Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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20 Great Quotes from An Uncommon Guide to Retirement: Finding God’s Purpose for the Next Season of Life by Jeff Haanen

In An Uncommon Guide to Retirement: Finding God’s Purpose for the Next Season of Life, Jeff Haanen writes that there is a growing sense of uneasiness among Americans ages 50–70. Baby boomers, and even early Gen Xers, are asking new questions about life, work, calling, and purpose in retirement—questions that our society is largely unprepared to answer. This book helps the reader with those questions.
Haanen writes that the dominant paradigm of retirement today is about vacation—how to afford it, and then how to make the most of it. But Haanen suggests beginning retirement with a stretch of deep Sabbath rest in which to find God’s call for the next season of life.
Haanen tells us that a Christian perspective on retirement needs a restoration of work, rest, and service that matures over a lifetime. He addresses topics such as learning, mentoring, and reconnecting with family in retirement.
Haanen tells us that the church has been nearly silent on the topic of retirement, and then asks, “What would it look like for the Christian church in America to transform our narrative about retirement?”
Haanen includes helpful stories to illustrate his points throughout the book, and contrasts “Common” vs. “Uncommon” ideas about retirement. A “Discussion Guide” is available for free download, making this a good book to read and discuss with others.
This is an excellent resource that pastors can recommend for those who are retired or will soon be retired.
Below are 20 great quotes from the book: Continue reading


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Maturity: Growing Up and Going On in the Christian Life

20 More Great Quotes from Maturity: Growing Up and Going On in the Christian Life by Sinclair Ferguson

We recently looked at Sinclair Ferguson’s excellent new book Maturity; Growing Up and Going on the Christian Life. (Click to read the review). Here are 20 more excellent quotes from the book:

  1. If you become a Christian, you must both expect and be prepared for opposition.
  2. Growth in grace and the conquest of sin come only when we allow ourselves to be exposed before God, hide nothing from him, confess our wanderings, are ashamed of our own failure, and long for a clean heart and a new spirit (Psa. 51:10).
  3. We cannot embrace the cross, or, more accurately, embrace the Christ who died on it and now lives forever, without renouncing sin.
  4. Tests, trials, and temptations abound in the Christian life. If we are to grow to maturity, we must learn how to handle them.
  5. In temptation we seem to be offered a more abundant life but wrapped within its folds lies death.
  6. God works in our lives through temptation. So, for us times of temptation can be means, not of destruction, but of sanctification.
  7. In God’s purposes, when we are tempted, we discover the truth about ourselves; we learn to think less of ourselves and more of our Savior.
  8. The Lord has promised to hear us; he will not turn a deaf ear to our cries for help. The dependence that is thus produced in our hearts, as we later discover, is simply one further way in which he brings us through temptations to maturity. After all, he makes everything work together for our good.
  9. How easily our witness is marred and nullified because we fail to be the son or daughter, parent, husband, wife, colleague or boss that God has called us to be!
  10. What the gospel provides for us then is the armor which Christ himself wore in his battles with the enemy. When engaged in conflict with Satan those who are in Christ wear his armor.
  11. Wearing the breastplate of righteousness means knowing this: I can never be more justified than I was the first moment I trusted Christ. And I can never be any less justified than Jesus. Nor can I be one whit less justified than the greatest believer who has ever lived.
  12. The New Testament teaches us that suffering is part and parcel of the Christian life.
  13. God uses tribulations to separate the spiritual chaff in our lives from the spiritual wheat.
  14. The believer does not interpret events in his life by the wisdom of men but by the word and wisdom of God.
  15. Afflictions focus our attention on the things that really matter, and thus restore us to single-mindedness and recalibrate our love for Christ.
  16. How slow we are to learn that God is willing to go to any lengths to transform us. No matter what it costs he has set his heart on us. The cross proves his determination. He means to make us like his Son, Jesus Christ. For this is the goal of our maturity.
  17. When we go through seasons of suffering, we should not forget that we are living our Christian life on the battlefield on which Satan is at war with the kingdom of God.
  18. True service is always marked by a recognition that we live for and serve others, not ourselves.
  19. Clearly perseverance is a basic feature of Christian living. Persevering is as important as initiation; continuing is as important as beginning.
  20. All sin, every sin, sin in any shape or form must be put off.


