Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

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A Prayer for the New Year

Father in Heaven,

It’s hard to believe how fast time passes. It does seem that the older I get, the faster each day, week, month and year passes by. As we look forward to 2023, we want to thank you for 2022, and all the blessings that you provided us each and every day. For jobs, health, family and friends. For the resources to provide for our families. We thank you for our leaders in the workplace, government and our churches. We truly feel blessed.

Father, we also ask for your wisdom and guidance as we face challenges such as job loss, rising prices, illness and relationship issues. We pray that we will be drawn closer to you through the difficulties of life, and that many who have never had a relationship with you will drawn into one in 2023.

We pray for those who lost loved ones in 2022, and for those who are currently facing cancer and other life-threatening illnesses at this time. Comfort them and their loved ones, Father, with your peace and your word:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4

As we look to a new year, may it be a time of fresh starts in health, spiritual growth, relationships, and perhaps vocations. May we find new ways to love and serve others because you have first loved us.

We ask all these things in Jesus’ name, Amen

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My 2022 Favorites

As I have done for several years now, I am going share my favorites in a variety of categories for 2022. All items listed were released or took place in 2022, except for books, which reflect books that I read in 2022, regardless of publication date. I hope you enjoy this list!


Top Pick: Top Gun: Maverick. Here’s my review.

The rest of my top ten films, in order, were:

  • Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris
  • Belfast
  • CODA
  • King Richard
  • The Fabelmans
  • Where the Crawdads Sing
  • Elvis
  • Jurassic World: Dominion
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for my favorite books, music, TV, blog, podcast, app, conference and resource… Continue reading

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10 Devotional Reading Resources for 2023

There are a number of excellent devotional resources to complement your daily Bible reading. Here are several, in no particular order, that I have used, or will use in 2023 in the case of Alistair Begg’s latest devotional book: Continue reading

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A Prayer for Christmas Day

Father in Heaven,
Soon we will celebrate Christmas Day! As we celebrate this joyous day, we look forward to gathering with family and friends to worship at church services, exchange gifts, enjoy meals and our family traditions. But most importantly, we remember the incarnation, the day when everything changed. On that day, Jesus, your only Son, left Heaven and came to earth to live as a man. This was a plan that was made in perfect unity with the Trinity before the foundation of the world. That baby in the manger, the baby that would one day go to the cross for us, was your beloved only Son – truly and fully both God and man. He came to earth to save us from our sins and reconcile us to You, and we are so thankful.
Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see;

Hail, the incarnate Deity:
Pleased, as man, with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Immanuel!
Hark! the herald angels sing, Glory to the new-born King!
Father, we are so lost, so unable to save ourselves, that nothing less than the death of the Son of God Himself could save us. We can’t pull ourselves together and live a moral and good life.  We deserve the penalty of death because of our rebellious hearts, but He took our just punishment for us and gave us eternal life!  Jesus came to earth and lived the perfect life we should have lived, but couldn’t, and died the death that we should have died.  For our sake you made Jesus to be sin who was perfect and knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. Only the substitutionary death of your Son Jesus could save us.  Such amazing mercy and grace!
As we sing in the lyrics of “Joy to the World”:
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.
We thank you for the life and death of your Son, who came to earth to live as a perfect man and die for our sins. Thank you for saving those who have already trusted Christ for their lives, salvation and eternal life. We pray that many will trust Jesus this Christmas. He is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to You except through Him.

And we ask this all in Jesus’ name,

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My Review of The Fabelmans

The Fabelmans, rated PG-13

The Fabelmans is a well-made and acted film that is a fictionalized version of Steven Spielberg’s life story through his time in college, as he grew up in New Jersey, Arizona and California. The film is directed by three-time Oscar winner Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List) and written by him and two-time Oscar nominee Tony Kushner (Lincoln, Munich).
The film, which features an excellent cast who deliver strong performances, focuses on Sammy’s love of filming, the dynamics of his family, and the antisemitism he encounters at a high school in California.
In 1952, Sammy’s parents Burt, a scientist, played by Emmy nominee Paul Dano (Escape at Dannemora, Love & Mercy), and Mitzi, a pianist, played by four-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain, Blue Valentine, My Week with Marilyn, Manchester by the Sea), take six-year-old Sammy, played by Mateo Zoryan, to his first film The Greatest Show on Earth. Sammy is obsessed by a train crash that is depicted in the film. He asks for a train set for Christmas so that he can recreate and film the crash with his father’s movie camera, thus beginning his love of filmmaking. Continue reading

