Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

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  • By the Way Conference.The Lexington Community Church, located in central Illinois, will hold the By the Way Conference, a whole family conference and worship time, Thursday, July 6 – Saturday, July 8. I’ll be speaking on the topic of “Disciples at Work” on Thursday, July 6 at 6:15 pm.  Please stop by if you are in the area.
  • My Amazon Reviews. Check out more than 260 of my book, music and movie reviews on Amazon.

POLITICS:

  • Os Guinness: “President Trump is God’s Wrecking Ball”. In this interview with Collin Hansen, Os Guinness states “The way I put it is I think President Trump is God’s wrecking ball stopping America in its tracks [from] the direction it’s going and giving the country a chance to rethink. Now we’re not putting our hope in the president or in politics, but you have a window to regroup, to rethink. The church profoundly needs reformation in all sorts of areas. So there’s a breathing space.”
  • Your Rabbi? Probably a Democrat. Your Baptist Pastor? Probably a Republican. Your Priest? Who Knows. Kevin Quealy writes “America’s pastors – the men and women a majority of Americans look to for help in finding meaning and purpose in their lives – are even more politically divided than the rest of us, according to anew data set representing the largest compilation of American religious leaders ever assembled.”

    Courtesy of World Magazine

IN THE NEWS:

  • The Life and Times of Redeemer Presbyterian Church. OnJune 25, Tim Keller will deliver his last sermon as senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. After nearly 30 years, Redeemer voted in May to split into three distinct churches. Few churches in our day have exerted so much global influence, though Redeemer’s primary focus has always been on its immediate Manhattan context. Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra writes about how Keller’s unlikely church plant changed the way Christians think about the city—and the way the city thinks about Christians.
  • Seattle Reboot: Life After Mars Hill. In this lengthy article, Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra writes “In the end, Mars Hill’s final announcement wasn’t optimistic enough. Counting previous campuses and new plants, the megachurch gave way to 15 new churches, not 11. And even though the collapse of Mars Hill left hundreds hurting and soured on the idea of belonging to a church, it also sparked a wave of healthy soul-searching and a realignment of churches with the gospel.”
  • College Freshmen Are Less Religious Than Ever.Allen Downey writes “The number of college students with no religious affiliation has tripled in the last 30 years, from 10 percent in 1986 to 31 percent in 2016, according to data from the CIRP Freshman Survey. Over the same period, the number who attended religious services dropped from 85 percent to 69 percent. These trends provide a snapshot of the current generation of young adults; they also provide a preview of rapid secularization in the U.S. over the next 30 years.”
  • Farmer Banned From Selling Produce at Market Because of His Views on Marriage. Denny Burk writes “If you think recent concerns about religious liberty among evangelicals is much ado about nothing, here’s yet one more piece of mounting evidence that this is much ado about something–something precious that is being lost.” And here is Kevin DeYoung’s, a long-time resident of East Lansing, Michigan, take on the issue.
  • Womb with a View: Fetuses can Recognize Faces While Still Inside Mom. Doyle Rice writes “We know babies love looking at the faces of their mom or dad. Now, for the first time, researchers have discovered that this preference develops in the womb several weeks before birth, according to a study published Thursday.”
  • BreakPoint: Abortion is What Planned Parenthood Does. In this episode of theBreakpoint podcast, Eric Metaxas states “Planned Parenthood wants to be known for nicer, less horrifying, less controversial services. But ladies and gentlemen, at the end of the day, their name means one thing: abortion. And lives depend on putting this big-name brand out of business.”
  • On Saying “No” To a World-Famous Rock Star.Scott Sauls writes “Let’s take comfort in this reality. We are pursued, seen, and infinitely loved by a Star even bigger than Bono. And that’s something that even Bono is glad about.”
  • Yoga Comes to Metro Atlanta Schools, Despite Some Christians’ Concerns. Ty Tagami writes “Yoga may be controversial with some conservative Christians, but it’s slowly being accepted into metro Atlanta schools. There’s little substantial research with evidence that it helps students, but educators who have tried it say it has a calming effect.”
  • The Transgender Revolution and the Rubble of Empty Promises. Russell Moore writes “Ultimately, the transgender question is about more than just sex. It’s about what it means to be human.”
  • Bernie Sanders to Traditional Christians: Your Beliefs Are Indefensibly Hateful and Insulting, and Not What This Country Is Supposed to Be About. Justin Taylor shares the video of an exchange between Senator Bernie Sanders and the potential deputy White House budget director, Russell Vought, who is an evangelical Christian. Here is Denny Burk’s take on it.
  • Christ’s Exclusive Truth-Claims Make Believing “All Religions Are Basically the Same” Impossible. Randy Alcorn writes “Christianity rises or falls on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. If this event is historically true, it makes all other religions false, because Jesus Christ claimed to be the one and only way to God the Father.”

