Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Graduation Weekend!

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  • $5 Friday: Each Friday Ligonier Ministries offers trustworthy resources on sale for $5. The weekly sale runs 12:01 a.m. — 11:59 p.m. Friday ET. Find out more each Friday at
  • Blogger Tim Challies highlights Kindle deals of interest each day at
  • Christianaudio offers a free audiobook each month, announcing it the first day of the month at
  • A new podcast that I’m excited about is Radical with David Platt (Platt wrote the popular book Radical. You can download the podcast on iTunes.
  • Search over 1,000 sermons from John Piper to listen to or download free here:


  • Liberty University has recently been connected with faith healer Benny Hinn and Mormon Glenn Beck. Read this story from World Magazine titled “Strange Bedfellows”:
  • Recently, blogger Tim Challies began a series of articles through which he is scanning the history of the church—from its earliest days all the way to the present time—to examine some of Christianity’s most notable false teachers and to examine the false doctrine each of them represents. Check out the articles that have been published thus far:
  • Emily Letts is a 25 year-old abortion counselor who decided to make a video about her own abortion, and the result is one of the most disturbing video messages ever presented to public view. Read Albert Mohler’s article here:
  • Perhaps you’ve seen the story about two brothers who are believers losing their HGTV show because of statements they made. Read more here.



  • Ravi Zacharias’s next book, written with Vince Vitale is Why Suffering: Finding Meaning and Comfort When Life Doesn’t Make Sense. The book will be published October 21.  
  • Through the end of May, Reformation Trust Publishing is giving away the eBook edition of Douglas Bond’s The Poetic Wonder of Isaac Watts. In this addition to the A Long Line of Godly Men Profile series, Bond introduces us to Isaac Watts, “the father of English hymnody.” Read more and download your copy here:


  • “Daywalkers” by Propaganda and featuring Lecrae from Propaganda’s new album Crimson Cord is one of my favorite songs of the year. Below are the lyrics to the song:

Could we just get three minutes of your time, give or take a second or two? See, when they ask you about the culture, tell them I know it well This what you get when you mix Tony Hawk with Ice Cube, NWA, and the Bones Brigade Let me talk to them

Propaganda: Catch me copping nag Champa north corner of Santee or Twenty minutes east of South Central, that’s West Covi Broken families imposter, black rocking white Rasta Jimi Hendrix, Courtland Urbano mocking all your preconceived The narrative fight great, the heritage makes a man stand with his spine straight The ground that grew Kendrick, Anthony Kiedis, Incubus Music that speaks to the Jim Morris in each of us Shared the same nutrients, except mine got laced with divine DNA The child of a freedom fighter, trialed like graffiti writers Wild like the Freedom Riders We are all daywalkers, hybrids, bilingual, bicultural Flowing in the King’s tongue, Elohim and human one Rosetta Stone with a mic and some Chucks on All things to all men, so all men say “Amen!”

Hook:When you’re the product of a Panther and mama’s prayers answered You don’t even think twice You be like “Let’s go!” When they ask you about the culture, say “I know it well”

Lecrae:  Hey look, my homies told me back when I was playing my Nintendo To stay away from windows, cause bullets, they tend to hit those My mama told when I got the PS one To skip the BS and lead us or be as numb As every other brother throwing up colors in my community I knew better, but couldn’t do better but then I grew to be The same dude reading Wayne Grudem even though I grew up Listening to Snoop and Ice Cube, be amused Had the musac we used that to bruise cat’s egos Nowadays you might find me under the steeple Preaching to the people or making me a sequel To mixtapes, get shin scrapes at skate parks I’m everything in one; I’m a product of great art I’m a product of Descartes, Tim Keller, and Outkast Iconoclast the glass ceiling that they put above me The reason that they hate me, the same reason they love me


Leadercast 2015 – Beyond You

I’ve been attending the Leadercast event (which has gone under different names – Maximum Impact Simulcast, Chick Fil-A Leadercast and now Leadercast) over the years. Originally it was John Maxwell’s event, and he has been a speaker each year I’ve attended until this year. Each year the event has been well hosted at Second Presbyterian Church in downtown Bloomington. Attendance this year was down almost 75% from last year due to a decision from a local employer not to support the event. However, my experience was that the 125 people who did attend found it to be a wonderful day of learning, inspiration and networking.

This year’s theme was “Beyond You”. That resonated with me because it is what servant leadership is all about.

Andy Stanley opened the event, and it was his job to tell us what it means to be a “Beyond You” leader, and to create a “Beyond You” culture in your organization. He stated:

