Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Coram Deo ~ Living Life Before the Face of God 7.16.14

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I got a chuckle out of this cartoon in World Magazine:
Obama cartoon


Book Reviews

Movie ReviewsPaul McCartney at the United Center July 9

  • The Unknown Known
  • Begin Again

Concert Review ~ Paul McCartney at the United Center July 9

Integrating Faith and Work



  • Michael Card has two new book projects that he is considering. He writes “The first has to do with the synthesis of the four Gospels. For several years now I have longed to integrate the four different portraits of Jesus found in the Gospels.  I plan on calling it the Four Portraits of Jesus. It would be based on the themes and conclusions of the four previous books on the Gospels. The other book, and the one I believe I will probably tackle first, has to do with the Hebrew word Hesed. This unique word occurs over 250 times in the Old Testament. I propose to look at each one of those examples and organize them into themes. Finally, I would like to look at the New Testament and see in what ways the word hesed appears in the teaching and life of Jesus.”Eric Metaxas book - Miracles
  • Eric Metaxas will release his new book Miracles on October 28. Read more here:
  • J.K. Rowling writes of an adult Harry in a new story posted last week on her Pottermore website. Read more here:
  • Robertson Unphiltered
  • Phil Robertson will release his follow-up book to Happy, Happy, Happy, unPHILtered: The Way I See It on September 2.
  • Louis Zamperini, the inspiration for the best-selling book Unbroken (an incredible story, and one of my favorite books), and soon to be released (Christmas Day) film has died at age 97. Read more here.



  • Just a reminder….Keith and Kristyn Getty will bring their “Hymns of the Christian Life” Tour to Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria on October 16 at 7:00pm. The concert is sponsored by our good friends at WBNH radio. We’ll let you know when tickets become available. You can get more information, including a downloadable tour poster, at
  • Scott Stapp, a believer, and former lead singer of Creed has been booked into the Castle on August 29. Read more here: Card John album
  • Michael Card’s final album in the Biblical Imagination Series John: A Misunderstood Messiah, was released this week! Look for a review in the coming weeks.
  • Kevin Trax offers a brief profile of one of my favorite rappers Trip Lee here.
  • For the past few years, after hearing about it from Tim Challies and John Piper, I’ve enjoyed Christian hip-hop/rap. I first started listening to Lecrae (still my favorite), but I’ve since been introduced to Trip Lee, KB, Andy Mineo, Propaganda, Tedashii and others. Tim Challies’ guide to Christian hip-hop/rap may be helpful to you. Check out his “Middle Aged White Guys Guide to Christian Rap” here:
  • And speaking of Christian rap, I recently listened to episode 281 of the Catalyst podcast, featuring interviews with Christian rappers Trip Lee and Andy Mineo. You can listen to it here:
  • And one more story about Christian rap, read about this lawsuit alleging that Katie Perry plagiarized Flame’s song “Joyful Noise” for her song “Dark Horse” here.
  • NEEDTOBREATHE announces that The Live Roomsession was recorded in Studio A at the infamous Ocean Way Recordings (Los Angeles, CA) earlier this year, the same room that artists from The Beach Boys and Frank Sinatra to Whiskeytown, Radiohead, and Tom Petty used before them. Check out the band “getting their mojo back” here:
  • John Hiatt has been one of my favorite artists since his Bring the Family album in 1987. But unfortunately few know about him. Read this profile in the Wall Street Journal –
  • Bruce Springsteen recently released the video for “Hunter of Invisible Game” from his High Hopes album. Watch it here. 
  • Paul McCartney recently released the video for his song “Early Days” from his New album. “The idea was inspired by the chance meeting in 1957 that would change Paul, John, George, and Ringo’s lives forever,” explains L.A. director Vincent Haycock. The proposal Vincent wrote for ‘Early Days’ simply begins, “This film is a poetic homage to the legendary beginnings of Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s relationship.” Shot between L.A., Natchez, Mississippi and Faraday, Louisiana, Vincent spent almost a month in total working on the video. Paul recorded his parts in L.A. over two days and the story unfolds around an intimate performance with just him and an acoustic guitar. By the end of the video Paul is playing with a group of blues guitarists, including his friend Johnny Depp. Johnny, no stranger to a McCartney video and an accomplished guitar player too, stopped by on the day for a jam. Watch the video here:
  • Last week, Paul McCartney helped facilitate a marriage proposal onstage at one of his concerts. Watch it here:
  • Jimmy Fallon (as Neil Young) joins Crosby, Stills and Nash to cover Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy”. Watch it here. 



