Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • What Do the Psalms Have to Say About Work? Russ Gehrlein shares a brief summary of some of the observations about work from the Psalms that he compiled in his book, Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession.
  • Is Retirement Good for You? Or Not? Mark D. Roberts writes “Those who flourish in the third half of life have a purpose that is greater than their own wellbeing. They are living to serve others and to make a difference in the world, whether through paid or non-paid work. Ultimately, we who follow Jesus should see our retirement as a time to continue to live our whole lives as his disciples.”
  • Is the Quest for “Meaningful Work” a Scam? On this episode of the Quick to Listen podcast, Luke Bobo joins Christianity Today global media manager Morgan Lee and executive editor Ted Olsen to discuss if the Bible’s instructions about work make sense today, what is different about work in this moment, and how to navigate the additional abuse and exhaustion the pandemic has brought on.

  • Called to Lead. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace is available in both a paperback and Kindle edition. Read a free sample (Introduction through Chapter 2).
  • Bet on Leadership. Mark Miller introduces the first of the 4 Moves of High Performance Organizations, Bet on Leadership, along with a brief overview of the 3 best practices.
  • How to Think Wisely About 40-Hour Workweeks and Offices. Jordan Raynor writes “Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many are wondering: “Do we really need offices?” “Who said 9 to 5 were the ideal working hours?” and “If we’re able to work wherever and whenever we want, can’t we get our work done in less than 40 hours a week?” While Scripture doesn’t give specific answers, it does give three principles that will help us engage the pressing issues of work and time.”
  • All Good Work is God’s Work (Including Yours). Scott Sauls writes “Whether our work is done at home or out in the community, as volunteers or for a paycheck, an essential question has to do with how our faith relates to our work.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Work That Makes a Difference by Daniel Doriani
  • Snippets from the book Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy by Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson

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John Maxwell on Calling

The subject of our calling is one of great interest to me. I enjoy reading about calling and helping others to pursue their calling. I’ve read a few books about calling, the best of which have been by Jeff Goins (The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do), Bob Smart (Calling to Christ: Where’s My Place) and Os Guinness (The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life). In his book Leadershift: 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace, John Maxwell includes a chapter on calling titled “Career to Calling: The Passion Shift”. This was my favorite chapter in an excellent book. I want to share 10 great quotes on Maxwell’s chapter on calling:

  1. A job is not your calling, no matter how much money it will allow you to make or how it allows you to serve people. A job is merely a vehicle with the potential to take you toward your calling.
  2. Your calling, when you find and embrace it, will result in the merging of your skills, talents, character traits, and experiences.
  3. Finding your calling is like finding your why—the reason you exist, your purpose for living.
  4. Your life will never be the same once you know what you’re called to do and are working to fulfill it every day.
  5. Your calling can give you a fruitful and fulfilling life, one that fills you with passion and motivates you to make a difference.
  6. No one has ever been called to do something he or she wasn’t suited for. Calling always matches who you are.
  7. A true calling is never about the person being called. It’s about helping others.
  8. Nothing in life is as rewarding as fulfilling your calling—nothing. Wealth, fame, achievement, recognition: all of them fall short.
  9. The goal in life is not to live on forever but to create something that does.
  10. Our calling is the gift we give the world while we are still alive. Our legacy is our gift to the world after we die.

Have you read any books on calling that you would recommend? Please share them. Thanks.


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In Appreciation of “My Favorite Mother-in-Law”

I was blessed to have Helen “Jane” Reynolds as a wonderful mother-in-law. Jane went home to be with the Lord today, surrounded by her family. She was the mother of three daughters (Misty, Teri and my wife Tammy), grandmother to four, and great-grandmother (or “Grandma Great”) to seven.
Jane was a faithful believer in Christ, who lived a life of suffering and pain. She had six back surgeries, the most recent taking place after a fall about four years ago. She took strong pain medicine that barely made the pain tolerable. She wasn’t able to sit for more than short periods, which meant that she wasn’t able to go to church for many years. Prior to that, she was a long-time member of Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, and most recently enjoyed the preaching of former Grace pastor Bryan Chapell, thanks to their Grace Alive television ministry.
She had three sons-in-law, but of course would never say which was her favorite. I would sign my emails to her as “OOYFSIL” (one of your favorite sons-in-law). I would always tell her that she was my favorite mother-in-law. She would reply, smiling, that she was my favorite because she was my ONLY mother-in-law. Continue reading


