Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


New Creation – Mac Powell
****

I’ve long enjoyed Mac Powell’s music, mostly from his time as lead singer of four-time Grammy winners Third Day. I also enjoyed his 2019 album Back Again with Mac Powell and the Family Reunion. In fact, my wife Tammy and I saw Powell with his band the Family Reunion in November 2019, which was the last concert we saw before concerts were shut down due to the pandemic.

Me and Mac

Powell has also released two country music solo albums, but this is his first solo album of Christian music, and it’s a good one. He brings his distinctive baritone voice – one of the best in music – to these songs with a bit of a country/southern flavor. The album is produced by Jonathan Smith, Hank Bentley, Jeff Pardo, Seth Mosely, Colby Wedgeworth, and Ed Cash. Powell co-wrote each song, collaborating with Jonathan Smith, Ethan Hulse, Seth Mosley, Jeff Pardo, Brenton Brown, Hank Bentley, Matt Maher, Benji Cowart, Casey Beathard and Tommy Iceland.
Below are a few comments about each song:

 

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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

Unguarded by Scottie Pippen with Michael Arkush. Atria Books. 303 pages. 2021  
***

Scottie Pippen is one of the greatest players in the history of the National Basketball Association. He is a six-time world champion with the Chicago Bulls and a member of the Hall of Fame. He also won two Gold Medals as a member of the U.S. Olympic Basketball team. I, along with my family, was blessed to see the Bulls play in person many times during their incredible run, even though tickets were incredibly hard to get. It was a very special time in sports, one that I doubt I will ever see again.
Until now, Pippen has not written his autobiography, though his career was certainly worthy of one. After watching the acclaimed 2020 ESPN documentary The Last Dance, (for which teammate Michael Jordan was paid $10 million and no other Bull was paid anything), Pippen decided it was time to tell his story. He writes that there is a great deal in the ESPN documentary that has no business being in there, and also that a great deal that should have been included has been left out. Pippen writes that the documentary failed to give his Hall of Fame career the treatment it deserves. He states that The Last Dance was Jordan’s chance to tell his story, and Unguarded is Pippen’s.

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BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review…
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BOOK CLUB ~ Providence by John Piper
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My Review of Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, rated PG
****

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is a delightful film that we thoroughly enjoyed, starring Oscar nominee Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread). The film was directed by Anthony Fabian, and the screenplay was written by Fabian, Carroll Cartwright, Keith Thompson and Olivia Hatreed, based on a 1958 novel by Paul Gallico.
The film is set in London in the 1950’s. Ada Harris, played by Manville, is a hard-working and good-hearted cleaning lady who has not heard from her Air Force husband who has been missing in action for twelve years. Vi Butterfield, played by Ellen Thomas, is a fellow cleaning lady and Ada’s good friend. Ada still holds out hope that her husband will one day walk back into her life. But then that hope is shattered when she receives a package containing his ring in the mail.
Ada sees a Dior dress that has been purchased by one of clients, and immediately falls in love with it. She decides to save up for a Dior dress of her own. She takes on sewing work to help raise the money for the trip to Dior in Paris and the dress.


SPOILER ALERT: After foolishly losing a good amount at the dog races, despite being encouraged against the bet by the kind-hearted Archie, played by Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy from the Harry Potter films), and not being paid by one of her customers, she loses hope that she will ever get her dream dress.
But then Ada receives a surprise visit indicating that she should have been receiving a widow’s pension all of these years. That unexpected money will help her get to Paris where she can buy her dream dress.
In Paris she is looked down upon and invisible by Dior’s manager, Claudine Colbert, played by Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert (Elle), but befriended by Marquis de Chassagne, played by Lambert Wilson, who lets her attend the exclusive by invitation only fashion show as his guest. Ada is overjoyed by the dresses she sees. She falls in love with a red dress named “Temptation”.
It will take a few days for her dress to be fitted and made, so the young accountant Andre Fauvel, played by Lucas Bravo, lets her stay at his home as his sister is away. The “Face of Dior”, model, Natasha, played by Alba Baptista, gives her a ride to the man’s home. Marquis de Chassagne also begins taking a liking to Ada. Ada will build a friendship with the two during her short time in Paris.


The film features beautiful costumes, a bit of romance, scenes of Paris and a very good cast, all led by a wonderful performance by Manville.
In a time in which woke film studios are adding as many “messages” into their films as possible, it was a joy to watch this film, which was heart-warming and had no content concerns.


