Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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A Morning Prayer ~ a Need for Workplace Grace

Heavenly Father, we thank you for this beautiful morning, and the good night of sleep you have given us. Use that sleep to refresh our bodies for this day so that we can serve you in our vocations and callings today.
We pray for our commute into the office, that we leave in plenty of time so that we don’t get upset when someone sits too long at a light that turns green. Help us to show your love on the roads we travel, giving other drivers the benefit of the doubt, even if it “wasn’t their turn” to go.  As we travel, prepare our hearts for the day ahead of us, and we lift up those we will meet with and come in contact with. You are sovereign and we are not. We don’t know what will happen today, but you do.
We pray for your guidance in the workplace today, no matter what our particular job is. Help us to treat others with kindness, so that they will see you through us. We want to shine your light in a dark world and point others to you, people who might never even consider going to a church on Sunday to worship you. Help us to use our words wisely. Perhaps those words will be used to encourage someone who is going through a difficult time. Perhaps our words will be needed as we lead others, perhaps providing constructive feedback. If so, let us do so with kindness. Help us to serve others in the workplace.  Help us to truly get to know our co-workers, finding out what it is that they value in their lives.  Use us for your glory.
Help us to make eye contact with those we pass by, offering them a smile, instead of ignoring them, or having our face in our phones. Give us patience to treat interruptions with grace, putting others needs in front of ours.
Help us to handle difficult people and situations that may come our way today with integrity. Help us to be honest, trustworthy and people of good character, admitting our faults, even when they could easily be covered up.
You are a worker too, and we are made in your image. So, help us to do our work well, with excellence and a positive attitude and approach, not to make ourselves look good, but for Your glory, because we are doing our work for You. We don’t want the credit for a job well done. No, all glory goes to You, who created us and equipped us to do our work.
In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Without Luther, There Would be no Bach: How the Reformation Influenced Faith and Work Today. Bethany Jenkins writes “The life and work of Bach can teach us what the Reformation so beautifully captured—that our jobs can both love neighbor and glorify God. Through them we can embody the great commandments (Matt. 22:36–40). May we, therefore, offer our work to God by faith.”
  • Why Your Job Matters, No Matter What It Is. Jason Dollar writes “Once you view your vocation as God’s calling on your life for loving labor in His garden, then you’ll begin to appreciate your job so much more. Rather than drudgery and a longing to always be doing something different, you will use your vocation as a form of You will understand the great blessing you are to the lives of others, and how others bless you through their work. And you will feel great honor and dignity as an image-bearer of God regardless of your vocation.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More interesting article links on leadership, calling, and how your work matters
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of ‘The Accidental Executive: Lessons on Business, Faith, and Calling from the Life of Joseph’ by Albert M. Erisman
  • Snippets from the book ‘The Economics of Neighborly Love: Investing in Your Community’s Compassion and Capacity’ by Tom Nelson

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My Review of The Christmas Chronicles

The Christmas Chronicles (not rated, but would be PG)
***

The Christmas Chronicles on Netflix is an entertaining and heart-warming family-friendly holiday film. The film is directed by Clay Kaytis (The Angry Bird Movie) and written by David Guggenheim (Designated Survivor) and Matt Lieberman.
We meet the Pierce family through a series of family videos filmed during Christmas over a period of several years. We see the children, Teddy and Kate, growing up as the videos go through Christmas 2017. But on Christmas Eve 2018 it’s obvious that their father Doug, played by Oliver Hudson (Nashville), has died. Mom (Claire), played by Kimberly Williams-Paisley (According to Jim, Nashville), is a nurse and she’s doing her best to keep the family together. Continue reading


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My Review of FRONT RUNNER

Front Runner, rated R
***

Front Runner is based on the true story of how Gary Hart’s promising 1988 presidential campaign came to a grinding halt. The film is directed and co-written by four-time Oscar nominee Jason Reitman (Up in the Air, Juno). Reitman wrote the film with former New York Times Magazine reporter Matt Bai, who wrote the 2014 book All The Truth is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid, and two-time Emmy nominee Jay Carson (House of Cards). The film is shot on 35mm by cinematographer Eric Steelberg (Up in the Air). The film is bolstered by a strong cast.
Gary Hart, played by Oscar nominee Hugh Jackman (Les Miserable, The Greatest Showman), was a 46-year-old, two-term senator from Colorado who had made a strong run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984, before losing out to Walter Mondale. He is seen as the idealistic face of the future for the party. Hart’s wife Lee is played by Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air), and his daughter Andrea is played by Kaitlyn Dever (Last Man Standing). The film is set in the early stages of the 1988 presidential campaign. Hart is polling with a double-digit lead over the other contenders for the Democratic nomination for president to run against then Vice President George H.W. Bush in the 1988 election to replace Ronald Reagan. Continue reading


