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A La Carte

September 19, 2012

Praying for Your Pastor - “One of the great encouragements in my ministry is knowing that many at Redeemer regularly and frequently pray for me. There are a number of ways we should be praying for our leaders in the church, but as we approach Sunday I want to encourage you to pray for your pastors and their preaching in 4 specific ways.”

Quit Picking on Video Games - Video games and the people who play them have become an easy mark for pastors. Stephen Altrogge asks such pastors to stop.

Why We Don’t Burn Things - Christians (typically) don’t burn things when God is mocked. Here’s at least a partial explanation as to why this is.

An Eye-Opening Book - David Murray writes a glowing review of a book I loved: Eyes Wide Open (Here’s my review).

Speaking With Tongues Speakers - Josiah Grauman has a couple of interesting questions you may want to ask if you encourage speaking in tongues or if you interact with those who do.

Soda Ban Explained - Here’s a short video that tries to explain the New York soda ban. Though this ban applies to only a limited area, it provides an interesting commentary on the role of government in our lives.

To call a Christian a “theist” is roughly equivalent to calling the space shuttle Atlantis a “glider.”R.C. Sproul

September 18, 2012

Shopping and False Intimacy - This is a very, very interesting article, and one worthy of some reflection. “All of this has me considering church in 21st century America. I fear we may be loosing a valuable sense of intimacy between pastor and member. In a world where pastors tweet and congregations have Facebook accounts, it’s easy to think an intimate relationship exists when all we really have are some dots of data loosely connected by our own assumptions and personal preferences.”

Short-Term Missions - “Since the summer of 2008 our full-time mission team in Honduras has hosted 50 short-term teams consisting of 500 short-term missionaries. Many people ask, ‘Wouldn’t it just be better if all those people sent you money instead of wasting their resources and your time?’ Our answer is an emphatic no.”

Muslim Protests - The Big Picture covers the worldwide Muslim protests.

Unsafe Hospitals - “Bad doctors. Prescription errors. Surgical slips. Medical mistakes injure or kill hundreds of thousands of Americans every year.” This article looks at the ways that hospitals and health care have become unsafe.

Pleased to Meet You - I don’t ever get tired of reading Carl Trueman. Today he says, “I have to say that I have never been subject to such evident and oppressive neophiliac normaphobia in all my life. The sooner normaphobes are categorised as hate criminals, the better it will be for those of us who belong to the despised minority of the once but clearly no longer normal.”

Within Two Worlds - I’m still not tired of these amazing time lapse videos. “Within Two Worlds depicts an alternate perspective by giving us the illusion of times movement, signifying a beginning and end within a world of constant contradiction. It appears you are traveling in the midst of a dream, half-sleeping, half-waking, and touching the arch connecting heaven and earth.” Whatever. To me it’s all about the beautiful scenery.

Holiness is not freedom from temptation, but power to overcome temptation. —G. Campbell Morgan

September 17, 2012

Too Tough on the Guys Who Are Trying - I appreciate Josh Harris’ mea culpa here. “I got some great feedback from a young man in our church after two of my recent sermons from Matthew 5, both of which touched on aspects of marriage (the messages were “Jesus on Lust” and “Don’t Break Your Marriage or Your Word.”) In his mid-twenties, he kindly expressed appreciation for both messages and then went on to voice concern about how I challenged single men…”

Telling a Spouse About Sexual Sin - This is an important and very real issue for many couples—what should you tell your spouse about your sexual sin? There are some brief thoughts here with more to come.

Crutch Words - The Atlantic has an article about “crutch words” like “if you will” and “and so on and so forth.” They’re all bad, apparently.

Amazing Facts - You’ll need to screen out some of the evolutionary timelines here, but the facts are plenty impressive.

Preach the Word - Here are some truths about preaching that you won’t be taught in seminary. Kind of. “In this blog post, I’d like to share a little of what I’ve learned along the way. But first, I want to provide a caveat to my title. The caveat is that you have heard most of what you’ll read below, but the real issue is have you paid attention to what you’ve heard?”

Americans Are Confused - “A new study finds that the typical American believes the United States is far more religiously diverse than it actually is, overestimating the number of Mormons and Muslims and underestimating the number of Protestants.”

Next to faith this is the highest art—to be content with the calling in which God has placed you. —Martin Luther

September 15, 2012

Questions the TDSB Is Not Answering - As his church deals with having to leave the public school they rent, Julian is asking questions that the school board is not answering.

Calvary Love - Here’s an artistic take on John Piper’s most recent poem which is titled “Calvary Love.”

Read the Text - Paul offers some really helpful counsel on a preacher’s relationship to his Bible.

A Map of Muslim Protests - “If you can’t keep track of all the Muslim protests erupting across the globe, you’re not alone. The uproar over a 14-minute anti-Islam YouTube video has sparked furious protests from Somalia to Egypt to Sudan to Tunisia to Libya to Bangladesh to Indonesia to Pakistan. With new reports of protests surfacing every minute, we’ve compiled the latest reported incidents into this handy interactive Google Map.”

Is Election Unfair? - You won’t be surprised to know that R.C. Sproul holds that the doctrine of election is not at all unfair.

