Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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My 10 Favorite Blogs


I subscribe to a lot of blogs and websites. Some are related to theology, some focus on leadership, some faith and work, etc. Here are 10 of my favorites that I would recommend to you:

Tim Challies  Tim Challies’ blog is my personal favorite. It includes articles he has written, as well as his book reviews. His A La Carte blog post is required reading for me six days a week. A feature of A La Carte is a listing of Kindle deals of e-books that his readers might enjoy.

Head, Heart, Hand – This is pastor, author and seminary professor David Murray’s blog. He includes articles he has written, helpful links to other articles, a listing of Kindle deals and of new books his readers might enjoy.

Ligonier Ministries – This blog includes searchable articles and short videos from R.C. Sproul, the Ligonier Teaching Fellows (Albert Mohler, Derek Thomas, Sinclair Ferguson, Robert Godfrey and Steven Lawson) and others.

Albert Mohler – This site features articles from Albert Mohler as well as a post featuring the articles he discussed in that morning’s The Briefing program, Monday through Friday.

Desiring God – This blog features articles and videos from John Piper, Tony Reinke, David Mathis and others from Desiring God.

Randy Alcorn – This blog features articles from Randy Alcorn, author and founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.

The Gospel Coalition – This blog features articles and videos from a large number of respected Bible teachers.

DeYoung, Restless and Reformed – This is pastor and author Kevin DeYoung’s blog and features articles he has written.

Brian Dodd on Leadership – Brian Dodd writes that his site will make you a better leader. I especially like his weekend roundup of the best articles he has read on leadership that week.

Leadership Freak  – This is Dan Rockwell’s leadership site. His helpful posts are never more than 300 words, so you can read them quickly.

These are my ten favorite blogs at this time. There are many more blogs that I enjoy on a regular basis, including Russell Moore, Ron Edmondson, Gene Veith, Dave Kraft, Kevin Halloran, Scott Sauls, Denny Burk, and others.
What are your favorite blogs?  


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Kicking One off the Old ‘Bucket List’

Concert Review ~ Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band at The Fox Theatre in St. LouisRingo at the Fox

Ringo in Concert

I grew up, and remain, a huge Beatles fan. Though I never saw them perform (they stopped touring in 1966), I have seen Paul McCartney in concert eleven times, the late George Harrison on his only US tour in 1974, and unfortunately never saw John Lennon in concert; he was murdered in 1980. Seeing Ringo Starr in concert was on my “Bucket List”. He tours often with an assortment of artists known as his All-Starr Band. The current lineup has been together for three years, something that hasn’t been done since Ringo started touring with the All-Starr Band back in 1989.
Last Friday when I eventually did see Ringo in concert was one fine day. After stopping at Busch Stadium to get my NLDS t-shirt and having a great lunch at Pappy’s Smokehouse, my favorite place to eat in St. Louis, we checked into the Hotel Ignacio, a small boutique hotel within walking distance of the Fabulous Fox Theatre, where the concert was held.
The Cardinals were opening the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers and the best pitcher in baseball, Clayton Kershaw. I watched the first few innings from the Triumph Restaurant next to the hotel, and Kershaw was dominating, giving the Cardinals only one hit and leading the Dodgers to a 4-1 lead. By the time I found my seat at the Fox a few minutes later, the score was 6-1. I continued to monitor the game throughout the two hour concert, and the Cardinals won in a thriller 10-9.
Ringo, who is 74 years old, was in great physical shape and strong voice on this night in front of an enthusiastic sold-out crowd at the unique Fox Theatre. He opened with “Matchbox” shortly after 8:00 pm, and the night was off and running. The background vocals of the other six members of the band also added much to Ringo’s twelve songs.
The night was equally split between Ringo and the All-Starr Band, which was comprised of Todd Rundgren, Toto’s Steve Lukather on guitar, Mr. Mister bassist Richard Page, Santana/Journey keyboardist Gregg Rolie, drummer Gregg Bisonette and percussionist/saxophonist Warren Ham. Rundgren, Lukather, Page and Rolie each did three of their songs, in addition to Ringo’s twelve songs, Beatles and solo songs.
It was obvious that Ringo and the entire band are enjoying what they are doing on this tour. Ringo would often flash the peace sign as he repeatedly said “Peace and Love”. There was a red star on his drum and stars served as the artwork on the curtain. Surprisingly, unlike most concerts these days, there was no video screen for this tour.
You can check out the entire set-list and the review of the concert from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch here: http://www.stltoday.com/entertainment/music/reviews/ringo-starr-shines-with-his-friends/article_52cc5819-9871-5df9-a259-3c774c3752c3.html

The Good Lie

~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~

Movie Review ~ The Good Lie, rated PG-13

 

~ THIS AND THAT ~

ARTICLES, VIDEOS, PODCASTS, OH MY!

Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgment seat;
Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last

Read Nathan’s article “Only One Life” here: http://thecripplegate.com/only-one-life/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheCripplegate+%28The+Cripplegate%29

  • I found this Q&A from the folks at Crucial Skills to be of interest, not only for those in the workplace, but all of us. Read “Atoning for Past Mistake”.   
  • This week’s Andy Andrews’ podcast looks at what makes a successful coach, as well as Andy’s criteria for being coachable. Listen to it!
  • Each day John Maxwell offers a short video on a word of the day that someone writes in about. This one is about the word “kind”. Watch it here:   http://johnmaxwellteam.com/kind/
  • John Maxwell writes that “….ALL ethics boils down to one thing: ‘The Golden Rule’. Essentially, asking the question, “How would I like to be treated?” is an integrity guideline for ANY situation.” He states that we like to be treated in six different ways in the workplace. Read what they are in his article titled “The Right Thing 101” here:  http://www.johnmaxwell.com/blog/the-right-thing-101
  • Dr. Alan Zimmerman in this “Tuesday Tip” indicates that he learned what produces excellence, mediocrity and failure, and then began to realize the difference between winners and losers. Read more here in his article titled “The One Thing that Separates the Winners from the Losers”.
  • Have you visited “Place for Truth”, the website for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals? Check it out at http://www.placefortruth.org/placefortruth
  • The “casual conversations about things that count” will soon be expanding with a new website. The new site will maintain the same URL address and house the weekly Mortification of Spin podcast, but will feature articles from each of the three hosts: Carl Trueman, Todd Pruitt and Aimee Byrd. Also, listen this fall for several podcasts that will be recorded before, and even include participation from a live audience! Lots of surprises are coming; don’t miss them at http://www.mortificationofspin.org/mos/podcast/double-dipping#.VC0ju40tD3g

R.C. SPROUL – LIGONIER MINISTRIES:

  • Ligonier Ministries Teaching Fellow Steven Lawson writes: “It is my great privilege to introduce to you the inaugural issue of Expositor Magazine, the print magazine of One Passion Ministries. Through the bi-monthly publication of Expositor, we desire to address the historical, biblical, and theological dynamics and practice of expository preaching. In addition, Expositor will serve pastors, preachers, students, teachers, and lay people by examining historical and current issues related to biblical exposition. Please visit ExpositorMagazine.com for more information and to subscribe.”
  • Richard Phillips writes that Philippians 1:6 develops the theme of God’s preserving grace—which ensures the perseverance of His own—in three points. Read about those three points in his article “God is Faithful to Preserve His Own” here: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/god-faithful-preserve-his-own/
  • Ligonier Ministries has released a new 12-part teaching series, Lessons from the Upper Room, from Sinclair Ferguson. Ferguson paints a vivid picture of the disciples’ final moments with their Savior. Carefully walking through John 13-17, Dr. Ferguson reminds us of the centrality of Christ in all of life. Click here to find out more about this new resource.
  • Do you know what the Covenant of Redemption is? If not, check out this article from R.C. Sproul: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-covenant-redemption/

JOHN PIPER – DESIRING GOD MINISTRIES:

  • John Piper, in writing about the aging of the Baby Boomers suggests four items be the goal of our aging. See what these four are in his article “Boomer’s Bodies – And Yours” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/the-dignity-of-our-deterioration
  • John Piper addresses four common causes of Bible neglect in the Christian life, like: “I don’t read my Bible because . . .
    • . . . it seems so irrelevant to my life.”
    • . . . I don’t have time.”
    • . . . I go to church every Sunday.”
    • . . . I find it confusing.”

