Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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25 Quotes from “Work: Its Purpose, Dignity, and Transformation” by Dan Doriani

Dr. Doriani is a respected seminary professor (who I enjoyed two classes with at Covenant Seminary), pastor and theologian, and this may be the best book I’ve read on the subject of work from a Christian perspective. It is comprehensive, grounded in scripture, and at times, challenging. It also covers some aspects of work that I have not found in others books in the genre.

Here are 25 good quotes from the book:

  1. The union of love and justice brings out the best in workers.
  2. One may have an occupation without a vocation.
  3. A job pays the bills; a calling fits our gifts and interests.
  4. No honest calling is morally superior to any other.
  5. Work is the chief place where we love our neighbors as ourselves.
  6. At work, we have the greatest capacity to care for the hungry, the thirsty, and the sick.
  7. Scripture speaks most often of faithfulness, not fulfillment, in labor.
  8. God gives everyone a role as well as a place of service.
  9. If, by faith, we consecrate our work to God and aim to love both our coworkers and our customers, we serve the Lord and he remembers it.
  10. Everyone tastes disappointment at work, but work remains meaningful if we accept our God-given roles and support others in theirs, even when we are disappointed.
  11. All labor is equal in some ways but unequal in others.
  12. Every morally good task has dignity, whether the laborer sweeps floors or runs a company.
  13. The goal, the ideal, is to serve God with our highest and rarest gifts.
  14. Whether our lot seems humble or exalted, let us work with all our heart, for the Lord knows and rewards all faithful labor.
  15. We should serve God, restrain evil, and advance love, justice, and mercy at work.
  16. The Lord teaches us to work, then pause to sleep, eat, pray, and rest each week.
  17. If the Lord, the Creator, rested, then so should we. But Western culture presents many obstacles
  18. In the Western mind, we work five days to earn the right to rest and play on the weekend. But God tells believers to start the week with rest before we work. In Scripture, rest is a gift, not a reward.
  19. For employer and employee alike, to rest one day in seven is to live by faith.
  20. Reformations of work are ordinarily the spontaneous result of faith.
  21. The command to love our neighbor as ourselves can steer so much of our behavior at work.
  22. Pastors hear that the church should operate more like a business, but the church is the antithesis of a business. Like Jesus, it gives away its services.
  23. It is possible to “work heartily” for the Lord, in all ethical, life-giving occupations.
  24. All honest work is sacred when devoted to the glory of God.
  25. Work is sacred if it follows God’s law, if the motive is love for neighbor.


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“Searching for Grace” Book Review

Searching for Grace: A Weary Leader, a Wise Mentor, and Seven Healing Conversations for a Parched Soul by Scotty Smith and Russ Masterson. Tyndale Momentum. 256 pages. 2021
****

Russ Masterson was a 35-year-old pastor who had just planted a church, and was attempting to keep his life under control. He was asking “How did I get here? and “How does this get better?” He attended a retreat and heard Scotty Smith speak, and Scotty’s words pierced his soul.
As his church grew, Russ’s questions and anxiety continued to grow as well. A year and a half after that retreat, Russ wrote Scotty and asked if he would mentor him, which Scotty agreed to. Russ tells us that Scotty came into his life at the intersection of head knowledge of the gospel and his anxious heart. As they met, Russ would take notes in his journal about what Scotty told him. During their monthly conversations, Russ would ask questions, and as Scotty and Russ talked, it was like time stood still. These were holy moments for Russ.
Russ wanted others to hear what he was hearing from Scotty so that they could live more peaceful lives. Learning how to live in the peace of God, through these seven conversations, is what this book is all about. Continue reading


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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS


The Gospel According to Jesus: What Is Authentic Faith? (Revised and Expanded Anniversary Edition) by John MacArthur. Zondervan. 385 pages. 2009 
****

At the beginning of 1978, John MacArthur began preaching through the Gospel of Matthew, verse by verse, a series which eventually lasted seven and a half years, comprising 226 sermons. After completing that series, MacArthur wrote this now modern-day classic to distill his observations about how Jesus proclaimed His own gospel, and to take a hard look at the truths He included in the gospel message. His chief goal was to take an honest and in-depth look at Jesus’ gospel and His evangelistic methods. He knew that the book would be controversial, as he wrote it in part as a response to an already-existing controversy.
He writes that there is no more important issue than the question of what gospel we ought to believe and proclaim. He tells us that he is convinced that our lack of clarity on the most basic matter of all — the gospel — is the greatest detriment to the work of the church in our day, and nothing matters more than what Scripture says about the good news of salvation. He writes that the theme of the gospel according to Jesus is that He came to call sinners to repentance.

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BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review…
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ Providence by John Piper
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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

Journey to the Cross: A 40-Day Lenten Devotional by Paul Tripp. Crossway. 184 pages. 2021 
****

 

I’ve enjoyed several of Paul Tripp’s devotionals over the past few years, my favorite being his New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional. His latest devotional gives us 40 readings, some in poetry form, leading up to Easter. Each reading begins a short statement, which may have originally been one of the author’s tweets. He suggests using this devotional as your stimulus and guide as you stop, consider, mourn, confess, pray, and give your heart to thanksgiving.
Through these readings, and the “Reflection Questions” included at the end of each selection, we follow Jesus on his journey to the cross. The author writes that the horrible, public sacrifice of Jesus should ignite not only our celebration, but also our mourning.

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BOOK CLUB ~ Providence by John Piper
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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

The Characters of Easter: The Villains, Heroes, Cowards, and Crooks Who Witnessed History’s Biggest Miracle by Daniel Darling. Moody Publishers. 208 pages. 2021
****

Daniel Darling follows up his popular The Characters of Christmas book (see my review of that book here), with a similar book about the characters of Easter. The book is easy to read and engaging, but don’t mistake that for this being a simple book that you will not learn from. Darling offers much information about the history of the period and the background of the characters that you might not have previously been aware of. Like the previous book, I read and discussed this one with a group of men I’ve been meeting with to read and discuss books for many years now. Also like the previous book, this book includes study questions at the end of each chapter, along with suggested hymns and songs related to the chapter that are helpful whether you are reading the book individually or with a group.
The author tells us that Jesus took upon Himself your sins so you could enjoy intimacy with your Father, and that Easter means those who are in Christ will be made alive, spiritually and physically. By looking at unlikely disciples, unprepared civil authorities, and unscrupulous religious leaders in this book, we can learn more about the setting in which Jesus lived and died, and we will gain a great love for God’s long and sure plan of salvation and rescue.
I highly recommend this book to you. Below, I’ve provided two takeaways from each of the chapters of the book:

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BOOK CLUB ~ Providence by John Piper
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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS


My Heart Cries Out: Gospel Meditations for Everyday Life by Paul Tripp. Crossway. 256 pages. 2019
****

After reading a few other devotional books by Paul Tripp (New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional, Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional, and A Shelter in the Time of Storm: Meditations on God and Trouble), I looked forward to reading his latest book of devotional readings. This book includes 120 meditations written in the form of poetry, accompanied by beautiful photography by Tim Kellner. For the book, Kellner traveled to ten countries and five continents. The photography selections are meant to reflect the content and themes contained within the poetry. After each meditation, there is a related Bible verse, questions and a Bible passage for further study and encouragement on the subject matter of the meditation.

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BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ Providence by John Piper
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12 New and Upcoming Books of Interest

I read books in a variety of genres – theology, Christian living, biography, sports, professional and personal development, leadership, integrating faith and work, etc. Here 12 new and upcoming books of interest and a brief description of each below: Continue reading


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20 More Great Quotes from Crush Your Career: Ace the Interview, Land the Job, and Launch Your Future by Dee Ann Turner

I recently read Crush Your Career: Ace the Interview, Land the Job, and Launch Your Future by Dee Ann Turner. You can read my review here.  This is a very helpful book for anyone looking for a job and growing their career. Reading this book was like sitting down for a personal mentoring session with the author in a favorite coffee shop on how to find a calling that is fulfilling and work that will help you reach your personal and professional dreams.

Here are 20 more great quotes from the book:

  • As leaders, it is sometimes easier for us to see potential for the future in others than it is for them to see it in themselves. It is the role of the leader to help others discover their paths.
  • Understanding our calling is critical to finding a career that gives our work life meaning. Without a calling, a job is just work.
  • One of the most significant roles that leaders in our lives play is helping us find our purpose.
  • Without a compass to guide us, it is easy to lose our way. Core values are the guideposts on the journey to living out our purpose and achieving our mission.
  • Your personal brand is how you represent yourself. It is the unique combination of capabilities, experiences, and personal values that you want others to know about you.
  • Most employers look for people with strong character. They want to select talent whose character matches the organization.

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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS


Just Jones: Sometimes a Thing Is Impossible . . . Until It Is Actually Done by Andy Andrews. Thomas Nelson. 272 pages. 2020
***

Just Jones is the third book in the Noticer trilogy, following 2009’s The Noticer and 2013’s The Noticer Returns. The books are partly non-fiction (Andy Andrews and his wife Polly are included, and the majority of the book takes place in Orange Beach, Alabama, where Andrews lives), and mostly fiction, revolving around a mysterious old man name Jones. Not Mr. Jones. Just Jones.
Jones is an interesting character. He shows up and disappears without notice. He can make things happen that are beyond belief. He is a noticer. He notices things that other people overlook, most of which are in plain sight. He notices things about situations and people that produce perspective, or a broader view. Throughout the book, Jones also shares his personal philosophies on a variety of subjects.
The book begins with a confusing “Prologue”, which is later made clear. We then meet 27-year-old Keely, who is in a Florida jail cell with Jones. Keely is in jail on a charge of drunk and disorderly, along with hitting a police officer. We never find out why Jones is in jail. Jones calls Andy to pick him up from jail. They haven’t seen each other for six or seven years.

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BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review…
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ Providence by John Piper
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Book Review of CRUSH YOUR CAREER by Dee Ann Turner

Crush Your Career: Ace the Interview, Land the Job, and Launch Your Future by Dee Ann Turner. Baker Books. 208 pages. 2021
****

Dee Ann Turner worked at Chick fil-A for thirty-three years where she served as a senior leader. In this her third book following “It’s My Pleasure” and “Bet on Talent”, she provides a road map to navigate your way to finding a job, keeping a job, and growing a career. Beginning with developing your resume and maximizing your online presence, all the way through leading others and thinking about retirement, the author gives valuable advice you would expect to receive from a trusted coach or mentor. She writes that the expertise in the book was born somewhat of successes, but more so in the failures as we learn much more by our mistakes than we do by our successes.
Among the subjects that the book addresses that I found most helpful were our purpose, mission and core values, character formation, how to ace the interview, building solid relationships, growing trust, listening, giving and receiving feedback, preparing for an opportunity, resilience, mentors, responding to change, self-development, growing as an emerging leader and problem solving. Continue reading