Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS


I Am Restored: How I Lost My Religion But Found My Faith by Lecrae. Zondervan. 192 pages. 2020
***

This well-written book is Lecrae’s follow-up to his 2016 book Unashamed (see my review of that book here). This new book expands on some of the topics the author touched on in his first book, such as trauma from sexual and physical abuse, and being abandoned by his father. The book also addresses criticism he received for collaborating with mainstream (non-Christian) rap artists, for speaking out about police brutality, beginning with the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, and his “loosening ties” with white evangelism. The book deals with serious issues such as trauma, loss of faith, deconstructing his faith, hurt from the church, politics, substance abuse, depression, and ultimately restoration. The book is a good companion to his Restoration album. See my review of the original album here, and the additional songs included on the expanded new Deluxe Edition here.

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

  • Vaccines and the Christian Worldview: Principles for Christian Thinking in the Context of COVID. Albert Mohler writes “Reasonable Christians and Christian parents will differ over whether or not to take the vaccine. But, speaking personally, I will take this vaccine as soon as it is available to me. I will take it not only for what I hope will be the good of my own health, but for others as well. I will seek to encourage others to take the vaccine. Encouragement, however, is very different from coercion.”
  • The Cult of Christian Trumpism. Michael Horton writes “While worrying about secularists outside, many of us have failed to reckon with the secularization right under our noses, as the rich cuisine of biblical faith is traded for a mess of pop-culture stew. This idolatry inhibits the church’s work of evangelism in myriad ways.”
  • 9 Things You Should Know About Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. Joe Carter writes “Here is what you should know about the person who will be the first woman, first African American, and first Asian American vice president in the history of the United States.”

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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

  • Called to Lead. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace is now available in both a paperback and Kindle edition. Read a free sample (Introduction through Chapter 2).
  • How Veterans’ Service Matters to God. In an article appropriate for Veterans’ Day – and every day – for those who have served, who are serving in military service, or those pastors and others serving those who have served, Russ Gehrlein shares an encouraging word about some of the unique ways God is present in this unique line of work.
  • 11 Leadership Books Every Leader Should Read. Carey Nieuwhof shares this helpful list of books for leaders.
  • What Might Exceptional Leadership Look Like? To answer this question, Dave Kraft shares four attributes that have been on his mind of late.
  • On Following Mediocre Leaders. Tim Challies writes “We must follow leadership, whether it reflects excellence or mediocrity, for it is through humans leading and following other humans that God rules his world.”

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~ More links to interesting articles
~ The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
~ My Review of The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life by Os Guinness
~ Snippets from the book Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy by Matthew           Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson
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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


His Glory Alone – KB
***

This is KB’s fourth studio album, his first album since 2017’s Today We Rebel (see my review here), and also his first since leaving Reach Records. The new album features God-centered lyrics, samples from several worship songs, and contains themes including praise and worship, being a father, and race.
Below are a few comments about each song:

Let it Reign – This song was written by Tee-Wyla, Michael Farren, Cardec Drums, Bizzle and KB. It was produced by Tee-Wyla and Drums. The song features Bizzle, and begins with a sample of Michael W. Smith’s song “Let it Rain”. The song then moves into a hard-driving beat as he calls for Yahweh to reign over all.
Key lyric: Your throne won’t end, Your crown won’t move

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  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS


Made for His Pleasure: Ten Benchmarks of a Vital Faith by Alistair Begg. Moody Publishers. 192 pages 2018
****

This is a revised and updated edition of the author’s 1996 book, which I read and enjoyed when it was originally published. In this book he looks at the subject of pleasing God in light of putting God first, spiritual fitness, prayer, sacrifice, relationships, vocation, suffering, the heedful life, intellectualism and materialism, humility, and evangelism. He writes that the list is not exhaustive, but selective, and represents something of his own spiritual pilgrimage. He tells us that we could think of the chapters of the book as signposts for the journey of life.
The author writes that we want to learn to be able to say with Paul, “We make it our goal to please him” (2 Cor. 5:9). All of our desires, decisions, aspirations, and affections should be governed by our prior determination to please God.
I highlighted a number of passages as I read this wonderful book, more in some chapters than in others, which you might expect. Below are a few of those passages I would like to share with you:

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

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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

  • Carry Sunday’s Belief’s Into Monday’s Workplace. Terence Chatmon writes “God intends you to use your business experience to honor and glorify Him.”
  • Called to Lead. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace is available in both a paperback and Kindle edition. Read a free sample (Introduction through Chapter 2).
  • 3 Ways the Local Church Can Honor Caregiving as a Vocation. Rachel Anderson writes “Remember that when the sun sets on many other jobs, the work of caregiving begins.”
  • Holiday Reflections on God’s Presence at Work. Russ Gehrlein writes “In my career journey over the past four decades, there have been a few major theological ideas that have helped me to experience God’s presence and to integrate my faith at work.  Several of these concepts are especially applicable during this holiday season.  Perhaps they may become a source of inspiration for others as well.”
  • Seasons of Longing: Advent and God at Work. Charlie Self writes “God is the first worker (Gen 1-2; Ps 33) and he models actions and attitudes worthy of our aspirations. Practically, we can live out these principles as we pray for others, model good teamwork, and encourage all around us.”
  • God of Business. Peter S. Heslam writes “This pandemic proves how much we all need business.”
  • Martin Luther on Faith and Work: 8 Abiding Lessons. Daryl Charles writes “Luther reminds us that our vocation is to be a part ofthe world rather than being apart from

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  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of About My Father’s Business: Taking Your Faith to Work by Regi Campbell
  • Snippets from Os Guinness’ book “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Your Life”

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Patient Kingdom – Sandra McCracken
****

I have to admit that I’m a late-comer to Sandra McCracken, being introduced to her music at the 2018 Gospel Coalition National Conference and the last few Getty Music Sing! Conferences. I also really enjoyed her 2019 Christmas album, one of my favorites of last year.
This new album of worship songs features 9 new songs, and a reimagined hymn, all written or co-written by McCracken. The album, which was produced by Ben Shive and Tyler Chester, was recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic, with friends collaborating and recording across four states.
Patient Kingdom is an excellent album, which I’m sure will end up high on my “Best” list for 2020.
Below are a few comments about each song:

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  • More of this review and a review of Over the Rainbow: The American Standard EP by James Taylor
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS


Becoming Elisabeth Elliot by Ellen Vaughn. B&H Books. 322 pages. 2020

****

In this well-written authorized biography, Ellen Vaughn tells the colorful tale of how Elisabeth “Betty” Elliot came to be, through her adventures in the jungles of Ecuador. A second volume will continue with the rest of her story.
By effectively using a good amount of Elliot’s own writings from her journals and letters (a practice Elliot began when she was only eleven), the reader gets pulled into her incredible story as a missionary, translator, wife, mother and author. Even though I knew some of the facts about this part of her life, I found that I couldn’t wait to get back to the book to continue reading.
The “Foreword” is written by Joni Eareckson Tada, who considers Elliot a hero, and calls her “the most remarkable Christian woman of the last century”.  Elliot herself saw Irish missionary and writer Amy Carmichael as a hero, writing that she was her first spiritual mother, someone who taught her the shape of godliness.
Elliot, who is referred to as Betty in the majority of the book, was born December 21, 1926 in Brussels, Belgium. The author writes that she was far from perfect and made plenty of mistakes. She writes that defining her core was a healthy willingness to die, stating that she really did see dying to self, and taking up her cross to follow Jesus—at all costs—as a biblical mandate to be obeyed.

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

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  • More interesting article links
  • Favorite Quotes of the Week from Tim Keller

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