Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

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Here are reviews from four brand-new albums:

Jesus is King – Kanye West

Jesus is King is the highly anticipated and publicized new album, and the first gospel music album, from the controversial Kanye West. I’ll admit that I’ve not previously heard any music from West, who has won an amazing 21 Grammy Awards.
This year, West began attending Placerita Bible Church in Newhall, California. The church is a non-denominational congregation, led by senior pastor, Adam Tyson, a graduate of the respected Master’s Seminary, which was founded by John MacArthur. Tyson has been instrumental in guiding Kanye West’s spiritual journey, including consulting on the lyrics of this album.
West uses a lot of collaborators on the writing and producing of these songs. This album, his ninth studio project, clocks in at only 27 minutes, and topped the charts upon release.
My overall assessment is that while inconsistent, this is a solid effort and worth consideration from those who enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music. Here are a few comments about each song:

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review and reviews of~
  • Three Cords & The Truth – Van Morrison
  • Western Stars – Songs from the Film – Bruce Springsteen
  • What’s My Name – Ringo Starr
  • Music News
  • Music Quotes
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

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11 New and Upcoming Albums You Might Be Interested In

There are a number of new and upcoming albums, in a variety of genres, that I would like to share with you that you may be interested in.

Abbey Road (Super Deluxe Edition – Beatles

Just as he did with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Beatles (The White Album), Giles Martin, son of the long-time Beatles producer George Martin, has given us a remixed anniversary project on the 50th anniversary of the release of Abbey Road. The Super Deluxe Anniversary Edition includes a new mix of the original album, which was produced by George Martin, which includes the famous closing suite on side 2, John Lennon’s “Come Together” and two of George Harrison’s best songs – “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun”. In addition, this edition includes 23 outtakes and demos, which was what I was most excited about. Continue reading

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Give More Love – Ringo Starr

The 77-year old former Beatle follows his 2015 album Postcards from Paradise with his nineteenth studio album, which was recorded in his home studio in Los Angeles. The album was originally planned to be a country album recorded in Nashville with Dave Stewart. They recorded one song – “So Wrong for So Long” – before the album took a different shape. In addition to ten new songs, there are four bonus tracks, which are new versions of old songs.  Starr self-produced the album, assisted by engineer Bruce Sugar. The album features a number of guests, including former band-mate Paul McCartney, brother-in law, guitarist Joe Walsh, and fellow Eagles singer-bassist Timothy B. Schmit, Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench, saxophonist Edgar Winter, guitarist-producer Jeff Lynne, guitarist Dave Stewart, bassists Nathan East and Don Was, Toto guitarist Steve Lukather and multi-instrumentalist Greg Leisz.

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Music News and Reviews

Postcards from Paradise by Ringo StarrPostcards from Paradise – Ringo Starr

From the time I was eight years old I’ve loved the Beatles’ music, both as a band, and as solo artists. Ringo was the Beatles drummer from 1962 to 1970. This is his eighteenth solo studio album, along with several live albums and compilations. Last year I finally got to see Ringo and His All Starr Band in concert. It was a great evening as Ringo and the band really seemed to enjoy each other and performing for their fans.

This album features eleven new songs, and arrives just a few months before Ringo turns 75 years old on July 7. Ringo will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 18, appropriately by Paul McCartney, the only other surviving Beatle.

The album was produced by Ringo, engineered by longtime collaborator Bruce Sugar, and recorded at his home studio in Los Angeles. As on his previous albums, he is joined by a number of guest stars, such as Joe Walsh, Benmont Tench, Dave Stewart, Richard Marx, Peter Frampton, Nathan East and Glen Ballard. The album features the first song that Ringo has written and recorded with the members of his All Starr Band “Islands in the Sun” – Steve Lukather, Todd Rundgren, Gregg Rolie, Richard Page, Warren Ham and Gregg Bissonette, who plays percussion, trumpet and steel drums on the song.

Below are a few comments about each song:

“Rory and the Hurricanes” – another of Ringo’s songs about the past, which I particularly enjoy. Those songs actually date way back to “Early 1970”, the b-side of an early single. This song, co-written with Dave Stewart, pays tribute to the band Ringo was in prior to joining the Beatles in 1962 when he replaced Pete Best on drums. It is a rocker featuring a pounding piano and doo-wop girl-group backing vocals. The song begins in Liverpool and takes in an early visit to Soho’s Denmark Street with the band he refers to as “you know who”.

We were sleeping on the floor living on bread and jam
Because we thought we’d hit the big time
We didn’t give a d***
We were Rory and the Hurricanes

 “You Bring the Party Down” – co-written with Toto’s Steve Lukather. In this song, which includes a sitar, Ringo goes back and forth between a reggae-like feel and a driving rock beat. This has an uncharacteristically dark streak to it. It makes you wonder who he is singing about.

Still living off your memories of when you were in the band
When you’re around you bring the party down

 “Bridges” – features brother-in-law Joe Walsh on a guitar solo.
Down every road we come to bridges.
Crossing bridges is the best way to grow.

“Postcards from Paradise” – co-written with Todd Rundgren, this song creatively uses Beatle and solo song titles in the song lyrics with a George Harrison sound-alike guitar solo thrown in for good measure. Ringo also plays keyboards on this song. Here’s an example, with the song title in italics:

 It’s all too much my little child.
If you would be my honey pie
Eight days a week you will be mine
And getting better all the time

“Right Side of the Road” – is a positive, upbeat, feel-good song. Features guitar work from Ringo and Peter Frampton. Ringo encourages the listener to choose another direction and “try it on the right side on the right side of the road. “

“Not Looking Back” – a loving tribute to Barbara, his wife of nearly 34 years. Features violin work from Ann Marie Simpson.

“Bamboula” – co-written with Van Dyke Parks. Ringo has said that they were trying to create the impression of a marching band, so he played every drum that he had in the studio, including three huge, hundred-year-old drums that Joe Walsh sent him from Africa. The title comes from the bamboula, a drum that Africans were playing 200 years ago. Ringo plays a syncopated New Orleans–inspired snare/tom rhythm, and the song includes some horns and background vocals.

“Island in the Sun” – the first song written by the entire All-Starr Band. Features some good sax work and background vocals with a Caribbean groove.

Don’t worry about the future
Don’t forget about the past
Don’t really matter where I’ve been or what I’ve done
I keep searching for the island in the sun

“Touch and Go” – the closest to an early Beatles sound on the album. Ringo wrote the song with his longtime collaborator Gary Burr. The song is an upbeat song with an effective guitar solo, in which Ringo sings about new love:

I knew from the moment we said hello
It had to be more than touch and go.

“Confirmation” – features guitar work by Steve Dudas, who has been contributing to Ringo’s albums for several years. It’s a positive song that features a laid-back Motown groove, with an effective use of horns and background vocals. This could be another song about wife Barbara.

If I knew then what I know now
I do it all again with you anyhow

“Let Love Lead” – features Frampton and Gary Nicolson on guitars. Was reportedly considered as the title song for album. A strong closing song with the simple positive message of “let love lead”.

Ringo’s effective drumming is mixed prominently throughout this release and his vocals sound as good as ever. Several of these songs will sound good live. I thoroughly enjoyed this album.

 Van Morrison DuetsDuets: Reworking the Catalogue – Van Morrison

I was first attracted to the now 69 year-old Van Morrison’s music when I heard his song “Whenever God Shines His Light” with Cliff Richard on Christian radio in 1989. That song, as well as “When Will I Learn to Live in God”? were included on Morrison’s excellent album Avalon Sunset. Although his later albums haven’t had the same spiritual flavor, I’ve enjoyed each of his albums since, and have seen him perform in one of his rare U.S. concerts.

In general, I’m not a fan of duet albums, live albums or “Greatest Hits” albums, instead preferring all new music from the artists I like. As a result, I wasn’t overly excited when I first heard about this new album. But it is a very good album which reminds me of John Fogerty’s 2013 I Wrote a Song for Everyone in concept, though Fogerty tended to focus on his most popular songs, while Morrison’s album focuses on some of his lesser known songs.

