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A La Carte

June 24, 2016

Yesterday, right after I posted my daily article, my server experienced what the host described as “catastrophic hardware failure.” For that reason the site was unavailable most of the day. I believe the problem has now been fully fixed. Finally, after years of paying for backups, it was proven worth it!

And now some links, beginning with Westminster Books which has a great deal on the ESV Heirloom Bible.

TGCW16 Conference Media

The Gospel Coalition has just released the audio and video from the recent women’s conference. It is free for the taking.

Is Your Worship Service Upside Down?

Jared Wilson is right in his wheelhouse writing about things like this. “Our church worship gatherings ought to be welcoming and comprehensible to unbelievers who are present, but many churches actually structure the entire worship service around them. There is no real biblical precedent for this, and furthermore, it’s not the most effective way for your church to reach lost people, anyway.”

21 Questions With Barronelle Stutzman

“Barronelle Stutzman is the Washington florist sued by a gay man, a friend and client of almost a decade, who was outraged by her refusal to do the flowers for his same-sex wedding. Whatever you think you know about her case, I bet you don’t know a lot of things in that short three-minute video.”

How to Resist Sins of Conformity

“Sins of conformity happen when, because of the pressure to fit in, you adopt the sinful action or inaction of a group.” We are all prone to such sins.

Why the Trinitarian Controversy Was Inevitable

This is way above my pay grade, but still awfully interesting. “While others have covered the ins and outs of the controversy with some depth, I am more interested in why this clash is happening, and why it is happening now. Michael Bird has said that this is about to be a ‘miniature civil war’. While that may be an exaggeration, the clash was inevitable for several reasons.”

This Day in 64. 1,952 years ago today, Nero began the first Imperial persecution of Christians. *

On Anonymity

Courtney Reissig: “I’m no historian, but I wonder if there has ever been a time where a longing for significance and fame has been so present for all of us.” Can we be content to be anonymous in a world that wants us to try to make a name for ourselves?

The Orchid Mantis

It’s a pretty flower, right? No, wait, it’s munching on that bug…

What Happened to Beauty?

R.C. Sproul asks what happened to beauty when it comes to our places of worship.

Flashback: What It Takes To Be An Evangelical Leader

“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.”

Ryle

I have often been told that “broad” views are wanted in the present day. I wish to be as broad as the Bible, neither less nor more. —J.C. Ryle

June 23, 2016

 

Defining Decency Down

“If a horrific act of murder happens somewhere in the world, but you don’t blog within minutes about it, or Tweet about What It All Means…do you still care?” This is the kind of question we need to ask in a social media world.

In the Shadow of the Valley

This episode of The Mortification of Spin deals with an ugly topic (sex trafficking) but in a very helpful way. I was both grieved and encouraged in listening to it.

Can We Trust the Gospels, Even If They Were Transmitted Orally?

J. Warner Wallace: “Even if the gospels were written early enough to have been authored by eyewitnesses, wouldn’t 15-20 years be enough time for the authors to forget something important or add something errant, especially if they were only retelling the story orally?”

Pulp Friction

“There’s more than a little irony to the impending collapse of Barnes & Noble. The mega-retailer that drove many small, independent booksellers out of business is now being done in by the rise of Amazon. But while many book lovers may be tempted to gloat, the death of Barnes & Noble would be catastrophic—not just for publishing houses and the writers they publish, but for American culture as a whole.”

When Your Child Dates an Unbeliever

Kim Shay: “I recently read a woman’s view that as long as one sheltered her children from unbelievers enough, she would never need to worry about kids dating unbelievers or dabbling in the world. I still squirm at the notion that our children’s spiritual development is simply a matter of controlling their environment. The reality is that good parents raise kids who do unwise things. When we’re young, we’re tempted to think our kids will never do that! Sometimes, they do. I hope this provides encouragement for some today.”

Eight Passages Every Christian Should Memorize

Here is a great place to begin with Scripture memorization.

