Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

The Logic of God: 52 Christian Essentials for the Heart and Mind by Ravi Zacharias. HarperCollins Publishing. 275 pages. 2019 
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This book of 52 readings from Ravi Zacharias, who went home to be with the Lord May 19, is a collection of his writings, most of which have never before been published in book form. They were selected for their perspective on the many ways God has provided us with evidence of His existence and how this “logic” gives life meaning, establishes the credibility of the Christian message, shows the weakness of modern intellectual movements, demonstrates the certainty of the claims of Jesus Christ, and validates biblical teaching and Christian apologetics. Each reading is preceded by a relevant quote from the Bible. Two other features to help the reader to reflect on important themes in the readings – “Reflection Questions”, and apply the lessons learned from the readings – “Personal Application”. The author recommends that, if possible, you spend a week with each “experience”, although you can also read like a standard “daily devotional” as I did.

Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review and reviews of
~ Growing in Holiness by R.C. Sproul
~ Growing Up (With) R.C. by R.C. Sproul Jr
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur
I’M CURRENTLY READING…. Continue reading


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So, You Want to Start a Blog


This blog started about seven years ago, but it’s genesis was actually as a church newsletter that we started way back in September, 1998. From an initial four-page issue, Coram Deo would grow to a thirty-page paper and online newsletter by 2013. The focus of the newsletter (and the blog) was to look at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview. As a church newsletter, we included book, music and movie reviews, along with articles from our pastors and information about church events. In 2013, we transitioned from a church newsletter to the current blog format.  During the past seven years, we’ve seen slow, steady growth.
Blogging itself is not difficult. However, consistently doing it with excellence will take discipline and perseverance. Here are 5 thoughts I have for you if you are interested in starting your own blog: Continue reading


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Dealing with the “What-If’s” and “If-Onlys” of Life


Recently I was reading Paul Tripp’s daily reading in his book New Morning Mercies and came upon this quote:
“The Bible tells you that real peace is found in resting in the wisdom of the One who holds all of your “what-ifs” and If-onlys” in His loving hands.”
This got me to thinking about our lives. We have many choices to make every day. Many of them are small – what to wear, where to eat lunch, what TV program to watch tonight, etc. – but some are quite significant. Think of the following significant choices you may have, or will, face:

  • Am I going to go to college, and if so, where?
  • Will I trust Jesus with my life and live as a follower?
  • Who am I going to date, or marry?
  • Where am I going to work, and live?
  • Am I going to have children?
  • How am I going to balance my career, family and church responsibilities?

A few months before I retired, a long-time friend said that he and one of my former leaders had been talking about me. Specifically, they were talking about why I had only progressed to the level of a manager in our organization. I could take that a couple of ways. First, that they believed I had the talent to have progressed further, and second, they were wondering why I hadn’t. I mentioned that I had made some decisions early in my career that may have impacted my career progress. For example, I chose not to relocate with the organization when that was the expected path for advancement in the department I was working in. Another key decision was to attend seminary, rather than pursue an MBA, industry or technical designations. A third decision was not to pursue a position a mentor had told me about because of the significant amount of travel it would require. Regardless, I told him that I had no regrets.  I was at peace with how my career had turned out. My wife and I always prayed about major career decisions (Do we move? Do I pursue this job, in that department? etc.). Looking back at my life I can see God’s guiding hand and sovereign control throughout my career. Continue reading


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3 Thoughts on Pursuing a Degree While Working Full-Time

Folks have asked me “How were you able to complete your seminary degree while working full-time?” After all, I was pursuing my seminary education and working about 55-plus hours a week in my vocation as a manager in a large IT department in a Fortune 50 company, while also having other responsibilities, such as mentoring others and being a leader in my church and in a professional IT organization. Add to that, since it took me 20 calendar years to complete my degree (that’s a story for another time), I was into my mid-50’s as I was coming down the home stretch. Sometimes as I think back on it, I’m not even sure myself how I made it through. I always found the courses very challenging, and I was constantly tired.
So, here are three thoughts I have for you if you are considering pursuing a degree or professional education while working full-time:  Continue reading


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THIS & THAT: A Weekly Roundup of Favorite Articles and Quotes

