Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


Happy New Year!

Are you thinking about spending your hard earned dollar to go to the movies?  Check out these movie reviews first:

The Secret Life of Walter MittyThe Secret Life of Walter Mitty, rated PG

American Hustle, rated RAmerican Hustle

New Tim Keller Book Reviews ~
• Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering
• The Two Advocates (The Encounters with Jesus Series)
• The Obedient Master (The Encounters with Jesus Series)

This and That:
• Season 4 of Downton Abbey premieres on Sunday, January 5 on PBS:
• Blogger Tim Challies recently posted his top 10 articles for 2013. Read what they were here:
• Desirae Ball plays basketball on the St. Louis University Women’s basketball team and Jake Barnett on the Men’s team. They are engaged to be married. Both are Christians, active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, go to church together and do Bible study together. Read this article about them:

~ 2013 Favorites~

Here are my favorites in a number of different categories. Note: the criteria for books is that they had to be reviewed in Coram Deo or Coram Deo the Blog during 2013, even though they may have been released prior to 2013.

Top Pick: Andy Stanley Leadership podcast
• The Briefing with Albert Mohler
• Timothy Keller podcast
• And many more.

Television Program
Top Pick: Duck Dynasty
• Blacklist
• Castle
• Downton Abbey

Top Picks (tie)
• Gospel Transformation Bible
• Walking with God through Pain and Suffering – Timothy Keller
Honorable Mention:
• One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World – Tullian Tchividjian
• Name Above All Names – Alistair Begg and Sinclair Ferguson
• Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship – John MacArthur
• David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants – Malcolm Gladwell
• Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live – David Platt.
• Center Church: Doing Balanced Gospel Centered Ministry in Your City – Timothy Keller
• Little Black Sheep: A Memoir – Ashley Cleveland
• Judges for You – Tim Keller
• Matthew: St. Andrews Expositional Commentary Series – R.C. Sproul
• C. S. Lewis – A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet – Alister McGrath
• Sensing Jesus: Life and Ministry as a Human Being – Zack Ewsine
• Killing Jesus: A History – Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
• Crazy Busy: A Mercifully Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem – Kevin DeYoung
• Are We Together? A Protestant Analyzes Roman Catholicism – R.C. Sproul
• 7 Men: And Their Secret of Greatness – Eric Metaxas
• To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain – Matt Chandler with Jared C. Wilson.
• Matthew: The Gospel of Identity – Michael Card
• The Promises of God: Discovering the One Who Keeps His Word – R. C. Sproul.
• The Encounters with Jesus (10 e-books) – Tim Keller
• Joseph and the Gospel of Many Colors: Reading an Old Story in a New Way – Voddie Baucham Jr.

Top Pick: Church Clothes 2 – Lecrae
Honorable mention:
• Inland – Jars of Clay
• Burning Lights – Chris Tomlin
• Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song – Amos Lee
• Your Grace Finds Me – Matt Redman
• New – Paul McCartney
• Sing Like Never Before: The Essential Collection – Matt Redman
• Deep Roots – Steven Curtis Chapman
• The Glorious Unfolding – Steven Curtis Chapman
• Restart –Newsboys
• Let the Future Begin – Passion
• All This for a King: The Essential Collection – the David Crowder Band
• Live at the Artist’s Den – Amos Lee
• Precious Memories Volume II – Alan Jackson
• The Struggle – Tenth Avenue North
• Heroes for Sale – Andy Mineo
• Matthew: The Penultimate Question – Michael Card
• Wrote a Song for Everyone – John Fogerty
• Live at the Gospel Coalition – Keith and Kristyn Getty

Top Song
Top Pick: Jesus, Only Jesus – Matt Redman
• Believe – Lecrae
• Hairy Christmas – The Robertsons featuring Luke Bryan
• Ragin’ Cajun Reckneck Christmas – The Robertsons
• Awake My Soul – Chris Tomlin with Lecrae
• Reckless Forgiver – Jars of Clay
• Lift High the Name of Jesus – Keith and Kristyn Getty
• Go Find Out What This Means – Michael Card with Ashley Cleveland
• Chill in the Air – Amos Lee
• Mystic Highway – John Fogerty
• Your Grace Finds Me – Matt Redman
• Fall Asleep – Jars of Clay
• Ordinary Love – U2

