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A La Carte

November 11, 2013

6 Reasons Not to Abandon Expository Preaching - D.A. Carson: “There are a number of reasons why expository preaching deserves to be our primary method of proclamation.” He goes on to give six of those reasons.

50 Shades of White - Simone Richardson writes about erotic fiction for women. “The kind of erotic romances that feature on the current bestseller lists fall far short of the Bible’s standard… we can expect them to have negative effects on our lives.”

A Mommy’s To-Do List - “We live in a culture that celebrates productivity and efficiency. We like to see results. We like to get things done. We like when we accomplish something big. It makes us feel important. At least it does for me. But here is something I’ve learned in my first year as a mommy. Babies don’t like to-do lists.”

Secret World of Cargo Ships - Maybe it’s just me, but I found this interesting: “On a modern shipping vessel, what’s in the hold is unknown — even to the people moving it.”

Love the Unlovable - “I was a young pastor, and I was sure everybody in the church was kind, gracious, and Christian. Everybody would treat everybody else with the love of God. Needless to say, it didn’t take me long to learn that even in the church are people who don’t quite get there. Some people are really hard to love.” But it’s always the other person, isn’t it?

My Family, In Black and White - “In the photograph, a little girl—5 years old, her blonde hair in two braids—sits between a man and a woman who look markedly different from her. And that’s where the trouble started.”

Those sins that seem most sweet in life will prove most bitter in death. —Thomas Brooks


November 09, 2013

3801 Lancaster - The 3801 Lancaster Film Project is an ongoing documentary series about Kermit Gosnell, the Women’s Medical Society, and the cover-up by state and local oversight agencies. They have just released a trailer for part two.

Redeeming Church Conflicts - Redeeming Church Conflicts by Tara Klena Barthel and David Edling is on sale for just $3.99 (Kindle edition).

Charismatic Debate - Here is a debate between Michael Brown and Sam Waldron, moderated by James White. They debate this: Have the New Testament charismatic gifts ceased?

Opportunities Busy Pastors Miss - Here are “three opportunities busy pastors might miss when they get too task focused. I’ll warn you, these are mundane, but their normalness ensures that every pastor faces them.” Pastors may also want to check out Kevin DeYoung’s John Reed Miller lectures from RTS.

Cruciform Press Pre-Holiday Sale - Cruciform Press (the company I co-founded) is offering 50% off everything through 11/18, plus free shipping through 11/13, unlimited quantities. While the deal is a little more complicated than that, this is a great opportunity for stocking-stuffers, book clubs, church book tables, and the like. Also, unrelated, Kress Biblical Resources is having a sale. Use the coupon code BR60833557256 and you’ll get 65% off!

Annoying Email Habits - Here are twelve annoying email habits you should think about quitting.

Five Ways to Refresh the Saints - Jon Bloom: “When reading Paul’s letter to Philemon this week I saw a theme I hadn’t really seen before. This letter is an instruction on how to refresh the saints.”

The servants of the Lord are to sing his praises in this life to the world’s end; and in the next life world without end. —John Boys


November 08, 2013

Free To Say We’ve Sinned - “When you hide your sin, pretending to be a perfect Christian, you’re actually telling the world that God is a liar. Did Jesus, or did Jesus not, need to suffer and die for your present sins? When you feign perfection, you’re saying you didn’t need Him to do this for you.”

America’s Media Guzzling Ways - “A new report on media consumption in the United States demonstrates the incredible scale of media available to us — while also confirming TV’s continued prominence.”

Banner of Truth - Banner of the Truth has a big Christmas sale going on where they’ve discounted some great books.

What That Empty Seat Says - “We’ve all done it. We shuffle down a row of chairs and, just before we arrive at a person, we stop one chair short. We leave an empty seat between us and the other person, secretly hoping an usher won’t ask us to ‘scoot in.’ What does that empty seat say? Why are we compelled to leave that ‘safe seat’ between us and others?”

$5 Friday - Ligonier has some good items in their $5 Friday sale. They include books by Joel Beeke and Sinclair Ferguson and a commentary by R.C. Sproul. Also, while we’re on the subject of Ligonier, you can now take a free online class with R.C. Sproul Jr on God’s sovereignty in suffering.

Who Cares About Motives - “Human beings have a complex inner life of motives and intentions. If we ignore them, we won’t understand people. But sometimes—we just don’t care about people’s motives.”

The New Testament without the miracles would be far easier to believe. But the trouble is, would it be worth believing? —J. Gresham Machen


November 07, 2013

Here are a few Kindle deals. The first two are pretty much must-reads: How Long, O Lord? by D.A. Carson ($4.99); The Seven Sayings of the Savior on the Cross by A.W. Pink ($2.99); Christless Christianity by Michael Horton ($3.99).

Influence and Truth - Erik Raymond has some good reflections on influence and truth. “On the one side folks want to limit their full affirmation and support of a teacher and ministry to those within their ‘tribe’ (referring to people just like them). Others, resisting this, build a big tent and welcome as many people in there as they can.”

