Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Living Life Before the Face of God 1.14.2015

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Beyond the Ark by Doug Michael

Beyond the Ark by Doug Michael




  • David Oyelowo: ‘Selma Was a Spiritual Endeavor For Me’. Oyelowo portrays Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma.
  • Golden Globe Awards. Here is the full list of winners.
  • New Peanuts Film Trailer. The film will be released November 6.
  • Do You Believe? A new faith based film by the makers of God’s Not Dead opens March 20.
  • Watching Naked People. Lore Ferguson writes “Recently I heard John Piper speak on watching nudity of any kind in any media. He gives twelve reasons why we should be “radically bold, sacrificially loving, God-besotted freaks, aliens—saying no to the world for the sake of the world.” The world doesn’t need more copies of itself. I’m sharing his twelve points here and I hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen to him and commit to not watch nudity of any kind.”
  • Seinfeld on The Tonight Show. Did you see Jerry Seinfeld’s stand-up routine on The Tonight Show recently? I’ve been a long-time fan, including seeing him in concert a few times. This routine was particularly funny.Lecrae on The Tonight Show


  • Lecrae performs “Welcome to America” on The Tonight Show. On the night that the film Selma debuted nationally, Lecrae performed this song from his Anomaly album and included some sound bites from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. mixed in.
  • New Toby Mac Single. “Beyond Me”,Beyond Me - Toby Mac the new single we heard Toby Mac play in concert recently is now available on iTunes.
  • Apple/U2 Collaboration. The two are working on a secret new digital music format.




  • Remembering Andraé Crouch. Robert Darden offers these remembrances on the life and influence of Andréa Crouch who died last week.
  • Theological Extremism in a Secular Age. Albert Mohler writes after the terrorist attack in Paris last week “We are living in a world growing more dangerous by the day. That world — the real world — is a world of clashing ideologies and conflicting worldviews. The real world is also a world in which theology always matters, and a world in which an empty secular worldview is no match for an Islamic theology set on conquest and driven by revenge.”
  • Pastor Preaches the Entire Bible in 53 Hours. Trevin Wax interviews Mount Dora, Florida pastor Zach Zehnder.
  • Roe v. Wade Turns 42An Unhappy Birthday. Alan Dowd writes “The numbers are staggering; indeed, they are almost impossible to grasp. Since 1973, some 54 million abortions have been performed in the United States. Lots of myths have emerged in the intervening years to obscure and defend and rationalize what Roe spawned — myths that honest and responsible people need to address.”
  • Atlanta’s Fire Chief Loses Job Over Beliefs on Homosexuality. Kelvin Cochran was suspended for 30 days then fired, following complaints that he promoted anti-gay views in a 2013 self-published Christian book.
  • Alice Cooper, Christian. An interesting story about the rock and roller.


