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A La Carte

August 18, 2012

Pat Robertson - “In a recent broadcast of The 700 Club, a woman sent in a question about a man who wouldn’t marry her because she has children who were adopted internationally. If they were her ‘own’ biological children, he would have no problem, she said. But because they were adopted, he saw too much risk. Host Pat Robertson’s female co-host bristled and said he was acting like a ‘dog.’ Robertson disagreed.”

The Psychology of Social Networking - “Neal Postman warned that we were Amusing Ourselves to Death. Maybe today the fear is that we publicize ourselves to death. That’s the concern represented on this infographic.”

The David Barton Controversy - Marvin Olasky provides an update on the David Barton controversy.

The Second Coming Christ - Here’s a long form article from CT. “David Jang has become an increasingly influential figure in Asian and now American evangelicalism. He and his followers have founded media outlets and a Christian college and are key influencers in the World Evangelical Alliance. But…”

The Rise of License Plate Readers - “Tiburon, a small but wealthy town just northeast of the Golden Gate Bridge, has an unusual distinction: it was one of the first towns in the country to mount automated license plate readers (LPRs) at its city borders.” It won’t be the last.

Dangerous Swimming - Is it dangerous to swim after eating?

God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. —C.S. Lewis

August 17, 2012

Are We All Braggarts? - From the WSJ: “Boasting isn’t just a problem on the Internet. In a society of unrelenting competition—where reality-show contestants duke it out for the approval of aging celebrities and pastors have publicists—is it any wonder we market ourselves relentlessly?”

I Choose Grace - Here is one man’s response when a registered sex offender moved into his neighborhood.

A Closing Plea - Spurgeon knew how to bring it. Here is a closing plea from one of his sermons.

The Amish Population - The Atlantic writes about the exploding Amish population.

Miss Moose, Hit Bear - Yet another reason I love the Internet—so I can read stories like this: “A Norwegian driver who swerved his car on a rural road to avoid running into a moose hit a bear instead, authorities said on Thursday.”

God sweetens outward pain with inward peace. —Thomas Watson

August 16, 2012

Enough Already! - Actress Jodie Foster penned an interesting article (Note: it contains a couple of profanities). She writes about how horrendous it is to grow up in the public eye and defends a kid’s right to be a kid. It’s interesting because, as a star actress, she has had a hand in creating the very culture she hates. Either way, good food for thought.

The Precious Word - I enjoyed this article, a recounting of a lot of street evangelism during the Olympics.

What I’ve Learned Along the Way - A pastor provides a skimmable list of some of the things he has learned over 21 years of ministry. Here’s a sampling: “Sheep bite. Faithful preaching does not guarantee church growth. Just because there is a crowd does not mean there is a church.”

Fitted Sheets - This is very instructional.

The Greatest Olympian - “Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian in he modern incarnation of the Olympic Games.  But is he the ‘greatest Olympian’ ever?  It’s partly a question of definitions, but I would argue that he is not.”

There was never a sinner half as big as Christ is Savior. —C.H. Spurgeon

August 15, 2012

What’s Wrong with Patriarchy - D.A. Carson: “In their defense of complementarianism, several Council members in The Gospel Coalition have been known to preface their remarks with the insistence that complementarianism is not to be confused with either patriarchalism or with mere traditionalism in men/women relationships. To some observers, however, all three expressions are roughly synonymous. So why do we insist on the difference?”

Gospel Fellowship - Be sure to read this short article from Dane Ortlund.

Good News for Bad Preachers - Russell Moore talks to young preachers: “Your first few sermons are always terrible, no matter who you are. If you think your first few sermons are great, you’re probably self-deceived. If the folks in your home church think your first few sermons are great, it’s probably because they love you and they’re proud of you.”

The Cross and the Electric Chair - You’ve heard this line before: “For Christians to wear crosses around their necks is like us wearing a symbol of an electric chair.” Glenn Stanton shows why this isn’t a good thing to say.

The LEGO Story - Here’s a short, fun, animated film about the origins of LEGO.

Abortions for the Health of the Mother - “A report to Parliament has revealed abortions performed in the United Kingdom to save the life of the mother are a stunningly low 0.006 percent of procedures.”

How To Tell a Liar - Forbes distills a whole book down to a few useful pointers and tells you how to spot a liar.

A golden coffin will be a poor compensation for a damned soul. —C.H. Spurgeon

August 14, 2012

To Suffer Faithfully - “We sometimes tend to focus on those aspects of the Christian life (spontaneity, starry-eyed-ness, passionate intensity…) in which the younger seem to have an advantage over the older, but there are a bunch of other aspects in which the very experiences that knock some of the shine off our youthful naivety are exactly the things that equip us to be better at enduring.”

Guidelines to Narrative - “If you’ve ever begun to read through the Old Testament and been filled with more questions than answers, you’re not alone. Many of the stories of the OT are hard to understand and hard to apply.” Julian offers some helpful guidelines.

