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Faith Hacking
May 02, 2016

Not too long ago I was speaking to a friend who was lamenting the way he had spent his time the day before. He had become convicted that his prayer life was languishing and that it would benefit from a measure of organization. A couple of hours later he had to move on to other activities and realized that he had put a lot of time into thinking about prayer and organizing prayer, but little time into the actual act of prayer. Have you ever had an experience like that?

I attempted to relieve my friend’s burden that day. I explained that sometimes the key to sparking your prayer life is as simple as dedicating time to prayer but that other times the key is organizing the time you’ve already dedicated to it. I explained that the time he gave to administer his prayer life stood as proof of the importance he places on it. After all, while there is a time for spontaneity, most good things in life require effort, they require administration. Most of life’s important matters require not only the act itself, but also the preparation for the act. This is true of worship, relationship, and romance, so why should it be any different with prayer? We carefully plan our church services to consider unity between Scripture, sermon, and songs. We carefully plan our events to consider introductions, topics, and transitions. We carefully plan our dates to consider dress and reservations and conversation. In all of these activities we understand that the up-front effort is necessary to bring about a better result. Good things require effort; the best things require even more effort.

Prayer is a good thing that thrives with effort, not only in the act of praying but also in its administration. And so I find myself wondering today: Is it time for you to organize your prayer life? Is it time for you to invest some effort not only in praying but also in preparing yourself to pray?

Here are a few ideas that may help.

Integrate John Piper’s method of praying in concentric circles. This is how Piper once challenged his church: “Consider praying in concentric circles from your own soul outward to the whole world. This is my regular practice. I pray for my own soul first. Not because I am more deserving than others, but because if God doesn’t awaken and strengthen and humble and fill my own soul, then I can’t pray for anybody else’s. So I plead with the Lord every morning for my own soul’s perseverance and purification and power. Then I go to the next concentric circle, my family, and I pray for each of them by name: Noel, Karsten/Shelly/Millie, Benjamin, Abraham, Barnabas, Talitha and some of my extended family. Then I go to the next concentric circle, the staff and elders of Bethlehem. I name them all by name.” And it continues outward until he has prayed for his city, his country, and the world. This is a method I have long since integrated into my own prayer life. You may want to read more about it.

Use PrayerMate or another prayer app. I have been a long-time user of PrayerMate and have benefitted tremendously from this simple app. PrayerMate borrows from the physical world and mimics an organized collection of index cards. Imagine a card file: Each of the dividers marks a new category, each of the categories contains several cards, and each card contains a person or item to pray about. Now just take that paradigm and translate it to an app. You create your categories and cards, and each day the app presents you with a collection of items to pray for. It’s that simple! Piper’s concentric circle model fits perfectly with the PrayerMate methodology and it has been the way I’ve prayed now for many years. You can read more here about how I set it up and how I use it. Even if you do not follow the model exactly, it will at least give you a place to begin.

Use D.A. Carson’s method of prayer cards. In his book A Call to Spiritual Reformation, D.A. Carson outlines the method he uses. It is quite similar to the previous two, but relies on paper instead of an app. “Apart from any printed guides I may use, I keep a manila folder in my study, where I pray, and usually I take it with me when I am traveling. The first sheet in that folder is a list of people for whom I ought to pray regularly: they are bound up with me, with who I am. My wife heads the list, followed by my children and a number of relatives, followed in turn by a number of close friends in various parts of the world. The second sheet in my folder lists short-range and intermediate-range concerns that will not remain there indefinitely. They include forthcoming responsibilities in ministry and various crises or opportunities that I have heard about, often among Christians I scarcely know…” You can read more about his method in this excerpt from his book.

Use Paul Miller’s method of prayer cards. In A Praying Life, Paul Miller outlines a method that relies on index cards. He say, “A prayer card has several advantages over a list. A list is often a series of scattered prayer requests, while a prayer card focuses on one person or area of your life. It allows you to look at the person or situation from multiple perspectives. Over time, it helps you reflect on what God does in response to your prayers. You begin to see patterns, and slowly a story unfolds that you find yourself drawn into. A list tends to be more mechanical. We can get overwhelmed with the number of things to pray for. Because items on a list are so disconnected, it is hard to maintain the discipline to pray. When I pray, I have only one card in front of me at a time, which helps me concentrate on that person or need.” Once again, you may do well to read more about this method and to consider adopting it.

