Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Coram Deo 2.11.2015

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Coram Deo 2.11.2015

Blog UpdatesBook Review ~ Rebounding from Death’s Door by Jeff Elliot

I’m Currently Reading

 Music Review ~ Shadows in the Night – Bob Dylan

This and ThatBOOKS:

MUSIC:

CURRENT EVENTS:

  • InterVarsity Victory in Sex Discrimination Case Is Good News for All Parachurch Ministries. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) can set and enforce hiring practices based on its Christian faith, the SixTH Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on February 5.
  • 15 Black Christian Leaders You Should Know. Corrie Mitchell gives us a list of black Christian leaders shaping the face of the church. The list includes favorites such as Lecrae, Propaganda and Thabiti Anyabwile.
  • Disney offers peek at ‘Frozen Fever’ short. Even the most ardent Frozen obsessives can watch the movie only so many times before craving new details about the story’s next chapter. And, like snowflakes floating down from the heavens, here they are.
  • Scott Walker Learned Early Lessons at His Father’s Iowa Church. Before presidential candidate Scott Walker stood on a national stage, he crawled beneath the wooden pews and white steeple of First Baptist Church. His father preached and his mother ran the Sunday school.
  • Buying a Bestseller. It’s now well known that Pastor Mark and his former church used nearly $250,000 in church funds to buy one of Driscoll’s books onto The New York Times bestseller list. Now according to former employee George Hale, David Jeremiah’s ministry, Turning Point, purchased copies of at least three of Jeremiah’s books to push them onto The New York Times bestseller list. Turning Point Ministries “voluntarily resigned” its membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability on Jan. 31, 2010. ECFA’s Dan Busby said the organization has a policy of not giving reasons for an organization’s resignation, but Hale said the book-buying scheme was the key reason for the resignation from ECFA membership.
World Magazine cartoon

Courtesy of World Magazine

This cartoon from World Magazine captures an inflammatory comment our President made at the National Prayer Breakfast last Thursday when he compared the atrocities of ISIS to the bloodshed committed in the name of Christianity in centuries past. “Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” Mr. Obama said.

 CHRISTIAN LIVING:

  • My Spouse Doesn’t Enjoy Sex. Tony Reinke of Desiring God writes that they frequently get questions from Ask Pastor John podcast listeners in marriages who find themselves coping with different sexual interests. He addresses one question from Steve. The article also includes a link to John Piper’s full response to Steve’s question.
  • For Years I Pleaded With God To Make Me Straight, So Why Did My Prayers Go Unanswered? Matt Moore writes “Homosexual desire – and all other sinful desire — exists in the hearts of people because worship of God doesn’t. So why didn’t God answer my prayer to rid me of my homosexual desires? Because homosexual desires were not my main problem. They were a problem, for sure. But the root of my problem was that I didn’t love God or worship Him, and my homosexual desires were just fruit of that, so to speak. God’s desire was to fix the root of my issues.
  • How to Love a Loved One with Mental Illness. Heather Palacios and her husband Raul share about mental illness in their marriage and how Raul has loved Heather faithfully throughout their marriage.
  • The “Plus One” Approach to Church. Kevin DeYoung writes “In addition to the Sunday morning worship service, pick one thing in the life of your congregation and be very committed to it.”
  • Revisiting 5 Evangelical Trends in this Decade. Trevin Wax writes “In 2011, I listed five trends in evangelicalism that, apart from a catastrophe or a revival in the United States, were likely to become increasingly evident in this decade. Now that we are halfway through the 2010’s, I’d like to revisit that post and see whether things have played out as I thought.”
  • Perspectives that are All the More Important When You Lose. Randy Alcorn writes “I encourage you to watch the following video featuring some Christ-followers I really appreciate, some of whom I know personally. If the men in this video had won the Super Bowl, as they did last year, I think their words might be taken as health and wealth gospel—“We’ve won the big game, so you should listen to us.” No, they LOST the big game on Sunday, but what they share remains 100% true. We usually feel the need for God more when we deal with our losses than when we celebrate our gains. Therefore what they have to say is if anything more significant, not less.
  • More Highly Than You Ought. Paul Tripp writes “I’m deeply persuaded that we’re addicted to the pursuit of self-glory because, when we look in the mirror, we think we see someone who deserves to be glorified. Instead of using the mirror of God’s Word to keep our judgment sober, we see an aggrandized version of who the Bible says we actually are. I’ve found that there are four common factors that contribute to this distorted view of self.”
  • The Problem with Your Choices. Barry Cooper of Desiring God writes “Making choices and moving on with our lives seems increasingly difficult. We find ourselves paralyzed: unable to make choices about relationships, dating, marriage, money, family, and career. I want to suggest that if we feel unable to make these choices, it’s not because we have the wrong accent. It may be because we’re worshiping the wrong god.”
  • A Prayer for Trusting God with Things We Can’t Control. Another wonderful prayer from Scotty Smith.

