Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Coram Deo ~ 3.5.2015

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BOOKS AND BIBLE-READING:The Case for the Real Jesus


  • Upcoming Music Releases. Here are a few upcoming music releases that I’m excited about:Lecrae Anomaly Tour
    • Lead Us Back – Third Day – March 3
    • Saints and Sinners – Matt Maher – March 17
    • Passion 15’ Conference Album (Title TBD) – Passion – March 17
    • Duets: Reworking the Catalog – Van Morrison – March 24
    • Tomorrow We Live – KB – April 21
  • Lecrae and Andy Mineo at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis April 30. Don’t miss it!
  • “Frozen Heart” from The Hawk of Paris. Here’s a new single from Jars of Clay lead singer Dan Haseltine’s side project The Hawks of Paris.
  • In the Studio with Michael Card. Michael Card hosted a wonderful weekly radio program, In the Studio with Michael Card. It was carried by stations in 48 states, Canada, and the Caribbean. It was also available via internet streaming audio and as a podcast. The show was an amalgam of talk, musical performances and Bible study. The show ceased production in March, 2009. Now you can enjoy some of the programs and relive the lessons and the music with Michael and his guests. This was my favorite radio show at the time.
  • Andrae Crouch: The Man Who Raised the Goal. Kirk Franklin writes “Our music doesn’t affect people the way it used to. It doesn’t create movements like it did during Andrae’s time. Is it because today’s worship leader is too busy trying to get the record deal, the applause, a higher church salary, and that crossover song? Every step we take away from the cross — and the cross alone – every time we focus on sales over souls… the goal gets lower and lower.”
  • Wheel of Music Impressions. Did you see Christina Aguilera and Jimmy Fallon play Wheel of Musical Impressions on The Tonight Show recently?
  • Irish U2 frontman Bono may have perfectly summed up the American idea. “In 2012, U2 frontman Bono gave a speech about poverty and social enterprise at Georgetown University. On February 13, Glenn Beck played the audio and called it one of the best descriptions of human potential and the American idea he’s ever heard.”
  • “Every Breaking Wave” Video. Here is a 13-minute music film for U2’s excellent song “Every Breaking Wave”
  • New Van Morrison Album. Duets: Re-Working The Catalogue will be released on March 24. The album features Morrison re-recording some of his earlier songs with artists such as George Benson, Mavis Staples, Stevie Winwood, Mark Knopler and Natalie Cole. The first single, which you receive when you pre-order the album on iTunes is “Real, Real Gone” with Michael Buble.  
  • Brian Wilson Biopic Trailer. The first trailer for the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy has hit the Internet. Paul Dano stars as the young Wilson, the chief architect behind much of the Beach Boys’ buoyant pop. John Cusack plays Wilson later in life.
  • 12 Questions to Ask When Watching a Film. Here are helpful questions from John Frame.
  • 9 Ways to Find a Movie’s Worldview of Redemption. Justin Taylor writes “Screenwriter and reviewer Brian Godawa (who wrote the screenplay for the excellent film, To End All Wars) suggests what to look for in order to understand a movie’s vision of redemption, which is a key part of its worldview.”




World Magazine Cartoon
Courtesy of World Magazine


Doug Michael Cartoon
Beyond the Ark by Doug Michael

Blog Updates

Glory to the Holy OneMusic Review ~ Glory to the Holy One: Sacred Music for the People of God – Jeff Lippencott and R.C. SproulRomans for You 8-16 - Tim Keller

Book Review ~ Romans 8-16 for You by Timothy Keller

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Truth is Stranger than

Over the years Orlando always seems to generate a good “Truth is Stranger than Fiction” contribution – from a guaranteed express worship at a church on the way to Mount Dora to a drive in worship service at a church in the downtown Orlando area. This year’s contribution comes courtesy of a billboard on Sand Lake, near the Drury Inn hotel we stayed at the beginning of our week in town.

 Favorite Quotes of the Week ~ 3.1.2015

  • Am I desiring and seeking the temporal and eternal good of my neighbor with the same zeal, ingenuity and perseverance that I seek my own? John Piper
  • Worship is not simply a feeling that is experienced; it must also involve understanding and the mind. R.C. Sproul
  • The Bible is shallow enough for a new believer to wade in, but deep enough for a theologian to drown in. Steven Lawson
  • Some Christians live in such fear, they act as if they believe in the sovereignty of Satan rather than the sovereignty of God. Steven Lawson
  • The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead. Tim Keller
  • The sin of fallen man is this: Man seeks the benefits of God while at the same time fleeing from God himself. R.C. Sproul
  • Tolerance is a relatively weak virtue; we’re called to so much more than that in the body of Christ. Kevin DeYoung .
  • Loving as Jesus loves us is the best thing to do with the rest of our lives. Scotty Smith
  • He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. Jim Elliot
  • Because He’s the living God, He can hear. Because He’s a loving God, He will hear. Charles Spurgeon
  • The poor are not a problem to be solved but a people to join. Eugene Peterson
  • We’re far worse than we ever imagined, and far more loved than we could ever dream. Tim Keller
  • A loving God who has no wrath is no God. He is an idol of our own making as much as if we carved Him out of stone. R.C. Sproul
  • A high view of God leads to high worship and holy living, but a low of God leads to trivial worship and low living. Steven Lawson
  • Here is a vocation that will bring you more satisfaction than if you became a millionaire ten times over: Develop the extraordinary skill for detecting the burdens of others and devote yourself daily to making them lighter. John Piper
  • At the final judgment, everyone will stand before God alone. R.C. Sproul
  • God doesn’t merely invite people to worship him, he commands it. Burk Parsons
  • The way of God’s grace becomes indispensable when we realize that the way of God’s law is inflexible. Tullian Tchividjian
  • The more I learn about God, the more aware I become of what I don’t know about him. R.C. Sproul
  • The irreligious don’t repent at all and the religious only repent of sins. But Christians repent of their wrongfully placed righteousness. Tim Keller
  • Christian discipleship recognizes life as a gift, not a given. We don’t make ourselves. We are made. Michael Horton
  • We do not sit in authority over the Scripture, the Scripture sits in authority over us. Steven Lawson
  • Dear single, widowed, abandoned, divorced, heartbroken, or happily married woman, may your first and ultimate love be Christ. Burk Parsons
  • The church is not a museum for pristine saints, but a hospital ward for broken sinners. Tim Keller
  • The situations that have been the biggest wins for me have been because I was forced to think differently. Andy Andrews
  • For the Christian, every tragedy is ultimately a blessing, or God is a liar. R.C. Sproul.
  • We are likely to deny Christ when the cost of identifying with Him is great. Bob Smart
  • Jesus Christ is able to set us free because He has dealt with the sin that enslaves us. Sinclair Ferguson
  • No one can go back and make a new start. But everyone can start now and make a new ending. Lecrae
  • The law demands that we do it all; the gospel declares that Jesus paid it all. Tullian Tchividjian
  • Take me, and enable me to glorify You now, in all that I say, in all that I do, and with all that I have. Charles Spurgeon
  • Worry is not believing God will get it right, and bitterness is believing God got it wrong. Tim Keller
  • Thinking that I deserve heaven is a sure sign I have no understanding of the gospel. Sinclair Ferguson
  • Hope can see heaven through the thickest clouds. Thomas Brooks
Church Sign

Seeing this church sign in CT Entertainment, I thought “Now this might be a church Jimmy Fallon would attend.”!

integrating faith and work

  • Our Children’s First Glimpse of the Value of Work. Courtney Reissig writes “My home is my work right now. My children are my work right now. Of course, they are so much more than that, but they are not less.”
  • My Job Exists Solely Because of the Fall. Paul Maxwell interviews Nate who lives in Maryland with his wife, Becky, and daughter, Lina.
  • More, But Not Less, Than a Carpenter. Tom Nelson, author of the excellent book Work Matters, writes “Several years ago I remember reading a fine book that was winsomely titled More Than a Carpenter. In this book, the author points out a great deal of convincing evidence that supports the deity of Jesus. This is essential to understanding the person and work of Jesus. Yet in no way should we conclude that because Jesus was more than a carpenter, his vocational calling to work as a carpenter was somehow less than important. Clearly the Son of God was much more, but not less, than a carpenter. This incarnational pattern of Jesus’s earthly life speaks volumes about the importance of our day-to-day vocational work.”
  • Stay-at-Home Work when Kids Have Special Needs. Courtney Reissig interviews Rachael Newton is married to Josh and is a stay-at-home mom to their three kids. Their 9-year-old son has autism. They live in Little Rock, Arkansas, and are members of Midtown Baptist Church, where she also serves as the children’s ministry director.
  • 5 Strategies to Cultivate a Healthy Leadership Spirit. Randy Conley writes “Even more important than recognizing the warning signs something is wrong with your inner life as a leader, is pursuing strategies to prevent yourself from running off the rails in the first place. To cultivate a fertile soil for your life as a leader, or to apply a soothing balm to your wounded spirit, try following these five strategies.”
  • I Don’t Have a Job. I Have a Higher Calling. Rachel Feintzeig writes: “Those who can connect their work to a higher purpose—whether they are a janitor or a banker—tend to be more satisfied with their jobs, put in longer hours and rack up fewer absences, according to Ms. Wrzesniewski’s research.”
  • Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn for Teens. John Maxwell writes about his new book written for teens.
  • Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast. In this month’s podcast Andy explores the dangerous desire for autonomy.
  • What Is Meaningful Work? Courtney Reissig writes “It’s all meaningful, from wiping bottoms to writing sentences. We can all work, mothers and non-mothers, and find great meaning in what we do on any given day—not because the world tells us it is meaningful work, but because the God who created work tells us so.”
  • Character Matters for Workplace Culture, All the Way up the Corporate Ladder. Check out part one in this series on Character at Work from Art Lindsley.
  • Your Job Does Not Matter! C. Patton writes “The point here is that it really does not matter exactly what you do, you should do it in the name of Jesus and do it for Him. Are you a teacher? Then teach for Jesus. Are you in business? Then do business for Jesus. Do you design software? Then do that for Jesus. WHATEVER you do, do it for Jesus.”
  • The Five Practices of Leadership. Dan Rockwell writes “People of influence knowingly engage in the five practices of leadership described in, “The Leadership Challenge.”
  • In Praise of Trade Schools. Anthony Bradley writesOne of the benefits of a Christian theology of work is that it frees parents up to encourage their children to pursue various employment-related vocations that cultivate creation, rather than prod them to waste a life in the unfulfilling pursuit of the American Dream.
  • 3 Ways You’re Giving up Power with Your Words. Michael Hyatt writes “ur words can be powerful tools to accomplish our goals. But sometimes the things we say can sabotage our success”
  • Does the L-Word Belong in Business? J.B. Wood writesPlenty of research keeps cropping up showing that people at work are much more productive when they also feel cared for.”
  • John Maxwell on Maximize. Check out this short video from John Maxwell as he discusses “Maximize”.
  • An Extraordinary Skill for Ordinary Christians. Tim Challies writes “I love what John Piper says: “Here is a vocation that will bring you more satisfaction than if you became a millionaire ten times over: Develop the extraordinary skill for detecting the burdens of others and devote yourself daily to making them lighter.” This is the extraordinary ministry for every ordinary Christian—bearing the burdens of others. What seems so mundane and so unspectacular, is actually bringing great glory and honor to God.”
  • 4 Groups to Whom the Leader Should Listen. Eric Geiger writes “Where should leaders look to find the people who will speak into the direction of the organization? Where should leaders find people who will influence them? As you evaluate the voices you listen to and the feedback you elicit, consider the following four spheres of influence.”
  • An essential faith and work bibliography, or two, or three… Check out these posts on essential resources for understanding the interconnection of faith, work, vocation, and economics.
  • A Sacred Trust In this Lead Like Jesus devotional an excellent question is posed – “How would you approach your leadership responsibilities differently if you saw them as God-given?”

 Friday Reflections by Greston Miller

 I meet with some wonderful folks at work each Friday morning to discuss faith and work books. Currently we are reading and discussing Matt Perman’s excellent book What’s Best Next. Recently, Greston Miller, a long-time friend recently shared his thoughts with the group. With his permission I’m sharing it with you as well:

 F Forget and Forgive Forget about any setbacks you may have had this week.  Forgive yourself.  And, forgive those who may have offended you or let you down.
R Reflect Reflect upon your week and remember your accomplishments and those who helped you to be a little better this week than you were last week.  Did you send a note acknowledging them, or a note of thanks, or a note of appreciation?
I There is no “I” in team Yes there is!  What did you do to help your team this week?
D Did I? Ask yourself, “Did I give my team and my family my very best this week?”
A Ask Ask yourself, “What can I do next week to be a little better than I am this week?”  Then, from this day forward, ask yourself at the start of each day, “What can I do today to be a little better than I was yesterday?”  And, at the end of the day ask yourself, “Who did I help today?”
Y Say “Yes” Say “Yes” to having a wonderful weekend.  Tell your family how much you love them.

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

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

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

I’m 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 me? This week we look at Chapter 6 – The Passion to Lead: Passionate Leaders Driven by Passionate Beliefs Draw Passionate Followers:

  • Leaders need to possess and develop many qualities, but the one element that drives them to the front is passion. Without it, nothing important happens.
  • Passion is not a temporary state of mind. It is the constant source of energy for the leader, and the greatest cause of attraction for followers.
  • Kierkegaard reminds us that passion cannot be artificially generated or transmitted. If authentic, it naturally shines through as convictions come to life, as a great mission is undertaken, and as people share the same great passion and join together as one.
  • Passion must arise out of conviction. It cannot come any other way. Passion arises naturally or not at all. It happens when convictions come to life, and deep beliefs drive visions and plans. The passionate leader is driven by the knowledge that the right beliefs, aimed at the right opportunity, can lead to earth-shaking changes.
  • In any context of leadership, passion arises out of beliefs. For the Christian leader, those convictions must be drawn from the Bible and must take the shape of the gospel. Our ultimate conviction is that everything we do is dignified and magnified by the fact that we were created for the glory of God. We were made for his glory, and this means that each one of us has a divine purpose. The Christian leader finds passion in the great truths of the Christian faith, and especially in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Leadership arises from this passion and is driven by it. Other leaders may be driven by a passion for cars or technology or empire building, but the Christian leader is driven by the convictions that give all of life its meaning. Everything else flows from this naturally.
  • Passionate leaders attract and motivate passionate followers. Together, they build passionate movements. When this happens, anything is possible.
  • When the mission is ambiguous and the beliefs of the organization are nebulous, passion dissipates quickly.
  • Leaders must use their brains, but they need to speak from the heart.
  • The passionate leader emphasizes morality and purpose. It is not enough that a decision is workable; it must also be right. The leader cannot be satisfied that a product is adequate; it must enhance the lives of those who use it.
  • Organizations driven by passion thrive on the experience of seeing change happen in the service of common convictions.
  • When push comes to shove in leadership—and it will—the leader resets the equation by going back to the convictions and leaning into passion. As new people come into the movement, they must be trained in the convictions if they are to share the passion. When trouble is confronted, the leader responds consistently with the convictions in order to protect the passion.
  • The language of passion requires boldness. Leaders learn to speak of causes, not structures; of movements, not mechanics; of people, not statistics; of cherished principles, not mere policies.

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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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