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A La Carte

January 16, 2014

Money: An Instrument of Blessing - This article from 9Marks lays out the big difference between the prosperity gospel and a biblical way of understanding money: One says that money is an instrument of blessing while the other says it is an indicator of blessing. There’s a world of difference between.

Evolution is a Matter of Belief - Al Mohler: “Every mode of thinking requires belief in basic presuppositions. Science, in this respect, is no different than theology. Those basic presuppositions are themselves unprovable, but they set the trajectory for every thought that follows. The dominant mode of scientific investigation within the academy is now based in purely naturalistic presuppositions. And to no surprise, the theories and structures of naturalistic science affirm naturalistic assumptions.”

Stainless - There’s no good reason for it, but somehow this little movie is fascinating. Let it be a parable of how much of life we miss when we rush through it.

From French Atheist to Christian Theologian - Here’s a great conversion story (HT).

Old vs New - This video from Chevrolet shows just how far car safety has come in the past few decades.

Fear of Academic Books - Jared Oliphint wants to help you get over your fear of academic books.

An All-Consuming Passion for Jesus is a new, free ebook from John Piper, available in several formats. 

Being infinite, God is inexhaustibly interesting. It is therefore impossible that God be boring. —John Piper


January 15, 2014

There are just a couple of notable Kindle deals today: Speaking Truth in Love by David Powlison ($2.99); Christless Christianity by Michael Horton ($3.03). You may also want to take a look at Westminster Books’ deals as they have heavily discounted some great academic titles by G.K. Beale.

The Biggest Contradiction - David Murray looks at the contradiction between Paul’s justification by faith alone and James’ justification by works. “Can these opposing statements be reconciled? I believe they can, and the key is to understand that although Paul and James both speak of justification, they are speaking about two different kinds of justification.”

Egalitarianism and Authority of Scripture - Denny Burk looks at the all-too-common claim from some egalitarians: “The idea that a Man is the Head of the Home has its roots in secular ancient culture, not in the Word of God or the created order of humanity.” The closing quote from Ligon Duncan is very, very important.

Porn and Future Marriage - Yes, I know a link to a lot of articles about the cost of pornography. But I don’t think people can hear this too much!

The Mother I Meant to Be - I expect that a lot of mothers will identify with at least some of what Staci writes here: “I’ve had two goals over the last decade or so: lose weight and be a better mother. And every morning in the mirror I see that the weight is still there and I’m still not the mother I meant to become.”

Positive Impact of a Good Dad - A reader sent me this: A link to The Atlantic which has quite an interesting article about the distinct, positive impact of a good dad. 

Holiness is characteristic of every Christian. If we are not holy, our profession of Christ is valueless. —Martyn Lloyd-Jones


January 14, 2014

Here are today’s Kindle deals: The Pastor’s Justification by Jared Wilson ($4.99); Kingdom, Come! by Phil Ryken ($3.99); Spectacular Sins by John Piper ($2.99); Good News to the Poor by Tim Chester ($4.99); How to Help People Change by Jay Adams ($1.99); Church History Volume 1: From Christ to Pre-Reformation ($3.99).

Sexual History - Russell Moore shows wisdom and pastoral concern in his answer to this question: When dating, how much should a Christian know about a future spouse’s sexual history?

Rescuing from Hell and Renewing the World - A very important article from Piper: “[T]he way to achieve the greatest social and cultural transformation is not to focus on social and cultural transformation, but on the “conversion” of individuals from false religions to faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life. Or to put it another way, missionaries (and pastors and churches) will lose their culturally transforming power if they make cultural transformation their energizing focus.”

A Few Good Men - I give a “like,” a retweet, and a +1 to Carl Trueman’s article.

Band of Bloggers - Looks like Band of Bloggers will be back in 2014, alongside this year’s Together for the Gospel conference.

Training for Ministry - Mez McConnell says that in the face of a shortage of biblically qualified men and women who can enter into vocational ministry, “Those of us who are in leadership bear the weight of responsibility for recruiting and training the next generation of Christian leaders. Here are some ways we can act now.”

How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none. —A.W. Tozer


January 13, 2014

Here are some new Kindle deals: Forever by Paul Tripp ($1.99); The Poverty of Nations by Wayne Grudem & Barry Asmus ($5.99); When God Weeps by Joni Eareckson Tada ($1.99); A Theology of Christian Counseling by Jay Adams ($3.99); Power Through Prayer by E.M. Bounds ($1.95).

Life in a Dark Place - “[D]oubt is something we evangelical Christians need to get talking about. I often think doubt is like the topic of pornography was 15 years ago—a lot of people were struggling with it, but we hardly ever spoke of it. We have come at least part of the way on the pornography issue, but I’m not sure we are doing so well with doubt.”

