Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


Leave a comment

BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

Lessons from the Upper Room: The Heart of the Savior by Sinclair Ferguson. Ligonier Ministries. 237 pages. 2021
****

In this book, respected theologian Sinclair Ferguson, in his distinctive warm writing style, takes us through chapters 13 through 17 of John’s gospel, John’s description of events in the upper room on the evening before Jesus’ crucifixion. In five chapters, 155 verses, and less than four thousand words we are given what the Puritan writer Thomas Goodwin called “a window into Christ’s heart.” Ferguson tells us that in some ways, chapters 13–17 are a gospel within the gospel; in fact, they reflect the shape of the whole.
I had previously benefitted from Ferguson’s twelve message teaching series Lessons from the Upper Room that was released by Ligonier Ministries in 2014. This book contains significantly more content than the original teaching series, though Ferguson tells us that the book is by no means a complete exposition of John 13–17.
Ferguson invites us to climb the stairs leading to an upper room on a house in Jerusalem. Here we can eavesdrop on what transpired during the late afternoon and evening of the day before the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. He tells us that thirteen men have come together for a Passover meal. One will leave early on a mission of betrayal. The remaining twelve will later make their way to the garden of Gethsemane. From there they will be scattered. One will be taken by force on a nightmare journey. By this time tomorrow, Friday, the lifeless body of Jesus of Nazareth will be carried to a garden tomb.  But this is not the end, just the end of the beginning. For early on Sunday morning, He will rise again from the dead. He now lives forever as a Prince and Savior.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review…
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ Providence by John Piper
I’M CURRENTLY READING…. Continue reading


Leave a comment

THIS & THAT: A Roundup of Favorite Articles and Quotes

  • How to Survive a Cultural Crisis. Mark Dever shares seven principles for surviving the very real cultural shifts we’re presently enduring.
  • Is Abortion a Woman’s Right? In the discussion about abortion, questions are often raised about the rights of women. In this video clip, R.C. Sproul uses Scripture to illustrate the distinction between how civil law often defines “rights” and how God, as the author of life, defines them.

  • Friend, You Can Be Ready to Die. Two Ways to Prepare Now. Ray Ortlund writes “Among the many ways to prepare for death — like buying life insurance, making a proper will, and so forth — here are two truths that can help you prevail when your moment comes. Both insights come from an obscure passage near the end of Deuteronomy.”
  • Reconstructing Faith: Christianity in a New World. Tim Keller writes “Christians in our cultural moment will have to rethink their faith, but at the same time they must learn to ‘doubt their doubts.’ They must deconstruct not only their tacit, mistaken beliefs and their secondary beliefs that pose as primary, but also just as importantly, the cultural narratives that are offered as the alternatives to Christian faith.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More interesting article links
  • Favorite Quotes of the Week

Continue reading


1 Comment

FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • The Value of Your Work Isn’t Attached to a Dollar Sign. Courtney Reissig writes “In my effort to bring value to the unpaid work of the home, I don’t want to diminish the need to pay people a fair wage for the work they do. But it is important for us to see work as a contribution, and not always with a dollar sign attached to it. We must walk a fine line between valuing unpaid work and providing people with the compensation they deserve for their work.”
  • Work is Very Good. Howard Graham writes “How do you view your work? Do you see work as good, a broken mess, or an opportunity to make things better? If you are thinking “all three” you are practically and theologically correct.”
  • Transformed Podcast: Tony Dungy and Lauren Dungy. Tony Dungy and Lauren Dungy join Jade McCarthy on the Transformed podcast to talk about their new book Uncommon Influence.
    Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

    • More links to interesting articles
    • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
    • My Review of Russell Rules: 11 Lessons on Leadership from the Twentieth Century’s Greatest Winner by Bill Russell with David Falkner
    • Quotes from the book You’re Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News by Kelly Kapic

Continue reading


Leave a comment

THIS & THAT: A Roundup of Favorite Articles and Quotes



Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More interesting article links
  • Favorite Quotes of the Week

Continue reading


Leave a comment

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


There’s a Rainbow Somewhere: The Songs of Randy Stonehill – Various Artists
****

This album, by some of the best Christian artists from the 1980’s to the present time, is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Contemporary Christian Music pioneer Randy Stonehill’s 1971 debut album Born Twice. Just looking at the names of the artists that contributed to this album brought a smile to my face and many great memories of the music I listened to as a new believer. Tom Gulotta and Ray Ware served as executive producers of the project.