There are many more methods you can use to organize your prayer life. But the principle is clear: Give time and effort to your prayer life, not only in praying, but also in preparing yourself to pray. A healthy prayer life consists not only of prayer, but also of preparation. I have long since found that the absolute best motivator in prayer is knowing what I am going to pray for. Vague ideas of prayer promote vague prayers. Disorganized methods of prayer promote disorganized prayers. Methods for prayer promote meaningful prayers. Why don’t you take some time today to organize your prayer life?

May 02, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full and Glimpses of Grace by Gloria Furman ($3.99); Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney ($2.99); The Christian Mom’s Idea Book by Ellen Elwell ($2.99). Also consider John by John MacArthur ($0.99) and Lincoln’s Battle with God by Stephen Mansfield ($1.99). You’ll also find a new list of general market monthly deals for $3.99 or less.

This month’s free book from Logos is Alister McGrath’s Why God Won’t Go Away. Free from Christian Audio is A.W. Tozer’s Delighting in God.

The Lost Art of Christian Polemics

Conrad Mbewe: “The tragedy on today’s ecclesiastical landscape is the number of heretics who are thriving inside evangelicalism. They are having a field day and hardly anyone is raising a voice against them.”

The Modern Man’s Fantasy World

“Is there any wonder why there is such a decline in biblical masculinity in the church? It is a shame that many men are far too busy conquering fake lands, looking at fake women, and winning fake championships to follow Christ’s path of self-denying, cross-bearing, service.”

Steph Curry’s Joy in Adversity

I enjoyed this article from Bethany Jenkins: “On Wednesday, as Curry sat the bench, he wasn’t morose or sullen. He didn’t appear jealous of his teammates or hesitant to celebrate their successes. In fact, he seemed like the happiest person in the arena.”

Is This For Real?

I love posts like this one. “Our lives here in Cameroon are becoming our ‘new normal’ but every once and a while we look at one another and say, ‘Is this for real?’ Here are some funny examples…”

Preaching for the ‘Home Run’

Perhaps this will serve as Monday morning encouragement for pastors (both as they think about yesterday’s sermon and as they begin to think about next Sunday’s).

This Day in 373. 1,643 years ago today, church father, Athanasius, died. He was known for fighting against the heresy, Arianism (and winning), and for being the first to list the New Testament canonical books as we know them today. *

How To Remember Someone’s Name

I’m a chronic name-forgetter. For that reason I try to do all three of these things.

How the Federal Government Is Transforming Public Education

This seems inevitable: “Parents cannot be caught flat-footed. Action taken by the courts will inexorably work their way down to every local district and school.”

Davis

Your help is in the name of the Lord, not in the name of your favorite Christian hero. —Dale Ralph Davis

2016 Reading Challenge
May 01, 2016

Late last year I announced the 2016 Reading Challenge, a fun way to increase and diversify your reading through another year. I took the challenge and set this year’s goal at 104 books. However, because so much of my reading has to go toward reviewing books that are recently published and of interest to Christians (both for reviews published here and in WORLD magazine), I decided to pick from all over the list rather than working through it in order. What follows are the books I completed in March and April and, in parentheses, the reading challenge category they fulfill. They are listed in the order in which I completed them. Below that is the complete list of categories I need to cover.

