ligonier Ministries has released a new 12-part teaching series, Lessons from the Upper Room, from Sinclair Ferguson. Ferguson paints a vivid picture of the disciples’ final moments with their Savior. Carefully walking through John 13-17, Dr. Ferguson reminds us of the centrality of Christ in all of life. Click here to find out more about this new resource.
  • Do you know what the Covenant of Redemption is? If not, check out this article from R.C. Sproul:


  • John Piper, in writing about the aging of the Baby Boomers suggests four items be the goal of our aging. See what these four are in his article “Boomer’s Bodies – And Yours” here:
  • John Piper addresses four common causes of Bible neglect in the Christian life, like: “I don’t read my Bible because . . .
    • . . . it seems so irrelevant to my life.”
    • . . . I don’t have time.”
    • . . . I go to church every Sunday.”
    • . . . I find it confusing.”

Read this article titled “Why We Neglect Our Bibles” to see how he addresses these causes:

  • John Piper has released a number of Look at the Book labs on the Desiring God website. Look at the Book is a new online method of teaching the Bible. It’s an ongoing series of 8–12 minute videos in which the camera is on the text, not the teacher. You will hear John Piper’s voice and watch his pen underline, circle, make connections, and scribble notes — all to help you learn to read God’s word for yourself. His goal is to help you not only see what he sees, but where he sees it and how he found it. Check out the labs here:


  • Did you see the catch that Steven Souza Jr. of the Washington Nationals made on the final play of the game to finish off Jordan Zimmermann’s no-hitter against the Miami Marlins on the last day of the baseball season last week? If not, check it out. 
  • My friend Jim sent me this St. Louis Cardinals corn maze from Eckert’s Fun Farm in Millstadt, Illinois. Can we send the San Francisco Giants into the maze?Cardinal Corn Maze

BOOKS:Christian Audio Book of the Month

  • The free audiobook of the month from Christianaudio is He Wins, She Wins from Willard F. Harley, who is best known for the best-selling book His Needs, Her Needs: Building An Affair-proof Marriage. He Wins, She Wins begins with one simple rule: Never do anything without an enthusiastic agreement between you and your spouse.  Click here to find out how to download your free copy.   Bush Book
  • George W. Bush’s book about his father is titled 41: A Portrait of My Father. It will be published November 11.
  • I enjoyed this review of the new book Fallen: A Theology of Sin – Theology in Community Series, edited by Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson, the latter of which I had for two classes at Covenant Seminary. Others from Covenant Seminary who contributed were Bryan Chapell, Robert Yarbrough and David Calhoun. You can read the review here: Abridged Edition
  • Eric Metaxas’ excellent biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer at 608 pages may have scared some readers away (though Tammy recently completed the book). Now a 256 page abridged edition has been released. Check out this excellent book and learn more about this important figure. Metaxas’ new book Miracles, will be released October 28.
  • Here’s a Christianity Today review of Michael Horton’s new book Ordinary, which I plan to read when it is released this week. Check out “The Case Against ‘Radical’ Christianity”. 



  • Justin Taylor writes that the film Hound of Heaven (Kurosawa Productions) will premiere at the 2014 Raindance Film Festival on October 4. Author N.D. Wilson adapted Francis Thompson’s spiritual poem (1893), the original of which you can read here. Propaganda provides the spoken-word narration. You can read the whole story here.
  • Last weekend a new Left Behind film, based upon the popular book series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins and a remake of the previous film by the same name opened. The film stars Nicolas Cage and Randall Hardman writes “…a severe misinterpretation of what the Bible actually says about the topic. To put it bluntly, and perhaps to the chagrin of some readers, the idea of a “rapture” is simply not biblically based (and that’s where I’ve lost a third of you!) It represents, instead, a theology based on escapism and in the process does damage to what the Bible really does say about “the last days.” Read his article “Why Left Behind Should be Left Behind” here:


  • Keith and Kristyn Getty’s sold-out concert at Grace Presbyterian Church is less than two Getty's EPweeks away. On the verge of the concert they have released a new EP The Greengrass Sessions. This limited edition EP features:
    • My Worth Is Not in What I Own – the new hymn written by Keith and Kristyn and Graham Kendrick
    • Good Shepherd of My Soul – a warm and moving a capella rendition of one of Keith and Kristyn’s newer songs
    • Come Ye Sinners – a musical journey from Ireland to Appalachia envelops the traditional hymn
    • Plus 3 more brand new recordings!

