Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

THIS & THAT: A Weekly Roundup of Favorite Articles, Cartoons & Quotes

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  • Starling Murmurations. On a winter evening in England a flock of 200,000 European starlings congregate to soar in breathtaking formations before roosting for the night. These incredible displays of aerial precision are truly a wonder of creation.
  • Parenting and the Cultural Pressure to Conform. Albert Mohler writes “God is up to this. I’m not saying we’re up to this, but God is up to this.”
  • Toward a Theology of Apology. Kevin DeYoung writes “We need more work in the years ahead—exegetical, historical, and doctrinal—on our theology of apology.”
  • Finding God at the End of Ourselves. Randy Alcorn writes “In our spiritual lives, as in our professional lives, and in sports and hobbies, we improve and excel by handling failure and learning from it. Only in cultivating discipline, endurance, and patience do we find satisfaction and reward. And those qualities are most developed through some form of suffering.”
  • We Are Not Meant to Be Awesome. Scott Sauls writes “God has not called you to be awesome. Rather, he has called you to be humble, faithful, forgiven, and free. We can all leave the awesome to Jesus. When we do, we will also become the best version of ourselves. But without the pressure.”
  • Psalms for Men Who are Struggling. Scott Slayton writes “If you are a man who struggles in silence, turn to the Psalms. In them, you find strong men revealing their weaknesses and showing you where you can turn to for help. There are three Psalms in particular that give you grace for the difficult situations you face.”

  • CrossFit Tolerance Does Not Extend to Fired Exec. Joe Carter writes “How will we respond when they ask, “Aren’t you a follower of that bigot Jesus?” Will we have the boldness to acknowledge him before others (Matthew 10:32), or will we say, “I don’t know what you are talking about. I’m just here for the workout.”
  • It’s Not Bigotry to Believe Homosexuality Is a Sin. David French writes in the National Review “All across America LGBT Americans live and work alongside Christians who disagree with their actions and beliefs and alsotreat them with dignity and respect. It’s not hard to do when you love people and seek to imitate Christ. Should these Christians be muzzled while contrary views be given free rein? Or can we actually be tolerant and realize that disagreement is not mistreatment, and love is not hate?”
  • 9 Things You Should Know About MS-13. Joe Carter writes “In a recent roundtable discussion in New York, President Trump called MS-13 a “menace” and said about the gang members, “They’re not people. They’re animals.” The controversial statement was the first time many Americans have heard about the group that has been called the “world’s most dangerous gang.”
  • Should You Worry About Sex Robots? Russell Moore writes “I. and other emerging technologies are rapidly creating new opportunities and challenges in many areas of our lives. One of the most important questions raised by these technologies concerns their affect upon our understanding of sexuality. In this episode of Signposts, I address these questions and think about how Christians should prepare now for a future defined by such novelty and innovation.”

Courtesy of World Magazine

  • A Conversation with J. D. Greear, the New President of the Southern Baptist Convention. Last week, the Southern Baptist Convention – the largest Protestant body in the United States and the largest Baptist denomination in the world—elected 45-year-old pastor J.D. Greear as its 62nd president, the youngest man to hold the office in 38 years.
  • 2018 West Coast Ligonier Ministries Conference Media Now Available. Ligonier Ministries held their West Coast Conferences last week. The theme of the conference was “Defending the Faith”. The speakers were Robert Godfrey, Steven Lawson, Stephen Nichols, Burk Parsons, Derek Thomas, and Ravi Zacharias. You can watch all of the messages from the conference for free.
  • What is Discernment? Sinclair Ferguson writes “So discernment is learning to think God’s thoughts after Him, practically and spiritually; it means having a sense of how things look in God’s eyes and seeing them in some measure “uncovered and laid bare” (4:13).”
  • “Hallowed Be Your Name”.C. Sproul writes “I can’t emphasize too much how important it is that we grasp that this line of the Lord’s Prayer is not just a part of the address but a petition. We must see this if we are to understand what Jesus is teaching us about prayer.”
  • Reflections on the Seashells Sermon, 18 Years Later. In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper reflects back on the sermon he delivered at a Passion Conference which would inspire his influential book Don’t Waste Your Life.
  • How John MacArthur Began (and ended) His 42 Year Journey. Tim Challies writes “On June 5, 2011, John MacArthur completed a remarkable feat. He finished his 42-year journey of preaching through the New Testament verse-by-verse. In this episode of the Great Sermon Series, we will examine how John MacArthur began with a sermon that would prove to set the stage for the next 42 years of his ministry at Grace Community Church.”
  • What We Can Learn from Reformation Worship and Liturgies. In this adapted preface of Reformation Worship: Liturgies from the Past for the Present,edited by Jonathan Gibson and Mark Earngey, Sinclair Ferguson writes “Reformation Worship: Liturgies from the Past for the Present is a resource of almost unparalleled richness in its field, representing an immense labor of love on the part of its editors and translators. It gathers together liturgies crafted by some of the leading figures in the Protestant Reformation and employed by them to aid worship in a wide variety of places and churches.”
  • Is Sola Scriptura a Rejection of Teachers and Tradition? Stephen Nichols writes “Scripture is our only inerrant and infallible authority for faith and life. It is God’s Word, God breathed. Therefore, we must obey it. We must strive not to see it displaced and cast aside but to see it placed at the center of all that we do.”
  • It’s Not the Doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone that Saves—It’s Christ Who Saves. Watch this two-minute clip from R.C. Sproul’s teaching series Justified by Faith Alone in which he reminds us that it’s not the doctrine of justification by faith alone that saves—it’s Christ who saves.
  • Judge Everything. John MacArthur writes “False teachers flourish where there is no scrutiny. That’s why so many of them set up camp in environments where there is little to no biblical discernment—where God’s Word is nothing more than a supplement to personal experience, anecdote, and embellishment.”
  • Seeing Jesus in the Psalms. How are we to read and profit from the Book of Psalms? Is it simply a collection of 150 poems randomly thrown together, or is there some kind of order and structure to the book as a whole? What are the unifying themes of this book, and how does it speak of the person and work of Jesus Christ?
    On this episode of the White Horse Inn, Michael Horton discusses these issues with W. Robert Godfrey, author of Learning to Love the Psalms.
  • The Great Commission: A New Teaching Series from Burk Parsons. Nathan W. Bingham writes “In The Great Commission, a new five-part video teaching series, Dr. Burk Parsons walks us through this command verse by verse, carefully examining how Christ calls us to fulfill the Great Commission in our homes, our churches, our communities, and to the ends of the earth.” Watch the first messages from the series for free.

Doug Michael’s Cartoon of the Week

  • “… unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you?” John Wesley to William Wilberforce
  • If anything exposes our culture to the unmitigated wrath of God it is the frivolous way that we use His name. R. C. Sproul
  • It is folly to think the Lord provides grace for every trouble but the one you are in today. Charles Spurgeon
  • When people are right with God, they are apt to be hard on themselves and easy on other people. John Newton
  • As Head of the church, Jesus Christ is both our Lord reigning over us and our Life residing in us. Steven Lawson
  • Our religion will be unprofitable if it does not change our heart, pervade our manners, and transform us into new creatures. John Calvin
  • The Christian should take nothing short of Christ for his model. Charles Spurgeon
  • Be obedient even when you do not know where obedience may lead you. Sinclair Ferguson
  • Jesus is not saying he’s a prophet showing you a way to find God, but actually God come to show you the Way. Tim Keller

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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