Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

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Ruth (Food for the Journey Keswick Devotionals) by Alistair Begg with Elizabeth McQuoid. IVP UK. 72 pages. 2017 
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The Food for the Journey series is a new series of 30-day undated devotionals, which takes messages by well-loved Bible teachers from the Keswick Convention and reformats them into accessible daily devotionals and in a size that will fit into your jacket pocket or handbook. This particular edition features devotionals from respected pastor Alistair Begg on the Old Testament book of Ruth.  Each day of the devotional from Begg ends with a newly written section (perhaps by the co-author Elizabeth McQuoid), designed to help the reader apply the passage from Ruth to their own life and situation.
We are told that it was into a whirl of social, religious and moral chaos that the book of Ruth was written, reminding the children of God that there was hope; that a remnant of true faith remained; that God was continuing to work in the lives of ordinary people as they went about their daily chores.  Begg tells us that this is the only book in the Bible entirely devoted to the domestic story of a woman. He states that the book shows the amazing compassion and empathy of God for the back streets and side alleys and the people who feel themselves to be last, lost and left out. He encourages us by stating that God is still preoccupied with people like Naomi, telling us that God sets his love and affection on unlikely people, in unlikely contexts, doing routine things. He states that quite surprisingly, God chooses to work his eternal purposes out in the ordinariness of the lives of ordinary people.
I’m encouraged to see this new series of books. Consider adding this book on Ruth to your devotional reading.

  • The Faith of Donald J. Trump. A new book, The Faith of Donald J. Trump: A Spiritual Biography by David Brody and Scott Lamb will be published February 13. I have previously read a biography of baseball player Albert Pujols written by Lamb. Eric Metaxas writes the Foreword to the book.
  • A Guided Tour to 2017’s Bestselling Christian Books.  Tim Challies writes “Sadly, the qualities that make up good Christian books have little bearing on the quantities of Christian books sold.”
  • Eight Takeaways from Love Thy Body by Nancy Pearcey. Kevin Halloran writes “Love Thy Bodydelivered what I have come to expect from Nancy Pearcey: a well-researched book that is precise in argumentation and compassionate for those trapped in false systems of belief. Her writing style (sharing research and personal experiences with individuals) engaged me, giving me confidence in the truth of Scripture and a deeper concern for those caught in the wake of culture’s gender- and sex-confused zeitgeist. While everyone would benefit from Love Thy Body, pastors, students, and those navigating these issues publicly will find the most benefit.”

BOOK CLUB – Won’t you read along with us?

The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place by Andy Crouch.  224 pages. 2017

In this important new book, Andy Crouch, author of Culture Making, draws on in-depth original research from the Barna Group, and shows readers that the choices we make about technology have consequences we may never have considered. He takes readers beyond the typical questions of what, where, and when and instead challenges them to answer provocative questions like, Who do we want to be as a family? and How does our use of a particular technology move us closer or farther away from that goal? Anyone who has felt their family relationships suffer or their time slip away amid technology’s distractions will find in this book a path forward to reclaiming their real life in a world of devices.

This week we finish our overview of the book with Chapter 10 ~ In Sickness and in Health

  • One of the great gifts of technology is the simulation of presence at a distance.
  • Technology, which does so much to close the distance, also enables much of the distance in our lives.
  • But even the highest quality Skype connection is not enough for the really important moments in a human life.
  • Being present, in person, at the moments in human life that are truly unique and unrepeatable was worth any sacrifice of time or money. Only by showing up in person can we feel and grasp the full weight, joy, and vulnerability of the most important experiences in human life.
  • So, the last, best commitment we can make in our mediated world is to show up, especially for the moments when we are most deeply human—which is to say, most deeply connected to our bodies.
  • When we show up, especially in the course of family life, we encounter what technology tries so hard to delay or erase: the limits and fragility of our bodies.
  • The tech-wise family will choose a different way. We will recognize that our daily bodily vulnerabilities, our illnesses, and our final journey to death are our best chance to reject technology’s easy-everywhere promise. We will embrace something better: the wisdom of knowing our own limits, the courage to care for one another, and, just as difficult, the courage to accept one another’s care when we cannot care for ourselves. We will put love into practice in the most profound possible way, by being present with one another in person at the greatest and most difficult moments of life.
  • When we are at our body’s very limits, nothing but personal presence will do.
  • We are meant for so much more than technology can ever give us—above all, for the wisdom and courage that it will never give us. We are meant to spur one another along on the way to a better life, the life that really is life.

Our next book will be The Prayer That Turns the World Upside Down: The Lord’s Prayer as a Manifesto for Revolution by Albert Mohler. Why not get a copy of the book and read along with us?

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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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