To order, go to

  • Here’s a few more upcoming music releases you might be interested in:
    • November 4: Eye’M All Mixed Up: Remixes – TobyMac
    • November 4: Hallelujah for the Cross – Newsboys
    • November 11: The Essential Collection – Passion (Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, etc.)
    • After All These Years – Andrew Peterson
  • U2’s album The Unforgettable Fire is 30 years old. Billboard magazine takes a track by track look at the classic album.Newsboys
  • More on the new Newsboys album…. On the heels of one of the biggest years in their legendary career, Newsboys are at it again with a brand new hymns album, Hallelujah for the Cross. It will include many traditional hymns with new arrangements like: “Jesus Paid It All,” “What A Friend We Have In Jesus,” “It Is Well,” “All Hail The Power Of Jesus Name” and many more.
  • One of my favorite new songs is “Liberty” from Switchfoot’s new EP The Edge of the Earth: Unleased Songs from the Film ‘Fading West’: Here are the lyrics to the song:

A feeling comes to me in wavesSwitchfoot
The darkest seas I’ve ever known
Mine is an odyssey of grace
Mine is a story headed home

I tied myself to the mast
Give up the semblance of control
The sirens sing but I let them pass
Cause only You can free my soul

Set these broken bones to cast
Stitch my wounds with holy sutures
Every saint has got a past
But every sinner’s got a future

Show me the freedom from these chains
Show me a battlefield that saves
That world is still a word away
But You are my liberty

Free my soul, free my soul
And let liberty flow
Like a flood, let it go
And I’ll let the past go
I’ve come running back home
And I’ll make it, I know
All my love, all my hope
Only You could free my soul
Come on, free my soul
Only you could free my soul

I tie myself up to the mast
I tie myself up to the mast
And let it go

Only You could free my soul


 Quotable:  Don’t go to bed tonight without preaching the gospel to your heart one more time. -Scotty Smith

 Beyond the Ark headerDoug Michael Cartoon



  • God himself will milk the cows through him whose vocation that is. He who engages in the lowliness of his work performs God’s work, be the lad or king. - Martin Luther
  • A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them. – John C. Maxwell

Joy, Inc.

 Work and Leadership Book Review –

      Joy, Inc.: How We Built a Workplace People Love by Richard Sheridan


 Integrating Faith and Work: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?

How Then Should We WorkHow then SHOULD We Work? Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work Book Club – Chapter 4

This week we continue our book club on Hugh Whelchel’s book How Then Should We Work?: Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work. Whelchel is the Executive Director the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics and has a passion and expertise in helping individuals integrate their faith and vocational calling. This week we cover the material in Chapter 4: Our Current Situation. 

What's Best NextWhat’s Best Next Book Club – Chapter 16

We continue with our overview of this new book on productivity from a Christian perspective. I’ve highlighted a number of passages and would like to share some of them from Chapter 16: The Problem with Full System Utilization.Love never fails




How to Get Away with Murder

Here’s feedback I sent to ABC regarding their new TV show How to Get Away With Murder:  (I misspelled the creator’s name – rats!)

You & Peter Norwalk have taken a much-anticipated show and made it cheap and tawdry. You’ve taken an award-winning actress & a great plot but chose to add gratuitous sex.   You could have had a broad family audience, but this is why you finished third in the network total viewers stats last week. Keep pushing your individual agendas & continue to watch your viewer numbers drop. Sadly, we won’t be watching ‘How to Get Away with Murder’.   And if Viola Davis has any class, she’ll leave the show.

Here’s a quote from that prompted my feedback:

And you can expect a lot more same-sex sex and same-sex romance as the series continues because, as Nowalk puts it, “It’s part of life.”