Read this article titled “Why We Neglect Our Bibles” to see how he addresses these causes: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/why-we-neglect-our-bibles

  • John Piper has released a number of Look at the Book labs on the Desiring God website. Look at the Book is a new online method of teaching the Bible. It’s an ongoing series of 8–12 minute videos in which the camera is on the text, not the teacher. You will hear John Piper’s voice and watch his pen underline, circle, make connections, and scribble notes — all to help you learn to read God’s word for yourself. His goal is to help you not only see what he sees, but where he sees it and how he found it. Check out the labs here: http://www.desiringgod.org/labs

SPORTS:

  • Did you see the catch that Steven Souza Jr. of the Washington Nationals made on the final play of the game to finish off Jordan Zimmermann’s no-hitter against the Miami Marlins on the last day of the baseball season last week? If not, check it out. 
  • My friend Jim sent me this St. Louis Cardinals corn maze from Eckert’s Fun Farm in Millstadt, Illinois. Can we send the San Francisco Giants into the maze?Cardinal Corn Maze

BOOKS:Christian Audio Book of the Month

  • The free audiobook of the month from Christianaudio is He Wins, She Wins from Willard F. Harley, who is best known for the best-selling book His Needs, Her Needs: Building An Affair-proof Marriage. He Wins, She Wins begins with one simple rule: Never do anything without an enthusiastic agreement between you and your spouse.  Click here to find out how to download your free copy.   Bush Book
  • George W. Bush’s book about his father is titled 41: A Portrait of My Father. It will be published November 11.
  • I enjoyed this review of the new book Fallen: A Theology of Sin – Theology in Community Series, edited by Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson, the latter of which I had for two classes at Covenant Seminary. Others from Covenant Seminary who contributed were Bryan Chapell, Robert Yarbrough and David Calhoun. You can read the review here: http://www.reformation21.org/shelf-life/fallen-a-theology-of-sin.phpBonhoeffer Abridged Edition
  • Eric Metaxas’ excellent biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer at 608 pages may have scared some readers away (though Tammy recently completed the book). Now a 256 page abridged edition has been released. Check out this excellent book and learn more about this important figure. Metaxas’ new book Miracles, will be released October 28.
  • Here’s a Christianity Today review of Michael Horton’s new book Ordinary, which I plan to read when it is released this week. Check out “The Case Against ‘Radical’ Christianity”. 

TELEVISION:

MOVIES:

  • Justin Taylor writes that the film Hound of Heaven (Kurosawa Productions) will premiere at the 2014 Raindance Film Festival on October 4. Author N.D. Wilson adapted Francis Thompson’s spiritual poem (1893), the original of which you can read here. Propaganda provides the spoken-word narration. You can read the whole story here.
  • Last weekend a new Left Behind film, based upon the popular book series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins and a remake of the previous film by the same name opened. The film stars Nicolas Cage and Randall Hardman writes “…a severe misinterpretation of what the Bible actually says about the topic. To put it bluntly, and perhaps to the chagrin of some readers, the idea of a “rapture” is simply not biblically based (and that’s where I’ve lost a third of you!) It represents, instead, a theology based on escapism and in the process does damage to what the Bible really does say about “the last days.” Read his article “Why Left Behind Should be Left Behind” here: http://theaquilareport.com/why-left-behind-should-be-left-behind/

MUSIC:

  • Keith and Kristyn Getty’s sold-out concert at Grace Presbyterian Church is less than two Getty's EPweeks away. On the verge of the concert they have released a new EP The Greengrass Sessions. This limited edition EP features:
    • My Worth Is Not in What I Own – the new hymn written by Keith and Kristyn and Graham Kendrick
    • Good Shepherd of My Soul – a warm and moving a capella rendition of one of Keith and Kristyn’s newer songs
    • Come Ye Sinners – a musical journey from Ireland to Appalachia envelops the traditional hymn
    • Plus 3 more brand new recordings!

To order, go to http://www.gettymusic.com/USA-albums.aspx?id=1162

  • Here’s a few more upcoming music releases you might be interested in:
    • November 4: Eye’M All Mixed Up: Remixes – TobyMac
    • November 4: Hallelujah for the Cross – Newsboys
    • November 11: The Essential Collection – Passion (Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, etc.)
    • After All These Years – Andrew Peterson
  • U2’s album The Unforgettable Fire is 30 years old. Billboard magazine takes a track by track look at the classic album.Newsboys
  • More on the new Newsboys album…. On the heels of one of the biggest years in their legendary career, Newsboys are at it again with a brand new hymns album, Hallelujah for the Cross. It will include many traditional hymns with new arrangements like: “Jesus Paid It All,” “What A Friend We Have In Jesus,” “It Is Well,” “All Hail The Power Of Jesus Name” and many more.
  • One of my favorite new songs is “Liberty” from Switchfoot’s new EP The Edge of the Earth: Unleased Songs from the Film ‘Fading West’: Here are the lyrics to the song:

A feeling comes to me in wavesSwitchfoot
The darkest seas I’ve ever known
Mine is an odyssey of grace
Mine is a story headed home

I tied myself to the mast
Give up the semblance of control
The sirens sing but I let them pass
Cause only You can free my soul

Set these broken bones to cast
Stitch my wounds with holy sutures
Every saint has got a past
But every sinner’s got a future

Show me the freedom from these chains
Show me a battlefield that saves
That world is still a word away
But You are my liberty

Free my soul, free my soul
And let liberty flow
Like a flood, let it go
And I’ll let the past go
I’ve come running back home
And I’ll make it, I know
All my love, all my hope
Only You could free my soul
Come on, free my soul
Only you could free my soul

I tie myself up to the mast
I tie myself up to the mast
And let it go

Only You could free my soul

PRAYERS:

 Quotable:  Don’t go to bed tonight without preaching the gospel to your heart one more time. -Scotty Smith

 Beyond the Ark headerDoug Michael Cartoon

Faith-and-Work

Quotables:

  • God himself will milk the cows through him whose vocation that is. He who engages in the lowliness of his work performs God’s work, be the lad or king. – Martin Luther
  • A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them. – John C. Maxwell

Joy, Inc.

 Work and Leadership Book Review –

      Joy, Inc.: How We Built a Workplace People Love by Richard Sheridan

 

 Integrating Faith and Work: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?

