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October 22, 2016

It’s the weekend! This one kind of snuck up on me and yet somehow it’s one of those ridiculously packed-full ones. Mostly I’m looking forward to being at New City Baptist Church tomorrow to lead Sunday school and preach there. Other than that, it’s a weekend for family and friends. But before I get to it, here is some recommended reading:

Why Christians Love Books

Looking first at the incredible output of John Piper’s pen, Tony Reinke says, “Piper’s output may be abnormal, but the bookish nature of Christianity is not. We can trace our evangelical bibliophilia all the way back to the beginning of the Christian church…”


“It is exactly 50 years since tragedy swooped down on Aberfan killing 116 children and 28 adults.” BBC tells the sad story of a tragedy in Wales.

A Pastor Leaving the Ministry

Scott Hollingshead tells of a painful situation and, based on it, offers 3 warnings from a pastor who is leaving the ministry.

Raising Teens in a Hyper-Sexualized World

This little booklet from Eliza Huie may interest you. It’s a free download at Amazon..

Deathstyle: The New Lifestyle

Stephen laments society’s new deathstyle which has taken the place of a lifestyle.

This Day in 1922. 94 years ago today James William Charles Pennington, an escaped slave turned Presbyterian pastor and abolitionist, died. He was the first black man to attend Yale. *

Oscar Wilde’s Half Sisters

Here’s the unusual story of the deaths of Oscar Wilde’s half sisters. “We may never have the small details right, but by bringing the story to light, people seem to think, we honor the sisters in their death. Perhaps this is why years later an epitaph was erected at the graveyard of St. Molua’s church in Drumsnat in their honor.”

The Pains Of Humanity Have Been Draining Me

Lecrae explains why he and other African Americans are not “simply whining about the past.” “We are trying to expose how the past has affected the present and threatens the future.”

How My Parents Taught Me to Love the Church

Ricky Alcantar says, “Whether you realize it or not, you’re teaching your kids a theology of the church with your time.” 

Flashback: The Art and Science of the Humblebrag

Have you managed to get thousands of people to follow you on Twitter or friend you on Facebook? Do you need to keep reminding them why you are worthy of their attention? Let me offer you some ways you can grow in the art and science of the humblebrag.

Here’s How Christian Book Summaries Help You Learn More…In Less Time

Thanks to this week’s sponsor, Books at a Glance, for sponsoring the blog this week.

That demon of pride was born with us, and it will not die one hour before us.C.H. Spurgeon

October 21, 2016

I’ve got just one new Kindle deal today: Jim Cromarty’s biography of Hudson Taylor, It Is Not Death to Die. You may want to run back through this week’s other deals as there were some good ones.

Scientists Admit Limit to Human Life Span

WORLD: “Scientists are just beginning to believe what the Bible tells us in Genesis 6:3. ‘Then the Lord said, ‘My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.’’ With that, God declared there would be no more Methuselahs, and new research published in the journal Nature is bearing that out.”

When There is Unexplained Distance in a Friendship

This is true: “Christians, especially in friendship, avoiding the hard conversations is far more wounding than having them!”

5 Things the Seeker Movement Got Right

Jared Wilson gives credit where it’s due. “Actually, these are more like five ‘right ideas’ or five ‘right tracks’ the ‘seeker sensitive’ church growth movement started down before it veered hard into a fuller blown consumerism and became the attractional church.” 

Millennial International

This is a pretty clever video. “Millennial International is a sponsor based program designed to help Millennials live the lives they portray on Instagram.”

A Loving God and the Existence of Hell

Randy Alcorn: “I personally have studied the doctrine of Hell in the hopes of being able to come either to a position of universalism, or at very least the doctrine of annihilation. Unfortunately, I have not been able to do so and stay true to the Scripture I see.”

Are You Listening?

Are you listening to God as he speaks through his Word? I enjoyed this reflection… 

Marks of a Healthy Church. Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman of 9Marks have partnered with Ligonier to create a teaching series surveying the marks of a healthy church. You can watch the first message for free here.

Do You Get Nervous Before You Preach?

A surprising number of preachers—even veterans—get nervous before they preach.

10 Leadership Questions

Here are 10 solid leadership questions (though they may be a bit oversold as the greatest leadership questions ever asked!).

