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A La Carte

October 25, 2013

Lives Destroyed - “The past two years have been devastating. I have watched the lives of four Christian friends destroyed for want of care. These are men, I have loved and respected. All of them had families, loving wives, and children. Three of them were pastors and another was a nationally recognized professional at the top of his field.  And all of them were consumed by their lusts.”

A Slow Learner - Julian is a slower learner and share some of the reasons he knows that.

$5 Friday - Ligonier Ministries has some good items on sale today in their $5 Friday: Sproul’s commentary on Acts along with books by Steve Lawson and Michael Haykin.

Jennifer - This man photographed his wife as she battled cancer. “Angelo decided to photograph it. He wanted to humanize the face of cancer on the face of his wife. The photos speak for themselves.” Indeed. It’s a tragic photo essay that speaks to a sin-stained world.

7 Perspectives on Prayer - Randy Alcorn provides seven short and sweet perspectives on prayer.

The Command to Kill - R.C. Sproul Jr. takes on this question: “Why did God command the children of Israel to kill every man, woman and child in the Promised Land?” Here is sound counsel: “Among the countless nuggets of wisdom I have received over the years from my father is this bit of gold- when you are reading your Bible and you come across something that makes you uncomfortable, resist the temptation to simply move on to something else. Where the Bible makes us uncomfortable is precisely where we need to slow down.”

The Elephant Man - You’ve probably heard of Joseph Merrick, aka “The Elephant Man.” Here an actor reads an Isaac Watts poem that was a favorite of Merrick’s while you see what the man looked like. Doctors still have not conclusively determined the nature of his condition. (See here to learn how they found what his voice would have sounded like.)

God is working out his eternal purpose, not only in spite of human and satanic opposition, but by means of them. —A.W. Pink

AW Pink

October 24, 2013

Where Did All These Calvinists Come From? - Last week, Mark Dever dusted off a 2007 series he wrote on the New Calvinism and delivered it, with a few changes, as an hour-long lecture at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. Matt Smethurst provides a quick overview.

4 Reasons the Gospels Could Not Be Legends - “The most popular theory today against the Bible is that the gospels are a bunch of myths and legends. As the theory goes, Jesus was a great guy with some commendable teachings, but the stories we have about him in the four gospels are made-up legends intended to beef up Christianity’s claims.” Here are 4 reasons that just can’t be the case.

Secret Sexual Sin - The Lies Young Women Believe blog asked Aileen and me to write a couple of articles on masturbation—a growing concern as they provide counsel to young women.

Greater Work - R.C. Sproul gives an answer to this question: What did Jesus mean when he said we would do greater work than He did?

How to Write Less Badly - Michael Munger has ten tips on how to write less badly.

Jesus Calling - Christianity Today has a long and interesting article about the Jesus Calling phenomenon and its mysterious author, Sarah Young.

Strange Fire: What Now? - The GTY staff has a blog post about the aftermath of the Strange Fire conference. They include some words for the people who felt hurt by the conference and some encouragement as well.

Winners of souls must first be weepers for souls. —C.H. Spurgeon


October 23, 2013

I heard from some of you that you had trouble with yesterday’s Kindle deals. Here they are again in case you weren’t able to take advantage: Magnifying God in Christ by Tom Schreiner ($4.99); A Little Book for New Theologians by Kelly Kapic ($0.99); Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin ($3.99); The Psalter Reclaimed by Gordon Wenham ($3.99); Rhythms of Grace by Mike Cosper ($3.99); Introducing Covenant Theology by Michael Horton ($3.99).

Being Better Bereans - Kevin DeYoung has begun a three-part series titled “How To Be Better Bereans.” It’s off to a good start with part one.

Why Is Faith Not a Work? - “Why is faith not a work? If we are obligated to have faith before righteousness can be credited to us (Romans 4), how is faith not a work? I recognize that Paul tells us in Ephesians 2 that we are saved by faith not through works, but I don’t quite understand how to reconcile faith not being a work if we are required to have it in order to be saved.” Matthew Barrett answers.

My House Just Burned Down - “Joel Hollier is a student at Sydney Missionary and Bible College. He and his family lost their family home this week in the bushfires raging through the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. He posted this moving reflection on Facebook, and has given us permission to publish it here.”

Bouncing the Eyes - Men are taught to fight lust by bouncing their eyes. Mike Leake says, “That was the gist of how I was taught (and in turn taught others) to battle lust and pornography. While I do believe there is some warrant to this teaching, I believe now that it is largely incomplete.”

G3 Conference - This will be of interest to you if you’re thinking of attending the G3 Conference in Atlanta this January (Speakers: Voddie Baucham, Steve Lawson, Conrad Mbewe, myself and others). They are offering a special deal on October 31 where, for that day only, registration will be 2 for 1!

Russell Moore in WSJ - The Wall Street Journal recently profiled Russell Moore.

To know that nothing happens in God’s world apart from God’s will may frighten the godless, but it stabilizes the saints. —J.I. Packer

Packer Quote

October 22, 2013

Here are a few new and notable Kindle deals: Magnifying God in Christ by Tom Schreiner ($4.99); A Little Book for New Theologians by Kelly Kapic ($0.99); Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin ($3.99); The Psalter Reclaimed by Gordon Wenham ($3.99); Rhythms of Grace by Mike Cosper ($3.99); Introducing Covenant Theology by Michael Horton ($3.99).