“I knew I wanted to push the envelope, especially with the gay sex,” Nowalk explained to me. “And to me, writing the gay characterization and writing some real gay sex into a network show is to right the wrong of all of the straight sex that you see on TV. Because I didn’t see that growing up, and I feel like the more people get used to two men kissing, the less weird it will be for people. I just feel like it’s a lack of vision that you don’t see it on TV, but ABC has never had a note about any of the weird stuff in the show, so I’m gonna keep it going.”

Nowalk reveals that Connor (Jack Falahee), the gay character, is definitely going to have a romance in the first season, right off the bat, starting with the second episode. It was in important to show a gay person as a full-fledged character.”

And of course it goes without saying, there will be lots of straight romance and straight sex, too.

If you want to give feedback to ABC:
1.  Don’t watch the show!
2.  Go to  They give you a limited amount of space, so make it short and pithy!

 To quote the movie, ‘Network':  “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”   

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Coram Deo ~ In the Presence of, and Before the Face of God

Our blog is named Coram Deo, It’s not a phrase we hear about each day, so what does it mean? Read R.C. Sproul’s answer.

Getty'sKeith and Kristyn Getty
at Grace Presbyterian Church – October 17

Just a reminder that the modern hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty will be in concert at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria on Friday, October 17. Tickets are going fast and available locally at Christ Church. Don’t miss this wonderful evening of worship.
To find out more and to purchase tickets go to:


~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~The EqualizerUnPHILtered by Phil Robertson

Book Review – UnPHILtered: The Way I See It by Phil Robertson with Mark Schlabach

 Movie Review ~ The Equalizer, rated R






  • Steve Taylor was my favorite Christian music artist in my early days as a believer in the mid-1980’s. He was edgy, funny and said things that the church needed to hear (and nobody else was saying). He hasn’t had a new album since 1994’s Squint. Since then he has directed two films, The Second Chance and Blue Like Jazz. Taylor returns on November 18 with the Perfect Foil (which features Peter Furler), and Goliath. My good friend Jeff sent me a link to “Only a Ride” and the song just explodes! Welcome back Steve! Check it out here:
  • This is a good story on Lecrae. It’s written by Sarah Pulliam Bailey and titled “How Lecrae mixed rap and theology to find huge, mainstream success”. You can read it here: Lee
  • Trip Lee’s long-awaited follow-up to 2012’s The Good Life is Rise, and it will be released October 27. You can pre-order it at iTunes and when you do you will receive the songs “Shweet” and “Sweet Victory”. Guests on the new album include Lecrae and Andy Mineo. The pre-order for Rise checks in at #2 on the iTunes Hip-Hop/Rap charts, behind Lecrae’s Anomaly, which remains at #1 for a third week.
  • The Newsboys, who are dominating the Christian music charts (8 songs in the top 200 on the iTunes Christian charts), thanks to the popularity of the film God’s Not Dead have released a new single “Hallelujah for the Cross” which should be in heavy rotation on Christian radio soon.
  • Here’s an article from the Chicago Tribune about the ten best post-Beatles solo albums by the members of the band. Read the article here and let us know what you think about the choices.
  • U2 has released the cover art for the physical release of their album Songs of Innocence. The visuals reflect the new songs and their inspiration in the early years of U2 as teenagers in Dublin. Glen Luchford’s striking cover image of Larry Mullen Jr, protecting his 18 year old son, resonates with the band’s iconic 1979 debut album Boy – and the album War, four years later. Both featured the face of a child, Peter Rowen, the younger brother of Guggi, Bono’s childhood friend growing up on Cedarwood Road.
    • The physical release of Songs of Innocence on October 13th comes in three formats:Songs of Innocence Cover
      • Deluxe, 2 CD Format which comes with 2 x 16 page booklets, the 11 track album on CD1 plus additional tracks on CD2 including a 6-song acoustic session along with Lucifer’s Hands, The Crystal Ballroom, The Troubles (Alternative Version) and Sleep Like A Baby Tonight (Alternative Perspective Mix by Tchad Blake).
      • 2 LP 180gram White Vinyl Format featuring the 11 track album on sides 1, 2 & 3 with bonus track The Crystal Ballroom 12″ Mix on side 4.
      • Single CD Format with a 24-page booklet along with the 11 track album.
  • Did you see the fabulous Stevie Wonder on The Tonight Show recently? Here’s a song that he performed (“All Day Sucker”) , that was not aired on the show:





  • One of my favorite shows of last season was Brooklyn Nine-Nine, starring Andy Samberg. Sandberg was recently on The Tonight Show. Check out this bit he did with Jimmy Fallon on five second movie summaries here:

Beyond the Ark header

Doug Michael cartoon

Visions of Vocation Book Club Visions of Vocation

Steven Garber was the speaker at my Covenant Seminary graduation in May. Tammy and I are reading his newest book Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good. Below are passages we discussed from our reading of Chapter 4 – Knowing is Doing:

  • Few stories capture the poignancy of parenting and politics, particularly of the ways in which fathers and their sons together learn to care about the world, as does Chaim Potok’s The Chosen.
  • It is at its core a reflection on the relationship of education to vocation, offering a tale of two answers to the question, Knowing what I know, having heard what I have heard, having read what I have read, what am I going to do?
  • And so he decided to raise his son in silence, as he himself had been raised, to feel the pain of the world in his own pain.
  • None of us, child or parent, older or younger, can read this without weeping. And none of us can conclude that the father’s choice was cheap.
  • Working with others in the city, we called it “Knowing and Doing: Crucial Questions for the Modern University” and commissioned a provocative poster, black and white for starkness, of a student standing on very large books, Grand Canyon–like, looking down into the world.
  • Each in his own way spoke to the question of the responsibility of knowledge within the academic community, perennially challenged as it is by the fiction that one can know but not do, that one can in fact “get all A’s and still flunk life.” What is the point of learning, after all? The question is not new.
  • That story became reality a century later in the appointment of Peter Singer to an endowed chair at Princeton University, where he has famously argued that parents ought to have at least several months after the birth of a child to decide if in fact they want to keep the child. And all this from the ironically named Center for Human Values, which he directs.
  • It was in (John) Stott’s address, taking up the question of the series, that I first heard the story of The Chosen as one with meaning for learning. “A mind without a heart is nothing.” I can still hear Stott say those words in his deeply Oxbridge voice, and they still ring true—for everyone everywhere. Knowing still has to mean doing.
  • How do we learn to become people who have minds and souls at the same time, in the same bodies, in the same persons? How do we avoid fragmenting ourselves so that we read stories of suffering but are insensitive to their meaning? To hear but not care? To see but not respond?
  • As Mark Schwehn has argued so well in Exiles from Eden, “Epistemologies have ethical implications . . . ways of knowing are not morally neutral but morally directive.” The ways we learn shape our souls, for blessing or curse, consciously chosen or not, and are rooted in epistemological commitments which are not morally neutral. Each and every time, they are morally directive.
  • With unusual wisdom, Louise Cowan’s essay “Jerusalem’s Claim Upon Us” takes up for one more generation the age-old question, What does Jerusalem have to do with Athens?
  • Cowan says, that “the object of the Greek way of thought is to know rightly; the object of the Hebrew is to do rightly.” To sum up, she argues that this deity who “fashions a cosmos out of love”—not the eros of the Greeks but the hesed of the Hebrews—makes a covenant with the human race, calling forth “a creature like himself, in his own image, one that could know and understand and love.”
  • Taking these ideas together, Cowan sets forth the contours of the Hebrew vision of the way the world is and ought to be. Woven as strands, they become a tapestry of the way to be holy and human, which in the end is the gift of “the covenant with the human race” that makes sense of the Hebrew understanding of life.
  • Not forever lost in the cosmos, wondering who they are and how they are to live, but rather created in covenant to know and be known, to love and be loved.
  • Written into that vocation is an epistemological challenge, a way of knowing that is not and can never be morally neutral, but is always morally directive. We must not only know rightly, but do rightly. And we must know and understand and love—at the same time. Taken together this is the heart of the Hebrew way of knowing.
  • If at the core of the calling to be human is the task to know and do rightly, to act responsibly in history, to coherently connect knowledge with understanding with love, then there must be a reason for being that makes sense of human relationships and responsibilities in those terms, a context for seeing what one believes and how one lives as a seamless whole. For the Hebrew people, this comes from their understanding of covenant.
  • And generation by generation, God continued to “covenant” with his people—with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David—and of course, in the Christian vision, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus is the covenant incarnate, the covenant made flesh, living for a while among us.
  • From beginning to end, the word covenant represents the reality that God is holy, holy, holy—and expects his people to be so, too. Covenants reveal a God who is gracious and compassionate—and expects his people to be so, too. A covenant was a call to live rightly, to act justly—images that imply a “north star,” which is the character of God himself.
  • This is who I am, this is who you are and this is the way you are to live.
  • Three realities mark covenants wherever they are found in the Hebrew scripture: relationship, revelation, responsibility—the first and the last mediated by the second. Each time a covenant is made, a relationship is offered, a revelation is given, a responsibility is expected. It is the God who “fashions a cosmos out of love” who calls a people into covenant, saying, “I want to know you and to be known by you. This is who I am and who you are. This is the way you are to live. Now, what are you going to do? How are you going to respond? With faithful love, with heart and mind and soul and strength—or will you falter?”
