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A La Carte

November 27, 2013

Here are a few new Kindle deals. Be sure to consider at least the first two! Delighting in the Trinity (an amazing book!) by Michael Reeves ($2.99); Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson ($2.99); Saving Leonardo by Nancy Pearcey ($3.99). Finally, The Gospel at Work by Greg Gilbert & Sebastian Traeger is on pre-order for $4.99.

The World’s Most Expensive Book - The story is a day old, and the book sold for $14 million, so the Bay Psalm Book is now the second most expensive book in the world. It is the first English language book ever printed in North America.

The Book of Tebow - This is a long and interesting story on Tim Tebow (remember him?).

Here are a few holiday themed articles: Russell Moore on How to Deal with Holiday Family Tensions; Elisha Galotti on Five Ways to Make the Holidays More Peaceful; National Geographic on Storm Warnings (how do we know when it’s safe for planes to fly?); Desiring God on Five Truths About Thanksgiving. Finally, here’s a Misery Map of how many of today’s flights are running late!

The Future of Family - “As more people move into cities, natural resources decline, climate change heats up, and the “sharing economy” continues to pick up steam, our notions of family will continue to shift. Dragon Rouge, a design and innovation firm in London, has come up with a vision of what family will look like in 2030—and how brands can respond to these future changes.”

Sock Puppets and Other Godly Provisions - I think we all know this experience: “There are times, actually many times, when I do not feel capable of doing what I’m called to do. I look at the day’s schedule of counseling and other commitments and say, ‘No, God, I can’t.’ But as soon as I’ve brought him into the conversation, something changes. ”

It is not the strength of your faith but the object of your faith that actually saves you. —Tim Keller


November 26, 2013

Here is a list of notable Kindle deals: Sex and Money by Paul Tripp ($6.99); Name Above All Names by Alistair Begg & Sinclair Ferguson ($3.99); Everyday Church by Tim Chester & Steve Timmis ($2.99); Glimpses of Grace by Gloria Furman ($2.99); Not a Chance by R.C. Sproul ($3.99); Embracing Obscurity by Anonymous ($0.99); The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken ($0.99); Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart by J.D. Greear ($0.99); Creature of the Word by Matt Chandler ($2.99); Gospel by J.D. Greear ($3.99); Simple Church by Thom Rainer ($2.99). Also, Malcolm Gladwell’s books are on sale at $3.99 each. He’s not a Christian author, but the books are fun and fascinating: The Tipping Point, BlinkOutliers and What the Dog Saw.

Is God an Egotistical Maniac? - “There is a popular notion among Evangelicals that I think has become part of our folklore. Indeed, it is the shibboleth (secret pass code) of my fellow Calvinists. When I call this ‘folklore’ I don’t necessarily mean ‘not true’ (as we will see), I simply mean that it is uncritically accepted without much thought. Many would say that God’s sole purpose, intent, and motivation for creating humanity and all of creation was for His own self-glorification.”

Singing Together - Mark Altrogge: “Why is it so important that we sing together on Sundays? Why can’t I just go out in the woods and sing or just light up a fire in my fireplace and sing to God by myself in the cozy comfort of my den?”

11 Minutes, 100 Commercials - Here’s something to think about when you sit down to watch the football game: “An average professional football game lasts 3 hours and 12 minutes, but if you tally up the time when the ball is actually in play, the action amounts to a mere 11 minutes.” 

Praying for the Seminaries - Justin Taylor provides some ways we can all be praying for seminaries.

Know Your Christanese - Joe Carter introduces some Christanese related to prayer.

As the first step heavenward is humility, the first step hellward is pride. —John Mason


November 25, 2013

First off, there will be a lot of Black Friday deals this week (see Amazon, as an example of week-long deals) and I’ll try to keep an eye out for good ones you may like. I know some publishers will be getting into the mix. For now, you may want to get Praying Backwards by Bryan Chapell (which is now down to $1.99) or the classic God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew ($2.99). Also, one of Richard Belcher’s theological novels has just come to Kindle: A Journey in Grace ($2.99).

Visual Theology - If you’ve ever thought of buying one of my Visual Theology posters, well, this is the time. If you use coupon BUSTER50 you’ll get 50% off your order.