  • “Beyond You” leaders fearlessly and selflessly empower leaders around them as well as those coming alongside them.
  • Fearlessly. Leaders who are not afraid of the 25 year-old kid who is smarter than you. “Beyond You” leaders will pour themselves these leaders even though they may take their place someday.
  • Empower. Every leader has power. What leaders need to learn is how to leverage your power/influence for the sake of those around you.
  • Andy stated that the Big Idea is: The value of a life is always measured by how much of it was given away. He said that this is often apparent when we hear about the impact someone has had on others at their funeral.
  • “Beyond You” leaders celebrate generosity and selflessness. We celebrate generosity, but sometimes envy accumulation.
  • We should spend more time on leveraging influence for the sake of others rather than accumulation.
  • He gave us three things to begin doing:
  • Make as few decisions as possible. Refuse to make decisions that other people can make. This is empowering. We need to say: “You decide”. As your organizational authority increases, your organizational IQ decreases. As you go up, you’ll know less and less about more and more things because you are responsible for more. You have authority, but not competency. Just because I have the authority, I don’t have to use it. Give it to others.
  • Work for your team. “Beyond Leaders” ask: “What can I do to help?” How can I leverage my influence/power/position to help you do what I’ve hired you to do? How can I work for you? I want to loan you my influence/power/position. Ask for 1-3 things you can do to assist your team members.
  • Empty your cup. “Beyond Leaders” should ask: “What can I do to fill their cup”? Some object and say that they will do this when they’re the boss. No, start now.

Leadercast is about creating leaders who are worth following. They announced that in addition to the annual one-day event, they are launching new experiences (Leadercast Nights,, etc.). Though the cost to subscribe to LeadercastNow is $299 annually, you can sign up for a free two-week trial subscription at

Leadercast is partnering with the Barna Group on a research initiative on leadership. A few findings: Only one in five say their leader is a good leader. Two in five say their leader is a bad leader. A good (or bad) leader makes a big difference. Bad leadership holds us back.

Here are a few other take-aways from the event:

Dr. Henry Cloud

  • Cloud recently spoke at the organization I work at. His latest book is Boundaries for Leaders: Results, Relationships, and Being Ridiculously in Charge.
  • He talked about the middle space between leadership and human dynamics.
  • Human dynamics drive your influence. You leave a wake (like a boat).
  • Results and relationships. Some leaders get results, but damage people in the process and lose influence.
  • How do you get influence? You need to build influence on a foundation of trust.
  • The human heart wants to be known and understood. Do the people you lead know that you understand them?
  • It’s good to have something past yourself. Is it just about the work? What is the big reason you do what you do? Do the people you lead know this?
  • An opportunity comes when your passion meets a need.
  • Does your work have meaning?
  • Having your influence go past you is vital.
  • Are you able to give up the one thing that is hardest for you to give up (control)? Human beings are control freaks.
  • If you want to empower people you’ve got to let go and give them control. Then, connect them to the work that will help them get results and have passion for.
  • People need to know that you are there for them.
  • Show your people that you are willing to do whatever it takes for them.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

  • He spoke live at the Cape Town, South Africa Leadercast site.
  • He spoke about Nelson Mandela, his selflessness and servant leadership.
  • He had an incredible distinctive laugh, and seemed to really enjoy speaking to the group.
  • He included current events, mentioning the girls were recently abducted, hearing that they had been sold as child brides for $12 in neighboring countries.
  • He said that good leaders listen and consider the opinions of all.
  • Good leaders are accountable. They serve those they lead.
  • Good leaders are there to lead because they know the way.
  • He humorously ended by saying that good leaders know when to retire, and then walked off the platform.

Laura Schroff

  • Told a moving story about helping a hungry 11 year old boy (Maurice) on the streets of NYC in 1986. That has resulted in a long-term relationship with Maurice, who is now married with seven children. Schroff wrote about her relationship with Maurice in her book An Invisible Thread.

Malcolm Gladwell

  • Gladwell talked about Ian Freeland, a General in the British forces in Northern Ireland who made a major mistake. Note: this account is from Gladwell’s latest book, the excellent David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. See my review here: David and Goliath
  • Freeland thought a leader’s role was to set a clear set of rules. Violate those and there will be consequences.
  • Gladwell introduced the topic of deterrence and the consequences of not obeying a leader or the law. What is a leader to do to maintain their authority?
  • He used the example of paying taxes. The level of honesty on tax day varies significantly from county to country. Why so? Americans pay taxes because the perceived cost is so high for cheating. But do we have serious penalties in the U.S.? Not really.
  • Is deterrence the reason people obey or follow law/leaders? No, it’s legitimacy.
  • He talked about the components of legitimacy. It is legitimate if we are being treated with respect.
  • It is legitimate if we are treated with fairness.
  • It is legitimate if it is not arbitrary.
  • What does effective leadership look like? It’s not just what you say, but how you say it. You must be respectful of people. Even if you disagree.
  • You must have a trustworthy system.
  • When we look at people who disobey leaders, we shouldn’t ask what’s wrong with the people, but what’s wrong with the leaders.
  • Another illustration used was education in low-income neighborhoods. It is a system that can’t be trusted.
  • As a leader, we must ask what we can do to make this whole enterprise legitimate.
  • Freeland never understood about establishing legitimacy.
  • The people (Catholics) were not treated fairly. The police were Protestants.
  • The system wasn’t fair or trustworthy.
  • Freeland’s mistake lead to 30 years of fighting that didn’t end until the 1990’s. It started with a leader who did not understand the full obligations of leadership.

The 2015 Leadercast will be held on May 8.


Book Reviews:

  • The Holy Spirit by Sinclair Ferguson
  • God Took Me by the Hand: A Story of God’s Unusual Providence by Jerry Bridges
  • Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life in the Minor Leagues of Baseball by John Feinstein

Music Review: The Essential James Taylor

 Os G


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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