Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

This and That …

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This and That
THEOLOGY:

  • How Can You Know the Bible Is True? John Piper writes “How can average people, with no scholarly training, and little time to invest in historical studies, know for sure that God has spoken in the Bible? Historically and biblically, one answer that has been given is: “the internal testimony of the Spirit.”
  • What Difference Does an Inerrant Bible Make? Last week, John MacArthur hosted an Inerrancy Summit (read Tim Challies articles on the Summit here). R.C. Sproul writes “Does it matter whether the Bible is errant or inerrant, fallible or infallible, inspired or uninspired? What’s all the fuss about the doctrine of inerrancy? Why do Christians debate this issue? What difference does an inerrant Bible make?”
  • Three Final Reflections from the Inerrancy Summit. Tim Challies shares his final thoughts on last week’s Inerrancy Summit at John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church. Watch the videos of messages from the conference here.
  • Mohler on Inerrancy. Mike Riccardi shares helpful quotes from Albert Mohler from the book Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy.
  • Francis Chan Sermons. You can listen to almost all of his sermons on his website.

MUSIC:

  • New NEEDTOBREATHE Live Album. Live from the Woods will be released April 14.
  • 2015 Ravinia Festival Schedule Released. The Ravinia Festival tucked away in Highland Park, Illinois, is hands-down my favorite place to see a concert. They recently released their 2015 schedule, which includes shows by Switchfoot and NEEDTOBREATHE, Amos Lee, Brian Wilson and many others. And fans of The Good Wife will be interested in the June 19 concert. Check out the entire schedule.
  • Winter Jam Coming to Peoria. Just a reminder that Winter Jam is coming to the Peoria Civic Center, Sunday, March 29 at 6:00pm. Doors open at 5:00pm. Tickets are only available at the door and only cost $10! Artists include Jeremy Camp, Francesca Battistelli, Skillet, For King & Country and others.
  • New Mumford and Sons Album. Wilder Mind won’t be released until May 4, but it is currently sitting at #1 on the iTunes album charts.
  • Kelly Clarkson and Jimmy Fallon “History of Duets”. Did you see Kelly Clarkson and Jimmy Fallon perform the history of duets recently on The Tonight Show?
  • Video of “The Night We Called it a Day” from Bob Dylan. From his album Shadows in the Night.
  • Postcards from Paradise. As a Beatles fan, I enjoyed trying to pick out all of the references to Beatles songs in Ringo Starr’s new song, the title track from his upcoming album.

IN THE NEWS:

BOOKS:

  • New Charles Spurgeon Biography from John Piper. Read about how to download it for free or purchase the physical copy. Jonathan Parnall of Desiring God writes “Drawing on the life and work of Spurgeon, John Piper delivered a message on this topic to a group of pastors twenty years ago. We recently edited that message into a more readable format, and release it to you as the small book, Charles Spurgeon: Preaching Through Adversity. In this book, Piper presents an inspiring vision of gospel ministry and offers practical counsel for how pastors keep going when the times are toughest.”
  • Spurgeon’s Sorrows. Here’s a good review of Zack Eswine’s new book Zack Eswine. Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression by Jeff Robinson. Here’s our review of this excellent book. And here’s an interview with Zack about the book on the Confessing Baptist podcast.
  • On My Shelf: Life and Books with Tim Keller. On My Shelf helps you get to know various writers through a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their lives as readers. Matt Smethurst talked with Tim Keller about what’s on his nightstand, books he re-reads, biographies that have shaped him, and more.
  • Adopted for Life, Ten Years Later: What I’ve Learned Since. Russell Moore, who spoke at the recent Ligonier National Conference, writes about what he has learned since his book Adopted for Life was published.
  • ESV Following Jesus Bible. Crossway has announced the forthcoming ESV Following Jesus Bible––a new edition to help kids ages 8–12 understand and enjoy God’s Word. Ideal for the years between a children’s Bible and the more advanced ESV Student Study Bible, the Following Jesus Bible will help kids learn more about the Christian faith and teach them what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.  The ESV Following Jesus Bible is scheduled for publication on March 31, and is available now for pre-order.
  • A Bestselling Book On Tidying Up! David Murray writes “The top-ranked book in the self-help section of the New York Times bestsellers list is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. That’s right, a book on tidying up has become a bestseller. I suppose anything with “life-changing” in the title is going to attract attention, but that doesn’t fully explain its popularity. I believe that the book’s success is more about the “tidying up” part of the title than the “life-changing” bit. Like all best-selling books, it reveals something about our culture, about our personal lives – that we are in a mess!