  1. One Child by Mei Fong (A book about a country or city). Mei Fong writes about the short-term and long-term consequences of China’s horrific one-child policy.
  2. Habits of Grace by David Mathis (A self-improvement book). This is a powerful guide to the spiritual disciplines. It offers basic instructions to new believers while bringing fresh encouragement to those who have walked with the Lord for many years. It is a joy to commend it to you.
  3. Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife by Ruth Tucker (A book from a theological viewpoint you disagree with). Tucker’s book makes a case for egalitarianism but deals too little with the biblical text for it to be a strong case. It makes a case against something as well, but not against complementarianism, not as I hear it described, not as I see it lived out in my home and so many others’.
  4. A Great Blessing to Me by Grant Gordon (A book about church history). Gordon’s latest work looks at the little-known but important relationship between John Newton and George Whitefield.
  5. Skyfaring by Mark Vanhoenacker (A memoir). Vanhoenacker is a commercial airline pilot who is also a skilled author. He writes about his love of flying and the simple joys of slipping the surly bonds of earth.
  6. A Peculiar Glory by John Piper (A book about the Bible). Piper’s first major work in a number of years explains why and how he has such deep-rooted confidence in the Bible. He sets out to answer this question: How are we to know that the Christian Scriptures are the word of God?
  7. Cockpit Confidential by Patrick Smith. Patrick Smith is another commercial airline pilot who enjoys writing. His book deals less with a passion for flying and more with some of the questions people ask and the fables they believe. Your enjoyment of this book will probably vary directly with the amount of time you spend in those little aluminum tubes hurtling through the sky.
  8. Zeal Without Burnout by Christopher Ash (A book about leadership). Can you have genuine zeal for God without having it lead to burnout? Is there such a thing as a sustainable, non-complacent zeal? Ash believes there is and he speaks with a voice of experience having twice allowed his zeal to drive him to the very brink of a breakdown. He writes for all zealous followers of Jesus.
  9. Disrupted by Dan Lyons (A book about business). Lyons writes about his almost-too-bizarre-to-believe-it time at an Internet startup company. He survived with his sanity intact, but only barely. This one needs a language warning.
  10. Your Days Are Numbered by John Perritt (A book about productivity). Of all the gifts God gives to us, few are more precious and few are more fleeting than the gift of time. Your days are numbered and you are responsible to faithfully steward each one of them for the good of others and the glory of God. This book will teach and encourage you to make the most of the time God gives you.
  11. Unashamed by Lecrae Moore (A book about music). For a number of years Lecrae has been the leading Christian rapper. This book explains his humble and difficult origins and how he rose to become a star. Readers may be well served to know that at times the descriptions of his pre-conversion sin can be quite frank. Lecrae fans will be especially interested in reading his rationale for his recent decision to break a little from the Christian music genre.
  12. Black & Reformed by Anthony Carter (A book written by someone of a different ethnicity than you). Black & Reformed is an excellent primer on one of the most pressing issues in American Evangelicalism today. It is equally at home in the hands of an African-American Christian investigating the claims of Reformed theology and in the hands of a white Christian seeking to better understand his African-American brothers and sisters.
  13. The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington (A book about science). Sleep and I do not get along very well, so I’m always eager to learn how we can be reconciled. Huffington’s book is an interesting mix of science, sociology, and New Age silliness. There are some good tips and lots of good information about the sheer importance of sleep, but there must also be better resources out there.
  14. Imagine Heaven by John Burke (A book about psychology). I really, really disliked this book, though perhaps somewhat unfairly. Burke purports to provide an honest examination of Near Death Experiences from a Christian perspective. Yet as he does this he draws little distinction between NDEs that describe elements that could be almost biblical and ones that are firmly planted in very different faiths. While NDEs may be worth considering, I found this a weak effort that does more to justify the heaven tourism genre than say anything substantial about the experiences.
  15. Jump by Michel Sauret (A Christian novel). I enjoyed this novel which aptly describes a Christian’s journey to faith, but do fear that the author was too free and descriptive in describing the character’s pre-Christian depravity. Though it is not unrealistic, it is not a novel I’d want my wife or teenaged son to read simply because of some of the descriptions of sin.
  16. Conscience by Andy Naselli & J.D. Crowley (A book written by an author with initials in their name). This is a wonderful introduction to the exceedingly important area of conscience. The authors give great care and attention to expositing the appropriate Scripture passages while drawing application suitable to all Christians.
  17. Brave Companions by David McCullough (A book by David McCullough). McCullough is such a skilled writer that even though this is one of his lesser works, it is still a tremendous joy to read.