  • Relationship, revelation, responsibility. The words define each other, even as they define covenant.
  • The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob connects to his people through covenant, saying with word and deed, “I know you, I know all about you, and I choose to love you. I will be in relationship to you.”
  • But with that relationship comes a revelation.
  • This is who I am. This is what I am like. This is who you are. This is how you are to live.
  • A relationship initiated—by grace. A revelation made—with power and clarity. And a responsibility, an ability to respond. Always and everywhere, the revelation requires a response.
  • Though the words are historically situated in a moment in Hebrew history, Joshua’s charge to his people echoes across the ages: “Choose this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15 ESV). It is a line in the sand for every generation, perennially asked and answered in every time, in every place. But it is particularly so within the covenantal character of the biblical story, where the dynamic of relationship/revelation/responsibility is sustained in time and space, generation by generation.
  • Noah, Abraham, Moses, David—on each occasion that a covenant is made, a question is set forth: What will you do with what you know? How will you respond to what you have heard?
  • But the covenant, at its very core, reveals the God who knows rightly and does rightly, who knows and understands and loves.
  • Havel was just becoming a more internationally known figure at the time, having come from prison to the presidency of Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic. His people saw themselves as victims. But he also knew that there was no future for his people if they could not set that identity and history aside and instead take up responsibility for the future.
  • If we lose God in the modern world, then we lose access to these four great ideas—meaning, purpose, responsibility, accountability.
  • What Havel saw is what Cowan saw, that human beings are “obligated through the very fact of their existence.”
  • Knowing and doing are at the core of every examined life, but putting the two together is the most difficult challenge we face.
  • A storyteller whose work will long outlive him because he spoke so truthfully about the human condition, Hitchcock rarely missed the opportunity in his films to ask, and answer, the probing questions which are implicit in the relationship of knowing to doing.
  • All of us—friends, parents and children, teachers and students, employers and employees, political leaders and their people—at some point are faced with the question: If you knew, why didn’t you do? How could you be so irresponsible?
  • From the most personal to the most public of our relationships, from marital unfaithfulness to corporate scandals—how else do we explain the outrage, the disappointment, when we find that one more time in one more situation with one more person, there was a disconnect between what someone knew and what they did?
  • What does it mean to “know”? If we were to take the Hebrew scripture, from Genesis to Malachi, listening to and learning the way that knowledge is understood, it would come to something like this: to have knowledge of means to have responsibility to means to have care for.
  • If one knows, then one cares; if one does not care, then one does not know.
  • Like the word covenant, it is defined in life, not in abstraction.
  • As always, the way that belief and behavior are formed over time is complex; but it is clear that the way we live shows what we believe.
  • The epistemological vision that threads its way through biblical history is plainly part of this book’s account of why and how to live in the world: if you know, you care; if you don’t care, you don’t know.
  • And God in his faithful love, hesed, sends prophets to call the people back to the meaning of the covenant. Remember who I am. Remember who you are. Remember how you are to live.
  • But the people have rejected the covenant, they have separated knowing from doing. They may know rightly, but they do not do rightly.
  • The prophet Jeremiah adds his voice to Isaiah’s, lamenting the loss of knowledge, calling the people to an integrity of heart, to do what they know, to move outside the compartmentalization of faith that is the perennial temptation of people of faith anytime and anywhere.Bottom of Form
  • Like a prism in the sun, yada is a multi-faceted word that, in its near one thousand uses in the Hebrew scripture, is translated variously as know, knows, knew, known, knowing, knowledge, acknowledge, understand, teach, realize, show, experience, care for, concern, concerned about, have sex with and learns.
  • From beginning to end it is a word for life, ranging across the spectrum of human relationships and responsibilities—and not surprisingly, its meaning includes both joy and sorrow, the way things ought to be and the way things more often than not are.
  • In Seinfield’s cynical world, the point was that there was no point, and “Yada yada yada” was the response. As silly as Seinfeld meant it to be, for those with ears to hear, it did have meaning. After the Fall, where the covenant is first broken in the Garden, everything is broken, the whole cosmos is affected—and so is yada, so is knowing. Yada, yada, yada.
  • When our older children were almost adolescents, I invited them and their friends at Rivendell School to see the film Weapons of the Spirit. With unusual seriousness, the Washington Post saw it as “a kind of spiritual quest,” and I thought it would be good grist for the mill of young minds. “The question at the heart of this modest, compelling film is this: how in the middle of great evil did a great good take place?”
  • Why do we care? It is never an easy question, and there is never an easy answer.
  • If we remember solely the horror of the Holocaust, it is we who will bear the responsibility for having created the most dangerous alibi of all: that it was beyond man’s capacity to know and care.
  • In the image of Simone Weil, true learning is learning to pay attention, seeing things as they really are.
  • Why do we care? Because we see ourselves in relationship, “obligated by the very fact of our existence.” And now knowing what we know, we are responsible, for love’s sake, for the people and places that are ours—if we have eyes that see.

