Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

NOW THAT’S A GOOD QUESTION!

  • Should Christians Attend Gay Weddings? Does It Matter Whether They’re Religious or Secular? Randy Alcorn writes “Regardless of people’s individual opinions, one thing is certain: this is an issue that will NOT go away. While there is a strong trend toward evangelicals attending gay weddings in the name of Christ’s love, I have to say I believe it is more loving to God and to the participants to not encourage them to think their union is good and healthy, when God’s Word shows otherwise.”
  • How Much Sleep is Too Much Sleep? In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper answers this question –  Is it more glorifying to God to utilize his gift of rest through sleep or to capitalize on the time we have to go sleep-deprived in order to more fully serve him?”.
  • What is the Purpose of Fasting? In this six-minute video, Don Whitney states “The most important thing about fasting when you actually try it is to realize that fasting is to be done for a purpose, a God-centered, biblical purpose. Otherwise it becomes a miserable, self-centered experience.”
  • #AskRC Live Twitter Event: July 2017. My favorite sessions at Ligonier conferences are the “Question and Answer” sessions. Enjoy this “Ask R.C.” Twitter Event with R.C. Sproul in which he answers a wide variety of questions.
  • Is Christianity Rational?  R.C. Sproul writes “The God of Christianity addresses people’s minds. He speaks to us. We have a Book that is written for our understanding.”
  • Why Did God Create?  Steven Lawson writes “Why did God create? Certainly not because he needed someone to love.” This seems to contradict the sentiments of the new popular song being sung in churches by Hillsong “What a Beautiful Name”, which includes the lyrics “You didn’t want heaven without us, So Jesus, You brought heaven down.”
  • Does Our Marriage to Christ in Heaven Mean Our Earthly Marriage Partners Won’t Be Important to Us?  Randy Alcorn writes “I do envision that people who’ve had important roles in each other’s lives will continue to be friends—and that would include a lot of people who’ve been married. So although married couples’ relationships will look different in Heaven, that certainly doesn’t mean that earthly marriage is unimportant and that God doesn’t use it in our lives in profound ways.”
  • Is Christ the Only Way? When R.C. Sproul was in college he was asked by one of his professors, “Is Christ the only way?” Watch this four-minute video to see how he responded.

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week


  • When You Want to Put on a Mask. Scott Sauls writes “This theme of deflecting, blaming, and hiding has remained with us since Eden. Painfully aware of our own nakedness and shame, we, too, have become masters at hiding.”
  • Is it Biblical to Say That God Loves Everyone? In this three-minute video clip from the 2017 Ligonier National Conference, R.C. Sproul answers the question, “Is it biblical to say that God loves everyone?”
  • How to Identify Your Pet Sin. Tim Challies writes “Every Christian can think of a sin he has identified and attacked with all the brutality he can muster. One of the great joys of the Christian life is seeing God be true to his Word as he motivates and empowers us to wage war against indwelling sin. Yet every one of us probably also has a sin we rather enjoy, a sin we refuse to put to death. In fact, we may even protect and promote it. We might refer to it as a pet sin.”
  • How Far is Too Far? Marshall Segal writes “Every act of obedience, in life and in dating, is a free act of defiance in the face of Satan’s schemes and lies. We’re not just guardingourselves from him by setting and keeping boundaries; we’re seizing territory back from him in dating.”
  • Why Am I So Emotional Over Basketball? Dan Doriani, who I enjoyed two courses with at Covenant Seminary, writes “Foolish emotions, such as caring too much about televised sports, dissipate our energy. Healthy emotions drive us to devote ourselves to good causes, like removing injustices or loving family more faithfully. The Triune God has an emotional life, clearly visible in our Savior’s joys and sorrows. Jesus experienced every sinless emotion, and so we, remade in his image, can have noble emotions too.”
  • What Should You Say at an Unbeliever’s Funeral? In this episode of the Signposts podcast, Russell Moore states “So preach the gospel. You don’t have to narrate and adjudicate every aspect of this unbeliever’s life in order to say to people, “There is hope for you no matter what it is that you’ve done. You can find salvation and today is the day of salvation.”
  • Grace for Times When Things are Going Well. Scotty Smith prays “So, by your Holy Spirit, keep me humble, stunned with gratitude, and increasing in generosity. May the gospel continue to challenge, change, and re-set the price tags in my life, Father. Grant me quick repentances from every expression of entitlement and presumption, spoiled-ness or dependence on creature comforts.”
  • What Does Repentance Look Like? R.C. Sproul writes “I would recommend that all Christians memorize Psalm 51. It is a perfect model of godly repentance.”
  • The Seductive Sin of Self-Preservation. Michael Kelly writes “Let’s not make the prideful error today of believing in ourselves and committing ourselves to self-preservation. Let’s instead take the road of humility, for this is the road of good news. We actually don’t have to toil and worry about preserving ourselves, for God is the One who sustains. And we can trust Him to do just that.”