Sex and the Church - “For too long the church has allowed culture to own the discussion of sex. God created sex and declared it good. When we distort sex, God can redeem our guilt (if we have sinned) or our shame (if we have been abused).” Brad Hambrick has a selection of excellent resources.

The Trouble with Self-Deprecation - I quite agree! “Self-deprecation is intensely self-centered, just the opposite of what it appears.”

The Blank Check - I appreciate this article from Staci Eastin who writes about giving God a blank check with our lives. It’s a biblical concept. But then “we push the blank check across the counter to God, only to be miffed if he writes ‘nursery duty’ in the line.”

Hold Your Tongue - Here are ten times it may be wise to hold your tongue.

The Rise and Fall of Daily Deal Sites - I really enjoyed this article on the rise and fall of Groupon and its many imitators. “It spawned thousands of competitors looking to cash in on the daily deals craze. Investors salivated at the prospect of a company that some bankers thought would be worth more than $30 billion.”

For a Christian, our fears about the future are rooted in those places where our will differs from God’s will. —Mark Dever


November 23, 2013

Here are a couple of notable Kindle deals: The Complete Words of E.M. Bounds on Prayer ($2.99); Praying Backwards by Bryan Chapell ($3.99); Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy by various contributors (Preorder) ($3.99).

The Hunger Games - Christianity Today has a long review of the new Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire. It’s probably worth reading since that seems like it’s the movie event of the year (or of the holiday season, at least).

Commerical Pilots and Manual Flying - My inner geek, the part that loves flying just a little bit more than I hate it, quite enjoyed this article on whether it’s true that the automation of aircraft makes us less safe.

Is It Actually Hard To Be a Pastor? - I give this a retweet, a plus one and a thumbs up. “As a pastor who often hears other ministers teach and preach, I am disturbed by the number of times pastors allude to their jobs as being particularly difficult. Yes, we face many challenges—ministry may involve times of high emotional and spiritual duress—but I don’t think these difficulties merit special recognition with regard to other vocations.”

The Story of Marion Stokes - This is amazing: “In a storage unit somewhere in Philadelphia, 140,000 VHS tapes sit packed into four shipping containers. Most are hand-labeled with a date between 1977 and 2012, and if you pop one into a VCR you might see scenes from the Iranian Hostage Crisis, the Reagan Administration, or Hurricane Katrina. It’s 35 years of history through the lens of TV news, captured on a dwindling format.”

Being in the Word Every Day - Here’s a solid answer to that usual question: “I struggle with being in the Word every single day. Is there any direction you can offer me to help? I’m open for all suggestions.”

Busiest People in the World - Here are 5 productivity tips from some of the busiest people in the world.

If an unholy man were to get to heaven he would feel like a hog in a flower garden. —Rowland Hill

Rowland Hill

November 22, 2013

A Plea to Prospective University Students - Parents and students need to read this one! “Why is it that year after year, professing Christians students (and their parents) plan their intellectual, academic, professional or social development (or invest in the development of their offspring), and only subsequently ask whether or not their souls will receive faithful and loving care in the only environment on earth that Christ has ordained as the normal means for the lasting health of his people?”

Did Jesus Become a Sinner on the Cross? - Nathan Busenitz looks at Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 5:21: ”He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Top 5 Reasons Your Church Could Land In Court - A review of 12,000 court rulings from 2012 reveals the most-common reasons that American churches were taken to court last year.

Christians In an Age of Wealth - “In this book, Craig Blomberg addresses the tough questions about the place and purpose of wealth and material possessions in a Christian’s life. He points to the goodness of wealth, as God originally designed it, but also surveys the Bible’s many warnings against making an idol out of money.” It is on preorder now at just $3.99 (Kindle edition). Also, Bryan Chapell’s Praying Backwards is on sale at $3.99.

Who Was C.S. Lewis? - C.S. Lewis died 50 years ago today. Sinclair Ferguson writes about his life and legacy.

Prayer Meetings … Sort of - If you are aware of the trellis and vine paradigm, you may benefit from reading this short article on how to merge vine work with trellis work. If you’re not familiar with the paradigm, do yourself a favor and buy the book!