You Might Be a Christian Celebrity If… - This may hurt. “In blogdom, writing, and pastoral ministry in general, there is a temptation to pursue being popular; to pursue being a celebrity. Yet, in order to follow Christ, we must deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Him (Matt. 16:24). This includes denying our desire to be popular, our desire to be celebrities. Are you a celebrity Christian wannabe? You might be one if…”

Prodigal Sons - I always loved the Modern Parables series of short films. Today only you can download Prodigal Sons for free using the code PSJT. Do it. Do it now! (more information)

Murder for Hire - “I’ll be the first to admit it; hit men are shady. But they are shady because they are doing work that no one else wants to do, work that is, in fact, illegal. By labeling contract killing a ‘crime,’ we have obscured the fact that hit men provide a valuable service to society.”

Skull of Homo Erectus - I think it’s important for us to keep being reminded how often the story of evolution changes, and often by millions of years at a time.

For the Overwhelmed - Jen Thorn shares hope for the overwhelmed mom. “How in the world am I going to keep up with deadlines, clean up a home that has TOTALLY exploded over the weekend, homeschool and deal with all the other little things that will fill my day?”

7 Things About Calvin and Hobbes - Here are 7 things you may not know about the always-excellent Calvin and Hobbes.

A gracious soul may look through the darkest cloud and see God smiling on him. —Thomas Brooks

A Gracious Soul

October 21, 2013

There should be new Kindle deals tomorrow, but for now, here’s a round-up of deals that are about to end: The Dragon’s Tooth by N.D. Wilson ($2.99); The Justification of God by John Piper ($3.03); Manhood Restored by Eric Mason ($4.74); The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer ($3.81); Putting Amazing Back Into Grace by Michael Horton ($3.49); Liberating Black Theology by Anthony Bradley ($2.99); Keep Your Head Up edited by Anthony Bradley ($2.99); Glory Road edited by Anthony Carter ($2.99); The Faithful Preacher by Thabiti Anyabwile ($2.99); The Baker (Non-)Illustrated Bible Commentary ($1.99).

Worship Him Well - I love to hear this: “I have walked the aisles of Notre Dame in Paris and of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. They are works of magnificent splendor. Stunningly beautiful, to say the least. But they did not come close to giving me the feeling I have every time I step into that loud and unaesthetic gym.”

Doubts: Fatal or Futile? - If you struggle with doubt, this article may be helpful. “These types of doubts, spiritual in nature, have the ability to unmoor a person. Doubts like these often serve as the doorway towards deeper issues like depression, paralyzing fear, and chronic anxiety.”

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 - I’ve got a soft spot for photography competitions. Here are winning photos from this year’s wildlife photography competition.

Married Mom and Dad Do Matter - “A new academic study based on the Canadian census suggests that a married mom and dad matter for children. Children of same-sex coupled households do not fare as well.”

Cereal Transformed American Culture - I think they overplay the Christian fundamentalist angle at the beginning of the article, but it’s fascinating nonetheless. 

Nearness to God brings likeness to God. The more you see God the more of God will be seen in you. —C.H. Spurgeon

October 19, 2013

Why You Should Care - Thabiti Anyabwile on Strange Fire: “An honest discussion on this topic entails a number of uncomfortable admissions. And, perhaps it’s our inability or unwillingness to admit these things that hinder our discussion as much as anything else. We feel the stakes but we don’t want to face the stakes. For some people, this conference forces some difficult admissions, admissions we’d be happier not to concede. But, that, too, is reason to care about the issue and engage prayerfully. Consider what’s at stake.”

A Theology of Book Purging - I quite enjoyed this: “A Concise Theology of Voluntary, Principled Book Purging.”

Comfort and Contentment - Darryl Dash wonders about the difference between being comfortable and being contented.

5 Things Students Should Know - Louis Betty is an assistant professor of French at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater who recently wrote an article titled “5 Things You Don’t Have the Guts to Tell Your Students.” It’s worth a read.

Does God Listen to Rap? - I know some of you are fans of Christian rap, so I thought you might enjoy reading the first chapter of this book, which Cruciform Press will release on November 1.

Can I Vent? - “Have you ever asked someone that? Or been asked that? … We weren’t really looking for advice, we were just venting. Venting is not looking for counsel. It’s mostly just complaining.”

Iconic Goals - Here are twelve iconic World Cup goals and the stories behind them.

We complain today that ministers do not know how to preach; but is it not equally true that our congregations do not know how to hear?J.I. Packer

October 18, 2013

The Death of DeathGLH Publishing continues to release excellent Kindle books; the newest is John Owen’s The Death Of Death In The Death Of Christ and for a limited time it is just $0.99. Also on Kindle is The Dragon’s Tooth by N.D. Wilson, an excellent novel for your young teen or tween ($2.99).

