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A La Carte

September 18, 2014

Here are some Kindle deals: A Quest for More by Paul Tripp (free); Loving the Way Jesus Loves by Philip Ryken ($0.99); That’s Just Your Interpretation by Paul Copan ($2.99). Also, Amazon just rolled out a whole lot of new Kindle devices. You can get details and/or pre-order right here. The new Voyage looks especially nicely crafted for just plain reading.

The Ordinary Church - John MacArthur writes about ordinary life and ordinary church. “God works through ordinary means, ordinary people in ordinary churches, doing very ordinary things.”

Friendless Millennials in a Digital Age - This is a worthwhile reflection on Millennials.

You Can’t Catch Sin Like A Cold - Barnabas Piper writes about those who “live in cultural quarantine, shutting themselves off from what they see as sinful influences.”

Thoughts on a Call to Worship - I appreciate Bob Kauflins thoughts on calls to worship.

Do You Hate to Wait? - This article deals with prayers that are not answered immediately by a clear yes or no.

Dads: Plan for Family Time - There is wisdom in this article on planning and preparing for family time.

Don’t excuse yourself by accusing Satan. —Thomas Brooks 

Brooks

September 17, 2014

Here are some new Kindle deals: Love or Die (a great little book!) by Alexander Strauch ($3.99); Preparing Expository Sermons by Ramesh Richard ($1.99); The Cell’s Design by Fazale Rana ($2.99); Faith and Learning by David Dockery ($2.99); and three books by C.S. Lewis: Mere Christianity ($4.27); The Great Divorce ($4.27); A Grief Observed ($2.99).

Gospel Affection - Joe Thorn offers 10 practical ways to show love to one another in the church. “Consider what follows a simple encouragement to press into a life of love in practical ways. A life God has called us to, saved us for, and modeled for us.”

The Death of Thomas Cramner - Do yourself a favor and read this brief account of the death of Thomas Cramner.

The Art of Being Ungrateful - You are probably already plenty good at being ungrateful, but if you want more help, Melissa’s offering it.

The New Abortion Absolutists - Trevin Wax asks, “Are abortion rights supporters fully embracing an absolutist agenda, one that legitimizes and praises a woman’s choice to abort, no matter the circumstances?” (Erik Raymond also writes about abortion and moral ambiguity.)

Rush Hour - This is for entertainment purposes only, I suppose. But it’s fun to see how this video was stitched together to create the illusion of traffic.

125 Free eBooks - Monergism lists 125 free classics in ebook formats.

Avalanches of evil begin with a single pebble of sin. —John Piper

Piper

September 16, 2014

I have found that for short stretches of time I can convince myself that I am being faithful to God if I define faithfulness in terms of only one behavior.” That is an insight from Nate Larkin, author of Samson and the Pirate Monks, and I think he is on to something. We all have a desire to be seen as good and faithful and righteous, yet we cannot deny that we are bad and unfaithful and unrighteous. We are neither who nor what we want to be.

Our lack of faithfulness leaves us in a predicament. Either we deal with it by crying out to One who can forgive and redeem us, or we define-down faithfulness to a standard that is manageable. We choose a behavior we are good at, or perhaps a behavior that addresses a major source of guilt in life, and we define faithfulness to God in that narrow way. As long as we do that thing, or as long as we succumb to its opposite, we are convinced that we remain in God’s graces, that he is pleased with us.

What is your one behavior? What is that one behavior, that if you maintain it, you are convinced of God’s love for you? And what is that one behavior that if you do not maintain it, you feel as if you’ve slipped out of God’s reach? You may know that self-righteous behavior because your entire life can be a mess, but you still feel good about yourself because that one pillar is still in place. Even while your life spirals out of control, you look at others who are missing that one pillar and somehow feel good about yourself.

And for a time this self-righteousness makes us feel better about ourselves. But as Larkin points out, “Self-righteousness, however, is a double-edged sword. If I have reduced holiness to a single behavior, then I am standing on one leg. One slip and I am nothing again, absolutely useless.” If righteousness is built on a single behavior, it is also destroyed on a single behavior. Self-righteousness is woefully perilous.

Here is the understanding Larkin came to:

God, in his grace, has used [sexual sin and addiction] to shatter my moralistic understanding of the Christian faith and force me to accept the gospel. I am not a faithful man. That’s why I need a Savior. I cannot live victoriously on my own. That’s why I need a Helper and brothers. I cannot keep my promises to God—the very act of making them is delusional—but God will keep his promises to me.

God does not measure by a single behavior, but by complete and utter conformity to his perfect law. This truth will either drive you to despair or drive you to Christ, the One who lived a completely righteous life and offers his righteousness to those who have none of their own.

September 16, 2014

What’s All this Gospel-Centered Talk About? - Dane Ortlund: “As far as I can tell the phrase is used in two basic ways. One way is to view all of life in light of the gospel. We’ll call this a gospel-centered worldview. The other is to view Christian progress as dependent on the gospel. We’ll call this gospel-centered growth.”

Social Media and the Panda Predicament - You will probably be able to identify with this panda predicament.

The Coffee Nap - I’m really bad at napping (and sleep in general), but this still sounds worth trying.

Little Boys With Their Porno - This article tees off from an Arcade Fire and looks at the disturbing trend of “little boys and their porno.”

Thanking Your Way Through Thorns - There is wisdom in this.

Apple Watch - Mike Wittmer shares a few important parts of a TIME article on the new Apple Watch.

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

Calvin

September 15, 2014

Here are today’s Kindle deals: Church History in Plain Language by Bruce Shelley (widely considered the best one-volume church history) ($4.99); Being a Dad Who Leads by John MacArthur ($3.99); The Jesus Answer Book by John MacArthur ($2.99); The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur ($5.98); Several books by Hank Hanegraaff: The Bible Answer Book Volume 1, Volume 2 ($2.99 each); The Complete Bible Answer Book ($2.99); The Creation Answer Book ($2.99); Mistakes Leaders Make by Dave Kraft ($1.99); The Leadership Dynamic by Harry Reeder ($0.99); Leading One Another by Bobby Jamieson ($0.99); 

I’ll Be Fine - I’ll Be Fine is a short documentary about a family, their home, and the trials of living with a nineteen-year-old son who has autism. It’s very well done.

Look and Live - This is an excellent article from Matt Papa.

Theological Impatience - “Theological impatience is one of the most troubling features of our generation.” I think I’d agree.

10,000 Little Moments and the Minute Particulars - Articles like this are why I enjoy Lore Ferguson’s blog so much.

Biblical Theology vs Systematic Theology - This article contrasts the two disciplines.

Foolish Words - Ouch. But we’ve all been there. “In her book Grace Is Free, Marci Preheim refers to this phenomenon as ‘day-after-girls-night-out regret.’ That feeling you have after time with friends that you’ve said too much.”

He that hath slight thoughts of sin never had great thoughts of God. —John Owen

Owen

September 13, 2014

Here are your Kindle deals du jour: Francis Chan’s books at marked down today: Crazy Love ($4.49), Forgotten God ($4.99), Erasing Hell ($3.99), Multiply ($2.99). B&H has some good apologetic resources on sale: The Apologetics Study Bible ($5.99); 3 books edited by William Lane Craig & Paul Copan at $2.99 each: Contending with Christianity’s Critics,  Come Let Us Reason, Passionate Conviction10 Questions Every Christian Must Answer by Alex McFarland & Elmer Towns ($2.99); Tough-Minded Christianity by Various ($2.99); Moral Apologetics for Contemporary Christians by Mark Coppenger ($2.99).

Thanks to Books at a Glance for sponsoring the blog this week; their sponsorship keeps the virtual lights on for another week!

Jeremy Walker writes about Gospel Ripples and the importance of preaching and hearing the gospel again and again.

Denny Burk looks at what the Bible says about spanking. Is it a legitimate form of punishment? Under what circumstances?

Scotland is facing a critically important vote next week. Here’s one person’s take on The Scottish Referendum – How Should We Pray?. Whatever else the referendum does or decides, it will make a huge difference in the lives of many Christians, which gives us all the reason we need to pray.

I enjoyed reading this “Watch Guy’s” balanced take on the new Apple Watch.

Michael Bird’s Biblica Hipsteria is a pretty good and pretty funny parody of the Bibliotheca project.

I Wandered, then Motherhood is a sweet blog by Melissa Edgington. I especially like this: “Motherhood is long. It is so short that it hurts.” I feel the same about fatherhood.

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

Flavel

September 12, 2014

Here are some new Kindle deals: Multiply by Francis Chan ($2.99); The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink ($0.99); How Sermons Work by David Murray ($4.39); Minority Report by Carl Trueman ($3.99); From Glory to Golgotha by Donald MacLeod ($2.99); Christ Set Forth by Thomas Goodwin ($2.99).

Why Not Sin? - I like this answer: “Paul could have talked about the misery that sin brings, the pain that it inflicts upon others, the consequences which flow from it, or the penalty that Christ had to pay for it. But that is not where he first turns. He wants Christians to understand that we cannot easily entertain sin, because of our identity.”

An Unusual 9/11 Devotional - Indeed. But a good one.

Tomorrow - “It’s a word full of hope. A word brimming with fresh starts, new light, and waiting opportunity. Yes, tomorrow will be the day I’ll finally get this right. … But the promise of tomorrow deceives because tomorrow always becomes today.”

The Drama of Preaching - This article highlights one of the unique features and blessings of preaching.

The Song - Joshua Rogers has a review of the latest faith-based film.

Can it Still Be Heaven? - Randy Alcorn answers a common objection to heaven: Can it be Heaven if people are aware of anything bad on Earth?

Beware of no man more than of yourself; we carry our worst enemies within us. —C.H. Spurgeon 

Spurgeon

September 11, 2014

There are just a few new Kindle deals today: New from GLH Publishing is Thomas Boston’s classic The Art of Man-Fishing ($0.99); The Mormonizing of America by Stephen Mansfield is an interesting read ($0.99); All the Names in the Bible ($3.99).

Genetic Testing - Here’s one cost of a new technology: “With genetic testing, I gave my parents the gift of divorce.” 

Tribute to My Pastor - I enjoyed this tribute to a pastor. “Before I preached in the chapel service at Southern Seminary, Dr. Mohler recognized [him] as the pastor who had raised up more preachers than anyone he knew in North America.”

Christianity’s Uniqueness - “In reply to the critics who claim Christianity was just a copy-cat religion among the ancient religions, it’s helpful to take a look at how an ancient adherent of these pagan religions viewed Christianity.”

The Pornification of the Church - A new survey shows that professed Chrsitians still look at tons of porn.

Saving Dr. Brantley - Dateline did an interview with Dr. Kent Brantly, the Christian doctor who survived Ebola. 

Signs of Spiritual Awakening in Japan - This is exciting!

An idle life and a holy heart is a contradiction. —Thomas Brooks 

Brooks

September 10, 2014

Here are today’s Kindle deals: Connected by Erin Davis ($4.99); Manhood Restored by Eric Mason ($2.99); Moral Apologetics for Contemporary Christians by Mark Coppenger ($2.99); Holman QuickSource Guide to Understanding Creation by Mark Whorton ($2.99). The Profiles of Reformed Spirituality Series is on sale for $1.99 each: John Flavel; George Swinnock; Archibald Alexander; Lemuel Haynes; Thomas Goodwin; Samuel Rutherford; Alexander Whyte; Jonathan Edwards.

ESV Women’s Devotional Bible - Westminster Books is giving away 12 copies of the ESV Women’s Devotional Bible (and selling it for 50% off).

Three Questions to Help Diagnose Possible Football Idolatry - Kevin DeYoung offers questions to help you diagnose possible football idolatry.

Reading the Bible in Public - Here are 3 big ideas and 7 tips for reading the Bible publicly. 

A Piece of Fruit - I enjoyed this article that goes back to Eden and asks, “What’s the big deal with the fruit?!!”

The Church and Violence Against Women - Russell Moore: “Male violence against women is a real problem in our culture, one the church must address. Our responsibility here is not simply at the level of social justice but at the level of ecclesical justice as well.”

How to Criticize a Preacher - David Murray offers a helpful guide.

New People - Here is what people who are new to your church want you to know.

I have never heard of a sin being committed without knowing full well that I had the seed of it within myself. —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Quote

September 09, 2014

Today’s Kindle deals are exceptionally good: Recovering Redemption by Matt Chandler ($4.99). B&H has several of their new, good, reader-friendly Exalting Jesus commentaries on sale: Exalting Jesus in James by David Platt ($5.99); Exalting Jesus in Ephesians by Tony Merida ($5.99); Exalting Jesus in Mark by Daniel Akin ($5.99); Exalting Jesus in 1, 2, 3 John by Daniel Akin ($5.99). B&H has also put their New American Commentary Studies on sale for $3.99 each: Believer’s Baptism by Thomas Schreiner; Future Israel by Barry Horner; Enthroned on Our Praise by Timothy Pierce; Sermon on the Mount by Charles Quarles; Lukan Authorship of Hebrews by David Allen; God’s Indwelling Presence by James Hamilton; The Messianic Hope by Michael Rydelnik; The Ten Commandments by Mark Rooker; The Lord’s Supper by Thomas Schreiner; The End of the Law by Jason Meyer.

9 Questions to Help You Steward All of Life for God’s Glory - Brad Hambrick has some questions you should ponder.

The Edge of the Earth - If you’re a Switchfoot fan, you’ll be glad to know they unexpectedly released a 7-song EP as a follow-up to Fading West (Amazon, iTunes). While we’re on the subject of music, Lecrae’s new album Anomaly releases today (Amazon, iTunes).

Not Sinning - Adam4d took one of my tweets and expanded it to a comic. I like it!

The Op-Ed (Oprah Edited) - This is good stuff.

Scots, What the Heck? - I am not authority on the matter, but here’s a look at why Scotland should be very cautious about separating from the United Kingdom.

10 Ways to Exercise Christlike Leadership - Here’s Owen Strachan doing what he does so well.

When You Don’t Feel Connected at Church - I think everyone feels disconnected from church from time to time. Here is some help for when you’re feeling that way.

If I don’t care to understand the concerns of those I disagree with, it’s not reconciliation I seek, but submission. —Joshua Waulk 

Walk

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