Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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My Review of THE LION KING

The Lion King, rated PG
** ½

The Lion King is a remake of the popular 1994 animated film, which is also a successful stage musical. The film, being referred to as “live action”, is entertaining and the computer-generated imagery (GGI) is incredible. However, the film comes across as a bit flat, without emotion or as much of the humor of the original. In addition, there are scenes that are dark and violent that will be scary for young children.
The film was directed by Emmy nominee Jon Favreau (Dinner for Five, The Jungle Book, Iron Man, Chef). The screenplay was written by Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me If You Can). The film had a budget of approximately $250 million, and had an opening weekend gross in the U.S. of $191 million.
This film basically follows the storyline of the original film. Simba is the King’s son and future king of Pride Rock. JD McCrary voices the young Simba, and Golden Globe winner Donald Glover (Atlanta), the older Simba. Simba wants to grow up too quickly, and as a result, doesn’t always do what his father Mufasa, voiced by Oscar nominee James Earl Jones (The Great White Hope), wants him to do, which inevitably gets him into trouble. Nala, voiced by Beyoncé, is Simba’s best friend.
Scar, voiced by Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), is the King’s jealous brother, who wants to be King. We see him mislead Simba on a few occasions because has a plan to make himself the tribe’s leader, which calls for collaborating with a pack of hyenas.
I enjoyed the film, but there was just something missing from making it a truly special film. For one, there was not as much humor in this version as there was in the original. The exception was Timon, voiced by two-time Emmy nominee Billy Eichner (Funny or Die’s Billy on the Street) and Pumbaa, voiced by Emmy nominee Seth Rogan (Da Ali G Show). The music, even the songs you loved from the original film, seemed to fall flat. And perhaps most of all, the film seemed to lack in emotion.
The musical score is by Hans Zimmer, ten-time Oscar nominee and winner for The Lion King, with songs by Elton John, Tim Rice and some new music as well.
Content concerns in the film include dark and violent scenes that will be too scary for young children. Themes include the relationship between a father and a son, sacrificing for others, deception, and guilt.
The Lion King is a beautiful and entertaining film, but falls short of being truly special. The CGI is incredible, as is the cinematography by six-time Oscar nominee Caleb Deschanel (The Natural, The Passion of the Christ), and the film is probably worth seeing just for those reasons.


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25 Great Quotes from the First Half of New Morning Mercies by Paul Tripp

One of the books that I am using for my devotional reading this year is New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional by Paul Tripp. I’m really enjoying the book, and would like to share 25 of my favorite quotes through the first half of the year:

  1. God reminds us that this is not all there is, that we were created and re-created in Christ Jesus for eternity.
  2. Next time you face the unexpected, a moment of difficulty you really don’t want to go through, remember that such a moment doesn’t picture a God who has forgotten you, but one who is near to you and doing in you a very good thing.
  3. If you have been freed from needing success and acclaim to feel good about yourself, you know grace has visited you.
  4. Your hope is not to be found in your willingness and ability to endure, but in God’s unshakable, enduring commitment to never turn from his work of grace.
  5. Your hope of enduring is not to be found in your character or strength, but in your Lord’s.
  6. God will remain faithful even when you’re not, because his faithfulness rests on who he is, not on what you’re doing.
  7. Don’t be discouraged today. You can leave your “what-ifs” and “if-onlys” in the hands of the One who loves you and rules all things.
  8. There is no greater argument for our need for grace than the ease with which our hearts fall under the rule of things other than God.
  9. True lasting hope is never found horizontally. It’s only ever found vertically, at the feet of the Messiah, the One who is hope.
  10. Why tell yourself that you know what you need, when the One who created you knows better and has promised to deliver?
  11. All the glories of the created world together are meant to be one big finger that points you to the God of glory, who made each one of them and is alone able to give you life.
  12. You no longer have to hope and pray that someday you will measure up, because Jesus has measured up on your behalf. How could you hear better news than that?
  13. Sure, you’ll face difficulty. God is prying open your fingers so you’ll let go of your dreams, rest in his comforts, and take up his call.
  14. In grace, he leads you where you didn’t plan to go in order to produce in you what you couldn’t achieve on your own.
  15. God’s grace not only provides you with what you need, but also transforms you into what he in wisdom created you to be.
  16. Quit being paralyzed by your past. Grace offers you life in the present and a guarantee of a future.
  17. All of what I look back on and would like to redo has been fully covered by the blood of Jesus. I no longer need to carry the burden of the past on my shoulders, so I am free to fully give myself to what God has called me to in the here and now.
  18. He always gives freely what we need in order to do what he has called us to do.
  19. Prayer is abandoning my reliance on me and running toward the rest that can be found only when I rely on the power of God.
  20. Rest is only ever found in trusting the One who has everything figured out for your good and his glory.
  21. There aren’t two things in all of life more important than these—that grace has purchased for you a place in God’s family and that, because you are in his family, God rules over all things for your good.
  22. You and I will never find inner peace and rest by trying to figure it all out. Peace is found in resting in the wisdom and grace of the One who has it all figured out and rules it all for his glory and our good.
  23. When he calls, he goes with you. What he calls you to do, he empowers by his grace.
  24. We don’t obey to get his favor; we obey because his favor has fallen on us and transformed our hearts, giving us the willingness and power to obey.
  25. Only grace can cause you and me to abandon our confidence in our own performance and place our confidence in the perfectly acceptable righteousness of Jesus Christ.