How Then Should We WorkHow then SHOULD We Work? Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work Book Club – Chapter 4

This week we continue our book club on Hugh Whelchel’s book How Then Should We Work?: Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work. Whelchel is the Executive Director the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics and has a passion and expertise in helping individuals integrate their faith and vocational calling. This week we cover the material in Chapter 4: Our Current Situation. 

What's Best NextWhat’s Best Next Book Club – Chapter 16

We continue with our overview of this new book on productivity from a Christian perspective. I’ve highlighted a number of passages and would like to share some of them from Chapter 16: The Problem with Full System Utilization.Love never fails

 

 


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An Anomaly of a Week

Top Albums of 2014

2014 has been a particularly strong year for music, with most of my favorite artists releasing new albums. Below are my top choices, in order, thus far:
1. Tie:
•      Songs of Innocence – U2
•      Anomaly – Lecrae
2.  Neon Steeple – Crowder
3.  Fading West and The Edge of the Earth – Switchfoot
4.  Rivers in the Wasteland – NEEDTOBREATHE
5.  20 – Jars of Clay
Two other highly anticipated releases that may crack this list are Love Ran Red by Chris Tomlin and Rise by Trip Lee, both of which will be released October 28.

~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~

Movie Review:

  • The Maze Runner, rated PG-13

Music Reviews:

  • The Edge of the Earth: Unreleased Songs from the film “Fading West” – Switchfoot
  • Anomaly by Lecrae

Book Review:

~ THIS AND THAT ~

MUSIC:

  • Run Wild, Live Free, Love Strong, the new album from For King & Country, who also guests on one song on Lecrae’s Anomaly, debuted at #2 on the iTunes top albums charts on September 16. Congratulations!
  • And the exciting new music just keeps coming. From Jars of Clay to Lecrae, U2 and Switchfoot, now comes news that Chris Tomlin has released a new single from his forthcoming album Love Ran Red. The album features the singles “Waterfall” and “Jesus Loves Me”, along with “Almighty” and “At the Cross (Love Ran Red)” which were included on the Passion: Take it All album earlier this year. Below are the lyrics to this excellent new worship anthem “Jesus Loves Me”, which I’m sure will be soon be sung in churches around the world:

I was lostChris Tomlin
I was in chains
The world had a hold of me

My heart was a stone
I was covered in shame
When He came for me

I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His presence
I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His arms

Jesus, He loves me, He loves me, He is for me
Jesus, how can it be, He loves me, He is for me

And it was a fire
Deep in my soul
I’ll never be the same

I stepped out of the dark
And into the light
When He called my name

I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His presence
I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His arms

He holds the stars and He holds my heart
With healing hands that bear the scars
The rugged cross where He died for me
My only hope, my everything

  • Steve TaylorMy good friend Jeff told me that Steve Taylor is getting ready to release his first new album in 20 years. It will be called Goliath and will be released November 18. His band – The Perfect Foil – includes Peter Furler. Can’t wait!
  • Stevie Wonder, who rarely tours, will be in concert at the United Center in Chicago for the Songs in the Key of Life Performance tour on November 14. This will be a performance of his classic album of the same name. I saw him in concert at the State Farm Center (then called the Assembly Hall) back in 1974 and have long enjoyed his music.Lecrae

           ALL LECRAE ALL THE TIME…

BOOKS:

MOVIES:

  • Here is the first full-length trailer for the upcoming Hunger Games: Mockingjay film: http://entertainthis.usatoday.com/2014/09/15/the-hunger-games-mockingjay-part-1-first-full-trailer/
  • Kirk Cameron’s next film is Saving Christmas. The promotion for the film states: Every year at Christmas time it seems the baby in the manger takes more and more of a backseat to retail sales, Santa Claus, and political correctness.  With “Merry Christmas” being replaced by “Seasons Greetings” and court ordered removal of public nativity scenes, the fruit of Mary’s womb is falling on hard times. But this year, Kirk Cameron is taking back Christmas with his engaging new movie Saving Christmas. Opening in select theaters November 14, the newest movie from the star of Fireproof and Unstoppable is filled with laughter, warmth, and God-honoring cheer! Saving Christmas will change the way your family sees and celebrates this magical time of year. Check out the official site for the film here: http://savingchristmas.com/
  • Andrew Barber has a problem with Christian films (and so does Tammy by the way, but perhaps for different reasons). Barber writes that there are currently two primary problems with Christian films: (1) they are either inherently dishonest and/or (2) they are primarily concerned with what C. S. Lewis called “egoistic castle-building.” Read his article “The Problem with Christian Films” here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-problem-with-christian-films

INTERESTING ARTICLES, VIDEOS AND EARNEST PRAYERS:

DESIRING GOD ~

  • We don’t like to wait – I know I sure don’t. Paul Maxwell of Desiring God writes that helpful to remember that “God’s most precious gifts are often established in gradation for three reasons”. Read what those reasons are in his article titled “Do You Hate to Wait?” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/do-you-hate-to-wait
  • Jon Bloom of Desiring God writesIrritability. I give into it too often. It’s time to take this sin more seriously and lay it aside (Hebrews 12:1). Every time I’m irritable I burden myself with the detrimental weights of prideful selfishness and relational conflict. And as my irritation overflows on others, it burdens them too because my harsh words stir up anger in them (Proverbs 15:1).” I know I struggle with irritability more than I would like to admit. Read his article “Lay Aside the Weight of Irritability” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/lay-aside-the-weight-of-irritability
  • David Mathis from Desiring God writes that one of the most loving things you can do for someone is tell them when they’re wrong. Read his article “Give the Blessing of Rebuke” here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/give-the-blessing-of-rebuke

TO MAKE YOU SMILE:

IN THE NEWS – ISIS:

  • Here is an interesting article from the New York Times on how ISIS works.
  • Former Petra and Head East lead singer John Schlitt has been working with Jay Sekulow of ACLJ, John Elefante and Mark Townsend. They have just recorded their first original tune, Where I Stand, which is a moving tribute to the persecuted Christians in Iraq. The song goes hand-in-hand with an original book written by Sekulow called “Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore.” The song is available when you purchase the book.
  • Scotty Smith tweeted the below picture of women being sold like slaves in Mosul, Iraq by ISIS, saying “This is what true slavery looks like, people”.ISIS selling female slaves

Quotables

  • The only thing that we have earned at the hands of perfect justice is perfect punishment. -RC Sproul
  • If you have wasted your whole life, and have five minutes left, you can live them to the glory of Christ. -John Piper

 Beyond the Ark headerCourtesy of World Magazine

Doug Michael Adam and Eve cartoonWorld Magazine Cartoon

Faith-and-Work

Quotable: Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. -Steve JobsHeaven is a Place on Earth

BOOK REVIEW – Heaven is a Place on Earth: Why Everything You Do Matters to God by Michael E. Wittner