Steven Garber was recently interviewed by byFaith about Visions of Vocation. You can read the interview here:

Next week we’ll look at chapter 5. Won’t you join us?


  •  I have often repented of speech but hardly ever of silence. -C.S. Lewis
  •  It is clear that lax doctrine and lax living are pretty frequently associated. -Charles Spurgeon



  • I am hugely influenced in these things by Peter Drucker and his reminder that the effective executive maximizes his opportunities and knows himself. So we need to know whether we are more mentally active in morning or evening, and we need to maximize that. - Albert Mohler
  • If work is to find its right place in the world, it is the duty of the Church to see to it that the work serves God, and that the worker serves the work. -Dorothy Sayers

 INTEGRATING FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?

How Then Should We WorkHow then SHOULD We Work?  Book Club ~ Chapter 3

This week we continue our book club on Hugh Whelchel’s book How Then Should We Work?: Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work. Whelchel is the Executive Director the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics and has a passion and expertise in helping individuals integrate their faith and vocational calling. This week we cover the material in Chapter 3: The History of Work and Calling.

The Gospel at WorkThe Gospel at Work Book Club

We recently completed week three in the book club for The Gospel at Work: How Working for King Jesus Gives Purpose and Meaning to our Jobs by Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert. We covered:



 What's Best NextWhat’s Best Next Series – Part 9

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

We continue with our overview of this new book on productivity from a Christian perspective. I’ve highlighted a number of passages and would like to share some of them from Chapter 15 Creating the Right Routines.


R.C. Quote

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An Anomaly of a Week

Top Albums of 2014

2014 has been a particularly strong year for music, with most of my favorite artists releasing new albums. Below are my top choices, in order, thus far:
1. Tie:
•      Songs of Innocence – U2
•      Anomaly – Lecrae
2.  Neon Steeple – Crowder
3.  Fading West and The Edge of the Earth – Switchfoot
4.  Rivers in the Wasteland – NEEDTOBREATHE
5.  20 – Jars of Clay
Two other highly anticipated releases that may crack this list are Love Ran Red by Chris Tomlin and Rise by Trip Lee, both of which will be released October 28.


