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October 14, 2013

Strange Fire - It has just been announced that since the Strange Fire conference sold out so quickly, it will be live-streamed to anyone who wants to watch it. It runs from this Wednesday to Friday. Would you be interested in having me live-blog it and making this a place we can discuss it? I find myself torn.

Breaking Good - R.C. Sproul Jr.: “With its final episode airing recently we heard an awful lot lately about Breaking Bad, a program that told the fictional story of a high school teacher and family man who becomes a vicious killer and cooker of meth. Like watching a car wreck we all have a morbid interest, to mix a metaphor, in moral crash landings.”

Reformation Art - Reformation Art is having a sale for the next few days; you can get 50% off anything in their catalog.

Imperfect Pastors - I quite enjoyed this article at True Woman on the bravery of imperfect pastors (which, as it happens, was penned by my mother).

Friend of Sinners, No Friend of Sin - “People reviled Jesus. They called him a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners. Have you ever been called names like this? Have I? Do we fear contamination from the world more than we have confidence in Christ’s power to cleanse?”

John Shelby Spong - Here’s a sad article on Spong and his lack of regrets as he looks back on life. “ ‘The older I get the more deeply I believe but the fewer beliefs I have,’” he said, citing an adage once relayed to him by an older bishop. ‘And I think that’s probably where I am. I have a sort of mystical awareness (of God) that’s indescribable, but I can’t avoid it. When I’m asked to define God I’m almost wordless.’”

Microsoft Mission Impossible - I still enjoy reading articles from the world of technology and this one does a good job of describing the challenge to the next CEO of Microsoft.

Intro to Drums - This is a fun and fascinating little video about drums. Yes, drums.

Keep praying, but be thankful that God’s answers are wiser than your prayers! —William Culbertson

October 12, 2013

Appreciating Our Differences - There is value in reading this article about appreciating differences in marriage; there may be a bit more value in actually filling out the assessment and talking it over.

A Slow Death to the Soul - I think the best part of Mez McConnell’s article on mercy ministry comes near the end when he says, “It is staggering but true that many churches just haven’t thought about what they are going to do with somebody who comes to faith through their mercy ministry. What is the discipleship strategy? Who will care for them? Who will hold them accountable? How will we move them forward in their walk with Jesus? How will we prepare them for whatever ‘work of service’ God has called them to?”

Gladwell’s Return to Faith - Here’s a short and interesting interview with bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell who describes a return to faith. (He grew up in a Mennonite home not far from where I live.)

Real Men Journal, Too - Writing for CBMW, Ivan Mesa offers seven reasons men should consider keeping a journal.

Harvest 2013 - It’s Thanksgiving weekend up here in Canada, so this harvest photo gallery seems appropriate.

Judgement, Salvation & the Living and the Dead - You may enjoy this sermon jam featuring Dick Lucas.

The Grace of Repenting to Your Kids - Do not be afraid of repenting to and in front of your children; they will respect you more, not less.

God’s heart, not mine, is the measure of his giving; not my capacity to receive, but his capacity to give. —C.H. Spurgeon

October 11, 2013

It has been a bit of a slow week for Kindle deals, but here is at least one to consider: Through the Eyes of C.H. Spurgeon by Stephen McCaskell ($2.99). You may want to go back and check out Tuesday’s deals. While we are on the subject of books, Canon Press is having a brief fall sale.

Mourn Over Your Sins - “Spiritual mourning is laden with blessing and we are to go after it and get as much of it in our lives as we possibly can. The more you know of this mourning, the more joy you will experience in your life. How does one receive the comfort that comes from spiritual mourning?” This brief article explains.

20 Tips for Personal Devotions - Yesterday David gave us 18 obstacles to personal devotions in a digital age; today he gives us 20 tips on doing it well. I especially agree with #5.

Cross-Culture Evangelism - John Folmar pastors a growing church in Dubai and offers several tips on how to do cross-culture evangelism.

Effective Personal Evangelism - Jeremy Walker is beginning a series that looks promising. He will be looking at effective personal evangelism.

Far Better Than I Could - If you have followed any of Thabiti Anyabwile’s thoughts on how to gain back the discussion on homosexuality, you will want to read his latest thoughts on the matter. In a similar vein, you may want to read this report of Rosaria Butterfield at USF.

There can be no peace between you and Christ while there is peace between you and sin. —C.H. Spurgeon

October 10, 2013

The Ayres Family Buried Eight Children - “Recently, we walked through the oldest cemetery in New Albany, Indiana, where the founders and many of our town’s first settlers are buried. We happened upon the family plot of a father, mother, and their eight children. These parents buried all of their sons and daughters before their oldest was even 20 years old. Contemplate this family’s story of hope-filled suffering.”

Feeling Shame Is Not Repentance - “Shame has its place, but feeling shame over sin is not the same thing as repentance from sin. Shame can come from wounded pride as much as it can come from our love for God. And when we allow the shame of one sin to lead us into more sin, the tempter can focus on small sins and still yield big results.”