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When Prayer Is a Struggle

When Prayer Is a Struggle: A Practical Guide for Overcoming Obstacles in Prayer by Kevin Halloran. P&R Publishing. 160 pages. 2021
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To prepare to write this practical guide on prayer, the author examined his own struggles with prayer, and surveyed about a hundred other believers to learn theirs. He searched the scriptures, read many books on prayer and researched enduring practices for growing in prayer. The multiyear process transformed him. This book is the fruit of that process.
In the book he includes quotes and stories from believers, past and present, to show how they have overcome their struggles and grown in their love for God. He concludes each chapter with a prayer and helpful Questions for Reflection.
He begins this book by looking at each petition of the Lord’s Prayer. Among the other subjects covered in the book are ways for Scripture to guide us in prayer, guilt, steps for cultivating a gospel mindset in prayer, sinful motives in prayer, methods that can help us focus better in prayer, being intentional in taking advantage of the gift of prayer, simple systems to help you pray more faithfully, God-given ways to fight anxiety in prayer, and tactics for prayer in our busy lives.
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Problem Solving Skills We Can Learn from a Squirrel

We’ve all run into problems that we’ve struggled with, not really knowing how to even begin solving them. The problem we are facing can seem insurmountable. At times, we might ask for help with the problem from a co-worker. My wife Tammy has found watching YOU TUBE videos to be quite helpful in solving some problems. But did you know that we can learn much about problem solving by watching how a squirrel approaches a bird feeder that has been designed to keep him out?

If you’ve ever had a bird feeder, you know that squirrels stealing your bird food can be a big problem. And you are certainly not the first to experience this. Just go to any store that sells bird feeders and you will see any number of feeders that have been designed to keep the squirrels out.

In years past, I’ve tried just about everything to keep the squirrels out – from using a baffle to coating Vaseline on the bird feeder pole – but nothing worked in keeping the squirrels from the bird food. This summer, I finally grew tired of financing the diet of the neighborhood squirrel population, and purchased a few Squirrel X feeders, which are advertised as “your best defense against squirrels.” We’re told that that “Now you can enjoy any number of birds in your yard without the pesky squirrels with our Squirrel-X squirrel proof songbird feeders.” Right. Tell that to the squirrels. Continue reading


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The Kindle Edition of My Book is on Sale for $.99 August 22-29!

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the publication of my book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace, the Kindle version of the book will be on sale for just $.99 for one week, beginning at 6:00 am on August 22 until midnight August 29.

In this book, I bring my unique perspective of having been a leader for nearly 38 years at a Fortune 50 organization, a seminary graduate and a leader in my church for more than 25 years, to the growing faith and work conversation. I make the case from the scriptures and many books that I’ve read, that God values our work and callings, as long as we are doing work that is pleasing to Him. I also hope to help you to determine your callings.

The book was written for those who want to know that God values what they do in their work and callings, as they do it to serve and glorify Him. The book is also written for those in the “pews” who struggle to see the connection between what they hear from the pulpit in Sunday morning worship with the rest of the week. The book can be read individually, or in a group setting as “Questions for Reflection and Discussion” are included at the end of each chapter.
Here are a few endorsements of the book:
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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Sing! Global: Live at the Getty Music Conference – Keith and Kristyn Getty and Friends
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The latest album from Keith and Kristyn Getty’s Sing! Getty Music Conferences was recorded live at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville and around the world. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was held online, rather than live in Nashville as in past years. The nineteen tracks feature a mix of new and old songs, and artists including Keith and Kristyn Getty, Matt Boswell, Matt Papa, CityAlight, Steven Curtis Chapman, Shane & Shane, Matt Redman, Sandra McCracken and others. I most enjoyed the new songs “Christ Our Hope in Life and Death”, “Lovingkindness”, “Psalm 150”, “The Everlasting Love of God”, “Christ the True and Better” as well as Sandra McCracken’s “We Will Feast in the House of Zion”, featuring H.B. Charles Jr.
Below are a few comments about each song:

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review and a review of Zoom In (EP) by Ringo Starr
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics – Psalm 42 (Loudest Praise) by Shane and Shane