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My Review of GREEN BOOK

Green Book, rated R
****

Green Book is inspired by a true story. It is a well-written, directed and acted film, one of the best films I’ve seen this year, but has some content concerns to be aware of.  The film is directed and co-written by Peter Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber).  Farrelly wrote the film with Nick Vallelonga, son of Tony Lip, one of the lead characters in the film, and Brian Hayes Currie. The film had a production budget of $23 million.    
The movie takes place over a two-month period in 1962. Tony Lip, played by two-time Oscar nominee Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic, Eastern Promises, The Lord of the Rings films), is a racist Italian-American bouncer from the Bronx, employed at the Copacabana nightclub in New York City. In 1962, he accepts a job driving and protecting the renowned and arrogant African-American jazz pianist Don “Doc” Shirley, played by Oscar winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), on a music tour through the Midwest and deep South. The tour had been booked by Columbia Artists, Shirley’s management company and he would be playing at whites-only theaters and parlor rooms. His safety was a legitimate concern as only six years prior in 1956 Nat King Cole had been assaulted on stage while performing for an all-white audience in Birmingham, Alabama. Lip actually traveled with Shirley for a year and a half, which the film condenses into two months. Lips’ son, screenwriter Nick Vallelonga has said that shortening the trip for the film was the only major creative license that the filmmakers took. Continue reading


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A PRAYER FOR ADVENT

Advent is what we call the season leading up to Christmas. Each year, Advent begins four Sundays before December 25. This year it will be December 2 to December 24.  Advent means the coming of Christ.  It is the celebration of the first advent of Jesus, and the anxious awaiting of His second. During the next four weeks we will be preparing our hearts to remember the first coming of Jesus through reading, music, teaching, etc., while at the same time looking forward in eager anticipation to His promised second coming. The season is a time for remembering and rejoicing, watching and waiting, and a time to reflect upon the promises of God and to anticipate the fulfillment of those promises.
How are you going to prepare your hearts this Advent season when there is so much pressure – shopping, Christmas events (parties, concerts, etc.), sending Christmas cards or writing family Christmas letters, gifts buying, travel, family gatherings, house decorating – and on and on. We can get exhausted and defeated even thinking about it. Without a doubt, there are many things that can distract us from what most matters during this season.
My wife Tammy and I love the Christmas season. Over the past few years we’ve made it a practice to choose a book of Advent devotional readings each year. In year’s past we have read John Piper’s The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent and his Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent, Nancy Guthrie’s Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room: Daily Family Devotions for Advent, and last year we chose Paul Tripp’s Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional. This year, we will read Sinclair Ferguson’s new book Love Came Down at Christmas: Daily Readings for Advent.  We also both love to listen to Christmas music, both Christian and traditional holiday favorites. My favorite Christmas song is “O Holy Night”. Songs such as that truly draw our hearts to the Lord.
Let’s pray:
Father in Heaven, we pause this morning as we begin the Advent season. We are so thankful for the sacrifice of your only Son, Jesus Christ. He willingly came to earth to humble himself by becoming a man and pay the price for our sins.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

We are thankful for the price being paid once and for all.
Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

Help us to focus on Christ this Advent season when there are so many things, even good things, that can distract us from Him and why He came to this earth.  He came once to save us from our sins and He will come again to gather His people into His Kingdom.
We pray that many – family, friends, neighbors, co-workers – will be drawn to Jesus this season. Prepare our hearts to remember His first coming as we anxiously wait for His promised final return.

In Jesus name,
Amen.


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THIS & THAT: A Weekly Roundup of Favorite Articles, Cartoons & Quotes

  • Thanking God for His Love. In this short video, Thabiti Anyabwile reflects on a moment when the reality of God’s love in the work of election became evident to him.
  • My Soul Is Too Far Gone. Francis Chan writes “No soul is too far gone for God to bring back. No heart is too hard for God to soften. No son or daughter is too lost for God to rescue. Keep praying for God to do what only he can”.
  • Convictions and Consequences. Sophia Lee writes “When Isabella Chow, a student senator at the University of California, Berkeley, decided to abstain from a pro-LGBT vote and instead explain her Christian views, she knew she’d have to weather a storm. She just didn’t expect that storm to involve a torrent of F-bombs and demands for her resignation.”
  • “Broken”, “Authentic”, “Surrender”: The Problem of Christian Jargon. Dan Doriani, who I enjoyed two classes with at Covenant Seminary, writes “Let us strive to use the right words in the right way, for the sake of Christ and his church. I don’t ask that everyone guard their every word, but I do propose that leaders draw our language—words and meanings—from Scripture as much as possible, seeking to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5)”.
  • Your Lord’s Day Might Be Someone Else’s Way of Escape. Rosaria Butterfield writes “Radically ordinary hospitality begins when we remember that God uses us as living epistles—and that the openness or inaccessibility of our homes and hearts stands between life and death, victory and defeat, and grace or shame for most people.”

OUR HEARTS ARE IDOL FACTORIES:

  • 20 Signs You’ve Made Politics an Idol. Our friend Kevin Halloran writes “We’ve given politics and government a role they were never meant to play: solver of all our problems, provider of security, happiness, equity, and meaning. In other words, god.”
  • Are We Really in Danger of Making an Idol of the Family? Kevin DeYoung writes “The conjugal family—one man and one woman whose covenant union produces offspring—is profoundly good, a necessary and foundational element of God’s creational design. But it is not ultimate.”

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