HELPFUL AND INTERESTING RESOURCES:

  • $500 a Month. In this episode of the Mortification of Spin podcast, the hosts talk about hospitality with Rosaria Butterfield.
  • The Mischievous Protestant’s Guide to Catholic Rome. Tim Challies shares four things his fellow mischievous Protestants ought to look for while visiting the city of Rome.
  • Revisionist History, Season Two. Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent podcast Revisionist History returns for season two. Listen to the first episode “A Good Walk Spoiled”.
  • 2017 Ligonier Regional Conference in Los Angeles: Audio and Video Now Available. You can now stream all of the messages from the recent Ligonier Ministries regional conference in Los Angeles for free. John MacArthur was among the speakers.
  • The Great Exchanges of Romans. Sinclair Ferguson writes “In response to the great exchange that has been accomplished for us in Christ, there is an exchange accomplished in us by the Spirit: unbelief gives way to faith, rebellion is exchanged for trust. Justification—our being declared righteous and constituted in a righteous relationship with God—is not made ours by works, ceremonial or otherwise, but by the exercise of faith in Christ.”
  • Looking For Truth in All the Wrong Places. John MacArthur writes “In short, I reject modern revelatory prophecy because the New Testament canon is closed and Scripture is sufficient.”
  • Special Revelation and the Work of the Spirit. In this one-minute video, John MacArthur talks about how we can discern the Spirit’s ongoing work in the lives of believers.
  • The Holiness of Christ.C. Sproul writes “As soon as God manifests His transcendent majesty, men are reduced to terror.”
  • Reprobation: Does God Elect People to Hell? Jesse Johnson writes “The doctrine of reprobation is true, but it is not the same as the doctrine of election. The Bible does teach that God is sovereign over salvation, and God forms a soul for its destiny, but this does not teach “double-predestination,” nor does reprobation imply that.”

SUFFERING AND DEATH:

  • Never Blame God. David Mathis writes “Let’s call each other to be the kind of people who both model and encourage right thinking and right feeling about God in our suffering. It is always sin to be angry with him, and he is never to blame in our pain.”
  • What Can We Say to Friends Facing Suffering? In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper answers a question about some practical biblical counsel for encouraging a family facing suffering.
  • Two Ways to React When Death Comes. Jordan Standridge writes “Death is such a taboo subject. We don’t like talking about it let alone think about it. But time and time again the Lord has used death to bring about His glory and give believers an opportunity to model what it looks like to be someone filled with hope rather than despair. So, Christians must think about death and prepare themselves theologically to respond in the right way when it comes to their family and friends despite how uncomfortable it might feel. How will you respond? How will you be a light to those around you and display the hope you hold in the Gospel?”
  • Comfort When an Unbeliever Dies. Watch this seven-minute video in which Nancy Guthrie answers the difficult question “How do we comfort someone grieving the death of a loved one who may not have been a Christian?”

CHRISTIAN LIVING:

  • Prisoners of Self. Tony Reinke writes “We are quick to use technology and travel as escapes from the boundaries of place-ed-ness. We hate being confined to our physical location. We are desperate for escape. We travel so that we can validate ourselves on social media. We take trips, not so that we can enjoy other places, but so that we can showcase ourselves.”
  • Google Knows Who You Really Are. Russell Moore writes “Google knows who we are, sometimes better than we know ourselves. But Google doesn’t love us. Our lives are lived before the face of God, a face seen in that of Jesus Christ.”
  • Do You Believe the Whole Gospel?C. Sproul writes “If we reject either the ministry of personal redemption or of mercy to the afflicted, we express “unbelief.”
  • Our Brief, Important, Gospel-Claimed Life. Scotty Smith prays “In light of the gospel, what should I spend more time doing, and less time doing? What do I need to make a bigger deal of, and a lesser deal of? What’ve I been putting off that really matters to you?  Where in Jesus’ story of redemption and restoration would you have me invest more of passion and energy, joy and tears?”
  • Finding Your Identity in Christ Looks Like Death. In this seven-minute video, Trillia Newbell, Blair Linne, and Rosaria Butterfield discuss what means to find your identity in Christ and not anywhere and in anyone else.
  • The Christian Virtue of Love. R.C. Sproul writes “We have misplaced priorities. Thanks be to God that His love for us is greater than our love for Him. May He strengthen us to pursue love above all else, a love that reflects His love for us in Christ.”
  • How I Started Reading the Bible Every Day: Encouragement for Parents & Children. Don Whitney writes “I didn’t realize it at the time, but one of the greatest blessings in my life was not just learning to read at an early age, but being trained at that age to read the Bible every day.”
  • Are You Reading or Feeding on God’s Word?In this one-minute video, John MacArthur clarifies the difference between feeding on God’s Word and merely reading it.
  • Cheer Up! You’re Worse (and Better Off) Than You Think.Scott Sauls writes “There is great paradox to life in Jesus Christ. We are on our way home, but we aren’t there yet. We long to be better than we are, but can’t quite figure out how to move forward, or even where to begin. The new has come, but the old, fleshly self remains with us.”
  • Lay Aside the Weight of Perfection. Jon Bloom writes “In our ongoing battles with sin, God is not looking for perfect, externally performed behavior or perfect, internally performed motivation from us. God is looking for love and faith, knowing full well both will be imperfect, no matter how much we grow in them.”
  • Is Your Pain the Root of Porn Use? Jon Bloom writes “We must address our pain with the healing God offers. But we must also be killing our pride. Which is why our most powerful weapon against sexual sin is humility.”
  • Are Unhappy Christians a Poor Witness?Mike Leake (no, not the St. Louis Cardinals’ starting pitcher) writes “I’m not attempting to defend misery. I’m simply hoping to encourage suffering Christians to not hide in these seasons of pain because of the mistaken belief that their struggle is a poor witness. Instead I’m hoping to encourage them…us….to use these seasons to display the beauty of the gospel and a Savior who clings to us even when we’ve got hands full of ashes.”
  • Always ‘Be’ Before You ‘Do’. Jon Bloom writes “Living out of the “be” instead of the “do” makes all the difference in the world. Instead of chasing our identity by trying so hard to “do,” we receive our true identity (be) as a free gift of grace from our loving Creator God.”
  • What We Need Most. Kevin DeYoung writes “The biggest need in your life, and in mine, is to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
  • Deny Yourself for More Delight. John Piper writes “The deepest hindrance to following Jesus is not the love of money. It is deeper. Money is only a material means to our craved emotion. What we really want to avoid is being humiliated, being disrespected, being shamed. And what we really want is to be honored and praised and made much of.”

REAL-LIFE EXAMPLES:

  • LOOK & SEE: A Portrait of Wendell Berry. Justin Taylor writes “The new documentary LOOK & SEE is “a beautiful and poignant portrait of the changing landscapes and shifting values of rural America in the era of industrial agriculture, as seen through the eye of American novelist, poet, and activist, Wendell Berry.”
  • Breakpoint: Here Comes the Judge. In this episode of the Breakpoint podcast, Eric Metaxas, speaking about Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees, states “Crushing baseballs, Christian faith, and adoption—not all the news is bad. There are things in our culture that are worth celebrating. You just have to know where to look, and, in my case, overlook the color of the pinstripes.”
  • Sportscaster Ernie Johnson Jr. on Faith and Fatherhood. In this episode of the Gospel Coalition podcast, Collin Hansen interviews Ernie Johnson to discuss the ups and downs of family and career, including his much-shared commentary following the 2016 presidential election.”
  • Evangelicalism in One Lifetime: A Conversation with Os Guinness. In this episode of the Thinking in Public podcast, Albert Mohler visits with Os Guinness.

TO MAKE YOU SMILE:

Doug Michael’s Cartoon of the Week

  • You are so bad that you can’t do anything to save yourself. But God is so good that he’ll do everything to save us. John Piper
  • Sin may be crouching at your door, but grace owns the house. Scotty Smith
  • You can’t be a racist and a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. Burk Parsons
  • What distinguishes Christianity from all other religions? Atonement and Resurrection! Steve Camp
  • If we do not discipline ourselves, God Himself will discipline us. One way or another, there will be discipline. Steven Lawson
  • We’re all mathematicians. Will we spend most of our time numbering other people’s sins, or numbering our days? Scotty Smith
  • The sin that is killing you the most right now is the one you are most defensive about or just completely unaware of. Tim Keller
  • Sin will not seem great or weighty to any who consider temptation a light or small thing. John Owen
  • We must be convinced that our God is good all the time. Sinclair Ferguson

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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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