Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Coram Deo ~ Living Life Under the Gaze of God

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~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~

I’m Currently ReadingChuck Pagano

 Book Review: Sidelined: Overcoming Odds Through Unity, Passion and Perseverance by Chuck Pagano with Bruce A. Tollner

 ~ THIS AND THAT ~

CHRISTIAN LIVING:

  • A New Convert’s Guide to Understanding Christian Code Words. This article from Stephen Altrogge may give you a chuckle or two
  • 10 Ways to Hate God. David Murray looks at a passage from R.C. Sproul’s classic book The Holiness of God and then shares ten ways in which we hate God.
  • Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart. J.D. Greear writes “On this issue—the most important issue on earth—we have to be absolutely clear. I believe it is time to put the shorthand aside. We need to preach salvation by repentance before God and faith in the finished work of Christ.”
  • The Measure You Use. Kevin DeYoung writes that the past several months have been difficult in regards to race relations in America. He writes “I know we ought to use the measure with each other that we want used for us (Matt. 7:2): “Don’t assume the worst about me because I don’t look like you. Don’t size me up based on how I dress, where I live, who my parents were, or if I ever knew my parents. Don’t speak before you listen. Don’t rush to judgment before you’ve heard from all sides.” Isn’t that what we all want?”
  • Francis Chan on Fighting for Joy, Singles Marrying Later, Spousal Arguments, and Monitoring Video Game Time. Our friend Kevin Halloran writes “Francis Chan, pastor and author of the new marriage book You, Me and Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternitywas recently a guest on the Ask Pastor John Podcast, where he shared about fighting for joy, leading his family, why singles marry later, spousal arguments, and other topics, including monitoring video game time of kids in the “Dads and Family Leadership” episode.”
  • The Most Difficult Time to Lead. Tim Challies writes “The most difficult time to lead is when you have forfeited the respect of those who are meant to follow you, when your confidence, and theirs, is shattered. But this is also the most important time to lead. This is where a real man will, and must, lead.”
  • Are You a Peter Pan Christian? Kevin Halloran writes “Many Christians function as spiritual Peter Pans who, consciously or unconsciously, avoid growing up in Christ. They put Christ on the side in their lives instead of at the forefront. They don’t realize that there is something so much greater, something so much more satisfying, more secure, and more significant than coasting in their immaturity, staying in spiritual diapers and drinking from bottles.”
  • I’ve Sinned; Now What? Eleven Reminders For Dealing with Sin. Rey Reynoso writes “On this side of eternity we will sin. I’m not saying we must sin. Sin is not necessary to human life but it is part of human life. On this side of eternity we will struggle with it. We will sin.” He shares eleven things (to limit it to a readable number) to keep in mind in regards to sin.
  • What To Do When We’re Prayerless. Jon Bloom of Desiring God writes “When we’re prayerless, the first thing we must address is the cause of our faith deficit.” He offers five suggestions for doing that.

THEOLOGY:

  • Why Do I Exist? Tony Reinke of Desiring God writes “Am I failing at life? Am I succeeding? And why do I exist in the first place? These questions are huge, we all ask them, and thankfully the Bible helps us with answers in the form of a litmus test.”
  • Election: Unconditional, Eternal, and Loving. Anthony Carter writes “Election is unconditional. God did not choose His people based on who we are or what we can do, on any potential we have or that He saw in us. Rather, He chose us when we had met no prior condition or obligation.”
  • God’s Super-Apostles. Tim Challies writes “There is a new religious movement alive today that is gaining momentum and claiming followers. Like so many movements before it, it began in the United States and has since spread around the world. I have seen many manifestations of it right here in Canada. It is called the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and it is the subject of God’s Super-Apostles, where it receives some well-deserved scrutiny.”
  • Peter Jones interviewed on Only Two Religions Teaching Series.  R.C. Sproul and Lee Webb of Ligonier Ministries interview Peter Jones to discuss the theme of his teaching series Only Two Religions. Together they discuss the fundamental religious convictions that drive modern culture, demonstrating that in the final analysis there can be only two religions—worship of the Creator or worship of creation.