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How to Persevere, When You Don’t Know What to Do

We’ve all been impacted, one way or the other, over the past 18 months by the COVID-19 pandemic. You or someone you know may have had COVID, or perhaps you lost a loved one to the virus. You may have been forced by your employer to either get a COVID vaccine or lose your job. We have all had to wear face coverings, and as I write this, my state still has an indoor “mask mandate”. Your young children may have been forced to wear masks at school or learn online. We could go on about how COVID has changed our world, including an increase in depression, loneliness, and isolation.
About 6 months into the COVID pandemic, I lost my father to heart disease. A little over a month before that he had travelled to Chicago to have a heart procedure. Stores were boarded up and we were advised to not be outside after dark due to the rioting/looting.  Our hope had been that this surgery would prolong his life. Instead, he quickly declined after the procedure, and we don’t really know why.
Just 8 months later, my brother and his wife both contracted the virus, and were hospitalized. Although Julie was released after 3 days, Mike’s case was much more severe. Before he was put into a coma to be placed on the ventilator, he was told by the doctor that they didn’t think he would make it. Whether he would survive or not was very much up in the air. Although a Christian for nearly 40 years, the thought of losing my brother drove me to begin each morning on my knees, a discipline that I have continued. Mike would eventually come home after 53 days in the hospital. As I write this, our community has lost 263 people to COVID. It is only because of God’s amazing grace that Mike survived his battle with the virus and is doing well.
And then about a month and a half later, my mother-in-law woke up one morning confused and weak. At that time, she was a mentally sharp 89-year-old, living in her own home. After a week and three visits to medical facilities, she was admitted to a hospital, where she remained for 3 weeks. As I write this, it has been just over 8 weeks since that time. She has not improved, and is in a long-term care facility. She is mentally confused/delusional and does not have the use of her legs.  Lots of tests have been run, but we still have no answers as to what caused the change in her condition, and may never know.
The effects of the COVID-10 pandemic, the above impacts on people close to me, as well as the loss of a dear friend who died from a nearly 15-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease, has frankly rocked my world. I feel like I have aged 10 years. And I know that many of you have gone through an even more difficult time. What are we to do when life gets so difficult? Should we just approach life with a stiff upper lip? How can we persevere as Christians during adversity? Continue reading


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Redeeming Your Time: 7 Biblical Principles for Being Purposeful, Present, and Wildly Productive by Jordan Raynor

Redeeming Your Time: 7 Biblical Principles for Being Purposeful, Present, and Wildly Productive by Jordan Raynor. WaterBrook. 240 pages. 2021
****

Like me, you may have already read a few books about productivity. I’ve read good books by Tim Challies and Matt Perman, and recently read Redeeming Your Time by Jordan Raynor (Called to Create, Master of One), which I commend to you.
Raynor tells us that the solution to our struggle with time management is found in Jesus Christ. He tells us that Jesus offers us peace before we do anything, and also that Jesus shows us how God would manage his time. Because he was infallible God, we can assume that Jesus managed his time perfectly, providing us with the ideal model to follow.  As far as what makes this book different from other time management/productivity books you’ve read, the author tells us that this book:

  • Accounts for how the Author of time managed his time.
  • Seeks to collect and connect the previously disconnected pieces of the time management puzzle.
  • Attempts to strike a unique balance between the theological, the theoretical, and the tactical. 

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THIS & THAT: A Roundup of Favorite Articles and Quotes

  • The World Is Catechizing Us Whether We Realize It or Not. Kevin DeYoung writes “Here’s the reality facing every Christian in the West: the money, power, and prestige of the mainstream media, big time sports, big business, big tech, and almost all the institutions of education and entertainment are invested in making sin look normal.”
  • Explainer: What You Should Know About COVID-19 Booster Vaccines. The ERLC Staff write “Federal regulators are likely to approve booster vaccines for all three approved COVID-19 vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson — starting six months after inoculation, according to recent news reports. The Biden administration and companies have said that there should be enough supply for boosters that they plan to begin distributing more widely on Sept. 20. Here is what you should know about COVID-19 booster vaccines.”
  • Texas Law Authorizes Anyone in U.S. to Enforce Its New Abortion Ban. Joe Carter writes “The U.S. Supreme Court has refused, for now, to intervene in a Texas law that would ban nearly all abortions in the state—and allows anyone in the U.S. to enforce it.”