CHURCH CHAT:

  • Twenty Relics of Church Past. Thom Rainer writes “The question I asked was basic: “What did you have or do in your church ten years ago that you don’t have or do today?” The top twenty responses were, for me at least, a fascinating mix of the expected and the surprises. They are ranked in order of frequency.”
  • Tragic Worship. Carl Trueman, who I enjoyed a wonderful class on B.B. Warfield with at Covenant Seminary, writes “Christian worship should immerse people in the reality of the tragedy of the human fall and of all subsequent human life.”

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

  • By the Way Conference. The Lexington Community Church, located in central Illinois, will hold the By the Way conference, a whole family conference and worship time, Thursday, July 6 – Saturday, July 8. I’ll be speaking on the topic of “Disciples at Work” on Thursday, July 6 at 6:15 pm. Please stop by if you are in the area.

  • Diagnosing & Mortifying the Sin of Complaining. Geoffrey Kirkland writes “Complaining isn’t, however, the real issue. Complaining is the outward manifestation of other heart-sins taking place in that moment.”
  • Selfaholism or Servaholism.David Murray writes “You have a problem. It’s yourself. To be blunt, you are addicted to yourself.”
  • 6 Things To Do With Your Anxiety. Justin Taylor shares wisdom from counselor David Powlison on dealing with every day, garden-variety anxiety.
  • Owning Our Fears, Choosing Our Treasure, Loving Our Savior. Scotty Smith prays “Melt our fears with your peace; strengthen our hearts with your grace; and send us forth into kingdom service with your measureless love.”
  • Victory over Porn Is Closer Than You Think. Jimmy Needham writes “Are you living like victory over besetting sin is impossible? Your God is too small, friend.”
  • Fake Love, Fake War. Russell Moore writes “The answer to both addictions is to fight arousal with arousal. Set forth the gospel vision of a Christ who loves his bride and who fights to save her.”
  • We All Need Adversity and Affliction. Jon Bloom writes “I would not exchange any of my discipline-afflictions for anything. In fact, I have made it a habit to keep asking God to discipline me. This isn’t because I love affliction, but because the hope in God I’ve tasted in the promises of God I’ve trusted in the darkest days are the sweetest things my soul has ever known.”
  • Trusting God: When It’s Easy To Do So, And When It’s Not. Scotty Smith prays “Because of Jesus’ finished work, we don’t have to be afraid to die, or live. May your beauty, grace, and peace keep us centered, in everyseason of life–including this season.”
  • Redeem Your Time. Tim Challies writes “Whether life plods by or speeds by, you are responsible for each moment. If you are going to run to win, you must redeem your time.”
  • Help Me Teach the Bible: Tony Reinke on How Our Phones Are Changing Us as Teachers. In this episode of the “Help Me Teach the Bible” Nancy Guthrie talks to Tony Reinke author of 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You. She writes “Even though Reinke doesn’t call himself a Bible teacher, it is clear from our conversation that he brings knowledge and love for the Scriptures to the topic of technology. Reinke explains the difference in how we read digital text as opposed to printed text, and he sets before us a desirable goal: the undistracted life.”

