Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

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Give thanks~ THIS AND THAT ~


Help to Increase Your Thanksgiving Appetite. Jon Bloom of Desiring God offers several helpful resources that will help increase your thanksgiving appetite.

12 Keys for Successfully Starting Something New. Are you starting a new organization? A Church Planter? Entrepreneur? Involved in a small organization just getting started? Brad Lomenick shares some tips for getting started.

Recommended Blogs. Our friend Kevin Halloran offers some good blog suggestions.

John Owens on Battling Sin. John Owens is hot right now, with Tim Challies reading/blogging about his new Overcoming Sin and Temptation and Sinclair Ferguson’s new book The Trinitarian Devotion of John Owen. Check out this article from Mike Riccardi.

Battle Plan. Tim Challies has put together “Battle Plan”, a worksheet that is primarily meant to be used with the assistance of a mentor or pastor (though it can be used individually as well). It is heavily dependent upon John Owen and his instructions on overcoming sin.

A Debate I Would Watch. Ben Carson debating Hillary Clinton? No, Tim Challies would watch a debate between John Owen and Joel Osteen.

How to Distinguish the Holy Spirit from the Serpent. Here is an excerpt from Sinclair Ferguson’s new book The Trinitarian Focus of John Owen.

3 Reasons Why God Ordains that Believers Should Struggle With Sin. God could simply remove our sinful nature entirely at the moment of our conversion, as He will do at the moment of our glorification, but He does not. So why not?

Spiritual Depression: The Dark Night of the Soul. R.C. Sproul writes that the dark night of the soul is a phenomenon that describes a malady that the greatest of Christians have suffered from time to time.

Compassion Without Compromise. Kevin DeYoung’s foreword to the book Compassion Without Compromise: How the Gospel Frees Us to Love Our Gay Friends Without Losing the Truth by Adam Barr and Ron Citlau.

Homosexuals in the Church: Keep Reading in Ephesians. The progressive wing of evangelicalism seems to be ramping up its demand that Bible-believing churches accept homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle.

A Prayer for Those of Us with Loved Ones Impacted by Memory Loss. Here’s a wonderful prayer from Scotty Smith. I’d highly recommend that you sign up to receive his prayers each day. I’ve been profoundly impacted by Scotty through his writings, sermons and in two wonderful classes at Covenant Seminary. He continues to impact me each days with his prayers.

A Prayer for Accepting the Changes that Come with Aging – a wonderful prayer from Scotty Smith that I can relate to.

Russell Moore Having Fun at the Vatican.   (Holding a copy of Luther's Ninety-Five Theses

Russell Moore Having Fun at the Vatican recently.      (Holding a copy of Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses)


R C Sproul and The World-Changing Power Of The Simplest Truth. David Murray writes “Sure, there are other Christian speakers and writers who are better-known, but none of them have managed to combine such geographical reach with such theological depth as Sproul has. He has a unique ability to teach the loftiest truths in an accessible manner.”

Left Behind Theology – A Critical Look. Bad theology always has bad implications. Dispensationalism is no different.

Does Jonathan Edwards Agree with N.T. Wright? In his ongoing efforts to come to terms with the language of “the righteousness of God” in Scripture, John Piper recently came across a pair of posts by Edwards scholar, and friend of Desiring God, Kyle Strobel. Piper wrote the below response to Strobel, and it was sent to him and offered the opportunity to respond. Read Piper’s article followed by Strobel’s reply.

Who Do You Say That I Am? Kevin DeYoung writes “The question is doubly crucial in our day because not every Jesus is the real Jesus. Almost no one is as popular in this country as Jesus. Hardly anyone would dare to say a bad word about him. Just look at what a super-fly friendly dude he is over there. But how many people know the real Jesus?”

What Does It Mean to Be Gospel-Centered? Check out this five minute video from John Piper.

The State of Theology: Sin Is Not Cosmic Treason. Stephen Nichols continues his analysis of the State of Theology survey results.

Listen to the recent lectures with Tim Keller from Reformed Theological Seminary.

10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Evangelicals. Warren Cole Smith is the associate publisher of World Magazine. He shares ten things he wished that everyone knew about Evangelicals.