Movie Review:

  • The Maze Runner, rated PG-13

Music Reviews:

  • The Edge of the Earth: Unreleased Songs from the film “Fading West” – Switchfoot
  • Anomaly by Lecrae

Book Review:



  • Run Wild, Live Free, Love Strong, the new album from For King & Country, who also guests on one song on Lecrae’s Anomaly, debuted at #2 on the iTunes top albums charts on September 16. Congratulations!
  • And the exciting new music just keeps coming. From Jars of Clay to Lecrae, U2 and Switchfoot, now comes news that Chris Tomlin has released a new single from his forthcoming album Love Ran Red. The album features the singles “Waterfall” and “Jesus Loves Me”, along with “Almighty” and “At the Cross (Love Ran Red)” which were included on the Passion: Take it All album earlier this year. Below are the lyrics to this excellent new worship anthem “Jesus Loves Me”, which I’m sure will be soon be sung in churches around the world:

I was lostChris Tomlin
I was in chains
The world had a hold of me

My heart was a stone
I was covered in shame
When He came for me

I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His presence
I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His arms

Jesus, He loves me, He loves me, He is for me
Jesus, how can it be, He loves me, He is for me

And it was a fire
Deep in my soul
I’ll never be the same

I stepped out of the dark
And into the light
When He called my name

I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His presence
I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His arms

He holds the stars and He holds my heart
With healing hands that bear the scars
The rugged cross where He died for me
My only hope, my everything

  • Steve TaylorMy good friend Jeff told me that Steve Taylor is getting ready to release his first new album in 20 years. It will be called Goliath and will be released November 18. His band – The Perfect Foil – includes Peter Furler. Can’t wait!
  • Stevie Wonder, who rarely tours, will be in concert at the United Center in Chicago for the Songs in the Key of Life Performance tour on November 14. This will be a performance of his classic album of the same name. I saw him in concert at the State Farm Center (then called the Assembly Hall) back in 1974 and have long enjoyed his music.Lecrae




  • Here is the first full-length trailer for the upcoming Hunger Games: Mockingjay film:
  • Kirk Cameron’s next film is Saving Christmas. The promotion for the film states: Every year at Christmas time it seems the baby in the manger takes more and more of a backseat to retail sales, Santa Claus, and political correctness.  With “Merry Christmas” being replaced by “Seasons Greetings” and court ordered removal of public nativity scenes, the fruit of Mary’s womb is falling on hard times. But this year, Kirk Cameron is taking back Christmas with his engaging new movie Saving Christmas. Opening in select theaters November 14, the newest movie from the star of Fireproof and Unstoppable is filled with laughter, warmth, and God-honoring cheer! Saving Christmas will change the way your family sees and celebrates this magical time of year. Check out the official site for the film here:
  • Andrew Barber has a problem with Christian films (and so does Tammy by the way, but perhaps for different reasons). Barber writes that there are currently two primary problems with Christian films: (1) they are either inherently dishonest and/or (2) they are primarily concerned with what C. S. Lewis called “egoistic castle-building.” Read his article “The Problem with Christian Films” here:



  • We don’t like to wait – I know I sure don’t. Paul Maxwell of Desiring God writes that helpful to remember that “God’s most precious gifts are often established in gradation for three reasons”. Read what those reasons are in his article titled “Do You Hate to Wait?” here:
  • Jon Bloom of Desiring God writesIrritability. I give into it too often. It’s time to take this sin more seriously and lay it aside (Hebrews 12:1). Every time I’m irritable I burden myself with the detrimental weights of prideful selfishness and relational conflict. And as my irritation overflows on others, it burdens them too because my harsh words stir up anger in them (Proverbs 15:1).” I know I struggle with irritability more than I would like to admit. Read his article “Lay Aside the Weight of Irritability” here:
  • David Mathis from Desiring God writes that one of the most loving things you can do for someone is tell them when they’re wrong. Read his article “Give the Blessing of Rebuke” here:



  • Here is an interesting article from the New York Times on how ISIS works.
  • Former Petra and Head East lead singer John Schlitt has been working with Jay Sekulow of ACLJ, John Elefante and Mark Townsend. They have just recorded their first original tune, Where I Stand, which is a moving tribute to the persecuted Christians in Iraq. The song goes hand-in-hand with an original book written by Sekulow called “Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore.” The song is available when you purchase the book.
  • Scotty Smith tweeted the below picture of women being sold like slaves in Mosul, Iraq by ISIS, saying “This is what true slavery looks like, people”.ISIS selling female slaves


  • The only thing that we have earned at the hands of perfect justice is perfect punishment. -RC Sproul
  • If you have wasted your whole life, and have five minutes left, you can live them to the glory of Christ. -John Piper

 Beyond the Ark headerCourtesy of World Magazine

Doug Michael Adam and Eve cartoonWorld Magazine Cartoon


Quotable: Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. -Steve JobsHeaven is a Place on Earth

BOOK REVIEW – Heaven is a Place on Earth: Why Everything You Do Matters to God by Michael E. Wittner

INTEGRATING FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

  • Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes that business success and gratefulness go hand in hand. Read his “Tuesday Tip” titled “The Wonder of Gratitude” here”
  • Here are quotes on leadership that Dr. Alan Zimmerman is known for and people have found helpful: Download your copy by clicking here
  • On this month’s Leadership podcast titled “Keystone Habits”, Andy Stanley talks about habits that can change your organization. You can find the podcast on iTunes or here:
  • Here is a one-minute video (“60 Seconds to Significance” from The High Calling) from pharmaceutical and vaccine industry consultant Boyd Clarke on how to take criticism.
  • I found this article about reflecting on our performance at work from J.B. Wood to be helpful. Read “How To Know if You are Doing a Good Job”.
  • What are the best places to work? Here is one list – from Fortune – of the top 100 best companies to work for:
  • Matt Perman writes “What are the components of an effective management philosophy that is based upon the fact that humans are in the image of God and that the glory of God is the goal of all things? I am going to outline eleven”. Read his article titled “Management in Light of the Supremacy of God: How Should Christians Think about Management” here:
  • Matt Perman shares the slide deck he uses to help introduce people to the theology of productivity that he gives in What’s Best Next the book. It can serve as a good refresher for those who have read the book, and also something that you can easily share with those who haven’t read the book.
  • I receive the Lead Like Jesus e-devotional three times each week. This one from last Friday got my attention as the prayer stated “Lord, I hand over my need to be in control, my desire to look good in other people’s eyes”, a few things that are probably counterfeit idols in my life. Read the entire devotional here:
  • In this twelfth installment in the series on love at work, John Kyle writes on what it means to rejoice with the truth, even when you’re at work.
  • In this article titled “Heroism in a Cubicle”, Dr. David Leonard states “To put it differently, you must resolve to be intellectually virtuous; you must resolve to be heroic, even in your cubicle. dc46cd4#sthash.y5L6UZKH.dpuf
  • Can unfulfilling work be a vocation? Read Gene Veith’s comments.
  • In his article “What is the Vocation of a Student”, Andrew Spencer offers five lessons he wishes he had learned as a younger student. Find out what those lessons are.
  • Christianaudio is offering John Maxwell’s Leadership Series audiobooks at a discount of up to 75% off through September 30. Check out the details.

 Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?How Then Should We Work

How then Should We Work? Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work Book Club ~ Chapter 2

This week we continue our book club on Hugh Whelchel’s book How Then Should We Work? Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work. Whelchel is the Executive Director of the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics and has a passion and expertise in helping individuals integrate their faith and vocational calling. Read the passages I highlighted in Chapter 2: The Gospel, The Kingdom and Our Calling: What Does the Bible Say About Work?

What's Best NextWhat’s Best Next Series – Part 8 What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms The Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman

  • CHAPTER 14 Setting Up Your Week

We continue with our overview of this new book on productivity from a Christian perspective. I’ve highlighted a number of passages and would like to share some of them from chapter 14.

 R.C. Quote

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Timely News!

This just in, thanks to our cub reporter Tony Gunther.

Lecrae, whose album Anomaly debuted at #1 on Billboard’s album charts yesterday, will appear on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon TONIGHT. He’ll sit in with The Roots and is expected to perform his single “All I Need is You”. To find out more read:


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