Squadron of Hope

There is some stunning underwater footage in this video from Indonesia.

Flashback: Lessons Learned at Strange Fire

These were final reflections on the Strange Fire conference.

God delights to exalt the humble and to humble the exalted.D.A. Carson

October 20, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: The Seven Saying of the Savior on the Cross by A.W. Pink, The Dating Manifesto by Lisa Anderson, Romans by Charles Hodge, and And He Dwelt Among Us by A.W. Tozer.

Sinclair Ferguson has a new book out that looks excellent. Westminster Books has it discounted as their deal of the week.

You Get What You Pay For

“It seems to me that we live in an era of American culture that is awash in the cheap and unsatisfying.” This is true of entertainment, to be sure. But true of more as well.

When Pragmatism Overtakes Scripture

Stephen Kneale interacts with the article I wrote yesterday about the missing elements of modern worship and focuses on pragmatism.

The Pictures Never Go Away

This is heartbreaking: “If I could only make one argument to the seventeen-year-old me, and it’s the point I want to make to every young woman who comes here looking for advice in regards to sexting, it is this: Those pictures never go away. Ever.”

Loneliness Follows Sudden Wealth

This story from the BBC should not be surprising: “While most people wouldn’t give up longing for financial wealth, those who’ve experienced living the dream say it can be isolating and that their lives often look rosier from the outside.”

Laboring For Maturity

“Spiritual maturity, you see, does not just happen.  My children will physically grow whether I tell them to or not.  I don’t have to set time aside for their physical growth each day, and it’s certainly not a labor for me.  But to grow spiritually takes work, takes labor, takes striving everyday to be closer to God.”

This Day in 1949. 66 years ago today was the last of the Inkling’s Thursday meetings. This group of Christians associated with Oxford included J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. *

Don’t Waste Your Ambition

Here’s a guest article I was asked to write with teens in mind.

Seabirds’ Death-Defying Dives

How is it that seabirds don’t break their necks in their high-speed dives? This article explains though, unfortunately, it relies on evolution to explain it all. (I wonder how many generations of seabirds died evolving to their current state…) 

The Culture of Death in Colorado

“Well that was fast. Not even a minute into the evaluation and the doctor suggested we go ahead and let my dad go. The injuries that landed him in the ER on Sunday night did not appear to be life-threatening. He’s 75…” 

Flashback: Why You May Be Tempted To Neglect Your Church

God has made Christians to thrive and survive only in community. Lone Christians are dead Christians.

Pride is a form of cosmic plagiarism-claiming to be the author of something that is actually a gift. —Tim Keller

October 19, 2016

I didn’t track down any noteworthy Kindle deals today (though if you haven’t done so yet, check out the amazing deals from the past couple of days). However, CBD is having The Mega Fall Sale. You’ll need to sort through the options there to see if anything catches your eye.

Ben Zobrist: Major League Believer

Here’s TGC on Ben Zobrist. “But for Zobrist, the utility player hired fresh off his World Series victory last year with the Kansas City Royals, it isn’t all about the win. It isn’t even all about the game.”

“Just Ask Jesus into Your Heart”

Michael Kruger continues his series on Christianese by looking at the popular phrase “Just ask Jesus into your heart.” “In the end, this phrase, like most the phrases is in this series, has the potential to be really helpful or really problematic, depending on how one understands it and uses it.”

10 Times More Galaxies

Turns out previous estimates were kind of low. “For decades, astronomers had put the number at 100 billion to 200 billion. But new research using data from the Hubble Space Telescope and other observatories shows that number is about 10 times too low. That means there are at least 1 trillion galaxies out there ― and possibly as many as 2 trillion.”

When Sin Keeps You From Prayer

Sin has a way of keeping us from the very thing that will deliver us from it!

Why Study Church History?

“If church history does not get your blood pumping, you had better check your spiritual pulse.” Yes! 

Should We See Everything a Cop Sees?

This longform piece at the New York Times looks at police body cameras and shows how they are a complicated solution. After all, 99% of what they capture is not the police but innocent people in normal situations.

This Day in 1959. 57 years ago today Al Mohler was born. Happy birthday, Dr. Mohler! 

