Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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A Model for Loving Your Spouse Through Suffering

Over the years I’ve seen some wonderful demonstrations of husbands and wives caring for their spouses as their bodies failed them, or they were afflicted with a life-threatening disease. I think of a man in our church who cared for his wife through a long battle with breast cancer, another whose wife became a quadriplegic after a fall, and more recently my Dad’s wife who cared so well for him for the last several years of his life as he dealt with heart disease. I’m sure you can add your own stories of a faithful husband or wife who loved their spouse well during difficult times.
Some of you know Barb and Neil. Neil was an incredibly gifted teacher. He earned his PhD from a prestigious university and served as an Economics professor at a local university, my ala mater, for thirty-two years. He even co-authored an Economics textbook.
He used his calling as a teacher in the church as well, as he wrote and taught Bible studies in churches he and Barb attended. Neil was a big St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan, as am I. Each season, I would enjoy his periodic and detailed updates about prospects in the different levels of the Cardinals minor league system. But all of that changed about fifteen years ago, when they began noticing something was wrong. Continue reading


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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


McCartney III – Paul McCartney
*** ½

Former Beatle, 78-year-old Paul McCartney, follows up his chart-topping 2018 album Egypt Station with McCartney III, his eighteenth solo album, and the third in his series of recorded at home McCartney albums. The new album, recorded at his Sussex estate in the spring during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, follows 1970’s McCartney (“Maybe I’m Amazed”), which was released as the Beatles were breaking up and McCartney II (Coming Up”), released in 1980 as Wings was breaking up. The new album is a pleasing eclectic collection (acoustic, rock, pop) of eleven songs which you will appreciate more with each repeated listening. McCartney wrote all of the songs, plays almost all of the instruments (“Slidin’” being the only exception), handles all vocals and produced the album (with the exception of “Slidin’”, which he co-produced with Egypt Station producer Greg Kurstin). I’ve been enjoying Sir Paul’s music for 56 years, and thoroughly enjoyed this new release.
Below are a few comments about each of the songs:

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  • More of this review and a review of Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming (EP) by Fernando Ortega
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS


I Am Restored: How I Lost My Religion But Found My Faith by Lecrae. Zondervan. 192 pages. 2020
***

This well-written book is Lecrae’s follow-up to his 2016 book Unashamed (see my review of that book here). This new book expands on some of the topics the author touched on in his first book, such as trauma from sexual and physical abuse, and being abandoned by his father. The book also addresses criticism he received for collaborating with mainstream (non-Christian) rap artists, for speaking out about police brutality, beginning with the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, and his “loosening ties” with white evangelism. The book deals with serious issues such as trauma, loss of faith, deconstructing his faith, hurt from the church, politics, substance abuse, depression, and ultimately restoration. The book is a good companion to his Restoration album. See my review of the original album here, and the additional songs included on the expanded new Deluxe Edition here.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review…
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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Staying in our Christian Comfort Zones vs. Fulfilling Our Mission from Jesus


In Pastor Burk Parsons’ teaching series The Great Commission (you can watch the first lecture free), he takes us through Matthew 28: 18-20, which reads:
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
We could say that our mission as Christians is telling people about the good news of Jesus, the Gospel (evangelizing), making disciples and teaching them. Baptizing of these disciples is done by the local church.
If this is our mission, how are we doing with it? I’m afraid that as an individual, I may have to give myself a failing grade on sharing the Gospel with others. Some look at this passage as being about missions. John Piper has said about missions, either we go ourselves or we send others (contribute financially). I’m not specifically talking about missions here. I’m applying this to our daily lives and the people we interact with. Continue reading


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

  • Vaccines and the Christian Worldview: Principles for Christian Thinking in the Context of COVID. Albert Mohler writes “Reasonable Christians and Christian parents will differ over whether or not to take the vaccine. But, speaking personally, I will take this vaccine as soon as it is available to me. I will take it not only for what I hope will be the good of my own health, but for others as well. I will seek to encourage others to take the vaccine. Encouragement, however, is very different from coercion.”
  • The Cult of Christian Trumpism. Michael Horton writes “While worrying about secularists outside, many of us have failed to reckon with the secularization right under our noses, as the rich cuisine of biblical faith is traded for a mess of pop-culture stew. This idolatry inhibits the church’s work of evangelism in myriad ways.”
  • 9 Things You Should Know About Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. Joe Carter writes “Here is what you should know about the person who will be the first woman, first African American, and first Asian American vice president in the history of the United States.”

