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September 06, 2011

Yesterday at dinner I asked the kids for their favorite summer memory. My son went with winning the baseball championship with his little league team. My 8-year-old daughter went with spending time with family in Georgia and Tenneesee. My 5-year-old daughter went with watching movies in the car on the way to Georgia and Tennessee. Sigh.

A Great Kindle Deal - You can get Eric Metaxas’ award-winning Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy on Kindle for just $1.99. This may be a one-day deal, so take advantage now!

A Bible on the Moon - “The first lunar Bible traveled to Earth’s satellite on February 5, 1971, on board Apollo 14. Lunar Module Pilot Edgar D. Mitchell brought the Bible with him to honor Apollo 1 astronauts Ed White, Gus Grissom, and Roger Chaffee who died in a cabin fire during testing of the Apollo 1 vehicle. It had been a dream of White’s to bring a Bible to the moon’s surface. Mitchell turned that dream into a reality.”

Roots and Wings - This documentary on Indelible Grace looks really interesting. You can view a trailer here.

Grace To Muslims - This is pretty cool and definitely worth praying for: “Renowned preacher and author John MacArthur opened the four-day ‘Truth Matters’ conference Thursday evening by announcing that his evangelistic television program began satellite TV broadcasting to the entire Muslim world for the first time that afternoon.”

Four Deadly Food Disasters - “Hurricanes in the northeast are pretty rare and can leave people at a loss for how to prepare for extraordinarily severe conditions. At the very least, there are standard pieces of advice you can use to more or less muddle through a nasty situation. But perhaps even rarer are freak events involving food that cause a lot of damage. Those with an appetite for tragic tales might enjoy the following…”

Sermon Hymns I - This is an interesting presentation. “ ‘The Gospel of Jesus Christ’ is the first movement of a planned multi-movement composition entitled Sermon Hymns. This composition is a multimedia work for piano with electronic audio and video playback.” Be sure to give it a fair listen as it begins to really swell near the conclusion.

The smallest tract may be the stone in David’s sling. In the hands of Christ it may bring down a giant soul. —Robert Murray M’Cheyne

September 05, 2011

CanadaI have an occasional series on this site that I’ve titled It’s a Fact, Eh?. The series looks to various facts related to the great country that I live in. Today I want to extend that series to Labor Day (or Labour Day, if you’re up here in Canada), because if you’ve got the day off, you’ve got Canada to thank.

Working conditions near the end of the 19th century, whether in Canada or the United States, were very different from what they are today. The 40-hour work week was unheard of. Instead, many laborers were expected to work close to double that; the law offered them few rights and very little protection. Needless to say, resistance was growing.

In 1869 the Toronto Printer’s Union forwarded a petition to their employers, asking for a reduction in the work week to a “mere” 58 hours—this was at a time when most printers and other laborers were expected to work 12 hours per day, 6 days a week. The request was immediately denied by the owners of the printing shops. Three years later the request had turned to a demand, but it was still denied, and so the printers went on strike. The strike spawned a parade with 2000 workers marching through Toronto to the site of the provincial parliament. By the time it had arrived there, the crowd had swelled to closer to 10,000. Resistance was growing.

September 05, 2011

Justine’s Story - I think it is good for us to read stories like this every now and again, lest we forget the horror and devastation of abortion. “On the 23rd anniversary of her abortion, Justine Kyker warns others of side effects and regrets.”

Loving Christ…Practically - Erik Kowalker looks to J.C. Ryle to find some practical implications of loving Christ.

The Sermon, One Hour Later - Here is a question I asked Brian Croft, and he was kind enough to answer it at his Practical Shepherding blog: “How does a pastor evaluate his sermon one hour after preaching it?” In other words, if someone comes to me shortly after preaching and says, “How did your sermon go?,” how do I answer?

