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August 20, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: God Against the Gods by Brian Godawa; One New Man by Jarvis Williams; A Dream so Big by Steve Peifer; Truth Matters by Andreas Kostenberger; and Old Testament Exegesis by Douglas Stuart. You can find them all here.

Top 10 Things I Wish Worship Leaders Would Stop Saying

Jared Wilson lists the things he really wants worship leaders to stop saying—things like “Lord, we invite you to be here” and “Let’s give God a hand.” He follows it with Top 10 Things I Love That Worship Leaders Do.

Can the Devil Read My Mind?

R.C. Sproul takes a shot at an answer.

Ministerial Magpies

Jeremy Walker writes about pastors and plagiarism, but he does so very realistically. “We must never simply run through another man’s sermons as if they were our own. Simple honesty forbids that. But, when opportunity permits and as duty requires, let us make our way into the vineyards of our bookshelves and e-resources, and glean the best of the fruit; spend time around those vines that have produced the sweetest and juiciest fruit of past years. Press down the grapes and soak prayerfully in the best of the past, and let it seep into us.”

Praying in the Wake of Zika

Kathryn Butler, an MD, writes about Zika. “As Christians, how do we understand the outbreak, and how do we respond to the fears, both in our communities and in our own hearts?”

Dumb Moments in Church History

I wish I had thought of this idea for a series! This should be good.

This Day in 1913. 103 years ago today, Robert McDonald, an Anglican missionary and gifted linguist, died in Winnipeg. He evangelized to the First Nation peoples of Canada. *

Where Did the Footprints Poem Come From?

Everyone knows the poem. But who wrote it? “The short answer, it seems, is that there are many claimants to authorship (no surprise given the potential financial windwall if authorship can be demonstrated!), but no consensus as to who wrote it originally.”

Flashback: Sanctification Is a Community Project

The measure of the Christian life is growth in holiness. We grow in holiness, at least in part, by putting sin to death. We put sin to death by exposing it to the light.

The Reformation at 500

Thanks to the G3 Conference for sponsoring the blog this week. The conference takes place in Atlanta this January.

Baxter

There are too many men who are ministers before they know how to be Christians. —Richard Baxter

August 19, 2016


Aging with Grace

This article is fantastic! “Proverbs says Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised and Gray hair is a crown of glory. After all, isn’t my age part of God’s sovereign plan for my life? He decided the year of my birth. Not a decade before. Not a decade after. And if every hair is numbered, that includes the ones that are no longer black.”

Is It Ever Okay for a Christian To Lie?

Here’s a simple question that requires a long answer.

Parents Cry ‘Foul’ as Doctors and Educators Ignore Them

David French on transgenderism: “Human experience simply doesn’t conform to ideological models, and the far worse damage is done when we try to impose radical ideology onto the complexities of individual, troubled lives. In reality, people are far more vulnerable to suggestion and fashion than the Left lets on. Rather than affirming an immutable identity, our culture is ratifying and rendering permanent what often amounts to little more than a troubled youthful phase — one that is subject to all the whims of fashion that mark any other cultural trend.”

3 Pieces of Marriage Advice from Spurgeon’s Mother-In-Law

“Charles Spurgeon abandoned his fiancée on a Sunday afternoon. After lunch, a carriage took the betrothed couple from Susannah’s house in St. Ann’s Terrace to Kennington where Charles would preach.” That led to her receiving some invaluable advice.

The Two Things Killing Your Ability to Focus

There are some solid suggestions here. (As usual, replace “meditation” with “devotions.”)

This Day in 1662. 354 years ago today, Blaise Pascal, French scientist, polemicist, and Christian apologist, died at age 39. *

Lost in Light

This video shows how much of the night sky we lose through light pollution.

God Remembers You

There is real comfort here: “The King of kings, whose deeds are worthy of being proclaimed among the nations, remembers the weak. He never forgets. His mind is a veritable steel-trap. He knows the conditions and concerns of his people. How encouraging is this?”

4 Interesting Facts about the Production of the KJV

George Guthrie offers 4 things you may not know about this most revered of translations.

Flashback: What Will Be the Cost to the Church?

What will be the cost to the church if young men continue to give themselves to pornography? What do we, as Christians, stand to lose if so many of our young men continue to spend their teens and twenties in the pursuit of pornographic pleasure?