  • How Do I Know If I’m Doing Enough for God? On this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper responds to a listener who writes, Sometimes I feel overwhelmed because of what seems like a mounting list of things I must do to become like Jesus. I feel stressed out because I want to please God, but it feels like there are so many things to do: kill sin, grow in fruits of the Spirit, be the best worker I can be, live and pour myself out to my community (church), pursue people to disciple (mission), live a healthy lifestyle, Sabbath properly, and also endure suffering.”
  • How Can Christians Express the Truth of Human Dignity during a Global Crisis? In a world that often rejects the value of human life, COVID-19 gives Christians the opportunity to express the dignity of all of God’s image-bearers. From Ligonier’s livestream event Made in the Image of God, John MacArthur points out how believers can respond to our confused culture.
  • Does God Elect His People to Salvation Based on Any Condition They Have Met? Nothing in us can possibly merit God’s election. Our salvation belongs entirely to His good pleasure and the riches of His grace. From one of the Ask Ligonier events, Stephen Nichols suggests that the wonder of election should drive Christians to worshipful gratitude.
  • How Is Christianity Categorically Different from Every Other Religion? In this short video, Kevin DeYoung links Christianity’s uniqueness to its claims about the person and work of Jesus Christ.
  • How Can I Obtain Assurance of Salvation? It is not the perfection of a Christian’s life, but the direction of his life that demonstrates his conversion. From one of the Ask Ligonier events, John MacArthur explains how the evidence of salvation manifests itself in a believer’s life.

  • Dealing with Criticism in a “Cancel Culture” Era. Scott Sauls writes “Our starting point in this endeavor, which is also our ending point is to remember that Christ himself was “canceled” for our sake. This was voluntary on his part, as a way to cover and protect us from the very true things about us that give him every reason to cancel us. How marvelous, and how wonderful, that he does not so much as consider doing that. Thanks be to God for his unfathomable grace.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • 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

  • My New Book. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace is now available in the Kindle edition (Kindle devices and Kindle reading apps). It is also available free on Kindle Unlimited. You can read a FREE sample of the book. If you have read the book, I’d love to hear what you thought of it.
  • Reflecting on Work While Picking Blueberries. Russell Gehrlein, author of Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession: A Biblical, Theological, and Practical Approach to the Doctrine of Work, reflects on the many blessings of being a co-worker with God as he worked in His presence to harvest what others had cultivated from what he had created.
  • What Should I Do About a Corrupt Boss? Will Sorrell writes “As a follower of Jesus, you have a responsibility—and the strength—to speak truth, and so honor Christ. Your honesty and forthrightness are an overflow of the Spirit within you.”
  • 12 Bible Verses to Encourage Christian Leaders. Ron Edmondson writes “Perhaps you should choose one or two of these – write them down somewhere you’ll see them often, and commit them to memory”.
  • Finding Work-Life Balance in the Practice of Sabbath. Andrew Spencer writes “Left unchecked, our work can demand all our time and energy, leaving no room for rest. It can rob us of Sabbath. It can diminish our delight in God’s creation.”
  • Integrating Faith and Work in a Crisis. Watch this discussion between Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church pastor Rob Pacienza and Tom Nelson, President of the Made to Flourish Network, on the topic of Integrating Faith and Work in a Post-Pandemic World.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

    • More links to interesting articles
    • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
    • My Review of Covert Cows and Chick-fil-A: How Faith, Cows, and Chicken Built an Iconic Brand by Steve Robinson
    • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

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My Interview with Russell Gehrlein, author of Immanuel Labor


I first got to know Russell Gehrlein a few years ago when I read his excellent 2018 book Immanuel Labor—God’s Presence in Our Profession: A Biblical, Theological, and Practical Approach to the Doctrine of Work – though we have actually been running his articles on faith and work here since 2016. The integration of faith and work has been a passion of mine, and I really enjoyed his book, and refer back to it often. See my review of the book here.
As I read Russ’s book, I realized that our stories are somewhat similar – we both had careers that were not in what some refer to as “full-time Christian ministry”; we both went to seminary well into our careers; we both have blogs and wrote books, etc.
I recently had a chance to visit with Russ about his book, how he integrates his faith with his work and more. Continue reading


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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


