Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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

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  • More interesting article links
  • Great cartoons
  • Favorite Quotes of the Week

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • The Decline of Teamwork in Sports. Patrick Lencioni writes “Society might need to seek new models for teamwork outside of the world of sports, perhaps in the work of first responders, hospital emergency rooms, and healthy churches.”
  • Self-Denial ≠ Self-Destruction: When Do I Leave My Job? Charlie Self responds to a question about how to determine whether to stay put in a work environment, or pursue something else. He writes “There is no formula for guidance in difficulty at work, but there are biblical promises of wisdom as we seek God with all our hearts and cry out for grace (Prov. 2James 1:5). God delights in giving wisdom, and its fruits are peace and justice for ourselves and others. Before we leave a trying situation, have we done all we can to bring change that benefits the whole and not just our position?”
  • Dear Graduate, Discover Your Calling. Art Lindsley writes “Many people do not see themselves as significant, and do not have a vision for how God wants them to make a difference in the world using their unique gifts.”
  • Your Neighbor Needs Your Work. Andrew Jones writes “The purpose of our work, besides worship to God, is to love and serve our neighbor. God may want your work and designed you for it. But your neighbor needs your work.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
 More links to interesting articles
 The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
 My Review of Luke Bobo’s book Living Salty and Light-filled Lives in the Workplace
 Snippets from Os Guinness’ book The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life Continue reading


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Why the Church Should Be Developing Leaders for the General Marketplace and How to Do It

I’ve been a leader in the church, in a Fortune 50 organization and in industry learning and IT organizations. I was recently thinking back to how I learned to be a leader.
I got my undergraduate degree in Business Administration, but those classes and experiences really didn’t prepare me to be a leader. Before graduating from college, I was the manager of more than sixty part-time cleaners, and responsible for the cleaning in multiple buildings for a contract cleaning company. It was there that I first began to learn how to manage, but not lead, and there is a difference. In that job, I was responsible for hiring, firing, quality control, meeting with the customer, etc. I pretty much learned on the job. I didn’t read any books or take classes on how to do that. I look at managing as controlling and maintaining something that is already in place. Leading has to do with establishing and casting a vision, and influencing followers to come along with you.
When I joined a large insurance company as a management trainee, I went through an extensive training program, including leadership courses. Then, for the first time, I worked with Mel, who would become my career mentor and later a good and trusted friend. Mel, was a Christian believer who let his faith come through in his leadership. He instilled in me leadership philosophies that I still rely on to this day. But I never received any leadership training from the churches I attended; that would have helped me in my primary vocation. And you would think that would be a great place to learn leadership. Shouldn’t the local church be helping to develop leaders in all spheres (church, business, sports, non-profit, home, etc.)? The church should be instilling the character needed, as well as the competence needed for leaders.
Harry Reeder, author of 3D Leadership: Defining, Developing and Deploying Christian Leaders Who Can Change the World, writes: “Christ-centered, gospel-saturated and Spirit-filled churches need to embrace the opportunity to once again become “Christian leadership factories,” whereby the church defines Christian leadership, develops Christian leaders, and deploys them into the world.” He goes on to write “A church that defines leadership should not only develop Christian leaders for the church through gospel evangelism and discipleship but also develop Christian leaders from the church who are then deployed into the world to penetrate every sphere and institution of society.” I couldn’t agree more. But how do we do that? Continue reading


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My Review of ALADDIN

Aladdin, rated PG
***

Aladdin is an enjoyable live action remake of the 1992 animated Disney film that starred Robin Williams as the Genie. The new film is directed by Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes), and the screenplay is written by Ritchie and John August (Big Fish). The film includes songs from the original version written by eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken (Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid), and two-time Oscar winner Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid). The film had a budget of approximately $183 million, and runs two hours and eight minutes, or thirty-eight minutes longer than the original.
The film opens with Will Smith as a mariner on a boat in the ocean telling his two young children the story of Aladdin and the Genie. It then takes us to the city of Agrabah, where Aladdin, a poor “street rat” thief, played by Mena Massoud and his small monkey Abu, are walking through the marketplace looking for items to steal. Continue reading


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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


Untitled Hymn: A Collection of Hymns – Chris Rice
****

Chris Rice returned to the music scene in January after twelve years with Songs We Wrote On Tuesdays, a collaborative duo side project he completed with Andrew Ripp. Untitled Hymn: A Collection of Hymns is Rice’s long-awaited follow-up to his 2006 best-seller Peace Like a River: The Hymns Project. That record has been streamed an incredible 72 million times to date. Similar to that album, Untitled Hymn is very simple musically, with Rice’s voice usually accompanied by piano, acoustic guitar and light backing vocals. The album, which was produced by Ken Lewis, features a new recording of his classic “Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus)”, eleven other hymns and one new song “Too Much I Love”. I absolutely love this new recording.
Here are a few comments about each song:

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  • More of this review and a review of Mood by Social Club Misfits
  • Music News
  • Music Quotes
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS


Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Timothy Keller. Penguin Books. 332 pages. 2014.
****

This is perhaps the best book on prayer that I’ve read, and I’ve read several. I’ve already read and discussed it with others on two occasions. Our discussions would move slowly, as there is so much rich material on prayer in the fifteen chapters in this book. This book will challenge you and your prayer life.
Keller writes that prayer is both conversation and encounter with God. He tells us that these two concepts give us definition of prayer and a set of tools for deepening our prayer lives. He tells us that prayer is both awe and intimacy, struggle and reality. These will not happen every time we pray, but each should be a major component of our prayer over the course of our lives.
He writes of wanting a far better personal prayer life. As a result, he began to read widely and experiment in prayer. In his pursuit of a deeper prayer life, he deliberately avoided reading any new books on prayer. Instead, he went back to the historical texts of Christian theology that had formed him and began asking questions about prayer and the experience of God.
In addition, he made four practical changes to his life of private devotion. First, he took several months to go through the Psalms, summarizing each one. The second thing he did was always to put in a time of meditation as a transitional discipline between his Bible reading and his time of prayer. Third, he did all he could to pray morning and evening rather than only in the morning. Fourth, he began praying with greater expectation.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review and a review of Embracing Your Identity in Christ: Renouncing Lies and Foolish Strategies by Robert Davis Smart
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur
I’M CURRENTLY READING…. Continue reading


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New and Upcoming Albums I’m Excited About

I love music in a number of different genres, including contemporary Christian music, Christian hip-hop/rap, worship and classic rock. Here are 8 new and upcoming albums that I’m excited about.

 

A Great Adventure – Steven Curtis Chapman  
The latest project from Steven Curtis Chapman, arriving less than two months after his Deeper Roots: Where the Bluegrass Grows album, comes in both a DVD and audio recording format, filmed and recorded at the Gaither Studios in Alexandria, Indiana. The album chronicles Chapman’s life in song through live solo acoustic performances of some of his most popular songs, but no between song comments. Chapman has toured extensively performing solo concerts the past few years, and is very comfortable performing his songs backed only with his acoustic guitar. Listening to these songs, originally released between 1987 and 2018, reminds the listener of the blessing his music has been for more than thirty years now. Continue reading