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A La Carte

April 05, 2014

Do We Want Christ? Or To Be Wonderful Christians? - I appreciate what Elisha asks in this article: “Do I want to be a wonderful Christian, or do I want Christ? Does my soul long to be a better Christian or does my soul long for the living God? Do I simply want to grow in Christlike character or do I want deeper intimacy with the Person of Christ.”

Board Games - Once a year or so Amazon puts a lot of board games on sale. Today’s the day! Ticket to Ride, 7 Wonders, Dominion, Axis and Allies, Forbidden Island, etc, are all heavily discounted.

The New Calvinism - PBS did a feature on the New Calvinism, focusing on the SBC. It’s not like they discovered anything we didn’t already know, but it’s still interesting enough, I guess.

Young, Restless, Reformed - While we’re on the subject of the New Calvinism, Collin Hansen’s book Young, Restless, Reformed is on sale for Kindle ($3.99).

The British Isles in Accents - This is pretty neat: A tour of the British Isles through its accents.

Distracted from Shepherding a Child’s Heart - There is food for thought in this article, though I’m not convinced the problem is quite as bad as he makes it out to be.

The NSA Spying Machine - Here’s an interactive graphic meant to show what we know that NSA is able to do.

Reporting Abuse - Here’s an important article on pastoral wisdom and the mandate to report abuse.

Do you know who you need to be saved from? You need to be saved from God. —Voddie Baucham


April 04, 2014

There are a couple of new Kindle deals for you: Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor is one of my favorite books from D.A. Carson ($3.99); The Most Misused Verses in the Bible by Eric J. Bargerhuff is well worth the reading as well (free!). You’ll have to get it from the IVP site, but John Stott’s commentary on 2 Timothy is free. And here are a few deals from earlier in the week: United by Trillia Newbell ($2.99); Anxious for Nothing by John MacArthur ($0.99); Alone with God by John MacArthur ($0.99); Rid of My Disgrace by Justin & Lindsey Holcomb ($1.99); Women’s Ministry in the Local Church by Ligon Duncan & Susan Hunt ($3.99); The Scriptures Testify About Me edited by D.A. Carson ($2.99); 12 Challenges Churches Face by Mark Dever ($1.99).

God’s Pursuit of a Bank Robber - Shon Hopwood: “It didn’t take a moment of genius introspection to realize that doing life my way had led to nothing but disaster and destruction. It was the summer of 2009, and I had just completed an almost 11-year sentence in federal prison for my role in five bank robberies I had committed as a foolish young man.”

World Vision’s Flawed Vision - Jesse Johnson says “last weeks gay-marriage flop-flip with World Vision did not come out of left field. But this was a schism that was a long time coming, and illustrates a profound danger inherent in mercy ministries that are not built upon a theological foundation.”

6 Lessons in Good Listening - “Listening is one of the easiest things you’ll ever do, and one of the hardest.” Yup. Here are some good tips on doing it better.

Till Conscious Uncoupling do us Part - Mary Kassian takes on the new term “conscious uncoupling” which is Newspeak for “divorce.”

Logos March Madness - Logos users will want to check out their March Madness sale where you can get 75% off books by D.A. Carson. There are lots of other good deals. All readers will want to consider Kevin DeYoung’s new book Taking God at His Word which is on sale at Westminster Books.

Noah: A No Holds Barred Review - If you want to know what the Noah movie is really all about, here’s a long, no holds barred review.

If you will bear the cross, it will bear you. —Robert Murray M’Cheyne


April 03, 2014

When Scripture Is the Controversy - “If we learned anything from last week, maybe it’s that the real controversy among evangelicals in the coming days will be about the Bible, not homosexuality.” Exactly so.

Where Everyone in the World is Migrating - This fascinating and beautiful chart shows the mass migration of people today.

Good Friday in Toronto - If you live in or near Toronto, you may want to consider coming to the Toronto Gospel Alliance Good Friday service at U of T. 

Late Night @ T4G - And if you’re planning to be at Together for the Gospel next week, why don’t you consider this late-night event with 20Schemes. 

The Tongues of Angels - Nathan Busenitz continues to write about the gift of tongues and to offer a cessationist perspective. I’ve found the series both helpful and clarifying.

Extra Special Revelation - In this podcast Carl Trueman and the rest of his Mortification of Spin crew have a discussion about Sarah Young’s mega-selling, mega-problematic Jesus Calling.

Do Your Duty - Gene Veith: “Duty is one of those words that used to carry great weight but really doesn’t anymore. It is still an important concept in military circles, but elsewhere doing something because it’s your duty has acquired a negative connotation. ‘You just say you love me because you think it’s your duty.’ ‘They just go to church out of a sense of duty.’”

Village Hub - This is a fascinating video. “An easy to copy but patented sugar palm factory Smits has developed, demonstrates how community capacity-building and community empowerment can promote economic development while conserving the natural environment.”