IN THE NEWS:John Wycliffe Book

Books Save Florida State University Student’s Life During Shooting.

Immigration Reform, Yes; Executive Action, No. Russell Moore writes: “I disagree with President Barack Obama’s decision to act unilaterally on immigration policy. I am for immigration reform, for all sorts of reasons that I have outlined elsewhere. The system we have is incoherent and unjust. I have worked hard to try to see the system changed, and will continue to do so. It’s because of my support for immigrants and for immigration reform that I think President Obama’s executive actions are the wrong way to go.”

Courtesy of World Magazine

Courtesy of World Magazine

I’ve been a long-time fan of Bill Cosby. I hope that that the current charges against him are not true. I thought that this cartoon from World Magazine accurately depicted the situation he is facing.


Michael Card’s Book on Hesed. My friend Michael Card reports, “The work on the hesed book has begun in earnest. Organized about 1500 pages of notes into 53 chapter headings. The best approach for me is not to look at each individual reference (about 250!) but to gather them by theme. The connections to the New Testament are more exciting than I ever imagined.”

Mom Enough Book. This new book, written by eight women, exposes the spiritual corruption behind competitive mothering, and explores how gospel grace is relevant for the daily trials and worries of motherhood. In the trenches, these moms have learned to redirect their hope and trust from the shifting sands of popular opinion to the unchanging all-sufficiency of God. Mom Enough: The Fearless Mother’s Heart and Hope, is a rich collection of gospel truth from Rachel Jankovic, Gloria Furman, Rachel Pieh Jones, Christine Hoover, Carolyn McCulley, Trillia Newbell, and Christina Fox. Download and begin reading Mom Enough free of charge in three digital formats.

George Whitefield: American’s Spiritual Founder. Ian Clary review’s Thomas S. Kidd’s new book on Whitefield.

Top Ten Books for Common Problems. David Murray gives some helpful recommendations.

Stephen Nichols Writes History for the Church. Stephen J. Nichols is a firm believer that every Mountain Man bookChristian should read church history, and he writes books toward that end.

“Mountain Man” Book. Almost everyone else from the Duck Dynasty television program has released a book, so why not “Mountain Man”? His book Keepin’ a Slow Profile was released recently.


Michael Card’s Favorite Michael Card Song. He has written over 400 of them. Which is his favorite? If you have attended one of the two Biblical Imagination Conferences hosted by Christ Church in Normal, Illinois you already know.

Trip Lee Brags on the King ~ Leveraging Platforms for the Glory of God.  

Trip Lee’s Unreleased Songs. Trip has ten songs that he didn’t include in his recent album Rise. He’s thinking about when and if to release some of them. How about a Rise Deluxe Edition?

U2’s Bono to Have Intensive Therapy After Bike Injury. Bono’s injuries were much more significant than originally thought and may delay their 2015 tour.


Did you see Channing Tatum play “Box of Lies” with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show?

Beyond the Ark by Doug Michael

Beyond the Ark by Doug Michael


I’m Currently Reading41

Book Review: 41: A Portrait of My Faith by George W. Bush. Audiobook read by George W. Bush

Music Reviews:Goliath by Steve Taylor

Goliath – Steve Taylor and the Perfect FoilJohn Schlitt

The Christmas Project – John Schlitt


Oscar Predictions Update 11.24.14. My friend Jason indicates that a couple of new players have crashed the Oscar race. He never updates his annual Oscar predictions, but feels he needs to this year.

Best Picture
~ Selma
~ Unbroken

Both of these movies are becoming nearly sure shots.  Due to them not being released until the last week, critics were afraid to solidly place them in the race.  However, now that they’ve been seen, they’re hard to deny their contention.

Best Actor
David Oyelowo – Selma – he’s now considered a front runner with Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Redmayne and Michael Keaton.  It will be hard for a well-done biopic on MLK – and one of his most important events to not grab this attention.

Best Director
Angelina Jolie – Unbroken – movie star turned director has an awfully great formula for winning picture or director.  See Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, Kevin Costner and most recently Ben Affleck.

Favorite Quotes of the Week ~ 11.24.2014

I love good quotes. This week we start a new feature in which I’ll list the favorite quotes that I see or hear each week.