CHRISTIAN LIVING:

  • Facebook Obsession and the Anguish of Boredom. Tony Reinke of Desiring God writes “For many users, Facebook is the object we turn to, to satisfy our Boredom-Induced Distraction-Addiction (BIDA). This is when it becomes problematic. Unhealthy Facebook addiction flourishes because we fail to see the cost on our lives. So what are the consequences of boredom-induced compulsive behaviors? Here are three to consider.”
  • How to Persevere in Prayer When You’re Really Stressed Out. Our friend Kevin Halloran writes “Have you ever had one of those days where you just can’t shake your anxiety? No matter what you do, you can’t get your mind off of what is bothering you. You try to pray, but the only words that come out are short, anxiety-soaked cries for help. Right after those short prayers you go right back to worrying. I’ve been there. Truth be told, this article was birthed from an anxiety-ridden prayer session. That prayer session reminded me of a very important truth.”
  • The Top Ten Most Fiercely Defended Traditions in Churches Thom S. Rainer writes “Of course, by “traditions,” I am referring to those extra-biblical customs that become a way of life for many congregations. A tradition is neither inherently good nor bad. Its value or its distraction in a given church really depends on how members treat the traditions. With that in mind, I began noting the most frequently defended traditions in churches. As a corollary, these traditions can also be a potential source of divisiveness. They are ranked here according to the frequency of the comments.”
  • God Wants His Children to Enjoy Creation. David Murray writes “Becoming a Christian means giving up bodily pleasures for spiritual pleasures, right? Wrong. In fact, according to Jonathan Edwards, in his sermon “The Pleasantness of Religion,” Christianity increases pleasure through our bodily senses. He explains how in eight ways.”
  • You Cannot Have Two Masters. Kevin DeYoung writes “You can have two friends. You can have two hobbies. You can even have two jobs. But you cannot have two masters.”
  • We Are All Messy’: Rosaria Butterfield on Loving Our Gay and Lesbian Friends. Enjoy this video of Rosaria Butterfield’s interview with Mark Mellinger. Rosaria spoke at the recent Ligonier Ministries National Conference. You can listen to her message – and all of the other ones – here.
  • Should we have and use credit cards? Randy Alcorn takes a page out of Dave Ramsey’s playbook in this article, but doesn’t go quite as far as Dave who only recommends debit cards, not credit cards.
  • Pray for Those Who Abuse You. John Piper writes “The place to start in praying for our enemies is the prayer that the Lord taught us to pray.”
  • Josh Hamilton and the Monster that Hunts Us All. Jeff Robinson writesThe sin that has hunted Hamilton since he was a teenager found him, again. I whispered a prayer under my breath: “Father, lavish your mercy on Josh Hamilton and his family. And have mercy on us. Let us never forget what hunts us.”
  • Why the Reality of the Resurrection Means You Don’t Need a “Bucket List”. Randy Alcorn writes “But the “bucket list” mentality, that this life is our only chance to ever enjoy adventure and fun, is profoundly unbiblical. It disregards the teaching of the resurrection”.
  • Divine Happiness Superior to Disney Happiness. David Murray writes “While attending the Ligonier National Conference at Disney’s Coronado Springs resort recently, I couldn’t help asking, “What is happiness?” Here I was at the world center of happiness and not many people looked that happy. Admittedly the weather was unseasonably cold, but even so, I didn’t see many smiles among the multitudes of Mickey Mouse-eared children and their stressed-out parents. In contrast, when I walked into and through the Ligonier conference venue, I saw a lot more happiness, I sensed a lot more joy, and I heard a lot more laughter. Who would have thought that there would be more happiness in God’s Kingdom than in Magic Kingdom?”
  • Worship is More Important Than Your Small Group. Here’s an excellent article from guest blogger Jason Helopoulos on Kevin DeYoung’s DeYoung, Restless and Reformed blog. Speaking of DeYoung – who is only 37 years of age – I’m convinced will be a leader in Reformed circles for many years. Watch Kevin’s message “Do Not Love the World” (and all of the other messages) from the recent Ligonier Ministries National Conference here.
  • Do Women Look at Porn? Yes. If there ever was a time when porn was an exclusively male habit, that time is long gone. Matt Fradd talks about some of the most recent statistics.
  • A Prayer for Greater Release from our Shame. Here’s another wonderful prayer from our friend Scotty Smith.

