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A La Carte

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


December 16, 2013

Here are some new Kindle deals: Jesus On Every Page by David Murray ($2.99); Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur ($2.99); Center Church by Tim Keller ($4.99); MacArthur Study Bible NIV or NKJV or ESV ($4.99); Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall ($2.99) (perhaps read my review) first).

The Danger of a How-To - I really appreciated this article and it’s big point: “In the end, evangelicals are evangelicals not because we follow four principles, five keys, or six secrets. In the end, evangelicals are evangelicals because we build our lives on the gospel alone. Let us then go and preach and minister and live accordingly.”

Fair Analysis of the New NIV - WORLD magazine shared this comparison of the NIV and the new NIV.

50 Years of Toys - This infographic shows 50 years of popular toys. We all had at least a few of them!

Binge Viewing - Netflix has released data to show that you love to binge and watch a whole season of a show in a week: “The data adds to evidence that binge viewing is becoming a social norm.”

My Preferred Way to Read the Bible - Jim Elliff: “It’s presumptuous for a man to suggest that he knows the best method for everyone to read the Bible. But I’m going to tell you the way that I best read the Bible … and why it works so well for me.”

The Work of Zina Nicole Lahr - This is the latest viral video, and it’s kind of a sweet one. Sadly, Zina died just days after the video was finished. I found these words in an article about her life and death: “Her love for others was incredibly evident as was her love for Jesus … Her faith was the most important part of her, no doubt. She had a style that was all her own.”

There are such things as Christian tears, and too few of us ever weep them. —John Stott


(click here to set this as your Facebook cover photo)

December 14, 2013

The Legalism Boogeyman - This is true! “The legalism card often gets overplayed. More and more I’ve interacted with Christians humbly and faithfully working out their salvation with fear and trembling, only to have the legalism card slapped on them. As such, they’re being fallaciously warned about legalism bogeymen. There are many I’ve heard of lurking in Christendom.”

The Scandal of the Semi-Churched - Kevin DeYoung: “I want to talk about church members who attend their home church with great irregularity. These aren’t unchurched folks, or de-churched, or under-churched. They are semi-churched. They show up some of the time, but not every week. They are on again/off again, in and out, here on Sunday and gone for two.”

What We Get Wrong - Here’s a perspective on what we (might) get wrong about gift-giving at Christmas.

The First Ransom Note - Smithsonian shares some fascinating articles. Here’s one of them: “On July 1, 1874, two Ross sons were taken from their family’s front lawn in Germantown, a northwest Philadelphia neighborhood. The kidnappers released Walter, age 5, for reasons unclear. When Charley failed to return home by nightfall, Christian Ross, a dry-goods merchant, feared the worst…”

What Do Protestants Protest? - Not enough, according to R.C. Sproul Jr., and I’m inclined to agree.

Against Gay Marriage - Denny Burk introduces an interesting article from an advocate of gay marriage who is insisting that being opposed to gay marriage doesn’t make a person a homophobe.

How difficult it is to avoid having a special standard for oneself! —C.S. Lewis


December 13, 2013

Seven Messages in the Meals - Most of us have been on both sides of this one. “To the family to whom we are giving a meal because they are going through a challenging time: When we hand you a dish with homemade lasagna and a salad kit, or spaghetti casserole, or a turkey hot dish, we’re not merely saying ‘be warm and well fed’. Here are a few ideas we want you to understand and consider while you’re sitting down to eat it.”

How to Get People to Read the Bible Without Making Them Feel Dumb - From Trevin Wax: “Stress the simplicity of the Bible, and the people you are hoping will read the Bible next year may begin to wonder if they’re just too dumb to understand it. I wonder if, in our efforts to get people reading Scripture, we might be minimizing the tough parts, and unintentionally undercutting our people’s sense of joy when they grow in biblical knowledge.”

Christmas In Dark Places - I enjoyed this poem. And this short film.

The Changing American Family - American households have never been more diverse, more surprising, more baffling. In this special issue of Science Times, Natalie Angier takes stock of our changing definition of family.”

Son of God - I don’t know anything about the Son of God movie (coming next year), but I do know it will be pushed hard in churches as a great evangelism opportunity. See also this article by Brett McCracken as he writes about two more big Bible movies coming our way next year.

When Satan fell he may have lost his innocence but he did not lose his intelligence. —Trevor Knight


December 12, 2013

Here are a couple of Kindle deals: Love Into Light by Peter Hubbard ($5.99); Quiet by Susan Cain is not a Christian book, but an interesting one nonetheless ($2.99).

The Greatest Obstacle - “Most people think that sinning is the best way to happiness. Otherwise, why would so many spend their days figuring out how to sin bigger and better?” David Murray looks to Ralph Venning.

Moral Revolution at Warp Speed - Al Mohler: “Six months. That’s how long it took to get from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act to the decision of a Colorado judge ordering a Christian baker to make a cake for a same-sex ceremony. Just six months.”

Empty, Overcrowded, or Both? - This interactive map takes you to the world’s densest and most remote locales.

What Do You Think About the New Calvinism? - Kevin DeYoung shares some great thoughts about the New Calvinism.

The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings - Justin Taylor commends an audio version of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and shows where you can get them cheap.

Colossians Paraphrase - Andy Naselli shares a 6-page paraphrase of the books of Colossians written by Murray Harris. He says, “Harris’s expanded paraphrase is worth reading slowly. It’s based on an enormous amount of Greek exegesis.”

What our Lord said about cross-bearing and obedience is not in fine type. It is in bold print on the face of the contract. —Vance Havner

Vance Havner