Yuan

Unconditional love does not equal unconditional approval of my behavior. —Christopher Yuan

August 18, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper; How Do We Know the Bible Is True? by Ken Ham; What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care? by Ed Welch; and Ben-Hur (a modernized adaptation). You can find them here.

Logos users may want to check out these August deals.

How God Saved Me from the Prosperity Gospel

This is a neat account of how a Kenyan pastor found freedom from the prosperity gospel.

Land of Luther Study Tour

Next year is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and Ligonier Ministries is hosting a “Land of Luther Study Tour.” I’m excited to be going along and would love for you to join me. This tour was created with affordability in mind and with some great teachers to lead the way.

What Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Miss about Simone Biles

I had intended to write this very article. “As Simone Biles was clinching yet another gold medal in Rio, people on both sides of the abortion debate were pointing to her achievements and background as a justification for their position. But both miss out on a very important fact: Simone Biles has value not because she is a young woman inspiring the world or because she is a world champion gymnast who was adopted as a child. Simone has value simply because she is Simone.”

Is the Pope Catholic?

This article looks at what the Roman Catholic church means by “unity.” “The Catholic Church sees itself as a sacrament of unity for the world. By this, they mean that they are a visible and effective sign of unity—visible because they are seen to be at the centre of unity and effective in that they unite various religions and philosophies with God.”

Spending on Leisure and Entertainment

Randy Alcorn and Wayne Grudem discuss whether Christians can confidently spend money on leisure and enjoyment.

Ecclesiastes

The Bible Project moves on to Ecclessiastes with one of their unique videos.

This Day in 1688. 328 years ago today, John Bunyan, Puritan clergyman and author of Pilgrim’s Progress, preached his last sermon before dying 13 days later. *

The JFK Shooting That Wasn’t

There is some bad language in this story, but it’s still a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the pandemonium that occurred when someone claimed there was a gunman at JFK.

Flashback: The Spasmodic Hercules

The spasmodic Hercules: this is how many of us behave. We behave as if one moment of great activity can overcome a thousand moments of inactivity, as if one moment of taking hold of opportunity will overcome all those moments wasted. The unglamorous habit of frequency is what makes up so much of life’s progress. Yet we are constantly tempted to put our hope in the brief and the glamorous.

Wilson

The Church needs pastors who’ve had the swagger gospeled out of them. —Jared Wilson

August 17, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: Peacemaking Women by Tara Barthel; Mere Apologetics by Alister McGrath; On Guard and On Guard for Students by William Lane Craig; Then Sings My Soul by Robert Morgan. You can find them right here.

A Terrible Investment

Hosting the Olympics is invariably a terrible investment. And yet cities are lined up for the honor… (Or, as the New York Times says, cities are lined up for the event where the prize is the chance to lose billions.)

Should Children Sit Through “Big Church?”

In general I agree with John Piper here, though I think there is leeway for churches to adapt to their own culture and the people who are part of their community. (At Grace Fellowship Church we offer classes up to age 6.)

MacArthur on Self-Discipline

Here are John MacArthur’s nine tips of self-discipline.

The Wonder of Work

Melissa Kruger: “Our lives here are not only spent building sandcastles that will fade with the passing of time. We have the opportunity to build for all eternity, if we build on the right foundation and with the right materials.”

A Key to Understanding the Development of the NT Canon

From Melissa to Michael: “Unfortunately, the high level of interest in the New Testament canon is often combined with a high number of misconceptions about the canon. For anyone willing to search for it, the internet is packed with myths, mistakes, and misunderstandings about how the whole process really worked.”

This Day in 1761. 255 years ago today, William Carey was born in Northamptonshire, England. He would become a tremendously successful Baptist missionary to India. *

Do More Better

It has been a long time since I’ve shared a review of my book Do More Better. In this one Paula Marsteller encouragingly shares how the book has helped her.

Flashback: What Would I Lose If I Lost Worship?

Can you imagine your life without worship? Can you imagine your life without regularly gathering with God’s people to worship him together? Corporate worship is one of the great privileges of the Christian life. And perhaps it is one of those privileges that over time we can take for granted.