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THIS & THAT: A Roundup of Favorite Articles and Quotes

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Does Every Christian Do Kingdom Work? Peter Orr writes “We’ll see that while Paul does affirm the theological and eschatological value of all work that Christians do, he nevertheless also distinguishes between two different types of work. All work done by a Christian can and should be done to God, but only some work is done for the kingdom of God.”
  • What Makes Christian Leadership ‘Christian’? Season 2 of the You’re Not Crazypodcast launches with a conversation between Ray Ortlund and Sam Allberry as they discuss what makes Christian leadership distinctly “Christian.”
  • How Do I Handle a Job That Requires Overtime? Russ Gehrlein responds to the question “How can I handle a job that demands overtime/making an idol of success in my work?”
  • What Does It Mean to Be Called? “Calling” is a term that is commonly used in Christian life. But what does it actually mean to have a calling? Join Joanna Meyer and Brian Gray on this episode of the Denver Institute for Faith & Work podcast, as they discuss this important topic with Daniel Steiner, a leadership coach with over 20 years of experience as a pastor, professor, and speaker; and with William Klein, Professor Emeritus of New Testament Interpretation at Denver Seminary. Together they have co-authored What Is My Calling?: A Biblical and Theological Exploration of Christian Identity.

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  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of God Loves Your Work: Discover Why He Sends You to Do What You Do by Larry Peabody
  • Snippets from the book You’re Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News by Kelly Kapic

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Praising your Team Members

It is important for leaders to accurately assess the performance of their team members. If performance is below what is expected, a servant leader will meet with the team member to share that feedback. They will then re-clarify expectations, make sure that they are understood, offer additional coaching and end by assuring that the individual is a valued member of the team.

When team members perform well. their leaders should praise them for their work. Three things to keep in mind about praising your team members are that the praise must be: Continue reading


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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Sing! In Christ Alone. Live at the Getty Music Worship Conference – Keith & Kristyn Getty and Friends
****

This is the fifth live album that Keith & Kristyn Getty have released from their annual Sing! conferences (one for each conference). I always enjoy these albums as they bring back special memories from attending the conference. Sing! In Christ Alone was recorded at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville in September 2021. The sixteen songs on the album feature artists such as Keith & Kristyn Getty, Matt Boswell and Matt Papa, Dana Masters, Laura Story, Chris Tomlin, Sandra McCracken, Jubilant Sykes, Bill Gaither, Buddy Greene, CityAlight and more.
Below is the album track list:
Psalm 150 (Praise the Lord) – This song was written and performed by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa.
Come Thou Almighty King – This song was written by Felice De Giardini, and arranged by Tommy Bailey, Sarah Gehri, Nathan Mickle and Tom Yarbrough. The lead vocal is performed by Tommy Bailey.
Amazing Grace – The lyrics of this song were written by John Newton. The lead vocals are performed by Kristyn Getty and Dana Masters, with saxophone from Kirk Whalum.
Christ is All in All. This new song, which debuted at the conference, was written by Kristyn Getty, Ben Shive and Dwan Hill. The lead vocal is performed by Kristyn Getty.

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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

BOOK REVIEW:
All Things Possible: My Story of Faith, Football, and the First Miracle Season by Kurt Warner with Michael Silver. HarperOne. 284 pages. 2013 
****

The recent film American Underdog was based on this 2000 book about the incredible story of Kurt Warner. While I was somewhat disappointed that the film did not emphasize Warner’s Christian faith (read my review of the film here), that is not the case with this book.
The book tells the now well-known story of Warner, from being the starting quarterback at Northern Iowa University only his senior year, not being drafted, playing in the Arena Football league with the Iowa Barnstormers, stocking shelves for minimum wage at Hy-Vee to make ends meet, and playing in NFL Europe with the Amsterdam Admirals. He was eventually signed as a backup quarterback with the St. Louis Rams and when the starter was hurt in the preseason, Warner got the chance he had been waiting years for, and he made the most out of it leading the Rams to the Super Bowl, where Warner was named Most Valuable Player.
Warner’s parents divorced when he was four. He was raised in the Roman Catholic church, and though he doesn’t remember having much passion for his religion back then, he was an altar boy, and went to confession and Sunday school.
The book tells of his meeting his future wife Brenda, then a divorced mother of two, at the Wild E. Coyote bar. It was Brenda who was a Christian at that time, with Kurt becoming a Christian later on.
The book shows how his faith grew to the point that he now wants to be a role model for Christ in everything that he does. He writes that sharing his faith and glorifying Jesus is the central focus of his time on this earth.
I recommend this book for anyone who enjoyed American Underdog, and would like to know more of the Warner’s story.

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BOOK CLUB ~ Providence by John Piper
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Enjoying Your Summer Vacation

Growing up, my family always went on a summer vacation. It seems like we hit most states, as I remember many great vacations, including trips to Florida, California, Canada, Wisconsin and New York. And to think that my Dad made all of those plans without the benefit of the Internet, and we got to where we were going without a GPS app!
Since we have been married, almost every year, Tammy and I have been blessed to take a week’s vacation with her sisters and their families. We’ve seen the “kids” (nieces and nephews) grow up, get married and start families of their own. Each year we start having discussions about the next year’s vacation destination around the holidays. Talking about where everyone wants to go is great fun. Over the years we’ve enjoyed great family vacations at Hilton Head Island, the Ozarks, the Hamptons, Door County, Wisconsin, Breckinridge, Colorado, Maine, St. Simons Island, and other locations. We recently enjoyed a Disney vacation with ten adults and seven children ages seven and under. Continue reading


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THIS & THAT: A Roundup of Favorite Articles and Quotes

 

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