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A La Carte

July 12, 2016

As you read this, I should just be touching down in London as I make my way to Oxford. I will be there for a week to participate in a writing workshop led by Douglas Bond. I have never done anything like this before and am very excited for the opportunity to engage in some “professional development.” I hope to update you once or twice to let you know what I’m up to. In the meantime, here are some links for today.

But first, today is Prime Day at Amazon. I’ve been over the Atlantic all night so haven’t been able to check out the deals, but I’m hoping they have deals on print and Kindle books. Take a look and see. I’m sure they’ll at least have deals on Kindle devices.

Three Questions for Bible Journaling

“The Bible was full of notes, dates, testimonies of answered prayer, prayers for family members and church members, and other items that revealed her deep love for Christ. After seeing her Bible, I was reminded of the value of journaling all of the ways God reveals himself through his word.”

8 Ways Churches Can Capitalize on Pokemon Go

It looks like Pokemon Go will be one of the themes of the summer. And, surprisingly, it is bringing many people to churches. Here’s one person’s take on how to capitalize. (For context see this news article.)

I’m Never Bored, and I Think It Might Be Killing Me

I am convinced that our brains need a certain amount of boredom.

10 Things You should Know about Race and Racism

Sam Storms offers another of his “10 things” articles, this one on race and racism.

This Day in 1536. 480 years ago today, Desiderius Erasmus, first editor of the Greek New Testament died in Basel. His work was the foundation for many of the translations that changed the world. *

Null Island

Here’s an interesting little video on “Null Island.”

Hole-Boring, Fuse-Lighting Prayer

“Here’s a wonderful analogy for prayer from Norwegian author Ole Hallesby, quoted in Tim Keller’s Prayer…”

Flashback: 3 Errors of Musical Style that Stifle Community

It is ironic that music, an element meant to draw Christians together in mutual love and service (see Colossians 3:16) has become a force for significant division within the church.


The Christian leads by example, not force, and is to be a model who invites a following, not a boss who compels one. —John Stott

July 11, 2016


The Playschool Tragedy for Twentysomethings

This is true for so many people: “The twenties have become this new kind of ‘paradise’ in between childhood and real adulthood, when you can party hard, experiment with new things, and spend lots of money without feeling the consequences.”

17 Benefits to Reading the Entire Bible

17 seems like a lot, but I bet we could come up with many more!

You Are Smart Enough to Study the Bible

This article seems an appropriate follow-up to the previous one. “Few people use those words, but this captures the general sentiment. Many people feel inadequate or intimidated by the task of studying the Bible, so they never attempt it.”

Speaking Like a Christian

The last few days have offered many opportunities for all of us to speak like Christians (or not to speak like Christians).

This Day in 1979. 37 years ago today, David Platt was born. Happy birthday David!

Why Single Is Not the Same as Lonely

Sam Allberry: “It has become an unquestioned assumption today: Singleness (at least godly singleness) and intimacy are alternatives. A choice to be celibate is a choice to be alone. No wonder for so many this seems too much to bear. Can we really expect someone to live without romantic hope? It sounds so unfair.”

6 Reasons Why You Should Pray

David Qaoud looks to John Calvin to find 6 reasons you ought to pray.

Daily Quote Graphics

I’ve been looking for an appropriate place to store the daily quote graphics you find in A La Carte. I think Flickr is a good solution. So here’s the complete solution (at least for the ones available in high-resolution).

Flashback: 12 Ways To Preserve Christian Unity

“Satan hates God and therefore he hates God’s people, the church. His great plan for the church is to cause Christians—true believers who ought to be together in the gospel—to find ways of disagreeing among themselves, to divide, to be bitter and jealous, and ultimately to ‘bite and devour one another’ (Gal. 5:15). Here are twelve ways that you can repulse Satan’s attacks.”


Do not give fair names to foul sins. Call them what you will, they will smell no sweeter.C.H.Spurgeon

July 09, 2016

Like so many others, I have been deeply troubled and moved by the recent tragedies in America. Here are a few articles I’ve found especially helpful in understanding and processing it: What’s Going On? by Tony Carter; Weep, Love, and Pray by David Murray; The Recent Shootings and What to Say This Sunday by Brian Davis. Also, WORLD writes about just one of the officers who was slain.

Passion for God’s Word Changes the World

What a sweet story. May it stir up our passion for the Word!

Bill Nye Visits Ark Encounter

I enjoyed reading about Bill Nye’s visit to the new Ark Encounter.

What Was Behind Mary Todd Lincoln’s Bizarre Behavior?

Has science given context to Mary Todd Lincoln’s bizarre behavior as she grew older? Perhaps so.

The Frustration of Slowing Down

It is difficult but so important to slow down.

Why No Aquarium Has a Great White Shark

Have you ever wondered why no aquarium has what would probably be its number one attraction? This video explains.