The Mystery of the Lord’s Supper - This book, recently commended by both Keith Mathison and Carl Trueman, has just been released in ebook format

The Birds of Spain - This photographer drove over 1,000 kilometers to get just the rights shots of the birds of Spain.

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. —C.S. Lewis

September 14, 2012

$5 Friday - There are a few noteworthy deals in Ligonier’s $5 Friday, including Reclaiming Adoption, Surprised by Suffering (one of my favorite Sproul books and it’s the hardcover edition), and several teaching series.

Culture and Homeschool - You may appreciate Tracy Keen’s thoughts on pre-mature children and how they can be formed via exposure to culture or the protection of homeschooling. “Home school parents push their children to mature before they are ready, especially with daughters. Within my own local home school group I have noticed young girls who are definitely in that awkward, in between stage of no longer being a child, but not yet a woman.”

Strange Things Afoot - Timothy Dalrymple: “One of the more enjoyable facts about my present job is that I can, from my perch here at Patheos, see a fairly broad range of what’s going on in the world of Christian media.  And lately, strange things have been afoot.  No one seems to know quite what to do or say about it.  Everyone seems to be waiting for the next shoe to drop.  But let me see if I can explain what’s been going on and provide some perspective.”

Monergism MP3 Collection - Monergism has a massive collection of MP3s available for download and you are now able to find MP3s from a wide variety of teachers sorted by books and chapters of the Bible.

Lincoln - I sure am looking forward to seeing this film.

I tell you our strength, whenever we have any, is our greatest weakness, and our fancied wisdom is our real folly. —C.H. Spurgeon

September 13, 2012

Guys Are Flaming Out - “According to psychologist Philip Zimbardo, young men in America are doomed–at least they are educationally, relationally, and sexually. As he says at the beginning of his recent TED Talks video, ‘The Demise of Guys,’ Guys are flaming out academically, they’re wiping out relationally with girls, and sexually with women. Other than that, there’s not much of a problem.”

The Leniency of the Lord - R.W. Glenn reflects on the leniency of the Lord.

The Pastoral “I Don’t Know” - There’s something very frustrating about people who have no ability to admit “I don’t know.” Jared Wilson explains why pastors need to be able to say this.

Contentment in Ministry - Here’s another excellent article on ministry. It looks at the importance of finding contentment in the right things. Non-pastors will benefit from reading it too!

Through the Eyes of Spurgeon - Here’s a Kickstarter campaign worth getting behind. “CHSpurgeonQuotes.com has compiled Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s best quotes arranged by subject + scripture into a must-have book.”

3-2-1 - Here’s an excellent video that simply explains the gospel.

There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice. —John Calvin

September 12, 2012

You Throw Like a Girl - It’s scientifically proven: girls throw like girls. “The overhand throwing gap, beginning at 4 years of age, is three times the difference of any other motor task, and it just gets bigger across age. By 18, there’s hardly any overlap in the distribution: Nearly every boy by age 15 throws better than the best girl.”

Engaging Mormons - Russell Moore writes about how to engage Mormons. “Yes, we need apologetics directed toward Mormons. And, whatever some evangelical leaders may say, we must not back away from the sad reality that Mormonism is not even remotely Christian.  But we must remember that we will not convince Mormons with rational arguments alone.”

Current Events and the End Times - Randy Alcorn answers this question: “What do you think about linking current events to the end times? Is this a good thing for Christians to focus on?”

Phantom Cell Phone Vibrations - Why do people feel phantom cell phone vibrations? Here is one person’s attempt to say that it’s not that you’re crazy or hopelessly addicted to your cell phone.

When Ministry Becomes a Mistress - Dave Kraft writes about an all-too-common problem among pastors.

Le Mot Juste - It’s a tough read, but a fun and worthwhile one. “It is a truth universally acknowledged that it is only a short road that leads from grammatical laxity to cannibalism. At least, it should be universally acknowledged. Human beings are linguistic beings through and through, after all.”

Though infinitely better able to do without prayer than we are, yet [Christ] prayed much more than we do. —C.H. Spurgeon

September 11, 2012

Coffee - You know you’ve wondered this: Why doesn’t coffee ever taste as good as it smells? Science answers. In short, “The phenomenon is down to the fact that, although we have sensors on our tongue, eighty per cent of what we think of as taste actually reaches us through smell receptors in our nose.”

When God Pulls the Rug Out - From Ed Welch comes this great little article about those times that God pulls the rug out from under you.

Sentiment Analysis - Here’s an interesting infographic (though I’m not entirely sure how it’s important). It “explores the ups and downs of the Bible narrative, using sentiment analysis to quantify when positive and negative events are happening.”

How to Run Meetings - “Careers have been built on poking fun at meetings. From commercials to comic strips it’s no secret that most of us would rather be, you know, working.” But there’s good news. This article discusses how various businesses run their meetings.

What Are You Waiting For? - Boundless makes a very good point about the “Why Wait?” campaign and others like it. A campaign like this “promotes the wrong picture of God. It essentially teaches you that if you wait in the correct manner, God will reward you with a spouse. But what happens when God doesn’t hold up His end of the bargain?” 

Harvest - Here’s a seasonally-appropriate photo gallery.

Christian Character and Good Arguments - Michael Horton explains that “the pursuit of excellence in thinking and communicating is not just an academic exercise, but is a crucial part of Christian character.”