TO LIGHT A FIRE UNDER YOU IN YOUR CHRISTIAN JOURNEY:

  • Does your city measure up to Indianapolis? Motivated by faith, many ministries in this Midwestern city bear fruit in their good works.
  • The Eighth Decade of Life and the Ultimate Purpose of God. John Piper recently turned 69 years old. He writes “As the year and the decade turn, I have been thinking about Jesus’ final words, “Teach [all the nations] to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). Not just to know what I commanded, but to observe it — obey it, do it. The last command of the Lord was, “Teach the nations in such a way that they obey me.” So I invite you to follow me as I meditate on not wasting my life in view of this final command.
  • Religious liberty and persecution: a global perspective. David Platt writes “Surrounded by the global reality of religious persecution, and driven by our love for God, we must act. We must pray and work for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. When one part of the body suffers, the whole body suffers (see 1 Corinthians 12). In a land of religious liberty, we have a biblical responsibility to stand up and speak out on their behalf.”

ENCOURAGEMENT:

  • Comfort, Hope and Encouragement from God. Randy Alcorn writes” Some days no one but God has the right words. I suggest you read each of these verses aloud. Or, stop on one that really speaks to you and read and reread it aloud. Meditate on it, memorize it, and let God speak to your heart as only He can. These are the very words of God. Shut out all the rest of the voices in the world—TV, radio, magazines, books, internet, email, social media—and listen to His voice alone.”
  • A Prayer for Days When You’re Feeling Weary. Here’s another wonderful prayer from Scotty Smith.

TELEVISION

BOOKS AND VIDEOS:

MUSIC:

  • Rapper Trip Lee, Self-Described ‘Boring’ Guy, Talks Finding Inspiration in Malcolm Gladwell, CS Lewis, and Jay-Z. This is part one of a two-part interview with rapper, pastor, and author Trip Lee about his latest projects, his thoughts on U.S. Christianity, his new church plant, and his perspectives on race as black man in America
  • Third Day Pre-Order. You can pre-order the Deluxe edition of Third Day’s new album Lead Us Back: Songs of Worship on iTunes. The album will be released on March 3. However, when you pre-order the album, you instantly get downloads of the new single “Soul on Fire” (featuring All Songs & Daughters) and eight live recordings.
  • Passion 2015 Album. The live recording from the Passion 2015 conference will be released March 17. Artists that were scheduled to perform at the events held in Atlanta and Houston earlier this year were Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Crowder, Christy Nockels, Kristian Stanfill and Brett Younker.
  • Song Premiere: Bob Dylan, “Stay With Me”. The first single from Dylan’s upcoming Shadows in the Night album of songs recorded by Frank Sinatra.
  • Bob Dylan’s interview with AARP The Magazine. In his first interview in almost three years, Bob Dylan spoke with AARP The Magazine in advance of his upcoming album, Shadows in the Night.
  • First review of Bob Dylan’s Shadows in the Night album. Neil McCormick of The Telegraph in the UK says that “Shadows In The Night is quite gorgeous, the sound of an old man picking over memories, lost loves, regrets, triumphs and fading hopes amid an ambient tumble of haunting electric instrumentation. It is spooky, bittersweet, mesmerizingly moving and showcases the best singing from Dylan in 25 years.” The album will be released February 3.
Christian Cartoon

Beyond the Ark by Doug Michael

IN THE NEWS:

  • Aaron Rodgers: God Probably Doesn’t Care Who Wins Football Games. Green Bay Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers states ““I don’t think God cares a whole lot about the outcome,” Rodgers said. “He cares about the people involved, but I don’t think he’s a big football fan.”
  • Ben Zobrist Takes out Newspaper Ad to Say Goodbye to Fans and Teammates. Zobrist is a Christian and played his high school baseball in nearby Eureka, Illinois
  • The Techniques of a Sexual Predator. Unfortunately this article hits a little too close to home as a man in my department was arrested for this last week. Tim Challies writes “In his book On Guard: Preventing and Responding to Children Abuse at Church, Deepak Reju provides a look at the techniques of a sexual predator, and focuses on the way a predator will prepare or groom an entire church so that he can take advantage of its children. His words are worth reading and worth considering.”
  • Joshua Harris resigns to attend seminary. Watch or read his sermon from Sunday.
  • Barna Group Surveys and Statistics Challenged. James C. Pakala Library Director at Covenant Theological Seminary shares concerns with Barna writes “The Barna Group’s statistic was not particularly well-constructed to begin with, but it got substantially less accurate and more dire with each retelling”.
  • Most Godless Cities in America. Time Magazine cites a report from the American Bible Society that ranks cities based on the amount of Bible reading.
  • Abortion and the Gospel. Russell Moore wrote “As today marks the forty-second anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, most Christians recognize, and rightly so, the loss of millions of unborn human lives. What we often forget is the second casualty of an abortion culture: the consciences of countless men and women.
  • Abortion Bill Dropped Amid Concerns of Female GOP Lawmakers. House Republican leaders abruptly dropped plans late Wednesday to vote on an anti-abortion bill amid a revolt by female GOP lawmakers concerned that the legislation’s restrictive language would once again spoil the party’s chances of broadening its appeal to women and younger voters.
  • It, a new pro-life poem from John Piper:

It
I waited in my nausea,
Surrounded by stone-faced bourgeois
With rolls of twenty-dollar bills
In jacket pockets with their pills,
Funds from the ATM outside
The clinic door, because the guide,
Imbedded in the website said
“Cash only in advance.” The dread
Concealed — as if I really read
The Mademoiselle — my eyes instead
Were staring at the vinyl floor,
So clean and cold, a wise decor
In case a mother’s vomit soiled
The luster underfoot, and spoiled
This sterile place.

And then, all through
The brief and mindless interview
And prep, they called my baby “it.”
I tried to think that what God knit
In me was only “it.” I gripped
For dear life every word — a script
To somehow make this life an “it.”
But then, with legs still split
In clamps, I lifted up my head,
And saw there on the table, dead,
A tiny torso, not an “it,” but “she,”
Destroyed, and with her, me.
~ John Piper