This Day in 1954. 62 years ago today, Randy Alcorn was born. Happy birthday, Randy!

How Waze Works

I guess it may be a bit of a commercial, but I really enjoyed this video on how the traffic app Waze works.

The Trinity Debate in 200 Words

Here’s another attempt to distil it down to its essence without using any of the Latin words.

Flashback: Why Making Decisions Is So Hard

“Why this fear? Why this agony? Why these sleepless nights? It is the uncertainty of it, I’m sure. It is the uncertainty of where our choices may lead.”

Horton

Nobody today seems to think that God is dangerous. And that is itself a dangerous oversight. —Michael Horton

June 22, 2016

 

The Church Praying

The current issue of the 9Marks Journal considers prayer in the life of the church. All the articles are free to read.

5 Things to Pray for the EU Referendum

Tomorrow is a big day for the UK and many are struggling with how to vote. “But God’s Word has not left any of us struggling to know what to pray for. And those who aren’t voting on Thursday still have the privilege of praying—and praying earnestly—for the referendum.”

10 Things You Should Know about Shame

“Let’s start bringing up the problem of shame in our small groups and Sunday school classes and sermons, so that the light of the gospel can begin to free God’s people from its dark grip.”

The Civil War Prisoner Camp That Became a Place of Horror

“The Confederate Civil War prisoner camp in Andersonville, Georgia, was an utter nightmare for the many soldiers held within. It was dangerously overcrowded, rife with disease, and food and medical supplies were always in short supply.” This short video describes it.

Should Christians Support Gun Control?

Thomas Kidd provides an answer by going to history first.

This Day in 2012. 4 years ago today, The Gospel Coalition hosted their first Women’s Conference in Orlando. (And, as it turns out, they just hosted another Women’s Conference last week.) *

A Gift From Schoolchildren

“In 1946, a group of Russian children from the Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organisation (sort of a Soviet scouting group) presented a carved wooden replica of the Great Seal of the United States to Averell Harriman, the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union.” But it was much more than a mere gift!

One Critical Conviction

This is very good and very important: One critical conviction about God and his Word.

Flashback — The Bestsellers: Jesus Calling

Two years ago I featured Jesus Calling in my series “The Bestsellers.” It continues to dominate the bestseller lists and has now sold more than 10 million copies.

MacArthur

Our security doesn’t depend on our ability to stay saved, but on God’s ability to keep His promise. —John MacArthur

June 21, 2016

 

What I Can’t Know If I Don’t Know the Trinity

“It’s not only that a proper understanding of the Trinity is some sort of arid proposition we need to check off a list of ‘need to know’ facts to be ‘good Christians.’ Rather, it’s that without a knowledge of the Trinity, we are simply robbed of all of the chief comforts of Christian faith…”

From ‘Caustic’ to ‘Blinding’

Here’s a guy who travels far and wide to get stung by insects and report on which stings are the worst. Here’s his entry for the tarantula hawk: “Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair dryer has been dropped into your bubble bath. A bolt out of the heavens. Lie down and scream.”

10 Things You Should Know About What the Roman Catholic Church Believes Regarding Mary

Sam Storms rounds them up.

The Sin of Retaliation

“When someone crosses us or makes demands on us our initial reaction is to respond in the same way. Why not? This is the way we’ve heard that the world works. Right? Retaliation is sinfully seductive and bitterly sweet.”

What Is an “Accurate” Translation?

Bill Mounce demonstrates what a difficult question this is. 

This Day in 1607 and 1579. 409 and 437 years ago today respectively, the first Anglican parish in America was founded, and the first Anglican service in the world was held. *

The Evolution of the Book

What makes a book a book? Is it just anything that stores and communicates information? Or does it have to do with paper, binding, font, ink, its weight in your hands, the smell of the pages? TED-Ed takes a look in this video.

Should Christians in America Fight for the Religious Liberty of Muslims?