INTEGRATING FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

  • Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes that business success and gratefulness go hand in hand. Read his “Tuesday Tip” titled “The Wonder of Gratitude” here” http://drzimmerman.com/tuesdaytip/gratitude.php
  • Here are quotes on leadership that Dr. Alan Zimmerman is known for and people have found helpful: Download your copy by clicking here
  • On this month’s Leadership podcast titled “Keystone Habits”, Andy Stanley talks about habits that can change your organization. You can find the podcast on iTunes or here:  http://andystanley.com/free-resources/
  • Here is a one-minute video (“60 Seconds to Significance” from The High Calling) from pharmaceutical and vaccine industry consultant Boyd Clarke on how to take criticism.
  • I found this article about reflecting on our performance at work from J.B. Wood to be helpful. Read “How To Know if You are Doing a Good Job”.
  • What are the best places to work? Here is one list – from Fortune – of the top 100 best companies to work for: http://www.greatplacetowork.com/best-companies/100-best-companies-to-work-for
  • Matt Perman writes “What are the components of an effective management philosophy that is based upon the fact that humans are in the image of God and that the glory of God is the goal of all things? I am going to outline eleven”. Read his article titled “Management in Light of the Supremacy of God: How Should Christians Think about Management” here: http://whatsbestnext.com/2011/01/management-in-light-of-the-supremacy-of-god/
  • Matt Perman shares the slide deck he uses to help introduce people to the theology of productivity that he gives in What’s Best Next the book. It can serve as a good refresher for those who have read the book, and also something that you can easily share with those who haven’t read the book.
  • I receive the Lead Like Jesus e-devotional three times each week. This one from last Friday got my attention as the prayer stated “Lord, I hand over my need to be in control, my desire to look good in other people’s eyes”, a few things that are probably counterfeit idols in my life. Read the entire devotional here: http://leadlikejesus.com/blog/blog-post/seeking-answers#
  • In this twelfth installment in the series on love at work, John Kyle writes on what it means to rejoice with the truth, even when you’re at work.
  • In this article titled “Heroism in a Cubicle”, Dr. David Leonard states “To put it differently, you must resolve to be intellectually virtuous; you must resolve to be heroic, even in your cubicle. dc46cd4#sthash.y5L6UZKH.dpuf
  • Can unfulfilling work be a vocation? Read Gene Veith’s comments.
  • In his article “What is the Vocation of a Student”, Andrew Spencer offers five lessons he wishes he had learned as a younger student. Find out what those lessons are.
  • Christianaudio is offering John Maxwell’s Leadership Series audiobooks at a discount of up to 75% off through September 30. Check out the details.

 Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us?How Then Should We Work

How then Should We Work? Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work Book Club ~ Chapter 2

This week we continue our book club on Hugh Whelchel’s book How Then Should We Work? Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work. Whelchel is the Executive Director of the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics and has a passion and expertise in helping individuals integrate their faith and vocational calling. Read the passages I highlighted in Chapter 2: The Gospel, The Kingdom and Our Calling: What Does the Bible Say About Work?

What's Best NextWhat’s Best Next Series – Part 8 What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms The Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman

  • Architect CREATE A FLEXIBLE STRUCTURE
  • CHAPTER 14 Setting Up Your Week

We continue with our overview of this new book on productivity from a Christian perspective. I’ve highlighted a number of passages and would like to share some of them from chapter 14.

 R.C. Quote


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Lake Geneva

Lake GenevaLake Geneva, Wisconsin

Last weekend we celebrated our birthdays with a long weekend at beautiful Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. I love Wisconsin, having often vacationed in Hayward growing up and having enjoyed a few vacations in Door County more recently. We had visited Lake Geneva a few times over the past decade, with this time being the first time we had spent two nights (though one more night would have been perfect!). We stayed at the Mill Creek Hotel for the second time. It is a 33 room boutique suite hotel, which is located perfectly in the heart of the shopping (about a hundred shops) and restaurant district near the Riviera Docks.

The center of Lake Geneva is Geneva Lake, a deep (140 feet at the deepest) clear water lake which is surrounded by beautiful homes (many dating back to the early 20th century when many business leaders from Chicago built homes at the lake). A walking path is available which allows you to make the full 21 mile walk around the lake, or as much of it as you would like.

There are about a thousand piers on the lake, and on a busy summer day there will be that many boats on the lake. We experienced two days of great weather, and since it was after Labor Day, the lake was far less crowded. We would recommend you take one of the many different boat cruises that depart several times a day from the Riviera Docks. The Riviera once featured big bands and singers such as Louis Armstrong and a young Frank Sinatra, and now is a popular destination for weddings. We enjoyed meals at Popeye’s and Scuttlebutts just across Wrigley Avenue from the lake. We also had some great pizza at the Next Door Pub, watching the Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers just an hour away from Lake Geneva.

If you’ve never checked out Lake Geneva, we highly recommend the three hour and fifteen minute drive. You can take in a movie at the Showboat Theatre, play golf, take long walks or eat at any number of excellent restaurants as you enjoy the beauty. You won’t regret it!

TamMy Amazing Wife

Last weekend we celebrated Tammy’s birthday. In fact we celebrated both of our birthdays with a long weekend trip to one of our favorite places – Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. As I thought about Tammy’s birthday, I was again reminded how blessed I am to be her husband. She is my Proverbs 31 woman.

Initially, the Lord used Tammy to help draw me to Him. I was raised Roman Catholic and went to church every Sunday, but it made no difference in my life. When we met she was focused on her career in Accounting, with goals of achieving her CPA (Certified Public Accountant) designation and becoming a partner in an Accounting firm. But the Lord had other plans for her. Early in our marriage she became seriously ill and her life changed into one of service. Over the past 30 years, she has served as a Hospice volunteer, at a Catholic worker house, a soup kitchen (12 years), as the treasurer at our church (18 plus years), and will soon begin her next journey of service as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer. I appreciate so many things about Tammy, but her spirit of service is amazing. Thank you Lord for Tammy!

 Coram DeoCoram Deo

What makes our blog different from all of the others out there? I see four components to what we hope to do each week. We aim to:

Look at art (music, movies, and books) from a Christian worldview.

  • Contemplate culture (news, theology) and share important articles with you.
  • Consider how to integrate faith and work.
  • Share articles, videos and cartoons that will make you smile.

~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~

Book Review ~

Movie Reviews ~

  • If I Stay
  • The Trip

 Quotable: My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior. -John Newton

~ THIS AND THAT ~

IN THE NEWS –

BOOKS –

PROBING QUESTIONS –

MUSIC –

  • Here are a few upcoming music releases that I’m excited about:
    • Michael W. Smith Christmas album – September 30
    • Peter Furler Christmas, featuring David Ian – October 7
    • Rise by Trip Lee – October 28
    • Love Ran Red by Chris Tomlin

ARTICLES OF INTEREST –

JOHN PIPER AND DESIRING GOD –

LIGONIER MINISTRIES –

TO MAKE YOU SMILE –

Visions of Vocation Book Club Week 2Visions of Vocation

Steven Garber was the speaker at my Covenant Seminary graduation in May. Tammy and I are reading his newest book Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good. Below are passages we highlighted from our reading for the second week of our book club:

  • The Last Butterfly is about moral imagination, about learning to see with the heart in the context of one’s calling, right in the middle of the push and shove of life, full as it is of complex responsibilities.
  • Our propensity to deceive ourselves about our place and purpose makes it so very difficult to see the truth of our lives, to understand the meaning of our moment in history and our responsibility to it.
  • The importance of The Last Butterfly is that it asks the viewer this probing question: In the context of one’s calling, how does one learn to see with the eyes of the heart, to see oneself as responsible for the way the world is and isn’t?
  • In a captivating though sobering chapter, “The Duties of Law-Abiding Citizens,” she described Eichmann as reading his world through this lens: This was the way things were, this was the new law of the land, based on the Führer’s order; whatever he did he did, as far as he could see, as a law-abiding citizen. He did his duty, as he told the police and the court over and over again; he not only obeyed orders, he also obeyed the law.
  • The distinction mattered to Eichmann. In the pharisaism of his heart, he understood his employment as a public vocation with professional responsibilities, so that it was important to not only do one’s duty but to obey the law—even if the law was one and the same with the fatally flawed Führer himself.
  • Arendt painstakingly set forth the historical details of the Nazi vision in general, and Eichmann’s role in particular, always returning to the question, “Why didn’t he see these people as neighbors? What perversion of law and order made it possible to go to work day by day, year after year, making choices with horrific consequences, and to see it all as “my duty”?
  • Also perplexed by Eichmann and the court, she tried to find language sufficient to communicate the moral meaning of his actions, and offered the word thoughtlessness—he did not think things through, he was not thoughtful about what he did and what it meant. In the narrowness of his vision of neighbor, of citizen, of employee, he failed to follow through on the moral implications of his beliefs and behavior.
  • Eichmann’s failure to see truthfully enabled him, by just doing his job, to oversee Theresienstadt, the “city of the Jews” in The Last Butterfly. The film is what we call historical fiction, but Eichmann’s role was far from fictional. Blind to the meaning of who he was and what it meant, he made sure that the trains left on time for Auschwitz, going to bed at night certain that “with the killing of Jews I had nothing to do.”
  • But the harsh truth is that the twentieth century produced other holocausts, some more terrifying than that of Nazis, and to own that history is part of our human responsibility even in the midst of our ordinary lives in ordinary places.
  • Over time Gary decided to leave the Department of Justice to find a way to address injustices small and large wherever they might be found. If in the Philippines it was child prostitution, in India it was child slavery. And so three years after the Rwandan genocide, the International Justice Mission was formed. Now, fifteen years later, IJM has developed networks of attorneys, investigators and trauma social workers in nations on every continent.
  • Two stories, one century: Eichmann and Haugen. Where one did not see a neighbor in need, the other understood that moral, political and social injustice is in fact always one more window into a neighbor’s need. The question that searches the deepest places is this: Why did Gary feel responsible? He had eyes to see that he was in fact responsible to do something, because someone had to say no. And he found a way in the context of his calling to do just that.
  • Over the years I have read and reread Percy’s work, dwelling in his vision of learning and life. He is, after all, the one who wrote that “it is possible to get all A’s and still flunk life.”
  • An observation about the human condition from his novel The Second Coming, the second of two novels about Will Barrett, his words are a warning about the temptation that lurks around the corner of everyone’s heart—to believe that competence can be separated from character, that excellence can be defined in merely academic terms without a corresponding concern for the kind of people we are. Do we have eyes to see what is really important? What really matters?
  • Along the way, principally in conversations with good friends, he was drawn to mere Christianity, to the gospel of the kingdom which was strange good news for someone like him who longed for something to believe about life and the world that could make sense of his life in the world.
  • What the literati saw in Percy’s work was his unflinching willingness to look at sorrow and anguish and not blink. Eyes that see, yes—but what do we see? He was not a romantic—that was not a possibility. Rather he was a realist to the core. What the reviewers missed was his deeply rooted commitment to seeing human beings as “pilgrims in the ruins,” that we are glories and shames at the same time.
  • “But I always want some hint of hope in my writing.” What did he mean? And why did it matter?
  • Honest readers of Percy’s work acknowledge that he was painstakingly honest about the sorrows that are ours as human beings, and his hints of hope were never more than that.
  • There is one great question in his work: “Knowing what you know about yourself and the world, what are you going to do?”
  • Attentive as he was to life, and to his life, Percy was writing about the challenge of being alive in the modern world. So much to see, so much to hear, so much to know—what will we do?
  • That is the most difficult dilemma for thoughtful, serious human beings: What will you do with what you know?
  • If most of Europe was Eichmann-like, offering “the obedience of corpses” in thousands of terribly ordinary ways, there were exceptions. In every nation there are people who choose otherwise, who have eyes to see that something is wrong and that they can do something about it.
  • Taken together they are some of the best stories in the whole of history, reminding all of us what it means to be a neighbor, what it means to have eyes that see.
  • In thousands of important and different ways, each is a story formed by the asking and answering of the question, knowing what I know, what will I do?
  • Always and everywhere, this is our challenge as human beings. Can we know and love the world at the very same time? Knowing its glories and shames, can we still choose to love what we know? Is there any task more difficult than that?
  • Knowing what I know about the way the world is, what am I going to do? A mime in Europe had to answer, as did the Nazi bureaucrats, as did the Justice Department lawyer, as do all of us. Percy’s question echoes through the heart of every human being, and it is especially poignant for those coming out of the starting blocks of early adulthood with a life of knowing and doing on the horizon. The question requires an answer if we are going be human.

Next week we’ll look at chapter 3. Won’t you join us?

Faith-and-Work

Faith and Work Book Clubs – Won’t you read along with us? How Then Should We Work

  1. How then Should We Work? Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work by Hugh Whelchel 
    This week we begin a new book club on Hugh Whelchel’s book How Then Should We Work? Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work. Whelchel is the Executive Director of the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics and has a passion and expertise in helping individuals integrate their faith and vocational calling. This week we cover the material in the book through the first chapter. Click here to read the passages I highlighted in CHAPTER 1.What's Best Next
  2. What’s Best Next Series – Part 6        
    We continue with our overview of this new book on productivity from a Christian perspective. I’ve highlighted a number of passages and would like to share some of them from CHAPTER 12: Finding Your Life Calling (Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page).The Gospel at Work
  3. You can also read excerpts from The Gospel at Work: How Working for King Jesus Gives Purpose and Meaning to Our Jobs by Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert and excerpts from our past book club – The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell. 

Integrating Faith and Work

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It’s Back to School Week! (Groan….)

back-to-school-funny

~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~

The GiverMovie Review: The Giver, rated PG-13

 Book Reviews:

Ice Bucket Challenge Inspires Unprecedented Giving to ALS

The ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” is filling social media feeds and celebrities have joined in on the craze. The challenge has helped raise $15.6 million in donations, compared with only $1.8 million during the same time period last year, according to the ALS Association

Watch: 20 great celebrity ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/08/18/ice-bucket-challenge-celebrities/14224359/

Donate to support research to find a cure for ALS and provide much-needed services to patients and their families:  http://www.alsa.org/donate/

~ THIS AND THAT ~

DESIRING GOD ~ JOHN PIPER:

YOUR CHURCH AND PASTOR:

LOOK AND LISTEN:

MOVIES:

TO MAKE YOU SMILE:

BOOKS:

DATING, SEXUALITY AND PORNOGRAPHY:

MUSIC:

  • St. Louis Cardinal outfielder Matt Holliday has been using “The Heart” by NEEDTOBREATHE (one of my favorite songs of 2014) as his walk-up music lately.
  • Last week, Paul McCartney closed down Candlestick Park in San Francisco (it will be demolished). The Beatles had played their last live show on tour at Candlestick in 1966. McCartney played “Long Tall Sally”, the last Beatles song ever played on tour. Read more here: http://www.paulmccartney.com/news-blogs/news/paul-unveils-never-before-released-beatles-photos
  • Upcoming music releases this week include 20 by Jars of Clay, Anchor by Colton Dixon, Oxygen by Lincoln Brewster and In Motion: The Remixes by Amy Grant.
  • Tickets for Keith and Kristyn Getty’s October 17 concert at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria go on sale later this month. If you sign up to receive the WBNH radio newsletter you will be able to purchase discounted tickets. Read more here: http://www.wbnh.org/about-us/good-newsletter/
  • Speaking of the Gettys, check out this promotional video for their fall concert tour: http://www.gettymusic.com/tourfall.aspx. Look for more information on tickets very soon!Michael W. Smith Christmas
  • It’s been a busy year for Michael W. Smith. First he released Hymns, a collection of traditional hymns for Cracker Barrel, then he released Sovereign, a new worship album, and on September 30, he will release his fourth Christmas album, The Spirit of Christmas with friends such as Bono, Michael McDonald, Carrie Underwood, Amy Grant and others. Read more here: http://michaelwsmith.com/michael-w-smith-to-bring-nostalgia-back-this-christmas/
  • My good friend Chris Meyer has a band that I’d like to tell you about. It’s not just any band. They are a self-described group of normal folks who love music and give back to their community. So they take 80% of the funds they bring in and give it back to families and individuals in need (20% is needed for equipment, printing, etc.). They do not personally take any funds from their shows. Blurklezurps is a made up name that one of the band members used as a kid when his brother would ask him what was wrong with him as he had Tourette Syndrome (TS). The band decided they loved this name for two reasons:  First, no one in the band had had TS! Second, they are just a bunch of people who make mistakes and deal with everyday life like everyone else – they are just a bunch of Zurps! The Zurps started out 7 years ago and feel very fortunate to have helped numerous families and individuals in need over this time.  Chris says that “To see the smiles, tears, hugs, and to see some of them healed and then also to mourn with those that lost the battle but in the end they came to know Christ, that is a biggest gift our group has known – to know we touched a life that in turn gave theirs to God!” To find out more about the band and see where they are playing next, check out their website: www.theblurklezurps.comThe Zurps

IN THE NEWS:

  • Russell Moore writes about the shootings and subsequent violence in Ferguson (St. Louis) last week. He writes “Ferguson reminds us that American society has a long way to go in healing old hatreds. Our churches are not outposts of American society. Our churches are to be colonies of the kingdom of God. Let’s not just announce what unity and reconciliation ought to look like. Let’s also show it.” Read his article here. 
  • I had two classes with Dan Doriani at Covenant Seminary, the most recent being “Christian Ethics” in the Spring of 2013. Dr. Doriani was recently elected to the Gospel Coalition Council. Read more here: http://www.covenantseminary.edu/the-thistle/doriani-elected-to-gospel-coalition-council/
  • Did you read about the $1 million baseball memorabilia find on the PBS Antiques Roadshow program recently? If not, check this out.  

ROBIN WILLIAMS:Robin WilliamsCourtesy of World Magazine

Thoughts on Robin Williams ~ From Guest Blogger Katie Krolik

Terrible news last night. Peter Pan, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Genie…is gone. It’s hard to believe that someone who brought so much joy and, by all human standards, “had it all” left the world in such a dark way.

I would never claim to be remotely profound, in fact, 99 percent of the time I either don’t know what to say or I say completely the wrong thing. But, as I was driving to work this morning and nearly every radio station was talking about Robin, it had me thinking.

There is a lot of talk about mental illness in light of Robin’s passing. No doubt, depression is a very real and ugly thing. I’ve lived through that darkness and it was scary. By God’s grace, I was pulled out of the muck and found a reason to have hope.

Sometimes though, I think the term “mental illness” can be used a little loosely. Sometimes I think it is similar to the way that multitudes of excited, energetic kids are quickly “diagnosed” with ADD/ADHD and put on medication. Guess what, they are KIDS, and kids are usually energetic. (By the way, Ethan was one of those kids. His 1st grade teacher suggested that we have him tested and put on meds. Funny, after she moved his seat from facing directly in front of the class computer, and away from a group of other “talkers”, he showed no other signs of “ADD”. He doesn’t have ADD, she had way too many distractions around a young boy. At the end of the year, she admitted that she was completely wrong to try to diagnose him.)

Similarly, I think there should be a clearer identification and more education on what is and what are the signs of true clinical depression. It is our human condition to go through valleys. That doesn’t always equate to mental illness. There is a part of us that is missing, incomplete. We are lacking something, and we are all looking for something to fill the void. That is ingrained in all of us. But on top of that, God sometimes allows us to experience pain, hurt, disappointment, betrayal, and loss. Why? I learned that unfortunately, we don’t always get the answers this side of eternity. But, we know from His truth that He does all things out of love. That is who He is. I think He uses pain to teach us, bring us closer to Him, show us how weak we are and our need for Him, and even to bless us.

At the end of the day, we are not much different than Robin. We ALL have the capacity for self-destruction. We all are in need of a loving Savior to save us from ourselves. To love us when we don’t love ourselves. And to adore us when we feel utterly alone.

We will experience pain. That is a promise that comes from scripture. But where do we get our hope from? If we rely on the things of the world, when the valley comes, and inevitably it will, what will we have to stand on, to look to, to pull us up and give us a reason for hope? I am ‘Chief of Sinners’, and I am still learning every day. But by God’s constant prodding (because I am a slow learner), I lean more on Him as the source of my joy and certainly my hope. People will fail me, things lose their shine, and money is an imaginary security that can be gone tomorrow. When I was in the depths of despair from when I was 18 to 24, dealing with/running from tremendous grief and hurt, God was the one who rescued me time and time again. He loved me before I loved Him, before I surrendered to Him, and when I was in the midst of my sin. He gave me a reason to not only live, but to really breath in the freedom from darkness that only His power can bring.

The point of this is, when you hear the term “mental illness”, don’t let it gloss over the fact that in a way, we all have an illness. It is called sin and it makes us less than what we were designed to be. Sometimes medication is an absolute necessity. But I think the first question we have to ask is if our hurt is from a regular human longing that can only be cured by the ultimate Healer. His name is Jesus.

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.” Psalm 30:11-12

 Quotable

A religion of head-knowledge and theories will prove of no avail either in this life or that which is to come. -C.H. Spurgeon

Quotable

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus to all of my haters For the ones that think I forgot Him   And the ones who won’t let me say it I ain’t scared no more.  -Lecrae from “Fear”

 Integrating Faith and Work

What’s Best Next Book Club – Part 3What's Best Next

What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman

There is much to learn from this new book on productivity from a Christian perspective. So much so, that I’m going to share lessons learned from the book over a period of several weeks. I’ve highlighted a number of passages in Chapters 8 and 9 and would like to share some of them with you.

I’d encourage you to read the book along with me, and to visit Matt’s website at www.whatsbestnext.com and in particular The Toolkit: http://whatsbestnext.com/toolkit/

Next time we’ll pick up with chapter 10.