The Best Way to Improve Your Preaching - Mike Leake has a good word on the best way to improve your preaching.

A Year of Biblical Womanhood - The forthcoming Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood has a review of Rachel Held Evans’ book A Year of Biblical Womanhood. You can read the review now at CBMW.

Obstacles to Personal Devotions - David Murray lists eighteen obstacles to personal devotions in the digital age.

Ministry for Stay-at-Home Moms - At Practical Shepherding, Brian Croft tells how stay-at-home moms can have an especially effective ministry in a certain area of church life.

Touching His human nature, Jesus is no longer present with us. Touching his Divine nature, He is never absent from us. —R.C. Sproul

October 09, 2013

Do I Have to Know the Date? - “Pastor John, I was greatly troubled in a service recently when the preacher said that unless each person could identify the specific day that they prayed ‘the sinner’s prayer’ they were not converted. … I feel sure I am converted but this preacher has unsettled me enormously. What are your thoughts on this?”

Brothers, We Are Not Professionals - John Piper’s Brothers, We Are Not Professionals is $2.99 on Kindle.

Fighting the Good Fight - Rosaria Butterfield is fighting the good fight. Denny Burk brings you up to date.

This Is My Son - Greg Lucas shares a moving poem.

From the DMZ - David Platt and Francis Chan were standing at the DMZ between North and South Korea and “recorded this short, candid video reflecting on the realities of a closed country with little or no access to the gospel.”

Broken Lives of Fukushima - The Big Picture has a gallery of haunting images from the area around the Fukushima reactor.

If It Be Your Will - No one says it quite like R.C. Sproul.

Love is not maximum emotion. Love is maximum commitment. —Sinclair Ferguson

October 08, 2013

There are always some good Kindle deals on Tuesdays. Here they are: The Greener Grass Conspiracy by Stephen Altrogge ($0.99); The Kingdom of God by Morgan and Peterson ($0.99); Work Matters by Tom Nelson ($0.99); Joy by Lydia Brownback ($0.99); A Call to Spiritual Reformation by D.A. Carson ($3.99); The Gospel-Driven Life by Michael Horton ($3.99).

The Reformation and the Press - “This article is the first of two that will consider the importance of Johann Gutenberg’s movable type printing technology for the Protestant Reformation and how the new technology was employed effectively by Martin Luther in Germany.”

Your Pastor Needs You - Since I have become a pastor, articles like this take on a little more urgency.

Ministry Effectiveness and Retention Rates - Timothy Paul Jones looks at a much-quoted statistic. “But let’s suppose for just a moment that your ministry actually does have an abysmal attrition rate. What if your church really is losing nine out of ten attendees when they graduate from high school? Would that provide a sufficient motive to realign your congregation around an entirely new ministry model?”

Evangelism in the Workplace - Ashok Nachnani, writing for 9Marks, offers some helpful counsel on evangelism in the workplace.

Keep. On. Praying. - Here’s a reminder we need again and again. “So pray always and do not lose heart. You may have prayed for a loved one’s salvation for years and years and see no change yet. Don’t give up. Don’t stop praying.”

Praise and Criticism - J.D. Greear has some good thoughts on giving helpful praise and criticism: “Like most people, I like being praised. And I don’t enjoy receiving criticism. But not every example of praise or criticism is created equal.”

Don’t believe everything you think. You cannot be trusted to tell yourself the truth. Stay in The Word. —Jerry Bridges

October 07, 2013

Here are a few Kindle deals to start your week: Accidental Pharisees by Larry Osborne ($2.99); Standing Strong by John MacArthur (free); The MacArthur Bible Commentary ($6.99); Slave by John MacArthur ($2.99); Prayer by John Bunyan ($0.99).

Life & Laundry - Lindsey tells what a P.O.W. taught her about life and laundry.

The Only Intoxication The Bible Advises - “The Song of Solomon appropriately celebrates the only kind of intoxication that the Bible advises, which is that we should be drunk on the love of our wives and husbands, but it celebrates that intoxication with a clear-eyed, morning-after sobriety. It doesn’t present the unimproved, unexamined, sophomoric, sickly sweet cotton candy goo of immature infatuation…”

An Interview - When I was in Scotland a couple of weeks ago, I visited a television studio for an interview with David Meredith. You can watch it here if you’re interested.

Appetite for Being Known - Matt Perman shares some notes from a conference keynote address on the appetite for being known. “You have in you an appetite to be known. You will never hear ‘I have enough friends, followers and mentions; my church is large enough; we don’t want any more campuses; I’ve sold enough books.’”

Christians and Homosexuality - Tim Keller takes a look at two different books on homosexuality written by Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction (Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill and Is God Anti-Gay? by Sam Alberry. “These are books written by men who are not experiencing their lives as impoverished or sub-human. Their commitment to chastity within the lives God has given them is one of finding fulfillment and identity in their relationship to Christ.”