God gives the grace of forgiveness in order to receive the glory of worship. —Rhett Dodson


April 02, 2014

Here are some new Kindle deals: Rid of My Disgrace by Justin & Lindsey Holcomb ($1.99); Women’s Ministry in the Local Church by Ligon Duncan & Susan Hunt ($3.99); The Scriptures Testify About Me edited by D.A. Carson ($2.99); 12 Challenges Churches Face by Mark Dever ($1.99); Counseling the Hard Cases by Stuart Scott & Heath Lambert ($7.99). New from GLH Publishing is Jeremiah Burrough’s A Treatise on Earthly-Mindedness ($0.99).

Looking for a Mentor? - Yes! “We hope that a mentor will share their life with us, speak truth, lead us to pray and worship, share with us a greater knowledge of Scripture and offer insight into living a godly life. I believe that a great book can do some of these things. Your shelves can be overflowing with mentors.”

Sympathy for the Devil - Now this is a flat-out fascinating review of Noah.

The Truth of the Cross - Ligonier Ministries is giving away the audiobook of R.C. Sproul’s The Truth of the Cross. You know what to do…

Aiding and Abetting Apathy - Erik Raymond wants you to think through your response when someone tells you this: “I need to get back in the Word.” or “My prayer life has been kinda dry lately.”

Your Dad Is Messed Up - Here’s a dad writing a letter to his unborn son…

Platt Wasn’t Enough - I enjoyed this one: “I pastor a fantastic church. My congregants are passionate about the gospel of Jesus Christ, robust biblical preaching, and family-inclusive discipleship. But there’s also something a bit unique about my church.  Before I became their lead pastor in August of 2013, their previous preacher was Dr. David Platt!”

The Oldest Tricks in the Book on Motherhood - This cracked me up—especially #1 and #20.

People fall in private, long before they fall in public. —J.C. Ryle


April 01, 2014

Here are some new Kindle deals: United by Trillia Newbell ($2.99); Women’s Ministry in the Local Church by Ligon Duncan & Susan Hunt ($3.99); Counseling the Hard Cases by Stuart Scott & Heath Lambert ($7.99); Too Good to Be True by Michael Horton ($4.99); Adoniram Judson by Jason Duesing ($0.99); The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones ($3.99); Anxious for Nothing by John MacArthur ($0.99); Alone with God by John MacArthur ($0.99). Because it’s a new month, Amazon has a whole new list of general market books at $3.99 or less.

Ministering to the Sexually Broken - This month’s interview in Tabletalk magazine is with John Freeman of Harvest USA and deals with ministering to the sexually broken.

How Autism Can Land You a Job - WSJ reports that some employers increasingly are viewing autism as an asset and not a deficiency in the workplace.

Cruciform’s Easter Sale - Cruciform Press has two short, inspiring books that can help you meditate on the glorious salvation secured by our resurrected Savior. Use them for pre-Easter reading or to give to others for outreach. You may also be interested in Redeeming Church Conflict by Tara Barthel & Dan Edling which is just $6.98 at Amazon.

The Love Life of John Knox - “It isn’t often that someone in the rough and tumble of ministry in Reformation Scotland would even think of finding a  wife. But our Presbyterian founder, John Knox himself, found in God’s providence, two wives who were willing to take his life as their own.”

Cutting to the Heart of Self-Injury - I find cutting and other forms of self-injury one of the most perplexing practices. This article deals with it well.

Sleep Your Way to Success - As a chronic insomniac, this one hurts a bit. But David’s right: “it’s not just sleep your way to success, but sleep your way to health, strength, and happiness.”

He whose head is in heaven need not fear to put his feet into the grave. —Matthew Henry


March 31, 2014

Here are some new Kindle deals: The Book on Leadership by John MacArthur ($2.99); Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper ($5.99); The End of Reason by Ravi Zacharias ($4.99).

Yes, You Are Under Surveillance - This is worth pondering: “At first, the information age promised to empower individuals with access to previously hidden information. We could comparison shop across the world for the best price, for the best bit of knowledge, for people who shared our views. But now the balance of power is shifting…”

The Midrashiest Midrash - Denny Burk provides a spoiler-free review of Noah. Ken Ham provided a review for TIME.

Arranging a Deck of Cards - How many ways can you arrange a deck of cards? Probably a few more than you’d expect.

Things Unseen - Here’s a moving article about the loss of a little one.

How Do You Prepare for Sunday? - It’s a good question to ask. “How do you prepare to gather with your church family? Is your preparation limited to the frenetic collecting of your children, snacks, and diapers? Do you spend your time trying to convince yourself that going is better than sleeping in? Or maybe you don’t even think to prepare, because it’s just another routine that you’ve developed?”

What About Life Insurance? - Randy Alcorn thinks through life insurance from a biblical perpsective. 

God is not wanting you to make sacrifices. He wants you to be a sacrifice. —Derek Thomas 

Derek Thomas

March 29, 2014

Is Church Membership Really Required? - “With such benefits, you’d think church membership would be held in infinitely high esteem. But for many reasons, Christians seem to think less of it than ever before. If you’re one who looks upon church membership lightly, then I invite you to reconsider.”

National Geographic Traveler Contest - National Geographic has begun their annual Traveler Photo Contest. Some of the early entries are nothing short of spectacular.

