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A La Carte

January 22, 2014

A few Kindle deals: Managing God’s Money by Randy Alcorn, a really important book in my own life ($4.61); The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken ($0.99); Holy Ground by Chris Costaldo ($5.98).

Do’s and Don’ts of Welcoming Guests - “Have you been in your church for so long that you’ve forgotten what it’s like to enter the building for the first time? Do you want to make guests feel welcome, but need help seeing your congregation through new eyes?” Here are some good tips.

By Thy Mercy - Indelible Grace’s album By Thy Mercy is free for a week at NoiseTrade. That’s quite the bargain!

Book Sale - Westminster Books has some good sales this week, including Resisting Gossip, a book I greatly enjoyed.

The World Needs Pastors - Owen Strachan points to a piece David Brooks wrote for the New York Times while also offering some commentary.

Encouragement for Revitalizers - One local pastor whom I respect has interviewed another local pastor I respect on the subject of church revitalization. It’s a good interview!

Sacred Marriage: Not the Last Word on Marriage - The central point of Gary Thomas’ Sacred Marriage is a good one, but this article shows why there is more to the story than, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”

An Autistic Man’s Gift - I enjoyed reading this article from the Toronto Star: “An Edmonton father starts a business with his 24-year-old son, who can’t read or talk but can figure out how to put together complex furniture.”

We must not give a look or squint at anything that may hinder this fair and lovely sight of Jesus. —Isaac Ambrose


January 21, 2014

Here are today’s Kindle deals: An Infinite Journey by Andrew Davis, a book I really enjoyed (my review) is $3.99!; What Is the Meaning of Sex? by Denny Burk ($4.99); Bonhoeffer Speaks Today by Mark Devine ($1.99); Delighting in the Law of the Lord by Jerram Barrs ($4.99); Pocket Dictionary of the Reformed Tradition by Kelly Kapic ($1.99); Signature in the Cell by Stephen Meyer ($3.99); Telling the Truth by D.A. Carson ($5.98).

A Softer Prosperity Gospel - David Schrock outlines five trademarks of a soft version of the prosperity gospel, particularly as they show up in sermons and books.

Ask R.C. Live - Tonight at 7:30pm EST, R.C. Sproul will be live online via video answering your theological questions. Click the link to find out how you can ask a question and how you can listen in.

Speaking in Atlanta - If you are in or near Atlanta, you might be interested in this session I’m leading on Thursday night.

A Good Lesson From A 95-Year Old Warrior - Mark Altrogge learns a good lesson from a 95-year old warrior.

Brothers, We Are Not Amateurs - There is some food for thought here: “Yet, never before in the history of the church has theological education been so accessible, and never before has it been so needed. Advanced technology, innovative delivery systems, and proliferating resources all make being a ministerial amateur—as a permanent state—inexcusable.”

Prepare to Share - There are lots of good ideas to encounter and consider in this article from Tony Payne.

If we desire to be holy, we must seek to be happy in the Savior’s love. —John Berridge


January 20, 2014

Here are a few new Kindle deals: Spiritual Warfare by Brian Borgman & Rob Ventura ($2.99)—I hope to review it tomorrow; iGods by Craig Detweiler ($3.99)—I haven’t read it, but it’s new and looks rather interesting; The Gospel at Work by Sebastian Traeger & Greg Gilbert—on pre-order at $4.27 and the price will only go up when it releases; Letters & Life by Brett Lott ($4.99); Preaching by Jason Meyer ($5.99); What Is the Meaning of Sex? by Denny Burk ($4.99).

Alone Yet Not Alone - WORLD: “Mainstream media outlets erupted in confusion and indignation Thursday over a surprise Oscar nomination for Best Song. “Alone Yet Not Alone,” the theme song for an independent Christian film of the same name, edged out a long list of songs by mainstream artists…”

Slavery and the Old Testament Law - “There is a scene in The West Wing where President Jed Bartlett fires off round after round of ridicule as he pretends to apply Old Testament laws to his life. Should he put to death his staffer for working on the Sabbath, or get the police to take over? Should footballers wear gloves to avoid touching the pigskin ball? What price could he get if he sold his daughter as a slave?” How would you answer?

What the NSA Can Do - Here’s a running list of what we know the NSA can do. So far.

Normal Prayer, Normal Life - George Grant says, “Prayer is the most common Christian expression of authentic faith; but it may be among the least practiced Christian disciplines.”

A Short History of Student Missions - This is well worth watching.

How much better to worship the God who carries us than the god who must be carried. —Richard Owen Roberts


January 18, 2014

Here are a few Kindle deals: Spiritual Warfare by Brian Borgman & Rob Ventura is a good and a brand new book that is just $2.99; The Church by Mark Dever ($1.99); Simple Church by Thom Rainer ($1.99)

What Makes a Joyful Home? - Read this one! “A joy filled-heart makes a joy-filled home, because joy flows from the inside out, not the outside in. Joy is a choice, and it is such an easy thing to choose. Why, then, is it also such a hard thing to choose?”

What It’s Like - This ad for Coca Cola is just too good.

Extinguish This Bloody Traffic - “The constitutionally protected right to murder one’s own unborn child is the preeminent social injustice of our day. Should the Lord Jesus choose to patiently prolong His coming, the history books will surely regard such a moral atrocity with the same shame and outrage that we experience as we read about the African slave trade or Hitler’s Holocaust, bewildered that such miscarriages of justice could have been allowed to persist in a civilized and educated society for so long.”

The Ability to Draw - This one has perlexed me. Why can some people draw, and some people (like me) just can’t? Science has been looking for the answer.

Great Idea - This is about as thought-provoking as a comic can get.

Those Who Never Heard - “How can God hold accountable for believing the gospel those who have never heard the gospel? Certainly God cannot send a man to Hell for not believing when he never even had the opportunity to reject the gospel in the first place. The very notion flies in the face of all our notions of justice. But the question itself is fatally flawed.”

We must love God more for what he is than for what he bestows. True love is not mercenary. —Thomas Watson


January 17, 2014

Here are just a few Kindle deals: Still Sovereign edited by Thomas Schreiner & Bruce Ware ($4.99); An Introduction to the Old Testament by Tremper Longman & Raymond Dillard ($5.99); The New Answers Book 4 by Ken Ham ($4.99).

Google Hangout with Ligonier - Today at 4 PM EST I’ll be doing a Google Hangout with the folk from Ligonier. If you’re interested, visit the link and you’ll be told how you can participate. It should be fun!

Dear Daddy in Seat 16C - This is a sweet article.

Alone Yet Not Alone - I don’t pay much attention to the Academy Awards, but a reader pointed out something interesting. In the category of Best Song you’ll find “Alone Yet Not Alone” which is performed by Joni Eareckson Tada. Google the song and you’ll see that it’s considered the least likely nomination of the year (and perhaps of all time).

In Praise of Fat Pastors - You’ll appreciate this article once you understand what Jared Wilson is not advocating. (Warning: once you see Joel Osteen with his shirt off, you can’t ever unsee Joel Osteen with his shirt off.)

Teach Your Children to Hate Ministry - Ed Stetzer offers 5 ways to teach your children to hate the ministry.

A Letter to the Family of My ICU Patient - This is well worth reading and remembering.

Heaven: Better Than Sex? - Tim Lane’s imaginary conversation: “Jesus, you have to help me out. Are you really telling me that there is something better than sex? Jesus: Is your imagination really that limited? Your fantasy life is dull and boring. Let me tell you about something far greater than sex.”

A little thing is a little thing, but faithfulness in the little things is a great thing. —Hudson Taylor


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