Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS


Letters to a Future Champion: My Time with Mr. Pulver by Dottie Pepper. Mission Point. 195 pages. 2021
****

Letters to a Future Champion is really a unique book. It is written by Dottie Pepper, a 17-time winner on the LPGA Tour, two-time major champion, and current lead CBS golf reporter. The book tells the story of her being mentored by George Pulver Sr., a golfer, course designer and advocate for the game throughout the Northeast. The book demonstrates the powerful impact a mentor can have on the skills/job and life of the mentee.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review and a review of Get Up, Baby! My Seven Decades with the St. Louis Cardinals by Mike Shannon with Rick Hummel
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ Providence by John Piper
I’M CURRENTLY READING…. Continue reading


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THIS & THAT: A Roundup of Favorite Articles and Quotes

  • Disney’s Strange World Embodies Strange New World. Brett McCracken writes “Two 2022 releases: Disney’s Strange World and Carl Trueman’s book Strange New World (see my review of Trueman’s book here). Any youth unfortunate enough to have seen the former should be required to read the latter. Disney’s film represents the cultural sickness Trueman’s book analyzes.”
  • What Should Christians Think About Same-Sex Marriage? Kevin DeYoung writes “We must not be naive. The legitimization of same-sex marriage will mean the de-legitimization of those who dare to disagree. The sexual revolution has been no great respecter of civil and religious liberties. Sadly, we may discover that there is nothing quite so intolerant as tolerance.”
  • A Massive Victory for the Moral Revolutionaries. Albert Mohler writes “Yesterday was not just another day in the life of the United States Senate. It was not just another badday in Senate history. What happened yesterday represents an abject failure to uphold the most basic institution of human civilization. The Senate voted to redefine marriage. Sixty-one senators voted for what they dared to call the Respect for Marriage Act, as if subverting marriage is an act of respect.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
~More interesting article links
~ Favorite Quotes of the Week

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • How Can I Learn to Take Criticism? On this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper addresses this question “I think too much about what people think of me. In particular, when people criticize me, I really take it to heart. I know I should focus on Jesus. But I fail. Sometimes I cannot sleep as I think about what people said about me. It is worst at work. I really take my office job to heart and cannot deal with it when my boss criticizes anything about what I do. I might look cool and stay calm and polite, but I wilt inside. What can I do to overcome this feeling of hurt? How can I focus on Jesus instead of myself?”
  • Should I Charge Other Christians For My Expertise? On this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper responds to the question “I’m a graphic designer. I’m trying to live out my gift according to 1 Peter 4:10: ‘As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.’ How can I obey this verse without feeling resentful and bitter toward people — Christians and non-Christians — who mainly contact me because I have a skill that can fulfill their need, but who use my skills and never pay me for them? I often feel ‘used’ and deemed worthy for ‘friendship’ by what I can do, not who I am. My assumption is that if I did not possess this graphic-design gift, these people would never contact me. How do we think about the value of skills that are God-given, about the right of making a little bit of money from these God-given gifts to make a living?”
  • I Know I Matter to God, But Does My Work? Part III. Steve Lindsey writes “The work we do through our faith, faithfulness, and occasional long-suffering and trials become the very means God uses to shape us more into his image.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable…About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business by Patrick Lencioni
  • Quotes from the book You’re Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News by Kelly Kapic

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Sandra McCracken is a singer-songwriter and hymn writer from Nashville, Tennessee. A prolific recording artist, McCracken has produced 14 solo albums over two decades. Her best selling release, Psalms (2015) received critical acclaim, followed by God’s Highway (2017) which made the top 50 on Billboard Heatseekers chart without a major label. She has had songs featured in TV, including ‘Ten Thousand Angels’ on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and has over 15 million streams. Blending the old and new, Sandra has also shown a unique ability to recast sacred scripture texts into theologically rich yet accessible songs. Her thoughtful lyrics and gospel melodies in songs like “We Will Feast In The House Of Zion,” “Steadfast” and “Thy Mercy My God” have become staple anthems in churches across the U.S. As a published writer, she contributes a regular column in Christianity Today and released her first book “Send Out Your Light” in September 2021.  She has released three full-length albums in 2022. Here are reviews of each of them:

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  • More Sandra McCracken reviews
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics ~ Rejoice by Keith and Kristyn Getty and Rend Collective

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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS


A Sheep Remembers by David B. Calhoun. Banner of Truth. 200 pages. 2021
****

Ligon Duncan writes a warm Preface for this wonderful devotionally written book by one of my favorite professors at Covenant Seminary, where he taught for 30 years. I had two church history classes with him early in my time at Covenant, and he was also the speaker at our church years ago for a men’s breakfast. Duncan writes that the Lord called Dr. Calhoun home just as this book had been safely delivered to the publisher.
Calhoun, who describes himself as a preacher and teacher, tells us that the twenty-third Psalm is probably the best known of all the chapters of the Bible and among the most memorable words ever written in any language. In this book he tries to explain the words of Psalm 23 as David meant them, but also in the fuller light of the New Testament, a light that the psalmist partially saw. Psalm 23 is about the Lord Jesus Christ.

