Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

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

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Courtesy of World Magazine

  • How to Conquer Temptation. Watch this three-minute video clip from a message that John Piper recently preached at a men’s conference in London.
  • John Piper on Your Greatest Reason Not to Worry. Randy Alcorn writers “In this three-minute video, John Piper talks about why the phrase “Our Father in Heaven” in Scripture contains our greatest reason not to worry”.
  • What to Do When Christians Let You Down. Have you ever felt disappointed by someone you look up to in the faith? Whether it’s something as big as a pastor falling into sexual sin or as small as having your feelings hurt by a friend you trust, Christianswill let you down. Jesus knew that kind of disappointment when his disciples failed him in his hour of need. “The story of the gospel is a story of disciples who fail a Savior who never fails,” Nancy Guthrie says. “When someone disappoints you, let it be an invitation to re-examine where your confidence lies.”
  • How To Discourage a Grieving Friend.  Vaneetha Rendall Risner writes “From my experience, the most comforting thing we can do in the moment is to sit with them and mainly listen”.
  • Discerning Entertainment. Burk Parsons writes “Entertainment isn’t evil in itself, and we can enjoy it as we remember that in whatever we do, our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever as we live coram Deo, before the face of our omniscient and gracious God.”
  • How (Not) to Discover Your Spiritual Gifts. Thomas Schreiner writes “If you get involved in the lives of others in your church and love as Jesus commanded, then you will discover your gift.”
  • The Loss of Memory Loss. Scotty Smith prays “As someone who found you to be “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,” in a story of dementia and Alzheimer’s, it’s easy to pray for others now in this hard story. Grant spouses and children, family and friends, the strength of your Spirit and courage to love well.”
  • Enjoying God Is a Command. Sinclair Ferguson writes “Enjoying God is a command, not an optional extra: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” ( 4:4). But how? We cannot “rejoice to order,” can we?”
  • Radically Ordinary Hospitality. In Romans 12:13 Paul instructs Christians to “contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” So, what does it mean to show hospitality, and why is this particular way of both expressing our faith and interacting with our neighbors so overlooked in our day?  On this edition of White Horse Inn Michael Horton talks to Rosaria Butterfield about these issues and more as we engage with her about her book, The Gospel Comes With a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in a Post-Christian World.

  • BreakPoint: About Those Frozen Embryos. On this episode of Breakpoint, John Stonestreet states “While our culture often chooses to disregard the innocent victims of ever-expanding reproductive technology, Christians must speak out and help those who have no voice.”
  • Social Injustice and the Gospel. John MacArthur writes “Evangelicalism’s newfound obsession with the notion of “social justice” is a significant shift—and I’m convinced it’s a shift that is moving many people (including some key evangelical leaders) off message, and onto a trajectory that many other movements and denominations have taken before, always with spiritually disastrous results.”
  • Gen Z, Let’s Prioritize the Gospel as We Pursue Justice.  Jaquelle Crow writes “Many in my generation aren’t only emphasizing justice over evangelism; they’re sacrificing truth on the altar of humanity. They have become consumed by social needs and confused about the mission of the gospel.”
  • A Seat at the Table. How likely would it be for Francis Chan to get a hit off of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainright?
  • Leviticus in The New York Times: What’s the Real Story Here? Albert Mohler writes “As you might expect, sexuality was the issue at stake in the essay on Leviticus that appeared in Sunday’s edition of the Times.”
  • Keeping the Faith in a Faithless Age. Albert Mohler writes “The church must awaken to its status as a moral minority and hold fast to the gospel we have been entrusted to preach. In so doing, the deep springs of permanent truth will reveal the church to be a life-giving oasis amid America’s moral desert.”
  • Mr. Rogers’ Deathbed Conversion. Jared C. Wilson writes “So Mister Rogers’s deathbed question was really a deathbed confession. He was confessing that, facing the weight of eternity and the undeniable prospect of his justification before God, he wasn’t sure that his lifetime of “sheepishness” was merit enough. Because of course it’s not.”
  • Tim Keller’s Witness at the Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast. John Stevens writes “Tim Keller recently provided a masterclass in gracious apologetics when he spoke at the Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast in the Houses of Parliament in London. His address—“What Can Christianity Offer Our Society in the 21st Century?”—ought to be watched by pastors, lobbyists, and church members alike, as it will equip them with fresh arguments and models how to speak well of Christ.”

  • Which Comes First: Repentance or Faith? Watch this brief video clip from Sinclair Ferguson’s teaching series The Whole Christ in which he addresses the relationship between repentance and faith.
  • What is the Unpardonable Sin? R.C. Sproul writes “Humanly speaking, everyone who is a Christian is capable of committing the unforgivable sin. However, I believe that the Lord of glory who has saved us and sealed us in the Holy Spirit will never let us commit that sin.”
  • Should We Qualify Our Prayers with “If It Be Your Will”? R.C. Sproul writes “When we come before God, we must remember two simple facts—who He is and who we are. We must remember that we’re talking to the King, the Sovereign One, the Creator, but we are only creatures.”
  • Does the Sermon Sing? Six Classic Piper Lectures on Preaching. Marco Silva writes “Now, for the first time, both of John Piper’s sets of lectures — the 1994 series, Preaching as Worship: Meditations on Expository Exultation and the 2000 series, Preaching and the Problem of Suffering — are available online.”
  • What’s So Great about the Sovereignty of God? Richard Phillips writes “What difference does God’s sovereignty make? For Isaiah, it meant everything. In his response to the vision of God’s sovereign lordship, we can observe four hallmarks that will also play out in our experience as our faith is centered on a biblical vision of the sovereign grace of God.”


  • The Doctrines of Graciousness. David Mathis writes “Maybe we could use a second TULIP to pair with the first. What might it look like to encourage young Calvinists — and all of us — to the kind of spiritual virtues that should accompany the biblical theology of Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the saints?”
  • Divine Sovereignty. Steven Lawson writes “The sovereignty of God is the free exercise of His supreme authority in executing and administrating His eternal purposes. God must be sovereign if He is to be truly God. A god who is not sovereign is not God at all.”
  • R.C. Sproul Through the Years: The Holiness of God. To celebrate the 53rd anniversary of R.C. Sproul’s ordination to the ministry, and remember his life and ministry, Ligonier compiled some of the best of his teaching on the holiness of God through the years.

Doug Michael’s Cartoon of the Week

  • When you pride yourself on sound doctrine and don’t love people on the basis of that doctrine, you prove your doctrine to be unsound. Scott Sauls
  • Theology is not simply the pursuit of knowledge about God, it’s the pursuit of God himself. The more we know about God the more we know God and the more we’re able to worship and glorify God as God. Burk Parsons
  • No one simply denies the glory of God; we always exchange the glory of God for the glory of something else. Tim Keller
  • The more I remember God’s lavish, unwavering, inexhaustible love for us in Jesus, the more I forget to be irritated with others. Scotty Smith
  • When someone is grieving, we might hand him a book that helped us in a difficult moment. But how many of us would take the time to really invest in his life? Would we listen on a consistent basis and offer help whenever we find a need that we are able to meet? Francis Chan
  • Social ethics must never be substituted for personal ethics. Even if I am a model of personal righteousness, that does not excuse my participation in social evil. What God requires is both personal and social justice. R.C. Sproul
  • No wonder, then, if there is confusion and frustration when we turn away from him. It should not surprise us that, if we choose to live in the dark, we cannot see. Sinclair Ferguson
  • The essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting Himself for man. John Stott
  • Fill your affections with the cross of Christ, that there may be no more room for sin. John Owen

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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