July 10, 1509. 507 years ago tomorrow, French Protestant reformer John Calvin was born in Nyon, France. *

The Origin of Calvinism

Fittingly, since tomorrow is John Calvin’s birthday, John Piper writes about the origin of Calvinism.

Flashback: Envy Always Wins

“I am a competitive person and I believe it is this competitive streak that allows envy to make its presence felt in my life. Envy is a sin that makes me feel resentment or anger or sadness because another person has something or another person is something that I want for myself.”

Know your Story, Embrace your Journey

My thanks goes to Christian History Institute for sponsoring the blog this week with “Know your Story, Embrace your Journey.”


Followers of Jesus who count the cost and are willing to take up their crosses after him must have broad shoulders. —Os Guinness

July 08, 2016


How to Pray in Our Time of National Crisis

Joe Carter reflects on the series of inexplicable killings that have happened this week in America. (Also, this from RAAN.)

Christian Audio

Christian Audio invited me to put together a bundle of books. If you sign up for a 30-day trial membership (and yes, it’s actually free) you will receive all 4. Or you can purchase them for $4.98 each.

How a Busy Mom Can Stay Consistent in the Word

“It is hard for busy moms to find time to get into the Word. Kids don’t necessarily understand that you need a quiet time. Here are some steps you can take to stay consistent in the Word…”

Making the Most of Your Bible Reading

On a similar note, here are 8 ways to make the most of your Bible reading.

Prophet, Priest, King

There is a new issue of Credo magazine for you to enjoy. It’s free to download or read online.

The Story of P&R

I enjoyed reading this brief history of P&R, a publisher that has been a blessing to the church since 1930.

This Day in 1741. 275 years ago today, Colonial Congregational minister Jonathan Edwards preached his classic sermon at Enfield, Connecticut: “You are thus in the hands of an angry God; ‘tis nothing but his mere pleasure that keeps you from being this moment swallowed up in everlasting destruction” *
Trouble in Bakersfield

Carl Trueman: “A popular, longstanding, and effective member of a schoolboard has had to stand down—not because he does not enjoy the confidence of the community, but simply because he does not accept the latest demands that every knee must bow to whatever the political taste of the moment has decided is non-negotiable.”

Flashback: Growing Up in a World Like This

Here’s an interview I did with Dr Chris Richards who wrote some excellent books on having “the talk” with your children.


The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay on the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to him, is not to believe that he loves you. —John Owen

July 07, 2016


6 Reasons Why Porn Is Not Harmless

As long as people keep looking at porn, I’ll keep posting links to articles like this. “In reality, pornography is deeply involved in the exploitation of women and children and is destructive to its consumers. Here are six reasons why porn is much more than an individual decision—it is part of a system that preys on women and children; and its viewers are participating in, contributing to, and being shaped by that destructive, enslaving system.”

Every Christian Ought to Know the Traditional Creeds

Michael Byrd offers 4 reasons that every Christian ought to know the traditional creeds. Stay grounded in the history of the church!

The Silent Marriage-Killer

Heather Davis Nelson: “Most Christian couples would not list shame as one of the top struggles in their marriage. However, in almost a decade of counseling, I’ve seen very few marriages that aren’t hampered by shame on some level. It’s just not often the first thing that’s identified, but it underlies so many other common struggles, especially communication and sex.”

Preachers and Prepackaged Sermons

We probably all know it’s a bad idea for a pastor to use prepackaged sermons. But this article explains why it’s a bad idea.

Humble Beast

Did you know that Humble Beast records gives away their music for free? They’ve got some really good albums (if you’re into that kind of music). I’d check out Jackie Hill Perry and Beautiful Eulogy (both of which are rap).

This Day in 1878. 138 years ago today, Francis J. Grimké was ordained as a Presbyterian minister. He would spend over fifty years in the pulpit, most of it at Washington’s 15th Street Presbyterian Church. He was noted as one of the most articulate opponents of racism: “Race prejudice can’t be talked down, it must be lived down.” *

Sanctification and Glorification

You’ll enjoy watching R.C. Sproul (and various unsuspecting helpers) illustrate the difference between sanctification and glorification.

4 Ways to Read Song of Solomon

Iain Duguid, who has just written a new commentary on Song of Solomon, tells about the 4 most common ways to read it.

Flashback: The True Hero

We all know the story, but sometimes we miss the real hero.


There is no plateau in the Christian life. We are either growing closer to Christ’s likeness or we are falling away. —Aimee Byrd

July 06, 2016


21 Thoughts on Preaching

Jared Wilson: “In no particular order, here are some reflections, musings, and bits of advice on the noble task of preaching the Word of God.”

Assisted Suicide: A Quadriplegic’s Perspective

Joni Eareckson Tada: “Culture is so easily influenced by the entertainment industry. This is why I am sounding an alarm about a very dangerous message in a film released this summer. The movie? Me Before You.” 

