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March 12, 2016
 
Hillsong Church: Do Not Colonize San Francisco

Hillsong announced a new church plant in San Francisco and this blogger takes on the arrogant tone of their announcement. “I’m tired of pastors coming to San Francisco, posting pictures of bridges and crooked streets and declaring how much they love this city without actually understanding any of it, without being hurt by it, without any scars to show or dirt on their shoes or callouses on their hands.”

Friday Quiz: The letter G

Here’s another fun little Bible quiz from The Good Book Company.

Too Sexy for This Selfie

“For ‘digital natives’—people who’ve never known a world without the Internet—social media has become the place where relationships are formed, proven, and tested. It also represents an aspirational pathway to fame and fortune, with figures like the Kardashians as sexy, selfie-taking role models.”

These Are The Long-Term Effects Of Multitasking

Essentially and not surprisingly, multitasking is not good for you in any way. We all know this, but just keep doing it!

Evangelists Adapt to a New Era

Here’s the New York Times profiling Tim Keller’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church.

Tomorrow in 1804. 212 years ago tomorrow, American Presbyterian clergyman and hymn writer James Alexander was born. In 1830, Alexander rendered the English text of Paul Gerhardt’s German hymn, “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded.” *

11 Mind-bending Christian Book Covers You Can’t Unsee

The title of this article is way over the top but, to be fair, so too are the book covers.

Is Our Media Consumption Hindering Our Pursuit of Holiness?

This is well worth considering. “It is interesting—no, disheartening—to hear that many believers’ answers are often not very different than the average non-Christian’s. It matters little whether it’s a similarity of content or sheer approach (e.g., bingeing). When it comes to consumption of media, both quality and quantity of intake matter immensely.”

What It Looks Like to Live Inside God’s Grace

Thanks to NavPress for sponsoring the blog this week with their article.

Carson

Some Christians want enough of Christ to be identified with him but not enough to be seriously inconvenienced. —D.A. Carson

March 11, 2016

The Greater the Sinner

The New Yorker profiles Joshua Milton Blahyi of Liberia where most still know him by his nom de guerre from the nineteen-nineties: General Butt Naked. He is now a preacher and claims to have turned around his life.

Encouraging Women to Do Biblical Studies at the Graduate Level

I was very glad to read this article and very much agree with its major point: “Reasons why complementarians of many stripes should encourage as many women as possible to get a Masters degree (or its equivalent) in biblical studies.”

How Far Is Planet 9?

It’s possible that there is actually a ninth planet out there. If there is, this video explains just how far from us it is.

Now Trending: Pre-Midlife Divorce

“With only my own observations of society and personal relationships, I am seeing more married couples separating and divorcing. Especially for adults in their mid-30s to mid-40s, it seems to have become a trend.” I think he could be right.

When Washrooms Are Weaponized

Jeff Jones peers a couple of years into the future and sees how bathrooms and change rooms will become the battleground for activism.

What You Should Know about the Syrian Civil War

Joe Carter offers a very helpful explanation of the Syrian Civil War (which has led, of course, to the Syrian refugee crisis).

This Day in 1888. 128 years ago today, Samuel Zwemer preached his first sermon, which was to a congregation of black people in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Later, he was a notable missionary to the Arab world. *

What Should You Look For in a Church?

This will serve as a helpful guide, I’m sure.

Gurnall

Unholiness in a preacher’s life will either stop his mouth from reproving or the people’s ears from receiving. —William Gurnall

March 10, 2016

In Everything Give Thanks

You will enjoy this short, powerful article from Jeremy Walker.

Mohler’s Top-10 Books of 2015

Avid readers know to be on the watch for Dr. Mohler’s top-ten books of the year. Preaching magazine just announced them.

Time Management of the Preacher

I really enjoyed Steve Lawson’s 10-minute podcast on time management. It is geared to the pastor, but there is value there for anyone, though perhaps especially for people in knowledge work.

Not As Awesome as You Think

Maybe, just maybe, you’re not as awesome as you’re naturally inclined to think you are.

Thinking in Thirds

Worship leaders and service planners will want to read this one from Jamie Brown. “The goal for all worship leaders should be to maintain a repertoire of songs that serves the congregation whom God has called them to serve.” Thinking in thirds will help do that.

Victims of a Drive-by Catechizing

James Faris shares a great little anecdote from his days as a hard-working but grumbling student.

This Day in 1748. 268 years ago today, former sailor and slave-trader, John Newton trusted in Christ for salvation. He would go on to be a pastor and songwriter, his most famous hymn being “Amazing Grace.” *

The Ten Commandments of Church Parking Lots

Yes, even parking matters to a well-run and visitor-friendly church. Thom Rainer explains.