If you are looking for a good devotional book, check out Paul Tripp’s New Morning Mercies: A Gospel Devotional.


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Leadership Lessons from the Life of Moses


We can learn much about leadership by studying the lives of Bible characters. Previously in our “Leadership Lessons from the Bible” series we have learned from Jesus, Joseph, Nehemiah, the Apostle Paul and David. Today, we’ll look at leadership lessons from the life of Moses. Like all leaders, Moses had success and at times faced opposition. Here are 7 leadership lessons we can learn from him.

  • Leaders are called. I would consider myself a reluctant leader. As an introvert, shy and lacking in confidence, I would never have chosen leadership as my calling, but that’s exactly what God chose for me. In Exodus 3, we read about God’s calling of Moses from the burning bush. He tells Moses that He has seen the affliction of his people in Egypt and heard their cry. He knows their sufferings and has come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and bring them to a land flowing with milk and honey. (Exodus 3: 7-8). And, God has chosen Moses to lead his people.

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Leadership Lessons from the Life of David


We can learn much about leadership by studying the lives of Bible characters. Previously in our “Leadership Lessons from the Bible” series we have learned from Jesus , Joseph, Nehemiah and the Apostle Paul. Today, we’ll look at leadership lessons from the life of David.

Like all leaders, David experienced highs and lows, successes and failures. Here are 9 leadership lessons we can learn from the life of David:

  • Leaders demonstrate courage. In 1 Samuel 17:37, we read that David, a youth, and the youngest son of Jesse, courageously tells Saul “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” He then killed the giant Goliath with just a sling and with a stone. Today, good leaders need to demonstrate leadership courage. While not including killing a giant, leaders will need to be able to do such things as make bold decisions, take risks, deliver unpopular messages to their teams, and honestly provide feedback and evaluate performance.

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Leadership Lessons from the Apostle Paul


We can learn much about leadership by studying the lives of Bible characters. Previously in our series we have learned from Jesus, Joseph, and Nehemiah. Today, we’ll look at leadership lessons from the Apostle Paul. I recently re-read John MacArthur’s book Called to Lead: 26 Leadership Lessons from the Life of the Apostle Paul, in which he wrote “If you want a human model of leadership, I don’t think you’ll ever find a better model than Paul. Paul is my hero as a leader”.

There are many leadership lessons we can learn from Paul. But, since Paul wrote 13 books, or about 28 percent of the New Testament, coming up with just a few leadership lessons from him will be a challenge.  We could easily fill books with those lessons, but I’ll give it a try. Here are 8 leadership lessons we can learn from the Apostle Paul:

  • God can use anyone to carry out His mission. The first time we encounter Paul, then known as Saul of Tarsus, in the Book of Acts, it was during the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7. We are told in Acts 8:1 that Saul approved of Stephen’s execution Later, we are told that Saul then ravaged the church (Acts 8:3). But Jesus saves Saul as he was on his way to Damascus, and chose him, the one who was persecuting Jesus and the church, to be the one to take the Gospel to the Gentiles. This is a good lesson for us. We may not have the best grades, most degrees or experience, speaking ability or charisma, but God can still use us for his purposes as leaders.

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Leadership Lessons from Nehemiah


We can learn much about leadership by studying the lives of Bible characters. Previously in our series we have learned from Jesus and Joseph. Today, we’ll look at leadership lessons from Nehemiah.

Hand Me Another Brick, written by Charles Swindoll, was one of the books about Nehemiah I read as an early believer. Recently, I re-read Dave Kraft’s book Learning Leadership from Nehemiah, from which much of this article is indebted.

In chapter 1 of the book of Nehemiah, we are introduced to Nehemiah who was taken captive and was serving the king of Persia as his cupbearer. After hearing that the wall of Jerusalem had been broken down, and its gates had been destroyed by fire, we find him weeping, mourning, fasting and praying to the God of heaven for many days. He confessed the sin of his people and himself and asked God to bring him success in rebuilding the wall. Continue reading


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Leadership Lessons from the Life of Joseph


Joseph is one of my favorite characters in the Bible. Alistair Begg writes in The Hand of God that his story is a tale of jealousy, deceit, slavery, misrepresentation, injustice, lust, rivalry, and forgiveness. It is also a wonderful example of how God worked in Joseph’s life through all of its ups and downs. Alistair Begg tells us that Joseph was a life-sized illustration of Romans 8:28.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

We are introduced to Joseph in Genesis 37:2 when he was only 17 years old. His father Jacob favored Joseph more than his other sons. Because of this, and poor judgement by Joseph in sharing a dream he had about his brothers bowing down to him, his brothers were jealous of him and hated him.  This resulted in them selling him into slavery (Genesis 37:28).

Begg tells us that there is no ideal place to serve God except the place in which He has set you down. Continue reading


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Jesus: The Ultimate Servant Leader


The greatest leadership model of all time was Jesus of Nazareth. I believe that the best way to lead is through servant leadership, which was demonstrated by Jesus. That’s how I’ve tried to lead in the business world, non-profit organizations and the church. Briefly, I can summarize leadership as:

  • Casting a compelling vision of a better future.
  • Getting people to believe in that vision enough to follow the leader
  • Developing and multiplying leaders.
  • Effectively executing on the vision.

In complete agreement with the Father and Holy Spirit, Jesus came to us with a purpose, which we read about in Luke 4:17-21:
And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.  And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus’ purpose in coming to us was to:

  • Proclaim good news to the poor
  • Proclaim freedom for prisoners
  • Recover sight to the blind
  • Set the oppressed free
  • Proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • How God Uses Our Failures at Work. Russell Gehrlein writes “The Bible teaches us that failure is one of the main tools God uses to make us more Christ like. He transforms us through these experiences if we allow Him to do so. In addition, God sometimes opens up new opportunities to serve Him.”
  • 5 Ways to Leave a Legacy Through Mentoring in Retirement. Jeff Haanen writes “What if the 87% of Baby Boomers who believe in God decided that a central way they were going to spend their retirement was by mentoring young people through their local church? What if America’s retirees traded comfort for purpose, and swapped retirement villages for communities of intergenerational friendship?”
  • Dad Secret: What if I Enjoy Work More Than My Family? Chap Bettis writes “Be faithful in the drudgery and little things. God didn’t just give you two children to influence, but eternal souls to cultivate. And your daughters have only one dad.”
  • Five Productivity Tips for Busy Leaders. Matt Perman shares five essential things to keep in mind as you aim to effectively lead your team, organization, business, or church.
  • Ordinary Work, Extraordinary Opportunity Tim Challies writes “But while work may not be exciting and may not be particularly fulfilling, I’ve been struck recently by how much our joy can be improved or eroded by people who work very ordinary jobs.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Whatever You Do: Six Foundations for an Integrated Life, edited by Luke Bobo
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life

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

  • How LGBT Pride Month Became a Religious Holiday. Joe Carter writes “LGBT Pride Month is not a just a secular commemoration of a people but a religious celebration of a belief—the belief that “Gay Is Good” and that moral opposition to homosexual behavior or transgender ideology is inherently bigoted.”
  • PCA Sides with Nashville Statement over Revoice’s Approach. Kate Shellnutt writes that faced with more proposals addressing LGBT issues than any other topic, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), the denomination that I am an elder in, last week approved measures to affirm the Nashville Statement and launch its own study committee on sexuality. Denny Burk includes a video of the debate.
  • The Theological Legacy of Rachel Held Evans. Anne Carlson Kennedy writes “Evans made a way in the Bible Belt for advantageous, unorthodox, incoherent interpretations. Most of all, she nursed ordinary people into a strange comfort, not of bringing the difficult and terrifying questions of life and death to be answered by a kind and merciful Savior in the life-giving Scriptures, but of finding refuge in their own doubts, their supposedly unanswerable questions. This is perhaps the most tragic portion of her legacy, and one with which the church will have to wrestle for many decades to come.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

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

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