Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

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

Ravi Zacharias

  • Ravi Zacharias on The Ben Shapiro Show. Ravi Zacharias went home to be with the Lord on May 19. Last July, he joined Ben Shapiro for this conversation.
  • Ravi Zacharias (1946–2020) and His Legacy. Alister McGrath writes “Ravi Zacharias will be remembered for his landmark contributions to Christian apologetics, especially his concern to connect the gospel with the life of the mind.”
  • Ravi Zacharias on The Eric Metaxas Show. Enjoy this June, 2019 episode of The Eric Metaxas Show featuring an interview with Ravi Zacharias.
  • 3 Lessons I Learned from Working with Ravi Zacharias. Sam Allberry, who worked as an itinerant speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, shares three things he learned from working with Ravi.
  • Ravi Zacharias at Passion 2020. Enjoy this message from Ravi Zacharias, delivered at Passion 2020 in January, as he helps us to see how each of us has a special purpose in this life that has been designed by God.
  • Kayleigh McEnany’s Emotional Tribute to Ravi Zacharias. Watch White House Press Secretary speak about what Ravi Zacharias meant to her.
  • Ravi Zacharias (1946–2020). Ligonier Ministries writes “We are grateful for the friendship that R.C. Sproul and Ravi Zacharias shared and for the many times Ravi taught at Ligonier conferences. His compelling and winsome defense of the faith will continue to serve people around the world for years to come.”
  • Memorial Service. You can watch the May 29 memorial service for Ravi Zacharias here. Speakers included Vice President Mike Pence, Lecrae and Tim Tebow.

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  • More interesting article links
  • Cartoon of the Week
  • Favorite Quotes of the Week

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Now’s the Time for Rest. Dan Doriani writes “If we hope to endure without a burden of guilt or bad temper, we should rest. We need this God-given rhythm.”
  • Too Many Christian Workaholics. Paul Tripp writes “When you look to work for your identity, you will find it very hard to resist its challenges, demands, and promises of reward.”
  • What COVID-19 Lays Bare: Implications for Women’s Work. Joanna Meyer shares 4 Ways COVID-19 will change how we think about women’s work.
  • COVID-19 Reminds Us of the Humanizing Aspect of Work. Anthony Bradley writes “We need to be reminded why work matters for persons and their communities beyond its capacity to help people meet their personal financial obligations and businesses to remain open.”
  • 3 Essentials to Remember as You Go Back to Work. John Pletcher writes “Remember that work is our Father’s gracious gift. Remember our divine purpose, to serve others for his glory. And remember to “call it a day.” He did.”
  • Mission at Work. Enjoy this sermon series from Bryan Chapell, in which he deals with many workplace realities and challenges us to examine how the Bible applies to each, and to show that it is not only possible to live for Christ at work, but it is also every Christian’s mission.
  • The Theology of Work on Display During our Darkest Days. Russell Gehrlein writes “In the midst of this awful pandemic, it has been an extraordinary time to clearly see some of the basic tenets of the theology of work on display for all to see.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of “Great Leaders Grow: Becoming a Leader for Life” by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

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Adaptability:  A Key Leadership Trait in the Pandemic (and Always)

I always enjoyed it when a team member demonstrated adaptability by willingly pivoting to a different task on a project, or moving to a completely different effort all together – all with a positive attitude and approach. Adaptability can be looked at as effectively adjusting to changing conditions. It’s important for team members to be able to be adaptable, but it’s critical for leaders to be able to adjust to changing conditions, especially during the pandemic we are experiencing.
My wife Tammy and I enjoying eating out a lot. We also enjoy having pizza delivered to our home. I’ve observed three types of adaptability regarding food service providers during the past several weeks – No, Slow and Go.

No Adaptability – In my state, we went under a “stay at home” order on March 22. Since that date, we have not been able to eat inside restaurants in Illinois. Restaurants were only allowed to serve customers via drive-thru lanes, delivery service or curbside pickup. Some restaurants that had not previously provided carryout or delivery service, didn’t adapt and just decided to close their doors. Some of those establishments have since announced that they were closing permanently. I wonder how many more will close permanently before this is all over.
Also in this category are businesses that have not adapted by taking all of the recommended safety precautions. An example is an ice cream shop in town that also sells food (burgers, etc.). My wife went recently through their drive thru lane, and was stunned to find that the person handing her the food was wearing neither a mask nor gloves. We haven’t been back there since.

Slow Adaptability – Some businesses initially remained closed, only later to open with limited menus and carryout service, curbside pickup or delivery. An example of this is our local Cracker Barrel. They initially were closed, but within a few weeks, began offering curbside pickup service. Even though they already had carryout service, I assume they needed time to develop processes to handle the curbside pickup service, as they had not previously offered it.   But their menu no longer included mashed potatoes?!
Some restaurants began advertising on television, telling their customers that they were open for carryout, curbside or delivery service. Some quick service restaurants, such as Arby’s, began advertising that their food was being delivered. All kinds of food service providers began offering delivery service through firms such as Door Dash, Uber Eats and Grubhub. One company, Papa John’s Pizza, advertised “No Contact” delivery for “extra safety and peace of mind” of their customers.