Top Pick: Paul McCartney in Indianapolis
• Miracle Tour, featuring Third Day, Josh Wilson and Colton Dixon at the UC Cellular Coliseum

Top Pick: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Honorable Mention:
• Fruitvale Station
• Captain Phillips
• The Book Thief
• Saving Mr. Banks
• Philomena
• Thor: The Dark World
• The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
• Gravity
• Despicable Me 2
• All is Lost
• Frozen
• Now You See Me
• Les Miserables
• Prisoners
• Zero Dark Thirty
• Quartet
• 42
• Life of Pi
• The Company You Keep
• The Great Gatsby
• Mud
• Star Trek: Into Darkness
• Iron Man 3
• Undefeated
• The Butler
Top Pick: Promised Land
Dishonorable mention:
• A Madea Christmas
• Man of Steel
• Jobs

Best Actor:
• Christian Bale

Best Actress:
• Jennifer Lawrence

Sports Event
Top Pick: St. Louis Cardinals playing in the World Series for the 4th time in 10 years – priceless!

A New Year’s Benediction from Charles Spurgeon (“Spurgy”) ~

I wish, my brothers and sisters, that during this year you may live nearer to Christ than you have ever done before. Depend upon it, it is when we think much of Christ that we think little of ourselves, little of our troubles, and little of the doubts and fears that surround us.

Leave a comment

How about a Hibernation Day?

Yep – just stay in your PJ’s, turn on “Hibernation Day” by Jars of Clay, and read CoramDeoTheBlog!

This and That

• Here’s a new song – “Good Shepherd of My Soul” – from Keith and Kristyn Getty, a Christmas gift to their fans. Take a listen:

• Desiring God recently released the top 10 books of 2013 as voted by their readers. I’ve read six of the ten. See the below article for details:

• Ligonier Ministries recently announced the update of RefNet (Reformation Network – RefNet 2.0. Read about the enhancements in the below article:

• Kevin DeYoung, one of my favorite bloggers, has published his top books of 2013. Check them out here:

• Apple recently announced their top downloaded apps for 2013. Find out what they were in the below story:
Son of God
• We saw a preview of a film entitled Son of God over the weekend. It will be released in theatres February 28. The film is based on Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s 10-hour miniseries The Bible. The film will feature selections of the miniseries as well as deleted scenes not featured during the telecast. The film’s official site is

New Michael photo
• Michael Card and his team will be returning to Christ Church in Normal for the Biblical Imagination Conference on Matthew – April 25-26. Michael’s Sunday night, April 27 concert will be held at East White Oak Bible Church to accommodate more people, as the 2012 concert at Christ Church filled the building! Tickets are available in the store at and from me. Just contact me at or at (309) 452-5438. Tickets for the conference and concert are now $48; after February 25, $58. Tickets for the concert only are now $13; after February 27, $18

Upcoming concerts that you may be interested in include:
The Winter Jam 2014 tour featuring the Newsboys, Lecrae and many others. The tour will stop at the State Farm Center in Champaign on January 25 and the Peoria Civic Center the next evening. The tour will also stop at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates March 29. All shows start at 6:00pm. Tickets are only $10 and can be purchased at the door.

~ Third Day and Skillet will be at the iWireless Center in Moline for a 7:00pm concert on March 9.

~ Scott Stapp, former lead singer of Creed, will be in concert at the House of Blues in Chicago March 26.

Upcoming music releases you might be interested in include:
~ Switchfoot will release Fading West on January 14.
~ Bruce Springsteen will release High Hopes on January 14.
~ Casting Crowns will release Thrive on January 28.
~ Crowder (David Crowder) will release Neon Steeple on February 18.

