Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

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Called in from the Bullpen….

While Bill is with his Dad and brother at the Cubs/Cards game at Wrigley Field, I’ll be the guest blogger for today.

Men, do you need a great marriage or dating tip? Have you ever heard the words, “Don’t try to fix it. I just need you to listen”? Then go to: It’s Not About The Nail ~

Looking for a great movie? Look no further than “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” – lots of great Oscar-worthy acting, set design, costumes and makeup, but most of all a powerful movie that will stir your hearts and begin some great discussions.

Under Book Reviews, check out ~ Robert Griffin III: Football, Faith and Leadership by Ted Kluck. Under Music Reviews, take a peek at reviews of Reckless by Jeremy Camp and The Struggle by Tenth Avenue North.

Here’s some other titillating tidbits we call This and That.

• Jars of Clay’s Inland album is now available for pre-order on iTunes. When you pre-order the album the track “Fall Asleep” is downloaded. The album will be released August 27.

• One of Bill’s favorite blogs is Tim Challies’ Informing the Reforming. Check out his website at for how to sign up to receive updates. His daily A La Carte email often features special Kindle deals of interest to Christian readers.

• Singer-songwriter Fernando Ortega will be in concert at the First Baptist Church of Pekin on January 25.

• Ligonier Ministries has announced details for their 2014 National Conference. The conference will be held at the First Baptist Church in Orlando March 13-15. The theme will be “Overcoming the World: Being a Christian in a Post-Christian Culture”. Speakers will be R.C. Sproul, Sinclair Ferguson, Albert Mohler, Derek Thomas, Voddie Bauchham, Robert Godfrey, Steven Lawson, Stephen Nichols and R.C. Sproul Jr. More information should be available shortly at

• Each Friday, Ligonier Ministries offers select resources for only $5 on “$5 Friday. Just to for the specials beginning at 12:01 a.m. (EST) each Friday.

• Steven Curtis Chapman’s first full album of original songs in seven years, The Glorious Unfolding, will be released on September 30. The album centers around the idea that God is at work telling a story through the wonderful and amazing as well as the painful chapters of our lives, something Chapman understands first hand. As he explains, “As I’ve journeyed through this story, I’m more convinced than ever that He does know the plans that He has for us and He will finish what He started. God is telling an amazing, glorious, epic story and we must decide if we will trust Him with it.” Chapman will visit 35+ cities on the first leg of “The Glorious Unfolding” Tour alongside Laura Story and Jason Gray. The first single “Love Take Me Over,” was released to radio July 26.


Enjoy this beautiful August Saturday, and no, I’m not ready for back to school supplies and the end of summer. I love sandals, shorts and t-shirts, along with sitting on the patio with a tall cold glass of iced tea, playing spider solitaire on my iPad and listening to the bug noises in the evening. Or how about taking a drive out to Lake Bloomington, roll the windows down and crank up Zac Brown Band’s Chicken Fried song? I vote for Endless Summer.

Tammy Pence
P.S. They need Sirius Radio on Segways! I love the 70’s on 7, deep tracks (album cuts), Elvis radio, Soul Town and The Groove (classic and old skool R&B, Soul and Motown).

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Hey Jack! Are you ready for a new season of Duck Dynasty?

Willie, Si, Jase, Phil and the gang will be back for a fourth season of Duck Dynasty on A&E beginning on August 14, which will make all of us happy, happy happy! Also, Phil’s oldest son Alan will also be joining the cast this season.
To get you in the mood, here are book reviews of Willie and Phil’s books. And don’t forget Si’s upcoming book Si-cology 1: Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty’s Favorite Uncle. The book comes out September 3, but I may hold out for the audiobook, read by Si himself. That will be released October 1. Here’s a look at the book cover: si

The Duck Commander Family: How Faith, Family, and Ducks Built a Dynasty by Willie and Korie Robertson. Simon and Schuster. 272 pages. 2012. Audiobook read by Willie and Korie Robertson
Recently, we started watching the A&E reality series Duck Dynasty. The show is about the Robertson family and their Duck Commander business. Father Phil Robertson started making duck calls out of his home about 40 years ago, and the Duck Commander business has grown significantly over the years, especially since son Willie bought 50% of the business and took over as CEO in 2005.
In this book Willie and his wife Korie tell their story and the Duck Commander story. Each chapter begins with a Bible verse and each chapter also includes one of their recipes.
Willie tells us that in early days of his parent’s marriage his father Phil drank a lot and one time kicked his mother Kay and the children out of the house. He was later converted, and the Robertson’s faith plays a big part in this family.