The 16 song album got its start when Morrison, the late Bobby Womack (whose appearance on “Some Peace of Mind” is one of his final studio recordings), Mavis Staples and Natalie Cole played the BluesFest at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 2013. Morrison recorded songs with each of them, and completed songs with the other guests over the next year. The album is produced by Morrison, Don Was and Bob Rock. In some cases Morrison had songs in mind for the guest artists and in other cases, such as Michael Buble with “Real, Real Gone”, the album’s first single, the artist had a particular song they wanted to record from the 360 songs in his catalog.

The songs date from 1970’s “If I Ever Needed Someone” with Mavis Staples to 2012’s Born to Sing” with Chris Farlowe. Most of the songs come from Morrison’s 1980’s and 1990’s albums. He has said that the project was about both the fun of singing with artists he admires and also going back to songs that aren’t so well known.

Other artists who joined Morrison for the project include Stevie Winwood, Mark Knopfler, Georgie Fame, Morrison’s daughter Shana Morrison, Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall, Taj Mahal, Clare Teal, PJ Proby (who joins Morrison for “Whatever Happened to PJ Proby”), Gregory Porter, George Benson (who Morrison recorded “Higher Than the World” live with Bensons’ band) and Joss Stone. Some of the artists I was very familiar with and a few I had not heard of before this album.

The album features the superb vocals of Morrison and his hand-picked guests, is well produced and the musicianship stellar. Since this album has come out I’ve been going back to listen to a lot of Morrison’s earlier music. I hope the new album results in others doing the same.


  • “Ima Just Do It” from KB. Listen to KB’s new song from his upcoming album, featuring two times Masters champion golfer Bubba Watson. KB’s new album Tomorrow We Live will be released April 21. You can listen to it in its entirety this week on iTunes Radio First Play. Check it out!
  • Matt Redman Unbroken PraiseNew Matt Redman Album. Unbroken Praise, which was recently recorded live in the Abbey Road studios in London, will be released June 16.
  • Famous Irish Sons Pay Tribute to Their Amazing Dads. U2’s Bono is among the men who have paid tribute to their fathers for the Irish Hospice Foundation. They have all contributed a photo of themselves with their dads, and a piece of writing about their relationship, for the Irish Hospice Foundation book, Sons and Fathers.
  • Paul’s Letter to the Romans Set to Music. Trevin Wax interviews Cody Curtis, a composer and the Worship Arts Director at Union University. Curtis has completed a new album based on Paul’s letter to the Romans.
  • Millennials and Reconciliation. Here is the video of Trip Lee’s talk from the ERLC Summit on the Gospel and Racial Reconciliation. The transcript from the message is also included.
  • Lecrae on GMA. Did you see Lecrae perform “All I Need is You” recently on Good Morning America?
  • “Welcome to America” Video. Here’s Lecrae’s video for “Welcome to America” from his Anomaly album.
  • Before This World - James TaylorNew James Taylor Album. James Taylor returns with Before This World on June 16. This is first album of new songs since October Road, released in 2002 – yes, 13 years ago! Recorded primarily at The Barn in Western Massachusetts, the 10-track album will feature James’s legendary Band: Jimmy Johnson, Steve Gadd, Michael Landau, Larry Goldings, Luis Conte, Andrea Zonn, Arnold McCuller, David Lasley and Kate Markowitz, as well as special guests Yo-Yo Ma and Sting. If you pre-order the album, you get the download for the first single “Today, Today, Today”. Taylor played that song, as well as three others from the new album when we saw him in a June 27, 2014 concert at the Ravinia Festival. Can’t wait for the new album.
  • Rory and the Hurricanes Ringo Starr talks about the new song from his album Postcards from Paradise in which he sings about the band he was in before he joined the Beatles.
  • Ethan Hawke and Jimmy Fallon do Bob Dylan Lullabies. Did you see this recently on The Tonight Show?


  • You can try to kill my hope and place it in a grave but it won’t stay there. Jesus lives. Lecrae
  • The resurrection doesn’t just give us hope because it’s a nice story. It gives us life because it really happened. Trip Lee
  • Sometimes racism may be more subtle than it used to be, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less sinful. Trip Lee

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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:

The Good Lie


Movie Review ~ The Good Lie, rated PG-13




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:

  • 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:
  • 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:
  • 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
  • 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


  • 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 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:
  • 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:


  • 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:
  • 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:

  • 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:


  • 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: 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”. 



  • 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:


  • 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

  • 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


 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



  • 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