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A La Carte

January 28, 2016

To this point, we have had a good week with Kindle deals. There’s nothing new today, but I expect there will be some tomorrow. What a blessing that we can build a library $1.99 at a time. We are spoiled!

Our Prayer Instincts Are Backwards

“Approaching the Queenstown airport in mid-winter—with mountain ranges on both sides and a huge lake straight ahead—we were caught in a giant wind tunnel. The plane was shuddering and sporadically dropping 50 feet at a time. The cabin filled with shrieking and praying. Many people were crying out to a God in whom they did not believe. Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, there certainly aren’t many on buffeted flights.”

Plastic Bags Are Amazing

Just think about it: Plastic bags are actually an amazing feat of engineering. “Just look at the numbers: Plastic grocery bags cost pennies to make and hold more than a thousand times their weight. They’re light. They’re waterproof.” They’re amazing.

Good Governance over Good Theology

I would imagine you’ll either love or hate this article: “Goodness and faithfulness are important, but no substitute for competence. Believers and nonbelievers alike should choose the best candidate, not the best Christian, for president.”

I Can’t Be Good Much Longer

This article was a joy to read.

This Day in 1907. 109 years ago today, John Paton died. Paton was a missionary to the New Hebrides and had endured much heartache, including both persecution and the death of his wife and his son on the mission field. *

The Wreck of Amtrak 188

What caused the worst American rail disaster in decades? This article explains.

What If You Only Drank Soda?

It turns out your mom was right all along. And I feel very virtuous for drinking only club soda. 

An Update on Pastor Saeed

Here’s a sad and disturbing update on pastor Saeed written by his wife Naghmeh.

High-Resolution Daily Quote Graphics

Do you enjoy these daily A La Carte graphics? If so, you can now download them in high-resolution. They are free to share or display however you see fit (except for selling them). Click here to get started.

And finally, here is today’s quote graphic:


A profession of faith without progress in the faith in a dead faith. —J.A. Medders

January 27, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include Rejoicing in Lament by Todd Billings ($2.99); Twelve Extraordinary Women by John MacArthur ($1.99); New Atheism: A Survival Guide by Graham Veale ($2.99); Hope Reborn by Adrian Warnock ($1.99); Though He Slay Me by Jamie Freeman ($1.99); Men of Science, Men of God by Henry Morris ($2.99); The Formation of Christian Doctrine by Malcolm Yarnell ($2.99).

Announcing the all-new PrayerMate v5

One of my favorite everyday apps has gotten an update. I was part of the beta test and have already enjoyed this new version.

Do Something Small For God

I think we all need these reminders from time to time. “We can feel like if we don’t do something great for God, why bother. Well, here’s what God says: ‘Do small things for me.’”

Prescribing Hospitality for Growth in the Christian Life

Here’s an interesting take on the value of showing hospitality to others.

Having Trouble in Ministry? Just Face It

How do you respond when there is trouble in life and ministry? Erik Raymond shows why you need to just face it.

11 Questions to Ask Ourselves About Debt

This is the kind of stuff Randy Alcorn does so well.

This Day in 417. 1,599 years ago today, Pope Innocent I condemned and excommunicated Pelagius. *

The Small Group Book for 2016

Westminster Books has quite a few items on sale including one they are calling “the small group book for 2016.”

The History of London

I’m not sure about the 40,000-year bit, but this is brief video history of London is beautifully done.

The Big Chill

Melissa Kruger: “We sit across the table from one another. Tears brim. I speak the painful words I have contemplated with so many: Sometimes the loneliness in marriage is lonelier than being alone. She nods.”


A sermon is not over when the minister says ‘Amen.’ Rather that is when the true sermon begins. —Joel Beeke

January 26, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include Preaching the Whole Counsel of God by Julius Kim ($5.99); Everyday Grace by Jessica Thompson ($1.99); PROOF by Daniel Montgomery & Timothy Paul Jones ($3.99); Your New Money Mindset by Brad Hewitt & James Moline ($2.99); A Place for Weakness ($3.99) and Introducing Covenant Theology ($2.99) by Michael Horton; Reclaiming Love by Ajith Fernando ($3.99). Also, Amazon has a one-day sale on books for students.

Sex Abuse in the Church

Catherine Parks writes about the ugly reality of sexual abuse in the church. “In recent months, I have thought frequently about abuse allegations in the church. I have read story after story about abuse victims who went to church leaders and either were not believed or were blamed in part for what happened.”

Grand Jury Indicts Filmmakers

Joe Carter does one of his FAQs about yesterday’s outrageous news: “A grand jury in Harris County, Texas (the county where Houston is located) has indicted two of the undercover videographers associated with the Center for Medical Progress.”