I’m Currently Reading

Book Review: Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

 Favorite Quotes of the Week ~ 1.12.2015

  • Evil aims to destroy hope. Bob Smart
  • Without immersion in God’s words, our prayers may not be merely limited and shallow but also untethered from reality. Tim Keller
  • We are broken people living in a broken world with other broken people. We all need grace. Tullian Tchividjian
  • There’s nothing that makes you more miserable, or less interesting, than self-absorption. Tim Keller
  • When you experience God it is deeply personal, but it’s not at all private. Tim Keller
  • Christianity is not about good people who want to get better. It is good news for bad people coping with their failure to be good. Tullian Tchividjian
  • God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them. John Piper
  • You’ll always feel the need to pretend to be more holy and happy than you are when you try to get people looking at you and not at Jesus. Burk Parsons
  • The aim is never to become a master of the Word, but to be mastered by it. D. A. Carson
  • Grace does not lead us to overlook obedience. Grace compels and empowers us for obedience. Kevin DeYoung
  • Forgiveness always comes at a cost to the one granting the forgiveness. To not retaliate is to absorb the cost. Tim Keller
  • Unless you’re ready to live sinlessly, suffer miserably, and be murdered brutally, point people to Christ, not yourself. Burk Parsons
  • With arms outstretched on the cross. Jesus took holy God in one hand and sinful man with the other and brought the two together. Steven Lawson
  • Sometimes our weakness and tears encourages others more than our stories of strength and victory. Scotty Smith
  • Aimless, unproductive Christians contradict the creative, purposeful, powerful, merciful God we love. John Piper
  • Even one who has been to God a million times with the same problem need not fear exhausting the grace of God. Tullian Tchividjian
  • When we try and use fear or pride to stop from sinning, we are forgetting that we sin because of either fear or pride. Tim Keller
  • Saying you’re a new kind of Christian with a new kind of Christianity is basically saying you’re an old kind of heretic. Burk Parsons
  • Do all the good you can, try all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you ca, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can. John Wesley 
  • Sin is what you do when you are not satisfied in God. John Piper
  • We are all servants. The only question is whom we will serve. R.C. Sproul
  • While our self-righteousness reaches far, God’s grace reaches farther. Tullian Tchividjian
  • The opposite of love is not anger, its indifference. Tim Keller
  • When God measures a church, He begins with its depth not its breadth, with its substance not its style. Steven Lawson
  • Annihilation is what the unrepentant want, not what they dread. It would be a reward, not a punishment. Non-consciousness knows no loss. John Piper
  • If we truly long for revival, we will rejoice even when it starts at the church down the road. Kevin DeYoung
  • TGIF – Thankful Grace Is Free! Scotty Smith
  • If you don’t need your Bible at church, then the Bible says you don’t need that church. Thabiti Anyabwile
  • When Jesus promises everlasting life, he isn’t just promising everlasting existence. He is promising eternal joy. True life. That’s amazing. Matt Perman
  • God wants every local church to be the first place people think to go when they’ve really messed up…not the last. Tullian Tchividjian
  • Ask yourself this question everyday: What is it about me that other people would change if they could? Andy Andrews
  • As I am humbled by my difficulties, so I am strengthened by God’s grace. Alistair Begg
  • Astounded again at God’s faithfulness. Another clean MRI today. Hard to believe it’s been over 5 years (since he was diagnosed with brain cancer) Matt Chandler
I got a chuckle out of this sign that appeared on But seriously?

I got a chuckle out of this sign that appeared on But seriously?

integrating faith and work

Closing the Sunday to Monday Gap

Over the weekend I finished Tom Nelson’s excellent book Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work. We’ll look at that book in detail in a few weeks.

The book continued a journey to integrate my faith with my work that I started by reading Tim Keller’s 2012 book Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work. My journey got a boost by completing a “Calling, Vocation and Work” class on campus at Covenant Seminary during the summer of 2013. More recently, we’ve featured a regular Integrating Faith and Work section on this blog. I’ve also read a number of books on the subject and we just began our second Faith and Work Book Club in the organization where I work.

Nelson has served as senior pastor of Christ Community Church in Leawood, Kansas, for more than twenty years. He writes that closing the Sunday-to-Monday gap will require more than hopeful thinking. He writes that “honest vocational appraisal is needed to begin doing the important work of equipping others for vocational diligence and faithfulness”.

He writes that for churches to move forward they will need to:

  1. Become more intentional about teaching a robust theology of vocation
  2. Begin celebrating the diversity of vocations
  3. Equip for vocational faithfulness
  4. Collaborate with our like-minded local churches that also recognize the church at work as a primary conduit for gospel faithfulness

It’s my experience that we don’t do much to help those in our churches connect Sunday worship with Monday work. I have seen the lightbulb come on with those in our Faith and Work Book Clubs who never thought of connecting their faith and work. Nelson writes that in his interactions with other pastors, he is often shocked how few regularly spend time in the workplaces of their congregation, where we spend most of our waking hours.

I would encourage you to open up the Faith and Work issue in your local churches. Volunteer to lead an Adult Sunday School class on the topic. Feel free to use the articles and book reviews here on our site to help you put together your class. Invite those from various professions – IT, farming, nursing, etc. – to come in and talk about what it means to them to be a Christian in their vocations.

I like what Tom Nelson has done in their worship services. He writes: “In our Sunday morning services, congregational members periodically give short and timely vocational testimonies, either live or via video, regarding their faith at work. At times, the video testimonies will be shot on location at their particular workplaces.”

