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A La Carte

April 06, 2010

Life With iPad - Do you have what it takes to be an iPad owner? “While the company’s previous offerings in this genre have typically featured Apple Store employees in a neutral space, the iPad videos take us into a model home of an iPad user. It’s a pristine environment, fit for an IKEA showroom, with lots of coffee around. This is how Steve Jobs wants us to use his revolutionary device. Let’s take a tour through Apple’s tour of how an enlightened iPad user lives.”

10 Personal Letters Per Day - This is an interesting article. “The black binder arrived at the White House residence just before 8 p.m., and President Obama took it upstairs to begin his nightly reading. The briefing book was dated Jan. 8, 2010, but it looked like the same package delivered every night, with printouts of speeches, policy recommendations and scheduling notes. Near the back was a purple folder, which Obama often flips to first.”

Disconnecting Distraction - This is a very good article, one I found yesterday while research my book. It discusses distraction and procrastination.

Failure: The Last Taboo? - David Murray asks the question. Between you and me, David’s blog is fast becoming one of my favorite near-daily reads. “Learning to ‘fail well’ is a vital part of Christian ministry. A pastor said to me recently, ‘The first ten years of ministry is all about being broken and stripped!’ I must have had a crash course, because it took me only five years to be broken, stripped, and branded a failure!”

Elder’s Children - Mounce looks at Titus 1:6 to determine if an elder’s children are to be believers or faithful.

Baseball is Back - And you’re not likely to see a prettier defensive play than this one:

April 05, 2010

Let Books Be Books - I appreciated this brief article from Douglas Groothuis. “Many books today seem afraid to rely on pure text. They seem to be embarrassed to be what they are: books, that is, orderly collections of words formed into sentences and paragraphs.Too many books are filled with one-sentence paragraphs (usually a sign of poor style and impatience), call-outs that repeat what is in smaller print elsewhere on the page (annoying), stand-alone call-outs with little connection to the flow of the text and which I find disorienting.”

10 Surprising Things About the iPad - OK, so they aren’t really all that surprising. But I’m enjoying reading the early reviews and feedback about the iPad. I still think the lack of easy input is going to prove to be the area where it most demands innovation.

Top 10 Kindle Features - Meanwhile Ray Fowler is professing his love for his Kindle, a device that fares both well and poorly in comparison to the iPad.

Writing a Killer Blog Without Killing Yourself - There is plenty of good counsel to be found in this presentation.

The Missing Link - Once again, scientists are saying they’ve found the missing link between apes and man. This seems to be a recurring headline, showing up every few months. “The new species of hominid, the evolutionary branch of primates that includes humans, is to be revealed when the two-million-year-old skeleton of a child is unveiled this week. Scientists believe the almost-complete fossilised skeleton belonged to a previously-unknown type of early human ancestor that may have been a intermediate stage as ape-men evolved into the first species of advanced humans, Homo habilis.”

Go To Church, Win a Car - Look, I love your enthusiasm and your desire to try new things. But giving away cars as a lure to draw in an audience is just not the way to go. Unless, of course, you measure ministry only by attendance figures.

April 02, 2010

Ligonier Ministries National Conference - Forgive me if I’ve linked this before. This year’s Ligonier Ministries National Conference looks to be a good one. It deals with Tough Questions Christians Face and will feature R.C. Sproul, Alistair Begg, Michael Horton, Steve Lawson, Al Mohler and more. Also, there will be a pre-conference called Bits, Bytes, Blogs and Bibles where I will be speaking along with Al Mohler Ed Stetzer and Burk Parsons.

Passion Plays - I enjoyed this article, an outside perspective on passion plays, written by a young Jewish man.

Off the Face of the Earth - Here is “the remarkable story of a group of Holocaust survivors who hid in one of the world’s largest caves.”

April 01, 2010

Think Really Different - Quite needless to say, the iPad buzz is at an all-time high just two days before it releases in the US (international release will be later in the month). Newsweek says “The iPad will change the way you use computers, read books, and watch TV—as long as you’re willing to do it the Steve Jobs way.”