7 Ways to Fight Distraction During Prayer

“Distraction can be a huge hindrance in our prayer life, but I am also discovering that it provides an opportunity for growth. Here are seven strategies for fighting distraction, and harnessing it to deepen and direct our prayers.”

48 Scattered Thoughts about Pastoral Ministry and Being a Pastor

This is great stuff. I especially appreciate #21!

Prayer Societies

This article contains some interesting ideas for prayer. And this is definitely true: “Every Christian knows he should pray. Simply urging the church to pray more usually results in condemnation about our prayer life rather than consecration in this holy duty.”

This Day in 1987. 29 years ago today, John Piper received the first copy of his book, Desiring God. *

How Should We Then Defend?

I’m linking to this article primarily because of the joy of reading this paragraph: “In 2015 in the United States, the process for picking a new president began in earnest. Not only is the process obnoxiously overblown, it provides a never-ending selection of sulfurous soundbites to a salaciously saccharine and spongy constituency. Rallies for would-be presidents show throngs cheering for one whose lies have been exposed and who is under investigation by the FBI, and for yet another whose brainless bigotry, bombast and buffoonery know no limits. And these are only the (as I write) “popular” candidates.”

In Praise of the Lowly McMuffin

Let’s face it: McDonald’s breakfast is a remarkable feat of food engineering. (Related: How on earth do you get a whole industry to transition to cage-free eggs?)

Why Monorails Aren’t the Future

Basically, because they’re awful at what they do.


Unity without the gospel is a worthless unity, it is the very unity of hell. —J.C. Ryle

January 25, 2016

Buckle up because there are lots of great Kindle deals today. Here is a selection from Zondervan priced at $3.99: The Gagging of God, Worship by the Book, and Telling the Truth by D.A. Carson; A God-Sized Vision by Collin Hansen; The Pastor Theologian by Gerald Hiestand; The Next Story (revised and expanded) by me; The Pastor’s Family by Brian Croft; Preaching and Preachers by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Crossway also has a selection about women’s ministry at $4.99 each: Women’s Ministry in the Local Church by Ligon Duncan & Susan Hunt; Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin; Word-Filled Women’s Ministry edited by Gloria Furman and Kathleen Nielson.

Scruffy Hospitality

This is good: “Scruffy hospitality means you’re not waiting for everything in your house to be in order before you host and serve friends in your home. Scruffy hospitality means you hunger more for good conversation and serving a simple meal of what you have, not what you don’t have.”

The Most Important Ingredient to Improve Your Marriage

Tim Lane: “What fuels a strong, resilient, enjoyable marriage? Most people would immediately answer with suggestions like better communication and the ability to resolve conflicts. As important as those skills are, it is actually much more simple than that.”

What really happened at Target Canada

This is a fascinating article about what really went wrong with Target’s failed attempt to move into Canada.

Desiring Knowledge and Maturity

Kevin DeYoung says, “All else being equal, I’d rather have a mature Christian with simple theological knowledge than an extremely knowledgeable, well-read Christian without a lot of maturity. But, of course, neither situation is desirable. Let me explain.”

Why Snow Shoveling is Deadly

Take care of yourself out there.

This Day in 1534. 482 years ago today, Martin Luther preached, “To be converted to God means to believe in Christ, to believe that He is our Mediator and that we have eternal life through Him.” *

Why Are Airplane Windows Round?

So you don’t die, of course. Here’s a slightly longer video explanation.

Start a Company Before College

This is a neat idea.


Show me a church’s songs and I’ll show you their theology. —Gordon Fee

January 23, 2016

I have returned home safe and sound after speaking at the G3 Conference (which continues on livestream this morning). It was a joy to meet so many readers of this site and, unexpectedly, to meet one more on the way home—the Air Canada gate agent in Atlanta (Hi, Cindy!).

Freedom in Grief, Not Freedom From Grief

This is an important distinction for those who are grieving (and those who are grieving alongside them).

When Abortion Suddenly Stopped Making Sense

“We thought, back then, that few abortions would ever be done. It’s a grim experience, going through an abortion, and we assumed a woman would choose one only as a last resort. We were fighting for that ‘last resort.’ We had no idea how common the procedure would become; today, one in every five pregnancies ends in abortion.”

Group Prayer Participants You Don’t Want to Be

“I have learned through my mistakes and the conduct of others that there are certain types of group prayer participants none of us should want to be…”

Tim Challies and Going All in with Ebooks

There was a lot (a lot!) of response to my article about migrating to ebooks. Here is one from Logos.

The Road Not Taken

JT shows how just about everyone explains this one in the wrong way.

Notable Authors. If you’ve never checked out any books by author Os Guinness, I highly recommend you do so! I especially recommend Fool’s Talk and The Call

The Biblical Call and Plan for Productivity

I was recently interviewed for the radio program The Christian Worldview. That interview is playing today.