Go Adaptability – Some businesses demonstrated innovation as they adapted to the changing conditions. Our local Chick-fil-A, with all personnel wearing masks and gloves, continued to operate two drive-thru lanes, with personnel taking orders outside as the cars proceeded through the lanes. But then, Chick-fil-A decided to improve service further by adding a third drive thru lane – that’s right, three drive thru lanes. This took leadership, innovation and additional coordination, but the lines, even during peak periods, continued to move at a good pace.   Another good example is Bob Evans Restaurants quickly shifted to delivering 3 meals a day, and doing it well, without delivery fees.
These are just a few examples of how one industry – restaurants – have adjusted to the changing conditions in my town. My guess is that many restaurants are doing all they can to hold on during the pandemic and various stages of shutdown and recovery. Most areas of the state will soon be allowed to offer socially distanced outdoor dining, creating another opportunity for leaders to show their adaptability.

How have you seen restaurants in your area demonstrating adaptability – be it No, Slow or Go?

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Hymns in the Round – Shane and Shane

The latest project from the duo Shane and Shane is an album of ten hymns and worship songs from acoustic studio sessions held in Dallas in November, 2019. Most (eight of ten) songs included here were also included on their 2019 Hymns Vol. 2 album. The difference here is that the songs are performed “unplugged”.

Below are a few comments about each song:

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§  More of this review and a review of The Lost Demos by TobyMac
§  Music News
§  Song of the Week Lyrics- Forever Jesus by Stuart Townend with Keith and Kristyn Getty Continue reading

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Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success by Phil Jackson. Penguin Books. 386 pages. 2013

I read this book when it was first published in 2013, and decided to read it again as I watched ESPN’s excellent documentary on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, The Last Dance. I read the book this time specifically to examine Jackson’s leadership, as he describes the eleven NBA Championships (rings) he won as the Head Coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.
Jackson has been incredibly successful in professional basketball, winning two NBA Championships as a player with the New York Knicks, six as the Head Coach of the Chicago Bulls and five as the Head Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. The book includes some biographical information and takes us through his career as a player, coach and as the book ends, his at that time new role as the President of the New York Knicks, the one role in his career that he was not successful in. He played his college basketball at the University of North Dakota, where he was coached by future NBA Head Coaches Bill Fitch and Jimmy Rodgers. In a bit of trivia, way back in March, 1967, Jackson and North Dakota played in the NCAA College Division Midwest Regional Tournament at Horton Field House, hosted by Illinois State University, just down the street from where I live in my hometown of Normal, Illinois.
Jackson was raised by parents who were both pastors, but he describes his childhood as a time when he was “force-fed religious dogma by my parents” who were both Pentecostal ministers. As an adult, he began to search for spiritual practices that might work for him. In the book, he refers to his “deep-seated aversion to organized religion”. He speaks extensively in the book about Zen Buddhism, quoting teachers, and discussing aspects of Zen have been critical to him as a leader.
Regarding his leadership, Jackson points to the book Tribal Leadership, by Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright, which lays out five stages of tribal development, which they formulated after conducting extensive research on small to midsize organizations. In order to shift a culture from one stage to the next, Jackson tells us that you need to find the levers that are appropriate for that particular stage in the group’s development. Throughout the book, Jackson refers to his various teams and the tribal development stages they were in at the time.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review and a review of Final Word: Why We Need the Bible by John MacArthur
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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Pastor and author Carey Nieuwhof tells us that his book Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the Seven Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences (see my review here) is for people who want to see the signs that there’s a major life challenge ahead before it’s too late. The signs he looks at exist for all of us, no matter what stage of life’s journey we might be on. He tells us that none of these signs – cynicism, compromise, disconnection, irrelevance, pride, burnout, emptiness— need to be our final story, but we can see them coming. He tells us that if we regularly do what we were created to do, the likelihood of growing cynical, disconnected, proud, or irrelevant diminishes.

I found his chapter on cynicism particularly interesting. To start, let’s define what is meant by cynicism. Nieuwhof states that cynicism is simply the general distrust of others or a lack of hope in people or their desires. At its worst, it becomes jaded negativity, skepticism, contempt or scorn.

I’ve never really considered myself to be a cynical person. What about you, do you consider yourself cynical? Take a few minutes to take Nieuwhof’s Cynicism Quiz to see how cynical you are. Continue reading


Servant Leadership: Leading Like Jesus, Part 3

In the first part of our three-part series, we looked at my takeaways from the book Lead Like Jesus: Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges. In part two, we looked at my takeaways from a few other books on servant leadership that I would commend to you, and in this third part, I’ll look at my takeaways from a few more books. Continue reading