Why Batman Knows Jesus - I really enjoyed Bob Glenn’s quick (three paragraphs) look at Batman and Jesus. Take a look; you’ll find that it’s not your typical article on the subject.

Rich Toddlers and Fashion - There isn’t a lot of value in this article, but I did find this line particularly revealing: “Her mother, Dara Sandler, says she dresses her daughter in the latest fashions because Juliet is a reflection of her — even though her daughter can’t spell the names of the designers, let alone pay for their clothes.” She makes her self-centered motive clear.

Duties of Church Members - Here is a shortened version of Benjamin Keach’s list of the duties of church members to pastors.

God’s Glory, Our Excellence - Writing primarily to pastors, Paul Tripp explores the connection between excellence and awe. “We have lost our commitment to the highest levels of excellence because we have lost our awe. Awe amnesia is the open door that permits mediocrity in.”

In coming to understand anything we are rejecting the facts as they are for us in favour of the facts as they are. —C.S. Lewis

August 13, 2012

Gospel or Spirit? - Good thoughts here from Trevin: “Evangelicals love to speak in theological shorthand. We employ phrases and terms that become popular, become a badge of identification, and over time get emptied of their meaning.”

Taking the Text Seriously - I enjoyed this one. “Expository preaching is a new buzzword. Everyone is doing it. But not really. They used to sing, ‘Everybody talking about heaven ain’t going.’ New verse: ‘Everybody talking about expository preaching ain’t doing it.’ That’s fine. Really. It is. If your preaching is not expository, that’s okay. But it is not okay to be unbiblical.”

The Debate - “One of the main rhetorical strategies of gay marriage supporters has been to frame the issue as the next phase in the struggle for civil rights in America. As a consequence, they brand traditional marriage supporters as ‘bigots’ who support ‘discrimination’ equivalent to that of Jim Crow. For the most part, that rhetorical strategy seems to be working. This means that if you are a Christian who believes the Bible, there are many who simply believe you to be a morally retrograde bigot.”

Lessons from an Olympic Hero - John Percival proposes ten lessons we ought to learn from Eric Liddell.

Complicated Isn’t Compromised - “The world isn’t a black and white place. Despite our two party political system and fundamentalist church roots, life doesn’t offer the luxury of a mere two perspectives on every issue – right and wrong, good and bad, up and down, yes and no, now or never. There are a multitude of options throughout life – both, neither, maybe, all of the above, later. The world is complicated, and people who tell you otherwise likely see themselves as wiser than the rest but are more likely blinder.”

Is there nothing to sing about today? Then borrow a song from tomorrow; sing of what is yet to be. Is this world dreary? Then think of the next. —C.H. Spurgeon

August 11, 2012

Ravenous Sheep - R.C. Sproul Jr. writes about what having sheep did to his understanding of God’s people as sheep. Here’s a great line: “The hardest thing about being a shepherd is the pain of loving the sheep.”

New York Underground - National Geographic shows what’s underground in New York City. It’s like there’s a whole world down there.

Phillips’ Axioms - Unlike Solomon’s collection of proverbs, these ones are uninspired. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some good wisdom there. I like this one: “Men shouldn’t let our eyes rest anywhere our hands shouldn’t.”

The Sense of His Presence - TGC has an interview with Ryan Kelly. He “talks with Mark Mellinger about the doctrine of desertion. He describes how this doctrine helps us make sense of the psalms and our experience of spiritual dryness. Kelly reflects on a scary time in his life and directs us to Puritan writing on this topic, since so few modern writers address desertion directly.”

Bobby Petrino - Denny Burk shares a sad interview with Bobby Petrino who risked his dream job and dream marriage to have an affair (though he needs to stop referring to it as a “mistake” and acknowledge it as sin). I think it can be helpful to watch an interview like this to remind ourselves what we risk when we indulge in sin.

Prayer must carry on our work as much as preaching; he preacheth not heartily to his people that will not pray for them. —Richard Baxter

August 10, 2012

Advice for Youth Ministers - Dave Hinkley has some sound advice for youth ministers. “There is a lot of talk about best methods, a lot of talk about cool style, and lots more critique of those same methods and style. There is precious little about actually blowing on the embers of a young person’s faith.”

The David Barton Controversy - WORLD reports on David Barton and his book The Jefferson Lies, which has been found to be extremely inaccurate.

Quietness and Productivity - “Sometimes we forget that the most productive people in an organization aren’t the ones who make the most noise. In fact, it’s often the quiet ones who out-produce everyone else.”

Making the Most of Your Morning - David Mathis, writing for Desiring God, suggests a Christian way to make the most of your mornings.

Spurgeon Giveaway - Here’s an opportunity to win one of those amazing Charles Spurgeon manuscript pages (that I’ve been able to give away a few times in the past).

Pray Without Ceasing - At the very list, skim down and read the quote from Charles Hodge about praying without ceasing.

Speaking of Hodge, let’s give him the last word today:

This is true religion, to approve what God approves, to hate what he hates, and to delight in what delights him. —Charles Hodge