Favorite Quotes of the Week ~ 1.26.2015

  • The Fall means, we should expect to be regularly frustrated in our work even though we may be in exactly the right vocation. Tim Keller
  • Encouragement and hope flow through our weakness more easily than through our competency. Scotty Smith
  • Where God has put a period, the devil puts a question mark, casting doubt. Steven Lawson
  • You can’t have an informed mind without an engaged heart. Tim Keller
  • The next time someone tells you, “The Church is full of a bunch of hypocrites.” You can respond, “You don’t even know the half of it.” Kevin DeYoung
  • We are not primarily called to do something or go somewhere; we are called to Someone.  Os Guinness
  • Doing your job well is an act of worship. Scotty Smith
  • When a man truly sees himself, he knows nobody can say anything about him that is too bad. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  • I guarantee you there is someone in your life that deserves more appreciation. Who is it? Find that person and let them know! Andy Andrews
  • When you share the gospel, you’re not calling people to a better way of life, you’re proclaiming to them eternal life. Kevin DeYoung
  • Get low; grace will meet you there. Jack Miller
  • Sometimes sadness is sanity. Tears are the reasonable response. Quickness to shush, shame or fix them, can reveal a resistance to wisdom. Zack Eswine
  • Spiritual growth is marked by a growing realization of just how much grace you need. Tullian Tchividjian
  • Sometimes providences, like Hebrew letters, must be read backwards. John Flavel
  • When your sin is deep, the suffering is strong, and your resolve is weak, remember: he gives more grace (James 4:6). Kevin DeYoung
  • Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. Lou Holtz
  • I want you to see everything you do in a new light so that you can become an agent for good, right where you are, to the glory of God. Don’t just try to get things done, seek to serve others to the glory of God in everything you do.  More than that, be proactive and enthusiastic in doing good for others.  Matt Perman
  • To remember Dr. Martin Luther King, here’s a quote I love, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” Ken Blanchard
  • How Religion Works: If I obey, then God will love and accept me. The Gospel: I’m loved and accepted, therefore I wish to obey. Tim Keller
  • There’s no sense in improving your marriage until you are secure with God. Francis Chan
  • In grey areas here’s a tip: Embrace things that lead you closer to Jesus, and reject things that lead you away from Jesus. Trip Lee
  • GREAT Leaders always do what is right, instead of settling for doing what is easy. Right takes work. Brad Lomenick
  • Humility is not an ‘added extra,’ one of the lesser Christian virtues. If you don’t have humility, you may be lost. Mark Dever
  • If you are justified, you can no more be unjustified than Christ can be pulled down from heaven. Sinclair Ferguson
  • The heart of the new birth is the new birth of the heart. Steven Lawson
  • Legalism has its origin in self-worship. Tom Schreiner
  • A self-consumed desire to be famous and cool doesn’t come from a Spirit-consumed heart that desires wisdom and humility. Burk Parsons
  • Many in Jesus’ day saw him, but they didn’t have communion with him. You can have more of Christ by faith than they had by sight. Kevin DeYoung
  • The time is always right to do what is right. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • The grace of God sets us free from a life of perfection, performing, and pretending. Tullian Tchividjian
  • WHAT a person thinks is determined by HOW a person thinks. Andy Andrews
  • But regardless of our circumstances, they do not define us — not unless we give in and let them. Circumstances never determine who we are; they reveal who we are. Chuck Pagano
  • Contentment is an undervalued grace. Sinclair Ferguson
  • Moral cowardice at the expense of the vulnerable unborn is both wrong and pathetic. Russell Moore
  • God never made a promise that was too good to be true. D. L. Moody
  • By praying with friends and others, you will be able to hear and see facets of Jesus that you have not yet perceived. Tim Keller
  • I am dismayed at my capacity for self-reliance (which is to say, my capacity for prayerlessness). Tim Challies
  • Grace doesn’t lead us into destructive behavior. Sin does. And grace is the only remedy for sin. The kindness of God leads to repentance. Tullian Tchividjian
  • Do I learn through dark providences, or simply seem relieved when they are over? Sinclair Ferguson