A New Frontier - Meanwhile the Wall Street Journal reviews the iPad and says it will open a whole new frontier. “For the past week or so, I have been testing a sleek, light, silver-and-black tablet computer called an iPad. After spending hours and hours with it, I believe this beautiful new touch-screen device from Apple has the potential to change portable computing profoundly, and to challenge the primacy of the laptop. It could even help, eventually, to propel the finger-driven, multitouch user interface ahead of the mouse-driven interface that has prevailed for decades.”

Desiring God’s National Conference - Desiring God just announced the lineup for their 2010 National Conference. Rick Warren will be one of the speakers. In this video John Piper explains the rationale.

April Tabletalk - The April edition of Ligonier’s Tabletalk magazine is out and you can read quite a few of the columns online. The topic is “A Brave New World…” and the issue looks at technology. There are some very good articles.

McLaren and Controversy - Publisher’s Weekly has an article about the controversy surrounding Brian McLaren’s latest book.

Getting Serious About Pornography - The article from National Review looks at our porn problem. While Christians have been saying many of these things for a long time, it is good to see greater mainstream acceptance of the devastation caused by pornography.

March 31, 2010

iDolatry? - Dustin Neeley has three questions you should ask yourself before buying an iPad. I think gadgets like the iPad are very good at revealing idols of the heart, so it’s always worth asking questions like these ones. And speaking of the iPad, take a look at this article, Apple’s iPad: By the Numbers.

Simplify Your Workday - This article offers some good suggestions for simplifying (and maximizing) your workday.

Office Technology: Productivity Boost or Time Sink? - This article asks some good questions about the place of technology and gadgets in the workplace. “What the experts have figured out is how to track what office workers actually spend their time doing. The results indicate that — contrary to any assumptions about their usefulness — personal computers, smartphones, notebooks, netbooks and associated gadgets can be such massively beguiling, addictive time sinks that they materially damage the economy — draining it by one-sixteenth, according to one calculation.”

The Toll of Our Toiling - Collin Hansen writes about John Piper’s leave of absence. He says “Thousands of ministers who have learned from Piper through his books, sermons, and conference talks will now have opportunity to learn from his silence.”

Common Tax Return Mistakes - Here’s a timely article if you, like me, are a last-minute kind of filer. “Tax time is annoying and pressure-filled enough when your return is 100% accurate. Make a few mistakes, however, and April can quickly devolve into a nightmarish ordeal. What seems to you like little more than a trivial error can rapidly trigger suspicion (or even fines and audits) from your friends at the IRS. Many a taxpayer has found himself hunched over a desk — head in hands — for days or weeks on end fixing careless tax return errors. Billshrink wants nothing more than to spare our readers such agony, so we put together this list of 12 common tax return mistakes to avoid. So enjoy — but be sure to file with caution!”

Red Letter - A new (and free) album from Mars Hill Church.

March 30, 2010

Calvinism Is Back - The once-daily format of A La Carte means that I’m sometimes late on the news. I’m betting this article has already been posted on 8,000 different blogs. Nevertheless, here it is again. This is from the Christian Science Monitor: “In America’s Christian faith, a surprising comeback of rock-ribbed Calvinism is challenging the Jesus-is-your-buddy gospel of modern evangelism.”

Buried for 27 Days - The Telegraph has an article on a man who survived being buried for 27 days after the earthquake in Haiti.

Christian Book Award Finalists - The ECPA has announced the list of this year’s Christian Book Award finalists. I don’t know how to react to the news that The American Patriot’s Bible has been nominated in the Bibles category.

March 29, 2010

The Pastor’s Worst Enemy - Here’s a very good word from David Murray about the greatest enemy a pastor will face in his ministry.

John Piper’s Leave - John Piper just announced that he will be taking a lengthy leave of absence. “I asked the elders to consider this leave because of a growing sense that my soul, my marriage, my family, and my ministry-pattern need a reality check from the Holy Spirit. On the one hand, I love my Lord, my wife, my five children and their families first and foremost; and I love my work of preaching and writing and leading Bethlehem. I hope the Lord gives me at least five more years as the pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem.”

