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June 2011

June 27, 2011

Evil for Evil - This is a good and important article about prison rape. “[M]ost of the perpetrators were not other prisoners but staff members—corrections officials whose job it is to keep inmates safe. On average, each victim was abused between three and five times over the course of the year. The vast majority were too fearful of reprisals to seek help or file a formal complaint (emphasis mine).”

Ghosts of WW2 - This person has taken modern photographs and blended them with photographs from World War 2 with very interesting results.

Your Social Media Profile - This seems kind of scary, doesn’t it? “The FTC has given thumbs up to a company, Social Intelligence Corp., selling a new kind of employee background check to employers. This one scours the internet for your posts and pictures to social media sites and creates a file of all the dumb stuff you ever uploaded online.” This makes it harder than ever to escape past misdeeds.

You’re Worse Than You Think - Bob Glenn offers a word to pastors: “One of the occupational hazards of pastoral ministry is that you are often the subject of people’s destructive criticism, gossip, slander, misrepresentation, foolish inferences, ignorant speculations, and the like. And any pastor who’s being honest with himself - even a hard-nosed guy like me - will admit that the hurtful things people say are just that - hurtful. They hurt.”

The Tragic, Ironic Consequences - “Abortion has become the primary means of eliminat­ing unwanted females across the globe. More girls than boys are now being killed by abortion. To kill an unborn female is to kill a young woman. There can be no equal rights for all women until there are equal rights for unborn women.”

Surprising His Sister - You’ll probably cry when you see this. My question is, why? What is it in us that turns on the waterworks when we see something like it?

As creatures, we have no right or reason to expect that at every point we shall be able to comprehend the wisdom of our Creator. J.I. Packer

June 26, 2011

I am a lover of quotes and, though I’ve never gotten too organized in managing them, I do like to collect and ponder them. Here are a few from Charles Spurgeon on a variety of topics.

To begin, a word on introspection (perhaps a good one for bloggers):

I do not believe in keeping a detailed diary of each day’s experience, for one is very apt, for want of something to put down, to write what is not true, or at least not real. I believe there is nothing more stilted or untruthful, as a general rule, than a religious diary; it easily degenerates into self-conceit.

And yet…

The other day, I saw John Wesley’s diary, or rather, horary, for it had in it not merely an entry for every day, but for every hour; and not only for every hour, but usually there was a distinct occupation for every twenty minutes. The good man made his days to have many hours in them, and his hours seemed to have more minutes in them than most men’s hours have, because he did not waste any of them, but diligently used them all in his Master’s service. 

A word on doubt:

Some of you are always fashioning fresh nets of doubt for your own entanglement. You invent snares for your own feet, and are greedy to lay more and more of them. You are mariners who seek the rocks, soldiers who court the point of the bayonet. It is an unprofitable business. Practically, mentally, morally, spiritually, doubting is an evil trade. You are like a smith, wearing out his arm in making chains with which to bind himself. Doubt is sterile, a desert without water. Doubt discovers difficulties which it never solves: it creates hesitancy, despondency, despair.

And one on sin:

As for the drops of dew twinkling in the morning light, as for the drops of the ocean making that vast flood, as for the stars of heaven, and the sand of the sea shore,—the incalculable number of all these sinks into insignificance when compared with the infinite host of our transgressions against thee, O God of heaven and earth! This very day, have there not been more sins than moments, more transgressions than heartbeats, more offences than pulses? God only knows the total of the sins of man. 

And finally, one on wisdom:

Wisdom is man’s true strength; and, under its guidance, he best accomplishes the ends of his being. Wisely handling the matter of life gives to man the richest enjoyment, and presents the noblest occupation for his powers; hence by it he finds good in the fullest sense. Without wisdom, man is as the wild ass’s colt, running hither and thither, wasting strength which might be profitably employed. Wisdom is the compass by which man is to steer across the trackless waste of life; without it he is a derelict vessel, the sport of winds and waves.  

June 25, 2011

Author Interviews - Michael Hyatt has written a good post full of tips for authors who are being interviewed. “If you are a published author—or plan to be one—you will inevitably be asked to appear on a radio, television, or Internet show to talk about your book. It’s critical that you learn to do this well. Assuming you have written a good book, nothing drives sales of it more than publicity.”

Signs Your Sermon Isn’t Going Well - Mike Wittmer offers up a top-13 list of signs that your sermon isn’t going too well.

Dear Photograph - This is an interesting project—to take a picture of a picture from the past in the present. It’s hard to explain, so you may just need to check it out.

What Kind of Theologian Are You? - Because all Christians answer questions like, “Who is God?” and “Who is Jesus?”, we’re all theologians to some degree. So what kind of theologian are you?

Should I Change My Password? - This is a handy little utility. You enter an email address you tend to use to create accounts and it will tell you if you should change your password.

What To Do With the Children? - “Summer offers a unique opportunity to do ministry together as a family. A whole lot of free time offers a whole lot of opportunities to reach out to others and minister side by side. If your kids can get a taste of the value of serving like Jesus did, they’ll be learning an important lesson.”

5 Years of Pastoring - Tim Raymond: “On April 9, 2011, I celebrated five years as Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Muncie, Indiana.  As I reflect back on these past years there are five main lessons that come to mind…”

How Much to Tip - Here’s an infographic that tells you how much to tip depending on what country you are in.

