Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

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  • Being Merciful Instead of Being Critical. Scotty Smith prays “Father, we own being too easily irritated, offended, and impatient. We keep records of the ways people hurt, fail, and disappoint us, more readily than overlooking, forbearing, and forgiving. Thank you for the full forgiveness we have in Christ, and for grace to repent and change. We truly want to be merciful with others as you are merciful with us.”
  • Gentle Me, Lord.Scotty Smith prays “You’re like the perfect surgeon—the one I want working on me. You never get nervous or flustered, agitated or hurried. You have a steady hand because of your grace-full heart. I gladly surrender to your surgeon’s hand today, for I want to grow in gentleness.”
  • How to Fight for Faith in the Dark: Three Lessons for Depression. Stephen Altrogge writes “So if you’re depressed, how can you fight for faith? How can you believe while also stumbling through the dark?”
  • “Where Death Died” | Bono & David Taylor: Beyond the Psalms. Bono, the lead singer of U2, and David Taylor, assistant professor of theology and culture, discuss mortality, Bono’s pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and the day he’ll remove his sunglasses.Also check out “Psalm 82 Is a Good Start” | Bono & David Taylor: Beyond the Psalms.
  • The Weight of Shame. Burk Parsons writes “Jesus lived and died not only for the guilt of our sin but for the shame of our sin.”
  • Two Keys to Flourishing in the Digital Age. Tony Reinke writes “We all seem to sense that — for good or bad — our smartphones are changing us, our habits, and our relationships. We all know it. We feel it. We seem to be more productive, and yet we are more distracted. We seem to be more connected, and yet we are more alone. We seem to be more knowledgeable, and yet we are less likely to understand the very purpose of our lives. The more important questions are these: What can be done about it? And do we Christians have anything relevant to say to the perplexing questions facing our digital age?”
  • Instagram Generation:Four Ways Smartphone Cameras Are Changing Us. Tony Reinke writes “So much of social media turns our lives into a stage. We set the scene. We frame the camera. The people around us become actors and actresses. We become the director and the producer — even the starring actor if we want to.”
  • Are You Fit to Fight Temptation? Watch this three-minute video clip from John Piper speaking on Ephesians 6:14-17.
    8 Sins You Commit Whenever You Look at Porn.
     Tim Challies writes “It is sinful to lust after another person and to enable this lust through pornography. Yet the sin bound up in pornography goes far deeper than mere lust. It extends to idolatry, adultery, deceit, theft, greed, sloth, sexual violence, and ignoring the Holy Spirit.”
  • Creating a Culture of Hospitality. Bryan Elliff writes “There is something bonding about being in someone’s house. You enter their world. You see their interests and their style of life. You see their kid’s schedules and get a feel for some of the daily challenges they face. In other words, you step beyond the neutral-site church meetings and begin to understand them in context.”
  • Three Strategies for Overcoming the Superficial Life. In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper responds to the following question How do you think deeply, when you have created, by whichever way, a superficial manner of thinking that skirts matters and gets bored before you have gotten to any real depth? And if you get bored, how can you challenge yourself to still engage with a matter or a biblical passage without being blasé?”  
  • Can a Professing Christian Who Has Turned Away from Christ Be Saved?C. Sproul writes “I think a Christian can have a gross and serious fall but not a full and final fall—that he or she will be restored even as David realized his sin, as the Prodigal Son came to himself, as Peter ultimately repented.”