THEOLOGY:

Doug Michael Cartoon

Beyond the Ark by Doug Michael

Favorite Quotes of the Week ~ 2.9.2015

  • There is no halfway or lackadaisical way to fight lust. If you’re not fighting your sin, you’re befriending your sin. Trip Lee
  • Grace is only exciting to those who know they’re wretched sinners. Burk Parsons
  • God’s wrath was not just withdrawn. It was spent. Full atonement can it be? Hallelujah, what a Savior! Kevin DeYoung
  •  The peace of God is first and foremost peace with God. J.I. Packer
  • The question is not whether or not you will face trials. The question is, how will you respond when you do? Trip Lee
  • Important reminder: It’s not fair of you to demand more proof of Christians for their beliefs than you demand for your own. Tim Keller
  • We do not believe in order to be regenerated; we must be regenerated in order that we might believe. Keith Mathison
  • What we do with our lives every day, whether at school, a desk job, or keeping the home in order, is our most basic opportunity to glorify God. That’s what your role in His story looks like day in and day out. Instead of waiting to be offered a new role, play the current one well. Trip Lee
  • The most important daily habit we can possess is to remind ourselves of the gospel. Charles Spurgeon
  • Here’s the grey rule: embrace things that lead you closer to Jesus, and reject things that lead you away from Jesus.  Trip Lee
  • Sometimes God has to remind you that you’re weak so that you can be set free from your “self-sufficiency.” Tullian Tchividjian
  • If you have to run away from something that used to be an idol, you’re actually still enslaved by it. It’s still controlling you. Tim Keller
  • There will be no peace in any soul until it is willing to obey the voice of God. D.L. Moody
  • There is no life so deeply and tragically sinful that it’s beyond the reach of God’s amazing rescuing grace. Paul Tripp
  • If ever there were a time there was nothing, there would be nothing now. R.C. Sproul
  • At the root of our porn problem is discontentment with God’s plan for our sexuality. Trip Lee
  • Father, may our repentances be far more notorious today than our gripes and criticisms. Fill us with your grace and kindness. Scotty Smith
  • Only true remorse and “Will you forgive me?” can press the reset button. Andy Andrews
  • God doesn’t slack his promises because of our sins or hasten them because of our righteousness. He pays no attention to either. Martin Luther
  • Self-righteousness is the fruit of a low view of God’s law and a lite view of your own sin. Tullian Tchividjian
  • God does not give us everything we want, but He does fulfill His promises, leading us along the best and straightest paths to Himself. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • God’s promises are not fortune cookies. We do not use them in order to get a spiritual “fix” for the day. Sinclair Ferguson
  • Beware of putting all your focus into results. While results are important, your people should be your number one area of focus. Ken Blanchard

