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A La Carte

August 29, 2011

Alternative Medicine - Ed Welch doing what he does so well: “Have you noticed that alternative medicine is becoming more popular? (This will have something to do with biblical counseling, just give me a minute.) Acupuncturists are busier than ever. Wretched tasting herbal drinks are the new coffee. Food is no longer just for bodily maintenance—it can now be a treatment.”

A Preacher’s Decalogue - Sinclair Ferguson doing what he does so well: “What Ten Commandments, what rule of preaching-life, do I wish someone had written for me to provide direction, shape, ground rules, that might have helped me keep going in the right direction and gaining momentum in ministry along the way?”

It Was Nice While it Lasted - R.C. Sproul Jr. on the New Calvinism: “It is a sure sign that sin messes things up that we keep watching the same boxing match over and over again, between truth and unity.  Both sides, of course, insist that they have a deep and abiding love for the other. They shake hands in the center of the ring, go back to their corners, wait for the bell and come out ready to destroy the one they love. In the stands we stand, screaming ourselves hoarse in defense of our favorite.”

Visiting the Sick - Paul Tautges has a valuable article on how pastors can train the people in their church to do the work of visiting the sick.

Why McDonald’s Wins - This article explains how and why McDonald’s always wins, even during tough economic times.

Handheld Affections - I recently did a short interview for WORLD magazine and they’ve just posted it online.

Price Gouging - “If the usual pattern holds, opportunistic politicians will soon be out denouncing price-gouging connected with Hurricane Irene, while opportunistic free-market economists will soon be out placing op-ed pieces defending prices as the best way to allocate scarce resources and to assure their delivery when and where they are needed….”

If you want a religion to make you feel comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity. —C.S. Lewis

August 27, 2011

How Did the Animals Know? - “Shortly before the earthquake hit Washington, D.C., the animals in the National Zoo started freaking out. So did lots of people’s housepets, with sleepy cats suddenly jumping up and heading for the hills just prior to the quake. Scientists can’t figure out how they knew…”

Welcome Home - Here’s a blog that exists just to document surprise military homecomings. It will probably make you cry.

Free Sproul Series - Ligonier is offering 3 of R.C. Sproul’s most popular teaching series free online: Chosen by GodThe Holiness of God and What Is Reformed Theology?

Sign of the Times - I noticed yesterday that the New York Times list of bestsellers now features combined print and e-book fiction and non-fiction rather than listing only hardcover and softcover. It’s about time. I wish Heaven Is For Real wasn’t at the top of the new list…

The Twitter Effect - I was wondering the other day how many people first learned of the D.C. earthquake via social media. “Just as CNN created the 24-hours news cycle for television, Twitter has accelerated that news cycle to the point where news breaks every minute of every hour, and a tweet is almost as good as a page-one scoop. Not only that, but anyone can do it.”

Recommended Books on Leadership - From Gospel Coalition: “The Bible isn’t exhaustive when it comes leadership, but good leadership principles will resonate with it. We asked Matt Perman to suggest books to help us think through theological and practical issues that every leader faces.”

Toronto’s Storm - Yesterday I wrote about the storm that came through Toronto. Here’s a video.

Grace comes not to take away a man’s affections, but to take them up. —William Fenner

August 26, 2011

Parenting by Prayer - On parenting and prayer: “My kids are 15, 13, 11 and 3, and one of the main lessons that the Lord has been teaching me especially with the older three is the need to parent them first by prayer, and then by persuasion. As they have gotten older, I’ve come to believe that I spent too much time talking to them about them and too little time talking to God about them.”

Motherhood Is Application - On parenting and transformation: “If I had to pick one word to describe motherhood, I think that word would be ‘transforming.’ The days of a busy mother are made up of millions of transformations. Dirty children become clean, the hungry child fed, the tired child sleeping.”

Teaching the Trinity to Kids - One parenting and teaching: “Years of teaching 4 to 6 year old kids in SS has convinced my wife and me that music is a great means of helping children memorize Bible verses and doctrines.   I know nothing about the psychology of this, I have simply observed that words put to music stick in young minds more easily than words on their own.”

The Old Guys - This blog s a good one. Just about every day it shares a single great quote from an old, dead pastor or theologian. I guarantee you’ll benefit if you make it a regular visit.

