Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


Leave a comment

3 Advent Devotionals to Prepare Your Hearts to Celebrate the Birth of Jesus


Over the past three years, my wife Tammy and I have read these three Advent devotionals to prepare our hearts to celebrate the birth of Jesus; we would commend them to you. Here is a brief review of each of them.

Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional by Paul Tripp

This year, I’ve been enjoying Paul Tripp’s devotional New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional. In this 2017 book of daily Advent devotional readings, he writes that the Christmas story is the story of stories, but for some it suffers from our familiarity with it. He writes that when we are familiar with things, we tend not to celebrate them as we once did. Familiarity tends to rob us of our wonder. As a result, he writes that many of us aren’t gripped by the stunningly magnificent events and truths of the birth of Jesus anymore. Many of us are no longer gripped by wonder as we consider what this story tells us about the character and plan of God. And sadly, many of us are no longer humbled by what the incarnation of Jesus tells us about ourselves.
During the busy holiday season other things capture and control our hearts. When that happens however, little room remains for wonder and worship. He writes that familiarity often means that what is very important may no longer exercise important influence over us in the way it should. He tells us that he wrote this book with the hope and prayer that God would use it to recapture our attention and reactivate our awe. Continue reading


Leave a comment

My Review of FORD V. FERRARI

Ford v. Ferrari, rated PG-13
***

Ford v. Ferrari is the real-life story of the Ford Motor Company trying to revive their sagging sales by taking on Ferrari in the 24 Hours of Le Mans car race in France. The film is well-made, directed and acted, but has too much adult language to be considered family friendly. The film is directed by Oscar nominee James Mangold (Logan), and written by Jez Butterworth (Edge of Tomorrow), John-Henry Butterworth (Edge of Tomorrow), and Jason Keller. The film runs a lengthy 152 minutes (but doesn’t seem that long), and had a budget of nearly $100 million.
The sales at the Ford Motor Company are slipping in 1963. Marketing executive Lee Iacocca, played by John Bernthal, comes up with the idea of reviving the company and appealing to young drivers by winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans car race. To facilitate this, Ford attempts to buy out Enzo Ferrari, played by Remo Girone, and his company, which has won four of the past five 24 Hours of Le Mans races.  (SPOILER ALERT*** But just before the deal was to close, Enzo Ferrari pulls out, disagreeing with Ford’s demand to retain control. As a result, the bankrupt Ferrari was bought by Fiat. When the deal falls through, Henry Ford II, played by Tracy Letts (Lady Bird), decides to go to war with Ferrari, with a goal of winning the Le Mans race.***) Continue reading


Leave a comment

THIS & THAT: A Weekly Roundup of Favorite Articles, Quotes & a Cartoon

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More interesting article links
  • Cartoon of the Week
  • Favorite Quotes of the Week

Continue reading


Leave a comment

My Review of MIDWAY

Midway, rated PG-13
***

Midway is a well-made, fast-paced war film about the naval battle that is considered to be the turning point in World War II’s Pacific Theater. The film, released on Veteran’s Day weekend, is directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) and written by Wes Tooke. The two hour and eighteen-minute film sticks to the historical details (no unnecessary fictional love stories etc. added), and had a budget of approximately $100 million.
The film takes us through the events in the first months of the war in the Pacific beginning with Pearl Harbor and culminating in the Battle of Midway in June 1942. The surprise bombing of Pearl Harbor and the resulting devastation is powerfully and soberly depicted. Continue reading


Leave a comment

FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Where is God When I’ve Been Fired. Russell Gehrlein writes “There are no easy answers when a person loses their job. However, knowing and trusting that God will provide for his children and that he will work all things out for good can give us hope, peace, and rest as we navigate the rough waters ahead.”
  • When Has My Career Become My Idol? On this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper responds to the question “At what point does vocational diligence become corrupting idolatry?”
  • Your Daily Commute is One Way God Transforms You. Denise Daniels and Shannon Vandewarker write “When you commute to work, you likely take a similar route each day. To implement a liturgy of commute, you can use the landmarks and cross streets of your route as a trigger for engaging with God.”
  • Bearing Fruit in Every Good Work. Clay Randall writes “Tom Nelson suggests that there are three types of fruit: the fruit of intimacy, the fruit of character, and the fruit of contribution. I believe these categories are helpful and logically flow from one to the next.”
  • How to Become a Servant Leader in Your Organization. Dee Ann Turner shares four ways in which to become a servant leader.
  • How to Read Your Job Well. Steve Lindsey writes “Have you ever considered reading your work? This type of reading requires discovering wisdom about what practices and principles best apply to your unique job.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Called to Lead: 26 Leadership Lessons from the Life of the Apostle Paul by John MacArthur
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

Continue reading


2 Comments

5 Essential Qualities of a Great Leader


The subject of leadership is something I think of often. We are all impacted by our leaders, be it for good or bad, from the President of the United States to our immediate supervisor and parents. Soon, I’ll be teaching a class at our church on how to lead like Jesus. The idea behind the class is to make our church a “leadership factory”, teaching how to be a Christ-centered leader no matter where you lead – business, church, sports, non-profit or the home. What better place to learn how to lead like Jesus than the church?
As I prepared to teach the class, I once again gave thought to what the essential qualities of a great leader are. These are qualities that apply to all leaders, wherever they serve. We could name any number of qualities that would be desirable for a leader to have. For example, John Maxwell is known to say that leadership is influence, nothing more and nothing less.
The 2020 Presidential election is fast approaching. What characteristics will voters find most important when they vote for the leader that will represent our country? Some people may focus more on competency, while others may focus more on character. There were eight manager openings in Major League Baseball after the season ended. What qualities are General Managers looking for as they fill those openings?
If you had to name the 5 most essential qualities of a great leader, what would they be, and why? And, what leader(s) would come to mind that demonstrate each of these qualities. Below I’ll share my thoughts on this. Continue reading


1 Comment

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


Here are reviews from four brand-new albums:

Jesus is King – Kanye West
***

Jesus is King is the highly anticipated and publicized new album, and the first gospel music album, from the controversial Kanye West. I’ll admit that I’ve not previously heard any music from West, who has won an amazing 21 Grammy Awards.
This year, West began attending Placerita Bible Church in Newhall, California. The church is a non-denominational congregation, led by senior pastor, Adam Tyson, a graduate of the respected Master’s Seminary, which was founded by John MacArthur. Tyson has been instrumental in guiding Kanye West’s spiritual journey, including consulting on the lyrics of this album.
West uses a lot of collaborators on the writing and producing of these songs. This album, his ninth studio project, clocks in at only 27 minutes, and topped the charts upon release.
My overall assessment is that while inconsistent, this is a solid effort and worth consideration from those who enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music. Here are a few comments about each song:

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review and reviews of~
  • Three Cords & The Truth – Van Morrison
  • Western Stars – Songs from the Film – Bruce Springsteen
  • What’s My Name – Ringo Starr
  • Music News
  • Music Quotes
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

Continue reading