  • Alistair Begg on Anxiety.Alistair Begg spoke at Dallas Theological Seminary on January 25. His topic was dealing with anxiety and he focused on 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
  • Anxiety: My Thorn In My Flesh. Rachel Miller writes “You are not a bad Christian because you struggle with anxiety and/or depression. Many strong believers have struggled before: Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther, John Calvin, to name a few.”
  • Learning to Love the Psalms with Robert Godfrey. Ligonier recently hosted a live event with Robert Godrey about his new book Learning to Love the Psalms. You can watch it here.
  • The First Followers and the Fight for Jesus. The story of the saints down through the ages is a story of joy lost and joy found, of glory smothered and glory shining. In thisvideo series from Desiring God, Michael Reeves examines four key scenes in the glorious story of Christ’s work in his church.
  • Teach Us to Number Our Days. Robert Godfrey, writing about Psalm 90:12, statesthat “It is a key part of a meditation on God and on living as the people of God.”
  • No Other Gospel: Reformation 500 and Beyond. The recent Gospel Coalition 2017 National Conference celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, unleashed by God in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg door. Six plenary talks proclaimed the gospel of grace from Paul’s inspired letter to the Galatians. Another three plenary talks recounted God’s work in the lives of Luther, John Calvin, and other leaders in the broader Reformed tradition. Among the workshops, more than 10 explored in-depth Reformation issues such as why the Reformers didn’t unite in one church and where their missional legacy continues today. You can listen to all of the sessions (plenary sessions and workshops).
  • In the Beginning….C. Sproul writes “Nothing can resist the command of God, who brought the world and everything into it into being.”
  • John Piper, George Mueller, and The Pleasure of God. Randy Alcorn shares this excerpt from John Piper’s book The Pleasures of God.
  • The Tender Kindness of Christ. Watch this less than four-minute excerpt from Michael Reeves teaching series The English Reformation and Puritans, as he describes how Thomas Goodwin noted the two things that stir Christ’s compassion.
  • The 144,000. Kevin DeYoung writes “The bottom line is that the number and the list and the order of the tribes are all stylized to depict the totality of God’s pure and perfectly redeemed servants from all time over all the earth.”
  • Ask Anything Live with Albert Mohler. Here is the third episode of Ask Anything Live with Albert Mohler in which he answers viewers’ questions on a wide range of topics including theology, ministry, and culture.

IN THE NEWS

  • Greg Perry Accepts Post with Third Millennium Ministries. I enjoyed two classes with Dr. Perry at Covenant Seminary, including my first onsite class. Dr. Greg Perry, currently associate professor of New Testament and director of the City Ministry Initiative at Covenant Seminary, has accepted the post of vice president for strategic projects with Third Millennium Ministries, based in Orlando, Florida, effective July 1, 2017. Congratulations and best wishes to Dr. Perry.

Courtesy of World Magazine

TO MAKE YOU SMILE

  • I Will Shake Your Hand Whether You Like It Or Not, So Help Me God. The Babylon Bee reports “Stop resisting. Don’t try to fight it. Don’t try to ignore me. Don’t try to sneak by me, looking down on your phone like you don’t see me. Don’t try to keep your hands in your pockets, thinking that I’ll just let you slide on by without your Sunday morning handshake from ol’ Fred here. I know all the tricks.”
  • Prophet Ezekiel Sent Down To Minors.The Babylon Bee reports “The major prophet Ezekiel has had better seasons, and was informed Tuesday that due to his persistent struggles thus far this year, he will be relocated to the minor league until further notice.”

Doug Michael’s Cartoon of the Week

  • I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. The Word did it all. Martin Luther
  • Whoever you are, whatever you’ve done, you’re not too good for the gospel. Whoever you are, whatever you’ve done, you’re not too bad for it. Russell Moore
  • The insistence that doctrines do not matter is really a doctrine itself. Tim Keller
  • Because Jesus faced temptation and refused it, he can forgive us when we face temptation and succumb to it. Dan Doriani
  • If you don’t have friends from different backgrounds, cultures, views and values. You aren’t growing like you could be. Lecrae
  • Everything that is not God serves a purposes higher than itself. Nothing is superfluous. Nothing is an end in itself. John Piper
  • We ought to flee from sin; and when God wakes us up to see the sin that we did not flee from, we ought to run to Christ with all our might. Kevin DeYoung
  • Prayers are always to be requests made in humility and submission to the Father’s will. C. Sproul
  • When your heart is really hurting, don’t look for someone to blame, look for Someone to trust. Scotty Smith

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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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