Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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THIS & THAT: A Weekly Roundup of Favorite Articles and Quotes

  • How Does Chronic Pain Glorify God? On this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper responds to the question “My mother, a believer, struggles with debilitating — very debilitating — nerve pain and can get no medical relief from anything doctors have tried. She suffers endlessly. How does such unalleviated suffering glorify God when it seems that God refuses to answer any of our prayers for mercy?”
  • What Makes Women the “Weaker Vessel”? On this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper answers the question “What does Peter mean in 1 Peter 3:7 when he writes that husbands should live with their wives in an understanding way, ‘as the weaker vessel’? Specifically, what is the weaker vessel? Is she physically weaker, emotionally weaker, spiritually weaker, or something altogether different?
  • Does God Love the Wicked the Same Way He Loves the Elect? Does God love everyone in the same way—both His redeemed people and His enemies? From one of the Ligonier live events, C.Sproul helps us understand what it means that “God so loved the world” (John 3:16).

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  • More interesting article links
  • Favorite Quotes of the Week

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25 Quotes from “Work: Its Purpose, Dignity, and Transformation” by Dan Doriani

Dr. Doriani is a respected seminary professor (who I enjoyed two classes with at Covenant Seminary), pastor and theologian, and this may be the best book I’ve read on the subject of work from a Christian perspective. It is comprehensive, grounded in scripture, and at times, challenging. It also covers some aspects of work that I have not found in others books in the genre.

Here are 25 good quotes from the book:

  1. The union of love and justice brings out the best in workers.
  2. One may have an occupation without a vocation.
  3. A job pays the bills; a calling fits our gifts and interests.
  4. No honest calling is morally superior to any other.
  5. Work is the chief place where we love our neighbors as ourselves.
  6. At work, we have the greatest capacity to care for the hungry, the thirsty, and the sick.
  7. Scripture speaks most often of faithfulness, not fulfillment, in labor.
  8. God gives everyone a role as well as a place of service.
  9. If, by faith, we consecrate our work to God and aim to love both our coworkers and our customers, we serve the Lord and he remembers it.
  10. Everyone tastes disappointment at work, but work remains meaningful if we accept our God-given roles and support others in theirs, even when we are disappointed.
  11. All labor is equal in some ways but unequal in others.
  12. Every morally good task has dignity, whether the laborer sweeps floors or runs a company.
  13. The goal, the ideal, is to serve God with our highest and rarest gifts.
  14. Whether our lot seems humble or exalted, let us work with all our heart, for the Lord knows and rewards all faithful labor.
  15. We should serve God, restrain evil, and advance love, justice, and mercy at work.
  16. The Lord teaches us to work, then pause to sleep, eat, pray, and rest each week.
  17. If the Lord, the Creator, rested, then so should we. But Western culture presents many obstacles
  18. In the Western mind, we work five days to earn the right to rest and play on the weekend. But God tells believers to start the week with rest before we work. In Scripture, rest is a gift, not a reward.
  19. For employer and employee alike, to rest one day in seven is to live by faith.
  20. Reformations of work are ordinarily the spontaneous result of faith.
  21. The command to love our neighbor as ourselves can steer so much of our behavior at work.
  22. Pastors hear that the church should operate more like a business, but the church is the antithesis of a business. Like Jesus, it gives away its services.
  23. It is possible to “work heartily” for the Lord, in all ethical, life-giving occupations.
  24. All honest work is sacred when devoted to the glory of God.
  25. Work is sacred if it follows God’s law, if the motive is love for neighbor.


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday


Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Work as Blessing, Work as Curse. Scott Cormode writes “The important distinction is not between Christian work and secular labor. The important question is this. Are you doing what God has called you to do? And is that labor an extension of the giftedness God has planted within you?”
  • Gently Glowing Bushes: When Your Calling Isn’t Obvious. Bill Haley shares seven key questions to ask when we’re seeking God’s will for out next step and general direction.
  • How to Fix Your Work Life Balance. Paul Tripp writes “Your work is your calling, but it is not your life. Work gives you dignity, but it is not your hope. You are created to work with diligence, but work is not the ultimate reward.”
  • Integrating Your Faith With a Job Search. Russ Gehrlein, author of Immanuel Labor—God’s Presence in Our Profession, recently was a guest on the radio program, Community Bridge, a Family Radio Network program and podcast. Below is a partial transcript of that conversation, which you can listen to in its entirety here.