Equipped for Christlikeness

I’m grateful to The Master’s College for sponsoring the blog this week with “Equipped for Christlikeness.”


No matter what good truths you have to teach, no one will thank you if you do not speak kindly. —C.H. Spurgeon

January 22, 2016

The only Kindle deals I found today are The Apostle and William Wilberforce by John Pollock which may be worth looking at for $0.99 each. And that’s it. It has been a slow, slow month. I’ll talk to some publishers and see if we can do something about this!

The Lady Bible Hunters

Here’s a great tale: “Scottish twins Agnes and Margaret Smith were the last people you’d expect to discover one of the earliest known copies of the gospels, but in a dusty closet in an Egyptian monastery in 1859–without a university education or formal language training between them–the God-fearing twins uncovered the Syriac Sinaiticus.”

The 5 Solas

We have added a new Visual Theology print to our growing collection: the 5 solas.

Sproul on Abortion

“Tomorrow will mark the 43rd anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. In light of this, Ligonier Connect has just released R.C. Sproul’s important series on the difficult subject of abortion and made it permanently free for anyone to enroll and study.”

18 Reasons the Abortion Industry is Losing Its Support

George Grant: “Why does it seem that the abortion industry’s grassroots support is slipping at the very moment when its power and resources have reached their zenith?”

The Wheaton College Controversy

The controversy at Wheaton College continues to heat up. “Wheaton College’s faculty council has unanimously asked the Illinois school’s administration to withdraw its recommendation that Larycia Hawkins have her tenure and employment terminated.”

This Day in 1876. 140 years ago today, hymn writer John Dykes died. He wrote the much beloved hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” *

Porn Stats

Covenant Eyes tells you where you can find up-to-date statistics on the porn plague.

ESV Sale

Westminster Books has some deals on Bibles priced cheap so you can give them away.

You Are Not a Number

“It’s 2016, so we can track and measure almost anything. These numbers we generate are simple, stark, and memorable. They stick with us for days, relentlessly patting us on the back or poking us in the ribs. Numbers are brainworms.”


A single day in hell will be worse than a whole life spent in carrying the cross. —J. C. Ryle

January 21, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include Making a Difference in Preaching by Haddon Robinson ($1.99); From the Library of Charles Spurgeon ($1.99); and The Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler ($2.99). New from GLH Publishing is Saved by Grace by John Bunyan ($0.99).

Down’s Syndrome Extinction

While this article is still pro-choice, it expresses great concern about the coming extinction of people with Down’s Syndrome.

The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy

Al Mohler: “We will not believe more than we know, and we will not live higher than our beliefs.”

Husbands, It’s Time to Start Leading Family Worship

Don Whitney: “The worthiness of God to receive your family’s worship each day is reason enough to start practicing family worship today. But in addition to that, consider these other good motivations…” 

For the Success of Others

What a great legacy. “Dave was deeply and genuinely delighted when he believed one of his disciples surpassed him in some way or another.”

Why Your Church Should Support Fewer Missionaries

I think there is a lot of value in this approach.

This Day in 1672. 344 years ago today, a church in Bedford, England appointed John Bunyan as their pastor—while he was in prison for preaching the gospel. *

Capitalizing Personal Pronouns

“I think these modern translations are disrespectful of God by not capitalizing the personal pronoun.” But do they, really?

The Rules of Kabaddi

This video explains the rules of a unique sport and one that is incredibly confusing.

January 20, 2016

I am heading south today to speak at this year’s G3 Conference. G3 is almost always my first conference of the year and it is one I always look forward to. I hope to see many of you there!

Elderly Missionary Couple Kidnapped

It’s quite a religion that kidnaps medical missionaries in the name of its god.

Frozen Soap Bubbles

What an amazing little video. How can there be so much beauty in something so simple and so ordinary?

The Future of Retail

“Amazon Books is now open for business in Seattle. The floor is hardwood and the shelves and displays are weighed down by beautiful, physical books. It looks and smells like any ordinary bookstore. But make no mistake. It’s anything but.” Could it represent the future of retail?

A Simple Way

Mark Altrogge offers up a simple way to spend time with the Lord every day. He structures it for 45 minutes, but that can easily be scaled down (or up).

How You Will Die

Here’s how you will die. Maybe.

Hillary Clinton’s Email

Joe Carter has a Facebook post that explains why recent revelations about Hillary Clinton’s emails are a very, very big deal.

This Day in 250. 1,766 years ago today, Fabian, bishop of Rome, was martyred. He was the first person martyred under Emperor Decius. *

Pastor, Mind Your RBM or Risk Burnout

Here’s wise counsel for pastors (and everyone else).

Google Maps Goes Mini

Google Maps decided to go miniature by setting Street View loose on a miniature world.


What will it profit a man if he silences his adversary and loses that humble spirit in which the Lord delights? —John Newton