Third Day
• Third Day went into the legendary Capitol Studios in Hollywood and spent the day recording their own iTunes Sessions album. This album consists of re-imagined acoustic versions of some of their biggest hits and favorite tracks – all recorded live in one day. They also put their own spin on a cover of Genesis’ “Land of Confusion.” This album is available only at iTunes.

Paul McCartney
• Paul McCartney’s latest album “New” was voted the fourth best album of the year by Rolling Stone magazine.
John Fogerty
Another one of my favorite artists – John Fogerty – came on at #10 with “Wrote a Song for Everyone”. Congrats to the old guys!

• Yet another Duck Dynasty/Duck Commander book is scheduled for release (there are an incredible 8 such books in the top 100 Sports Kindle books as I write this), with two additional books scheduled for 2014 not charting here). Phil-Osophy: My C+ Perspective on Life by Phil Robertson is due to be published September 2.

• Interesting USA Today article –

• On December 19, I woke to the news that Larry “Superjock” Lujack had died at age 73 of esophageal cancer. “Uncle Lar” was a big part of my life from the late 60’s into the 80’s during his time on WLS “The Big 89” and WCFL in Chicago. He was known for “Animal Stories”, “Police Beat”, “The Klunk Letter of the Day”, and “The Cheap Trashy Showbiz Report”. I remember being in my bedroom hearing him introduce “Lady Madonna” by the Beatles for the first time, mistakingly indicating that Ringo Starr was singing lead. I loved it when he really liked a song and played it again, with a big “Woooo! I read his 1975 autobiography Superjock: The loud, frantic, nonstop world of a rock radio DJ. In a word, Lujack was “cool”. Below is the story of his death from the Chicago Tribune:
And here’s a video clip of him being interviewed back around 1980:

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Monday, December 16, 2013

This and That

  • You want a good tear-jerker story that shows sacrificial love and will warm the cockles of your heart?  Click on this link  CBS News reports on the touching story of the Olivet Eagles’ homecoming game. The entire team, without the knowledge of their coaches, plots to do something remarkable for a deserving member of their team.
  • Don’t forget to take advantage of ChristianAudio’s Twice Yearly sale of audiobook downloads, most of which are available for only $7.49. The sale ends December 20. Read more here:
  • Duck Dynasty fans get ready! The 5th season starts on January 15!  Fans may notice a few changes to the show, including some new cast members. One of these cast members will be Rebecca, the daughter of Willie and Korie Robertson. Rebecca has been away at school, but is now home and ready to be part of the show (and maybe cash in on the family’s 15 minutes of fame and fortune). Viewers can expect to see a few more new faces this season as well.
  • Christianity Today has published their 2014 Book Awards. Check them out in this article:
  • Read this from MLJ Trust about a rare 1970 Television Interview of Dr. Lloyd-Jones by Dame Joan Bakewell. A link to the interview is also included.

We have some very exciting news about a project that we have been working on for many years now. After his retirement from Westminster Chapel in 1968, Dr. Lloyd-Jones was involved with three television programs, two of which we have had on our YouTube page ( ) for nearly three years now (a documentary on George Whitefield and a biographical interview).

The third program, however, was an interview by television personality Joan Bakewell, and so the television company told us, quite fairly, that we would need her permission in addition to their permission, but we thought that we would probably be unlikely to obtain it, as she is still actively involved in making television programs. Well, I am pleased to say that I was wrong! We applied for permission through her agents, and within 24 hours received permission!

We have now made the standard edits required by the television broadcaster (none of which involved removing any questions or answers, just credits and music) and received their permission as well, and so you can now view this interview at the following link:

The context for this interview is interesting. The program was one of a series made by the television company concerned in which Joan Bakewell interviewed public figures of all stripes who were trying to change society in some form or other, and so it was not religious programming – It had a broader mandate. As a result, this interview is an articulation by Dr. Lloyd-Jones of what the evangelical Christian message is, and why it is so important for humankind to change and be reconciled to God.

The final reason we are so grateful to obtain permission to air this program is that as there are very few pictures of Dr. Lloyd-Jones smiling, it is a treat for those of us who were in his family to be able to share a video that shows him smiling and being very respectful to his host without giving an inch in his beliefs! It is also a nostalgic reminder from the pre-cable days of television of two people who obviously have different points of view being courteous and polite and not interrupting!



