Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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Only What’s Done for God Will Last


Living in the Midwest, we get to fully experience the four distinct seasons. We had a wonderful fall this year, with pleasant temperatures well into mid-November; but we were still surprised to return from a short trip recently to find our yard buried in leaves. When we left just a few days earlier the leaves had not yet begun to fall. (So THAT’S why they call it fall!)
A few weeks later as I sat drinking coffee in the quiet looking out our window early one morning, I was taken by the large number of leaves gently drifting down from the maple tree to the ground in our front yard. It was very peaceful. Now, this is a serious article, but I must admit that one of the thoughts that came into my mind at that time was Jim Gaffigan’s hilarious comedy bit on fall leaves.
Getting serious….as I watched the leaves falling from the branches, I thought of our lives, and that one day they too will come to an end. We may be aware of the average life expectancies for men and women, but we never know when our own lives will end, only God knows that. For example, my dad lived to nearly 85 years old, while my mom died at age 60. Recently, it surprised me, when meeting with our financial advisor, to see my “death date” in his projections. And, while the projected date was a few years longer than my dad lived to, it was actually much longer than the current average life expectancy for a man in the U.S. (73 years). Obviously, a number of factors will go into any consideration of life expectancy. Continue reading


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A Prayer for Advent


Advent is what we call the season leading up to Christmas. It begins four Sundays before December 25, sometimes in the last weekend of November, sometimes on the first Sunday in December. This year it is Sunday, December 3.
As we begin this Advent season, a time of celebrating the first coming of God’s Son – the incarnation, when Jesus came to earth, to be born of a virgin in a manger – and waiting and preparing with hope for His second coming, we take a moment to consider just what that means for us, and the world. Continue reading


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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

The Sing! Sessions: Doxology – Keith and Kristyn Getty and Friends
****

This is the second album of music released from the 2022 Sing! Conference. (Read my reflections from the conference here, and my review of the first album
Sing! Christ Our Hope In Life And Death: Live At The Getty Music Worship Conference here).
The songs on this album focus on doxology, hymns of praise to God. As with everything the Getty’s do, they are done with excellence (songwriting, musicianship and production). In addition to Keith and Kristyn Getty, artists featured on the album include Kirk Whalum, Blair Linne, Jordan Kauflin, Skye Peterson, Laura Story, the Foto Sisters, Bryan Fowler, Matt Merker and Bill Gaither.

Here are a few comments about each of the ten songs:

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  • More of this review
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics ~ Dreams by NEEDTOBREATHE, featuring Judah & the Lion

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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS


Best Seat in the House: 18 Golden Lessons from a Father to His Son by Jack Nicklaus II. Thomas Nelson. 166 pages. 2021
***

Jack Nicklaus, now 83 years old, is arguably the greatest golfer who has ever lived. Although Tiger Woods has nine more wins on the PGA tour, Nicklaus has three more major championships, which is generally how the greatest golfers are evaluated.
This book is written by Nicklaus’ oldest son Jack Nicklaus II, who writes that by watching the way his father has lived his life he has spent years in the greatest leadership-parenting-marriage classroom one could imagine. He tells us that he has had the best seat in the house to watch his father live out extraordinary lessons. He goes on to write that his father is simply the greatest man he has ever known, his role model and best friend. He writes that though the world knows him as a great golfer and golf course designer, his father made being a parent one of the most important parts of his life.
In this book, the author, a father of five, shares stories about his father and explains how the stories led to lessons about fatherhood. With each story and the lesson learned from it, he also includes some discussion about how he, as a father, carried that lesson forward to his own children.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review…
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ Truths We Confess by  R.C. Sproul
I’M CURRENTLY READING…. Continue reading


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Who Can You Be an Encouragement To?


This summer I studied the book of Philippians, using Steven Lawson’s excellent teaching series Rejoice in the Lord: Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. YI listened to a message in the series entitled “Kindred Spirit,” which covered Philippians 2:19 -24. In this passage, Paul writes about sending Timothy, a faithful co-worker, to the Philippians. Paul tells them that Timothy will be genuinely concerned for their welfare.