Do Christians Hate Gay People? - Denny Burk shares an unpublished excerpt from Salvo magazine’s recent interview with Robert George of Princeton University.

6 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told My Church - Byron Yawn reflects on an installation service. “If I could go back over a decade ago, here are six things I wish someone would have said to my congregation.”

7 Tips for a Happy Christian Marriage - Here are 7 marriage tips from a Christian couple who has been married for 67 years.

Questions & Answers from Ligonier - Here is a round-up of questions and answers from the speakers at the recent Ligonier Ministries National Conference.

Satan knows that if he can get us to laugh at things we believe we would never do, our defenses will fall. —Kent Hughes


March 28, 2014

A handful of new Kindle deals: The Justification of God by John Piper ($4.99); Preaching and Teaching from the Old Testament by Walter Kaiser ($3.99); Reading for Preaching by Cornelius Plantiga ($3.99).

5 Hard Things to Pray for Your Husband - Jen Thorn provides five hard things a wife should be praying for her husband.

History Lives - The History Lives series is a collection of 5 church history books written for kids (pre-teen or early teens). We’ve used them at home and at church and have benefitted a great deal. For a week they are 50% off at Westminster Books. Get a set for your family and a set for your church library!

8 Causes of Spiritual Depression - Here are 8 possible causes of spiritual depression. “It is good for us to search our hearts in times like this. We must ask the Lord to give us wisdom in identifying the cause—even as we continue to seek Him. These are eight of the most common causes…”

Why Is This Issue So Different? - Kevin DeYoung offers a candid answer to a candid question: Could someone please give a short, simple explanation as to why the issue of homosexuality is not like Christians differing on baptism or the millennium? (On a related note, you may enjoy In Praise of Evangelical Identity by Andrew Walker.)

To the Girls Who Didn’t Say No - Here’s a helpful blog post for all the girls who didn’t say no.

Phelps, Dricoll, Gothard - I appreciate what R.C. Sproul Jr. does and doesn’t say about Phelps, Driscoll and Gothard.

Did Christ finish His work for us? Then there can be no doubt but He will also finish His work in us. —John Flavel


March 27, 2014

A handful of new Kindle deals: Get Outta My Face by Rick Horne ($1.99); Rose Guide to the Temple by Randall Price ($3.99, discounted from $29.99); Romans study guide by Jared Wilson ($5.38).

Salvation in a Dementia Ward - Read this one! “The next moments stunned me. Despite past experiences of being near and ministering to people high on drugs, involved in the occult, or living in mental asylums, never had I witnessed anything like this. Without hyperbole, I can only describe it as demonic.”

World Vision Reverses Their Decision - “Today, the World Vision U.S. board publicly reversed its recent decision to change our employment conduct policy. The board acknowledged they made a mistake and chose to revert to our longstanding conduct policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.”

How to Memorize Books of the Bible - Here’s a little bit about the how and why of memorizing long passages of Scripture.

Have You Ever Had a Pastoral Visit? - Michael Horton asks, “Have you ever had a pastoral visit?  What about a visit from your elders?” This used to be considered a key component of a pastor’s calling.

Noah - Greg Thornbury was invited to watch the new movie Noah. “Our small group spent a considerable amount of time both before and after film hearing from Aronofsky himself and co-writer Ari Handel. Both were interested in listening to and responding to our theological and critical reactions. My immediate response was that this was a film with profound moral and theological imagination. My thoughts below are my conclusions after several weeks of reflection.”

Division Begins with Departure - Jared Wilson says, “Christians who affirm the normative, traditional, historical, orthodox view of the Bible’s teaching on various sins are always accused of being divisive when in sticking to their affirmations they must disassociate with those who don’t.”

If the cross is not foolishness to the lost world then we have misrepresented the cross. —Steven Lawson


March 26, 2014

I can see just a couple of interesting new Kindle deals today: Faith and Learning by David Dockery is usually $39.99 but is now just $0.99; Heretics by G.K. Chesteron is also $0.99.

Should Christians Keep Supporting World Vision? - I know many Christians are wondering whether they ought to continue supporting World Vision. Matthew Lee Anderson takes on the question and provides a thoughtful answer.

Can Natural Man Do Good? - Derek Thomas looks at this question: “Is it true that the natural man cannot do any good at all? Is this not something of an overstatement? The Westminster Confession of Faith, for example, reflects this point of view when it asserts: From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.”

Ten Things to Do During Suffering - Here’s one to bookmark: “We will all suffer, of that there is no doubt. It is strange, then, that we are often unprepared for it. With that in mind, a useful exercise is to summarize Scripture and identify what words of God can guide us when things are hard.”

In the New Calvinism a Reformation Worth Perpetuating? - I enjoyed reading this response to the New Calvinism infographic I shared a couple of weeks ago.

Emotions: What Does the Bible Teach? - Bob Kellemen is beginning a promising series on emotions.

Books for Those Struggling or Ministering - Westminster Books has a selection of titles on sale that are related to homosexuality. All 3 of their choices are excellent; Love Into Light (down at the bottom) would be an excellent choice as well.

Preaching on unity doesn’t unify a church. Preaching Jesus unifies a church. —Steve Dighton