Look & Live (Worship or Die) - “Worship is a looking.  It is the gaze of the soul towards greatness….towards some savior.  It is the pulsating, throbbing ache of the soul to see & celebrate glory.  The ‘wow’ of the heart.  And we are always being captivated by something.  We must be.  The throne of the heart must be filled.”

Pulpits, Pimps and Progress - There’s been a lot of focus in media on the prosperity gospel lately. Here is a lament from a young, Black, Christian male seminary graduate concerned about church perspectives.

Is Public Schooling an Option? - A couple of weeks ago I linked to Al Mohler’s article about public schooling. Jemar Tisby has a thoughtful, insider response.

Recovering a Vision - Make some time to watch this short documentary about Al Mohler.

Serial Trespasser - “Bradley Garrett, a photographer and researcher with a background in anthropology and archeology, has spent the past five years of his life exploring hidden and forgotten parts of cities all over the world.” It makes for an interesting photo gallery.

God’s Pleasure In Me - “I love the truth that salvation is by God’s grace alone, purchased by Christ alone, and gained through faith alone. That message is the unshakable, life-giving foundation of my life. But recently I’ve heard statements about God’s grace that puzzle me.  Statements like, You can’t do anything to make God more pleased with you…”

In contending with certain sins there remains no mode of victory but by flight. C.H. Spurgeon

October 17, 2013

Kindle users may want to look at a couple of deals: One Race, One Blood by Charles Ware and Ken Ham ($4.99); The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer ($3.91). Meanwhile, Logos users will want to grab this free download: Brothers, We Are Not Professionals.

Quick Tips on Spiritual Growth - Erik Raymond offers some “quick tips on spiritual growth.” But don’t be fooled—there’s nothing quick and easy in the Christian life!

Twenty Years and Counting - Be sure to read this amazing account of Al Mohler’s time at Southern Seminary. Few people know or remember the kind of hostility he faced when he first began there. He also talks about the systematic theology he hopes to write in the future.

Packer’s Systematic Theology - Michael writes about J.I. Packer’s long-awaited Systematic Theology. He and Packer are looking for prayer that Packer will be able to complete it.

Broken Vows - Aaron Armstrong reviews a recent Cruciform Press title, Broken Vows: Divorce and the Goodness of God. And while on the subject of divorce, TIME has a few points about why second marriages are often more difficult than first marriages.

The Russia Left Behind - “On the jarring, 12-hour drive from St. Petersburg to Moscow, another Russia comes into view, one where people struggle with problems that belong to past centuries.” It makes a very interesting article.

The church is a school for sinners, not a museum for saints. —Anthony Thiselton

October 16, 2013

Help for Women Under Stress - This book by Randy and Nanci Alcorn is free on Kindle, today only. “Randy and Nanci offer you both the hope and the help you are looking for. They not only help you understand what stress is and how it operates, but give plenty of useful tips and strategies for bringing peace to the chaos of your daily life.” Also, I know it’s an odd title but the book is better than the title: When Will My Life Not Suck? by Ramon Presson is $2.51.

I Hate Porn - There are a lot of people who hate porn, but who still look at it every day. I’m hoping they read this and learn to really hate it.

Vulnerable to Attack - Chuck Lawless: “Based on years of my studying spiritual warfare, here are eight ways I’ve seen leaders allow themselves to be vulnerable to the enemy’s arrows…” Speaking of pastors, here are 10 productivity experiments pastors may like to try.

Killing Jesus - Stand to Reason reviews Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus.

The Teeth of Our Exertions - Here’s some investigation into a great Spurgeon quote: “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”

Regular Bedtime Helps Behavior - “Overall, children who went to bed at a consistent time had fewer behavior problems than those whose bedtimes varied.” The funny thing is, I think it’s largely true for adults as well.

When we reach the outer limit of what Scripture says, it is time to stop arguing and start worshipping. —J.I. Packer

October 15, 2013

Here are some new Kindle deals that may interest you: Putting Amazing Back Into Grace by Michael Horton ($3.99); The Justification of God by John Piper ($3.99); Liberating Black Theology by Anthony Bradley ($2.99); Keep Your Head Up edited by Anthony Bradley ($2.99); Glory Road edited by Anthony Carter ($2.99); The Faithful Preacher by Thabiti Anyabwile ($2.99); The Baker (Non-)Illustrated Bible Commentary ($1.99).

God is Faithful - It is good to be reminded again and again that God is faithful. Because otherwise we somehow begin to doubt it.

Punishment and Discipline - “God does not punish His children—He disciplines them. There is an enormous difference between punishment and discipline…”

Removing My Children from the Internet - A father explains why he chose to remove all traces of his children from the Internet.

Surreal Landscapes - There are some amazing and bizarre landscapes in this gallery.

My 9-Year Old Boss - “I got hired at a Bangladesh sweatshop. Meet my 9-year-old boss. Meem, 9, works 12-hour shifts at a factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She dreams of becoming a sewing operator, buying more hair clips and helping her family.”

The Ultimate Secret - Here is the ultimate secret (which, of course, is really no secret at all) to effective communication: Hard work.

I was but a pen in God’s hands, and what praise is due to a pen? —Richard Baxter