David Prince provides an answer.

Flashback: God Does Not Owe Us a Happy Ending

We love stories and viral videos that have happy endings. Yet so often the stories in our own lives do not have such happy endings… 

Stetzer

Never value ability over character. Character eventually catches up. —Ed Stetzer

June 20, 2016

 

My Father

My good friend Sam writes movingly about fatherhood and fatherlessness. “I’ve come to accept that I am probably never going to meet my father. I know that I am probably never going to shake my father’s hand—or give him the most awkward hug in history. I am never going to get to ask him the questions I’ve been wanting to ask since I was old enough to have questions.”

10 Unforgettable Lessons on Fatherhood

Ray Ortlund shares ten lessons on fatherhood he drew from his dad. “In no particular order, here are ten lessons on fatherhood I learned from watching him, each lesson living on in my life from memories of his care for me.”

Sexual Desire and the Single Girl

“Imagine keeping a lion in a small cat-carrier. For years. Day after day. Night after night. He roars. He eats. (A lot.) His energy is endless. And yet you keep him caged.” That’s how Colleen Chao describes sexual desire as a single girl.

Raising Christian Kids in a Public School

If your children are in public schools, you may appreciate Melissa’s thoughts on her family’s experience.

On Dancing and the Regulative Principle

Andrew Wilson and Jonathan Leeman are discussing dancing in worship services and whether it is wise or permissible. In this first article Leeman tells why he is not in favor.

This Day in 1974. 42 years ago today, Matt Chandler was born. Happy birthday Matt!

California on Fire

This is some amazing footage of wildfires in California.

Our Best Life Yet to Come

Randy Alcorn offers some encouragement: “Our perspective today is informed by the reality that resurrection awaits God’s children. This means we’ll never pass our peaks. The best is yet to come! No need for bucket lists, because the adventures awaiting us in the New Heavens and on the New Earth will far exceed the greatest thrills of this life.”

Flashback: 7 Marks of a False Teacher

False teachers have been present in every era of human history, they have always been a plague and have always been in the business of providing counterfeit truth. While their circumstances may change, their methods remain consistent. Here are seven marks of a false teacher.

Price

Christianity can been seen as a system of morality or ethics. In fact, it is the opposite, it is a declaration of moral and ethical failure. —Tom Price

June 18, 2016

Christian Audio

Christian Audio is holding their twice-yearly sale. This is a great time to try out their service. During this sale even brand new books are heavily discounted.

Why Sex Isn’t the Best Thing Ever

Lore Ferguson: “One of the best blessings to me in my singleness were friends who did not make marriage an ultimate thing in my eyes by only telling me the beautiful parts of their marriage, but who told me the difficulties of it as well. They also prayed for me actively to someday have the gift of marriage. I hope I am doing the same for my still single friends who desire the gift.”

A Swimming Pool in the ICU?

Here’s an interesting little story that appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

The Two Words Fathers Should Say to Their Children

As theologian D.A. Carson says, “Do you ever say to a young Christian, ‘Do you want to know what Christianity is like? Watch me!’ If you never do, you are unbiblical.”

God Permits Evil, But Does Not Cause It

Sometimes the fine distinctions make a world of difference.

Tomorrow in 1939. 77 years ago tomorrow, pastor John MacArthur was born. Happy birthday, Dr. MacArthur!

It’s Going to be an Issue

“Biola University, located in Southern California and one of the country’s most well-known and prestigious evangelical colleges, now finds itself arguing for its right to be evangelical.”

The Death of Dawson Trotman

60 years ago today the founder of Navigators died while saving a girl’s life. Here’s what happened.

Flashback: Leading in Love

Wayne Grudem allows a little glimpse inside his marriage to see how complementarianism plays out in real life.

Give Me Your Heart

I’m thankful to Ligonier Ministries for sponsoring the blog with the article “Give Me Your Heart.”