Electronic Self-Projection - Dane Ortlund asks some good questions about social media and its tendency to make us into self-promoters. “And the amount of self-foregrounding that takes place on these media—by Christians—by pastors—is troubling. Promotion of our own books, letting everyone know where we’ve been and whom we’ve met, drawing attention to what others are saying of us—how easily we Corinthianize and employ the world’s mindset for ostensibly kingdom purposes.”

9/11’s Spiritual Impact - Just about everyone is looking back to 9/11 and trying to understand its impact, 10 years later. Here is one of many attempts to guage its spiritual impact.

Astronomy Picture of the Day - This is a fascinating picture if, for no other reason, simply because there is so much going on at once. 

What fools are they who, for a drop of pleasure, drink a sea of wrath. —Thomas Watson

September 04, 2011

A few nights ago a friend shared a powerful little piece of writing that deals with the incarnation of Jesus. A bit of research shows that it comes from the end of a song by the rapper Json; this song closes with an extended quote from John Piper. For now, here it is. It seemed poetic, so I put it in the form of verse.

In order for Jesus to suffer and die,
He had to plan way ahead of time
because he couldn’t die.

Immortal, He didn’t have a body
And yet he wanted to die.
For you.

So, He planned the whole thing
by clothing himself with a body,
so that He could get hungry
and get weary
and have sore feet.

The incarnation of Jesus is the preparation
of nerve endings
for the nails,
the preparation of a brow
or thorns pressed through.

He needed to have a broad back
so that there was a place
for the whips.

He needed to have feet
so that there was a place
for spikes.

He needed to have a side
so that there was a place
for the sword to go in. 

He needed to have fleshy cheeks 
so that Judas would have a place to kiss 
and there would be a place for the spit 
to run down that the soldiers put on him. 

He needed a brain and a spinal column
with no vinegar and no gall,
so that the exquisiteness of the pain
could be fully felt.

So I plead with you, when you’re reading the Bible and you read texts like: “He loved you and gave himself for you,” you wouldn’t go too fast over it. Linger, linger, linger, and plead with Jesus that your eyes would be opened.

September 03, 2011

Pull the Plug! - Randy Alcorn: “Here is a sad and bewildering commentary that captures in one example the utter inefficiency and sometimes craziness of a government that talks about controlling spending, but never seems to actually do it even when it would appear so easy—as in JUST PULL THE PLUG!”

Sola Scriptura - Canadians (or Americans who live close to the border) may want to take a look at this year’s Sola Scriptura conferences. They will be held in London, Toronto and Vancouver.

The O.T. on One Page - Here is David Murray’s attempt to sum up the contents of the Old Testament books on one page.

The Book of Revelation - John Dyer’s article on the writing of Revelation is well worth the read: “John didn’t just look up passages that supported his point. And he didn’t memorize a few powerful proof texts to argue and impress. He knew the Scriptures. He lived the Scriptures. The words of God were a part of him that couldn’t help but flow from his pen.”

There Never Was Such Another - Kevin DeYoung was was moved by this touching description of Charles Hodge with his fifty-one year-old dying wife Sarah. You probably will be too.

The Speed of Information - Funny and pretty much true.

Christ is so in love with holiness, that at the price of his blood he will buy it for us. —John Flavel

September 02, 2011

Every now and again I like to remind people of one of the programs I offer at this site. It is called Friends of the Blog. Friends of the Blog is primarily a means of supporting this site, but it offers a unique incentive to do so. Friends receive all kinds of great things—books, gift certificates, music, magazines and so on.

So here is some of what Friends of the Blog receive:

  • A gift certificate for Westminster Books
  • A gift certificate for The Good Book Company
  • Books from Randy Alcorn, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and others
  • ebooks
  • Downloadable music albums
  • Free video teaching series from R.C. Sproul and David Murray
  • A gift certificate for Reformation Art
  • Deals, specials, coupons, etc

I think you’ll see right away that there is a lot of value there—$160 at least. This is a year-long effort and more will be added over the course of the year. When you sign up, you get everything there plus whatever else comes in over the year. And all the while, you’ll be supporting the costs associated with hosting, maintaining and overseeing the site.