Tim Keller has his very own section in Book Reviews where you can choose one of his great books to read on a cold winter’s night.  We’ll soon be giving John Maxwell his own space in the Leadership Books section, and we’ll be adding lots of other Leadership book reviews for you to peruse.

In our Movie Reviews section, we have one movie to run from (A Madea Christmas) and one movie that’s worth $15.00 per ticket to run see it on the IMAX 3D in Peoria (The Hobbit).

Leave a comment

16 More Days until Christmas ~ Get out in the cold & wind and shop til you drop!

This and That
• ChristianAudio’s twice yearly sale is back! Most of their audiobook downloads are only $7.49. The sale goes until December 20. See below:
This is truly a special time of the year. It happens only twice. Yes, The Twice-Yearly Sale is BACK! Almost all audiobook downloads on christianaudio are on sale for the amazing price of only $7.49 each; that’s an average discount of 30-70% on your favorite, bestselling authors. Hurry though, this limited time Sale ends December 20th. And remember, you can send any download as a gift to be delivered on Christmas morning! See one you like? Give it as a gift & get it for yourself! They’re only $7.49 each!

Nashville Indie Spotlight
• Jars of Clay has a new song “Ghost in the Moon”, the new Nashville Indie Spotlight album available on iTunes. The collection features 30 songs for just $7.99.


• “Ordinary Love”, the new U2 song written for the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, is now available from iTunes. You can download it as a single track or as an immediate download when you pre-order the official movie soundtrack, which will be released next December 9.

Here to Stay
• John Hiatt has released Here to Stay – Best Of 2000-2012. The album features two songs from each of his 8 albums released since 2000, and includes the previously unreleased track “Here to Stay,” featuring Joe Bonamassa.


Duck Dynasty
• Two stars of the popular A&E television series Duck Dynasty will make their big screen debut in the Spring of 2014. Willie Robertson and his wife, Korie, are featured in the new movie God’s Not Dead. Read more below:

A fresh music review of “Duck the Halls” has been posted to the blog (since you just can’t get enough of them there Duck Dynasty Robertsons!),
as well as a review of the movie, “Out of the Furnace”.

God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Guest Blogger, Tammy Pence

Leave a comment

This and That ~ and everything in between

• Christianaudio’s free audiobook of the month is Leadership Secrets of the Salvation Army by Robert Watson and Ben Brown. To download, go to

• Check out this poem/video from John Piper. It is titled “The Calvinist”. Piper said he wrote the poem to capture a glimpse of God’s sovereign intersection with the life of a sinful man. It features the voices of D.A. Carson, R.C. Sproul, Alistair Begg, Thabiti Anyabwile, Matt Chandler, and Sinclair Ferguson.

• My favorite Contemporary Christian music artist of all time was Steve Taylor. He’s been making films (The Second Chance, Blue Like Jazz) and hasn’t made an album in 20 years. He’s recently formed a new band – The Perfect Foil – and has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a new album. The band includes Peter Furler, Jimmy Abegg and John Mark Painter. See below for more information.

Check out two new book reviews in the Leadership Library ~
Making Vision Stick by Andy Stanley
Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn by John C. Maxwell

Also three good new movie reviews ~
• Black Nativity
• The Book Thief
• Frozen

And finally, be sure to go to the final print edition of Coram Deo, The Magazine, to read:
~ Articles by Christ Church’s own Pastor Bob and elders
~ About upcoming events and concerts, more ‘This and That’, 2013 Editor’s Picks
~ A review of new music by LeCrae – Church Clothes 2

The final issue includes the following book reviews:
Seven Men by Eric Metaxas
David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
Strange Fire by John MacArthur
American Triumvirate by James Dodson
Robert Griffin III by Ted Kluck

And the following movie reviews:
The Christmas Candle
Delivery Man
All is Lost
Thor: The Dark World
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Since Andy Williams tells us “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, then do what Burl Ives says and, “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas”!