8 Characteristics of Sanctification - “Gospel-centered sanctification tethers becoming (growing) to being (identity) by making Christ’s accomplishments and provision for us the catalyst of our lives. Here are eight characteristics of gospel-centered sanctification that frame our theology of the doctrine while also steering our practice.”

Were the Magi’s Gifts Symbolic? - Tradition ascribes significance to the gifts the Magi brought to Jesus. In Matthew 2:11 they present him “gold and frankincense and myrrh.” What symbolism should we find there?

Animals in the Womb - God is awesome.

Why Good Works Are Necessary - Anthony Burgess argued that while good works should never be construed as meritorious for our justification, they were still necessary as our duty on the way to final salvation. Here are 13 reasons why…

Since we have a Father in heaven, let us look up to heaven often. —Thomas Manton


January 11, 2014

Here are a few Kindle deals: The Digital Invasion by Archibald Hart & Sylvia Frejd ($3.99); How the Bible Came to Be by Daniel Hays & Scott Duvall (free); The Real Face of Atheism by Ravi Zacharias ($3.99); my book The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment is $2.99 for just another couple of days.

What Are We Really Watching? - Al Mohler on Downton Abbey: “[M]ost viewers are likely unaware of what they are actually seeing. They are not merely watching an historical drama, they are witnessing the passing of a world. And that larger story, inadequately portrayed within Downton Abbey, is a story that should not be missed. That story is part of our own story as well.”

Words Every Child Longs to Hear - “There’s something within us that craves the affirmation of those we adore. We want to know that what we’ve done is good enough. Deeper still, we long to believe that who we are is good enough.” This is a sweet one.

God Called Them to Adopt - This is an amazing adoption story from the NY Times (HT:Owen).

Get to Know Your Bible Translations - Here’s a lighthearted look at some popular Bible translations.

As Long as It’s Healthy - I appreciate this article: “And so, I want to flesh out with you something that’s bugged me for years.  But mostly, it’s made me cringe and made my heart sting even more so lately.” It all has to do with rubbing the pregnant belly and saying, “as long as it’s healthy…”

Pray for Your Pastor - Here are 5 ways to pray for your pastor in 2014.

When the preferences of the church members are greater than their passion for the Gospel, the church is dying. —Thom Rainer


January 10, 2014

Amazon is offering $30 off any of their Kindle tablets (use coupon code MAYDAY30). And here are some Kindle book deals: Jesus, the Only Way to God by John Piper ($1.99); Grounded in the Gospel by J.I. Packer ($3.99). Stephen Altrogge has just published a new book called Untamable God and has set it at $0.99. Finally, Amazon is having a one-day sale on educational books and many are 80% off; there’s lots of history, biography and other good stuff there.

Do You Know What Your Missionaries Actually Teach?! - “Stop sending prosperity-preaching missionaries to the jungles of Peru. They’re killing the villages here. Your missionaries are spending tens of thousands of dollars, traveling across land and sea, invading and settling into new cultures, and it’s all for nothing. They’re doing more harm than good.”

Sleep Deprivation - As an apparently incurable insomniac, this concerns me!

Pro-Life Convictions - “For Owen Strachan, convictions come with a cost. Strachan, an assistant professor of Christian theology and church history at Boyce College, has been pro-life for many years. It wasn’t until recently, however, that he decided to act on his conviction.”

How Much Do You Earn? - David Murray talks about an interesting way of teaching his kids about money.

Spurgeon’s Standards - Jeremy Walker shares some interesting facts from Spurgeon’s life and ministry.

When Women Lust - “We all know that men struggle with lust. But what about women? While it’s becoming more common to hear of women’s struggles with pornography use, many women still perceive that they have the moral high ground over men. Such comparisons don’t help because men and women often struggle in different ways.”

Be extravagant for God or the devil, but for God’s sake don’t be tepid. —C.T. Studd


January 09, 2014

Here is your daily dose of new Kindle deals: Divorce and Remarriage by Andrew Cornes ($4.99); Reformation:Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow by Carl Trueman ($3.99); Singing the Songs of Jesus by Michael Lefebvre ($2.99).

Westminster Books - Westminster Books is having a sale on many of their bestselling books of 2013. Now’s the time to stock up!

The Universe Had a Beginning - Stephen Meyer tells the story of how Hubble showed Einstein that the universe was not eternal but must have had a beginning.

School Wasn’t Canceled for Bad Weather in 1882 - According to The Atlantic, “a story from one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s ‘Little House’ books proves we’ve all gone soft.” Obviously there’s more to the story than that, but it is interesting to note the contrast.

Google Hangout - I’ll be doing a Google Hangout with Ligonier Ministries on January 17. Feel free to drop by. (Check the link for details.)

What Would Polygamy Do? - What would the acceptance of polygamy do for society? It’s worth thinking about because it may not be too far off.

