Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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THIS & THAT: A Weekly Roundup of Favorite Articles and Quotes

  • We Have a New President – A Christian Response. Scott Sauls writes “One of the chief ways we honor God is in the way we respond to those He places in authority over us. Whether we agree or disagree with our authorities, showing honor and respect is presented in the Bible as a non-negotiable. In showing honor and respect, we also honor and respect God, who, in His own wisdom and for His own purposes, ordains who will lead and who will follow.”
  • Could our Current Political and Cultural Chaos be Leading to a Spiritual Awakening? Philip Douglass, one of my favorite professors at Covenant Seminary, writes “Our politicians and cultural leaders will not alone solve the problems of our society any more than they were able to do so in years past. It will take another Awakening like the ones we experienced in the late 1940s and 1950s and again in the 1970s, except this renewal must be initiated and sustained by planting new churches.”
  • COVID Vaccines and Fetal Cells: What’s Ethical and What Isn’t? Randy Alcorn provides biblically relevant information and resources to examine related to the COVID-19 vaccines.

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  • Favorite Quotes of the Week

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

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  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of The Carpenter: A Story About the Greatest Success Principles of All by Jon Gordon
  • Snippets from the book Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy by Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson

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Is it Right to Share Your Faith at Work?

Work is commended in the Bible as a good thing. It is both a privilege and a blessing. But many of those we work with, and perhaps some of us, view it as a necessary evil. Most don’t look at their work as a vocation, a calling or even a career. No, it’s just a job. Many feel that there is “sacred” or “religious” work and everything else is “secular work”, and that secular work is a necessary evil, just to pay the bills, support your family, and have the resources to support God’s mission. Others may see the workplace as a mission field, and they use their position to evangelize non-believing co-workers.
Is it right to share your faith at work? That depends. If you work at Chick Fil-A or Hobby Lobby, organizations that are open about honoring and glorifying God, it may not be a problem. However, at the organization I worked at, and perhaps at yours as well, sharing your faith at work could have serious negative consequences for you.
The most challenging time of my nearly 38-year career was a result of my speaking openly about my faith. Without going into details, a comment I made landed me in Human Resources, and among other disciplinary action I was required to complete diversity training. Continue reading


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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Out of Body – NEEDTOBREATHE
****

Out of Body is NEEDTOBREATHE’s seventh studio album, and first since 2016’s Hard Love. The album debuted at #1 on iTunes Top Albums chart. It is also the band’s first album as a trio – Bear Rinehart (lead vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica), Seth Bolt (backing vocals, bass, percussion), and Josh Lovelace (backing vocals, piano, organ), following the departure of founding member Bo Rinehart. The album was recorded in Nashville with producers Cason Cooley and Jeremy Lutito. Five of the eleven songs were released in advance of the full album release.
The band has said that the album is about their journey toward their true selves. This is a strong album, one of my favorites of 2020. As you would expect, the lyrics are vulnerable, and the musicianship and production are excellent. Below are a few comments about each song:

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  • More of this review and a review of Precious Memories Collection by Alan Jackson
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  • Song of the Week Lyrics

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Yours, Till Heaven: The Untold Love Story of Charles and Susie Spurgeon

Yours, Till Heaven: The Untold Love Story of Charles and Susie Spurgeon by Ray Rhodes Jr. Moody Publishers. 224 pages. 2021
****

I was looking forward to reading this book as I had previously enjoyed the author’s 2018 book Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon; Wife of Charles Spurgeon. This new book will be enjoyed by those who love the ministry of Charles Spurgeon and the author’s previous book, as well as those who enjoy reading books about positive examples of marriages.
The title of the book comes from how Charles would sometimes end his letters to Susie “Yours, till Heaven, and then”. As you will read, their love for each other was truly a love “till Heaven, and then.” In this well-researched volume, the author tells how their love weathered the storms of tragedy, controversy, affliction, separation, and the death of family members and friends, and finally their own roads parting with Charles’s death preceding Susie’s.
Susie, who was raised in London, was not initially impressed by Charles, a young pastor, who was raised in country towns. Charles’ initial concern was for Susie’s salvation. But just months later, they were engaged.
By the time of their marriage, Charles was a very popular Baptist pastor in London. The newlyweds honeymooned in Paris. In their first year of marriage, the couple had twin boys, Charles Jr. and Thomas, their only children in their thirty-six-year marriage. Continue reading