The 5 Love Languages Book Club Week Three  

5 loveTammy and I completed week three of our summer book club of Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to a Love that Lasts last week. We covered the second love language Quality Time. Here are a few passages we highlighted and discussed:

  • By “quality time,” I mean giving someone your undivided attention.
  • What I mean is sitting on the couch with the TV off, looking at each other and talking, giving each other your undivided attention. It means taking a walk, just the two of you, or going out to eat and looking at each other and talking.
  • A key ingredient in giving your spouse quality time is giving them focused attention, especially in this era of many distractions.
  • Quality time does not mean that we have to spend our together moments gazing into each other’s eyes. It means that we are doing something together and that we are giving our full attention to the other person. The activity in which we are both engaged is incidental. The important thing emotionally is that we are spending focused time with each other. The activity is a vehicle that creates the sense of togetherness.
  • Our spending time together in a common pursuit communicates that we care about each other, that we enjoy being with each other, that we like to do things together.
  • Like words of affirmation, the language of quality time also has many dialects. One of the most common dialects is that of quality conversation. By quality conversation, I mean sympathetic dialogue where two individuals are sharing their experiences, thoughts, feelings, and desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context.
  • If your spouse’s primary love language is quality time, such dialogue is crucial to his or her emotional sense of being loved.
  • Quality conversation is quite different from the first love language. Words of affirmation focus on what we are saying, whereas quality conversation focuses on what we are hearing.
  • If I am sharing my love for you by means of quality time and we are going to spend that time in conversation, it means I will focus on drawing you out, listening sympathetically to what you have to say. I will ask questions, not in a badgering manner but with a genuine desire to understand your thoughts, feelings, and hopes.
  • Many of us are like Patrick. We are trained to analyze problems and create solutions. We forget that marriage is a relationship, not a project to be completed or a problem to solve.
  • A relationship calls for sympathetic listening with a view to understanding the other person’s thoughts, feelings, and desires. We must be willing to give advice but only when it is requested and never in a condescending manner.
  • Most of us have little training in listening. We are far more efficient in thinking and speaking. Learning to listen may be as difficult as learning a foreign language, but learn we must, if we want to communicate love. That is especially true if your spouse’s primary love language is quality time and his or her dialect is quality conversation.
  • I suggest the following summary of practical tips:

1. Maintain eye contact when your spouse is talking. That keeps your mind from wandering and communicates that he/she has your full attention.

2. Don’t listen to your spouse and do something else at the same time. Remember, quality time is giving someone your undivided attention… If you can’t do that right now, just say “if you will give me ten minutes to finish this, I’ll sit down and listen to you.”

3. Listen for feelings. Ask yourself, “What emotion is my spouse experiencing?” When you think you have the answer, confirm it.

4. Observe body language. Sometimes body language speaks one message while words speak another.

5. Refuse to interrupt.

  • Learn to reveal yourself – Quality conversation requires not only sympathetic listening but also self-revelation. Self-revelation does not come easy for some of us. Many adults grew up in homes where the expression of thoughts and feelings was not encouraged but condemned. By the time we reach adulthood, many of us have learned to deny our feelings. We are no longer in touch with our emotional selves.
  • If you need to learn the language of quality conversation, begin by noting the emotions you feel away from home.
  • Using your notepad, communicate your emotions and the events briefly with your spouse as many days as possible. In a few weeks, you will become comfortable expressing your emotions with him or her. And eventually you will feel comfortable discussing your emotions toward your spouse, the children, and events that occur within the home. Remember, emotions themselves are neither good nor bad. They are simply our psychological responses to the events of life.
  • Based on our thoughts and emotions, we eventually make decisions. In each of life’s events, we have emotions, thoughts, desires, and eventually actions. It is the expression of that process that we call self-revelation.
  • I have observed two basic personality types. The first I call the “Dead Sea.” This personality type receives many experiences, emotions, and thoughts throughout the day. They have a large reservoir where they store that information, and they are perfectly happy not to talk.
  • On the other extreme is the “Babbling Brook.” For this personality, whatever enters into the eye gate or the ear gate comes out the mouth gate and there are seldom sixty seconds between the two. Whatever they see, whatever they hear, they tell. In fact, if no one is at home to talk to, they will call someone else.
  • The good news is that Dead Seas can learn to talk and Babbling Brooks can learn to listen. We are influenced by our personality but not controlled by it.
  • One way to learn new patterns is to establish a daily sharing time in which each of you will talk about three things that happened to you that day and how you feel about them. I call that the “Minimum Daily Requirement” for a healthy marriage. If you will start with the daily minimum, in a few weeks or months you may find quality conversation flowing more freely between you.
  • In addition to the basic love language of quality time, or giving your spouse your undivided attention, there is another dialect called quality activities.
  • Quality activities may include anything in which one or both of you have an interest. The emphasis is not on what you are doing but on why you are doing it. The purpose is to experience something together, to walk away from it feeling “He cares about me. He was willing to do something with me that I enjoy, and he did it with a positive attitude.” That is love, and for some people it is love’s loudest voice.
  • The essential ingredients in a quality activity are: (1) at least one of you wants to do it, (2) the other is willing to do it, and (3) both of you know why you are doing it—to express love by being together.
  • One of the by-products of quality activities is that they provide a memory bank from which to draw in the years ahead.
  • Those are memories of love, especially for the person whose primary love language is quality time.
  • The chapter ends with a helpful application section called “Your Turn”.

Next week we will cover the third love language Receiving Gifts. Won’t you join us?


We can be sure our prayers are answered precisely in the way we would want them to be answered if we knew everything God knows. -Tim Keller

 When I see Thee as Thou art, I’ll praise Thee as I ought. -John Newton

Charles Spurgeon



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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