Spurgeon

The more empty I am, the more room is there for my Master. The more I lack, the more He will give me. —C.H. Spurgeon

June 17, 2016

 

Did Jesus Have a Wife?

This is a fascinating bit of investigative journalism from The Atlantic. Please note that it is a little PG-13 at times as the reporter chases down his story. “A hotly contested, supposedly ancient manuscript suggests Christ was married. But believing its origin story requires a big leap of faith.” (Also, New Testament scholar Michael Kruger comments and Karen King responds.)

Airplane Black Boxes

Ever wondered about those black boxes they talk about after a plane crash? This video tells all about them.

Making Sense of the Trinity Debate

Here’s another reader-friendly overview of the current Trinity debate.

4 Ways to Reach a Child’s Heart

Richard Phillips explains how a godly father plants good things in the hearts of his children.

Sermons on Marriage

Here are the collected (and free!) sermons of Alistair Begg on marriage.

Orlando Shooting Launches a War on Christianity

Yes, this is exactly the case. “The result is bigotry running two ways — an unreasoning, irrational hatred of American Christians and a comprehensive denial of Muslim moral agency. American Christians are responsible for things they don’t believe. Sharia-observant Muslims, by contrast, aren’t responsible for the things they do believe.”

Available Now! Keith and Kristyn Getty’s new album, Facing a Task Unfinished, is now available. I’ve listened to it a hundred times already and love it!

What the Hook-up Culture Has Done to Women

This is difficult to read, but very important. As the author says, “It is no coincidence that the top two prescribed drugs at our state university’s health center are anti-depressants and the birth-control pill.”

G3 Conference

Next January’s G3 Conference is getting bigger and better all the time. If you’re looking for a 2017 conference, you may be interested in a trip to Atlanta.

Flashback: Setting Up My Kids for Salvation

“When it comes to my kids, I seem to want to believe that God’s action is dependent upon my action. I believe that for God to save my kids, I first need to do the right things. If I want God to save them, I need to cross the spiritual t’s and dot the spiritual i’s…”

Horton

Ironically, it is only when we know how to die properly that we finally have some inkling about how to truly live here and now. —Michael Horton

June 16, 2016

 

How Fast Does a Christian Grow?

How fast does a Christian grow? Not fast enough for our satisfaction! “If you come to Christ as a teenager or adult, some practices might be obvious (if painful) to change. But Christian maturity is more about the heart than it is about behavior. Our trust, hopes, and desires need to change, and good behavior follows.”

What Book Shall I Preach on Next?

Here is some sensible advice on choosing what books to preach. The same questions could be helpful for choosing a book to read for personal or family devotions.

Lecrae and The Washington Post

The Washington Post has quite a long article on Christian rapper Lecrae. “This generation doesn’t have a Billy Graham,” said LaDawn Johnson, a sociologist at Biola University, an evangelical school outside Los Angeles where Lecrae performed in April. “We’ve lost any kind of significant evangelical leader people could point to, and Lecrae is in a position where he could definitely for many young people be that voice and be that model.”

The Debate so Far

If you’re interested in getting oriented in the ongoing discussion/controversy of the eternal subordination of the Son, here’s a good place to start.

The Gift of Being Limited

“God = limitless goodness and faithfulness. Me = limited in every way. God-designed limits for me = God’s goodness and faithfulness to me.”

This Day in 1855. 161 years ago today, William and Catherine Booth, founders of the Salvation Army, married, having fallen in love the first night they met. *

Involuntary Sins

Can you really be held responsible for those sins that flow out of instinct or ignorance?

The Secret Anti-Counterfeit Symbol

“You can’t copy money. Like really, it’s not just illegal, you just can’t do it on a photocopier.” This video explains why.

Flashback: Making the Case Against Abortion

How can we make a case against abortion? How can Christians convince others that abortion is wrong? Here’s one tactic.

Bonhoeffer

I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer