Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Summer Break is Over for Bill

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I am down to just three more classes to complete my Master’s degree (MATS – Masters of Arts in Theological Studies) at Covenant Theological Seminary ( The past six Januarys I’ve attended week long classes on campus, always a wonderful experience. I’ve had the opportunity to study under some wonderful teachers – Greg Perry, Mary Beth McGreevy, Carl Trueman, Robert Yarbrough and Scotty Smith (twice). Soon, I’ll be in St. Louis for my last “on campus” class – “Calling, Vocation and Work”, taught by Michael Williams and Bradley Matthews. I was pleased to hear that my lead pastor’s daughter-in-law, as well as a friend from Atlanta that I sat next to in last January’s class with Scotty Smith will be in the class as well. I look forward to connecting with both of them.

I love St. Louis, and have loved it since visiting as a kid with my family – going to Cardinal games (I’ve attended games at all three Busch Stadiums), and going to Six Flags. While I won’t catch any Cardinal games during class week, we do have several more games on the calendar this season, plus the post-season. Cardinal fans just expect that there will be post-season baseball each season. (smile).

Travelling to and from St. Louis and during the week I plan to listen to Michael Card’s 2011 studies on the Gospel of Matthew that he led at Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. These are wonderful studies and will give you an idea of what to expect when Michael brings the Biblical Imagination Conference and Concert on Matthew to Christ Church and East White Oak Bible Church in April, 2014.

Why not listen to these studies with me at:
Lord willing, I will complete my seminary studies in May, 2014. At that time, I’ll be within five years of my planned retirement. Tammy, too, is transitioning in September, after more than eighteen years as our church treasurer. When you get to new seasons of life like these, you wonder “What does the Lord have next for us?” In God’s providence, this class on calling is coming at the perfect time!
Tammy and I have been publishing a newsletter for our church since September 1998, and plan to continue to do so for a few more months. We are excited to introduce this recently launched blog that you are reading now, which will provide more timely reviews as well as some new content, as well as articles and poetry from others, such as Tammy’s sister Teri (check out her first two posts) and nephew Mark, who recently received his PhD. To subscribe to receive updates at, just enter your email address under FOLLOW BLOG VIA EMAIL (on the right side of this page).


Colton Dixon

Music Review
A Messenger – Colton Dixon
The debut album from the 21 year old former American Idol contestant Colton Dixon is a solid, but not great debut. It has sold very well, but there isn’t anything new or innovating here that we haven’t heard before. The lyrics are solid, but again similar to others we might hear on Christian radio. He contributed to the writing of all songs, except the closing ballad “Let Them See You”.

The album’s title is inspired by John 13:16:

Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.

In addition, previously, Dixon was the lead singer of the rock band the Messengers.

Dixon was introduced in season ten of American Idol, but failed to make it to the live rounds. He made it to the top seven in season eleven. We recently saw him in concert on Third Day’s Miracle tour. I always find it hard to evaluate an artist in concert – usually an opening act – if I’m not familiar with their music. That was the case with Dixon. He is a charismatic performer, with Billy Idol-like hair, and had an enthusiastic following – especially from the young females in the crowd – at the US Cellular Coliseum back in May.

The album is well produced and features Dixon’s powerful voice. With the exception of two ballads – “I Rise” and “Let Them See You” (co-written with Third Day’s keyboardist Scotty Wilbanks) – this is a modern pop-rock album, piano driven music, with loud guitars, bass and drums. It’s designed to play loud. Unfortunately, many of the songs tend to sound similar. Dixon could have offered more of a variety or diversity of songs in this debut. He reportedly had fifty songs written for the album so perhaps we’ll see more of a variety on future releases.

My favorite song is Dixon’s hit single “You Are”, featuring lyrics:

You are the song
You are the song I’m singing
You are the air
You are the air I breathe in
You are the hope
You are the hope I’m needing

Dixon performed “Love Has Come for Me” on American Idol’s season twelve.

Dixon should have a very bright future ahead. I enjoyed his debut and will look forward to hearing what he has next.

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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