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September 28, 2015

Today’s Kindle deals include God’s Design for Man and Woman by Andreas & Margaret Kostenberger ($2.99); The Joy of Calvinism by Greg Forster ($2.99); Becoming Your Spouse’s Better Half by Rick Johnson ($1.99); Taking the Bible at its Word by Paul Wells ($3.99).

Ashokan Farewell

“When the documentary The Civil War debuted 25 years ago, it gave a new life—and old history—to a gorgeous melody.” It really is both distinctive and beautiful.

No Hay Otro

The conference I was at last weekend had its own theme song called “No Hay Otro.” You’ll need a bit of Spanish to get it, but I think you’ll find it’s a good one. Here’s hoping for an English translation.

Why We Need the New Battle for the Bible

This article from Christianity Today has received some well-deserved attention.

What Christmas Carols Get Right (and Wrong)

“Most of us love our Christmas traditions, especially singing the old, familiar carols. From time to time, however, we might well wonder about the correctness of some of the things we’re singing so gustily.”

Medieval Monsters

It is perhaps a little overdone, but this short film on medieval monsters (backyard insects, actually) is entertaining. Plus, God does commend staring at ants at least now and again.

This Day in 1895. “At a convention in Atlanta, three Baptist groups merged to form the National Baptist Convention. It is today the largest African-American denomination in America and the world.” *

Churches in Ruin

Here’s a photo essay of church buildings in Europe that have been left in ruin. It’s a good reminder that the church is the people, not the buildings they inhabit.

How to Read the Bible and Do Theology Well

D.A. Carson: “It’s been said that the Bible is like a body of water in which a child may wade and an elephant may swim. The youngest Christian can read the Bible with profit, for the Bible’s basic message is simple. But we can never exhaust its depth.”


God answers the prayer we ought to have made rather than the prayer we did make. —J.I. Packer

September 27, 2015

Be kind to Your little children, Lord.
Be a gentle teacher,
patient with our weakness and stupidity.
And give us the strength and discernment to do what You tell us,
and so grow in Your likeness.
May we all live in the peace that comes from You.

May we journey towards Your city,
sailing through the waters of sin untouched by the waves,
borne serenely along by the Holy Spirit.

Night and day may we give you praise and thanks,
because You have shown us that all things belong to You,
and all blessings are gifts from You.

To You,
the essence of wisdom,
the foundation of truth,
be glory for evermore.

(A prayer of Clement of Alexandria)

September 26, 2015

It would be difficult for me to explain just what a blessing it has been to spend time with the Christians here in Dominican Republic, and especially at Iglesia Bautista Internacional. Sadly, I have to make my way home today. But I sure hope I can return in the future. God is at work here and it is a joy to see.

Injury Interrupted My Idolatry

Landry Fields: “I hobbled on one crutch to grip my cell phone from my back pocket. I was a starter for the New York Knicks and then the Toronto Raptors. And then I got injured, and then injured again, and then injured again.”

Why We Need the New Battle for the Bible

Mark Galli reminds us “It’s time to turn to Scripture as our final authority.”

What Happens Next Will Amaze You

This article probably goes on for too long, but the first half or so is a fascinating look at the state of Internet security and what happens with all the data you leave behind.

From Antichrist to Brother in Christ

Lifeway reveals the results of a poll in which they asked Protestant pastors for their view of Pope Francis. More than half say Pope Francis is their brother in Christ. (Note: Here are some comments Al Mohler made on CNN.)

This Day in 1861. “A fast day is observed in the northern United States by order of President Abraham Lincoln.” *

Blood Moons and Biblical Discernment

Should we be concerned about the pattern of blood moons that so many people are all worked up about? No. This article tells why.

It Can Wait

This powerful little video is meant to convince you not to text while you drive. I’d say it’s quite effective.

Finally, thanks to RPTS for sponsoring the blog this week with an article for pastors called “Dry and Stale?