Courtesy of World Magazine

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

  • By the Way Conference.The Lexington Community Church, located in central Illinois, will hold the By the Way Conference, a whole family conference and worship time, Thursday, July 6 – Saturday, July 8. I’ll be speaking on the topic of “Disciples at Work” on Thursday, July 6 at 6:15 pm.  Please stop by if you are in the area.
  • My Amazon Reviews. Check out more than 260 of my book, music and movie reviews on Amazon.

POLITICS:

  • Os Guinness: “President Trump is God’s Wrecking Ball”. In this interview with Collin Hansen, Os Guinness states “The way I put it is I think President Trump is God’s wrecking ball stopping America in its tracks [from] the direction it’s going and giving the country a chance to rethink. Now we’re not putting our hope in the president or in politics, but you have a window to regroup, to rethink. The church profoundly needs reformation in all sorts of areas. So there’s a breathing space.”
  • Your Rabbi? Probably a Democrat. Your Baptist Pastor? Probably a Republican. Your Priest? Who Knows. Kevin Quealy writes “America’s pastors – the men and women a majority of Americans look to for help in finding meaning and purpose in their lives – are even more politically divided than the rest of us, according to anew data set representing the largest compilation of American religious leaders ever assembled.”

    Courtesy of World Magazine

IN THE NEWS:

  • The Life and Times of Redeemer Presbyterian Church. OnJune 25, Tim Keller will deliver his last sermon as senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. After nearly 30 years, Redeemer voted in May to split into three distinct churches. Few churches in our day have exerted so much global influence, though Redeemer’s primary focus has always been on its immediate Manhattan context. Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra writes about how Keller’s unlikely church plant changed the way Christians think about the city—and the way the city thinks about Christians.
  • Seattle Reboot: Life After Mars Hill. In this lengthy article, Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra writes “In the end, Mars Hill’s final announcement wasn’t optimistic enough. Counting previous campuses and new plants, the megachurch gave way to 15 new churches, not 11. And even though the collapse of Mars Hill left hundreds hurting and soured on the idea of belonging to a church, it also sparked a wave of healthy soul-searching and a realignment of churches with the gospel.”
  • College Freshmen Are Less Religious Than Ever.Allen Downey writes “The number of college students with no religious affiliation has tripled in the last 30 years, from 10 percent in 1986 to 31 percent in 2016, according to data from the CIRP Freshman Survey. Over the same period, the number who attended religious services dropped from 85 percent to 69 percent. These trends provide a snapshot of the current generation of young adults; they also provide a preview of rapid secularization in the U.S. over the next 30 years.”
  • Farmer Banned From Selling Produce at Market Because of His Views on Marriage. Denny Burk writes “If you think recent concerns about religious liberty among evangelicals is much ado about nothing, here’s yet one more piece of mounting evidence that this is much ado about something–something precious that is being lost.” And here is Kevin DeYoung’s, a long-time resident of East Lansing, Michigan, take on the issue.
  • Womb with a View: Fetuses can Recognize Faces While Still Inside Mom. Doyle Rice writes “We know babies love looking at the faces of their mom or dad. Now, for the first time, researchers have discovered that this preference develops in the womb several weeks before birth, according to a study published Thursday.”
  • BreakPoint: Abortion is What Planned Parenthood Does. In this episode of theBreakpoint podcast, Eric Metaxas states “Planned Parenthood wants to be known for nicer, less horrifying, less controversial services. But ladies and gentlemen, at the end of the day, their name means one thing: abortion. And lives depend on putting this big-name brand out of business.”
  • On Saying “No” To a World-Famous Rock Star.Scott Sauls writes “Let’s take comfort in this reality. We are pursued, seen, and infinitely loved by a Star even bigger than Bono. And that’s something that even Bono is glad about.”
  • Yoga Comes to Metro Atlanta Schools, Despite Some Christians’ Concerns. Ty Tagami writes “Yoga may be controversial with some conservative Christians, but it’s slowly being accepted into metro Atlanta schools. There’s little substantial research with evidence that it helps students, but educators who have tried it say it has a calming effect.”
  • The Transgender Revolution and the Rubble of Empty Promises. Russell Moore writes “Ultimately, the transgender question is about more than just sex. It’s about what it means to be human.”
  • Bernie Sanders to Traditional Christians: Your Beliefs Are Indefensibly Hateful and Insulting, and Not What This Country Is Supposed to Be About. Justin Taylor shares the video of an exchange between Senator Bernie Sanders and the potential deputy White House budget director, Russell Vought, who is an evangelical Christian. Here is Denny Burk’s take on it.
  • Christ’s Exclusive Truth-Claims Make Believing “All Religions Are Basically the Same” Impossible. Randy Alcorn writes “Christianity rises or falls on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. If this event is historically true, it makes all other religions false, because Jesus Christ claimed to be the one and only way to God the Father.”