Passion does not compensate for ignorance. —Samuel Chadwick

June 24, 2011

This is an interesting little excerpt from Iain Murray’s recent biography of John MacArthur. In his Introduction Murray seeks to show what makes a man a leader among evangelicals. He offers a five-point answer:


In brief, an evangelical is a person who believes the ‘three rs’: ruin by the Fall, redemption through Jesus Christ, and regeneration by the Holy Spirit. It follows that an ‘evangelical leader’ is a person who stands out in the advancement and defence of those truths. The title does not necessarily imply success judged by numbers and immediate results. on that basis neither Paul nor Tyndale might qualify.

June 24, 2011

Free Stuff Fridays
This week’s Free Stuff Fridays sponsor is Evangelical PressEP is a non-profit mission organization. Its mission is to place sound Christian books and sound biblical teaching within reach of as many people as possible across the world. One hundred per cent of purchases and giving enables EP to hold conferences, produce books, newspapers, radio shows and correspondence courses. They currently have EP employees working in three continents, and books printed in sixty languages.

This week EP is giving away 3 new books:

  • Does God Believe in Atheists? by John Blanchard
  • The Power to Save: A History of the Gospel in China by Bob Davey
  • Making Sanity Out of Vanity by Stanley Gale

Does God Believe in AtheistsOf these books, Does God Believe in Atheists? seems particularly noteworthy. “This award-winning title traces the development of atheistic and agnostic thinking over the past 2,500 years and shows how thinkers like Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Neitzsche, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Bertrand Russell and others have shaped many people’s thinking today. It also pinpoints the flaws in Darwinian evolutionism and in claims made for it by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and others, explains why secular humanism self-destructs, reveals why here is no conflict between science and belief in God, exposes fatal errors in nine world religions and fourteen major cults and shows why the existence of evil and suffering is no reason to deny God’s existence.”

Also, here’s a special deal for North American shoppers. EP titles are available in North America through www.CVBBS.com. Between now and July 15 you can use the discount code epbooks to get an extra 10% off any of their books.

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.

June 24, 2011

Tell Me What to Write - A little while ago I added a component to my site that allows you to a) suggest topics for me to write about and b) vote other people’s suggestions up or down. So far this has proven a really interesting thing and it’s given me some good direction for future writing. Feel free to chime in!

N SKY C - Here is the average color of the New York sky, updated every 5 minutes. Weird but kind of cool.

Here Comes the Sun - Speaking of the sky (how’s that for a forced segue) here’s a photo essay that “offers some glimpses of the power, beauty, and transforming presence of the sun, taken since the beginning of June.”

Unblocking Writer’s Block - Here are some ways of unblocking writer’s block.

Unexpected Jobless Claims - Joe Carter pretty much sticks it to the media with this article. “There are two things the media never expects: (1) The Spanish Inquisition and (2) increases in jobless claims. In 19 of the past 24 months, the media has considered it ‘unexpected’ when jobless claims increase.”

Leaders Who Last - Here’s something for Toronto-area leaders to consider.

Sleep On It - It’s rarely a bad idea to sleep on it. Apparently it also makes a lot of sense scientifically.

10 Brands That Will Disappear - “24/7 Wall St. has created a new list of brands that will disappear, which includes Sears, Sony Pictures, American Apparel, Nokia, Saab, A&W All-American Foods Restaurants, Soap Opera Digest, Sony Ericsson, MySpace, and Kellog’s Corn Pops.” (HT)

Do not work so hard for Christ that you have no strength to pray, for prayer requires strength. —Hudson Taylor

June 23, 2011

Ten Myths About CalvinismThis week’s guest on The Connected Kingdom is Dr. Ken Stewart, who is Professor of Theological Studies at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. Intervarsity Press recently published Dr. Stewart’s book Ten Myths About Calvinism: Recovering the Breadth of the Reformed Tradition. David and I spoke to him about the Old Calvinism about the New Calvinism and about what the even newer future Calvinism may look like. Here is a table of contents pointing out some of the highlights of our discussion:

  • 1:30 - Overview of the ten myths about Calvinism
  • 9:35 - Purpose and audience of the book
  • 11:00 - Our polarized movement; who has the inside track on explaining and articulating the Reformed faith; too many Calvinist authorities
  • 14:47 - Clarification on Calvinistic brands
  • 16:15 - Did we blow the Rob Bell situation?
  • 29:06 - Theological accountability and Gospel Coalition
  • 31:42 - Fault lines in Calvinism

There is lots of interesting food for thought in this podcast!

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June 23, 2011

Yesterday I offered 3 statements on assurance of salvation. Today I’d like to follow that up with a brief word on the right basis for assurance of salvation. After that, I will offer a few book recommendations for those who struggle with this issue.

It is a sad but undeniable fact that many people who think they are Christians are not. At the final judgment many will approach Jesus convinced that they are saved only to be told that Jesus never knew them (and hence that they never knew him). The fact is that many people ultimately depend upon themselves for assurance of their salvation. This applies to believers and unbelievers. A person may be truly saved yet look to himself for assurance of this salvation. This is dangerous ground to tread; when a person experiences a time of doubt his misplaced assurance can drive him to despair. When our assurance rests on something we have done, a promise we have made or a prayer we have prayed, we have placed our assurance on shaky ground.

Let’s turn to the Bible to discover the true basis for our assurance.

Assurance Rests on God’s Character

In the last article I quoted the words of the Apostle Paul as we find them in 2 Timothy 1:12 “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.” What was the basis of Paul’s assurance? He rested in the character of God. He knew whom he had believed and trusted that God was good and would preserve him. He trusted in the goodness of God and in God’s desire to save his people. He rested in the words of Jesus that “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” He knew that Jesus will never reject anyone who comes to truly comes to him, who rests in him for salvation.

Assurance Rests on God’s Promises

If our assurance of salvation rests on God’s good character, then we can also trust in his good promises. Here are a few of the promises of God regarding salvation.