Is Steve Jobs Dying for Us All? - Michael Horton asks the question. “Steve Jobs can’t really die for us. In fact, he is, like us all, a prisoner of sin and death. We may have better machines, but we will never emancipate ourselves from sin—and its penalty of death. By affirming death, Jobs proves himself not to be a very orthodox Buddhist. Now, we hope and pray, he will embrace the only solution. This gospel not only saves us from our sins; it saves us from the feverish and ineffectual striving to make something of ourselves, to be something, to become immortal at least in our legacy.”

Christ’s Omnipresence - Phil Johnson takes on a tough doctrine here. “So what about Jesus’ omnipresence? Did He not have to divest Himself of that attribute in order to be incarnated in a real human body? Didn’t he need to cease being everywhere present so that He could enter this world as a Man? Wasn’t His omnipresence necessarily suspended when He was placed in a manger?”

God is a sure paymaster, though he does not always pay at the end of every week. —C.H. Spurgeon

August 25, 2011

Steve Jobs - I guess you’ve heard by now that Steve Jobs has had to retire as CEO of Apple. This article offers a look at his impact of his career. “Most people are lucky if they can change the world in one important way, but Jobs, in multiple stages of his business career, changed global technology, media and lifestyles in multiple ways on multiple occasions.”

The Oncology Waiting Room - In this month’s issue of Tabletalk, Mike Pohlman writes about the gospel and the oncology waiting room.

Insect Portraits - This is amazing stuff. “The ‘portraits’, taken with a scanning electron microsope (SEM) by Steve Gschmeissner, reveal the tiny world that surounds us, yet still evades our view.”

Who’s Your Daddy? - I must be getting old. “The freshmen class entering college this Fall has no remembrance of what life was like before the Internet, what this whole Communist Party fuss was about in Russia, and that Amazon was once just known as a river in South America. Ferris Bueller is old enough to be their dad, and they probably don’t know the name of the bar where everybody knows your name.”

Don’t Eat the Placentas! - It’s not the article I am linking to here as much as one of the paragraphs; it struck me as being near-brilliant. “Most of the time I regard magazines as a treat. I read them when I’m taking a bath, when I’m traveling, or when I’m having a meal alone. They’re the potato chips of my reading life: I can grab a handful, feel a twinge of self-indulgence, and yet feel good about not destroying my appetite for more serious stuff.”

Consecutive Expository Preaching - David Murray writes about the pros and cons of consecutive expository preaching (i.e. preaching through books of the Bible in a verse-by-verse fashion).

Dominionists - Douglas Groothuis: “In the August 15 issue of The New Yorker, Ryan Lizza asserts that Bachmann has been ideologically shaped by ‘exotic’ thinkers of the dominionist stripe who pose a threat to our secular political institutions. The piece—and the much of the subsequent reaction to it the media—is a calamity of confusion, conflation, and obfuscation.”

If you would have God hear you when you pray, you must hear him when he speaks. —Thomas Brooks

August 24, 2011

Gospel-Centered Family - Westminster Books has Tim Chester’s Gospel-Centered Family on sale for just $3.99. “Many books aim to raise up competent, balanced parents and well-trained, well-rounded children. But Tim Chester and Ed Moll focus on families growing God-knowing, Christ-confessing, grace-receiving, servant-hearted, mission-minded believers-adults and children together.”

9 Core Principles of Writing - Matt Perman offers up 9 core principles that will be useful to any writer.

Settle Down - John MacArthur has another article for the Young, Restless and Reformed crowd. I suspect that this one will ruffle fewer feathers than the last two.

Earthquake Tweets - Here is a round-up of the top politically-themed earthquake tweets from yesterday. A favorite: “Breaking: Obama administration points out they ‘inherited’ fault lines from previous administrations.”

Reading “Pinocchio” on Paper - Scott Simon, writing for WSJ, tells about the joy of reading a book to his daughters. As in a real, printed-on-paper kind of book.

4-Year Old Preacher - This is awful on so many different levels. “He’s only a pre-schooler, but Kanon Tipton has become a YouTube sensation with his pentecostal preaching. … Damon Tipton, who has been pastor of The Pentecostals of Grenada since 2008, believes it’s a little of both mimicking and a calling.”

Table Manners - Russell Moore’s article on the importance of fencing the Lord’s Table makes for a thought-provoking read.

Worry over poverty is as fatal to spiritual fruitfulness as is gloating over wealth. —A.W. Pink

August 23, 2011

A few people have asked about updates to Friends of the Blog. I’ve got good news. On September 1 there will be some great new items for the taking, including a $15 gift certificate from Westminster Books along with a new book from DayOne. So be sure to check in on September 1.