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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe by Voddie Baucham. Salem Books. 271 pages. 2021
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This book about Critical Social Justice (CSJ), by a respected pastor, is a book that I recommend all Christians read. Better yet, read and discuss it with others as I did. It’s the most important, and one of the best, books I’ve read so far this year.
Baucham begins by defining some of the important subjects of the book. He tells us that Critical Theory is not just an analytical tool, as some have suggested; it is a philosophy, a worldview. Critical Race Theory (CRT), is a subject that is in the news a lot lately, as we see parents at school board meetings, angry that their children are being taught CRT. CRT recognizes that racism is engrained in the fabric and system of the American society. Intersectionality is about the multiple layers of oppression minorities suffer.
Baucham tells us that a fault line has been quietly forming underneath our feet for a long time around the area of social justice, and the Church must be awake and aware of what it means and where it comes from. Otherwise, we will fall victim to it—as many leading Christian voices – many (individuals and organizations) which he names in the book – already have. He chose the fault line metaphor because he believes it not only describes the catastrophe, but also the aftermath. He tells us that the current moment is akin to two people standing on either side of a major fault line just before it shifts. When the shift comes, the ground will open up, a divide that was once invisible will become visible, and the two will find themselves on opposite sides of it. That is what is happening in our day. He wrote the book to clearly identify the two sides of the fault line and to urge the reader to choose wisely. He would like to say that the book is meant to help us avoid the impending catastrophe, but it is not. He believes the catastrophe is unavoidable. The ground is already shaking. Relationships are being ruined, reputations are being tarnished, careers are being destroyed, and entire denominations are in danger of being derailed. He writes that if we are to survive this catastrophe however, we must understand it. We must understand what the fault lines are. We must also know where they lie.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review…
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ Providence by John Piper
I’M CURRENTLY READING…. Continue reading


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15 More Great Quotes from Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just by Tim Keller

Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just by Tim Keller may be more relevant now than when it was first published in 2010, as our society (both believers and non-believers) is so deeply divided over the very definition of justice. You can read my review of the book here.
Here are 15 more great quotes from the book:

  • The most frequently cited Biblical motivation for doing justice is the grace of God in redemption.
  • If a person has grasped the meaning of God’s grace in his heart, he will do justice.
  • If he (believer) doesn’t care about the poor, it reveals that at best he doesn’t understand the grace he has experienced, and at worst he has not really encountered the saving mercy of God. Grace should make you just.
  • If you look down at the poor and stay aloof from their suffering, you have not really understood or experienced God’s grace.
  • When Christians who understand the gospel see a poor person, they realize they are looking into a mirror. Their hearts must go out to him or her without an ounce of superiority or indifference.

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THIS & THAT: A Roundup of Favorite Articles and Quotes

  • Glorify God With Your Body: How Exercise Serves the Christian Life. David Mathis writes “Although we welcome the charges to meditate, study, and be still in God’s presence, we also encounter the teachings of Jesus, Peter, James, and Paul, one after another, who send us moving into gospel-informed, faith-fueled lives of meaningful activity.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More interesting article links
  • Favorite Quotes of the Week

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Crush Your Finances, Crush Your Debt, and Crush Your Career with Kristina Ellis. On this episode of the Crush Your Career podcast, Dee Ann Turner visits with personal finance writer and speaker Kristina Ellis. Kristina has helped thousands of people figure out how to go to college debt-free and has incredible insight into what financial freedom looks like.
  • The Impact of Saying I’m So Busy. Darren Bosch suggests that responding with, “I’m so busy”does three things: reveals our leadership, drains our credibility and limits the God-story.
  • The 5 Lies of Corporate Culture with Ginger Hardage, Part 2. Corporate culture connects an organization’s values with its daily activities. Healthy organizations don’t just have values, they find ways to live them out. On this episode of the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, Stanley and Ginger Hardage wrap up their conversation on the five lies of corporate culture.
  • How Garbage Collectors Can Refresh Our Theology. Gustavo H.R. Santos writes “Do I believe that garbage collectors care about vocation? Yes, I do. Perhaps not in the same way that lawyers, doctors, or engineers do, but just as deeply, and in some ways more richly.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Called to Create: A Biblical Invitation to Create, Innovate and Risk by Jordan Raynor
  • Snippets from the book Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy by Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson

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