Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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Redeeming Your Time: 7 Biblical Principles for Being Purposeful, Present, and Wildly Productive by Jordan Raynor

Redeeming Your Time: 7 Biblical Principles for Being Purposeful, Present, and Wildly Productive by Jordan Raynor. WaterBrook. 240 pages. 2021
****

Like me, you may have already read a few books about productivity. I’ve read good books by Tim Challies and Matt Perman, and recently read Redeeming Your Time by Jordan Raynor (Called to Create, Master of One), which I commend to you.
Raynor tells us that the solution to our struggle with time management is found in Jesus Christ. He tells us that Jesus offers us peace before we do anything, and also that Jesus shows us how God would manage his time. Because he was infallible God, we can assume that Jesus managed his time perfectly, providing us with the ideal model to follow.  As far as what makes this book different from other time management/productivity books you’ve read, the author tells us that this book:

  • Accounts for how the Author of time managed his time.
  • Seeks to collect and connect the previously disconnected pieces of the time management puzzle.
  • Attempts to strike a unique balance between the theological, the theoretical, and the tactical. 

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THIS & THAT: A Roundup of Favorite Articles and Quotes

  • The World Is Catechizing Us Whether We Realize It or Not. Kevin DeYoung writes “Here’s the reality facing every Christian in the West: the money, power, and prestige of the mainstream media, big time sports, big business, big tech, and almost all the institutions of education and entertainment are invested in making sin look normal.”
  • Explainer: What You Should Know About COVID-19 Booster Vaccines. The ERLC Staff write “Federal regulators are likely to approve booster vaccines for all three approved COVID-19 vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson — starting six months after inoculation, according to recent news reports. The Biden administration and companies have said that there should be enough supply for boosters that they plan to begin distributing more widely on Sept. 20. Here is what you should know about COVID-19 booster vaccines.”
  • Texas Law Authorizes Anyone in U.S. to Enforce Its New Abortion Ban. Joe Carter writes “The U.S. Supreme Court has refused, for now, to intervene in a Texas law that would ban nearly all abortions in the state—and allows anyone in the U.S. to enforce it.”

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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

  • Jesus’ Career Before His Ministry: A Business Insider. Klaus Issler writes “By taking a deeper look at Jesus’ teachings and his own “secular” work experience prior to his public ministry, we may come to appreciate how this form of work had a significant role in Jesus’ life, and how it continues to have a vital role in in God’s ongoing work today.
  • Sabotaging Success. In this short video, Mark Miller discusses how to troubleshoot the three ways leaders self-sabotage.
  • The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill. My wife Tammy and I have been listening to the Christianity Today podcast The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill by Mike Cosper. I recommend it for all leaders.
  • Is There Any Heavenly Good in Our Earthly Labor. John Pletcher looks at five story threads that summarize and potentially motivate us for God-honoring earthly work.

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    • More links to interesting articles
    • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
    • My Review of Leading in Tough Times: Overcome Even the Greatest Challenges with Courage and Confidence by John Maxwell
    • Snippets from the book Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy by Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson

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My Review of NO TIME TO DIE

No Time to Die, rated PG-13 
***

No Time to Die is the pandemic delayed 25th film in the James Bond series, and the fifth and final film with Daniel Craig starring as 007 James Bond since 2006’s Casino Royale. My all-time favorite actor playing Bond is Sean Connery, but Craig is a close second. The film was directed by Emmy winner Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective) and written by Fukunaga, Neal Purvis (Spectre, Skyfall, Quantum of Solace, The World is Not Enough, and Casino Royale), Robert Wade (Spectre, Skyfall, Quantum of Solace, The World is Not Enough, and Casino Royale), and Emmy winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), based on characters developed by Ian Fleming. The film, which features exotic locales, great cars (especially the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera), car chases and gun fight battles, as well as numerous nods to previous Bond films, was entertaining, but did seem long at 163 minutes.
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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS


The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown. Hazelden Publishing. 156 pages. 2010
***

This self-help book by Brené Brown, a research professor, is outside of my normal genre of reading. It was highly recommended by a few family members, so my wife Tammy and I decided to read and discuss the book.
The book is comprised of ten short chapters, each one covering a “Guide Post” toward living a wholehearted life. Each chapter ends with a “DIG Deep” section, including suggestions on how to “Get Deliberate”, “Get Inspired” and “Get Going”.
Brown writes that wholehearted living is not a onetime choice. It is a process, and she believes that it’s the journey of a lifetime. Cultivating a wholehearted life is not like trying to reach a destination. Brown writes that it is like walking toward a star in the sky. We never really arrive, but we certainly know that we’re heading in the right direction. She tells us that at the heart of wholeheartedness is worthy now. We are worthy of love and belonging now. Courage, compassion, and connection are the tools that we need to work our way through our journey.
The book covers a wide variety of subjects, such as vulnerability, belonging, shame, fear, courage, authenticity, perfectionism, resilience, spirituality, gratitude, creativity, play, work and laughter. Although the book is not written from a specifically Christian perspective, there is much to consider and ponder in the book. Being a perfectionist, that particular section was eye-opening for me.

