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A La Carte

December 28, 2013

The Most Courageous Resolution - Jon Bloom on resolutions: “Resolves are intentions with strategies attached to them. You don’t just hope something is going to happen; you are planning to make it happen. To be resolved is to be determined.” He proposes a resolution for you.

Duck Dynasty Wins - WORLD: “The gay lobby’s power is limited. The A&E television network late Friday afternoon, facing a backlash and threatened boycott, reversed its decision to suspend Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson. The Robertson family offered no immediate comment.”

Beautiful in its Time - R.C. Sproul Jr reflects on what he remembers and what he forgets. “I don’t remember everything I read. I don’t remember the great names and dates of history. I do, however, remember the layout of the basement of a family’s house we visited once, when I was nine.”

Communicating With People Who Have Dementia - Communicating with people who have dementia can be a real challenge. Here is some counsel.

Are You Faking or Trying? - “Plenty of people fake it in their spiritual lives. They want to look like healthy Christians or to make it through church without anyone looking askance at them or asking a personal question. That comes from a heart of pride and deceit. Trying until it pays off is different.”

Pray For Your Daughter - Mike Leake is beginning a 31-day pray for your daughter challenge. It kicks off January 1.

December 27, 2013

‘Tis the season to discuss Bible-reading plans for the year to come. Justin Taylor offers a long list of options; Ligonier does as well and includes downloadable guides; Peter Krol has some suggestions as well as a list of benefits.

CROSS - The CROSS conference kicks off this afternoon (schedule); you can watch it all via live-streaming.

Someone For Some People - Check out this little bit of verse taken from the book From Heaven He Came and Sought Her. (Note: Rebecca formatted it as verse.)

This Video Will Hurt - This video takes a fascinating look at the nocebo effect which illustrates both the power and the weakness of our minds.

Fourteen Generations - Have you ever wondered why the genealogy of Matthew 1 contains 3 groupings of 14 generations? Mitchell Chase takes a look and offers an explanation.

Clearing Things Up - Todd Pruitt offers a helpful clarification regarding the Duck Dynasty/Phil Robertson debacle. He suggests that much of the discussion has blurred the distinction between two categories.

The People Who Challenged My Atheism - Here’s an interesting article from The Guardian: The people who challenged my atheism most were drug addicts and prostitutes. I’ve been reminded that life is not as rational as Richard Dawkins sees it. Perhaps atheism is an intellectual luxury for the wealthy…”

Restoration as Gospel Priority - Ray Ortlund looks to 2 Corinthians and shows that for Paul  “aim for restoration was ideal as an all-encompassing intention.  For any gospel-defined church, then or now, restoration is an obvious priority.”

December 26, 2013

Here are a few Kindle deals you may want to check out: The Quiet Place by Nancy Leigh DeMoss ($2.99); A Life Observed by Devin Brown ($2.99); 50 People Every Christian Should Know by Warren Wiersbe ($3.99); The Scriptures Testify About Me edited by D.A. Carson ($3.99); Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung ($3.99). Also be sure to check out this list and this list for more great deals.

Dude, Where’s Your Gravitas? - “Our culture wants men to be featherweights when it comes to conviction, seriousness, responsibility, discipline, courage, and truth. The Creator of these men does not. He wants gravitas.” Obviously we can overcorrect here, but it’s well worth thinking about this article.

Earthrise - Here’s a video about the iconic photo of earthrise taken by the crew of Apollo 8.

Teaching Doctrine to the Poor - Mez McConnell has been asked whether the poor really need doctrine or if they just need to be told that Jesus loves them. He responds here.

The Files - Here’s a video interpretation of Josh Harris’ dream/story “The Room.” It’s quite well done.

I’ve Already Won - Edward Snowden says he’s already won and I’m inclined to agree. “As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated,” Snowden told the Post. “Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.”

We Need Gospel Patrons - Yes to this! We need gospel patrons.

Daily inspirational quotes will return next week. —Tim Challies

December 24, 2013

There are some new Kindle deals today: Resisting Gossip by Matthew Mitchell (one of my favorite reads of 2013) is $3.99; Does God Desire All To Be Saved? by John Piper ($1.99); Effective Bible Teaching by James Wilhoit & Leland Ryken ($3.99); A Better Way by Michael Horton ($3.99); 9 Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever ($3.99); 

The Violence of Christmas - “Do yourself a favor before Christmas. Read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ birth. Then read Genesis 1-3. Then read Revelation 12. Then throw in Romans 16:20 for good measure. That’s the whole Christmas story. It’s not simply the poetic and sweet story of a child’s birth, welcomed by stars and angels. It’s a violent war story.”

Losses at Christmas - Carolyn McCulley reflects on losses at Christmas. “Even though we daily receive new mercies from Him, Jesus is not going to patch up this broken world. He is going to give us something much better: a new heavens and a new earth where there are no more tears and no more death.”

Whatever It Takes - Here’s a story of a father’s love for his son.