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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

  • Called to Lead. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace is now available in both a paperback and Kindle edition. Read a free sample (Introduction through Chapter 2).
  • How Veterans’ Service Matters to God. In an article appropriate for Veterans’ Day – and every day – for those who have served, who are serving in military service, or those pastors and others serving those who have served, Russ Gehrlein shares an encouraging word about some of the unique ways God is present in this unique line of work.
  • 11 Leadership Books Every Leader Should Read. Carey Nieuwhof shares this helpful list of books for leaders.
  • What Might Exceptional Leadership Look Like? To answer this question, Dave Kraft shares four attributes that have been on his mind of late.
  • On Following Mediocre Leaders. Tim Challies writes “We must follow leadership, whether it reflects excellence or mediocrity, for it is through humans leading and following other humans that God rules his world.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
~ More links to interesting articles
~ The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
~ My Review of The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life by Os Guinness
~ Snippets from the book Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy by Matthew           Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson
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Making a Name for Ourselves

My pastor preached on Genesis 11: 1-9 about the Tower of Babel. If you are not familiar with that passage, it is about people who in their self-sufficiency apart from God, wanted to build a city and a tower with its top in the heavens and to make a name for themselves. They believed that they had no need for God.
Although this story took place many years ago, how much is this like many in our culture today who get their significance from their achievements – their position, title, success, status or salary? Or perhaps as having the perfect marriage, being the perfect parent, having the perfect children or the perfect home, as displayed in their Instagram posts. In his sermon however, my pastor taught that contrary to this, our true significance is in God alone.
Early in my career at a Fortune 50 organization, one of my leaders told me that I needed to make a name for myself. He intended this advice for my good. He wanted me to get my career off to a good start and to build a good reputation for myself. But the advice was not from a Christian perspective, but very man-centered, much like the people who wanted to build a city, tower and a name for themselves. Continue reading


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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


His Glory Alone – KB
***

This is KB’s fourth studio album, his first album since 2017’s Today We Rebel (see my review here), and also his first since leaving Reach Records. The new album features God-centered lyrics, samples from several worship songs, and contains themes including praise and worship, being a father, and race.
Below are a few comments about each song:

Let it Reign – This song was written by Tee-Wyla, Michael Farren, Cardec Drums, Bizzle and KB. It was produced by Tee-Wyla and Drums. The song features Bizzle, and begins with a sample of Michael W. Smith’s song “Let it Rain”. The song then moves into a hard-driving beat as he calls for Yahweh to reign over all.
Key lyric: Your throne won’t end, Your crown won’t move

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  • More of this review
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS


Made for His Pleasure: Ten Benchmarks of a Vital Faith by Alistair Begg. Moody Publishers. 192 pages 2018
****

This is a revised and updated edition of the author’s 1996 book, which I read and enjoyed when it was originally published. In this book he looks at the subject of pleasing God in light of putting God first, spiritual fitness, prayer, sacrifice, relationships, vocation, suffering, the heedful life, intellectualism and materialism, humility, and evangelism. He writes that the list is not exhaustive, but selective, and represents something of his own spiritual pilgrimage. He tells us that we could think of the chapters of the book as signposts for the journey of life.
The author writes that we want to learn to be able to say with Paul, “We make it our goal to please him” (2 Cor. 5:9). All of our desires, decisions, aspirations, and affections should be governed by our prior determination to please God.
I highlighted a number of passages as I read this wonderful book, more in some chapters than in others, which you might expect. Below are a few of those passages I would like to share with you:

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BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review…
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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Living Intentionally in 2021


Although we all want to put 2020 behind us, we have to face the reality that for most of us it will still be some time yet before we can get the COVID-19 vaccination and life will begin to return to what is going to surely be a “new normal” as far as work, school, travel, visiting, etc. are concerned. As we look to 2021, it would be wise to consider what we have learned about ourselves in 2020.
The beginning of a new year is a great time for us to focus on those areas where we want to improve. But how do you decide what you want to focus on? This is not just about what are referred to as “New Year’s Resolutions”. No, it’s much more important than that. I would suggest going back to your Personal Mission Statement to assure your goals are in alignment with your core purpose, principles and beliefs.
Now I understand and respect that not all people are into setting goals for themselves. I’m one of those who does enjoy setting goals; I break them into daily, short-term and long-term goals.
Here’s a few suggestions for areas you may want to set goals in as you live intentionally in 2021: Continue reading