Willie and Korie come from diverse backgrounds. Willie was a “redneck” country boy with little money growing up, while Korie is a self-proclaimed city girl from an affluent family. They talk about their parenting philosophies, for their children, including one that is adopted and also an extended member of their family, a former exchange student from Taiwan that came to live with them.
Willie tells about founding the companion company Buck Commander (deer hunting). He has partnered with several major league baseball players like Adam LaRoche and Chipper Jones.
Willie also tells us about some of the Duck Commander employees that we don’t know as much about.
This is an easy to read account of the Robertson family and the successful Duck and Buck Commander businesses, and how faith holds everything together.

Happy, Happy, Happy: My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander by Phil Robertson with Mark Schlabach. Howard Books. 230 pages. 2013.
Recently, Tammy and I have gotten into Duck Dynasty, the reality show on A&E featuring the Robertson family. This book is written by the leader of the family, sixty-six year old Phil Robertson. Phil writes that what separates the Robertsons from a lot of other families is their faith in God and love for each other.
The book’s chapters are broken into rules. For example, the first rule is “Rule No. 1 for Living Happy, Happy, Happy Simplify Your Life (Throw Away Your Cell Phones and Computers, Yuppies)” It sounds light and fluffy, and at times it is, but Robertson definitely speaks his mind about important topics, such as the family and the state of our nation, in this autobiography.
He grew up in a little log cabin in the woods. He writes that he grew up in the 1950s, but his family lived like it was the 1850’s. He slept in the shed with his three older brothers. His younger brother, Silas, slept in the main room on the west end of the house. His older sister, Judy, also slept in that room. His youngest sister, Jan, was the baby of the family and slept in a crib next to his parents’ bed until she was old enough to sleep with Judy. His father and mother slept in a small middle room in the house.
He writes of sleepless cold winter nights and bathing in cold water because they didn’t have a hot water heater. Nearly everything they ate came from their land.
He learned to hunt and fish shortly after he learned to walk. He writes that kids in America today are overweight and lazy, and it’s their parents’ fault for letting it happen. Kids sit around playing video games and eating junk food all day, and when they’re not doing that, they’re texting on their cell phones.
He says that as a boy, living off the land influenced his outlook on life probably more than anything else and influenced many of his decisions. His time out in nature shaped the rest of his life, and it’s something he wanted to make sure his sons learned to enjoy. Whether it was hunting, fishing, or playing sports, his children were going to grow up outside. They weren’t going to be sitting on the couch inside.
Phil is married to “Miss Kay”. He was sixteen and she was fifteen when they were married. He was the high school football quarterback, and she was a cheerleader. They first started going together when she was in the ninth grade and he was in the tenth.
Phil writes that Kay learned how to cook from her grandmother. She can prepare anything from wild game to unbelievably good pies, biscuits, and just about anything else.
Phil played football at Louisiana Tech. He was quarterback for the Bulldogs from 1965 to 1967 and was the starter in 1966, throwing for more than three hundred yards against Southeastern Louisiana University. He writes that during preseason camp the next year, he looked up and saw a flock of geese flying over the practice field and thought to himself, “What am I doing out here?” He walked off the practice field and never went back.
The quarterback behind Phil on the depth chart was Terry Bradshaw, who was a lot more serious about football than Phil was. Bradshaw started the next three seasons at Louisiana Tech and was the number one pick in the 1970 NFL draft. He became the first quarterback to win four Super Bowl championships, with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
After leaving college, Phil took a teaching job in Arkansas. He became a heavy drinker from age twenty-one until twenty-eight. He states that the only things he seemed to be worried about were how many ducks he could kill and when his next drink was coming. By then, he had a growing family at home. Sons Jase and Willie had been born, and Kay was at the end of her rope with Phil.
After Phil resigned from his teaching position (before the school board could fire him), he made one of the biggest mistakes of his life: he leased a honky-tonk in the middle of nowhere. He managed the place, worked the bar, cooked for the customers, and broke up occasional fights.
Kay worried about Phil, so she worked as a barmaid most nights to make sure Phil stayed out of trouble. After a fight in the bar, Phil took off, eventually landing a job working in the oil fields offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. In the meantime, Kay had to handle everything concerning the move back to Louisiana. For about the next year, she and Phil somehow endured, though their marriage was under tremendous strain.
Phil tells of throwing Kay and the boys out of the house and accusing Kay falsely of an affair. When he eventually asked if she would come back, she said it was contingent on him turning his life over to the Lord. He did so and was baptized.
After he was baptized, he attended regular church services three times a week. He also studied the Bible with someone or a group the other five nights of the week. He went back to teaching and worked for Ouachita Christian School, which had just opened in Ouachita Parish.
Then Kay found six and a half acres of land just off the Ouachita River at the mouth of Cypress Creek outside of West Monroe, Louisiana. Phil created a duck call which was named the Duck Commander. He sold $8,000 worth of Duck Commanders the first year and within a few years sales rose to $35,000. When he was able to get his duck calls into Walmart stores the sales really took off. Robertson has also been making hunting DVDs for more than two decades.
He writes that the Lord has blessed he and Kay with four healthy, obedient sons, each of whom grew up to become a godly man who loves his wife and children and shares God’s Word through his work with Duck Commander and in their church.
Phil states that his philosophy on discipline was very simple. He kept the rules few and far between. However, there was a code in the Robertson house: three licks was the standard punishment. It wasn’t ten licks or twenty licks for doing something wrong; it was always three: thump, thump, thump! It was a principle, and his boys always knew what their punishment would be if they stepped out of line.
He writes of Alan and Jep going through difficult times of alcohol and drugs before turning back to the Lord.
Phil turned Duck Commander over to Willie and his wife Korie a few years ago, with Willie as the company’s CEO.
Today Phil is not as involved in the day to day operations of Duck Commander. He does a lot of speaking engagements in which he preaches the gospel.
The book concludes with short sections in which Alan, Willie, Jep, Jase and Kay write about Phil.
I recommend this book for all who enjoy Duck Dynasty.