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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

  • Do You Feel Alone? Paul Tripp writes “If you’re his child, ward off the fear that knocks on your door by remembering who God is and who you’ve become as his chosen child. And don’t just celebrate his grace; let it reshape the way you live today and the tomorrows that follow.”
  • Are You a Winner? Howard Graham writes “The Bible has a lot to say about winning including what it takes to compete and finish in victory. Here are seven attributes of winners to guide you on the path to victory.”
  • Where We Draw the Line: How to Live (and Die) in Babylon. Alistair Begg writes “The line is to be drawn where we are told to disobey God; it is also to be drawn where we are asked to compromise on a matter that our conscience tells us will undermine our identity as a Christian.”
  • Handling Our Differences Redemptively, Not Destructively. Scotty Smith writes “Trying to wrap my head and heart around the divisiveness that has marked so much public discourse lately, I spent some valuable time pondering three messy relational scenarios described in the New Testament. Each situation highlights how we, who are perfectly loved by Jesus, don’t easily handle our differences very well.”

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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

  • It’s Not About You. Dee Ann Turner writes “Developing the ability to put others first, leading by serving and focusing on adding value rather than extracting it are important skills in managing your own ego. An out-of-control ego often leads to a derailed career. If you want to crush your career, managing your ego is an important skill to develop”.
  • Being Teachable. On this episode of Minute with Maxwell, John Maxwell states that traits of one who is teachable or coachable is that they want to learn and have the right attitude.
  • How Do I Explain a Church Switch to Colleagues? Charlie Self responds to the question “How do I explain to non-Christian colleagues about having left my former church? Sadly, during the pandemic my church pastor and elders announced major changes—to adopt a liberal, egalitarian, and LGBQT-embracing agenda. After much discussion and prayer, I’ve resigned as a member. I often invited unbelieving work friends to church events. As restrictions ease and our office is due to reopen, I don’t know how to explain my switch if the matter arises. Can you suggest any principles or approaches?”

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  • More links to interesting articles
  • The Top 10 Faith and Work Quotes of the Week
  • My Review of Better Decisions, Fewer Regrets: 5 Questions to Help You Determine Your Next Move by Andy Stanley
  • Snippets from the book Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy by Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B. Willson

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My Review of CRY MACHO

Cry Macho  rated PG-13
*

Cry Macho stars and is directed by four-time Oscar winner Clint Eastwood (Mystic River, Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby). It was written by Nick Schenk, who also worked with Eastwood on Mule and Gran Torino, and is based on the 1975 novel by N. Richard Nash.
The 91-year-old Eastwood plays Mike Milo, a former rodeo star who was injured when thrown by a horse, and is now a horse breeder, shows up late to work. We get the impression it’s not the first time, and there is reference to him no longer being an effective horse trainer and perhaps alcohol and pills having been a contributing factor. As a result, his boss, Howard Polk, played by Dwight Yoakam, fires him.
The story then moves forward a year, and Polk, who we find out has looked after Milo since Mike lost his wife and daughter in a car accident, asks Mike to do a job for him. He asks him to go to Mexico and kidnap his now teenage son, who he hasn’t seen for years, from his ex-wife Leta, played by Fernanda Urrejola, and bring him back to live with him. But why does Polk want the boy back after all these years?

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


Live in Denver – TobyMac
*** ½

TobyMac, who is currently charting with his single “Help Is On The Way (Maybe Midnight)” has released a new live album Live in Denver.  The project features 15 songs from his Hits Deep early 2020 Tour, and includes collaborations with Terrian, Aaron Cole, Cochren & Co. and Ryan Stevenson. This follows his 2016 live album Hits Deep Live. Live in Denver is currently only available in a digital format. A CD/DVD version will be released September 10.
The track list focuses heavily on later career songs, including “21 Years”, the 2020 song he wrote after son Truett died, 8 from 2018’s The Elements, 3 from 2015’s This is Not a Test, and 2 from 2012’s Eye on It. He also includes “Lose My Soul” from Portable Sounds.
The complete track list and the album the song was originally on, is below:

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  • More of this review and a review of The Work Tapes EP by Wilder Woods
  • Music News
  • Song of the Week Lyrics:  Almost Home by Matt Papa and Matt Boswell

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BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

Brave by Faith: God-Sized Confidence in a Post-Christian World by Alistair Begg. The Good Book Company. 98 pages. 2021
****

Pastor and author Alistair Begg tells us that secularism pushes back again and again against what the Bible says about sexual ethics, about salvation, about education, about the role and reach of the state, and about matters of public welfare. Public opinion has turned against Christians in America. Christians are suddenly a minority group within an increasingly secularized nation. We are finding out how it feels to be outsiders, and we don’t like it.
He tells us that the message of the book of Daniel is incredibly relevant for us in our generation. The message of Daniel is this: don’t be discouraged. You have not reached home. This isn’t it. And Jesus shall reign.
Begg uses the familiar first seven chapters of the book of Daniel to teach American Christians what it looks like to live as a Christian in a society that does not like what Christians believe, what we say, and how we live. He writes that we will be able to navigate our present moment to the extent that we realize that the God of the exiles in the sixth century BC has not changed in the intervening two and a half millennia. God is powerful, and God is sovereign, and even in the face of circumstances that appear to be prevailing against his people, we may trust him entirely.

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