Blog Updates

Music Review: Lead Us Back: Songs of Worship – Third Day

Book Review: The Evangelistic Zeal of George Whitefield by Steven Lawson

Recommended Resource: Reformation Study Bible – R.C. Sproul, General Editor

Reading Together Week 1: Counter Culture: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Abortion, Persecution, Orphans and Pornography by David Platt.

I’m Currently Reading

Favorite Quotes of the Week ~ 3.8.2015

  • We must show sympathy with sinners, but not with their sins. Charles Spurgeon
  • Worldliness is what makes sin look normal in any age and righteousness seem odd. David Wells
  • God’s graciousness is not totally removed from any individual during this lifetime. In hell, it is. R.C. Sproul
  • Character isn’t who you are when life goes your way. Character is who you really are when the bottom falls out. Lecrae
  • Doctrine causes joy, which in turn is the fuel for good works. Matt Perman
  • The Gospel is good news not good advice. Advice=what we should do. News=report of what was done for us. Tim Keller
  • Don’t work for recognition but do work that is worthy of recognition. Ken Blanchard
  • If there is a God, you owe him far more than a morally decent life. Tim Keller
  • Everything before Jesus is preface. Everything after Jesus is appendix. Jesus is the story. Kevin DeYoung
  • The saved man is not a perfect man, but his heart’s desire is to become perfect. Charles Spurgeon
  • The gospel is good news to those who know they don’t measure up. It’s offensive to those who think they do. Tullian Tchividjian
  • There are no ‘little sins’, because there is no little God to sin against. John Blanchard
  • Let us always be more bothered by our sin than our suffering. Burk Parsons
  • 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
  • If your theological convictions are not producing a deeper love for others, then it’s time to rethink some stuff. Tullian Tchividjian
  • Anyone claiming all religions are the same betrays not only ignorance of all religions but also a caricatured view of even best-known ones. Ravi Zacharias
  • If you love anything in this world more than God, you will crush that object under the weight of your expectations. Tim Keller
  • Ambitions for self may be quite modest. . . . Ambitions for God, however, if they are to be worthy, can never be modest. There is something inherently inappropriate about cherishing small ambitions for God. How can we ever be content that he should acquire just a little more honour in the world? No. Once we are clear that God is King, then we long to see him crowned with glory and honour, and accorded his true place, which is the supreme place. We become ambitious for the spread of his kingdom and righteousness everywhere. John Stott
  • Man was never meant to be a god, but he is forever trying to deify himself. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  • As a strategy for missions, Ready, Fire, Aim, is a better strategy than Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim. John Piper
  • Because of Jesus the sin we cannot forget God does not remember. Tullian Tchividjian
  • Christianity is so much more than getting your doctrine right, but it is not less. Kevin DeYoung
  • The supreme form of cursedness is for the Lord to turn His back on you and bring judgment on you. R.C. Sproul
  • Today, let’s love to the glory of God, laugh with the merriment of God, weep with the tears of God, and encourage with the grace of God. Scotty Smith
  • The first service that one owes to others consists in listening to them. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • God’s willingness to clean things up is infinitely greater than our capacity to mess things up. Tullian Tchividjian
  • God put enough into the world to make faith in Him a reasonable thing. But He left enough out to make it impossible to live by reason alone. Ravi Zacharias
  • How do you change your behavior? Change what you worship. Tim Keller
  • I’ll tell you what’s more important than all the commentaries in your library: prayer. Mark Dever
  • Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength. Corrie ten Boom
  • Scripture doesn’t need to be denied for apostasy to begin: all that is needed is that Scripture takes second place. Iain Murray
  • It is not our believing of the Gospel that makes it true. It exists as independent, true Truth. Alistair Begg
  • A little flattery makes people feel good about themselves. When you notice someone looking great, give them a compliment. Ken Blanchard
  • The simple fact is that only if I love Jesus more than my wife will I be able to serve her needs ahead of my own. Tim Keller
  • Do you understand that it’s impossible to please God in any way other than wholehearted surrender? Francis Chan
  • The gospel is not only about what God has accomplished for us in the past, but what he promises still in the future. Michael Horton
  • It would be easier to grow oak trees by planting marbles than for someone to be saved without the seed of the word. Steven Lawson
  • You can’t be in love with the world, impressed by the world, and hate worldliness at the same time. Burk Parsons
  • Are you smiling when you talk? Try it today, and I guarantee you will notice a difference in your life. Andy Andrews
  • Bosses push, Leaders pull. Real leadership is servant leadership. Dave Ramsey
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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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