The cost  is just $39.

This is the second year I’ve run this program. If you joined Friends of the Blog in the past year, your account will be automatically renewed on the anniversary of the date you signed up. And if you didn’t join last year, well, why don’t you consider it this year? It will prove well worth it, I’m sure.

You can get all the details at Friends of the Blog. Check it out and join the club!

September 02, 2011

Free Stuff Fridays
This week’s Free Stuff Fridays is sponsored by Reformed Fellowship. Reformed Fellowship, Inc., is a group of believers in Jesus Christ who are committed to promoting the historic Christian faith as it is expressed in the Reformed confessions. We subscribe to the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confessions, the Canons of Dort, and the Westminster Confessions. We publishing books and Bible study guides, as well as a bi-monthly journal, The Outlook. For a limited time, an e-version of The Outlook is available free of charge. We also have curriculum materials for catechism instruction, including the new Life in Christ series for grades 5 through 8. You can visit their website at reformedfellowship.net to learn more.

Reformed Fellowship, Inc. is offering five prizes, each of which will contain a copy of the following two books:

  • Meeting Jesus at the Feast: Israel’s Festival and the Gospel by John R. Sittema 
  • But for the Grace of God: An Exposition of the Canons of Dort by Cornelis P. Venema

Meeting Jesus at the FeastHere is a word about Meeting Jesus at the Feast:

This book aims to tell you more about Jesus. Much more. By unpacking and explaining the ancient feasts, it aims to give modern people a fuller vision of the good news of God, reveal just what it means that Jesus is the Messiah, and explain how and why his coming changed the world.

For the feasts, commissioned twelve hundred years before Jesus came, were celebrations about him. First, they anticipated his coming. Then they defined his life and ministry. In fact, you cannot really comprehend what it means that Jesus is Messiah without knowing something about the feasts. All the significant moments in his ministry (both his earthly ministry and his ministry from heaven’s throne after the ascension) were divinely structured around them.

You can learn more about But for the Grace of God right here.

Giveaway Rules: You may only enter the draw once. Simply fill out your name and email address to enter the draw. 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.

Note: If you are reading via RSS or email, you may need to click through to see the form.

September 02, 2011

The Gospel at Ground Zero - Here is Russell Moore’s cover story for the September issue of Christianity Today.  As you might expect, it deals with 9/11. Speaking of which, the September issue of Ligonier’s Tabletalk magazine deals with the very same topic.

$5 Fridays - Don’t forget to check in every week with Ligonier’s $5 Fridays. This week they’ve got 2 excellent books that you’ll want to add to your collection.

Destroy a Culture - Joe Carter writes about how to destroy a culture in 5 easy steps.

The Sinful Tragedy of Boredom - Nathan Bingham writes about boredom, saying, “To be bored is to fail to see the many and varied good gifts God has given us, not the least of which is in creation.”

Book Notes - David Mays pretty much boils The Next Story down to its essence in this summary. So if you’ve been wondering what the book is all about, you won’t do a whole lot better than this.

4 Myths about the Crusades - “Many on the cultural Left use the crusades as an argument for secularism, or at least the muffling of (conservative) religious voices in the public square. They strongly imply that America in particular and Western Culture in general are to blame for most of the ills around us. Some even insinuate that we deserve the scorn of Islamic terrorists, though to be clear, the Left believes that the terrorists take their scorn too far in resorting to violence. “

Thomas Brooks, a Brain and Me - This blogger has been reading the works of the Puritan Thomas Brooks. He also read The Next Story and in this blog post he kind of pulls the two together in trying to understand distraction and silence. It’s kind of hard to explain without actually reading it…

While all men seek after happiness, scarcely one in a hundred looks for it from God. —John Calvin