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December 16, 2014

Here are today’s new Kindle deals: The Gospel-Driven Life by Michael Horton ($2.99); Taking Christian Moral Thought Seriously by Various ($0.99); Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas ($2.99); God’s Not Dead by Rice Broocks ($2.99); But Don’t All Religions Lead to God? by Michael Green ($0.99); A Place of Healing by Joni Eareckson Tada ($2.99); A Case for Amillennialism by Kim Riddelbarger ($5.68).

Board Game Sale - Amazon has a bunch of board games on sale today—with time to have them shipped before Christmas. Be sure to check out Ticket to Ride, Dominion, and 7 Wonders. I’m not as familiar with the rest of them.

A Time to Speak - Today Gospel Coalition is sponsoring “A Time to Speak,” live-streamed from the historic Lorraine Motel and National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. Several of their Council members and other contributors will be participating, including Darrin Patrick, John Piper, Thabiti Anyabwile, and Voddie Baucham.

Christmas Tree, Inc - I enjoyed this article on the Christmas tree industry. Who knew so much was involved in getting that tree into my living room?

Cracking the Code - “For years, scholars have been searching for meaning in the artist’s preparation for the Second Coming of Christ. Perhaps the real purpose of the shrine lies not in his cryptic notes, but in our own sense of astonishment.”

How to Ruin a Moses Movie - Joe Carter looks to Exodus: Gods and Kings and shows how to ruin a movie.

Can Any Man Forgive My Past? - “I am a woman in my late-20s who is hoping to be married someday. I love and follow God to the best of my ability. I grew up in a Christian home; however, during high school and college I backslid: partying, drinking and having sex.”

Salvation is not a reward for the righteous, but a gift for the guilty. —Steven Lawson

Lawson

December 15, 2014

You’ve got to be careful what you share online. Over the weekend Facebook and Twitter were suddenly inundated with links to a new recording of the Christmas hymn “Angels From the Realms of Glory” mashed up with “Angels We Have Heard on High.” It was recorded by The Piano Guys and features David Archuleta, a one-time runner up on American Idol. It is a creative recording that intersperses shots of the musicians with video taken to record the world’s largest nativity scene. The song is beautifully sung and the music is rich; it is no surprise that it quickly gained over one million views. Well and good, right? Well, except for one thing: Its purpose is to separate you from Jesus Christ.

This video was produced as a key part of a huge social media campaign called #ShareTheGift—a Mormon evangelistic social media campaign. This campaign is meant to reclaim Christmas as a religious holiday but also to serve as a gateway into Mormonism. At the end of the video is a brief testimony by Steven Sharp Nelson of The Piano Guys who shares what Christmas means to him and who points to a second video titled “He Is the Gift.” This video, in turn, leads to a page at Mormon.org that shares why you, too, ought to become Mormon.

As I said, you’ve got to be careful what you share online. What looks good at a glance may harbor some deep concerns.

I thought a lot about this video over the weekend and want to offer a few reflections on its significance.

This video reminds us that Christians—true Christians who hold to the true gospel of the Bible—are not the only ones who use biblical language and who sing the great hymns of the Christian faith. Mormons sing many of the same hymns as we do, though they often change the lyrics to remove any references to the Trinity or to otherwise make them palatable with Mormon theology. (e.g. Where in “Holy, Holy, Holy” we sing “God in three persons blessed Trinity” they sing “God in his glory, blessed Deity.”) Mormons claim to be Christians and to honor the Bible; they speak of Jesus as their Savior and Redeemer and claim that he is the only begotten son of the Father; they proclaim a gospel of faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Spirit, and persevering to the end. But they also deny the doctrine of the Trinity, they deny the divinity of Jesus Christ, and they deny justification by grace alone through faith alone. Though they proclaim that they are Christians, in reality they are Christ-deniers. We do not need to apologize for this and cannot over-emphasize it: Mormons are not Christians. Yet they share just enough of our beliefs that they can masquerade as Christians if we do not look deeper than the surface.

December 15, 2014

After a slow week last week, I’ve got some new Kindle deals for you: The Money Saving Mom’s Budget by Crystal Paine ($1.99); The Power of Suffering by John MacArthur ($2.99); Strange Fire by John MacArthur ($3.99); Ordinary by Michael Horton ($3.99); Scandalous by D.A. Carson ($0.99); The Great Exchange by Jerry Bridges & Bob Bevington ($1.99); The Cross and Salvation by Bruce Demarest ($2.99); Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick ($0.99); Sojourner Truth by Terry Whalin ($1.99); How God Became Jesus by Michael Bird ($4.99); The Unbelievable Gospel by Jonathan Dodson ($3.99); The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones ($1.99).

Rebuilding Appalachia - I enjoyed this short film that shows the work of an interesting ministry.

To the Dad Looking at Porn - In case you still don’t have enough reasons to stop looking at porn, here are more.

Controlling Online Conversation - This article shows how it’s possible to control the news stories that appear to be most prominent.

Moses Without the Supernatural - Al Mohler reviews the new film Exodus: Gods and Kings. What I want to know: Does Dr. Mohler take a book with him when he goes to see a movie?

Prayer and Dependence - Randy Alcorn reflects on prayer and offers some encouragement for those who struggle to pray.

I Am the Very Model of a Biblical Philologist - This silly video goes back a few years, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it.