CCC Conference - One final shout-out for the “Marriage, Sex, and Cultural Counterfeits” conference that Denny Burk and I will be speaking at next weekend in Ancaster, Ontario.

It is the mark of a hypocrite to be a Christian everywhere except at home. —Robert Murray M’Cheyne


November 21, 2013

Zondervan has the Kindle editions of many of their multi-view books on sale at just $2.99: Four Views on the Apostle Paul; Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism; Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament; Five Views on Apologetics; Four Views on Moving Beyond the Bible to Theology; Two Views on Women in Ministry; Three Views on Creation and Evolution; Five Views on Law and Gospel. You can also preorder the newest in the series: Four Views on the Historical Adam ($4.99). And a couple of other deals: The Sermon on the Mount by Tremper Longman ($4.99) (from the new The Story of God Bible Commentary series); Live Like A Narnian by Joe Rigney ($2.99); Worship by the Book by D.A. Carson ($2.99)

Ananias & Sapphira - J.D. Greear: “The story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 lets us know that despite the explosion of growth in the early church, they had moments of weakness, even gross sin. I believe that their deaths serve as a warning to the Church today, and that God has a lot to teach us—if we are willing to hear…”

When Your World Caves In - Paul Levy writes about spending time with “two friends who were in ministry but have fallen morally and so now find themselves out of a job that they loved, separated from their families and, in all honesty, struggling.” Some of the lessons are very good (though I disagree that accountability doesn’t work).

From Vile to Victorious Bodies - “This poignant series of photos by Tom Hussey reflect how much we change over the course of our lives. They illustrate so many Scriptures that speak of the rapid passing of time and the vanity of life.”

The Lost Marines of Tarawa - “We had been on the island for about an hour when we found the first skeleton. It was a pile of yellow bones tucked inside a cardboard box. Mark Noah squatted down for a look. He is a stocky man of 48, with a light buzz of blond hair and the wind-beaten eyes of a lifelong outdoorsman. Since 2008, he has been traveling to the tiny Pacific atoll of Tarawa to search for the remains of more than 500 Marines who died there in World War II. Sometimes locals dig up their bones and leave them in his storage locker.”

From Laziness to Diligence - This article from Biblical Counseling Coalition accurately diagnoses laziness. It’s a little weaker on prescribing diligence, but still worth reading.

Your Brain on Crack Cocaine - Thanks to Toronto’s mayor, crack cocaine has been in the news. Here’s a video that explains what it does to you. (FYI, I should point out that I am not a resident of Toronto, so he is not my mayor!)

The most extraordinary things about the biblical prerequisites for elders is that they are not all that extraordinary. —D.A. Carson


November 20, 2013

Here are just a couple of notable Kindle deals: The Unquenchable Flame by Michael Reeves ($4.99) is a nice little summary of the Reformation; The Church: The Gospel Made Visible is Mark Dever doing what he does so well ($4.99). I don’t know a lot about Jesus and the Gospels by Craig Blomberg ($4.99).

A Prayer for Battling Sin - Here is a prayer based on John Owen’s work “that should help us mortify our sin and live in joyful obedience to Christ…”

All These Pentecostals and Charismatics - “Where in the world did all these Pentecostals and charismatics come from? In the explosive growth and geographical extension of Pentecostal and charismatic groups, we are witnessing one of the most if not the most stunning episodes of Christian expansion ever. In the not-too-distant future Pentecostals will likely make up the majority of Christians worldwide.”

A NY Great Awakening? - I don’t know that it’s quite right to compare it with the Great Awakening, but it is still interesting to read about the changing spiritual climate in NYC.

Church Planting in Quebec - “Marc Pilon is a church planter serving in the very difficult context of Quebec. God is doing some amazing work there, and we think you will appreciate Marc’s story of how God has worked through a multi-generational heritage of sacrifice and persecution to advance the gospel in Quebec.” I am excited about this since my family’s roots are in Quebec (Both my parents were born there!).

Monk Mode - There’s probably a better term for it than monk mode, but in a world of constant distraction, this sounds like just the thing.

National Geographic Photo Contest - There are some spectacular photos in this gallery. God has made us a beautiful world to live in!