You can see my previous updates for January and February.

The Light Reader (13 Books)

  • ☒ A book about Christian living (Delighting in the Trinity)
  • ☐ A biography
  • ☐ A classic novel
  • ☐ A book someone tells you “changed my life”
  • ☐ A commentary on a book of the Bible
  • ☒ A book about theology (The Deep Things of God)
  • ☐ A book with the word “gospel” in the title or subtitle
  • ☐ A book your pastor recommends
  • ☐ A book more than 100 years old
  • ☐ A book for children
  • ☐ A mystery or detective novel
  • ☐ A book published in 2016
  • ☒ A book about a current issue (Black Flags)

The Avid Reader (26 Books)

  • ☐ A book written by a Puritan
  • ☐ A book recommended by a family member
  • ☒ A book by or about a missionary (William Carey)
  • ☒ A novel that won the Pulitzer Prize (All the Light We Cannot See)
  • ☐ A book written by an Anglican
  • ☐ A book with at least 400 pages
  • ☒ A book by C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien (The Return of the King)
  • ☐ A book that has a fruit of the Spirit in the title
  • ☐ A book with a great cover
  • ☐ A book on the current New York Times list of bestsellers
  • ☒ A book about church history (A Great Blessing to Me)
  • ☒ A graphic novel (Essex County)
  • ☐ A book of poetry

The Committed Reader (52 Books)

  • ☒ A book from a theological viewpoint you disagree with (Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife)
  • ☒ A book written by an author with initials in their name (Conscience)
  • ☐ A book that won a ECPA Christian Book Award
  • ☐ A book about worldview
  • ☐ A play by William Shakespeare
  • ☐ A humorous book
  • ☐ A book based on a true story
  • ☐ A book written by Jane Austen
  • ☐ A book by or about Martin Luther
  • ☒ A book with 100 pages or less (God and Politics)
  • ☒ A book with a one-word title (Dreamland)
  • ☐ A book about money or finance
  • ☐ A novel set in a country that is not your own
  • ☒ A book about music (Unashamed)
  • ☒ A memoir (Skyfaring)
  • ☐ A book about joy or happiness
  • ☐ A book by a female author
  • ☒ A book whose title comes from a Bible verse (The Forgotten Fear)
  • ☐ A book you have started but never finished
  • ☒ A self-improvement book (Habits of Grace)
  • ☒ A book by David McCullough (Brave Companions)
  • ☐ A book you own but have never read
  • ☐ A book about abortion
  • ☐ A book targeted at the other gender
  • ☒ A book by a speaker at a conference you have attended (The Whole Christ)
  • ☒ A book written by someone of a different ethnicity than you (Black and Reformed)

The Obsessed Reader (104 Books)

  • ☐ A book published by The Banner of Truth
  • ☐ A book about the Reformation
  • ☒ A book written by a first-time author (Under Our Skin)
  • ☒ A biography of a world leader (Victoria: A Life)
  • ☐ A book used as a seminary textbook
  • ☐ A book about food
  • ☒ A book about productivity (Your Days Are Numbered)
  • ☒ A book about or relationships or friendship (The Lovers)
  • ☐ A book about parenting
  • ☐ A book about philosophy
  • ☐ A book about art
  • ☐ A book with magic
  • ☒ A book about prayer (Moving Mountains)
  • ☒ A book about marriage (Tying the Knot)
  • ☒ A book about a hobby (Floodpath)
  • ☐ A book of comics
  • ☐ A book about the Second World War
  • ☐ A book about sports
  • ☐ A book by or about a pastor’s wife
  • ☒ A book about suffering (When Breath Becomes Air)
  • ☒ A book by your favorite author (What Is the Trinity?)
  • ☐ A book you have read before
  • ☒ A book about homosexuality (Messy Grace)
  • ☒ A Christian novel (Jump)
  • ☒ A book about psychology (Imagine Heaven)
  • ☐ A book about the natural world
  • ☐ A book by or about Charles Dickens
  • ☐ A novel longer than 400 pages
  • ☒ A historical book (The ISIS Apocalypse)
  • ☒ A book about the Bible (A Peculiar Glory)
  • ☒ A book about a country or city (One Child)
  • ☐ A book about astronomy
  • ☐ A book with an ugly cover
  • ☐ A book by or about a martyr
  • ☐ A book by a woman conference speaker
  • ☐ A book by or about the church fathers
  • ☐ A book about language
  • ☐ A book by or about a Russian
  • ☒ A book about leadership (Zeal Without Burnout)
  • ☐ A book about public speaking
  • ☐ A book by Francis Schaeffer
  • ☐ A book by a Presbyterian
  • ☒ A book about science (The Sleep Revolution)
  • ☐ A book about revival
  • ☐ A book about writing
  • ☐ A book about evangelism
  • ☐ A book about ancient history
  • ☐ A book about preaching
  • ☐ A book about the church
  • ☐ A book about adoption
  • ☐ A photo essay book
  • ☐ A book written in the twentieth century