Followers of Jesus who count the cost and are willing to take up their crosses after him must have broad shoulders. —Os Guinness

September 25, 2015

This week's Free Stuff Fridays giveaway features the great new NIV Zondervan Study Bible. There will be 5 winners this week, and each of the winners will receive 2 copies of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible—one to keep, and one to give away. Here is a little bit of information about this study Bible:

In an ambitious undertaking, Dr. D. A. Carson, along with a team of over 60 scholars from a wide range of evangelical denominations and perspectives, worked over a 5-year period crafting the unique study notes and features in the NIV Zondervan Study Bible.

These leading scholars have dedicated their lives to studying individual writers, books, and sections of Scripture. Their collective wisdom is now brought together in nearly 20,000 verse-by-verse notes and additional features that pack the pages of this Bible. As you read and study, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the biblical writers, the times in which they wrote, and the larger purpose of their writing in God’s story.

And here is D.A. Carson providing a brief introduction:

You can learn a lot more about the Bible right here: NIVZondervanStudyBible.com. Again, there will be 5 winners this week, so sign up now!

Enter Here

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. If you are viewing this through email, click to visit my site and enter there.

September 25, 2015

Thanks to all who prayed for me and for the Se Hombre conference here in Santo Domingo. A couple of thousand men attended with thousands more watching the livestream. The Lord is at work in Latin America and it’s wildly encouraging. I preach one more time this evening, then head home tomorrow.

Revive ’15

Women may be interested in catching the livestream of Revive ’15 with Nancy Leigh DeMoss and others. The event begins this afternoon.

Hosting and/or Accepting Speaking Engagements

Jared Wilson has some helpful advice for conference speakers and for the people who invite them.

The Lunar Eclipse

Here’s your guide to when and where to watch this weekend’s lunar eclipse.

The Fastest Camera

“A new camera developed at MIT can photograph a trillion frames per second. Compare that with a traditional movie camera which takes a mere 24. This new advancement in photographic technology has given scientists the ability to photograph the movement of the fastest thing in the Universe, light.”

This Day in 1929. J. Gresham Machen delivers the inaugural address at Westminster Seminary to a class of fifty students. *

Being Offended and Being Persecuted

Russell Moore distinguishes between offence and persecution.

Nothing Explicitly Christian

Denny Burk listened to the pope’s speech yesterday and provides a few reflections.

Why Don’t Protestants Have a Pope?

Kevin DeYoung turns to Bavinck for the answer.


Too often we confuse popularity with success, and obscurity with failure. —Chris Larson

September 24, 2015

We are easily distracted by the things that matter less, and preoccupied with the things that matter least. This is exactly the case—too often, at least—when it comes to talk of revival and when it comes to our desire to see the Spirit’s work in our lives and in the church. J.I. Packer makes the case that it is the Spirit’s regular ministry, and not his extraordinary or miraculous ministry, that should preoccupy us. Give this a read and consider it:

The instilling of the knowledge of [God’s love] is described as part of the regular ministry of the Spirit to those who receive him—to all, that is, who are born again, who are true believers. One could wish that this aspect of his ministry was prized more highly than it is at the present time. With a perversity as pathetic as it is impoverishing, we have become preoccupied today with the extraordinary, sporadic, non-universal ministries of the Spirit to the neglect of the ordinary, general ones. Thus, we show a great deal more interest in the gifts of healing and tongues—gifts of which, as Paul pointed out, not all Christians are meant to partake anyway (1 Cor. 12:28-30)—than in the Spirit’s ordinary work of giving peace, joy, hope, and love, through the shedding abroad in our hearts of knowledge of the love of God. Yet the latter is much more important than the former. To the Corinthians, who had taken it for granted that the more tongues the merrier, and the godlier too, Paul had to insist that without love—sanctification, Christlikeness—tongues were worth precisely nothing (1 Cor. 13:1ff.).