Reformed and Charismatic - I love Michael Horton’s emphasis on the ordinary means of grace (which was also, of course, an emphasis of the Reformers) as he considers the charismatic gifts. “Obviously, those who believe that miraculous prophecy continues after the apostolic age should not be lumped together with radical movements like the New Apostolic Reformation. Nevertheless, it does provide an occasion to think carefully about the compatibility of Reformation theology with Charismatic emphases.”

The Prayer of the Lord - Here’s another entry in the “great quotes” series I’m posting over at the Ligonier blog. Speaking of Ligonier, they’ve just welcomed the first class to Reformation Bible College. “Even though the Ligonier staff has been working diligently for several years, this college is 452 years in the making.”

A Free Film - Subscribe to David Murray’s new blog and you’ll get a free download of his film CrossReference: The Angel of the Lord.

Opal Ring and Piping Bullfinch - A great little anecdote from the life of Charles Spurgeon.

Soul Surfer - Jared Wilson has a review of the film Soul Surfer. “Here’s my beef, and I’m sure I will take some flack from somebody for this. Bethany Hamilton’s story is inspiring and encouraging, and I’m sure she has real saving faith in Jesus Christ, but the message of the movie Soul Surfer appears to be ‘I can do all things through moralistic therapeutic deism which strengthens me.’”

Deselecting Our Children - “Here’s a recent Danish headline: ‘Plans to make Denmark a Down syndrome-free perfect society.’ The Danes want to promote aborting fetuses with Down syndrome, so their society will be free of such people around 2030. One bioethicist describes it as a ‘fantastic achievement.’”

Freshman 15 - “Dining hall food gets a bad rap, but incoming college freshmen don’t seem to have a problem packing on the infamous ‘freshman 15.’ Honoring that tradition, here are 15 ways incoming freshmen (or upperclassmen for that matter) can seek to glorify God as they head off to college this month.”

Triple Play - It doesn’t get much weirder than this.

When we cannot, by searching, find the bottom, we must sit down at the brink and adore the depth. —Matthew Henry

August 22, 2011

The Rise of Blogs - Trevin makes a good observation about the rise of blogs and the associated demise of traditional media. “Then it dawned on me. The mainstream media needs blogs in order to get traffic to their own websites. The real reason the reporter called on me was not primarily because of my book or my education or my pastoral experience, but because of my blog platform.”

Biblical Servant Pastor - Bob Kelleman looks at the biblical model for the servant pastor. 

Changing the Way We Learn - The Internet is changing the way we learn, and this infographic displays it.

Barfing Baby Frogs - How weird is this? “Male Darwin’s frogs engage in a behavior called mouth-brooding, where they take their own fertilized eggs into their mouth just before they hatch.  They’re not eating them.  Instead they store them in the vocal sacs that they otherwise use to make mating calls to attract females.”

Sunset - Awesome.

Insensitivity - Not quite so awesome.

The Myth of Mutual Submission - Andy Naselli links to Grudem’s take on the myth of mutual submission.

Hospital Africa - Charles Woodrow is the missionary we support at Grace Fellowship Church. This video shows the work he is doing in Mozambique.

Had I the tongue of angels, I could not sufficiently set forth the excellency of Scripture. —Thomas Watson

August 20, 2011

It’s the last weekend of the little league baseball season around here, which means that my son has between 3 and 5 games, depending on how it all shakes out. So here’s to a day spent out in the sun, watching 11-year old boys play baseball.

His Eye Is On the Sparrow - Here is the latest free hymn from Redemption Hill Music.

Moving Toward Noteless - This is an article on preaching without notes. Some of the best and some of the most disappointing sermons I’ve heard have been note-free. When done by a capable preacher, there’s nothing like it.

Muphry’s Law - I enjoyed this. “Muphry’s Law is the editorial application of the better-known Murphy’s Law.” You’ll have to read to see what this law dictates. (HT:Phil Johnson)

Book Filtering - A wise word from Alan Jacobs (via Tony Reinke).

William Carey at 250 - Timothy George: “Now, two and one-half centuries after his birth, what can we learn from Carey today? There are many lessons to be gleaned from the life of the father of modern missions, but I place these seven principles at the top of the list…”

Singing to Build Up - Read this before tomorrow’s worship service. Then go and sing with gusto!

Inside Fukushima - “Earlier this month, Kazuma Obara became the first photojournalist to gain unauthorised access to the power plant and produced an exclusive glimpse of life inside the facility.”

How Books Are Made - A video that I enjoyed. (HT)

Faith is the power of putting self aside that God may work unhindered.F.B. Meyer