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  • More interesting article links
  • Favorite Quotes of the Week

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday


Faith and Work News  ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Jesus’ Career Before His Ministry: A Business Insider. Klaus Issler writes “By taking a deeper look at Jesus’ teachings and his own “secular” work experience prior to his public ministry, we may come to appreciate how this form of work had a significant role in Jesus’ life, and how it continues to have a vital role in in God’s ongoing work today.
  • Sabotaging Success. In this short video, Mark Miller discusses how to troubleshoot the three ways leaders self-sabotage.
  • The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill. My wife Tammy and I have been listening to the Christianity Today podcast The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill by Mike Cosper. I recommend it for all leaders.
  • Is There Any Heavenly Good in Our Earthly Labor. John Pletcher looks at five story threads that summarize and potentially motivate us for God-honoring earthly work.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

    • More links to interesting articles
    • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
    • My Review of Leading in Tough Times: Overcome Even the Greatest Challenges with Courage and Confidence by John Maxwell
    • Snippets from the book Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy by Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson

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My Review of NO TIME TO DIE

No Time to Die, rated PG-13 
***

No Time to Die is the pandemic delayed 25th film in the James Bond series, and the fifth and final film with Daniel Craig starring as 007 James Bond since 2006’s Casino Royale. My all-time favorite actor playing Bond is Sean Connery, but Craig is a close second. The film was directed by Emmy winner Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective) and written by Fukunaga, Neal Purvis (Spectre, Skyfall, Quantum of Solace, The World is Not Enough, and Casino Royale), Robert Wade (Spectre, Skyfall, Quantum of Solace, The World is Not Enough, and Casino Royale), and Emmy winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), based on characters developed by Ian Fleming. The film, which features exotic locales, great cars (especially the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera), car chases and gun fight battles, as well as numerous nods to previous Bond films, was entertaining, but did seem long at 163 minutes.
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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, Vol. 1 – Shane and Shane
****

I was introduced to the worship duo Shane and Shane (Shane Barnard and Shane Everett) at the 2018 Getty worship conference Sing! For the entire time that I have followed them, the duo has released projects covering hymns and modern worship songs. Their last album of original material was 2015’s Psalms Vol. 2. Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, Vol. 1 is a welcome return to original material, and it’s one of my favorite releases of 2021 thus far. The thirteen modern hymns are consistently excellent. It was hard to pick my favorites.
The album’s title comes from Colossians 3:16:  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Here are a few brief comments about each song:

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review and a review of Sing! Global (Live At The Getty Music Worship Conference) [Deluxe Edition] by Keith and Kristyn Getty and Friends
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS


The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown. Hazelden Publishing. 156 pages. 2010
***

This self-help book by Brené Brown, a research professor, is outside of my normal genre of reading. It was highly recommended by a few family members, so my wife Tammy and I decided to read and discuss the book.
The book is comprised of ten short chapters, each one covering a “Guide Post” toward living a wholehearted life. Each chapter ends with a “DIG Deep” section, including suggestions on how to “Get Deliberate”, “Get Inspired” and “Get Going”.
Brown writes that wholehearted living is not a onetime choice. It is a process, and she believes that it’s the journey of a lifetime. Cultivating a wholehearted life is not like trying to reach a destination. Brown writes that it is like walking toward a star in the sky. We never really arrive, but we certainly know that we’re heading in the right direction. She tells us that at the heart of wholeheartedness is worthy now. We are worthy of love and belonging now. Courage, compassion, and connection are the tools that we need to work our way through our journey.
The book covers a wide variety of subjects, such as vulnerability, belonging, shame, fear, courage, authenticity, perfectionism, resilience, spirituality, gratitude, creativity, play, work and laughter. Although the book is not written from a specifically Christian perspective, there is much to consider and ponder in the book. Being a perfectionist, that particular section was eye-opening for me.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review…
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ Providence by John Piper
I’M CURRENTLY READING…. Continue reading