10 Tips for Leading Kids to Christ

This is good stuff from Jason Allen. “My greatest stewardship in life is not training a generation of students at Midwestern Seminary. It is training my five young children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. I feel the weight—and glory—of this stewardship daily…”

Should Christians Feel Guilty All the Time?

Obviously not, but it’s still worth reading Kevin DeYoung’s answer to the question.

The Troubled Future Legacy of Christian Music

As a long-time listener to CCM, I tend to agree with this article.

Flashback: 5 Bad Substitutes for Discipline

Here are five poor substitutes for disciplining our children—five poor substitutes that fail to address the heart.

Three things there are which men never ought to trifle with: a little poison, a little false doctrine, and a little sin.J.C. Ryle 

October 18, 2016

It is another good day for Kindle deals. Today we’ve got three from R.C. Sproul, The Doctrines of Grace by James Boice, A Basic Guide to Eschatology by Millard Erickson, and a new one from GLH Publishing (The Kneeling Christian by Albert Richardson) which is half off for the first week. Go!

A Discussion with Her Girls

Jen Oshman uses the ugliness of the election to begin a conversation with her girls. “As we have served with two different organizations on two different continents, we have been required to know deeply the risks all children face around the globe. It’s awkward and horrible that it’s our reality, but it all needs to be said.” (Here’s a follow-up)

9 Things About Margaret Sanger

“This weekend Planned Parenthood celebrated its 100th anniversary, commemorating the day that Margaret Sanger, the organization’s founder, opened the first birth control clinic in America.” Here are 9 things you should know about her.

Lifting Your Soul

What does it mean to lift your soul to God as the psalmist often does? This article answers.

The Halloween-Industrial Complex

Here’s the story behind all those pop-up Halloween stores that have appeared in your neighborhood (and mine) over the past couple of weeks.

The Split Between Stott and Lloyd-Jones

“On Tuesday, October 18, 1966, an event took place that shook British evangelicalism—on the nature of the church and the basis of gospel unity and purity—with reverberations still being felt today.” This article will fill you in.

St. Anthony’s Chapel

Atlas Obscura visits St. Anthony’s Chapel in Pittsburgh which houses the second largest collection of relics (second only to the Vatican). “Some of the most astounding relics at the chapel include: 22 splinters of the True Cross, a thorn from the Crown of Thorns, a splinter from the table at The Last Supper, the skull of St. Theodore, a tooth from St. Anthony, and pieces of bone from all of the Apostles.”

This Day in 1685. 331 years ago today Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes that had allowed Huguenots (French Protestants) to worship. Thousands of Protestants had to flee France *

Not Every Interesting Detail is Important

This is true and important: Not every interesting detail in a biblical text is important to the sermon.

Comedy Wildlife Photographs

Here they are, the finalists for the 2016 comedy wildlife photograph awards. 

Flashback: The Pursuit

Like R.C. Sproul says, “People seek the benefits of God, while all the while fleeing from God himself.” What could be more evil than that?

Young people, you must pray, for your passions are strong, and your wisdom is little.C.H. Spurgeon

October 17, 2016

It’s a huge day for Kindle deals today. Zondervan has a sale on all kinds of their best commentaries, Crossway has a list of Piper books on sale, and Matthis Media also has a whole list. Find the deals here.

Nine Attributes of a Real Man

“We need a better definition of masculinity, and who better to define what masculinity is than the Creator himself. When God created life, he reached down to touch and mold man from the earth. With care and intimacy, he created man in a distinctive way. Ultimately, we learn that God is embedding his own image into man.”

An Illustration of Repentance

This is an effective illustration to better understand repentance.

Free Games Designed To Make Money

I’m sure you’ve seen those “freemium” games. This video explains how they make money (and, indeed, how they are designed to make money).

You Are the Manure of the Earth

Anthony Bradley provides an interesting explanation of Jesus’ words “You are the salt of the earth.”

The World’s Toughest School Exam

“Chinese children must endure years of stress and impossible expectations preparing for their final school exam. The students who do best can look forward to glittering careers and even good marriage prospects. But for the less successful, the system is brutal.”

This Day in 1895. 121 years ago today Peter Cameron Scott, missionary to the Congo and Kenya and founder of Africa Inland Mission, arrived in Mombasa, Kenya with his team. *

Planet Earth II

Last week I shared the trailer for Planet Earth II. Since then they’ve released a second, longer trailer. The footage is absolutely incredible.