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


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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


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • I Know I Matter to God, But Does My Work? Part 2. In this article, Steve Lindsey explores how our work is directly connected to God’s primary call and purpose for our lives.
  • 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).
  • A Fresh Approach to Team Building. Russ Gehrlein writes “Based on the experiences that God has graciously given me, let me share some basic principles and wisdom learned by experience, sometimes the hard way, that may help you build your teams.”
  • Help! My Job is Just a Job. Bryan Chapell writes “As Christians we need to understand that our occupation actu­ally has a vocation in it.”

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

    • More links to interesting articles
    • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
    • My Review of ~The 6 Types of Working Genius: A Better Way to Understand Your Gifts, Your Frustrations, and Your Team by Patrick Lencioni
    • Quotes from the book You’re Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News by Kelly Kapic

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


Christ Our Hope in Life and Death – Keith and Kristyn Getty
****

Keith and Kristyn Getty follow-up their 2021 album Confessio – Irish American Roots with Christ Our Hope in Life and Death, their first major collection of new hymns since 2016’s Facing A Task Unfinished. The new album, one of my favorites of 2022, features guest artists such as Michael W. Smith, Skye Peterson, Matt Boswell and Matt Papa, and Rend Collective.
Below are a few comments about each of the songs:
Christ Our Hope in Life and Death (Radio Mix) – This song was written by Keith Getty, Matt Boswell, Jordan Kauflin, Matt Merker and Matt Papa. It was produced by Bryan Fowler and features Michael W. Smith on vocals. Inspired by the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism, this is one of our best modern hymns. The song features backing vocals, drums, bass, piano, guitar, and strings.
Key lyrics:
O sing hallelujah!
Our hope springs eternal;
O sing hallelujah!
Now and ever we confess
Christ our hope in life and death 

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review and reviews of Together for the Gospel Live V – Matt Merker and New Creation (Deluxe Version) – Mac Powell
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics ~In the Valley by CityAlight, featuring Sandra McCracken

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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

Book Reviews

Seasons of Sorrow: The Pain of Loss and the Comfort of God by Tim Challies. Zondervan. 215 pages. 2022
****

On November 3, 2020, Nick Challies, 20-year-old son of Tim and Aileen, collapsed while playing a game in Louisville, Kentucky, where he was going to Boyce College and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was going to be a pastor, and was engaged to be married. Sadly, he could not be revived.
Flying to Louisville from Canada, Tim began to write through his seasons of sorrow. In this book, he traces his journey through four seasons, beginning in the fall and advancing through winter, spring, and summer. The book of short reflections by a father who lost his only son, ends exactly one year after it began, on the first anniversary of the death of Nick.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review and a review of Up and Down: Victories and Struggles in the Course of Life by Bubba Watson with Don Yaeger
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ Providence by John Piper
I’M CURRENTLY READING…. Continue reading


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My Review of The Fabelmans

The Fabelmans, rated PG-13
***

The Fabelmans is a well-made and acted film that is a fictionalized version of Steven Spielberg’s life story through his time in college, as he grew up in New Jersey, Arizona and California. The film is directed by three-time Oscar winner Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List) and written by him and two-time Oscar nominee Tony Kushner (Lincoln, Munich).
The film, which features an excellent cast who deliver strong performances, focuses on Sammy’s love of filming, the dynamics of his family, and the antisemitism he encounters at a high school in California.
In 1952, Sammy’s parents Burt, a scientist, played by Emmy nominee Paul Dano (Escape at Dannemora, Love & Mercy), and Mitzi, a pianist, played by four-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain, Blue Valentine, My Week with Marilyn, Manchester by the Sea), take six-year-old Sammy, played by Mateo Zoryan, to his first film The Greatest Show on Earth. Sammy is obsessed by a train crash that is depicted in the film. He asks for a train set for Christmas so that he can recreate and film the crash with his father’s movie camera, thus beginning his love of filmmaking. Continue reading