Christianity’s first call is not “Behave!” but “Behold!” —Matt Papa

Papa

December 14, 2014

Whatever else we know about Charles Spurgeon, and whatever else we honor and respect in him, what always stands out to me is his unshakable confidence in the Bible. I recently came across two short quotes, both of which stand as eloquent proof of his love of God’s Word, and both of which stand as a challenge to me to imitate him in this regard.

There are some people who seem as if they would not be converted unless they can see some eminent minister. Even that will not suit some of them—they need a special revelation from Heaven. They will not take a text from the Bible—though I cannot conceive of anything better than that—but they think that if they could dream something, or if they could hear words spoken in the cool of the evening by some strange voice in the sky, then they might be converted. Well, Brothers and Sisters, if you will not eat the apples that grow on trees, you must not expect angels to come and bring them to you!

Well, my Brothers and Sisters, whenever you put your hand to your brow and say, concerning anything revealed in the Scriptures, ‘I cannot comprehend it,’ lay your other hand upon your heart and say, ‘Nevertheless I believe it. It is clearly taught in the Bible and although my reason may find it difficult to explain it, and I may not be able to discover any arguments to prove the truth of it, yet I lay my reason down at my Infallible Master’s feet and trust where I cannot see.’

December 13, 2014

I found an early review of the new movie Exodus: Gods and Kings. Not surprisingly, the movie does a terrible and downright blasphemous way of portraying God while also playing fast and loose with Scripture.

Jean Lloyd shares Seven Things I Wish My Pastor Knew About My Homosexuality.

The Gettys will be playing Carnegie Hall on Wednesday night and would love to sell it out. There are just a few seats remaining if you’re interested.

I’m kind of an airplane geek, so enjoyed this article on The Pilots of Instagram (which may just have led to disciplinary action for some of those pilots).

Thanks to Books at a Glance for sponsoring the blog this week with their article 3 Ways Christian Audio Book Summaries Will Save You Time & Money.

I’ve told you before about The Resolutions Poster. Well, right now they are offering a buy one give one deal where if you buy it, you will get a second free.

When sin lets us alone we may let sin alone. —John Owen

John Owen

December 12, 2014

Friday is here, and with it a new edition of Free Stuff Fridays. This week’s giveaway is sponsored (again!) by CBD Reformed. They are offering 5 prize packages this week, which means there will be 5 winners. Each of those winners will receive the following 3 items:

  • Crazy BusyCrazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung - Retail Price $11.99. “ ‘I’M TOO BUSY!’ We’ve all heard it. We’ve all said it. All too often, busyness gets the best of us. Just one look at our jam-packed schedules tells us how hard it can be to strike a well-reasoned balance between doing nothing and doing it all. That’s why award-winning author and pastor Kevin DeYoung addresses the busyness problem head on in his newest book, Crazy Busy — and not with the typical arsenal of time management tips, but rather with the biblical tools we need to get to the source of the issue and pull the problem out by the roots. Highly practical and super short, Crazy Busy will help you put an end to ‘busyness as usual.’”
  • A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers by D.A. Carson – Retail Price $19.99. “ ‘God doesn’t demand hectic church programs and frenetic schedules; he only wants his people to know him more intimately,’ says D. A. Carson. The apostle Paul found that spiritual closeness in his own fellowship with the Father. A Call to Spiritual Reformation investigates the Epistles to see what lessons Paul taught in his ‘school of prayer.’ Christians today can still achieve the confidence Paul enjoyed by following his life-shaping principles and searching for a deeper devotional experience.”
  • Atheism Remix: A Christian Confronts the New Atheists by R. Albert Mohler Jr. - Retail price $15.99. “A leading Christian intellectual explores the newest strain of atheism, its foremost thinkers, the cultural conditions that have bred it, and how Christians should respond. Something has changed in American culture. What for years was a little-regarded belief system-atheism-has now gained a large, and increasing, national hearing through the writings of ‘new atheists’ such as Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and Hitchens. Wanting to both inform and equip serious-minded Christians regarding this cultural shift, R. Albert Mohler Jr. explores the environment that has bred the ‘new atheism’ while also introducing readers to the movement’s four leading thinkers and the contours of their arguments.”

In addition, CBD Reformed is offering a 4-day sale (December 12 - 15) on the following three products:

Enter to Win

All you need to do to enter the draw is to drop your name and email address in the form below. (If you receive this by email, you will need to visit challies.com to enter.)

Giveaway Rules: You may enter one time. As soon as the winners have been chosen, all names and addresses will be immediately and permanently erased. Winners will be notified by email. The giveaway closes Saturday at noon.

December 12, 2014

I’ve got just a handful of new Kindle deals today: The Cross and Christian Ministry by D.A. Carson ($1.99); The Ultimate Guide to the Names of God by Elmer Towns ($2.99); The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien ($2.99); A Cross-Shattered Church by Stanley Hauerwas ($2.51).

What Is Liberal Theology? - Justin Taylor provides a quick definition of liberal theology.

Should You Do a Cleanse or Detox? - Cleanses and detoxes are a popular dietary trend today. Do they actually do anything? You probably won’t be shocked at the answer.

ESV Bible Sale - Westminster Books has all of their ESV Bibles at 50% off.

You’re Not What You Think You Are - How much of you is you, and how much is micro-organisms? You’re about to find out.

The Five Most Disturbing Things About a Benny Hinn Miracle Service - I don’t know if these are the 5 most disturbing things, but they are some of them anyway.

Alzheimer’s, the Brain, and the Soul - Tony Reinke has a fascinating interview here.

The beginning of man’s rebellion against God was, and is, the lack of a thankful heart. —Francis Schaeffer

Schaeffer