Do Visitors Feel Welcome?

Here are some good, practical tips on making sure visitors to your church feel welcome there.

Flashback: I’m Not Busy!

There is a cost to busyness, but there is a more subtle cost to being perceived as busy.

If God had perceived that our greatest need was political stability, he would have sent us a politician.D.A. Carson

October 15, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: Christianity and Eastern Religions and Islam and Christianity by Rose Publishing as well as 10 Questions And Answers On Atheism and Agnosticism by Norman Geisler.

If you’re in the mood for some serious learning, Credo Courses is offering 50% off any of their courses with coupon code “challies.”

Happy Daddy, Happy Home

“The father is the fountain of the family’s joy. Where Daddy is winsomely happy — and happy enough to make the sacrifices necessary for the good of others — a happy family will follow in his wake.”

Getting Gut-Level Honest with God

Catherine Parks: “I’ve been trying something new lately, and it’s revolutionizing my life. I’m being honest with God.”

Y’all, You’uns, Yinz, Youse

This is an interesting look at regional dialects and English’s attempts to recover some distinction between the second person singular and plural.

More Persuasive Presentations

Here’s a checklist for preparing more persuasive presentations.

The Joy of Being a Christian

Do you know and do you feel the joy of being a Christian?

Curta Calculator

Here’s the long and fascinating story behind the Curta calculator.

This Day in 1949. 67 years ago today, Joni Eareckson Tada was born. Happy birthday, Joni! 

Serious Laughter

WORLD features Adam Ford, whom you’ll know as the mind behind Adam4d and the Babylon Bee.

Do Not Add to the Offense of the Gospel

R.C. Sproul offers a good warning. “Even though we are gracious, kind, patient, friendly, and sensitive to people’s dignity, we cannot remove altogether what the New Testament calls the offense of the gospel…”

Flashback: A Great Reward

One of my lifelong struggles has been finding freedom in the most basic part of the Christian life…

Bible Colleges’ Best Kept Secret

My thanks goes to Midwestern College for sponsoring the blog this week with “Bible Colleges’ Best Kept Secret.”

If the Lord wants to surprise his people, he has only at once to give an answer to their prayers.C.H. Spurgeon

October 14, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include just a few titles: George Whitefield: The Evangelist by John Pollock, Preaching the Old Testament by Scott Gibson, and The Gospel and Acts Commentary by Various.

Westminster Books has deals on some apologetic works as well as Tim Keller’s newest book.

The Preacher Who Raised 14 People from the Dead

Atlast Obscura has the fascinating story of Smith Wigglesworth, one of the early Pentecostals. His story sounds very familiar to anyone who has turned on TBN in recent times.

May You Not Be Weird

I enjoyed these 30 prayers for Katelyn Beaty’s future husband.

Seeking Clarity in this Confusing Election Season

Kevin DeYoung offers some helpful points on the election.

What Happens To Our Bodies After We Die?

This video is morbid (in the literal sense of the term) but not graphic. It simply shows what happens to our bodies when we die. What happens to our souls is far better!

CCEF Livestream

CCEF’s national conference begins today (and continues tomorrow). It is being livestreamed in case you’d like to watch it.

6 Ways to Transform Your Reading of the Gospels

George Guthrie lists them.

This Day in 1993. 23 years ago today Albert Mohler was inaugurated as the 9th president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Billy Graham spoke at the ceremony. 


This is incredible HD footage of an Arizona Monsoon.

King Jesus or King Money?

The real joy in having money “is to think, how can I use this money for kingdom purposes? How can I use this to lay up treasure forever? The one increases his spending on himself and the other increases his giving for God. One serves King Money. One serves King Jesus.”

The Professor Wore a Hijab in Solidarity

The New York Times has a long, sympathetic look at the situation surrounding Larycia Hawkins who was, until recently, a professor at Wheaton College.

Flashback: It’s Not Just a Guy Thing

This is an article about the “second glance”—the lustful look that lingers.

Of all the doctrines of the Bible none is so offensive to human nature as the doctrine of God’s sovereignty.J.C. Ryle