He would undoubtedly see reason to issue a similar caveat today. It will be tragic if the concern for revival that is stirring at the present time in many places gets diverted into the cul-de-sac of a new Corinthianism. The best thing that Paul could desire for the Ephesians in connection with the Spirit was that he might continue towards them the Romans 5:5 ministry with ever-increasing power, leading them deeper and deeper into knowledge of the love of God in Christ. …

Revival means the work of God restoring to a moribund church, in a manner out of the ordinary, those standards of Christian life and experience which the New Testament sets forth as being entirely ordinary; and a right-minded concern for revival will express itself, not in a hankering after tongues (ultimately it is of no importance whether we speak in tongues or not), but rather in a longing that the Spirit may shed God’s love abroad in our hearts with greater power. For it is with this (to which deep exercise of soul about sin is often preliminary) that personal revival begins, and by this that revival in the church, once begun, is sustained.

The challenge here is to delight in those ordinary gifts, and not to shun them in the hope or expectation of something I deem better.

Next Week

If you are reading Knowing God with me as part of Reading Classics Together, please read chapters 13 and 14 for next Thursday. If you are not yet doing so, why don’t you join us? We aren’t that far into the book yet, so you will not have a difficult time catching up.

Your Turn

The purpose of Reading Classics Together is to read these books together. This time around the bulk of the discussion is happening in a dedicated Facebook group. You can find it right here. A thousand people are already interacting there and would be glad to have you join in or just read along.

September 24, 2015

Reformation Heritage Books has their excellent “Cultivating Biblical Godliness” series of minibooks on sale for Kindle at just $0.99 each: How Should Men Lead Their Families?What Is a Christian?Why Should I Fast?, Why Should You Deny Yourself?, How Do I Kill Remaining Sin?, What Is Experiential Calvinism?, What Does It Mean to Love God?, How Should We Develop Biblical Friendship?, How Should Teens Read the Bible?, How Do Preaching and Corporate Prayer Work Together? You might also consider Fear and Faith by Trillia Newbell ($3.03).

‘Close Your Eyes and Pretend to Be Dead’

Here’s a long, sad, account of what really happened two years ago in the bloody attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall.

Your Rights as a Christian in a Public School

If your children attend a public school, it may be helpful to review their rights.

A Glass Half Full

This is helpful: “I know, we don’t want to be accused of going soft on total depravity, the reality of remaining sin and the temptation to exchange worship of the true God for something in creation. But we have more biblical categories to work with than those, as important as they are.”

Re-ignite Bible Reading That’s Become Boring

David Murray offers some helpful ideas for when you find your Bible reading boring.

MacArthurNow Available. Tom Schreiner has just published an important book on the doctrine of justification by faith alone. This is the first in what will eventually be a 5-part series called The 5 Solas Series. You can now order it at Amazon or Westminster Books.

Print Is Far From Dead

For a while now we have been hearing that print books are doomed. But the statistics just don’t bear that out.


Sin doesn’t stop where we want it to. It keeps taking us further. —Sam Allberry

September 23, 2015

Testimony—that’s a good Christian word, isn’t it? Each of us has a testimony, an account of how God extended his grace to us. And these testimonies are beautiful things, each one recounting the sovereign work of our great God.

Now, much has been said about how we tend to prefer the testimonies that feature the most dramatic lows. We have all heard those tales that almost seem to revel in past sins more than feel regret for them. But we like those stories because we find a certain kind of thrill in hearing how someone turned away from a life of such egregious sin.

I used to feel a little bit odd about telling others how I was saved. I was a good kid. I had opportunities to drink and do drugs, but just wasn’t interested. I didn’t ever steal anything beyond a few coins after running errands for my mother. There just isn’t a whole lot to tell. But the details shouldn’t be the point anyway.

My depravity was better displayed in my rejection of God and his grace than in my sins and unrighteous deeds. I proved my rebellion more in denying God, rejecting him, and shunning his grace than in any of the sinful acts I committed or could have committed. Even if I had murdered someone in a drug-fuelled binge, that sin would have been less severe than my utter rejection of God.

After all, unrighteous deeds are simply the overflow of a deeper rebellion. They are the symptom, not the disease itself. Here’s the thing: You don’t know how deeply sinful you are by your unrighteousness deeds, but by your rejection of God and his grace. That is the most serious, heinous, and damnable sin of them all.