A Deal from Monergism Books - This week at Monergism Books, order Tim Keller’s new curriculum Gospel in Life (DVD) and Study Guide and get 10% off your entire order. Just use the coupon code gospelinlife at check out. Offer ends Tuesday March 30th at midnight.

What Is the Gospel? - Greg Gilbert, author of the newly released What is the Gospel?, provides a quick introduction to his book.

March 26, 2010

Wrestling with an Angel - Here’s a must-read blog post for this morning. It begins this way: “One busy Saturday afternoon I was patrolling the local mall parking lot in my police cruiser. It was warm, so I had my windows down enjoying the fall air. As I drove though the lot I heard a loud piercing cry echoing like a sound bite from a horror movie.” (HT: the kerux)

Deals of the Day - At Westminster Books you can get a two-pack of great new books for just $14.99 while at Reformation Heritage Books you can get a complete different two-pack of other good books.

The Tiger Woods Bubble - Here’s an interesting article from the New York Times. “As far as professional golf is concerned, Woods cannot come back fast enough. The PGA Tour is at a critical juncture. Next year it will begin negotiating new TV contracts with CBS and NBC. In the meantime, the tour is trying to secure sponsors for 10 events in 2011 while economic conditions are not exactly favorable.” And speaking of bubbles, you may also be interested in reading about the great baseball card bubble.

Kindle App for iPad - This app could potentially change a lot of the bad things I’ve said about the iPad. It looks that, unlike the PC and Mac versions of the Kindle app, this will allow you to take notes and add highlights to text. But we still need to see if Apple will permit it.

A People of the App? - Jared Bridges: “This past Sunday, I did something generally considered verboten  in conservative evangelical circles.I went to church without my Bible.”

Endtimes Timeline Animation - David Murray has released three helpful animations of different eschatalogical systems: Amillennial Timeline, Postmillennial Timeline and Premillennial Timeline.

March 25, 2010

Facebook Measures Happiness - Here is some interesting analysis from the folks at Facebook. “Facebook  is a friendly distraction  for most of us, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be a tool: Facebook’s been exploring those billions of status updates as a social data source for example. The data on happiness indices around the world are fascinating.”

The Story of Zac Smith - A video worth watching.

Adopted in Christ - And another one. This one discusses adoption.

Dirty Hands - Thirsty Theologian looks at R.C. Sproul’s discussion of Uzzah, the man who reached out and touched the Ark of the Covenant in order to keep it from falling.

March 24, 2010

We Can’t Sing - Michael Krahn: “I see a parallel between the lack of confidence in singing and the world of visual images in tabloid and fashion magazines. Photoshopped images create unrealistic body expectations. In the modern era of music autotuned recordings give us unrealistically perfect sounds.”

An Interview - Frank Viola recently interviewed me about blogging and life in general.

Another Interview - I also guested on the Samson Society podcast a couple of days ago. We talked mostly about Sexual Detox. Scroll down and look for episode 17.

The Lost Girls - Carolyn McCulley points to an article that looks at the growing problem of sex slavery in the US. “Imagine you live in a country riven by war or poverty or both. There is no work. There is not enough food to feed your family or money for medicine when someone gets sick or injured. Education is nothing but a pipe dream. If you are a woman, your value is even more tenuous; you have probably been beaten or abused in some other way by a father, a husband, or an employer. You’re smart enough to understand that this life promises to be the only one you will get. It will last for another thirty or forty years, with no improvement. And that will be it.”

Voices of Haiti - Amazing photography highlighting the human devastation in Haiti.

Kindle for iPad - This app could change everything about the iPad for me. Then again, what are the chances that Apple will even allow it?

Christ Conducts His Choir - A reflection from David Murray. “In this astounding video, American composer and conductor Eric Whitacre spliced together nearly 250 videos of individuals singing individual parts of ‘Lux Arumque.’ He sent out the music, auditioned the singers, and then chose 250 of the submitted videos, which he spliced together to form this ‘virtual choir.’”