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There is One Gospel (Deluxe Edition) – CityAlight

There is One Gospel is a collection of new music for congregational worship by CityAlight, a music ministry from St. Paul’s church in Sydney, Australia. I recently got to see CityAlight for the first time at the 2022 Sing! Getty Music Worship Conference in Nashville, one of many highlights from the conference.
In a session at the conference entitled “Behind the Songs Live with CityAlight,” I learned that they intentionally write simple folk melodies, which might even sound familiar to us, to go along with their biblically informed lyrics. It is not unusual for them to take six months to write a song, as each song goes through several reviews.
Here are a few comments about each song on this excellent new album:

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  • More of this review
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics ~ The Lord Almighty Reigns by Keith and Kristyn Getty

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Coach K: The Rise and Reign of Mike Krzyzewski by Ian O’Connor. Mariner Books. 384 pages. 2022  

This book by Ian O’Connor (I had previously read his book The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter), looks at the life and career of former Duke Men’s basketball coach Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski from his growing up in Chicago through the announcement of his retirement before his 42nd and final season (2021-22). Although Krzyzewski did not agree to be interviewed for the project, he also did not discourage those closest to him from speaking with the author for this well researched book. Overall, I felt that the book was a balanced look at Krzyzewski, who I have always appreciated for his success while running a clean program.
Krzyzewski was born on February 13, 1947 on the north side of Chicago. He enrolled at Archbishop Weber, an all-boys high school. Known as “Mickey”, he made the Weber varsity basketball team as a sophomore despite showing up for the first practice with a cast on a wrist that he broke playing touch football. He would twice be the leading scorer in Chicago’s Catholic League, before going to West Point to play for Bob Knight. The long and complicated relationship between Knight and Krzyzewski is a major theme in the book.

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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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Best Day of Your Life

What was the best day of your life? Well, at least so far. Have you ever thought about that? It’s not unusual to hear people post on social media “Best Day Ever”!

I used to work with someone who once told me that their family no longer exchanged Christmas gifts. Instead, they would plan a family trip because what they wanted to do was make memories. What a great thought!

Perhaps your best day was the day of your wedding, or the birth of your child. Maybe it was the day you graduated from college or started your dream job. It may have been a special family vacation. For a professional golfer it may have been the day they won their first tournament. Or for a professional baseball player it could be the day they reached a milestone such as 3,000 hits, or 300 wins as a pitcher.

As I look back on my life, I’ve had a lot of great days, but one in particular stands out. And I certainly didn’t see that day coming. And yet, that day changed my life forever.

My Mom and Dad were very involved in Cursillo, a movement within the Catholic church, which begins with a long weekend that includes several talks. They asked me several times to attend one of these weekends, and later told me that I had agreed to attend several times before backing out.

But one day I surprised them (and myself) by agreeing to attend. I have to admit that I really disliked the entire weekend. I didn’t like spending three nights away from home, sharing a room with other men, listening to fifteen talks and attending multiple Masses. I couldn’t wait for the weekend to be over, so that I could get home.

At the closing session of the weekend event, the attendees are encouraged to share about their weekend experience with family and friends. We were told that this would mean a lot to them, as well as our sponsors. I was convinced that I would not be sharing anything. In fact, I even asked one of the leaders if I had to share. I just wanted this final session to be over with so I could get out of there. I can’t stress that too strongly.

But I’ll never forget what happened next. After just a few people had shared, I jumped out of my chair and proceeded to the microphone to share. It was at that time that the Holy Spirit changed my heart. It was nothing that I had done. Actually, it was the furthest thing from what I wanted to do. And my life, since my “best day ever”, has never been the same again.

How about you? What was your “best day ever”?

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THIS & THAT: A Roundup of Favorite Articles and Quotes

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  • 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

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      • More links to interesting articles
      • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
      • My Review of Uncommon Influence: Saying Yes to a Purposeful Life by Tony Dungy and Lauren Dungy
      • Quotes 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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