Why You Judge “Prostitutes” - Heartbreaking. “One of the most common questions I get about sex-trafficking is, ‘But don’t some of the women in the sex industry choose that lifestyle?’ I know at that point the questioner’s knowledge of the sex-industry comes from Pretty Woman and other glamorized entertainment (including billboards & ads, no matter how air-brushed they are).”

Piper on Pastors’ Pay - One of the things I most admire about Piper is his handling of money and this interview covers some of that. (Though, of course, this is a matter of wisdom and preference, not the one and only way to do it).

Whatever Happened to Bible Study? - I actually think plain old Bible study is making a comeback, but I did appreciate the reminder in this article: There is a lot of value in simply studying God’s Word together (without a curriculum to follow).

Quote Graphics - Several people have asked me where they can find the graphics I am sharing day-by-day. You can find them all at my Pinterest account and are free to use or share them however you see fit.

How Long - I really enjoyed this song (from William Cowper) and the treatment by Wayfarer / Pacific Gold. You can get it on their sampler at NoiseTrade.

A man can no more extract blessedness out of sin than he can suck health out of poison. —Thomas Watson


November 06, 2013

Here are a few Kindle deals: The Art of Neighboring by Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon is free. Understanding Spiritual Warfare, a Four Views book, is $3.99. Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ by John Bunyan is the latest book from GBH Publishing ($0.99). John Piper’s The Supremacy of God in Preaching is $2.99.

Public Prayers - This pastor reflects on one of the things every pastor has to do: pray publicly. “This may come as a surprise but one of my least favorite things to do as a pastor is offer public prayer. I have, I believe, good reasons for my dislike of public prayer.”

Bad Samaritans - Are our cell phones and other devices turning us into bad Samaritans? This article at the Wall Street Journal is worth reading and considering.

Olive Tree - If you are an Olive Tree user, you may like to know that The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment is down to $5.99. There’s a load of other material marked down here.

Marriage, Sex and Cultural Counterfeits - If you are in Southern Ontario, you might be interested in this event. Denny Burk and I will be speaking at Ancaster Canadian Reformed Church on Saturday, November 30.

How to Pray for a Future Husband - Christians are called to pray for everything and anything. So what might a prayer for a future husband sound like?

10 Sanctification Errors to Avoid - Kevin DeYoung offers 10 errors related to santification and the gospel.

Am I Lord of My Wife? - Mounce looks at 1 Peter 3:6 and asks whether Peter means to say that a husband is lord of his wife.

A lion in God’s cause must be a lamb in his own. —Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry

November 05, 2013

Here are a few Kindle deals worth checking out: Michael Emlet’s CrossTalk is free today only. Everyday Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis ($2.99); Tough Topics by Sam Storms ($3.99); On the Grace of God by Justin Holcomb ($2.99).

Ordinary Cook, Unlikely Hero - “He is history’s most widely read preacher outside of Scripture. More written material exists from him than from any other Christian author, living or dead. It’s estimated he preached to more than 10 million people during his lifetime. The ripple effect of his life and ministry is immeasurable.  And he got his theology from an old school cook.”

Multisite Evolution - Ed Stetzer reflects on the multisite revolution. “Whatever your opinion of multisite may be, there can be no doubt it is the new normal. Multisite has joined a list of models and approaches that were once out of the mainstream and now is commonplace— most of us know of one or more multisite churches.”

10 Love Challenges - Imagine if each person in your church accepted each of these 10 love challenges from David Murray.

How I Shut Down Two Porn Shops - The title is a little bit cheeky, but I enjoyed the article.

Satan’s Permission - Paul Tautges offers some thoughts on Satan requesting permission to sift Peter like wheat.

A Better Country for Old Men - A big thumbs up to David Mathis’ plea to older Christian men.

There is no place like the feet of Jesus for resolving the problems that perplex our hearts. —G.B. Duncan


November 04, 2013

The Scandal of Preaching - “By now it is old news that we live in a world marked by postmodernity.  In such a world, truth is not something that is outside ourselves, but something that is self-determined. Each of us constructs our own private, personal realities. What’s ‘true’ for you is not ‘true’ for me.” Michael Kruger shows how preaching will uniquely reach this generation.

Highly Reluctant Jesus Follower - “Just seven years ago, if someone had told me that I’d be writing for Christianity Today magazine about how I came to believe in God, I would have laughed out loud. If there was one thing in which I was completely secure, it was that I would never adhere to any religion—especially to evangelical Christianity, which I held in particular contempt.”

An Evangelical Orphan Lover - “Sometimes I am bewildered. In the past number of weeks, I have read a number of articles that seem to be distinctly anti-adoption.  Have you sensed this too?” Amy declares herself an Evangelical orphan lover, even in the midst of all that criticism.