I hope to continue Faith and Work Book Clubs in my organization and would like to someday attend the Center for Faith and Work National Conference in New York City. Here is information on this year’s conference:


  • To Quit or Not to Quit When Kingdom and Corporate Goals Conflict. I had the privilege of taking two courses with Dan Doriani at Covenant Seminary, one of them being on Christian Ethics. Dr. Doriani writes “Work that pleases God must be honest and lawful. Believers cannot take jobs that require sin. We cannot be hit-men, drug-runners, or prostitutes. But is it wrong to work in a wholesome branch of a large corporation that also has dubious divisions?
  • Recommended: Business for the Common Good. Mikel Del Rosario shares three things learned from the book Business for the Common Good: A Christian Vision for the Marketplace by Kenman L. Wong and Scott B. Rae.
  • 4 Ways to Win the Battle Against Busyness. J.D. Greear offers four precepts from Scripture and other wisdom that can help us diffuse busyness and sit at Jesus’s feet.
  • What’s the Best Way to Set Goals That Glorify God? Hugh Whelchel shares three questions to ask from Michael Hyatt.
  • How to Change People Who Don’t Want to Change. When you’re trying to influence people who need motivation, but not information, don’t offer more information. Instead, use questions to create a safe environment where they can explore motivations they already have.
  • Productivity: Simple Tricks. R.C. Sproul writes “I realize that all my time is God’s time and all my time is my time by His delegation. God owns me and my time. Yet, He has given me a measure of time over which I am a steward. I can commit that time to work for other people, visit other people, etc., but it is time for which I must give an account.”
  • Your Messy Desk Is Ruining Your Career. Martha C. White writes “A disorganized, sloppy workspace detracts from your ability to focus and get tasks completed efficiently. Physical clutter has a funny way of creeping into your head and creating mental distractions, say pro organizers. Here are their best tips for corralling your stuff.” 2015
  • John Maxwell on Change. In this “Minute with Maxwell” John Maxwell discusses the word “Change”.
  • 5 Tips to Unlock Your Potential. John Maxwell offer five tips on how to unlock your potential and reach your goals.
  • How Google Works. Matt Perman shares an excellent summary of the best principles for making organizations effective today by Eric Schmidt, executive chairman at Google.
  • 5 Insights I Have Learned About Failure. Ron Edmondson writes “One reason people seem to identify with my teaching is that I’m not perfect. I’ve made lots of mistakes. I didn’t enter the ministry until I was 38 years old and that was plenty of time to learn valuable life experiences by failure. (And, I haven’t quit making mistakes in ministry.)”
  • Set the Tone for the New Year. Dr. Alan Zimmerman asks what can you do to set the RIGHT TONE at work or at home, and gives a few tips for starters.


  • What Makes Leaders Safe or Unsafe? Dave Kraft writes offers a helpful list of what makes leaders safe and unsafe.
  • Is a Transparent Leader Really the Best Leader? On this podcast, Andy Andrews discusses whether transparency helps or hurts your leadership potential.
  • How Do You Define Leadership? Watch this video of Tod Bolsinger, VP of vocation and formation at Fuller Seminary (and at the time this video was made pastor of San Clemente Presbyterian Church), talk about what makes a good leader…and why it’s different from just being a good manager.
  • Fatal Flaws of a Leader. Dave Kraft asks “Are there certain kinds of flaws that Christian leaders may develop which could spell the end of their leadership effectiveness, their leadership altogether or, worse yet, the downward spiral of their walk with Jesus? I believe there are. Here are three to consider.
  • 20 Characteristics of an ALL IN Leader. Brad Lomenick lists these helpful characteristics of an ALL IN leader.

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

Generous Justice Book Club  Generous Justice

Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just by Tim Keller

Throughout the Old Testament we see God’s love for the entire nation of Israel, but we also see Him reaching out to individuals–the widows, orphans, and sojourners. His instructions to His people included a charge to show mercy and bring justice to the needy. In the New Testament we see this played out in Jesus’ life as well. Like a great revolving door of grace, God has been in the business of loving, saving, and equipping His people so they can love and save others throughout the whole of Scripture. In Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church Tim Keller, explores the connection between when believers in Christ receive grace, and how that impacts the world around them. He argues that the Bible is a trustworthy guide for living a life of justice. Sharing examples from the lives of believers around him, and giving support from the Bible, Keller outlines a hopeful manifesto for all who seek to show God’s mercy to the world.

Tammy and I are reading and discussing this 2010 book by Tim Keller. This week we look at Chapter 1: What is Doing Justice?

God at Work Book ClubGod at Work

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

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 10: Bearing the Cross in Vocation.

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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