Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

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Courtesy of World Magazine


  • Churchill Film Darkest Hour Offers Compelling Vision of Leadership. I’m looking forward to the new film Darkest Hour, starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill. Owen Strachan writes “The acting is generally solid, but two performances stand out: Lily James as the prime minister’s typist, and Ben Mendelsohn as King George VI. James gives us a moving picture of valiance in the face of surging grief; Mendelsohn has both an arresting voice and a regal hauteur that flexes for both comedy and nobility. They help make Darkest Houra must-watch movie (fathers should take their sons, in particular; also, the movie is generally clean, with just a bit of bathroom humor).”
  • Is Racial Harmony Disintegrating? This article is John Piper’s written version of a live online address given on November 30. He has revised and expanded his message to provide more clarity on the finer points of his burden.
  • How Acts 29 Survived—and Thrived—After the Collapse of Mars Hill. Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra writes “I don’t ever want to do that again,” Chandler says of leading Acts 29 through five fast years of major changes. “I can’t overstate the hard work and faithfulness of Steve Timmis. None of this happens without his savvy, his ability to absorb accusations that weren’t tied to him. We took a beating for more than two years for things we didn’t have any part of.”
  • Millennial Evangelicals on Israel: ‘Meh’. Bob Smietana writes “American evangelicals love Israel—if they’re older. But many younger evangelicals simply don’t care, according to a new survey from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.”
  • The Man Who Didn’t Invent Christmas (But Had Things to Say About It). The Man Who Invented Christmas is one of my favorite films of the year. Check out my review here. In her review of the film Gina Dalfonzo writes “In the vein of other Christmas movies like It’s a Wonderful Life,The Man Who Invented Christmas concentrates on values inspired by the season—rather than the real reason for the season. Yet in doing so, perhaps it helps us see that season and those values through fresh eyes.”
  • Voting in a Two-Party System: Ten Other Questions to Ask. Kevin DeYoung writes “This is not about any particular candidate or contest. Every election will have special features and personalities to consider. What’s necessary for Christians, then, is to step back from the hoopla of Right Now! and try to develop some big-picture principles for making difficult voting decisions.”


  • The Antidote to Anemic Worship. Albert Mohler writes “The anemia of evangelical worship—all the music and energy aside—is directly attributable to the absence of genuine expository preaching. Such preaching would confront the congregation with nothing less than the living and active Word of God. That confrontation will shape the congregation as the Holy Spirit accompanies the Word, opens eyes, and applies that Word to human hearts.”

  • Sisters, Jesus Is Not Your Cheerleader. Melissa Kruger writes “If your devotional, Bible study group, or conference is more focused on who you are than who Jesus is, it’s time to pick up a new book or find another group. We desperately need to know more about Jesus, for in him we find everything we need.”
  • Spurgeon’s Advice for Suffering Christians. Ray Rhodes Jr. writes “Do you believe that God is trustworthy? Spurgeon declared, “God has given no pledge which he will not redeem, and encouraged no hope which he will not fulfill.” Dear sufferer, as Spurgeon did in the heat of battle, run to your Bible, rediscover the promises of God, and trust him who has made such gracious pledges to his dear children.”
  • What Sexual Theft Says About You. In this letter to a would-be adulterer, D.A. Carson writes “The sin of adultery screams out to the world that you don’t really believe God.”
  • Should I Go On Short-Term Mission Trips or Just Give?Is it better to go on a short-term missions trip or use the money to support full-time missionaries? Do short-term mission teams do any good? Dr. David Sills answers those questions.
  • Nine Questions to Ask Yourself to Prepare for 2018. Scott Slayton writes “To help me think about what I need to focus on in 2018, I sat down last week and I wrote a list of questions I needed to think through. Walking through these questions helped me to think about what needs to change, what I need to refocus on, and what I need to plan. (I picked up a few of these questions from others, though I cannot remember where, and others came from personal experience.)”
  • A Dream Convinced Eric Metaxas to Follow Jesus. On this episode of the God, People and Stories podcast, Eric Metaxas talks about hos he came to Christ.
  • The Impossible Will Come to Pass. Scotty Smith prays “When you finish your work in us, we’ll never be selfish, petty, or defensive again. We’ll never get our feelings hurt, insist on being right, or demand more. We’ll think of others more highly, and more often, than ourselves. We won’t keep a record of anybody’s wrongs; instead, we’ll be incessant encouragers. We will be completely free, healed, and whole.”
  • A Letter to Younger Me About Money. Phillip Holmes writes “Today, twenty-somethings are bombarded with opportunities to make poor financial decisions. At the relatively young age of thirty, I often find myself saying, “I wish I knew at twenty what I know today about money.” If I could have a conversation with my twenty-year-old self about money, here are three things I would tell him.”
  • Warning: Christmas Is Coming! Paul Tripp writes “I have no problem with beautiful decorations, family feasting, or giving gifts. The Christmas season can be a time when families gather again, renew relationships, and express love for one another. But I’m concerned because there is a war for which story will define our children’s beliefs about who they are, what they need, and what their lives are about.”

  • Theological Roots and Moral Fruits of Reformation. Dan Doriani, who I enjoyed two classes with at Covenant Seminary, writes “Clearly, the presenting issue in 1517 was moral, but the root was theological. Luther’s critique of indulgences had staying power because he went past moral dimensions and questioned the edifice of Catholicism, including the sacramental system for obtaining grace.”
  • You Are Never More Justified Than the Moment You First Believed. Watch this minute and a half video excerpt from Sinclair Ferguson’s teaching series The Whole Christ, in which he explains that our sanctification cannot add to our justification.
  • Covenant Seminary Courses, Lectures and Sermons – All Free. Create a free account to stream or download over 45 full-length masters courses, more than 100 lectures series, and hundreds of sermons. We hope the biblical scholarship and ministry insight the Lord has gifted our campus with will be helpful in equipping church leaders across the globe.


Doug Michael’s Cartoon of the Week

  • If you wait until your motives are pure and unselfish before you do something, you will wait forever. Tim Keller
  • It belongs only to God to alter men’s hearts. John Calvin
  • When our Father looks at us, He sees the perfect performance of Jesus. Jerry Bridges
  • Know your new identity and it will determine how you live. Sinclair Ferguson
  • Man’s real trouble is that he is a rebel against God and consequently under the wrath of God. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  • If there is a Christian doctrine under attack today, it is the uniqueness of Christ. Ligon Duncan
  • It is not about how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness. Charles Spurgeon
  • Sanctification is to grow into the clothes that have already been put on you. Scott Sauls
  • To live coram Deo is to live one’s entire life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, to the glory of God. R. C. Sproul

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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