Street-Level Headship

My friend Paul Carter offers a look at three different practical implications of headship in his home.

Spurgeon

No man shall ever take from me the joy that Christ rose from the dead. —Charles Spurgeon

March 09, 2016

Andy Stanley Explains His ‘Stinking Selfish’ Parents Comment

Thumbs up to Christianity Today for their interview with Andy Stanley. They don’t hold back from asking the tough questions and he doesn’t hold it against them.

10 Marks of an Immature Believer

“In his little book, Grace: The Truth, Growth, and Different Degrees, Christopher Love, gives ten marks of an immature believer. He does this not to shame but in order to spur on towards growth in Christ.”

Ambushed by Beauty and Chicken Nuggets

This is a really good bit of writing. “I pull my car into an empty spot in the K-Mart parking lot that lies just behind our store. Glancing at the clock, I say to myself, You’re pushing it, bro. Regardless, I stop to take a deep breath before heading inside. A thought begins to cross my mind. I attempt to rebuke it, but instead I think it anyway. This is not what I thought I’d be doing at twenty-seven…” (HT)

‘Downton Abbey’ and the Weight of History

Downton Abbey did not captivate our interest by being monolithically progressivist in its outlook. Indeed, it was precisely the show’s nuance about historical complexity that has helped it endure.”

How I Prepare a Sermon

I always appreciate it when a pastor lets us into his sermon-preparation technique. This time around it’s Joe Thorn.

Headscarves and Hashtags

Many voices have weighed in on the debate as to whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God. I’ve been waiting to hear from Tim Keesee. His article has just been posted to Desiring God.

35 Totally Random Life Hacks

There’s something for everyone on Nick’s list of lifehacks.

Ehrman–Licona Dialogue on the Historical Reliability of the New Testament

This could be an interesting back-and-forth. “TheBestSchools.org has therefore invited them to take part in what we call a Focused Civil Dialogue. The point of such a dialogue is for both parties to put their best foot forward in advancing their own case as well as in refuting the case of their interlocutors. We are grateful that both Dr. Ehrman and Dr. Licona have accepted this invitation.”

Welch

The God who was disgraced and shamed has eyes for those who have been disgraced and shamed. —Ed Welch

March 08, 2016

A Sky Unsullied by Clouds

How cool is this? “And so it was quite the thrill to discover in the box this astonishing letter written by William Wilberforce to Priscilla in 1822, when he was 61 and she was only around 14.”

7 Points to Consider When You Preach about Homosexuality

Brad Hambrick: “Having just written Do Ask, Do Tell, Let’s Talk: Why and How Christians Should Have Gay Friends, I wanted to offer some points of consideration for pastors.” Also, “While this post is about preaching, my book is about friendship.” Additionally, click here to learn what you’ll learn if you read his book.

Jerry Bridges (1929–2016): My Prayer Partner, Mentor, and Friend

Be sure to read Bob Bevington’s tribute to his dear friend and prayer partner. “In the eyes of many, Jerry was a giant of the Christian faith. Yet in his own eyes, he was never more than an undeserving sinner redeemed by Christ. Those who knew him best understood that Jerry’s humility was the key to his greatness.” (Don Whitney has collected other tributes here.)

The Editor’s Wife

This is a great little biographical sketch of Vera Pink, wife to A.W. Pink.

10 Things You Should Know about Church Discipline

Just like the headline says, here are ten things you should know about church discipline.

This Day in 1740. 276 years ago today, colonial evangelist Gilbert Tennent preached his famous sermon, “The Danger of An Unconverted Ministry.” Tennent was a friend of evangelist George Whitefield and a son of William Tennent, founder of the “Log College. *

3 Books Every Church Planter Should Read

TGC went far and wide to ask a whole collection of pastors for suggested books that every church planter should read.

Risen

Reformation21 shared a helpful review of the movie Risen. “Films seem better equipped to ask questions rather than answer them. Films, whether they are faith-based or secular, start to break down when they get preachy, but there’s a much greater temptation to get preachy when making a movie about faith.”

Carson

The way to really beat sin is not to whip it out, but to so glory in Christ that sleeze looks dirty. —D.A. Carson

March 07, 2016

The Man Who Made a Million Empires

I consider Sid Meier to be one of the greatest game designers of all time. For that reason I thoroughly enjoyed this rare profile of him.

6 Areas of End Times Agreement

Chris Brauns: “While there are many different interpretations of how events of the end times will unfold, orthodox, Bible-believing Christians passionately agree about the most important matters. Here I point out six end times areas of agreement about which the Bible is explicit…”

Why It Hurts So Much to Step on a LEGO

Here is a scientific explanation of why it hurts so bad when you step on that little piece of LEGO.

