Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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How Should We Handle Our Regrets?

Do you have any regrets in life? These regrets might be very significant, such as who you married, or didn’t marry; how you raised your children; how you have handled significant relationships in your life; or perhaps vocational decisions you have made.

Perhaps you’re like Frank Sinatra, when he sang in “My Way”:

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again too few to mention

But my guess is that we all have at least a few regrets in our lives.

Recently, I listened to an interesting Ask Pastor John podcast with John Piper as he answered a question about regrets from a 72-year-old man about how we should handle our regrets. You can listen to that episode here.

As I find myself closer to the end of my journey than the beginning, this episode really resonated with me. My nearly 38-year career with a Fortune 50 organization is now complete, and I’m in a new season of life, with different goals and opportunities to serve. But I do have regrets, some of which are: Continue reading


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THIS & THAT: A Roundup of Favorite Articles and Quotes

  • Should Our Sexual Desires Determine Who We Really Are? Watch this short video from Carl Trueman, author of Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution.
  • How to Focus in Prayer: 7 Tips. Wondering how to focus in prayer and fight the distraction that derails you? Kevin Halloran, author of When Prayer Is a Struggle shares 7 practical tips for fighting distraction in prayer in this video.
  • How to Offer Correction. Guy Richard writes “Giving criticism is frequently necessary, but if we cannot give that criticism constructively then we ought not to give it at all.

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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

  • Do We Need to Confess All Workplace Mistakes? Charlie Self responds to the question “If something goes wrong in the workplace, and no one is asked to own the problem, should I speak up and claim fault or should I just fix the problem and move on? What if someone else made the mistake—am I obligated to “rat them out”?”
  • How Should a Christian Handle Being Sued? Charlie Self responds to the question I own a small business, and a former customer has brought a legal claim against it. The complaint is completely false, but proving this in court would be costly to the point that my business might not even survive. My lawyer says I must settle with the complainant, though to do so is basically an admission of guilt. Should I fight for justice or protect my business by settling?”
  • How Does Adam’s Sin Impact Work? Russ Gehrlein writes “On my drive in to work several months ago, I had the chance to reflect on the effects of Adam’s sin. It took me by surprise when I realized some of the implications of this doctrine on my everyday work.”

  • 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).
  • Developing Leaders with Carol Tomé. On this episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, Carol Tomé, CEO of UPS, and Stanley discuss why a leader’s priority should be to invest in their team and the impact doing so can have.
  • Leaders are Made. Howard Graham writes “We find a great example in the Gospel of Mark of how Jesus, the perfect leader, uses his followers’ mistakes to teach them to be better leaders.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Good Work: How Blue Collar Business Can Change Lives, Communities, and the World by David Hataj
  • Snippets from the book Discipled Leader: Inspiration from a Fortune 500 Executive for Transforming Your Workplace by Pursuing Christ by Preston Poore

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The Loneliness of Leadership

I attended a learning event where we were talking about how difficult the calling of a pastor is. Let’s face it, you don’t pursue that particular calling for the money. In most cases, a leader will earn much more in a general marketplace position than they will in the church. The hours are long. Pastors don’t have set “9 to 5” hours, they are always “on call”. In most cases, a pastor does not get the respect that a workplace leader would receive. And while a pastor will occasionally be told how a particular sermon blessed someone, it is often a difficult and lonely calling.

That got me to thinking that in general the call of leadership is a lonely calling. Now, there are certainly many, many joys of leadership. Some of the things that I really enjoy about leadership have been: Continue reading


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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


Dreamland – Amos Lee
*** ½

I’ve been a fan of Amos Lee’s music since seeing him open for Bob Dylan in 2007. Dreamland is Lee’s eighth album and the follow-up to 2018’s My New Moon. The album sound quality is great, thanks to producer Leggy Langdon. The eleven songs feature Lee’s excellent vocals, and a variety of musical styles, including acoustic ballads, gospel and R&B.
Lee has said “I’ve had a lot of episodes with anxiety in my life and now I feel much more equipped to handle them, partly because my family and friends have always been so supportive of me. Over the course of my life, I’ve come to understand that music is my bridge to other people. I have no idea what the waters are like below that bridge—it might be lava for all I know—but music allows me to float over the whole thing and connect.”

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  • More of this review
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS


The Dawn of Redeeming Grace: Daily Devotions for Advent by Sinclair Ferguson. The Good Book Company. 160 pages. 2021

****

Sinclair Ferguson follows up his 2018 Advent devotional Love Came Down at Christmas with The Dawn of Redeeming Grace, based on the first two chapters of Matthew’s Gospel. Ferguson tells us that Advent is all about the new beginning God has made possible by sending his Son for us and that Matthew’s opening words are good news for anyone who needs a new beginning.
Each of the twenty-four devotions ends with the lyrics of a hymn and a prayer. I enjoyed reading and discussing this book with my wife Tammy and also with a group of friends this past Christmas. I would recommend it to you for your devotional reading during the next Advent season.
As Christmas approaches, the author invites us to join him in exploring what Matthew says about those days that marked the dawn of redeeming grace and about how Christ’s light breaks into our lives today.