14 Things Not To Say To Your Pastor - Here’s a lighthearted look at some things not to say to your pastor.

And He Dwelt Among Us - Logos users will want to grab this free Christmas gift from Logos. Use coupon code 12DAYS2013.

The Hobbit 2 - I plan to see The Hobbit 2. For now, though, I enjoyed Gene Veith’s take on it.

Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayers and worn with thanks. —Thomas Goodwin

December 23, 2013

Christian Focus has put Kindle editions of their list of great John Owen titles on sale for $3.99 each: Assurance, Communion With God, The Glory of Christ, The Holy Spirit, The Priesthood of Christ. They’ve also put many of their Torchbearers titles (histories and biographies for kids) on sale for $3.99: William Tyndale, Nate Saint, The Two Margarets, James Chalmers, Polycarp, Jim Elliot, and Titanic: Ship of Dreams. Relationships, a Mess Worth Making by Timothy Lane & Paul Tripp is free. Called to Stay by Caleb Breakey is $3.03. 

Toronto Ice Storm - My family headed south for Christmas Saturday morning; this hit our city Saturday evening. I’m glad we fled when we did!

5 Things Christian Should Stop Saying - Jason Johnson: “We mean well, don’t we? But sometimes our attempts to say something spiritual actually come out unbiblical, or at a minimum, not very helpful. Here’s the 5 I hear the most…”

Why Aren’t People Changing? - Mez McConnell answers some good questions: “Why do some people grow quickly and move on in the Christian life and others drift away or always seem stuck in neutral? Why do 2 young addicts profess faith, get involved in the life of the same church, have the same discipleship opportunities, gain new friendships and yet one quickly begins to flounder whilst the other grows and excels in their Christian life?”

A Christmas Memory - I enjoyed reading Ed Welch’s remembrance of a Christmas long ago.

Angels and Demons - Foreign Policy offers a warning: “Pentecostalism is the world’s fastest growing religious movement. But in much of Africa, it’s fueling witch-hunts and the spread of HIV/AIDS.”

Master of His Virtual Domain - I guess there’s not necessarily a huge amount of value in this article, but it does warn of the addictive power of some of today’s video games (which are constructed to be addictive).

What about putting Christ back into Christmas? It is simply not necessary. Christ has never left Christmas. —R.C. Sproul

December 21, 2013

Aren’t There Enough Christian Books Already? - We’ve probably all asked the question at one time or another. Barnabas Piper answers well. “So, are there enough Christian books out there? Yes – of the boring, repetitive, prescriptive variety. Yes – of the all flash, no substance type. Yes – of the boring type. But that’s always the case.”

Tweeting Myself to Death - There is lots to reflect on in this article about the rise and fall of @prodigalsam

500 Book Mega Pack - Logos asked me to let you know about their 500 book mega pack that is on sale until December 31.

Must Christians Believe in the Virgin Birth? - “With December 25 fast approaching, the secular media are sure to turn their interest once again to the virgin birth. Every Christmas, weekly news magazines and various editorialists engage in a collective gasp that so many Americans could believe such an unscientific, supernatural doctrine.” Indeed.

The Soil of the Prosperity Gospel - The heart of this article from 9Marks is the answer to this question: “How did we get to a place where such a clearly debased form of Christianity holds sway with so many people?”

9 Reasons to Pray - Jason Helopolous gives us 9 good reasons to pray.

We never need be ashamed of our poverty unless our own sins have brought it upon us. —J.C. Ryle


December 20, 2013

Top-Ten Theology Stories - Collin Hansen says, “before we turn to 2014, it can be encouraging or at least instructive to take stock of the last 12 months. Perspective is a rare gift in our social media age.” To do that, he offers up this top ten theology stories from the past year.

Historical Theology - Gregg Allison’s Historical Theology, a companion to Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, is just $5.99 for Kindle.

I Offended You? So What? - Jay Watts talks about what it means to be offended.

Harding-Kerrigan 20 Years Later - This was an interesting read: “The Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan affair began with unchecked ambition, unbridled greed and a whack to the knee. It ended with four men in jail, a broken shoelace and a highly publicized mouthing-off, at Disney World. In between, there was a media frenzy reserved for only the most outrageous circuses.”

Based on a True Story - How Captain Phillips, Saving Mr. Banks, and 12 Years a Slave stack up against reality.

The Year of No Complaining - If you’re a leader in a church, 2014 can be a complaint free year. Here’s all you have to do…

Facebook Is Broken - This article explains that even while Facebook continues to grow, it is crumbling under the weight of its own success.

It is more significant that God walked on earth than that man walked on the moon. —Rob Frost


December 19, 2013

Today’s big Kindle deals is Michael Bird’s Evangelical Theology at just $5.99 (for a very new 800-page book). Also consider Answering the Call by John Ensor ($3.96) and The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones ($1.99).

Re: Mark Driscoll - I really appreciated Jared Wilson’s article on Mark Driscoll. He says it well and with great care and kindness.