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  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Goodby Amy L. Sherman
  • Snippets from the book Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy by Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson

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My Review of TOM CLANCY’S WITHOUT REMORSE

Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse, rated R
** ½

Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse is a military thriller about a Navy Seal out to avenge the murder of his pregnant wife in the origin story of action hero John Clark. Although entertaining, the film is extremely violent, and at times confusing and unrealistic.
The film is directed by Stefano Sollima, and the screenplay is written by Oscar nominee Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water), and Will Staples, loosely based on a 1993 novel by Tom Clancy.
The film begins with a team of Navy Seals, led by Lt. Commander Karen Greer, played by Jodie Turner-Smith (Queen and Slim), being sent to rescue a CIA operative being held captive in Aleppo, Syria. However, when they get there, the Seals find that it is actually Russian troops holding the man hostage. The extraction proves difficult, but they manage to accomplish it, though not without some Russian soldiers being killed. One of the Seals, John Kelly, played by Emmy nominee Michael B. Jordan (Fahrenheit 451, Fruitvale Station, Creed films, Black Panther), is angry with the hostage’s CIA handler, Robert Ritter, played by Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot), who lied to them about the mission. From that point on in the film, you don’t know if Ritter can be trusted, or why he is doing certain things.
Three months later, Kelly is ready to retire from the military and take a security job so that he can spend more time at home. Continue reading


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My Review of THE COURIER

The Courier, rated PG-13
*** ½

This excellent film, based on true events, features a strong acting performance from Oscar nominee Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) as Greville Wynne, a British salesman who was asked to help his country and the U.S. by obtaining secrets from a willing Soviet Union accomplice during the Cold War in the time leading up to what would become known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. The film is directed by Dominic Cooke, and written by Tom O’Connor (The Hitman’s Bodyguard).
In 1960, Wynne, an ordinary salesman, is contacted by MI6 Agent Dick Franks, played by Angus Wright (The Iron Lady), and CIA Agent Emily Donovan, played by two-time Golden Globe winner Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), to be a spy. Under the guise of doing business in Moscow, Wynne is to obtain intelligence about a nuclear missile attack that’s being plotted from Oleg Penkovsky, a colonel in GRU, the main intelligence agency of the Soviet Union. Penkovsky, played by Merab Ninidze, is concerned about a possible nuclear war and also wants to defect from the Soviet Union. Continue reading


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“Searching for Grace” Book Review

Searching for Grace: A Weary Leader, a Wise Mentor, and Seven Healing Conversations for a Parched Soul by Scotty Smith and Russ Masterson. Tyndale Momentum. 256 pages. 2021
****

Russ Masterson was a 35-year-old pastor who had just planted a church, and was attempting to keep his life under control. He was asking “How did I get here? and “How does this get better?” He attended a retreat and heard Scotty Smith speak, and Scotty’s words pierced his soul.
As his church grew, Russ’s questions and anxiety continued to grow as well. A year and a half after that retreat, Russ wrote Scotty and asked if he would mentor him, which Scotty agreed to. Russ tells us that Scotty came into his life at the intersection of head knowledge of the gospel and his anxious heart. As they met, Russ would take notes in his journal about what Scotty told him. During their monthly conversations, Russ would ask questions, and as Scotty and Russ talked, it was like time stood still. These were holy moments for Russ.
Russ wanted others to hear what he was hearing from Scotty so that they could live more peaceful lives. Learning how to live in the peace of God, through these seven conversations, is what this book is all about. Continue reading


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Reflections on Church Leadership During a Year of COVID-19


After receiving our two COVID-19 vaccination shots, my wife Tammy and I recently returned to church after more than 13 months of watching our church services via livestream. Church leaders have faced a number of unprecedented challenges during the COVID19 pandemic. Here are a few of my reflections as a leader from the past year plus: Continue reading