Reading the Bible Like Jesus - Thabiti: “Reading the Bible is difficult work. Or at least it can be if we intend to do more than simply read it for enjoyment or duty. There are many things we have to overcome in order to read effectively: the flesh, fatigue, distractions, time pressures from various sources, cold hearts, clogged ears and so on.”

There are no crown-wearers in heaven who were not cross-bearers here below. —C.H. Spurgeon


January 08, 2014

There are a few new Kindle deals to consider: Fruit at Work by Chris Evans ($0.99); The Disciplines of the Christian Life by Eric Liddell ($0.99); GLH Publishing has two new classic titles: Early Piety and The City: Its Sin and Sorrow ($0.99 each).

6 Ways to Look Godly While Not Growing - Here are six ways you might maintain an appearance of godliness even though you’re not growing in your faith.

Is Recreational Marijuana Use a Sin? - Here is Joe Carter doing what he does so well: “Although many Christians consider the answer to the question to be rather straightforward, it can be helpful to examine the reasoning process that allows us to determine how biblical principles can be applied to this issue.”

Planning Your Ideal Week - Mike Anderson has a short but helpful post on planning your ideal week.

The Pastor as Theologian - Here’s a free ebook from Al Mohler. “Every pastor is called to be a theologian. This may come as a surprise to some pastors, who see theology as an academic discipline taken during seminary rather than as an ongoing and central part of the pastoral calling. Nevertheless, the health of the church depends upon its pastors functioning as faithful theologians — teaching, preaching, defending and applying the great doctrines of the faith.”

The Ten Commandments of Twitter - Kevin DeYoung helps you navigate Twitter.

To be a follower of Jesus, you must renounce comfort as the ultimate value of your life. —Mike Ayers


January 07, 2014

Here are some new Kindle deals to consider: The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment by me ($2.99); Joseph and the Gospel of Many Colors by Voddie Baucham ($4.99); Acting the Miracle edited by John Piper & David Mathis ($4.99); Found in Him by Elyse Fitzpatrick ($5.99); Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever ($4.99); God in the Whirlwind by Tim Ellsworth ($2.99); Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal by Michael Kelley ($2.99).

Loving Him by Loving It - “To love someone means that you also love the things about someone. This is most true of our love for God. We love Him, and that leads us to love everything about Him. One of those things is His Word. To love God is to love his Word.”

Remembering Jesus - What does it mean to remember Jesus in the Lord’s Supper? This article explains.

PrayerMate - PrayerMate, my favorite prayer app, is now available for Android. It’s a bit stripped down compared to iOS, but it will be developing fast.

Finding God in Maximum Security - It was simple curiosity that guided photographer Serge J-F. Levy to New York’s Green Haven Correctional Facility in 2002. “Without having any personal predisposition to any religious activity but having a fascination with how people can work on their spirituality and healing their souls, I was interested in how this was happening in an environment that seemed to be everything but conducive to that,” Levy said.

Pastors Today - This new blog looks like it will be a helpful resource for pastors.

Mark Dever and Authority - I enjoyed reading about the ways Mark Dever passes out authority at his church.

If the gospel is regularly being preached in your church, you will eventually become a magnet for the messiest kinds of sinners. —Jared Wilson


January 06, 2014

Here are a few new Kindle deals: N.D. Wilson’s Death By Living, widely regarded as one of the best books of 2013, is $3.99; Shame Interrupted by Ed Welch (free); To the Glory of God by James Boice ($2.99).

Marrying a Man Who Looks at Porn - Heath Lambert provides a sound answer to an urgent question: Should I marry a man who has a problem with pornography?

Snow-Diving Foxes - “I’m a fox. It’s January. I’m hungry. I want a meal. My food, however, is buried 3 feet down, deep in the snow, hiding. It’s alive, in motion, and very small, being a mouse. So how does an above-ground fox catch an underground mouse? Well, the answer is nothing short of astonishing.”

Evangelicals and Hollywood Muck - I appreciate Trevin Wax’s thoughts on the subject of movies and whether Christians really need to go looking for redemptive themes in all of them.

Actively Engaged - Matt Chandler provides a “plea to not sit on the sidelines and hope this horrific genocide of the unborn works itself out.”

Rescued - Maggie Paulus’ touching article at True Woman begins like this: “When I was just a little girl, like a wee little thing, I had a different mom and dad. And they were kind to me, but they had hurts and they had addictions and they didn’t know how to take care of themselves, much less a wee girl and her little brother.”

Why Faith? - The main point of this article is quite helpful: “The people of the world will bring up every bad act the Christian has committed not so much to discredit the Christian with others, but to discredit the Christian with himself so he shuts up and gives up.”

It is a hard matter to enjoy the world without being entangled with the cares and pleasures of it. —Thomas Manton