  • Our Work and Life’s Meaning. Richard Doster writes “As we make sales, teach math, write laws, and design buildings, we’re certain that God is sustaining all things by His powerful Word (Hebrews 1:2-3). We work with the confidence that He’s present in all we do — working through us to accomplish His will on earth, just as it is in Heaven.”
  • Stoking the Fire Inside. Bob Chapman writes “As a truly human leader, don’t step back from the heat. Bring the kindling to help light the fire inside your team.”
  • Why Leaders Must Avoid These 10 ‘Credibility Killers’. Scott Cochrane shares this helpful list in a short article.
  • How to Beat Anxiety: The Simple Realizations That Erase Our Stress. On this podcast, Andy Andrews talks about the myths that keep us living in fear, and how to stop anxiety from ruling our lives.
  • Giving Himself Away. Check out this excerpt from Steven Garber’s excellent book Visions of Vocation.
  • 10 Ways to Get Where You Want to Go. Dan Rockwell shares this helpful list in a short article.
  • What about Work and Vacation? Andrew Spencer writes “There is biblical warrant for vacation and rest during the week found in the concept of Sabbath. For contemporary Christians, this usually won’t necessarily look like inactivity from Friday evening to Saturday evening. It does point toward a pattern of incorporating rest into our weekly routines and taking advantage of our vacation benefits when we have the opportunity. If we are truly working hard at our vocations for the Lord, then we should be able to rest and enjoy the fruit of our labor “as much and as oft as may be.” This we can do for God’s glory and the good of those around us.”
  • The Leader Who Can Execute. Dave Kraft looks at “Execute”, one of the five essential characteristics of a leader that former GE CEO Jack Welch writes about in his book Winning.
  • To Stay Focused, Manage Your Emotions. Ed Batista writes “A leader’s most precious resource is not their time. It’s their focused attention. Leaders must recognize that it’s essential to work at enhancing their ability to direct their attention and minimize unhelpful distractions, and one of the most important steps in this process is managing emotions.”
  • The 8 Skills Every Great Leader Must Master. Peter Economy writes “The good news is that you can learn and master these skills of great leadership, too. Follow this roadmap to up your own leadership game.”
  • Pete Carroll and the Pain of Leadership. Eric Geiger writes “In the span of a minute Carroll went from being lauded with praise to being lamented with criticism. In a matter of moments, he moved from being applauded as a genius to being called an idiot. Leadership is deeply challenging at all times, and painful at many times. Watching the end of the Super Bowl reminded me that leadership is deeply painful for at least three reasons.”
  • The 7 Reasons We Fail. Harvey Mackay writes about the most common failure-causing problems and their solutions.
  • 7 Keys to Instant Rapport. In this “Tuesday Tip” from Dr. Alan Zimmerman,  he writes “It’s critical, because in today’s time-crunched world, you no longer have the luxury of spending days and weeks around one another, gradually getting acquainted, and eventually building some trust.  You’ve got to make things “click” now.”
  • God Didn’t Design Us for Busy. Businesswoman Lara Casey talks about finding meaning beyond to-do lists and packed schedules.
  • How God Makes a Pencil. Joe Carter writes “When we engage in economic activity we are not only serving our fellow humans but also cooperating as sub-creators with God. Without him we couldn’t even produce tools for scratching words on paper. While we may be the means he uses, only God knows how to make a pencil.”
  • 2 Ways Leaders Should Learn from their Experiences. Eric Geiger writes “Leaders who care about their own personal development are like sponges to an array of resources in order to acquire new knowledge and skills. They will read books, consider continuing education, attend conferences, and scour articles that have been sent to them by their leaders. While these are important and can be very helpful, nothing compares to the learning that comes through experience.”
  • What Does God Want? Dave Williamson writes that the high calling of our daily work is being faithful to doing love. Faith@Work Summit videos. Here are a few videos from the Faith@Work Summit including Katherine Leary Alsdorf (who wrote Every Good Endeavor with Tim Keller) on why faith at work is important.
  • The Surprising Voice Influencing Your Leadership Decisions. Scott Cochrane writes “The point is that effective leadership requires understanding these hidden values, what they’re whispering in your ear. Because when you are aware of these hidden values you can recognize whether they are helping, or hurting, your decisions.”
  • Greed is just another word for fear. This article is about what it means to trust God as an HVAC contractor.
  • Forgiveness and Accountability in the Workplace. Mike Chalk writes “Whenever people live or work together, they need to practice forgiveness because we humans are imperfect. No group can function long before someone breaks a promise and lets others down.”
  • Caring for the Nearest Neighbors. Courtney Reissig interviews Miriam Poteet, a wife and stay-at-home mom to three little girls. In 2012, she earned her PhD in applied mathematics from the Air Force Institute of Technology and chose to stay at home to serve her husband and family during a busy season of life.
  • See Work Through New Eyes—Theology of Work Commentary: Romans-Revelation Now Available in Print. The Theology of Work Bible Commentary, Volume 5: Romans-Revelation is now available in print for the first time. If you’ve ever wondered about God’s direction for your work, the TOW Commentary is a good place to start. The commentary can be used for bible study or as a reference for myriad work-related topics.
  • A Sacred Calling for Sacred Work. Watch this video from J. Richard Middleton is Professor of Biblical Worldview and Exegesis at Northeastern Seminary in Rochester, NY.
  • Missing the Point on Motivation. When it comes to improving employee engagement, motivation expert Susan Fowler believes that leaders are spending too much time trying to fix disengagement after it occurs instead of questioning approaches to motivation that may have led to it in the first place.

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

Generous 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 3: What Did Jesus Say about Justice?

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 4: Leadership Is Narrative.

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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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