Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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My Favorite Bob Goff Quotes

I’m not sure how I first heard about Bob Goff. Perhaps someone I follow on Twitter had posted one of his quotes, or a friend told me about one of his books that they had read, or perhaps I just saw his books on the best sellers list. Something prompted me to pick up his second book Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult. I read it in just a few days, really enjoyed it, and as soon as I finished it, I immediately downloaded his first book Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World. If you enjoy audiobooks, you might like to listen to those books, which are read well by Bob. Later, I read the children’s book he wrote with his daughter, Love Does for Kids, and I have also had the opportunity to hear Bob speak.

Bob’s books are outside of the genre that I normally read, but I really appreciate him and his message. He is very quotable, so I wanted to take this opportunity to share my favorite quotes from his three books. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Continue reading


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Announcing the Release of My Book “Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace”

I’m excited to announce that my book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace is available now on Amazon. The book is available in the Kindle edition, and the updated version can be read on all Kindle devices and on Kindle Reading Apps. The book is free on Kindle Unlimited and available on the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
The book looks at calling, vocation, the integration of faith and work and leadership, and ends with some information that will be helpful specifically for church leaders. It includes lessons I’ve learned from more than 40 years of leading in the workplace and at church.
Here is a brief summary of what is in the book:
In Chapter 1 I take you on my faith and work journey.
In Chapter 2-4, I share what the Bible says about work, calling and what I learned about integrating my faith and work as a leader.
In Chapters 5-9, I talk about being called to be a leader and practical applications of living and leading for Jesus in the workplace, which includes meetings, communication, listening, goal setting, leading large teams and challenges in
leadership. There are also tips on how to care for others and develop future leaders.
In Chapter 10 I look at finishing well in our callings and also the idea of retirement for the Christian.
In Chapter 11, I share a few suggestions for church leaders on how they can help those under their care see that God values their work and callings.
In Chapter 12 I share some leadership lessons from the Bible.
Chapters 13-16 include thoughts for developing leaders inside and outside of the church, as well as practical advice on effective planning in the church, as well as reasons why your church should establish a personnel structure.
While the book has been written primarily for Christians, in both the general marketplace and the church, I hope that there will be some helpful takeaways for everyone. Go to this page in the Amazon Kindle Store to view a free chapter in the book and/or purchase it. If you read the book, please let me know what you think of it. Thanks.

https://www.amazon.com/author/billpence


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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Rough and Rowdy Ways – Bob Dylan
****

Rough and Rowdy Ways is 79-year-old Bob Dylan’s 39th studio album, and his first of original material since 2012’s Tempest. The title of the album comes from the 1929 song “My Rough and Rowdy Ways” by Jimmie Rodgers. Between Tempest and the new album, Dylan released three albums (one of them being a triple album), of traditional pop standards covers, many of which had been recorded by Frank Sinatra, as well as seven volumes in his ongoing Bootleg Series. The ten new songs here, which cover nearly 71 minutes, have themes of love, mortality, menace, and doom, and make allusions to many historical figures and works of art. Dylan is backed by his touring band, he wrote all songs, and it is assumed that it was self-produced, though there are no producer credits given.
The album, his first album of new material since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016, is one of my favorite releases of 2020 thus far. Below are a few comments about each song:
I Contain Multitudes – This was the second song released prior to album’s release. The title comes from Song of Myself, 51 from Walt Whitman. Dylan sings the song beautifully in a low register over an acoustic guitar and cello. He’s a man of contradictions, a man of many moods, he contains multitudes
Key lyric:
I’m just like Anne Frank, like Indiana Jones
And them British bad boys, the Rolling Stones

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  • More of this review and a review of Blues with Friends by Dion
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS


The Range Bucket List: The Golf Adventure of a Lifetime by James Dodson. Simon & Schuster, 321 pages. 2017
****

James Dodson is my favorite golf writer. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed his previous golf books, and had been meaning to read this one, which he says is his “little love letter to the game of golf”, for some time now. He tells us about recently finding a small old notebook of his that contained a list of eleven “Things to Do in Golf.” From there, he developed his “Range Bucket List”, populated with things he still hoped to do in golf.
The book is filled with the joys and sorrows he experiences on his journey, as he tries to tie up some loose ends, completing a personal circle of sorts. He writes of a friend telling him that the game of golf is always waiting for us to return.
We read about his trip with his father to England and Scotland, working with Arnold Palmer as they wrote Palmer’s autobiography – the two most challenging and enjoyable years of his book writing life, and the start of a friendship he could never have imagined as a kid – and then later sharing his emotional last visit with Palmer before he died. We get introduced to his new wife Wendy, or his “golf wife” as he took to calling her. He writes of living in Pinehurst, his strange encounter with Donald Trump, and the story behind how CBS got the TV contract for the Masters tournament. You’ll read about Opti the Mystic (his father), living One-Derr, Grumpy, Glorious Goat Farms, and so much more.
I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful book. It is one of those books that you hate to see end.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
BOOK REVIEWS ~ A Shelter in the Time of Storm: Meditations on God and Trouble by Paul Tripp and The Apostles’ Creed: Discovering Authentic Christianity in an Age of Counterfeits by Albert Mohler
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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My Review of 7500

7500, rated R
***

7500, now showing on Amazon Prime, is an intense thriller, told almost entirely from the cockpit of an Airbus A319 on a flight from Berlin to Paris. The film was directed by Oscar nominee Patrick Vollrath (Alles wird gut) in his feature film debut, who co-wrote the film with Senad Halilbasic. The low budget film, with little or no musical score, gets its title from the emergency code (7500) for a plane hijacking. Though there are few characters in the film, the cockpit door, locked during the flight, and the camera monitor that the pilots use to see outside the door, play key roles in the film.
As the film begins, we see the pilot Michael Lutzmann, played by Carlo Kitzlinger and the co-pilot Tobias Ellis, played by two-time Golden Globe nominee Joseph Gordon-Levitt (50/50, (500) Days of Summer) in the cockpit going through their routine preparations for the flight. The plane has 85 passengers, in addition to the crew. One of the flight attendants is Gokce, played by Aylin Tezel. She is Ellis’ girlfriend, and the mother of his child. The film is told from the viewpoint of Ellis.
The pilots are told by air traffic control to expect some turbulence from weather as they takeoff. Turbulence foreshadows what is to soon come.

***SPOILER WARNING***
The pilots hear shouting in the passenger cabin, and from the camera monitor in the cockpit they see a group of Islamic terrorists try to storm the cockpit. The constant pounding on the cockpit door will go on for much of the film. Soon, a few of the terrorists are able to get into the cabin and kill the pilot. Ellis, though injured, is able to knock out one hijacker, and regain control of the cockpit and plane. He then has to make difficult decisions to protect the passengers and the plane as the hijackers take hostages and threaten to kill them if he doesn’t let them in the cockpit.
****************************

The film is rated R for language, violence and intensity. Themes include courage, leadership, terror and painful decision-making.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is excellent as the co-pilot Tobias Ellis. Omid Memar turns in a strong performance as the 18-year-old Vedat, one of the hijackers.
7500 is an edge of your seat thriller. It’s not a great movie, but at just 92 minutes, it is a fast-moving intense film that features a strong performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It is exclusively available to stream for free on Amazon Prime Video.


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It was the Worst of Times, but can it also be the Best of Times?

Feeling Down? Count Your Blessings!  How’s that for a trite little “Happy Clappy” phrase? But stay with me please. Have you been feeling down with how things have been going thus far in 2020? It’s really hard not to get down. Let’s see, so far, we’ve been through an impeachment, pandemic, economic crisis, and police brutality, the latter of which has led to both peaceful protests and rioting/looting, some of which has taken place in my relatively small community.
I live in central Illinois, the state with the third highest number of COVID-19 confirmed cases. It is a state that has had some of the longest and most stringent COVID-19 stay at home orders in place from our governor. The order began on March 21, and continues at this time, with the state on track to move to Phase 4, of the 5-phase plan, at the end of June. During this time, wearing a mask has become the norm. We have watched our church worship services online, attended church leadership meetings and small group meetings on Zoom, and used a lot of hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes. We’ve enjoyed socially distanced time with family, but had vacations, conferences, concerts and baseball games cancelled. I’ve talked to people who are doing fine,
but also to those who are sad, isolated and lonely. A friend of mine lost his mother to COVID-19. She was in a nursing home and later a hospital, and he couldn’t visit her in either place. Frankly, at times, I’ve felt like this social media post from pastor Scott Sauls.
It’s easy to focus on all of the bad things that are going on in our lives, country (and world). I admit that I can tend to gravitate to what is wrong, rather than focusing on the blessings in my life that I often take for granted. James tells us that every good gift and every perfect gift is from above (1:17).   Like in Psalm 42, David laments his current circumstances instead of just trying to keep a stiff upper lip.  But then he intentionally speaks to himself and reminds himself of God, His character and His blessings.  This is where his hope comes from.  As I gave it some thought, I came up with a number of blessings that I’ve enjoyed during these days and also a soundtrack for this article: Continue reading