GoThereFor - Tony Payne of Matthias Media introduces a new web site and a new effort. This looks like a site worth bookmarking. Here is a new article at the site that lays down a great challenge for pastors.

An Interview on Technology - I was recently interviewed for the Christian Music Blog podcast and mention it because I want to offer a writing topic for someone to take on: What makes some music excellent for congregational singing? How do we define “congregational?” What makes a song easy to sing?

5 Reasons to Write in Your Books - Here are five good reasons to write in your books.

The measure of our love for others can largely be determined by the frequency and earnestness of our prayers for them. —A.W. Pink


November 02, 2013

Steve Lawson’s book The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon is free for Kindle all month long. You know what to do! Also, Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions edited by Ken Ham is $4.99, as is The Tower of Babel by Bodie Hodge.

The High Cost of Negligence - WORLD: “When pastors, churches, and other caregivers fail to report sexual abuse, they may aid and abet crime–and in some states are subject to prosecution themselves–along with subjecting abuse victims to lifelong trauma.”

Prayer for the Persecuted Church - Read Tim Keesee’s article which anticipates tomorrow, a day that marks the international day of prayer for the persecuted church.

A Visit Means More Than a Text - Here is a helpful little reminder: “In these days of emails and texts and instant messaging, it’s so easy to contact someone and think we’ve done what needs to be done.” Yet sometimes a text just doesn’t quite say it well enough.

Hospital Visit Tips - Here for pastors is a helpful list of tips for your next hospital visit.

Science and Coffee - Here’s what science says about the best time to drink your coffee.

We allow in our minds what we would not allow in our actions, because other people cannot see our thoughts. —Jerry Bridges


November 01, 2013

Why I Married A White Girl - I enjoyed this post from Trip Lee: “Whenever I post pictures of my family on social media, the responses are always fun. The most common are, ‘Your son is so handsome!’ or ‘What a beautiful family!’ But one of the other common responses is, ‘Is your wife white?’”

One Vital Lesson - Douglas Phillips of Vision Forum Ministries recently resigned because of “lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman.” David Murray reflects and warns.

Chartbeat Rising - Ever wonder what the Internet is talking about? Chartbeat Rising attempts to display it in real-time.

Logos - Logos users will want to grab The Works of Richard Sibbes (volume 1) which is this month’s free book from Logos.

Book Reviews for Parents - If you’ve got kids who read, you should make Redeemed Reader a regular stop. Here they review “history in graphic format.”

The Christian Traveller - Jeremy Walker looked around the airport and saw every manner of person making a statement by his dress or behavior. And he wondered, “By what means should I, as a Christian traveller, communicate my personal identity and spiritual allegiance?”

A Word to Crazy Busy Parents - CBMW shares a helpful and funny excerpt from Kevin DeYoung’s Crazy Busy.

Hollywood and the Bible - “Studios and filmmakers are rediscovering a classic text as source material for upcoming mainstream films: the Bible.” Sarah Pulliam Bailey lists a lot of the upcoming Bible-based films.

There are two things to do about the gospel: believe it and behave it. —Susanna Wesley

Wesley Gospel

October 31, 2013

Here are a few new Kindle deals: A Walk with God by R.C. Sproul ($3.99); Crossway has a few volumes of the excellent Preaching the Word commentary set on sale for $3.99 each: Deuteronomy, 1-3 John, Proverbs, and The Song of Solomon. Don’t forget about the huge lists of deals from Tuesday and Wednesday.

Will We Drink Coffee? - As Randy Alcorn says in this article, a question like “Will we drink coffee in heaven?” is “a revealing test of whether we’re more influenced by biblical teaching or Christoplatonism.”

Luther and the Reformation - In honor of Reformation Day, here’s a free teaching series from Ligonier. And while on the subect of Reformation Day: What Is Reformation Day All About?.

Thy Word Is Still Truth - Thy Word Is Still Truth is an important new volume on Scripture and, for a limited time, Westminster Books has it at a deep discount.

The Gift of Fasting - “Fasting isn’t usually a word that conjours up ideas of blessing. In western cultures, it’s more associated with hair shirts, self-flagellation, and shaved heads. In the Protestant church, we look at it more as a tool to refocus. But it’s a whole lot more than that.”

The Call to Ministry - Bobby Jamieson has begun an interesting-looking series on the call to ministry. “This series of posts is geared toward men considering or pursuing pastoral ministry. It’s also geared toward the churches which encourage and assess them—which, in one way or another, is every church.”

A Call to Resurgence - Andrew Wilson, writing for The Gospel Coalition, reviews Mark Driscoll’s A Call to Resurgence. He says it is “sometimes insightful, sometimes amusing, sometimes stirring, and sometimes exasperating.”

Halloween: Trick or Treat? - You may enjoy this excellent video from 10ofThose.

The real horror of being outside of Christ is that there is no shelter from the wrath of God. —Eric Alexander