Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

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Christmas:

  • Christmas Traditions. Enjoy this article that I wrote last Christmas season.
  • Free Downloadable Advent Readings. Download one or both of these books of Advent readings from John Piper.
  • Jesus’ Remedy to Holiday Loneliness. Scott Sauls writes “While being “the most wonderful time of the year” for some, the holidays can be lonely, alienating and isolating for others. Loneliness, alienation, and isolation often come from struggles related to family.”
  • The Problem with Our Holly Jolly Christmas Songs. Russell Moore writes “We have a rich and complicated and often appropriately dark Christmas hymnody. We can sing of blessings flowing “far as the curse is found,” of the one who came to “free us all from Satan’s power.” Let’s sing that, every now and then, where we can be overheard.
  • I. Packer on Having the “Christmas Spirit” and the “Christian Snob”. Randy Alcorn shares these challenging words from J. I. Packer about what it means to truly have a God-honoring “Christmas Spirit.” Packer states “The Christmas spirit does not shine out in the Christian snob. For the Christmas spirit is the spirit of those who, like their Master, live their whole lives on the principle of making themselves poor–spending and being spent–to enrich their fellow humans, giving time, trouble, care and concern, to do good to others–and not just their own friends–in whatever way there seems need.” http://www.epm.org/blog/2016/Dec/5/j-i-packer-christmas-spirit.”
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Doug Michael’s Cartoon of the Week

Christians and Culture:

  • Are Chip and Joanna Gaines Cultural Heretics? Trevin Wax writes “Pray for Chip and Joanna and their church. The cultural inquisition is coming.” See also Samuel D. James’ 10 Questions For Buzzfeed.
  • Grappling with the Fears of Technological Change. Tim Challies writes “We do not know the future, but as the saying goes, we do know the One who holds the future. And not only do we know that, we know what God is accomplishing in history. We know the end to which God is directing history. We know who will bring this world’s history to its beautiful conclusion.”
  • Are You Addicted to the Internet? David Murray offers these eight questions to help you with this question.
  • Why We’re Obsessed with the Hit Show This is Us. Russell Moore writes “The secret to This is Us is less about ogling some other, strange, dysfunctional family as it is about seeing in it our own.”
  • The Shack Movie. The movie version of the best-selling book The Shack by Paul Young will be in the theatres March 3. Here is the first trailer for the film. Though the book resonated with many, I had serious concerns with it. I’ll point you to this review by Tim Challies.
  • Freedom of Conscience on Hacksaw Ridge. In this episode of Breakpoint, Eric Metaxas, writes of the new film Hacksaw Ridge, one of my favorites of the year, which he calls an “amazing, powerful film about one man who was willing to give his life, but whose conscience and deeply held religious beliefs would not allow him to take the lives of others.”
  • Jesus Did Not Insist on His Rights. Watch this minute and a half video excerpt from Sinclair Ferguson’s wonderful teaching series Sermon on the Mount in which he examines how the gospel teaches us to be countercultural in exercising our rights.
  • People are Judging You Silently. Tony Reinke writesThe most effective advertisements tap into our deepest insecurities, if we let them. Ads promise us a new and better ‘me’ a million different ways. But Christians know a better promise and a better way.”

Christian Living:

  • Heaven Could Never Be Boring. Randy Alcorn writes “Heaven is God’s home, the dwelling place of the One who is infinite in creativity, goodness, beauty and power. How could the home of someone like that be anything less than thrilling?” Watch his three-minute video.
  • Am I Quenching the Holy Spirit? In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper answers the question “What does this phrase mean, ‘do not quench the Spirit’? And what are some ways that we may do this in our daily lives?” Listen or read his response.
  • 5 Christian Clichés That Need to Die. Matt Smethurst writes “Here are five popular Christian clichés that aren’t biblical and therefore need a memorial service.”
  • Quiet Time Doesn’t Earn God’s Grace. In less than five minutes, Bryan Chapell reshapes how we view God’s grace and love in light of our quiet time. He reminds us that spiritual disciplines don’t manufacture grace, but rather when we feast through Bible reading and prayer we enjoy grace that is already available.
  • Joni Eareckson Tada on Finding Jesus in Your Gethsemane. On this episode of the Gospel Coalition podcast, Betsy Childs Howard talks to Joni Eareckson Tada about how she fights for joy when her chronic pain feels overwhelming, why she believes God hasn’t healed her, and why we should oppose physician-assisted suicide.
  • Repenting of Hurry. Scotty Smith prays “Father, I repent. Have mercy on my busy, cluttered, in too-much-of-a-hurry self.”
  • 5 Encouraging John Calvin Quotes for Weary Christians. David Qaoud writes “I think the doctrine of God’s providence should be mentioned more often in our churches, in our pulpits, and in our fellowship because, as you’ll see, providence can breathe life into your weary soul.”
  • Does God Still Promise to Feed and Clothe Christians? In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, a listener asks John Piper, in light of Jesus’ words in Matthew 6, why are there still millions starving to death in our world? Listen or read his response.
  • 10 Discipleship Questions to Consider Now for 2017. Chuck Lawless shares three questions to help you in setting goals for 2017.
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Courtesy of World Magazine

To Make You Smile:

  • Scholars Discover Translation Error: Root Of All Evil Actually Gluten. The Babylon Bee Your Trusted Source For Christian News Satire reports “Citing this new discovery, scholars made an astonishing announcement Monday, asserting that Paul’s original intent in 1 Timothy 6:10 was to warn Timothy not about the love of money, but about the evils of gluten.”
  • Cracker Barrel. We enjoy eating at Cracker Barrel (especially the chicken and rice special on Saturday). Check out Tim Hawkin’s humorous take on the restaurant.
  • Password. Watch Neil Diamond, J.J. Abrams and Natalie Portman play Password with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show.
  • Bible Study Participants Endure Painful 17-Second Silence During Opening Prayer Time. The Babylon Bee Your Trusted Source For Christian News Satire reports “Attendees of Faith Fellowship Church’s Tuesday Bible study confirmed that the group sat in unbelievably awkward silence for a full 17 seconds together, as the group of believers each waited for someone else to spontaneously begin praying.”

10 Favorite Tim Keller Quotes of the Week 

  • We never imagine that getting our heart’s deepest desires might be the worst thing that can ever happen to us. Tim Keller
  • The gospel must be used to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Tim Keller
  • Self-control is the ability to do the important thing rather than the urgent thing. Tim Keller
  • Success and suffering will either darken your heart or make you wise, but they won’t leave you where you were. Tim Keller
  • If you didn’t earn your salvation how are you going to un-earn it? Tim Keller
  • Prayer gives us relief from the melancholy burden of self-absorption. Tim Keller.
  • Your future self will always see your present self as unwise and immature. That means you are currently unwise and immature right now. Tim Keller
  • Pride is the carbon monoxide of sin. It silently and slowly kills you without you even knowing. Tim Keller
  • Through the gospel, we have come to base our identity not on what we have achieved but what has been achieved for us in Christ. Tim Keller

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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence. I’m married to my best friend. I’m a St. Louis Cardinals fan, a manager at a Fortune 100 company, a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people determine their callings, develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. My favorite book is the Bible, and some other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul and Crazy Love by Francis Chan.

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