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

 

  • My Seminar at the PCA General Assembly. If you are attending the Presbyterian Church in America’s (PCA) General Assembly in Greensboro, North Carolina, I’d like to invite you to stop by my seminar (Helping Our People Connect Their Faith to Their Work and Callings) at 8:00 am on Wednesday, June 14 in the Sandpiper Room. Check a description of all of the seminars here.
  • ChristianAudio.com’s FREE Audiobook of the Month: The King James Version has continued to this day to be one of the most beloved and widely sought after translations of the Bible into the English language. Now over 400 years old, the King James Version has been shaping Christians for centuries with its majesty and solemnity.  Narrator David Cochran Heath brings his voice of clarity and warmth, making listening an experience the hearer will want to return to again and again.

  • How Do I Disciple Someone? Watch this eight-minute video in which David Platt sits down with Francis Chan to discuss the practical aspects of disciple-making.
  • What If I Don’t Feel Forgiven?C. Sproul writes that there is an important difference between guilt and guilt feelings.
  • Sticks, Stones and Words…Can Cut Me Deeply. Scott Sauls writesWords transform. They heal. And they can “hurt me.”
  • Can Self-Forgetfulness Make Us Happier? Randy Alcorn writes “What we need is to be so gripped by Jesus and His grace, so lost in His love, that we truly forget about ourselves.”
  • Are Lukewarm Christians Saved? Watch this three-minute video clip of an interview with Francis Chan.
  • The Real Root of Sexual Sin. Jon Bloom writes “The most powerful weapon against sexual impurity is humility. Patterns of sinful thought and behavior are fruits of a deeper root. If we want to stop bearing bad fruit, we must aim our primary attack against the root. And the root of sexual sin is not our sex drive; it’s pride.”
  • In Defense of the Unspoken Prayer Request. Russell Moore writes “The unspoken prayer request is fully in line with how the Scripture calls on us to pray.”
  • Is Body Image My Idol? In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper states “The discipline of the pursuit of physical fitness becomes sinful self-glorification when it is no longer pursued as a means of, one, overcoming our own sin, two, serving others, three, glorifying Christ.”
  • What does the Bible teach about abortion? Jesse Johnson shares eight biblical truths about abortion.
  • Six Words to Say Through Tears. Nancy Guthrie writes “When the grief is fresh and intense, we might take some wild ideas for a test drive, but to move toward healing and return to joy requires that we press this one idea deeply into our souls until it begins to impact us at the level of our feelings: “I can trust God with this.””
  • If I Have Enough Faith, Will God Heal Me? Randy Alcorn writes “In a conversation with Pastor Todd Wagner of Watermark Church, she answers the question, “If you have enough faith, will God heal you?” I encourage youto watch and listen carefully to this interaction between two people who, over the years, have both become my friends. You’ll be glad you did. Todd asks great questions, and what Joni says is gold.”