Why Leaves Change Color - Why do leaves change color? This video answers it.

If you are never born again, you will wish you had never been born at all. —J.C. Ryle

October 05, 2013

Years of Love - We love stories like this, don’t we? “Last week, after 63 years of marriage, Bob Cousy said goodbye to his bride. His loved ones say he’s bereft, inconsolable. And they’re surprised that he agreed to an interview, because Cousy is a private man who cared for Missie alone for more than a decade, never seeking help, services or sympathy. That wasn’t in the game plan.”

Sojourn Music Sale - Sojourn’s music is on sale—all albums are 50% off. Use coupon code worshipleader. (You can use that same code to get Songs for the Book of Luke).

Making God the Center - It is always so easy to draft away from having God as the center of our congregational worship and putting ourselves there instead. This brief article reminds us of our priorities when we gather to worship.

The Church Needs Seminary - Kevin DeYoung writes about why the church still needs its seminaries.

Free from Porn - “For those trapped in pornography addiction, how does grace train us to set porn aside and pursue a life of holiness instead? How does grace empower this kind of change?” Heath Lambert answers the questions.

Missionary Economics - This is an interesting article about the overlap between mission work and economics. “If missionaries can get a strong understanding of the intended and unintended consequences of choices made before making them, long-term solutions can be found, not simply short-term fixes.”

You can be as straight as a gun barrel theologically—and be as empty as one spiritually. —A.W. Tozer

October 04, 2013

Here is a handful of notable Kindle deals: Live Like a Narnian by Joe Rigney has received a lot of attention through Desiring God the past few days ($3.99); the HCSB Study Bible, rather a good one ($2.99); Glorious Ruin by Tullian Tchividjian ($3.03); The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken (free); Manhood Restored by Eric Mason ($4.99).

How Are You Doing? - R.C. Sproul Jr. answers this question: How are you doing on the anniversary of your daughter’s passing? “It is never a good thing when the phone rings in the middle of the night. Neither is it a good thing when my phone rings in the middle of class, especially when the call is from home. I took the call. There was, understandably, some uncertainty on the other end of the line. I tore out of the classroom and into my car.”

The Fading Glory of Sex - This is an important article. “Yes, sex can and should be glorious when shared between a married man and woman.  But, friend, remember this.  It is but a fading glory. Your body’s decay is making sure of that.  As Piper reminds us, marriage is only momentary.”

8 Point Interpretation of Genesis 3:15 - Here’s an interesting look at what our first parents could have known from the first preaching of the Gospel. It’s good to step back and, for a moment, to forget that we know how the story progresses.

Two Is Better Than One - I love it when we receive confirmation that God’s ways really are the best. Al Mohler points to an article showing the economic consequences of abandoning marriage. “Put bluntly, the failure to marry dramatically increases the likelihood of poverty and continued economic retreat.” Mohler concludes, “All this is testimony to the power of marriage, and to the fact that marriage is one of the greatest gifts God has given his human creatures.”

Stop Slandering Christ’s Bride - Joe Carter tells us to stop generalizing and saying, “Christians aren’t speaking to this issue” (whatever the issue is). “The surest sign that thousands of Christian in church congregations across the country are talking about an issue is that someone will claim that believers in America are not talking about it.”

It is a reading age, a preaching age, a working age, but it is not a praying age. —C.H. Spurgeon

October 03, 2013

Casualties of the Revolution - This is sobering: “In contemporary America,” says Anthony Esolen, “condemnation of pedophilia rests on sentiment and not on moral reasoning. Nobody can simultaneously explain why pedophilia is so vile and uphold the first commandment of the sexual revolution: Fulfill thy desires.”

Pouring Your Life Into Others - “Most jobs require us to interact with others, working as a team to achieve stated objectives. How we approach this interaction provides us with an opportunity to demonstrate the Gospel actively working in and through our lives.”

All Kinds of Glutton - There are some good thoughts here about the heart of gluttony. “Because gluttony is a heart issue, it’s not just overweight people who are sinning here. There are all sorts of ways to be gluttonous while maintaining a socially acceptable figure. Here are a few…”

It’s Not Dying - Ed Stetzer takes issue with people who claim the church is dying. “The church is not dying. Yes, the church in the West—the United States included—is in transition right now. But transitioning is not the same as dying, particuarly if you hold the belief that Christianity is represented by people who live for Christ, not check ‘Christian’ on a survey form.”

The Most Notorious Heretic - “Who is church history’s most notorious false teacher? It might not be possible to answer that question definitively. But if we were to create a top-ten ‘most wanted’ list, the name Arius would undoubtedly be near the top.”

If sins need to be expiated, it is because they are sins committed against someone who ought to be propitiated.  —F.F. Bruce

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