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

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  • 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

  • 5 Ways to Make the Most of Unemployment. Tom Nelson writes “When we find ourselves unemployed, how do we make the most of it? Trusting God and his promises, we can take positive steps in moving forward.”
  • How to Faithfully Work from Home in a Season of Teleworking. Russell Gehrlein addresses some of the unique challenges he has faced since having been forced to telework on short notice due to social distancing as a result of the pandemic. Then, he focuses his thoughts on how his Christian faith is impacted by this new environment.
  • Leading in Times of Disruption. Uncertainty and disruption are why the world needs leaders. In this month’s episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, Andy and Lane Jones discuss how to lead in uncertain times.
  • Thank God It’s Monday. John Stonestreet writes “To be Christian is to be called to God’s redeeming work in the world. And anyone who is in Christ can and should seek to glorify God wherever they are—even on a Monday.”
  • Business for the Common Good On-Demand. The Denver Institute recently launched Business for the Common Good On-Demand, a resource they are giving away for The videos and discussion guides address questions like: How do you determine if a business is successful? Is it reflected in a positive balance sheet, gleaming customer reviews, or a charismatic CEO? What if God measured success by a broader standard—by the way businesses help every employee, supplier, consumer, or community they touch to thrive?
  • How to Thrive in Work. Paul Tripp shares six gospel principles that will allow you to thrive spiritually in your place of employment.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Hand Me Another Brick: How Effective Leaders Motivate Themselves and Others by Charles Swindoll
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

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25 Leadership Lessons from Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success by Phil Jackson

I read this book when it was first published in 2013, and decided to read it again as I watched ESPN’s excellent documentary The Last Dance. I read the book this time specifically to examine Jackson’s leadership as he won eleven NBA Championships (rings) as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, and see what I could learn.

Jackson doesn’t pretend to be an expert in leadership theory. But what he does know is that “the art of transforming a group of young, ambitious individuals into an integrated championship team is not a mechanistic process. It’s a mysterious juggling act that requires not only a thorough knowledge of the time-honored laws of the game but also an open heart, a clear mind, and a deep curiosity about the ways of the human spirit.” The book is about his journey to try to unravel that mystery.

Here are some of my favorite leadership lessons from the book: Continue reading


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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


Go – John Schlitt
****

I first heard the incredible voice of John Schlitt in 1975 when I was a freshman in college and he was the lead singer of Head East. Their album Flat as a Pancake had two singles that were getting a lot of play on the radio – “Never Been Any Reason” and “Love Me Tonight”. I was excited when I heard that Schlitt had joined the Christian band Petra as lead singer in 1986. During his tenure with the band, Petra earned 10 Dove Awards and four Grammys. Schlitt has been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame as the lead singer of Petra. Now, 45 years after Flat as a Pancake, and at age 70, he has released Go, his sixth solo album, and his voice still sounds amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed this new album, mostly made up of rockers.

Here are a few comments about each song:

Go – This up-tempo song was written by Schlitt and Mark Lee Townsend, with Townsend producing. The song features acoustic guitar, bass, electric guitar and drums. Petra’s John Lawry is among those adding backing vocals. The song addresses the question of what our path is. There is no time to stop. Take your shot and keep moving on. An excellent opener.

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  • More of this review and a review of
    • United: Live – Newsboys
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

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