Inject Your Prayer List with Life

I think we can all identify with this: “My praying through a list of names and needs often feels more like reading a shopping list than meaningfully communing with the Father in heaven.”

The Chang Tang-Pa

You may enjoy this photo essay from what must be a lost and unreached people group.

We’re Called to Make Disciples, not Simply Converts

R.C. Sproul: “Discipleship is a lifelong experience of learning the mind of Christ and following the will of Christ, submitting ourselves in complete obedience to His lordship. Thus, when Jesus tells us to go to all nations, we are to go into all the world with His agenda, not our own.”

This Day in 1802. 214 years ago today, “in Washington, D.C., the first Baptist church was organized with six charter members. Their first pastor Obadiah Brown was hired five years later, and Brown remained in that pulpit while involving himself in every important local Baptist program for the next 43 years!” *

Articles on Singleness, Dating, and Marriage

Here’s a roundup of some of the best articles on singleness, dating, and marriage.

The Dark Side of International Adoption

Amy Medina has begun what sounds like an important series on international adoption.

Bonhoeffer

The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer

March 05, 2016

The weekend is here! It somehow seems long overdue and I’m glad it has come. I’m also glad because today my son turns 16, an irrefutable fact that somehow seems nearly impossible. Has it really been 16 years?

Manage Your Digital Afterlife

This sounds weird to us but will sound perfectly normal to our children: We’ve got to remember to account for what happens with our digital selves when we die.

5 Distinguishing Marks of a Fruitful Church

“I think measuring a church’s fruitfulness is not as simple as how many hands get raised during an invitation or how many parking spots are filled.” I agree!

Andy Did It Again

Todd Pruitt looks at some ridiculous statements from Andy Stanley. “When I hear adults say, ‘I don’t like a big church. I like about 200. I wanna be able to know everybody.’ I say you are so stinkin’ selfish. You care nothing about the next generation. All you care about is you and your five friends.”

A Guide to the Singular “Their”

A short guide to the singular “their.”

Why I’m Running for President of the Southern Baptist Convention

J.D. Greear explains why he is accepting the nomination for president of the SBC.

Tomorrow in 1901. 115 years ago tomorrow, missionary to India Amy Carmichael sheltered her first temple runaway (a young girl dedicated to the Hindu gods and forced into prostitution to earn money for the priests). *

How Well Do You Know the Book of Romans?

It isn’t a difficult quiz, but it’s a fun way to spend a couple of minutes.

Doing More Better a Month Later

I enjoyed reading this one-month-later review of Do More Better. “The good news is that I’m still using this system, which is more than I can say for my several past attempts at improving productivity. … The bad news is that the best system in the world cannot change my sinful tendencies.”

An Inspirational Calendar from Hell?

Thanks to The Master’s College for sponsoring the blog this week with “An Inspirational Calendar from Hell?”

Spurgeon

It is of no use to hope that we shall be well rooted if no rough winds pass over us. —C.H. Spurgeon

March 04, 2016

Alistair Begg on Trump

Alistair Begg: “Last week, Susan and I attended a Republican presidential debate. The moderator had his hands full attempting to maintain some semblance of order as the five presidential hopefuls re-enacted a playground brawl…”

An Analysis of Celebrate Recovery

The Cripplegate has a two-part analysis of the popular Celebrate Recovery program. “CR contains two major problems: (1) Though claiming to be biblically based, its teachings are often constructed from a misuse of Scripture and an erroneous hermeneutic. (2) Though claiming to be Christian based, its theology often clashes with sound Christian theology.”

Books for Children

Westminster Books is offering good deals on books for children.

5 Ways Todoist Changed My Life

This was so good to read. Jason Dollar read Do More Better, then began organizing his life using Todoist. In this article he talks about how it has changed everything.

Should Christians Vote for the Lesser of Two Evils?

Russell Moore answers the question. “For years, I have urged Christians to take seriously their obligations as citizens, starting with exercising the right to vote. In the public square and at the ballot box, we must be more engaged, not less. But what happens in a race where Christians are faced with two morally problematic choices?”

The Magic of 30-Minute Meetings

You may be able to glean one or two productivity tips from this article.

Notable Authors. If you’ve never checked out any books by author Kevin DeYoung, I highly recommend you do so! I especially recommend What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality? and Taking God At His Word.

The Gospel Theme™

The Babylon Bee is a new satire site that you may enjoy. They just ran one of my rare attempts at satire: Ease Your Conscience By Finding The Gospel Theme™ In Any Filthy Movie

An Unlikely Missionary Candidate

Vance Christie: David Livingstone’s “early history as a would-be missionary suggests important lessons about persevering through discouragements in preparing for and pursuing the ministries we sense God is calling us to undertake.”

Edwards

There is no such virtue as temperance in spiritual feasting. —Jonathan Edwards