I thoroughly enjoyed this album. Here is the track list, and just a few comments about each song:
Lazarus Heart – Phil Keaggy. The song was produced by Phil Keaggy and Rex Schnelle. Keaggy provides vocals, acoustic and electric guitars.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics ~ On Jordan’s Stormy Banks by Keith & Kristyn Getty

Continue reading


Leave a comment

BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS


Talking to GOATs: The Moments You Remember and the Stories You Never Heard by Jim Gray. William Morrow. 2020
****

I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Emmy Award-winning sportscaster Jim Gray as he looks back on his four decades of sports reporting. The “Foreword” is written by his good friend, Tom Brady, one of the GOATS (Greatest Of All Time) that he writes about in this entertaining book.
Gray begins by writing about interviewing boxer Mike Tyson after he bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear. Among the others that he writes about are Muhammed Ali, Bill Walton, of whom he writes that there is no better friend, Jerry West, John Madden and Hank Aaron. He writes at length about an interview with Pete Rose which he was forced to apologize for. He writes that what Rose did was damaging to Gray, and the ramifications of that moment have reverberated ever since.
He writes about Bud Selig and the steroids era in major league baseball, Tiger Woods, Don Shula, Michael Phelps, Floyd Mayweather, the “Dream Team”, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest and the “Malice at the Palace”, Mike Ditka, and LeBron James and “The Decision”.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review…
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ Providence by John Piper
I’M CURRENTLY READING…. Continue reading


Leave a comment

THIS & THAT: A Roundup of Favorite Articles and Quotes

  • Failure Need Not Be Final. Zack Eswine writes “Like many of us, the apostle Peter was acquainted with failures and their relentless reminders. How did Peter come to believe this grace-truth that failure isn’t final, that a failed Christian isn’t a finished Christian?”
  • The Most Accessible Person in the Universe. There is no minimum bar you need to get over to get to him. All you have to do is collapse to get into the heart of Christ. Watch this short video from Dane Ortlund.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More interesting article links
  • Favorite Quotes of the Week

Continue reading


1 Comment

FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday


Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • Tom Nelson, President of MTF: Work that Flourishes. On this episode of the Working with Dan Doriani podcast, Dan visits with Tom Nelson, president of the faith and work organization Made to Flourish, a pastor, and the author of several books including: Work Matters, The Economics of Neighborly Love, and, most recently, The Flourishing Pastor. In this episode Tom and Dan discuss the world of faith and work, and Tom’s profound, lifelong commitment to bridging, what he calls, the Sunday to Monday gap.
  • Reflections on Working in a Job a Long Time. Russ Gehrlein invites us to consider with him what it might look like for a Christian to remain in the same job for an extended season.
  • 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).
  • “One Easy Thing” to Help Pastors Engage Their Audience. Missy Wallace writes “Based on my experience and research, I think “one thing” that can make church feel more relevant and applicable to the day-to-day lives of your congregants (and doesn’t cost anything) is to implement faith and work in your sermons.”
  • Vocation: Your Distinct Sphere of Responsibility. Katherine Leary Alsdorf writes ““Work,” we realized, is not a uniform human experience: it is a profoundly diverse and complex activity.”
  • Take Time to Be Unproductive: How Busyness Can Waste a Life. Kelly Kapic writes “What if God doesn’t expect us to be productive every moment? What if growing comfortable with slowness, with quiet, with not filling every moment can help reconnect us to God, others, and even with our own humanity? That’s at least worth thinking about.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Love and Work: How to Find What You Love, Love What You Do, and Do It for the Rest of Your Life by Marcus Buckingham
  • Quotes from the book You’re Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News by Kelly Kapic

Continue reading


Leave a comment

MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Worship Forever – Michael W. Smith
***

Michael W. Smith’s best-selling album is Worship, which was released on September 11, 2001, the day our nation was attacked. As a way to honor the tragic September 11 anniversary, Smith has released a reimagined version of the album. Worship Forever was recorded in front of a live audience in Nashville in July with a full symphony orchestra, choir and guest appearances by Amy Grant, Matt Redman, and Tauren Wells.
Smith adds a few newer songs to the track list including “Surrounded/Waymaker” and the new studio recording, the piano and orchestra driven “Sing Again.” Below is the chorus for “Sing Again”:

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics:  Send Out Your Light by Sandra McCracken

Continue reading


Leave a comment

BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

R.C. Sproul: Defender of the Reformed Faith by Nate Pickowicz. H&E Publishing. 140 pages. 2022 
****

In this warmly written and concise biography of R.C. Sproul, pastor and author Nate Pickowicz shares an appreciation that many of us have for the life and ministry of R.C. Sproul, who went home to be with the Lord in December, 2017. He writes that Sproul’s five decades of ministry loosely reflected the five solas of the Reformation.
The author focuses primarily on Sproul’s public ministry, quoting liberally from Sproul’s books and on his defense of the faith. Each chapter begins with a quote from Sproul.
The author’s fast-moving biography tells us that Sproul knew at 13 years of age that he would marry Vesta Voorhis. They would marry in 1960. He writes of Sproul’s father’s multiple strokes and death, telling us that it would be his father’s suffering that would drive him into the arms of the Suffering Savior, writing about his conversion in his dormitory room in 1957.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review…
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ Providence by John Piper
I’M CURRENTLY READING…. Continue reading