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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

The Nazarene: Forty Devotions on the Lyrical Life of Jesus by Michael Card. IVP. 168 pages. 2020
****    

It is hard to measure the impact of Michael Card in my life through his music, writing and teaching since first being introduced to his music via his 1984 Known by the Scars album when I was still a relatively new believer. A special highlight for me was our church being blessed to host him for two of his Biblical Imagination conferences/concerts several years ago, and my wife and I travelling to Ohio for another.
This new book is divided into four parts, with one part for each of the four Gospels, with ten devotions included in each part. Each devotion begins with a scripture passage(s) that the devotion aligns with, as well as the lyrics from one of Card’s songs from his Biblical Imagination series albums. Each devotion concludes with a key lyric from the song that Card comments on.
As you approach the book, you can choose to simply read the song lyrics, or as I did, listen to the song. You can also choose to read one devotional each day, or read several at a time, as they are relatively short. Listening to the songs and following along with the lyrics gave me a new appreciation for the skill in which Card brings scripture into his song lyrics. This is something that I have for too long taken for granted.

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BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review…
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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Don’t Hibernate: Stand the Test of Time

I listened to Alistair Begg’s excellent teaching series The Hand of God about the life of Joseph and God’s providence. It’s one of my favorite sermon series, and there is a corresponding revised book of the same title.   John Piper has also released a new book entitled “Providence”.
Toward the end of Pastor Begg’s series, and the end of Joseph’s life, is a message titled “Famous Last Words”. Joseph, who has led an incredible life, is now 110 years old and has stood the test of time. Begg then asks us if we are going to buy into the mythology that what we do in life is kill ourselves for as long as we can, to line the nest in which we plan to hibernate, so that the whole of life is just a preparation for hibernation. Or, will we, like Joseph, stand the test of time?
Perhaps you are already retired, or are close to it. Continue reading


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THIS & THAT: A Weekly Roundup of Favorite Articles and Quotes

  • Can I Take a Vaccine Made from Aborted Babies? On this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper responds to the question “Should committed pro-lifers get the fast, available, cheap vaccines made from aborted cells? Or should they wait?”
  • We Must Find a Better Way to Talk About Race. Kevin DeYoung shares three suggestions on what it might look like for Christians to talk about race in a more constructive and more helpful manner.
  • Evangelicals and Race Theory. In this length article, Carl Trueman writes “This brings me to the most serious problem with the way today’s conversation about race is happening: It is not happening.”
  • Come Let Us Reason Together. Kevin DeYoung writes about the division in the church over issues such as racism, COVID-19 and the 2020 presidential election, and offers some helpful suggestions about what to do and how to be discerning.

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  • More interesting article links on Christian Living, Thinking Theologically and Some Good Questions
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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

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  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of The Bottom of the Pool: Thinking Beyond Your Boundaries to Achieve Extraordinary Results by Andy Andrews
  • Snippets from the book Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy by Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson

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A Model for Loving Your Spouse Through Suffering

Over the years I’ve seen some wonderful demonstrations of husbands and wives caring for their spouses as their bodies failed them, or they were afflicted with a life-threatening disease. I think of a man in our church who cared for his wife through a long battle with breast cancer, another whose wife became a quadriplegic after a fall, and more recently my Dad’s wife who cared so well for him for the last several years of his life as he dealt with heart disease. I’m sure you can add your own stories of a faithful husband or wife who loved their spouse well during difficult times.
Some of you know Barb and Neil. Neil was an incredibly gifted teacher. He earned his PhD from a prestigious university and served as an Economics professor at a local university, my ala mater, for thirty-two years. He even co-authored an Economics textbook.
He used his calling as a teacher in the church as well, as he wrote and taught Bible studies in churches he and Barb attended. Neil was a big St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan, as am I. Each season, I would enjoy his periodic and detailed updates about prospects in the different levels of the Cardinals minor league system. But all of that changed about fifteen years ago, when they began noticing something was wrong. Continue reading