Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

THIS & THAT: A Weekly Roundup of Favorite Articles and Quotes

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  • Why Mister Rogers (Still) Matters. Russell Moore writes “This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of public television’s Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The milestone will bring with it a major book, a feature film (starring Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers), and even a U.S. postage stamp.”
  • The Legacy of Stephen Hawking: The Man Who Searched for the Theory of Everything. Ravi Zacharias writes “The truth is that as brilliant as he was, it was the love of people that got him to where he reached and that lies at the heart of all of our lives.”
  • Sports Spectrum Podcast: Andy Mineo and Trey Burton. “On this episode of the Sports Spectrum podcast, we talk with Trey and Andy Mineo about the Super Bowl, the moment “Philly Special” was called, temptation as a celebrity, boundaries that Andy creates to keep him from falling, Trey’s impending free agency and where he wants to play in 2018, and Andy’s powerful testimony of struggling with doubt in his faith over the last few years.”
  • Time to Push Tackle Football into Retirement. Dan Doriani writes “Sports rarely die, but they do pass into twilight. Horse racing and boxing were America’s leading spectator sports in the 1930s; now they are niche events. If we help football dwindle, we may save a lot of headaches and heartaches in coming years. Beyond that, we follow our Lord, the giver of life, the healer. He became our brother, our keeper. Let’s follow him by keeping our sons and grandsons from needless harm.”
  • We Need an Independent Investigation of Sovereign Grace Ministries. Mark Galli writes “To put it simply: Sovereign Grace Churches (SGC; formerly Sovereign Grace Ministries) and its individual churches and leaders, present and former, who have been accused of failing to adequately respond  to past incidents of child and sexual abuse should submit to a thorough, truly independent investigation.”
  • It’s Time to Reckon with Celebrity Power. Andy Crouch writes “As the power of celebrity overtook the power of institutions in the second half of the 20th century, we could have made a different choice in our churches. Indeed, some churches and some leaders did.”

Courtesy of World Magazine

  • Everyone You Meet Will Live Forever. Matt Chandler writes “I’m not suggesting that biblical hospitality is the silver bullet for making evangelism work in the twenty-first century (news flash: there’s no silver bullet). But might it not be — in our cynical, polarizing, critical, dumpster-fire culture — that a warm dose of welcoming hospitality will take some folks by surprise and open up the door for opportunities to make disciples of Jesus Christ?”
  • Your Testimony is Not the Gospel. R.C. Sproul writes “But we shouldn’t confuse our personal testimonies with the gospel. Sharing our personal testimonies is not evangelism. It’s merely pre-evangelism, sort of a warm-up for Our testimonies may or may not be significant or meaningful to those with whom we are speaking.”
  • My Mid-Life Crisis – And Counsel for Yours. In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper answers the question “What did you learn during this dark season? And what would you say to other men in the midlife years, or soon to be in them?
  • What Seminary Didn’t Teach Tim Keller. In this three-minute video, Tim Keller reflects on the things he didn’t learn in seminary.
  • If You Love Justification, You Will Love Justice. On this episode of The Gospel Coalition podcast, in a message delivered at the Gospel Coalition 2011 National Post-Conference in Chicago, Tim Keller speaks on the relationship between grace and mercy.
  • How Charles Spurgeon Pastored Fellow Suffering Christians. Michael Reeves writes “When pastoring the suffering and depressed, Spurgeon seemed most often to have focused people on Christ crucified as the Man of Sorrows.”
  • Hope and Resources for Those Struggling with Depression. Randy Alcorn writes “Depression can be symptomatic of the deep desolation of our hearts. We are capable of fearing we’ll never again know happiness, and many who love God have suffered from such dread. God’s grace, His promise to never forsake us, His sustaining presence, and His promise of a plan for our good are always part of the cure; sometimes therapy and medication can also play significant roles.”
  • Let Waves of Suffering Carry You to Him. Dave Furman writes “Kissing the wave means we stop flailing our arms in panic and embrace the God who has sovereignly designed our circumstances for our good and his glory.”
  • The Gospel from Womb to Tomb. David Murray writes “Let’s look at some of the great and sore troubles of old age, and how the Lord strengthens His elderly people.”
  • When a Member of Your Church is Dying. Joni Eareckson Tada writes “When 42 percent of evangelicals think it’s appropriate for physicians to hasten a terminally ill patient to their death, it demonstrates a lack of understanding when it comes to the theology of suffering. Equip your members to have a firm understanding of God’s good hand in suffering.”

  • Are You Godly Enough to Watch Smut? Tim Challies writes “It’s a distressing time we’ve come to when the ability or desire to watch filthy stuff is considered mature and where the inability or unwillingness to do so is considered infantile. It’s a disappointing time we’ve come to when we long to be godly enough to watch smut.”
  • Can Christians Use In Vitro Fertilization? Childlessness is a great burden. Kenneth T. Magnuson discusses whether IVF is an acceptable method?
  • Did the Simpson’s Ruin a Generation? Tony Reinke writes “So who are we, and who will we be in this culture? Sarcastic or sincere? Scoffers or builders? Known by our ridiculing barbs or by our redemptive hopes? Are we offering one another a deadpanned face, or do our expressions express love, interest, and self-giving sincerity?”

  • The Uncomplicated Essentials. Cameron Buettel writes “We recently asked John MacArthur about theological overcomplication and the need to keep the gospel pure and clear. His response points us to an outstanding theologian who displayed rare expertise. Surprisingly, this great Christian thinker didn’t go to seminary. In fact, he probably never went to school at all.”
  • The Moment of Truth: Its Reception. Steven Lawson writes “During the trial of Jesus, Pontius Pilate asked a question that has resounded through the ages: “What is truth?” That is the key question for today, when the idea of absolute truth is increasingly and soundly rejected in our culture. To help us understand what is at stake, we are examining the conversation between Jesus and Pilate in John 18. In the first post, we looked at the rejection of God’s truth as that which lies behind all sorts of evil in society today, and in the second post, we looked at the reality of truth. This post will look at the reception of truth.”
  • Revive Us, O Lord. I’m enjoying listening to the messages from the 2018 Ligonier National Conference. Sinclair Ferguson delivered the first message. “What is an awakening? This session opens the conference by explaining what we mean by awakening. It helps us understand that we must humbly rely upon God to work by His Word and Spirit in the world. It also points out the signs of awakening and explains why we need an awakening at this hour. God is the bringer of awakening, and we hope and pray that He would work in our time.”

  • The Word-less “Church”. Robert Godfrey writes “At the heart of the mess is a simple phenomenon: the churches seem to have lost a love for and confidence in the Word of God.”

Doug Michael’s Cartoon of the Week

  • How do you change your behavior? Change what you worship. Tim Keller
  • God requires good works to save anybody. Those good works are supplied and provided by Christ. R.C. Sproul
  • Truth has a long shelf life with no expiration date. It is never obsolete, outdated, archaic, or stale. Steven Lawson
  • True maturity does not mean repenting less. It means repenting more, and repenting more quickly. Scott Sauls
  • Courage is facing your heart’s greatest nightmare and doing the right thing anyway. Tim Keller
  • There is more mercy in Christ than sin in us. Richard Sibbes
  • If you remember that Jesus was thrown into the ultimate furnace for you, you can begin to sense him in your smaller furnaces with you. Tim Keller 
  • As long as we think we are not that bad, the idea of grace will never change us. Tim Keller
  • Christian, don’t look to your behaviour, your feelings or your faithfulness. Jesus Christ is your righteousness. He is your status and your standing before God. Always there, always reliable, always the same. Michael Reeves

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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