Bonus (109 Books)

  • ☐ A book from a library
  • ☒ A book about business (Disrupted)
  • ☐ A book by an author less than 30
  • ☐ A book published by a UK-based publisher
  • ☐ A book you borrow

Books Without a Category

  • Cockpit Confidential by Patrick Smith

April 30, 2016

This weekend’s Kindle deals include Think It Not Strange by John Piper ($2.99) and Read the Bible for Life by George Guthrie ($0.99). You will also find a couple of the Kindle devices on sale today, discounted around $20 each. Finally, this is the final day to get a bunch of deals from Crossway that includes one of my books.

When Did Each of the Biblical Patriarchs Live and Die?

Justin Taylor did the work and has mapped it all out for us.

What Is the Most Expensive Object on Earth?

Now there’s a difficult question to answer. But that didn’t keep the BBC from trying.

9 Things You Should Know About Jehovah’s Witnesses

Joe Carter: “When he died last week at the age of 57, pop singer Prince was arguably the most famous Jehovah’s Witness in the world. Here are nine things you should know about the obscure religious group that emerged from the Bible Student movement in the late 1870s…”

Sydney Opera House 360°

Google gives you an amazing 360° experience capturing one of the world’s busiest performing arts centres between the acts — waking up, in rehearsal and at rest.

On Target

Mike Wittmer: “As our culture steams toward what may be its tipping point, let’s remember that sin doesn’t work. Sin never has worked. Sin cannot work. Those determined to deny God’s natural law and go their own way will inevitably fall into fifty shades of trouble.”

5 Awkward Conversations for Teens to Have With Parents

“As a teenage Christ-follower, I want to share with you five awkward and sanctifying conversations I believe every teenager and parent should have.”

Self-Promoting Wolves or Selfless Shepherds?

David Murray continues to think about spiritual abuse within the Reformed church and identifies four marks of faithful leaders.

Tomorrow in 1873. 143 years ago tomorrow (May 1), missionary and explorer David Livingstone died. *

9 Marks of a Christian Family

“What makes a Christian family distinct from a non-Christian one? Is it the number of times those in it attend church each week, or are there many more fundamental differences?” Paul Tautges answers.

4 Ways to Help your Teenagers Discover Their Identity In a Confused World

I’m grateful to Family Life for sponsoring the blog this week with “4 Ways to Help your Teenagers Discover Their Identity In a Confused World.”

Anyabwile

The best preachers are plagiarists. All they do is tell people what God has said. —Thabiti Anyabwile

Free Stuff Fridays Updated
April 29, 2016

This week's giveaway is sponsored by FamilyLife who also sponsored the blog this week. There will be 5 winners and each will receive their choice of Passport2Identity for Young MenPassport2Identity for Young Women, or Passport2Purity. They will also receive a $10 gift card to help with the cost of their getaway.