You Have Been Warned - Al Mohler responds to the controversy surrounding the show Duck Dynasty.

When Nothing Created Everything - Joe Carter has written what our culture has been missing for far too long—a creation story for young atheistic materialists. It’s more than a little clever.

Caught Between Two Worlds - This is a sweet article. “While the kids quietly play, an older woman across the room watches them. Her eyes sparkle yet are also strikingly sad. I wonder about her story. Eventually she walks over and, with a hesitant smile, shares how she’s been watching my three and how they are so beautiful and do I know I’m blessed?”

John Piper Quotes - Jamsco continues his series of unusual and funny John Piper quotes.

RefNet 2.0 - Ligonier Ministries has announced RefNet 2.0, an improved and expanded version of their 24-hour Internet radio.

Your Husband Looks at Porn: Now What? - Harry Schaumburg offers counsel on how to respond when your spouse is struggling or has been found out.

God has not forbidden man honors or riches, nor any pleasures, except the pleasures of sin. —Ralph Venning


December 18, 2013

Ligonier has added three new volumes to R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions series, all of which are free: How Can I Develop a Christian Conscience?, What Is the Church?, and What Is the Lord’s Supper?. Also consider A Call to Spiritual Reformation by D.A. Carson ($3.99). And if you missed yesterday’s long list of deals, be sure to check them out as well.

The Power of the Gospel - Be sure to watch this amazing testimony to God’s grace in the life of Urvashi. It will encourage you!

Allegiant - Redeemer Reader has a review of Allegiant, a young adult novel your kids may want to read. It’s the next Hunger Games, I suppose.

Is It Sin to Experience Same-Sex Attraction? - From Desiring God: “There is no way around it. Dealing with same-sex attraction is messy. There are many issues that, at least on the surface, do not seem clear. Take this question, for example: Is same-sex attraction (SSA) itself sinful, and if so, how should we deal with it?”

Information Overload - Preachers (or public speakers) may be interested in this article about information overload and how to avoid it in sermons.

TIME’s Person of the Year - Al Mohler writes about Pope Francis being chosen as TIME’s person of the year. Most of the best lines are right near the end. Like, “it turns out that the only thing worse than not having a pope is … having one.”

Moving Without Mom - This is both sad and sweet. “When Ben Nunery and his wife Ali got married in 2009, they had just closed on their new house, so they took the opportunity to take their wedding photos in the empty home. Just four and a half years later, after Ali’s tragic death from cancer at at the age of 31 in 2011, Ben and his young daughter Olivia got ready to move to a new house, but they wanted to say goodbye to the old one. So they recreated these special photos from Ben and Ali’s wedding day, as a way to remember the happy times.”

Jesus did not die just to give us peace and a purpose in life; he died to save us from the wrath of God. —Jerry Bridges


(click here to get it as a Facebook cover)

December 17, 2013

There are tons of great Kindle deals today. Enjoy! The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur ($2.99); Tactics by Greg Koukl ($2.99); How to Read the Bible Book by Book and How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stewart ($2.99 each); Christian Beliefs by Wayne Grudem ($2.99); Politics by Wayne Grudem ($5.99); Pilgrim Theology by Michael Horton ($4.99); Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary ($4.99); Philippians by Lynn Cochick ($4.99); Money, Greed, and God by Jay Richards ($2.99); Putting Amazing Back Into Grace by Michael Horton ($3.99); The Forgotten Trinity by James White ($3.99); A Quest for More by Paul Tripp (free). New from GLH Publishing is Faith & Life by B.B. Warfield ($1.99). Crossway has four daily devotionals on sale at $3.99 each: Walking With God Day-by-Day by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Daily Light on the Daily Path, More Precious Than Gold by Sam Storms, ESV Daily Reading Bible.

Finally, the cheapest Kindle device is just $49 ($20 off) today only. And now for some recommended reading:

Don’t Pull a LOST - Jamie Brown writes about our worship services and compares them to the show LOST. He doesn’t mean it as a compliment.

The Right to Do Anything - Mounce looks at 1 Corinthians 6:12 and shows how important it is to get the translation correct.

Westminster Books - Westminster Books has a couple of notable sales, including 50% off on Voddie Baucham’s new book on Joseph.

Nelson Mandela - Conrad Mbewe: “Writing a blog post on Mandela is very difficult. I feel like a candle holding out light to the sun. Mandela’s public persona looms large over southern Africa, and indeed across the whole planet. Who does not know about him already? So, what is there to say that has not been said? As I put pen to paper, therefore, my aim is not to say anything new.”

Moral Mayhem Multiplied - As most Americans were thinking thoughts of Christmas cheer, a federal judge in Utah dropped a bomb on the institution of marriage, striking down the most crucial sections of the Utah statute outlawing polygamy. Al Mohler writes about it.

A 9-Letter Word for a 100-Year-Old Puzzle? - The Crossword puzzle has turned 100. Smithsonian tells us about it.

The laborer, not the loiterer, is worthy of his hire. —Henry Wilkinson