CHS

It is easy to bring a man to the river of regret, but you cannot make him drink the water of repentance.C.H. Spurgeon

August 16, 2016

For the past week I’ve been enjoying some time on the West Coast, first in and around Vancouver and then in northern Washington. It has been a great time as a family, but all good things must come to an end and this evening we head for home. In the meantime, here are some deals and links you may enjoy.

Today’s Kindle deals include: Brothers, We Are Not Professionals by John Piper; Read the Bible for Life by George Guthrie; The Insanity of God and The Insanity of Obedience by Nik Ripken; Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History by Francis Schaeffer. You can get the deals at the Kindle Deals for Christians page.

The First 15 Verses

Here are the first 15 verses a Christian should consider memorizing. Check out the Scripture Typer app to help your memorization and retention.

The Omniscient God

Here are ten things to know about God’s omniscience.

One in a Million

What does it look like to have one part per million? This video finds different ways to picture it.

Word Variations

George Guthrie explains why you don’t need to freak out over word variations in modern translations.

Lay Aside the Weight of Moodiness

“Living in a fallen age, in fallen bodies, in which our fallen natures vie with our regenerate natures for control, we unfortunately cannot avoid the plague of bad moods.”

A Bad First Impression

Here’s a study that discusses good and bad first impressions. In other words, it tells how fickle and arrogant we can be.

This Day in 1661. 355 years ago today, Thomas Fuller, a popular preacher in 17th century England, died. Fuller was one of the first men to make a living by writing. *

The Map Is Wrong

This video shows how the world map is actually kind of deceptive.

The Longer Ending of Mark

Josh Buice explains why he chose not to preach the longer ending of Mark as he finished preaching through the book.

Flashback: Risk and Opportunity

Here’s one quick and important lesson when it comes to our use of technology.

Barnhouse

95% of knowing the will of God consists in being prepared to do it before you know what it is. —Donald Barnhouse

August 15, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include What Is the Meaning of Sex? by Denny Burk; Sex, Dating, and Relationships by Gerald Hiestand & Jay Thomas; Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God by C.J. Mahaney; Sex and Money by Paul Tripp; Hope Heals by Katherine & Jay Wolf. You can find them here.

Monday Morning and My Endless To Do List

“Do your plans for plans for this week cause anxiety to rise in you before you’ve even seen the sun rise? Are you trying to cross off tasks from your to-do list before you’ve finished your first cup of coffee and your toddler bounces into your room? Hello, Monday, we have not missed you.”

Alameda Spite House

This is kind of funny: “Houses (and fences) of spite are built when a land owner has the time, money, and just the right amount of malice to use construction as a weapon. Their purpose is to annoy neighbors, create an eyesore, or thumb their noses at authority.” But what about a spite house?

Twelve Steps to Regain Meaningful Membership

9Marks has a suggested 12-step recovery plan for pastors to regain meaningful church membership. Meaningful membership is such a blessing to a church!

Whose Hate? Which Victims?

Carl Trueman offers some interesting thoughts about hate and victimization. “Adultery as a hate crime? Imagine how potent the victim impact statements in those cases would be. And consider, for example, how many of Hollywood’s beautiful people might find themselves being led away in handcuffs to do some hard time behind bars.”

Great Athletes vs Average Animals

This is pretty funny. Usain Bolt is the fastest human alive—and is almost as fast as a butterfly.

California Lawmaker Drops Controversial Proposal

This is an encouraging victory.

Meet the Tiny Foxes That Shouldn’t Be Alive

This is a neat story.

Keller

Don’t let success go to your head. Don’t let failure go to your heart. —Tim Keller

August 13, 2016

Even though I’m on vacation this week, the Kindle Deals for Christians page is being updated as new deals come along. You can check it out right here.

Don’t Say God Is Silent With Your Bible Closed

“I don’t know who said or shared it first, but it’s clear this simple statement resonates with many, at least it has with me. These ten words rebuke our fear that God might be inactive or uncaring in the brokenness and messiness of our lives, and reminds us that he cares, he sees, and he speaks. But too often, we’re just not listening.”

Livestreaming Violence

This article points out some of the ways that livestreaming has forever changed the way we view violence.

Take a Quiz Explaining Your Faith to a Muslim

My gratitude goes to Zondervan for sponsoring the blog this week with “Take a Quiz on Explaining Your Faith to a Muslim.” I know some tried to take the quiz earlier in the week and were unable to. The quiz service is now working properly!

10 Things You Should Know About the Immutability of God

“Some see the concept of immutability as a threat to the biblical portrait of God who appears in some sense to change. Others are equally concerned that a careless tampering with this attribute of God will reduce him to a fickle, unfaithful, and ultimately unworthy object of our affection and worship. It is imperative, therefore, that we proceed cautiously, and yet with conviction, in articulating these ten truths about divine immutability.”

Southern Baptists and the Quest for Theological Identity

Al Mohler: “Our commitment to regenerate church membership, the baptism of believers only, and our understanding of the nature of the church gives Baptists a unique voice in the face of disappearing cultural Christianity. I honestly believe that in coming years evangelicals will increasingly look to Southern Baptists due to the ecclesiological crises created by the collapse of cultural Christianity. The coming generation will urgently need the wisdom and biblical conviction of Baptists on these issues.”

This Day in 1845. 171 years ago today, devotional writer Sarah Flower Adams died at age 43. She published The Flock at the Fountain, containing children’s hymns including “Nearer, My God, To Thee.” *

Bird Brains

If you want to know how to reduce concussions, why not study the woodpecker. “If someone could figure out how woodpeckers do it—they slam their beaks into trees thousands of times per day, generating forces far beyond what most people experience in car wrecks—then maybe we could better protect soldiers.”

Flashback: Why We Love to Read

Sometimes you need to do a lot of reading to come away with one really good idea. Some books yield nothing but nonsense; some yield nothing but ideas you have come across a thousands times before. But then, at last, you find that one that delivers. There is such joy in it. Such reward.

Spurgeon

The louder Satan roars, the more proof you shall have of Christ’s love. —C.H. Spurgeon

August 12, 2016

If you are into Kindle books, be sure to check in with the Kindle Deals for Christians page. I generally update the page on a daily basis.

The Miraculous in the Mundane

“It is not enough merely to say that Christians’ daily toil, whether it is sacred or secular, is good and important. To get off this see-saw, we must come to believe that our work is, in fact, miraculous.”

6 Surprising Ideas the KJV Translators Had

“The KJV translators themselves had particular ideas about translations other than their own, and they lay out their views clearly and forcefully in the published Preface of the original edition of their eloquent translation. Ironically, their views are very different from those who champion their translation today. So here are 6 ideas the KJV translators had about other translations of the Bible.”

Tour the London of Yore

So neat: “Think of the map as Google Street View for vintage London. You can click on the map to view historical images of particular buildings, streets or areas, or search the collection by topic to reveal everything from historic coffee houses to buildings associated with different authors or time periods.”

The Surprising Truth About False Teachers

“The question is not whether you ever hear the voice of false teachers. You do — probably every day. The question is whether you can discern which messages are false.”

FX Conference

Frontline Missions International has developed a training and orientation program that will 1) help men and women begin to explore ways in which they can serve Christ in restricted-access countries and 2) serve local churches that are serious about addressing the Unfinished Task of taking the Gospel to people who have yet to hear. This year’s event happens on October 13-15 in Minneapolis. Use code fx_challies to get a discount when you register.

This Day in 1947. 69 years ago today, A group of Ayoré Indians in Bolivia laid down their weapons in response to friendly overtures by New Tribes missionaries. The Ayoré had martyred 5 of their missionaries 4 years earlier. *

Get Ready to Be Identified By Your Ear

This is just weird: “Last year, the United States Customs and Border Protection rolled out a recognition pilot program that uses biometric recognition tools like face and iris scanners. The program will snag ‘imposters’ using a fake passport at airports, and what’s more, reduce wait times at security checkpoints. But what might identify individuals even more conclusively and speed travelers on their way more swiftly is another kind of biometrics, based on the ear.”

Flashback: My Own Personal Bollywood

As I watched Singham commit another great feat of strength, I saw a bit of a parallel between Bollywood and its big brother Hollywood. Hollywood allows its own version of unrealism in the movies we enjoy. We just take our fantasy on a different level.

Milne

Christian leaders must practice what they preach if they are to see what they preach practiced. —Douglas Milne