Passport2Identity for Young Men – A weekend getaway kit for you and your teenage son. Guide your son to independence through dependence on Christ with the help of Passport2Identity for Young Men. Seasoned contributors like Dennis Rainey, Bob Lepine, Crawford Loritts, and many others guide your discussions and help your son learn to become a man. 

Manhood

Passport2Identity for Young Women – A weekend getaway kit for you and your teenage daughter. Guide your daughter to independence through dependence on Christ with the help of Passport2Identity for Young Women. Seasoned contributors like Barbara Rainey, Jen Wilken, Courtney Reissig, and many others guide your discussions and help your daughter learn to become an authentic woman.

Womanhood

Passport2Purity - A life-changing getaway with your preteen. Your child begins the journey into adolescence in a world of sexting, bullying, online stalking, and moral defiance. Innocence is under attack, and you cannot win the battle with a single awkward talk or a strict set of rules. The primary defense for your child is a strong relationship with you and with God.

Purity

FamilyLife has developed Passport2Purity® (P2P) to assist you in building heart-to-heart communication with your preteen while laying a foundation of purity that will prepare them for the turbulent years ahead. Through the shared listening experience, object lessons, and guided conversations of a P2P weekend getaway, you can set your son or daughter on a journey of moral integrity—and strengthen the bond between you.

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.

Who Does My Body Belong To
April 29, 2016

I spent last weekend at a pair of conferences, each of which dealt in some way with matters of human sexuality. Such conferences are common today as Christians attempt to understand, interpret, and respond to the moral revolution raging around us. It struck me that just three or four years ago these events were discussing issues of marriage in the face of the likelihood that the institution of marriage would soon be opened to homosexual couples. For most people today that concern seems almost quaint, like debating whether women should be allowed to vote. The conversation has shifted so dramatically that the question today is whether there is any real meaning or significance in something as foundational to humanity as biological sex—a conversation we carry on as people begin to choose bathrooms and change rooms not on the basis of sex but of identity, of feelings rather than fact.

Of all the questions asked over the course of the weekend, there is one that stands out to me: Who does my body belong to? In some ways this question stands at the very heart of our cultural conversation. A speaker asked the question in one seminar but, because of time constraints, could offer only a partial answer. I’ve found myself pondering it in the days since.

So, who does my body belong to? The Christian answer is obvious: My body belongs to God. In fact, my body is owned twice by God, once because he created it and again because he redeemed it. “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14); “For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20). God has the right of ownership and the right of redemption. I am to relate to my body as a grateful steward rather than an autonomous owner. This is my solemn responsibility, to gladly surrender my body to God, to use it in the ways he commands. I surrender it by denying myself forbidden desires or pleasures (1 Thessalonians 4:4), by pursuing the highest desires and pleasures (Proverbs 5:19, 1 Corinthians 7:1-5), and by my willingness to even see it destroyed in his service (2 Corinthians 11:25-29). God-followers have always placed great importance on using the body to procreate as a means of carrying out God’s creation mandate that we “fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). Understanding God’s ownership of the body not only limits behavior that God says is unworthy of his creatures, but promotes behavior that God says is good for his creatures.

Just pause for one moment to consider this kind of a world—a world in which each person glorifies God in his or her body all the time. This is the world of Genesis 1 and 2. The rest of the Bible and the rest of human history show with undisputed clarity that one of the consequences of sin is the selfish reclamation of our bodies. (A subsequent answer that I will not deal with at this time is that after God, my wife owns my body—see 1 Corinthians 7:1-5).)

Who owns my body? God does. There is another answer, though, and while it can easily be traced to a biblical understanding of the world, it is found even in cultures that have long since lost or denied God’s Word: My body belongs to my people, to my ancestors and descendants. People have traditionally had a strong sense of the unity of past, present, and future. And this was true—and still is true—for many cultures. I would be expected to honor my ancestors by carrying on the family line and I would be expected to honor my descendants by ensuring that there actually would be descendants. No horror could be greater than the horror of a family line coming to an end (see, for example, 1 Samuel 2:27-36). Thus my body belongs to the past and the future—it belongs to my people. This brings with it the responsibility to use my body to procreate, to create future generations. Even without reference to the God of the Bible, this sense of responsibility puts a kind of governor on human behavior that might cause me to turn away from certain desires in order to fulfill my familial and societal obligations.

