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A La Carte

April 09, 2010

The African Christian University - Conrad Mbewe posts about an exciting development in Africa. “We have a dream. As Reformed Baptist churches in Zambia grow, a number of our churches have sensed a pull—we believe it is a divine pull—to start a university in Lusaka. God seems to have brought just the right team together in order to realise this dream.”

Phil Johnson on Warren & Piper - Phil Johnson has some great things to say about John Piper’s invitation to Rick Warren. I think what he says is very fair. “Warren’s private reassurances to John Piper shouldn’t trump the fact that he does not actually preach the gospel plainly, boldly, thoroughly, unashamedly, and in a way that is faithful to the Word of God. If he privately believes something other than what he has said in his books and sermons, that makes him more culpable as a hypocrite. His belief is better than his practice? Let’s not make that sound heroic.”

Humor Can Get Through - Ray Ortlund posts a good cartoon.

Walmart’s Growth - This is an amazing timeline tracing the dominance of Walmart.


7 Miles - A sermon jam featuring a sermon from Matt Chandler:

PIXELS: - Far less edifying, this video is quite amusing, especially if you’re just about my age.

April 08, 2010

Praying for T4G - Kevin DeYoung has a good post on how to pray for the upcoming Together for the Gospel conference.

The Good News We Almost Forgot - While we’re on the subject of DeYoung, Westminster Books is offering a great sale on his new book. I actually wrote an endorsement for the book. Here’s part of what I said: “In Good News We Almost Forget Kevin DeYoung dusts off that old Catechism and proves that it is as relevant today as it was 450 years ago. Its truths are timeless, its encouragement unchanged. I am grateful to Kevin for introducing this venerable document to a new generation of believers. May they find hope and joy in the One it celebrates.”

The Preaching of John MacArthur - Phil Johnson excerpts “a brand-new volume by Hughes Oliphant Old, The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church, Volume 7: Our Own Time, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010), 551-58. Dr. Old’s series on preaching is a landmark achievement, and this sample is typical of his crisp writing style and careful, objective analysis. If you’re interested in the history of preaching, you will love this series.”

The Burden of Paying - This article discusses how people pay for weddings when the average wedding apparently now costs $28,000. “Couples are relying not only on the kindness of the bride’s parents, who have traditionally borne most of the burden, but also on that of the bridegroom’s parents, along with the couple’s stepparents and even grandparents, aunts and uncles.”

iSix:5 Unpacked - If you’re into Christian rap, you may be interested in this album which is available as a free download. I’m afraid that I am singularly unqualified to judge whether or not it’s good quality!

April 07, 2010

Price Anchoring - Mint.com looks at the sales tactic of price anchoring through the iPad. “Showmanship? Sure. But this stuff works. It’s called the anchoring effect, and it’s been well understood by psychologists for decades. Marketers use it against you all the time—but sometimes you can turn the tables, and I’ll tell you how.” And speaking of the iPad, here’s Blendtec doing what they do, matching an iPad with their blender. I’ll ruin the ending by saying that the blender wins.

Seven Basic and Brief Pointers for Writers - From Douglas Wilson. “In no particular order of importance, I would encourage those who want to learn the wordriht life to approximate something like the following…” He goes on to give 7 pretty good tips.

Isaac Newton on the Trinity Hypothesis - An interesting post from Credenda Agenda. “Newton’s study of theology and alchemy comes as a shock to people.  But Newton was a great synthesizer; he didn’t merely want to master a few separate disciplines.  A command of mathematics and natural philosophy was only a part of his goal.  Newton endeavored to a great, comprehensive system of the world—from the solar system to the fundamental nature of matter to God’s work in redemptive history.  Newton’s agenda was far more ambitious than it had a right to be, but inordinate ambition is common among geniuses.”

Why Do Evangelicals Dislike Me So Much? - Brian McLaren exhibits a bit of feigned surprise and ignorance here as he asks why Evangelicals are bothered when he takes a wrecking ball to God and the Bible.

Logos March Madness - Logos has a bunch of great deals for you where you can get up to 75% off 5 dozen titles.

1Password - One final deal. If you’re a Mac user, you pretty much have no excuse not to use 1Password, an amazing password management program. Add it to your cart and you’ll see that they’re selling it at 20% off at the moment.

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.