Great Commission – Sing! The Life of Christ Quintology EP – Keith and Kristyn Getty and Friends
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Sing! The Life of Christ: Quintology is the fourth album to be released from Keith and Kristyn Getty’s Sing! worship music conferences, following 2018’s Sing! Live at The Getty Music Worship Conference and 2019’s Sing! Psalms: Ancient + Modern (Live At The Getty Music Worship Conference) and Sing! An Irish Christmas – Live At The Grand Ole Opry House.
The new album is being released in five separate EPs over a period of several months. The project will follow the five main themes of the 2019 Sing! conference – the Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection, Commission, and Ascension of Jesus Christ, and include approximately 30 songs. To find out more about my takeaways from the 2019 conference, held in Nashville, read my article “Reflections From the 2019 Sing! Getty Worship Conference here.
The album was recorded at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center, the Grand Ole Opry House and the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Everything that the Gettys and their musical friends do is with excellence. Throughout, the songwriting, singing and musical performances are of a very high quality, especially noteworthy for a live recording.
The fourth EP to be released is on the Great Commission. Below are a few comments about each song:

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review and reviews of
    • Covers EP by Switchfoot
    • The Worship Initiative, Vol. 20 by Shane and Shane and Various Artists
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS


Every Moment Holy, Volume 1
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I first heard about the Doug McKelvey’s fine book Every Moment Holy, Volume 1 when Andrew Peterson read a selection from it as he began his breakout session at the 2019 Sing! conference. Not long after, my wife gave me a copy of the liturgy “For the Loss of a Living Thing” after Molly, our fourteen-year-old Alaskan Malamute had died.
The book includes more than 100 liturgies for use in a number of different ways. Some are meant to be read by a “Leader” and the “People”, as in a traditional liturgical service or responsive reading, while others are intended for personal use, read either silently or aloud. Throughout the book you will also find more than 20 illustrations supplementing the liturgies from artist Ned Bustard.
This is not a traditional book intended to be read from beginning to end. Instead, I would recommend that you find a comfortable place to sit, grab your favorite beverage, and review the “Contents”, which are divided into eleven sections, such as “Liturgies of Labor & Vocation”, “Liturgies of Blessing & Celebration”, “Liturgies of Sorrow & Lament”, etc. Some of the liturgies will pertain to your current situation, while others will not. You may find that some of the liturgies that don’t fit your personal situation may be liturgies that you can share with others. For example, we shared three – “For a Moment of Frustration at a Child” and “For the Changing of Diapers I & II” – with our niece who has sixteen-month-old triplet boys. I’ve enjoyed reading the “Liturgies of the Hours” (“Daybreak, “Midday” and “Nightfall”), and my wife and I have started using “Liturgies for Table Blessings”. I look forward to continue exploring these liturgies for both routine and special situations.
I purchased the new softcover “Pocket Edition” of the book, which is a perfect size to carry with you.


Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
MORE BOOK REVIEWS ~
Walking from East to West: God in the Shadows by Ravi Zacharias
Becoming Us: Using the Enneagram to Create a Thriving Gospel-Centered Marriage by Beth McCord       and Jeff McCord
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur
I’M CURRENTLY READING…. Continue reading


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Life is Short. Live it!

My wife Tammy celebrated one of those “milestone” birthdays last year. In her life, Tammy has survived a lot, including a few life-threatening illnesses. But I could tell that this particular birthday, if not bothering her, certainly was reminding her of the passage of time. She pointed out that a niece, who was also celebrating a birthday on that same day, was forty years younger than her. Most likely, neither Tammy nor I will not be here when she is the age that Tammy is today. That is a sobering thought.
Or consider another example. Tammy and I spend some time with our niece and her three triplets each week. The boys are just over 17 months old. It crossed my mind that I might very well not live to see them graduate college or get married. Again, a very sobering thought.
That got me to thinking about time, something I do quite often these days. Although we live each day, and time can appear to go slowly, we are often jarred as we think about how much of life we’ve actually lived already. It’s almost like we blink, and we realize that our primary working career is already over. Many loved ones and friends are gone already, and others are older and experiencing significant physical problems and pain.
On the other hand, lately I’ve noticed many obituaries in our local paper of people much younger than I am. How many more years will I have? How many will you have? We aren’t guaranteed the next second. How can we make the most of the time that we are given? Continue reading