Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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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


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

  • What Does the Bible Say About Abortion? Dan Darling writes “As Christians, our first reaction to this issue should not be to ask what our political parties or politicians think but to ask what the Bible says. So, what does the Bible say about abortion?”
  • Is It OK for a Christian to Date a Non-Christian? Listen to Tim Keller answer that question.
  • Are There Contradictions in the Bible? R.C. Sproul writes “When it comes to studying the actual consistency of Scripture, it’s not long before we have to deal with allegations that the Bible is full of contradictions. This can be devastating to the Christian faith, because we know that if the Bible has real contradictions, it’s not a consistent account, and if it’s not a consistent account, it can’t be divinely inspired.”

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

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My Review of TOLKIEN

Tolkien, rated PG-13
*** ½

Tolkien looks at the formative years of the beloved author J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit). I thoroughly enjoyed this well-made film. It is directed by Finland director Dome Karukoski, in his first English language film, and written by David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford (Pride). Of note, the estate and family of Tolkien issued a statement about the film indicating that they wanted to make clear that they did not approve of, authorize, or participate in the making of the film, and do not endorse the film or its content in any way.
The film opens in 1916 on the battlefield in World War I, during the Battle of the Somme in France. John Ronald Reuel (J.R.R.) Tolkien, played by Nicholas Hoult (The Favourite, About a Boy, X-Men films), has come down with a case of trench fever. The rest of the movie is told in flashbacks, with it occasionally coming back to the war, with Tolkien trying to find his friend Geoffrey Smith, played by Anthony Boyle. Continue reading


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • What Do High School and College Graduates Need to Hear? Russell Gehrlein offers insights that inspire graduates to take their Christian faith into their workplaces, schools, the military, or wherever God calls them to learn and serve.
  • Overcoming Shame in the Workplace. Hugh Whelchel writes “In an environment where we’re evaluated on our performance, expected to succeed, rewarded for results, and scolded for mistakes, it’s no wonder the workplace is a prime breeding ground for shame.”
  • Work. Our work will be far more rewarding and our rest far more renewing, the more we can keep the boundaries between work and rest high, clear, and distinct. Watch this short video from David Murray.
  • Women, Work, and the Home: What is a Biblical Measurement of Success? Carolyn McCulley writes “Women are to look at all they have received—the gifts, talents, time, opportunities, relationships, and capacities—and determine how and when to invest them across the full arc of a lifetime.”

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  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Work: It’s Purpose, Dignity, and Transformation by Daniel M. Doriani
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life

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A Prayer for Graduates


Our Father in Heaven,
As we approach the time of year in which we celebrate graduations at many levels, we pray for our graduates.

For the high school graduate, we pray that they would build on the foundation of knowledge they have, and the relationships they have made, over the last four years. They may be heading into the workforce, a technical school or to college. We pray that you would provide them wisdom for their next steps. High school is just four short years of our lives, but important events take place and life-long relationships are made in high school that help form who we are, and are remembered for the rest of our lives, including class reunions.
For the college graduate, we pray for your guidance for their next steps in life. Those steps may include the beginning of their careers, maybe marriage and starting a family, or perhaps additional education. For those looking for a job and not having any success, we pray that you would comfort them with the presence of the Holy Spirit and a peace that surpasses understanding. Please give them patience and perseverance in this season of waiting. We pray that they would trust you to provide them a position in which they will serve you well with the skills and abilities you have blessed them with.
For those who will be getting married soon, we pray that you would be at the center of those marriages. For those continuing on in their education, we pray that they would be accepted into the universities of their choice, and that you would provide them with the needed finances and support system.
For the seminary graduate, we pray that you would provide them a call into ministry, where they can apply what they have worked so hard to learn. That call may be to the church, a Christian ministry or into the general marketplace.

Father, thank you for helping our graduates persevere in their studies, for giving them strength and energy to continue on when they couldn’t on their own. Thank you for helping them study for exams and write papers. Now, please give them wonderful celebrations with family and friends as they look forward to new beginnings. We ask that you would continue to care for them and guide their lives as they live Coram Deo, in the presence of, and before the face of God.
In Jesus name we pray, Amen


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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Deeper Roots: Where The Bluegrass Grows – Steven Curtis Chapman
***

In 2013, five-time Grammy winner Steven Curtis Chapman released Deep Roots, an album which featured 12 songs, 5 of which are available on the new Deeper Roots: Where The Bluegrass Grows, released on Chapman’s own New Day distributed-SCSee label. Both albums represent a return to bluegrass, Chapman’s musical roots.
In addition to the 5 songs from Deep Roots, the new album contains eight other songs. The album is comprised of a mixture of well-loved hymns, new versions of Chapman favorites and two new songs. Chapman is joined by Ricky Skaggs, Rascal Flatt’s Gary LeVox and family members on the album, which was produced by Chapman and Brent Milligan.
Below are a few comments about each of the songs:

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  • More of this review and reviews of The Eclipse Sessions by John Hiatt, and In the Blue Light by Paul Simon
  • Music News
  • Music Quotes
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

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