Again, pause to consider this kind of a world. This may not be a Christian world, but it is still a world that understands the goodness of family and the stability the family unit brings to individuals and to all of society.

And now we advance to modern Western society and we see that all limits and governors have been taken off—they’ve been taken off, thrown down, and stamped into the dust. Who does my body belong to? In a society obsessed with autonomy, personal rights, and total sexual freedom, my body belongs to me—to me and only me. I bear no responsibility to God because there is no God. Or even if I do acknowledge deity, the responsibility I bear to him is to be true to myself and to my own desires, for of course that is what he wants for me. I bear no responsibility to those who have come before me; their desires and sacrifices lay no obligation on me to ensure that there will be a generation who follows. The past is the past and the future is of no concern to me if it interferes with my joy in the present. My body is mine, thank you very much, and I owe it to myself to use it however I will.

Do you see how far we’ve come? The Bible says that my body belongs to God. Even Godless traditional societies will at least say that my body belongs to my people. But here and now my body belongs to me and it is outright bigotry for you to impose upon me any obligation to the contrary.

What do we do about this? The answer is simple: We obey God. As Christians, we celebrate the beautiful fact that we were each handcrafted by God, we have been bought with a price, and we now have the joyful responsibility and privilege of glorifying God in our bodies. We live in this way before a dark, selfish world and simply let God’s light shine.

Image credit: Shutterstock

April 29, 2016

Sorting through all of the possibilities, I came to just a few noteworthy Kindle deals: Seeing Christ In All of Scripture by Westminster Seminary ($2.99); Baptist Foundations by Mark Dever & Jonathan Leeman ($2.99); A History of Christianity by Joseph Early ($2.99). 

Logos users may want to poke through these 7 pages of deals since they will be ending tomorrow. And you’ve got just one day left to download Taking God at His Word by Kevin DeYoung for free from Christian Audio.

Parchments

You’ve probably never thought about this before: How much did it cost Paul to write an epistle? The answer may surprise you.

Governed by Bad News or Good News?

There is lots of bad news all around us. “But we must resist the temptation to be governed by the bad news around us. We must not act as though this is a terrible time to be alive as a Christian in America because the opposite is true.”

Big Mac Economics

Here’s why economists keep track of the prices of Big Macs.

Satan’s Strategies

“In a world of shysters and cons, you are wise to be alert to their strategies. When at the train station in Rome, pickpockets are everywhere so keep money and important documents secure. When you receive internet requests for money, ignore them. When you are promised a 10% return on your investment, don’t give up a penny. And when you have an enemy who is always out to get you, stay current with his schemes.”

Success Is Dangerous

Jared Wilson: “It is perfectly normal for humans to prefer success to failure. You’d be a weirdo if you didn’t. And yet it is perfectly normal for humans to taint all their successes with the swelling of their big fat heads. You’d be a weirdo if you didn’t.”

7 Questions About Transgender People, Answered

From The Federalist: “What social science research we have on transgender people and gender dysphoria is limited, but it does not support the agenda of trans activists.”

Angel Falls

This is some incredible drone footage of the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall.

This Day in 1607. 409 years ago today, the first Anglican (Episcopal) church in the American colonies was established at Cape Henry, Virginia. *

Family Worship for Stability

While this article is written specifically for minorities, its principles apply to any and every family. “As a black Christian man with a multi-ethnic heritage and a multi-racial and multi-cultural family, it is my conviction that a means by which God can keep black, brown, and other Christian minority families close to Jesus, close to each other, and structurally intact is by the Christian men in these families committing themselves to lead their families in regular family worship in accordance with the scriptures.”

Nature Hacks

I don’t know how helpful these hacks are, but they’re definitely interesting.

Carson

Jesus did not come to impress the crowds, but to die for sinners. —D.A. Carson