A Pastor’s Take on Short Term Mission Teams

This all seems very reasonable and consistent with what I’ve heard missionaries tell me.

Thank God for Spiritual Grandfathers

Benjamin Vrbicek tells off a humorous blog post I wrote to make a serious point.

Calvinism and the Christian Life

Ligonier Ministries is marking John Calvin’s upcoming birthday by offering a free download of Calvinism and the Christian Life, a new 6-part teaching series by Ian Hamilton. 

This Day in 1415. 601 years ago today, Jan Hus, Bohemian preacher and forerunner of Protestantism, was burned as a heretic in Constance, Germany. *

It Can Wait

“Patience is a virtue with which we should be familiar. It is a fruit of the Spirit and a character trait we often want others to display toward us. But have Christians so adopted the cultural demand for now that we are no longer seeking to live out the characteristic of a Spirit-filled life?”

The Day Sweden Switched Driving Directions

This is a fun little video that tells about the day Sweden changed from driving on the left to driving on the right.

Flashback: Controversy or Complacency

Here are two errors Christians can fall into: Controversy or complacency.


A profession of faith doesn’t justify anybody. It’s the possession of faith that justifies.R.C. Sproul

July 05, 2016


From Lesbianism to Follower of Christ

David Qaoud interviews Emily Thomes about her story of coming to Christ.

We’re Not Independent

Paul Tripp: “One of the sad results of sin is that it causes all of us, at some time and in some way, to buy into the delusion of independence. Independence is what the serpent sold Adam and Eve, and it’s the false reward that the enemy continues to wave in front of each one of us.”

The Skeptic’s Guide to C.S. Lewis

Dan DeWitt: “Since I teach a class on Lewis I often get the question, ‘What Lewis book(s) should I recommend to my atheist friend?’.  It’s a really good question, particularly since some Christians have described C.S.L. as making it possible for them to be an intellectually fulfilled believer.”

Sweet Comforter

You may enjoy Sweet Comforter, a new album from St. Andrew’s Hymns.

The Sexual Revolution and the Witness of the Church

Al Mohler says, “In the face of the sexual revolution, the Christian church in the West now faces a set of moral challenges that exceeds anything it has experienced in the past. This is a revolution of ideas—one that is transforming the entire moral structure of meaning and life.”

This Day in 1865. 151 years ago today, William Booth founded The Christian Mission to work among London’s poor and unchurched. Later, he changed the mission’s name to the Salvation Army. *

Have I Ever Talked to an Angel Without Knowing It?

George Guthrie: “While the passage does refer to angels, the author wasn’t really interested in believers logging close encounters with heavenly messengers, as a closer look at the context reveals.”

Flashback: 8 Ways Satan Convinces You To Question Your Salvation

Though Satan can never steal the Christian’s crown, though he can never snatch him away from the hand of the Father, he is so envious and malicious that he will leave no stone unturned in robbing the Christian of comfort and peace, in making their life miserable, in giving them reason to live in constant sorrow and mourning, doubt and questioning.


The best kinds of ministry are, more often than not, long term and low key. —Christopher Ash

July 04, 2016


True Worship Displays, Not Distracts

“As a worship pastor, I’ve heard the concern voiced many times: ‘I don’t want to raise my hands in worship because I don’t want to draw attention to myself.’” Here’s a helpful way of thinking it through.

9 Traits of Truly Curious People

Barnabas Piper: “Curiosity pointed in any direction is marked by the same traits. Whether we are investing in a marriage, a co-worker, a project, a sermon, a mission trip, a friendship, or a crisis a truly curious person shares these.”

An Unsung Evangelistic Hero

“There is an unsung hero when it comes to evangelism. Well, an almost unsung hero. It greatly assists the sharing of the gospel, but is not often found in talks, texts or training courses on the topic. What is this unsung hero?” Read to find out…

Don’t Waste Your Vacation

This is important and, at least for me, a temptation when I’m on vacation: “You never take a vacation from your Christianity, so why would our modern concepts of vacation sway us away from attending worship on the Sunday of our vacation?”

This Day in 1533. 483 years ago today, John Frith (Fryth), a Protestant, was burned at the stake in Smithfield by King Henry VIII of England. A Protestant and fellow translator with William Tyndale, he had been accused of heresy. *

Is the Declaration of Independence a ‘Christian’ Document?

Joe Carter provides an answer.

Freedom From the Tyranny of Hyper-Spirituality

Hyper-spirituality is one of the worst forms of tyranny.

Flashback: 4 Tips For Dealing With Procrastination

“There was a time in my life where I was awfully good at procrastination. Or awfully bad, depending on your perspective. I still can be if I don’t watch it. But along the way I learned how to (mostly) beat it (most of the time). Today I am going to offer you 2 big-picture tips and follow them with 2 very practical ones.”


You cannot be a perfect mom, but you can be a prayerful mom. —Melissa Kruger