Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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

  • Manny in Full. Lynde Langdon writes about the wonderful turnaround in former baseball star Manny Ramirez’s life.
  • A Top Pastor’s Culture War Surrender. Rod Dreher writes “I think Greear’s heart is in the right place here, but he’s wrong, and a pastor of his authority being wrong is consequential.”
  • The Moral Universe of Timothy Keller. Here’s a lengthy article about pastor and theologian Tim Keller by Peter Wehner, recently published in the Atlantic.
  • 15 Good News Trends from the 2010s. Joe Carter writes “Over the past decade, God has provided a range of blessings that have changed a negative trend to a positive one, improving our lives and the lives of our global neighbors. As we reflect on the end of the 2010s, we should give thanks to God for these 15 “good news” trends.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More interesting article links
  • Cartoon of the Week
  • Favorite Quotes of the Week

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • What does Ecclesiastes Teach us About Work? Russell Gehrlein shares quotes about work from Ecclesiastes that he included in his book Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession.  
  • The Non-Negotiable Virtue in Leadership. Matthew J. Hall writes “If those we lead doubt our character, it really doesn’t matter what they think of our competence.”
  • Character. In this episode of Minute with Maxwell, John Maxwell tells us that character is the core of leadership.
  • Stop Running from Rest. Stephen Graves writes “Rest is an unmistakable priority—in Scripture and in my own experience. Work always attempts to invade rest, though, and therefore, rest requires faith. We have to believe that the God who tells us to take a break, the God who made us to need rest, can take care of everything in our stead.”
  • I’m Not Good at My Job – Is the Lord Telling Me to Quit? On this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper responds to the question “What role does success play in discerning my vocational calling?”
  • When Your Calling Seems Vague and Unclear, You’re on the Right Track. Jeff Goins writes “Discovering what you were meant to do will require action and reflection, and this is how awareness of our calling is grown.This is what will ultimately lead to the realization that this thing you’re doing, this all-important something, just might be what you were born for.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Mission at Work: Finding God’s Grace Through Your Professional Work by Bryan Chapell
  • Snippets from Chapter 12 of Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

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Making Your Church a “Leadership Factory”: A Short Course on Leadership


I recently taught a six-week Sunday School class at our church on how to lead like Jesus. My aim was to help make our church a “leadership factory”, an idea I got from the book 3D Leadership: Defining, Developing and Deploying Christian Leaders Who Can Change the World by Harry L. Reeder III. Here’s an article I wrote titled “Why The Church Should Be Developing Leaders for the General Marketplace and How to Do It” which was the foundation for the course.

The purpose of the class was to explain how to be a Christ-centered leader no matter where you lead – business, education, government, sports, non-profits, the church, or the home. We learn about leadership in many places, including books, school, business, and seminars and conferences – why not learn leadership at the church, using the greatest leadership model – Jesus?

Below is the outline I planned for the course. I have to admit in the six weeks I didn’t come close to getting to everything that I wanted to, especially the practical applications of leadership. But you never come to the end of learning when it comes to leadership. Good leaders are always growing. Continue reading


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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Sing! The Life of Christ: Quintology: Incarnation – Keith and Kristyn Getty and Friends
****

Sing! The Life of Christ: Quintology is the fourth album to be released from Keith and Kristyn Getty’s Sing! worship music conferences, following 2018’s Sing! Live at The Getty Music Worship Conference and 2019’s Sing! Psalms: Ancient + Modern (Live At The Getty Music Worship Conference) and Sing! An Irish Christmas – Live At The Grand Ole Opry House.
The new album will be released in five separate EPs over the next several months. The project will follow the five main themes of the 2019 Sing! conference – Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection, Commission, and Ascension of Jesus Christ, and include 30 songs. To find out more about my takeaways from the 2019 conference, held in Nashville, read my article “Reflections From the 2019 Sing! Getty Worship Conference here.
The album was recorded at the Gaylord Hotel Convention Center, the Grand Ole Opry House and the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Everything that the Gettys and their musical friends do is with excellence. Throughout, the songwriting, singing and musical performances are of a very high quality, especially noteworthy for a live recording.
The first EP is on the Incarnation. Below are a few comments about each song:

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§  More of this review
§  Music News
§  Song of the Week Lyrics

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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS


Inexpressible: Hesed and the Mystery of God’s Lovingkindness by Michael Card. IVP Books. 176 pages. 2018
****

Respected musician, Bible teacher and author Michael Card has been working on this book about hesed for ten years.  It is a word that many will not be familiar with, but which he writes that it is tempting to say is the most important word in the Hebrew Scriptures. Though a book that he thought would take one year to write took much longer, he tells us that understanding hesed is actually a lifelong journey, and that none of us will ever get to the end of it in this life.
He first encountered the word hesed while working through the laments of the Old Testament. He describes hesed as being an untranslatable, three-letter, two-syllable word. Early in the book he gives us what he describes as an initial, ever-incomplete working definition of hesed:

When the person from whom I have a right to expect nothing gives me everything.

In this book, which I thoroughly enjoyed, he looks at the word hesed in its immediate context in a number of passages and tries to understand what the meaning was for the author at that particular point in time. He states that a good case can be made for the claim that hesed has the largest range of meaning of any word in the Hebrew language, and perhaps in any language. It occurs nearly 250 times in the Hebrew Bible throughout all of the three major divisions—the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings, with the majority of occurrences (127) in the Psalms. He tells us that the vast range of hesed is also made evident by the staggering number of English words translators employ in their effort to render it (which he details in an appendix). For example, the King James Version of the Bible uses fourteen different words for hesed. He tells us that a single word is rarely enough in a given context to express all that hesed means, so Bible translators are forced to pile on adjectives.
The author tells us that the purpose of this journey is not to become preoccupied with a single word. Instead, he wants us to hesed as a key that can open a door into an entire world—the world of God’s own heart, the world of loving our neighbor and perhaps even our enemies.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review and reviews of
~ The Daring Mission of William Tyndale
by Steven J. Lawson
~ With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and Grace
by Nikki Haley
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 Books that You Might Be Interested In

I love to read, and there are several new and upcoming books by some of my favorite authors that I’m excited about, and that you might be interested in as well. Here are a few brief comments about each of them.

The Enneagram Collection by Beth McCord

Beth McCord follows up her best-selling book Becoming Us: Using the Enneagram to Create a Thriving Gospel-Centered Marriage (written with husband Jeff), with The Enneagram Collection, individual books for each of the Enneagram types.
From the Amazon description:
“Each book teaches about the strengths, challenges, and opportunities for that personality type in order to lead to a more meaningful life, lasting relationships, and a deeper understanding of God and yourself.”

To Seek and to Save: Daily Reflections on the Road to the Cross by Sinclair Ferguson

Respected theologian Sinclair Ferguson follows up his Christmas devotional Love Came Down at Christmas: Daily Readings for Advent, with a devotional for Lent.    From the Amazon description:
“Each day you’ll be invited to:
• Read a passage of Luke’s Gospel and a short meditation by Sinclair Ferguson
• Reflect on a thought-provoking question
• Respond in prayer and praise as you journal”

Click on ‘Continue Reading’ to read about these upcoming books:


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My Review of DOLITTLE

Dolittle, rated PG
***

Dolittle, based on the children’s books of Hugh Lofting, is an enjoyable film, starring Robert Downey Jr. in his first non-Iron Man role since 2014’s The Judge. The film is directed by Oscar winner Stephen Gaghan (Traffic), who wrote the screenplay with Dan Gregor (How I Met Your Mother), Doug Mand (How I Met Your Mother) and Thomas Shepherd. The film had an estimated budget of $175 million. The film’s release date has been delayed a few times, and it had 21 days of expensive reshoots after poor test screenings. The film is getting pummeled by the critics (getting a score of “16” on Rotten Tomatoes.com as I write this), but we enjoyed the film.
The film begins with an animated prologue that gives us the backstory of Dr. John Dolittle, played by two-time Oscar nominee Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man films, Tropic Thunder, Chaplin), and his beloved wife Lily, played by Kasia Smutniak in live-action flashbacks. They presided over Dolittle Manor, a large sanctuary in the English countryside where they cared for – and communicated with – animals. But one day Lily, a master explorer, went out on a voyage at sea while Dolittle cared for the animals, and her ship wrecked in a storm and she died. After Lily’s death, Dolittle closed the doors of the sanctuary and fell into a deep depression.
Seven years later, Dolittle is living as a recluse in Dolittle Manor, avoiding all contact with humans while surrounded by a small band of loyal animal friends: Continue reading