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


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3 Great Resources for Christian Book Deals on Kindle

I read almost all of my books on Kindle. The only exception would be when I’m participating in a book launch for an author and I’m sent a physical book. I find reading books on Kindle to be very convenient, and the prices of Kindle books are almost always less expensive than a physical book.
You can search for daily deals on Amazon’s site, where they break down books by category, both paid and free books. I usually search for deals on Christian books by going to the “Christian Living” category and sort further from there. In addition to “Christian Living”, I usually check the “Leadership”, “Professional Growth” and “Spiritual Growth” categories, looking at both the “Best Sellers” and “New Releases”. Your personal preferences will dictate the sections that you will want to check.
In addition to going directly to the Amazon site, I use three additional resources to search for Kindle deals on Christian books:

  1. Tim Challies’ blog. For years, I have read Tim’s excellent A La Carte blog, which is published early each Monday through Saturday. Tim does an excellent job of choosing books that his readers will have an interest in.
  2. Cross-Points Ebooks. Another excellent resource is Cross-Points Ebooks. Cross-Points eBooks is “dedicated to scouring the internet to give you the very best deals on Christian eBooks that will grow both your faith and knowledge of the God of the Bible.”
  3. Gospel eBooks. This is a site that I’ve just recently become aware of. Although I’ve found some good deals on books I’m interested in, it also includes deals on books that I’m not personally interested in reading (Christian fiction, for example).

I follow each of the above sites on Twitter. You can also subscribe to the sites to have the deals emailed to you.

If you read your books on Kindle, how do you find deals on Kindle books?


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THIS & THAT: A Roundup of Favorite Articles and Quotes

  • Paralyzed and Blessed: My Unlikely Path to Happiness. Joni Eareckson Tada writes “A godly response to suffering places you under a deluge of divine blessings.”
  • Pornography Use is Becoming an “Acceptable Sin”. Joe Carter writes “A recent poll shows pornography is affecting relationships between men and women—and reveals how indulging in porn is becoming an acceptable sin.”
  • When It Doesn’t Feel God Is With You. Courtney Reisigg writes “Suffering has a way of making you feel like God has left you. Where is God in these moments? How do you find him? Let’s be honest. Sometimes you can’t. This is where Genesis 39 comes in.”
  • Is Attending a Wedding an Endorsement? “Since attending a wedding means more than just showing up, but actually showing approval, we should ask ourselves if this particular union is one we can add our affirmation to cheerfully and with a clear and biblically informed conscience.”

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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

  • What Should I Do When My Colleague Overpromises? Charlie Self responds to the question “Sometimes I hear my boss promise things I know we can’t deliver. I know he’s just trying to reassure the client and land the sale, but it makes me deeply uncomfortable. I want to correct him, but I also want to respect him—especially in front of our clients. Is there a way to correct someone so gently it won’t be embarrassing?”
  • Let’s Talk: What’s the Point of Work? On this episode of the Let’s Talk podcast, Jackie Hill Perry, Jasmine Holmes and Melissa Kruger talk about how to think rightly about work. “There are real thorns and thistles with all of our work, even if it’s not physical ones,” Melissa says. Whether it’s just we’re tired or we’re overworked. There are all these things that, I think, in perfection wouldn’t have been true.” Yet in spite of these thorns and thistles, we can still experience God-given purpose in work as we steward the opportunities God has given us.
  • Why Working Women are Starting to Unplug from Their Churches. Sandra Crawford Williamson shares four reasons why working women choose to stay home from church.
  • How to Reconcile Cultural Differences in the Workplace with David Bailey. On this episode of the Denver Institute Faith & Work Podcast, Joanna Meyer visits with David Bailey, Founder and CEO of Arrabon, a nonprofit that helps leaders and organizations with guidance, education, and tools to build more empathetic, reconciled communities.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of The Flourishing Pastor: Recovering the Lost Art of Shepherd Leadership by Tom Nelson
  • Snippets from the book Discipled Leader: Inspiration from a Fortune 500 Executive for Transforming Your Workplace by Pursuing Christ by Preston Poore

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Why Do You Want to Be A Leader?


I mentored many individuals in my career who were aspiring to a leadership position in our organization. I would always ask them one question – “Why do you want to be a leader?” The answer to that question can tell you a lot.
I remember a friend who was asked that question by a senior leader. They hadn’t thought through their answer before being asked, and their answer was such that as a result, the leader would not support them for a leadership position moving forward. If you see leadership as a calling, you need to have your answer to the question “Why do you want to be a leader?” ready for whoever may ask you.
There are many reasons why people might want to secure a formal leadership position. (I say “formal” because I firmly believe that you can be a leader no matter what position you hold). Some pursue leadership for the title, position or status. Some pursue leadership for the salary or bonuses available. Some pursue leadership because they feel that they are entitled to it, based on length of service or prior individual contributions. I believe these are all poor reasons to pursue leadership.
I see leadership as a calling. I feel that leadership is one of the things that the Lord has gifted and prepared me for. My objectives in being a leader were to drive results for the organization and to develop people, both those on my teams and those I mentored. In other words, I aimed to make things better, both for the organization and for the people I was blessed to work with and mentor. I think that’s what servant leadership is all about.
Leadership experts John Maxwell and Ken Blanchard believe that the only way to create great relationships and results is through servant leadership. Maxwell states that servant leadership is all about putting other people first. Many leaders are not respected because they tend to put themselves first, not others. Blanchard has written that we have all seen the negative impact of self-serving leaders in every sector of our society. Maxwell offers a solution, indicating that the leader should be there for the people, not the people for the leader. Dave Ramsey states that if there’s one key to servant leadership, it’s pretty simple: put other people first. Cheryl Bachelder, the former CEO of Popeyes, writes that servant leadership simply means service above self.
Does this describe your current leader, or leaders that you have reported to in the past? Perhaps not. A better question may be “Does this describe the leader you want to be?” When someone asks you why you want to be a leader, why not indicate that you:

  1. Will make a difference.
  2. Drive strong results.
  3. Develop people.
  4. Put other people first.

How about you? If I were to ask you why you want to be a leader, how would you respond?