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A La Carte

July 20, 2012

Sexual Content in Movies - I guess this shouldn’t come as a great surprise. “Adolescents who are exposed to more sexual content in movies start having sex at younger ages, have more sexual partners, and are less likely to use condoms with casual sexual partners.”

That’s Okay - It often surprises me that I need to be constantly reminded of even the simplest things. Here is just one example of that.

What Took Me By Surprise - “Imagine a single event dramatically changing your calendar, your checkbook, your friendship network, the contents of your refrigerator, the temperature you set your thermostat, your outlook on your future and your connection with your children.”

Cornstarch and Water - Sometimes God leaves little surpises and mysteries out there for us to find. Mixing cornstarch with water (especially in large quantities) is one of them.

What If I Don’t Feel Saved? - Here is some wise counsel from J.D. Greear.

What Makes You Beautiful - I love the creativity of The Piano Guys. My kids heard this and all of them knew that it’s a One Direction Song. I’ve got no idea how they would know that.

The heart of the matter is this: preach one Christ, by Christ, to the praise of Christ. —William Perkins

July 19, 2012

Time and an Eternal Perspective - Carolyn McCulley offers reflections on the way we use our time. “My ambitions about productivity have to be reshaped by the idea that I’m simply a steward. I am responsible for investing and multiplying what I receive from the Lord because I will give an account to Him one day for my activities. What isn’t from Him is a waste of time.”

Wheaton’s Contraception Lawsuit - Christianity Today interviews Philip Ryken about suing the government over the Obama administration’s Health and Human Services mandate. It’s quite fascinating.

African Missionaries - Conrad Mbewe asks and answers this question of the church in Africa: “Why are we not sending out African missionaries?” What a joy it is (and will be) to see people of all nations taking the gospel to all nations.

Does God Love Us By Sending Pain? - This article looks at spanking and God’s discipline. “When there is no pain in discipline, there is a chronic unpleasantness in the home rather than acute pain. Discipline must be a memorable event; it is not effective as a low-grade unpleasantness”

State of the Sexual Union - “While unmarried Christians have been given practical reasons to avoid sex, what we lack is a compelling vision of marital sex as God’s good design. We have never heard the poetry within the command to practice chastity — the ‘yes’ that the ‘no’ protects. When it comes to sex, we suffer from a theological deficit.” I agree, though I wish they had quoted less from John Paul II, though, as there are others who would have carried their arguments better. Still, it is a very helpful article.

The Divine Institution of Marriage - Here is a “Christian plea for all to recognize the Lordship of Christ, the divine nature of the institution of marriage, and the ethical and moral dimension of how we live our lives today.”

We carry an insidious prosperity gospel around in our dark, little, entitled hearts. —Matt Chandler

July 18, 2012

How to Pray for Your Pastor - “I need prayer…badly! And so does your pastor. As leaders in the church, we have unique and often more intense temptations (“Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter”). So will you consider praying for your pastor the way I ask my people to pray for me?”

Church Membership Database - Here is the beginning of a series that is looking into church membership database software and, eventually, working toward recommendations.

It’s Not About You - Here’s a really good article for pastors and other church leaders: “Of all the silly notions of ministry making the rounds, there is none sillier than the self-important notion that our leadership is what makes the difference.”

The High Cost of Ambivalence - “Walking away from gospel orthodoxy or disconnecting from the stream of church history should strike terror in our hearts. But because of personal compromise, far too many believers are found “walking in the counsel of the wicked, standing in the path of sinners and seated with the scoffers” rather than defending the faith to the death.”

You Cannot Live the Gospel - In this video Voddie Baucham is calling for theological understanding and then theological precision in the way we speak.

Oh, how precious is time, and how it pains me to see it slide away, while I do so little to any good purpose. —David Brainerd

July 17, 2012

Why Disabilities? - David Murray offers answers to good questions. “There are 600 million people with disabilities in the world? Why so many? What’s God’s purpose in this?”

Biblical Theology of Motherhood - Here’s one to print off and read when you’ve got a few minutes to take it slowly and read carefully.

Summer Fellowship - If you are in the Toronto area, you may be interested in Westminster Chapel’s Summer Fellowship which includes a pretty good list of speakers.

Responding to Criticism - Good stuff from Thom Rainer: “Most of us are old enough to remember the pre-Internet days. Leaders during this earlier era were subject to criticisms, but the platforms of the critics were few. They could possibly write a critical book about a leader, but such an undertaking assumed that the criticized leader had sufficient recognition to write a book about him or her.”

When Pastors Should Be Fearful - Paul Tripp: “In a sin-broken world that doesn’t function as God intended there are reasons for every pastor to be afraid. It would be silly and unwise not to be. But you must guard your heart against being ruled by fear. So let’s take an honest look at fear and pastoral ministry.”

God is not required to seek the sinner’s permission for doing with the sinner what he pleases. —R.C. Sproul

July 16, 2012

What Is the Rapture? - R.C. Sproul answers the question. “1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 is Paul’s teaching about what is popularly called the rapture. The rapture is the miraculous transportation of all living Christians to heaven at the return of Jesus. There is a lot of misinformation about this event, but this passage gives us some definite truths about it.”

