Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

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TO MAKE YOU SMILE:

  • New Service Replaces ‘Game Of Thrones’ Sex Scenes With Glaring Kevin DeYoung.The Babylon Bee reports “Just as believers are settling in to enjoy the show’s intricate plot and wide range of morally gray characters, the Reformed reverend will suddenly pop up on the screen and shake his head in disappointment at the viewer at all of the numerous points where the show would usually feature a graphic sexual act.”
  • Dying Eagles Fan Uses His Final Wishes to Rip the Team. Jeffrey Clayton Riegel, a New Jersey man died recently. He took the opportunity of his obituary to take one final shot at the Philadelphia Eagles. “God gave Jeffrey the miracle of time to prepare which allowed him to verbalize his last wishes. He requested to have 8 Philadelphia Eagles as pall bearers so the Eagles can let him down one last time.”

Doug Michael’s Cartoon of the Week

IN THE NEWS:

  • St. Louis’s Unholy War on Religious Liberty. Nathanial Blake writes about an ordinance passed in St. Louis, Missouri which prohibits discrimination in housing or employment on the basis of “reproductive health decisions.” Promoted as an anti-discrimination measure, the law’s actual purpose is to destroy the self-government of religious and pro-life organizations.
  • Why North Koreans are rejecting Kim Jong-un and turning to Christ. Andrew Hamilton-Thomas writes of a report in the Telegraphthat claims a growing number of North Koreans are rejecting Kim Jong-un as their god and are now more open to alternative belief systems, including Christianity.”
  • Throwing Stones at the Glass Castle.  Lore Ferguson Wilbert writes about the new film The Glass Castle “The beauty of The Glass Castle is not that it ends too neatly, but that it ends messily and complicated, just as life is. We want clear delineations and boundaries and decisive clarity on whether folks are in or out, but life is not like that.”
  • Google on Abortion: 3 Fresh Ways to Make the Case for Life. Trevin Wax writes “Always be on the lookout for new ways to make the case for life. Stephanie Gray’s talk at Google is a great example of how to ask questions, probe deeper into people’s assumptions, and lead people to understand why you uphold the dignity and worth of every human life.”
  • James Kennedy Ministries Sues SPLC over Hate Map. Kate Shellnutt writes “We do not hate anyone,” Wright wrote. “We have been falsely branded by the SPLC for nothing more than subscribing to the teachings of the historic Christian faith. We are a nonprofit ministry whose deeply held Christian convictions energize our mission to faithfully proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Courtesy of World Magazine

  • Does Obeying God Mean Sacrificing Our Happiness? Randy Alcorn writes “You may be unaccustomed to thinking that God commands us to be happy or to do things that make us happy. But He does.”
  • Church…..Love It or Leave It? Scott Sauls writes “If you are dissatisfied or disillusioned with the local church, don’t leave it. If the church stinks to you, then change its diapers. Make it better. Pray for it. Bless it. Serve it. Love it to life. In the process, you will discover that it’s not only that the church needs you. You need the church as well.”
  • Do We Trust the Bible to Tell Us Truthfully What God Commands? Albert Mohler writes “In the end, the church will either declare the truth of God’s Word or it will find a way to run away from it. It ultimately comes down to trust. Do we trust the Bible to tell us truthfully what God desires and commands about our sexuality? If so, we know where we stand and we know what to say. If not, it is time we admit to the world that we do not have the slightest clue.”
  • Christian, Do You Love God’s Law? In writing of God’s Law, Sinclair Ferguson states “It is a gift from your heavenly Father. It is meant to keep you safe and well and give you security and help you to negotiate life.”

TRANSGENDER:

  • How Writing on Transgenderism Changed Me. Sam Allberry interviews Andrew Walker’s about his new book God and the Transgender Debate: What Does the Bible Actually Say about Gender Identity?
  • How Your Church Can Love Transgender People. Andrew T. Walker writes “A church should be the safest place to talk about, be open about, and struggle with gender dysphoria. Yet too often, our churches have been anything but safe—and that’s something that Christians, including me, need to apologize for.”

  • 4 Money Principles for Millennials. Ron and Michael Blue write “Millennials want to change the world. They’re passionate about living lives of purpose and meaning. Unfortunately, they’re often prevented from pursuing their passions because of vast loads of financial debt.”
  • 10 Common, but Illegitimate Reasons to Divorce. Tim Challies writes “It is clear in the Bible that God’s intention for marriage is that it remain in effect until the death of one spouse. I believe it is also quite clear that God has provided a limited set of circumstances in which a marriage can legitimately be severed. However, many people—even Christians—offer reasons to divorce that are not sanctioned by God.”
  • How Introverts and Extroverts Can Get Along. Michael Hyatt writes “The key to getting along with your opposite personality type in marriage, at the office, or in other social situations is in learning to appreciate one another.”
  • Reverence Over Cool. Some believe Christians are on the wrong side of history on any number of fronts, and that we don’t quite “get” the cultural moment in which we live. Yet throughout Church history, the pursuit to honor God, seek righteousness, walk justly and love mercy has rooted faith no matter where the trend lines point. What might reverence look like in a society when respecting anything too much seems out of touch? Watch this eleven-minute video from Trip Lee.
  • Our Shadow Side. For thousands of years, mystics and Church fathers have understood the havoc the seven deadly sins reap in the human heart. But in a culture disinterested in a vocabulary of sin, these shadow sides can fester. Author and Enneagram expert, Ian Cron, suggests we each have blind spots—areas of temptation we’re uniquely prone to—that keep us from being who God has made us to be. Watch this ten-minute video.
  • The Blessing of Sunday Evening Worship. I had a wonderful class at Covenant Seminary with Mary Beth McGreevy. She has also spoken to the women at our church. In this article, she writes “If attending Sunday evening worship is not a habit of your life, I encourage you to give it a try.”

GRIEF AND DEPRESSION:

  • Sermons on Dealing with Grief. At some point, we are all faced with the death of a loved one. How we deal with our grief during this time can shape our outlook on life.  In these sermons, Alistair Begg reminds us that as Christians we also have a hope in Christ that can overcome the grief.
  • Out of the Depths I Cry to You. Kathryn Butler, a medical doctor, writes “As Christians, we delight in our salvation through Jesus’s sacrifice, but depression swallows up our very capacity to delight.”

GOING DEEPER:

  • The Big Idea of Christianity. C.Sproul was once asked by a businessman, “What is the big idea of Christianity?” In this short (less than four minute) video clip from his teaching series Pleasing God, he explains that it is living life Coram Deo—before the face of God.
  • Jesus, Our Substitute. R.C. Sproul writes “From the start of His ministry, He knew He had come to act as a Substitute on behalf of His sheep. At the center of His teaching was the assertion that He was doing this not for Himself but for us—to redeem us, to ransom us, to save us.”

  • The danger of legalism is that it builds up again what Christ has torn down. Sinclair Ferguson
  • In the church today, people claim to want revival but are bothered if their preacher goes a few minutes too long. Burk Parsons
  • When you go through a trial, the sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which you lay your head. Charles Spurgeon
  • There are two days in my calendar: this day and that Day. Martin Luther
  • We have a fatal tendency to exaggerate the faults of others and minimize the gravity of our own. John Stott
  • Doctrine severed from practice is dead; practice severed from doctrine is just another form of self-salvation and self-improvement. Michael Horton
  • You should not begin to pray for all you want until you realize that in God you have all you need. Augustine (summarized by Tim Keller in his book Prayer)
  • ..is unreserved devotion to the Lord. Sinclair Ferguson
  • Luther stood for something as he stood against something as he stood upon something. Steven Lawson

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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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