integrating faith and work

  • The jerk Factor. Patrick Lencioni writes “I had the opportunity to work with a college baseball team recently, and came to a realization that helps explain why accountability is one of the biggest challenges for team members and leaders alike.  I call it “The jerk Factor,” and yes, the “j” is not capitalized for a reason.”
  • 4 Ways to Beat the Resistance and Reach Your Goals This Year. Michael Hyatt offers four ways that are perfectly timed for the transitional period when so many of us contemplate giving up on our goals.
  • Overcoming Career Challenges. Jasen Lawrence shares three defining moments that exemplify the important role God has played in shaping his career.
  • Are You Celebrating Where You Are? This short article from Randy Gravitt makes a good point about being content in the situation we are in now.
  • The Role of ‘Spiritual Wisdom and Understanding’ in Our Vocations. In this excerpt from his book Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview Al Wolters argues that “spiritual wisdom and understanding” in our various vocational spheres can often be discerned from the created order—even as he maintains the unique place for proclamation of the gospel.
  •  Life-Changing Insights from Louis Zamperini. Dr. Alan Zimmerman shares three life-changing insights he got from Louis Zamperini (the subject of the book and movie Unbroken in this Tuesday Tip.
  • The Lesson I Discovered about Calling in Unbroken. Hugh Welchel writes “There is a great lesson for all of us in Zamperini’s story. God has called each of us to do good works, at our jobs, in our families, our churches, and in our communities. Everything in our lives, good and bad, has prepared us for what he has called us to do today.”
  • Overcoming obstacles – Steven Claunch. I saw this video in a meeting at work recently and wanted to share it, it’s that good.
  • Serving Patients in a Broken World. Enjoy this interview with Kaileigh Mobbs who works as a nurse in a surgical/trauma intensive care unit.
  • The Importance of Prayer in the Workplace. Caroline Cross writes “Rituals and routines matter and yet Christians often disregard what should be the most important workplace habit: prayer.”
  • Inspiring a Listening Revolution. Marty Moore writes of Bill Ury: “Bill’s new TEDx Talk “The Power of Listening” was significantly influenced by his discussions with us. In it, he challenges viewers to consider the fights—even wars– that could be averted and the personal relationships that could be mended if every one of us simply committed to listening a little more and talking a little less. He invites all of us to join a listening revolution because better listening has the power to transform every single human relationship. Barry-Wehmiller is helping to lead the way. We hope you will join us.
  •  The Healthy Leader. Dave Kraft writes “Okay, here are a few things I have been learning about being a healthy leader who will last and not disintegrate physically due to my own stupidity and poor choices. Doctor Swenson as written two excellent books on this subject.  Margin and The Overload Syndrome. They have both been a rich source of instruction, warning and wisdom. Here are my six favorite gems from “Overload Syndrome”
  • Testing Leadership Ambition. Eric Geiger writes “Christian leaders, in any environment, often struggle with how to think through and process the ambition that fills them. There is a battle in our hearts that leads us to either self-righteously cast out all attempts to grow in our calling and gifts (labeling them “selfish”), or to selfishly pursue all attempts to increase our “platform,” that dangerous term, by outdoing all others in showing honor to ourselves.” He suggests three ways that we can test our ambition and two ways that we can be presently faithful while ambitiously pursuing future possibilities.
  • Leadership Requires More than Self-Awareness. Eric Geiger writes “A wise and effective leader possesses more than self-awareness; he also has a keen awareness of the team. More than a sense of his/her unique gifting, he/she has a sense of the people on the team, their gifts and potential. Team-awareness enables the leader to leverage the gifts of the team, to hand over responsibility to others, and to utilize ‘roving leadership’.”
  • 3 Leadership Lessons from Winston Churchill. On the eve of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s death, Gavin Ortlund shares these three lessons.
  •  John Maxwell on Leadership. In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell talks discusses the word leadership.
  • John Maxwell on Adding Value. John Maxwell is known for saying that he wants to add value to us. What does he mean by that? Check out this “Minute with Maxwell”.
  • John Maxwell discussing Leading. In this “Minute with Maxwell”, John Maxwell, he looks at the word “Leading”.
  • 3 Hard but Powerful Truths about Likeability and Leadership. Carey Nieuwhof writes “The tension between likeability and leadership is much older than social media. Every leader in every generation has had to struggle with it at some level. While you may never resolve the tension, understanding it and keeping it in front of you will help you navigate it better.”

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

Generous JusticeGenerous Justice Book Club  

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

Tammy and I are reading and discussing this book by Tim Keller. This week we look at Chapter 2: Justice and the Old Testament.

The Conviction to Lead by Albert MohlerThe Conviction to Lead Book Club

The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters by Albert Mohler

We’re reading this excellent book from Albert Mohler, one of the best that I’ve read on leadership. It is broken down into 25 relatively short chapters. Won’t you read along with us? This week we look at Chapter 2 Leading Is Believing.

 

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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 37 years, a St. Louis Cardinals fan, a manager at a Fortune 50 company, a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, and in leadership at my local church. I enjoy speaking about calling, vocation and work. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinders themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony and Achiever, and my two StandOut strengths roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book and Colossians 3:23 my favorite verse. Some of my other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Prodigal Son (originally titled A Tale of Two Sons) by John MacArthur and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music, with Lecrae, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo being some of favorite artists.

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