The Boy Who Wanted to Be a Girl - “I witnessed one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen last week. It was a report on NBC’s Dateline about an 11-year old child named Josie Romero.”

Not a Sinner - Dane Ortlund wrestles with the issue of identity in Christ. “As a Christian I’m in the process of bringing my sense of self, my Identity with a capital ‘I’, the ego, my swirling internal world of fretful panicky-ness arising out of that gospel deficit, into alignment with the more fundamental truth.”

Cross-Cultural Ministry - A good read: “There are no ‘celebrity’ cross-cultural missionaries. You may know a missionary or two from your home church that serves in a closed country. But I bet you a nickel that you can’t name me the author of a book who currently serves full-time in a closed country. Or an active blogger. Or a person whose podcast you listen to. When something big happens, there are books and fanfare, but that is always years after the fact.”

Believing is a matter of the will. A man does not believe without being willing to believe. —C.H. Spurgeon

July 14, 2012

Virginia’s Largest Manhunt - If you’ve got some time on your Saturday, you’ll enjoy this long but very interesting story of Virginia’s largest manhunt. “When Robert Wood Jr. disappeared in a densely forested Virginia park, searchers faced the challenge of a lifetime. The eight-year-old boy was autistic and nonverbal, and from his perspective the largest manhunt in state history probably looked like something else: the ultimate game of hide-and-seek.”

Journey to the Shrine - These are sad and interesting photos. “Each year, Hindu devotees make a pilgrimage to the sacred Amarnath Cave, one of the most revered Hindu shrines, near Baltal, Kashmir, India.”

Should Christians Refuse to Pay Taxes? - R.C. Sproul Jr.: “I can say with confidence that Christians should in fact pay whatever taxes they owe even when that money ends up financing abortions. The Christian who pays such taxes has no need to feel guilty, while the Christian that refuses to pay, however well intentioned, ought to feel guilty.”

Persecution - Here is a harsh reminder that Christian persecution continues around the world. “Video footage of a convert from Islam to Christianity being murdered by Muslims has been shown on Egyptian TV, according to the Barnabas Fund.”

Bragging About Your Sex Life - I appreciated this blogger’s comments that were related to my recent article about keeping the intimate deals of your marriage intimate.

How the Internet Works - It’s amazing what we so quickly begin to take for granted. The Internet really is a wonder. Next time you complain that a site loads slowly, it may help to consider what’s happening behind the scenes.

You get one pass at life. That’s all. Only one. And the lasting measure of that life is Jesus Christ. —John Piper

July 13, 2012

Amazon’s Same-Day Service - Amazon has a new tactic in battling retail stories: “Now that it has agreed to collect sales taxes, [Amazon] can legally set up warehouses right inside some of the largest metropolitan areas in the nation. Why would it want to do that? Because Amazon’s new goal is to get stuff to you immediately—as soon as a few hours after you hit Buy.”

Cutting Christ to Pieces - Writing for Christianity Today, Michael Horton shows that “struggling with homosexuality is a paradox, but embracing homosexuality is a contradiction.” He responds specifically to “the controversy provoked by a recent interview in the Atlantic with Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus International.”

Mercy Ministry in the Church - The new edition of the 9Marks Journal is out. It focuses on mercy ministry in the local church.

The Reformation in Lego - Not the whole Reformation—just Luther before the Diet of Worms.

Daughters - Timothy Dalrymple writes about sex-selective abortions while celebrating his love for his daughter.

My Husband’s Helper - Martha Krienke has a helpful look at how she seeks to interpret the role of “helper” in her marriage.

It is a good rule never to look into the face of man in the morning till you have looked into the face of God. —C.H. Spurgeon

July 12, 2012

When Christianity Became Cool - Gene Veith: “The 1970s was a time of hippies, free love, psychedelic drugs, and cultural revolution.  But it was also a time of major religious revival, with the ‘Jesus Movement’ gaining headway in that very counter-culture.  How could that be?  Baylor professor Philip Jenkins credits the Byrds, who popularized a recovery of American roots music, much of which is explicitly Christian.”

An Amazing Find - “As the Toledo Blade reports, when Karl Kissner and his cousins were clearing out his grandfather’s home in Defiance, Ohio, on Feb. 29 they came across a box of very rare and very valuable baseball cards.” Three million dollars’ worth…

Open Your Doors - Open Your Doors is a fantastic album by Jenny & Tyler. It’s on sale on iTunes for just $3.99. Be sure to give a listen to “See the Conqueror.”

Expository Thoughts - Banner of Truth has quite a deal going on J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels. The set of 7 volumes is marked down to just $65. If you’re a pastor, you can get it for just $25.

A New Way to Multitask - This is some clever silliness from Google.

Labelling and Identity Crisis - My main takeaway from this article was the societal obsession with labelling ourselves down to the smallest part of our identity. “The sexual identity label has become a method of reducing individuals to a micro narrative of sexual orientation. In man’s created need to transcend himself, this self-referencing label creates a personal crisis of identity and purpose.”

The Rock Solid Bible - I kind of wish this wasn’t an advertisement. Still, it’s quite well done… 

Seducers are more dangerous enemies to the church than persecutors. —Matthew Henry