This one word “grace” contains within itself the whole of New Testament theology. —J.I. Packer

JI Packer

November 19, 2013

Crossway has some great academic titles on sale for Kindle: God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment by Jim Hamilton ($6.99); Recovering Classic Evangelicalism by Gregory Alan Thornbury ($4.99); Why We Belong ($9.99); Can You Believe It’s True? by John Feinburg ($9.99). How People Change by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp is free. Gospel Commission by Michael Horton ($3.99). Finally, Westminster Books has some great deals right now on [print] versions of books for children.

5 Things To Do Before Leaving Your Church - Thabiti offers helpful tips on how to leave a church well. “Leaving a local congregation should be one of the most difficult decision we face. It should be filled with the recollection of our love for the saints, their love for us, our service together in the name of our Lord, and our sorrows and joys in the faith. A church is family and we ought never feel it easy to leave family–even an unhealthy family.”

5 Things Mistaken for Evangelism - Mark Dever is concerned about a number of things that people take to be evangelism that aren’t. Here are 5 of them.

A Garden for Children - Kim Shay looks to old poems to find what kids used to love to do. “The poems highlight the wonderful, everyday things of childhood, like playing make-believe, observing nature, games, and even going to bed at night. They reveal the wonder that often fills the mind of children as they look around their world.”

Lessons From 35 Years - Tom Ascol shares thirty-five lessons drawn from thirty-five years of ministry.

She Took and Ate - You’ll enjoy this message from Alex Motyer. “Alec Motyer speaks of the mighty truths that are conveyed in the form of a story – of a Garden, the Forbidden Fruit and the Fateful Choice. But he goes on to show from the Scriptures how the words of loss have become words of gain!”

Trying to figure out God is like trying to catch a fish in the Pacific Ocean with an inch of dental floss. —Matt Chandler


November 18, 2013

The Schedule Makers - “Major league baseball’s schedule affects the lives of millions of Americans. For 25 years, the masterminds behind the massive undertaking were The Stephensons. A husband and wife duo working with a computer, a pencil and a great deal of cooperation.”

You Can’t Catch Sin - “Sometimes, in our zeal to maintain our own purity and holiness, we conscientiously avoid spending time with people engaged in sexual immorality.” Matt Chandler tells us to do better.

A Christian Mind - J.P. Moreland: “’I want to develop a Christian mind, but I don’t know how.’ This attitude is both common and understandable. That we are to develop our minds as Christians is not in doubt. We are admonished to love God with our mind (Mt 22:37), be transformed by its renewal (Rm 12:2), and be prepared to give thoughtful answers to questions about the faith (1 Pt 3:15).”

What To Look For In a Church - R.W. Glenn offers some counsel on what to look for in a church.

Broken Vows, Broken World - “For months following my divorce, it felt like I was wearing a scarlet “D” on my chest in church. I imagine it’s somewhat like walking into a prosperity-gospel church with holes in my clothes and a case of the measles. I can’t be counted among the faithful if their theology dictates that faithful living means surviving unscathed.”

Farm Pop - Are you a black sheep who is not worth a hill of beans? Does it get your goat that I even ask? Here are the orgins of the idioms we use that relate to farming.

The really wonderful moments of joy in this world are not moments of self-satisfaction but self-forgetfulness. —John Piper


November 16, 2013

The Economics of Infomercials - “Nothing good is on TV between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., and for good reason. Nobody’s trying.” So what about all of those informercials that clog the air in those times?

Noah - Here is the trailer for the Noah movie that will be released next year. I don’t remember all of that from the biblical story. However, it’s probably still more Bible-based than Heaven Is For Real which is also coming our way next year.

Effective Personal Evangelism - Jeremy Walker has completed his series of articles on effective personal evangelism. He gives us a lot to think about!

Far Too Easily Displeased - Jon Bloom admits he is a grumbler by nature and reflects on what it is that makes us grumble.

Craig Keener on Strange Fire - Craig Keener has a long review of John MacArthur’s Strange Fire; he highlights both plusses and minuses. Sadly, the site it is on decided to paginate it over 24(!) pages, each of just a couple of paragraphs. Bad form!

Duty makes us do things well, but love makes us do them beautifully. —Phillips Brooks