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

  • Ten Questions Christians Should Ask of Their Entertainment. Our friend Kevin Halloran writes “Discerning media consumption needs more than a litmus test of saying we shouldn’t watch excessive violence and sexuality (which is true). We need to understand the complex and often subtle effects of media on our lives.”
  • Why We Don’t Need to Fear the Moment of Our Death. Randy Alcorn writes “Though as believers we know that Heaven awaits us after death, many of us still wonder about or fear the moment of death. What will it be like? Will it be frightening to experience the soul’s departure from the body?”
  • Is it Possible to be Totally Free from Lust?Watch Dr. Jeremy Pierre from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary answer that question in this five-minute video.
  • Tim Keller: 3 Questions Fake Christians Can’t Answer. In this two-minute video, Tim Keller offers a group of “questions designed to wake up sleeping Christians”. His questions focus on three hallmarks of a growing relationship with God.
  • Sleep Disorders and the Glory of God. Eric Davis writes “With sleeplessness comes unique suffering. The side-effects tend to be many, complex, and severe. It can be hard to understand.”
  • Bible Reading is an Art. Watch this two-minute video from David Mathis.
  • Watching Your Spiritual Diet. John MacArthur writes “When believers aren’t growing, it’s almost always symptomatic of a failure to be in God’s Word. They may attend church regularly, but what they learn dissipates rapidly once they exit the building. They often complain that they’re not getting much out of church or the Christian life. They are weak and rundown when it comes to facing temptations, trials, problems, and challenges. They lack the vigor to do much of anything for the Lord.”
  • You Can Defeat Distraction. David Mathis writes “The trouble is especially pressing for Christians. We believe that the inner person is more important than the outer, and that where we focus our minds and hearts today counts forever. The very essence of what we believe to be true about the world hangs on where we direct our attention.”

Doug Michael’s Cartoon of the Week

BABIES:

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THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week

NOW THAT’S A GOOD QUESTION!

  • How Do You Pray Without Ceasing?Watch Don Whitney explain this in a four-minute video.
  • Is Homosexuality Really the Worst Sin? In this episode of the “Ask Pastor John” podcast, John Piper responds to the question “Is homosexuality truly more detrimental to a society than other sins? How would you weigh the cultural impact of this sin against, say, the sins of pride and overeating and greed?”
  • Can Anyone Really Be Blameless?  John Piper writes “When you read the Psalms, do you identify with the psalmist when he claims blamelessness and uprightness and integrity and righteousness?”
  • Who is the Lord of the Church?  John McArthur writes “The truth that Christ is Lord of His church may sound somewhat benign to a casual listener in our generation, but the struggle for Christ’s authority in the church has come to us through the ages on a sea of blood.”
  • Why Do Christians Love the Law? Burk Parsons writes “The truth of the matter is that not just anyone loves the law of God but only those who have been set free by our law-giving, law-keeping, and law-liberating Savior.”
  • Judge Not? Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1–2). Jon Bloom writes that this teaching of Jesus is widely misunderstood.
  • Do You Exercise for the Wrong Reasons?David Mathis writes “The biblical take on exercise is not “Life is short; let your body go.” Rather, with God’s revealed truth ringing in our ears, we say, “Life is too short to not harness the body God gave me.”

  • It is Never Right to be Angry at God. Ever. Denny Burk offers some brief reflections to answer objections to a recent tweet that has proven to be controversial.
  • For the Annoyed, Irritated and Exasperated.Scotty Smith prays “I don’t want to be the fool who shows his annoyance at once, or the quick-spirited “inn-keeper” who makes his anger a welcomed guest. Settle me and center me, Lord, by the grace, truth, and power of the gospel. I won’t try to justify my snarly, edgy attitude.”
  • The Cumulative Effect of Our Little Choices. Randy Alcorn writes “Following Christ isn’t magic. It requires repeated actions on our part, which develop into habits and life disciplines.”
  • A Marriage Checklist. David Murray writes about chapter 5 from Tim and Kathy Keller’s bookThe Meaning of Marriage and the teaching on “Love Currencies” or “Love Languages.” He writes “His basic point was we must give the love-currency to our spouse that they value most and speak the love-language that best communicates love to them.”
  • God Will Hold You Through Your Habits. David Mathis writes “Simply put, your habits are one of the most important things about you. So, here are four lessons that might help you get intentional, and become more effective, in cultivating life-giving habits for the Christian life.”

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