 The 5 Love Languages Book Club Week Nine   5 love

Last week, Tammy and I continued our summer book club of Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to a Love that Lasts. We covered chapter ten: Love is a Choice. Here are a few passages we highlighted:

  • Love doesn’t erase the past, but it makes the future different. When we choose active expressions of love in the primary love language of our spouse, we create an emotional climate where we can deal with our past conflicts and failures.
  • It’s the “I don’t love her anymore” mind-set that gives men the emotional freedom to seek love with someone else. The same is true for wives who use the same excuse.
  • Thousands of husbands and wives have been there—emotionally empty, wanting to do the right thing, not wanting to hurt anyone, but being pushed by their emotional need to seek love outside the marriage.
  • Fortunately, I had discovered in the earlier years of my own marriage the difference between the in-love experience and the emotional need to feel loved. Most in our society have not yet learned that difference.
  • The in-love experience that we discussed in chapter 3 is on the level of instinct. It is not premeditated; it simply happens in the normal context of male-female relationships. It can be fostered or quenched, but it does not arise by conscious choice. It is short-lived (usually two years or less) and seems to serve for humankind the same function as the mating call of the Canada goose.
  • The in-love experience temporarily meets one’s emotional need for love. In time, however, we come down from that natural high back to the real world. If our spouse has learned to speak our primary love language, our need for love will continue to be satisfied. If, on the other hand, he or she does not speak our love language, our tank will slowly drain, and we will no longer feel loved. Meeting that need in one’s spouse is definitely a choice. If I learn the emotional love language of my spouse and speak it frequently, she will continue to feel loved.
  • However, if I have not learned her primary love language or have chosen not to speak it, when she descends from the emotional high, she will have the natural yearnings of unmet emotional needs. After some years of living with an empty love tank, she will likely “fall in love” with someone else, and the cycle will begin again.
  • Meeting my wife’s need for love is a choice I make each day. If I know her primary love language and choose to speak it, her deepest emotional needs will be met and she will feel secure in my love. If she does the same for me, my emotional needs are met and both of us live with a full tank.
  • Few men, suffering from an empty emotional love tank, leave their marriage until they have prospects of meeting that need somewhere else.
  • Speak it frequently. “What if the love language of your spouse is something that doesn’t come naturally for you?” I am often asked this question at my marriage seminars, and my answer is, “So?” You see, when an action doesn’t come naturally to you, it is a greater expression of love.
  • Love is something you do for someone else, not something you do for yourself.
  • We discover the primary love language of our spouse, and we choose to speak it whether or not it is natural for us. We are not claiming to have warm, excited feelings. We are simply choosing to do it for his or her benefit. We want to meet our spouse’s emotional need, and we reach out to speak his love language. In so doing, his emotional love tank is filled and chances are he will reciprocate and speak our language. When he does, our emotions return, and our love tank begins to fill.
  • Love is a choice. And either partner can start the process today.
  • A key thought here is the idea of speaking our mate’s love language whether or not it is natural for us. Why do you think this is so fundamental to a healthy marriage?

Next week we will cover the two remaining chapters and finish our study of the book. Won’t you join us?

 R.C. Sproul Quote

 

 


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6.24.2014

~ THIS AND THAT ~

IN THE NEWS:

BOOKS:

MUSIC:

  • NEEDTOBREATHE recently released the official video for “Multiplied”, one of my favorite songs off of their chart-topping album Rivers in the Wasteland. It was recently filmed in Nashville. You can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGF-MGGLpB0&feature=youtu.be&eml=2014June13/1630811/6010042
  • Recently, Tammy and our brother in law Al were talking about some of the all-time great albums. Some that came up were Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, the debut album by Boston, Frampton Comes Alive by Peter Frampton, Thriller and Off the Wall by Michael Jackson. I’ll add Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band from the Beatles, Born to Run from Bruce Springsteen and Tapestry from Carole King. What about 21 from Adele? What albums would you add to this list? Let us know.
  • U2 leader Bono was given a humanitarian award at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The festival presented the rock star with its inaugural Cannes LionHeart award, which recognizes a person or organization “that, through innovative use of commercial brand power, has made a significant and positive difference to people or the planet.” Read more here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/06/21/u2-bono-cannes-lions/11209463/
  • Amy Grant’s 1991 hit “Baby, Baby” has been amped up and reimagined for the singer’s first-ever album of remixes. “In Motion: The Remixes” will be released August 19 on Sparrow Records, and is slated to include other Grant pop classics like “That’s What Love Is For” and “Every Heartbeat.” Ready about the new album and listen to the remix of “Baby Baby” (which is actually pretty good), here.Paul Mc

GET INFORMED:

Desiring God –                          

  • The 2014 Desiring God National Conference will be held September 26–28 in Minneapolis. It will be the twelfth and final fall conference as we have known them. Desiring God is calling it Look at the Book: Reading the Bible for Yourself. John Piper will do five sessions, modeling Look at the Book from Romans 8 and unfolding the biblical foundations and fruit of seeing the Bible in this way. Jerry Bridges, Nancy Guthrie, Ben Stuart, and others have agreed to come and speak on topics related to personal Bible reading. Registration is only $150 if you register by July 25. Read more here and watch the trailer for the conference here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/no-book-like-the-bible
  • Here’s a helpful article on evangelism from Desiring God titled “Are You Too Christian for Non-Christians?” Read it here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/are-you-too-christian-for-non-christians
  • Jon Bloom, in his article “Jesus Wants You to be You”, writes: “God had you specifically in mind when he created you and called you to follow him. You are custom-designed for your calling. But when you face the difficulty of your calling, you may look at others and be tempted to wonder why they don’t seem to bear the same burdens you do”. Read the entire article here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/jesus-wants-you-to-be-you
  • In Jon Bloom’s article “This May Push You Over the Edge”http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/this-may-push-you-over-the-edge, he references John Piper’s sermon on suffering “Live to Die,” with his primary text being Colossians 1:24. Bloom encourages us to listen to the message, not just to read the transcript. He says that it will shake us, that it gets to the core what it means to live as a Christian in this age. It is not a comfortable message.
  • John Piper continues looking at the ten most highlighted passages – this time Philippians 4:13 – in this article entitled “The Secret in Every Circumstance”. Read the article and watch the 3-minute video here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/the-secret-in-every-circumstance

Ligonier Ministries –

Other –

 5 loveThe 5 Love Languages Book Club Week One

Tammy and I started our summer book club of Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to a Love that Lasts last week. We covered the introductory chapters. Here are a few passages we highlighted:

  • With all the help available from media experts, why is it that so few couples seem to have found the secret to keeping love alive after the wedding?
  • The problem is that we have overlooked one fundamental truth: People speak different love languages.
  • We must be willing to learn our spouse’s primary love language if we are to be effective communicators of love.
  • My conclusion after thirty years of marriage counseling is that there are five emotional love languages—five ways that people speak and understand emotional love.
  • In the field of linguistics a language may have numerous dialects or variations. Similarly, within the five basic emotional love languages, there are many dialects.
  • The important thing is to speak the love language of your spouse.
  • Seldom do a husband and wife have the same primary emotional love language. We tend to speak our primary love language, and we become confused when our spouse does not understand what we are communicating.
  • Among those emotional needs, none is more basic than the need for love and affection, the need to sense that he or she belongs and is wanted.
  • We needed love before we “fell in love,” and we will need it as long as we live.
  • The need to feel loved by one’s spouse is at the heart of marital desires.
  • I am convinced that keeping the emotional love tank full is as important to a marriage as maintaining the proper oil level is to an automobile.
  • WARNING: Understanding the five love languages and learning to speak the primary love language of your spouse may radically affect his or her behavior. People behave differently when their emotional love tanks are full.
  • We have been led to believe that if we are really in love, it will last forever. Unfortunately, the eternality of the in-love experience is fiction, not fact.
  • After studying scores of couples, she concluded that the average life span of a romantic obsession is two years.
  • Once the experience of falling in love has run its natural course (remember, the average in-love experience lasts two years), we will return to the world of reality and begin to assert ourselves.
  • Some couples believe that the end of the in-love experience means they have only two options: resign themselves to a life of misery with their spouse, or jump ship and try again. Our generation has opted for the latter, whereas an earlier generation often chose the former.
  • Our most basic emotional need is not to fall in love but to be genuinely loved by another, to know a love that grows out of reason and choice, not instinct.
  • That kind of love requires effort and discipline. It is the choice to expend energy in an effort to benefit the other person, knowing that if his or her life is enriched by your effort, you too will find a sense of satisfaction—the satisfaction of having genuinely loved another. It does not require the euphoria of the in-love experience. In fact, true love cannot begin until the in-love experience has run its course.
  • Love is the attitude that says, “I am married to you, and I choose to look out for your interests.”
  • How do we meet each other’s deep, emotional need to feel loved? If we can learn that and choose to do it, then the love we share will be exciting beyond anything we ever felt when we were infatuated.