Paul writes in v. 20 that he has no one like Timothy. They had a close relationship. Timothy was his son in the faith. Timothy was a great encouragement to the Apostle Paul. Dr. Lawson tells us that we need a Timothy in our lives as well. Who encourages you? Who serves as a Timothy in your life? Is it your spouse, a family member, a friend, or someone in your church? Continue reading


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A Prayer for Thanksgiving Day

Again, we have come to that one day a year in our country which is set aside – in name at least – for being thankful. But as children of the King, we are always to be thankful. The Apostle Paul tells us to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). 1 Chronicles 16:34 tells us to give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

I love the holiday season, and Thanksgiving is really the kick-off for that festive time. Today, many will be gathering with family and friends, enjoying a turkey dinner and perhaps watching some football. Soon we might be joining many others searching for bargains as we begin our Christmas shopping and the decorating of our homes for Christmas. But before we get into the busyness of the season, let us take time to thank the Lord for all he has done for us this year. Paul tells us in Colossians 3:17 that whatever we do, in word or deed, we are to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Continue reading


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Leadership Lessons from Elon Musk

I read Walter Isaacson’s new book Elon Musk for two primary reasons. First, to see what we can learn about Musk’s leadership, and second, because I had enjoyed the author’s book Steve Jobs. At the time of the book’s release, Musk was amazingly running six companies: Tesla, SpaceX and its Starlink unit, Twitter (now X), The Boring Company, Neuralink, and X.AI. One of Musk’s primary goals is to colonize Mars, so humans can survive if and when Earth becomes uninhabitable due to climate change.  He is also striving for “Full Self-Driving” vehicles, which he promises will revolutionize the world.  Isaacson tells us that a core question about Musk is whether his bad behavior can be separated from the all-in drive that has made him successful.

The book discusses Musk having Asperger’s, a common name for a form of autism-spectrum disorder that can affect a person’s social skills, relationships, emotional connectivity, and self-regulation. Regarding Musk’s leadership, his innovation, vision, and results are to be admired – his people skills not so much. How much of the latter is due to his Asperger’s is hard to tell. In some ways, his leadership reminded me of that of Steve Jobs. Continue reading


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THIS & THAT: A Gathering of Favorite Articles and Quotes

  • TGC Announces the Carson Center for Theological Renewal. Collin Hansen writes “This new initiative fosters spiritual renewal around the world by providing excellent theological resources for the whole church—for anyone called to teach and anyone who wants to study the Bible.”

  • What Does the Bible Say About Transgenderism? Kevin DeYoung writes “In short, the Bible teaches that God made us male or female, and no matter our own feelings or confusion, we should act in accordance with the biological reality of God’s good design. Transgenderism falls short of the glory of God and is not the way to walk in obedience to Christ.”
  • What is Casual Dechurching, and Is There Hope? On this episode of the As in Heaven podcast, Jim Davis and Michael Graham welcome Patrick Miller to discuss the meaning of casual dechurching. They provide insights into why roughly three-quarters of those who have dechurched fit this category. You’ll learn how we can better engage this group of people and why there’s tremendous hope that many of them will return to church.
  • The Lies I Used to Believe: Transgenderism Is Normal. In this video, Rosaria Butterfield shares how the gospel changed the way she thought about gender.
  • What If I Feel Abandoned by God? In this video, Sinclair Ferguson gives practical, biblical, and pastoral advice and encouragement for those who feel like God has deserted them.

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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

  • Mere Christians: Anne Beiler (Founder of Auntie Anne’s). On this episode of the Mere Christians podcast, Jordan Raynor visits with Anne Beiler, founder of Auntie Anne’s about how Christ redeemed Anne after horrific trauma and abuse, how her trauma gave her purpose and ambition for Auntie Anne’s, and how to stop overcomplicating the presence of God.
  • Seven Principles about Spiritual Gifts for Our Work. Art Lindsley writes “The work of the Holy Spirit in the world has several implications for Christians and their work. Whether working in creation or regeneration, the Spirit constantly empowers us to carry out the callings God places on our lives.”
  • How Can I Evangelize My Employees? Miranda Carls responds to the following question “How do I share the gospel with my employees without pressuring them because I’m the boss?
  • When Work Becomes an Idol. When does work become an idol? How do you know when something has crossed the line from a good thing into the territory of a “God thing?” In this episode of The Faith & Work Podcast, enjoy an interview with Lauren Gill, writer, actress, and Director of the Global Faith & Work Initiative at Redeemer City to City, on these questions concerning matters of the heart.

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Leadership Attributes: Servanthood


In our series on leadership attributes, we now look at servanthood, or more commonly known as servant leadership. Entire books have been written about servant leadership. Here are five books that I have read and recommend, and more are being written all the time. For example, in the book Lead Like Jesus Revisited, Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges and Phyllis Hendry tell us that for followers of Jesus, servant leadership is not an option, but a mandate. They tell us that leading like Jesus in an organization creates a new culture that affects all relationships and every result. It requires leaders to be shepherds and servants who value each person as an integral part of the organization. Continue reading