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This and That

• Have you seen the new video from Mumford and Sons for “Hopeless Wanderer” the latest single off of their album Babel. Watch closely:

• 20th Century Fox has acquired the rights to develop a film based on the life of former NFL quarterback, and one of my heroes, Kurt Warner. Warner went from stocking shelves at a grocery store for $5.50/hour to become one of the most prolific passers in NFL history. Part of the rights package includes Warner’s autobiography All Things Possible: My Story of Faith, Football and the Miracle Season.

• Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song the upcoming album from Amos Lee will be released October 8. It is the follow-up to Lee’s acclaimed 2011 release Mission Bell, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and Billboard Rock Albums charts and contained the hit single “Windows Are Rolled Down”. Below is the cover of the new album. You can pre-order the album now on iTunes and also download the first single “The Man Who Wants You”, an outstanding new song he performed this week on The Tonight Show.

• Part Two of the Book Review of Matthew: The Gospel of Identity by Michael Card is now available for your reading pleasure on the Biblical Imagination Conference page ~

• We’ve added a new page ~ Leadership Book Club, where you can join in reading about John Maxwell’s classic book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.

• Looking for a good movie for the family? Look no further than Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. Read the review:

• “In Christ Alone”, written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend, is one of the very best modern worship songs, with excellent music and theologically accurate lyrics. Recently, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) committee desired to add the song to the denomination’s new hymnal Glory to God, set to be released this fall. However, they first requested permission to alter the song’s lyrics from: “Till on that cross as Jesus died/the wrath of God was satisfied” to “Till on that cross as Jesus died/the love of God was magnified”. The song’s authors rejected the proposal. As a result, the PCUSA committee voted 9-6 to bar the song from the hymnal. The committee chair Mary Louise Bringle told The Christian Century that the view that the cross is primarily about God’s need to assuage God’s anger” would have have a negative impact on worshipper’s education.

• Matt Redman releases his long-awaited follow-up to 2011’s 10,000 Reasons with Your Grace Finds Me on September 24.

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Free Stuff and More!

Free Audiobook!
This month’s free audiobook of the month from Christian Audio ( is John Stott’s classic Basic Christianity. Just go to:


More free stuff, Beav! (Remember Theodore Cleaver from ‘Leave it to Beaver’? I loved Eddie Haskell)

Free Music!
Jars of Clay, one of my favorite bands for a long time is offering Eastside Manor Sessions, featuring five songs free, including the new “After the Fight” from their forthcoming Inland album at If you would like to leave a tip, a $6 tip is suggested. The other songs included are:
• Age of Immature Mistakes (live)
• Loneliness and Alcohol (live)
• Fall Asleep (live)
• Dead Man (Carry Me) (live)
Inland will be released August 27 and can be pre-ordered at
Have a Kindle or a Nook and a spare $1.99? Check out the review of one of Tim Keller’s e-books ~ ‘Grieving Sisters’. If you want to purchase it yourself, go to

New under ‘Book Reviews’ ~

• Enemies of the Heart: Breaking Free from the Four Emotions that Control You by Andy Stanley

• Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
Looking for an outstanding movie this weekend?
Look past Denzel and his new tawdry film ‘2 Guns’, sail right by ‘The Heat’ and ‘RIPD’….and go see ‘Fruitvale Station’! You can read about it under ‘Movie and DVD Reviews’.

OK, that’s enough entertainment options to keep you out of trouble this weekend. Or here’s a novel idea… maybe just go outside and enjoy this beautiful August day – take a walk, play golf, frisbee golf. Individual expression!