Each chapter ends with a helpful discussion question.

Next week we will cover the first love language Words of Affirmation. Won’t you join us?

 Integrating Faith and Work

  • Check out this article “God’s Will and Your Job”, from R.C. Sproul: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/gods-will-and-your-job/
  • Being a leader is about creating a way for people to contribute in order to make something extraordinary happen. Nancy Ortberg discusses two simple ways in which leaders can do this to humanize work. First, she explores the ways God reminds us to look in small places for great things. Second, she tackles the importance of workplace conflict and the need for giving feedback to those we respect. Check out her talk titled “Humanizing Work Through Leadership” here: http://www.faithandwork.com/humanizing-work-through-leadership/

~ UPDATED PAGES ON THE BLOG ~

Book Reviews:

Movie Reviews:

  • Jersey Boys
  • Lone Survivor

Quotable

We can put it this way–the man who has faith is the man who is no longer looking at himself and no longer looking to himself. He no longer looks at anything he once was. He does not look at what he is now. He does not even look at what he hopes to be as the result of his own efforts. He looks entirely to the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work, and rests on that alone. He stops saying, ‘Ah yes, I used to commit terrible sins but now I have done this and that.’ If he goes on saying that, he has not got faith. Faith speaks in an entirely different manner and makes a man say, ‘Yes I have sinned grievously, I have lived a life of sin, yet I know that I am a child of God because I am not resting on any righteousness of my own; my righteousness is in Jesus Christ and God has put that to my account.’

-D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (listen to 1,600 sermons from Lloyd-Jones at http://www.mljtrust.org/)

 

 


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5.27.2014

For the last several years my brother and I have celebrated Father’s Day with our Dad with a Peoria Charter bus trip to Wrigley Field. This year’s trip occurred on what would have been my parent’s 59th wedding anniversary. Also, in 2014 Wrigley is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and the game Dad chose was against the New York Yankees. In Spring Training, future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter announced that this would be his final season. This was his final game at Wrigley Field. The game would go 13 innings before the Yankees won. Jeter would bat seven times, getting one hit. Each time he came to the plate the crowd (including yours truly) would rise for a standing ovation and stay standing throughout the entire at bat. I’m glad I was able to see him before he retires.BaseballOn the bus ride to the game, I was talking to my Dad about my bucket list. I asked him what he had on his list. He really didn’t have a lot of items, though we both have attending the Masters golf tournament on our lists. What Dad suggested instead was making a list of those things or places we’ve been that most impacted us, or we most enjoyed. I thought that was a great idea. I thought of special vacations, concerts or sporting events that made the top of my list, and those that I shared those experiences with. What would be on your list?

 

~ THIS AND THAT ~

  • The St. Louis Cardinals have announced plans for “Christian Day at the Ballpark” on Saturday, August 2 at 6:15pm when the Cardinals face the Milwaukee Brewers. This year’s featured speaker is Marcus Luttrell, co-author of the book The Lone Survivor and the inspiration for the movie The Lone Survivor, starring Mark Wahlberg. Current Cardinals players will also participate in the post-game outreach event. Groups of 25 or more can call 314-345-9000.
  • Here’s an interesting article on the best “walk up” songs (the music a batter has played as they are walking to the plate in baseball). http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/76318408/walk-up-music-mlb-josh-reddick-shane-victorino-careless-whisper?partnerId=ed-8220552-658620023#!PONk3. Here are the “walk-up” songs for the St. Louis Cardinals, including Matt Carpenter who walks up to Long Hot Summer Day” by Turnpike Troubadours – http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com/fan_forum/ballpark_music.jsp?c_id=stl  What song would you used for your “walk up” music?
  • Christianaudio.com is offering a second free audio book this month. The Race Before Us: A Journey of Running and Faith by Bruce Matson is a memoir detailing one man’s journey from doubt to faith. To find out more and download your copy, click on this link.

ARTICLES ~

Desiring God and John Piper ~

  • Here’s an interesting article from Desiring God on the subject of anger “What our Anger is Telling Us”: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/what-our-anger-is-telling-us
  • In the sixth volume of The Swans Are Not Silent series, John Piper celebrates the importance of poetic effort by looking at three influential Christians whose words magnificently display a commitment to truth and a love of beauty. Examining the lives of George Herbert, George Whitefield, and C. S. Lewis, Piper helps us appreciate the importance of carefully crafted words by exploring how Christians can use them to testify to God’s glory, wonder at his grace, and rejoice in his salvation. Piper states that of all the books he has written, this one may be the one most different from all the others. It is less about the God we see and more about how to see him. Read Piper’s article about the new book here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/a-piper-book-unlike-any-other
  • Do you enjoy reading? Is it deep reading or scan reading, or somewhere in between. You might be interested in this article/interview entitled “The End of Books” from Desiring God: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/the-end-of-books
  • Here is a helpful article on selfish ambition from Desiring God, entitled “Escaping the Slavery of Selfish Ambition”. Read it here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/escaping-the-slavery-of-selfish-ambition
  • John Piper writes that Romans 8:28 is your verse if you believe in the God of the Bible, and you love him, all the bounty of one of his greatest promises is yours. Read his article “Life’s Deepest Pains for Your Greatest Pleasure” and watch a three minute video with Piper talking about Romans 8:28 here: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/life-s-deepest-pains-for-your-greatest-pleasures

The best of men are but men at best… ~

MUSIC ~

  • Crowder’s (David Crowder) first solo album Neon Steeple, one of the year’s most anticipated albums, will be released May 27. It features the single “I Am”.
  • Jimmy Needham didn’t grow up in the church, and he didn’t know anything about old hymns. He wasn’t actually introduced to them until he was in college. Watch this short video of Jimmy performing the classic “How Great Thou Art”, one of my favorite hymns.
  • Bob Dylan released on his website a new recording of “Full Moon and Empty Arms”, a cover of a 1945 song Frank Sinatra made popular. The song was written by Ted Mossmann and Buddy Kaye and based around Sergei Rachmaninoff’s 1901 composition “Piano Concert No. 2 in C Minor.” The song has been covered by everyone from Robert Goulet to The Platters, but Sinatra’s rendition remains the most famous. The 72 year old Dylan’s last few albums were inspired by popular music from this era. A full album is expected later this year. You can listen to the new recording here: http://www.bobdylan.com/us/home

 

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Book Reviews:

 Movie and DVD Reviews:

    • Million Dollar Arm
    • The Railway Man
    • Locke
    • Grand Piano

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