Painfully, suffering is almost a prerequisite if we are going to be of much use to other people. It makes us far more compassionate. -Tim Keller

I’m guilty, filthy, and stained. But He became a curse, drank my cup and took my pain. -Lecrae

Most of us go through life worrying people will think too little of us. Paul worried people would think too much of him. -D.A. Carson

God invites us to come as we are, not to stay as we are. -Tim Keller

If prayer is supplemental, then it’s obvious that it is not fundamental to you. -Bob Smart

Patience is precisely what excellence requires. It’s difficult wherever the cult of immediate results dominates. -Michael Horton

If we can’t “love the sinner; hate the sin” then how can we relate to ourselves? Love who we are in Christ but still hate the sin remaining. -Tim Keller

I am going to judge my circumstances by Jesus’ love, not Jesus’ love by my circumstances. -Tim Keller

May our Thanksgiving lists be outrageously longer than our Christmas lists. -Scotty Smith

If we pick out which parts of the Bible we dislike, we actually have a god we’ve created. How can that god ever call you out on anything? -Tim Keller

When I hear a man preach, I like to see him act as if he were fighting bees! -Abraham Lincoln

There is not one piece of cosmic dust that is outside the scope of God’s sovereign providence. -R.C. Sproul

Don’t try so hard to be hip. When the Church finds out what is cool, it is not cool anymore. -Kevin DeYoung

A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit. -John Maxwell

integrating faith and work
How Leaders Make It Right When They Blow It. Check out these five ways from Michael Hyatt.

Leaders are Risk-Takers. Dave Kraft writes that true leaders “…make decisions, they take reasonable and healthy risks without over-analyzing, procrastinating or being frozen with the fear of failure.”

He Really Meant It. Here’s a good devotional about what it means to be a servant leader.

How to Tell If You’re An Insecure Leader. Gary Nieuwhof offers five signs you’re an insecure leader.

Leadership Lessons from Job. John Maxwell discusses three important leadership lessons that we can learn from Job, from his new book Learning from the Giants.

John Maxwell Discusses What “Average” Means and What You Need to Do To Be Above Average in this Minute with Maxwell.

A “Theology of Work” in 12 Bullet Points. I found these condensed essential elements of work to be helpful.

The Surprising Key that Opens the Gift of Work. Keri Wyatt Kent writes that “We will work better, smarter and more productively if we make time for rest. Rest is the key that opens the gift of work.”

Students: Do You Know Where You’re Headed When You Start Working? Dianne Paddison writes “The sooner you start thinking critically about your professional future, the more you can do to point yourself in the right direction while you’re still in school.”

No, You Are Not Running Late. You Are Rude and Inconsiderate! Tim Challies writes “So by all means, let’s plan to be on time, and let’s live orderly lives. But let’s be slow to stand in judgment of those who show up at a time we deem inappropriate.”

Five Ways to be a Christian in the Workplace (and Not Freak Out Human Resources). David Rupert offers these helpful tips.

How to Stay Positive Consistently (Even When You Don’t Fell Like It). Here’s the latest podcast from Andy Andrews.

The One Thing That Separates the Successful from the Unsuccessful. Michael Hyatt says it is investing in the best training he can get his my hands on. It has been how he has been able to consistently grow both his leadership and his business.

How To Get Things Done: Maintaining the System. Tim Challies continues his helpful series on productivity.

How the Gospel changes networking. Christians believe that the Gospel changes everything. No aspect of our lives is to be untouched by the grace of God and so to be done for His glory (1 Cor. 10:31). So how does the Gospel change networking?

Resolve to Be a Lifelong Learner. David Mathis of Desiring God gives us five principles of a lifelong learning.

 Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?

What’s Best Next Book Club

What's Best NextWhat’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman

We continue with our overview of this new book on productivity from a Christian perspective. This week we look at Chapter 23: Productivity in Organizations and Society

God at Work Book Club

God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life by Gene Edward Veith Jr. God at Work

When we recently visited St. Andrews Chapel where R.C. Sproul is one of the pastors, this book was the church’s “Book of the Month”. I’m excited to read it. We’ll look at a chapter each week – won’t you read along with us? This week we cover Chapter 5: Your Calling as a Worker.


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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