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A La Carte

July 27, 2011

The New Asceticism - I think Byron Yawn has a good word of warning to offer in this article. He looks at today’s many calls for radical living and points out where, if we are not careful, we could lose sight of the gospel. Remember that it tends to be good things that take our eyes off the gospel more than bad things!

What [What Not] to Say - Crossway has a helpful little excerpt from Justin and Lindsey Holcomb’s book on sexual assault. It simply shares some wisdom on what to say and what not to say to someone who reveals that they’ve been a victim of sexual assault.

A Conversation - Jesse Gardner recently did an interview with me about the books I’ve written, blogging, and so on. It’s in transcript form if you’re interested.

Here Is Our God - In 2012 The Gospel Coalition will have a conference for women. All the details are available at their site.

Porn Addiction - Michelle VanLoon talks about her father’s porn addiction and shows that such addiction goes far beyond the individual and effects the entire family. “When we consider relationships negatively impacted by a pornography addiction, most of us first consider the addict’s spouse or girl/boyfriend. It is not just the adult partner who is affected by a porn habit. Even if the addict believes he or she has the habit under wraps, porn’s toxicity leaks into other relationships in an addict’s life.”

A Different God? - David Murray answers this question: Why does God seem so different in the Old Testament than He does in the New Testament?

Nothing gives believers more joy than to see God glorified. —R.C. Sproul

July 26, 2011

One thing I love about John Piper is the passion he brings to, well, pretty much everything he does. A couple of years ago he and I went out for a quick bite to eat after a conference and he asked a bunch of questions about Twitter; he was considering getting an account (or, actually, making public his existing account) and was wondering how Twitter could be used for ministry. He brought passion to Twitter and, not surprisingly, his feed has become a must-follow. In this blog post he offers some explanation of what Twitter has meant to him.

Oslo Killer’s Religious Views - Michael Horton: “At least 76 people are dead after Anders Behring Breivik massacred campers on an island off the coast of Oslo, Norway. Finally, the media has a face and a name for making its heretofor unjustified claim of moral equivalency between conservative Christianity and Islam. Religion may be fine as long as it’s private, and you don’t really believe the key teachings of any one in particular.”

Listen to Them or Lose Them - My mother has written an article over at the True Woman blog. If you’ve got daughters, you should definitely give it a read. “Daughters. How we long for them and love them. But what exhausting little creatures they are! Ask almost any parent and I think you will hear the same thing. They love to talk … and talk … and talk.”

Heaven Is For Real - This book continues to sell in the millions. It has even hit the top of the charts here in Canada.

Polygamy - Further proof that the same kind of logic that allows marriage to extend to homosexuals must also work itself out in polygamy. 

Prayer Transforms Sermon Prep - One for the preachers: “I know you pray for your sermon at least once a week. As you’re walking toward the front on Sunday morning, prayers are flying thick and fast: Help! You know people need to hear something more than an inspiring thought or tip. They need to hear from God. And if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen through you. So you pray! But beyond that moment of truth each week, and beyond asking God to give you understanding and a heart for your people, does prayer play a role in your sermon preparation?”

Romantic Pornography - This is an issue a lot of people are discussing today. It’s a good one to talk through. “As a Christian mom to four school-age children, I find myself often challenging the culture. Many times this means helping my children learn to engage wisely with it. As a single mom, helping my kids to think rightly about the God-given, necessary, and wonderful differences between the genders is a subject matter I pay special attention to. So maybe it’s for my children’s sake most of all I use the term ‘romantic pornography’ to describe most romantic comedies.”

Salsa and Submission - Thabiti (and Mrs. Thabiti) find lessons in an unexpected place.

The nature and end of judgment must be corrective, not vindictive; for healing, not destruction. —John Owen

July 25, 2011

There are lots of good deals on Kindle books these days. Here are a few of them: My book The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment is available for $2.99. Lots of others are available for around the same price: A Place of Healing by Joni Eareckson Tada, The Jesus Storybook Bible, Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ, Jerry Bridges’ must-read The Pursuit of Holiness, Jon Acuff’s Stuff Christians Like and Ravi Zacharias’ Has Jesus Failed You?. You’ll also want to check out Randy Alcorn’s Managing God’s Money, Nancy Pearcey’s Saving Leonardo and The Rage Against God by Peter Hitchens.

Amazon - Speaking of Kindle, here are some interesting, random facts about Amazon.

A Soldier’s Letter - You have probably read this letter before, but it’s definitely worth reading again. “It shows a man highly devoted to his different and sometimes conflicting vocations as husband, father, soldier, citizen, and Christian.”

Too Young to Wed - National Geographic writes about child brides. “Because the wedding was illegal and a secret, except to the invited guests, and because marriage rites in Rajasthan are often conducted late at night, it was well into the afternoon before the three girl brides in this dry farm settlement in the north of India began to prepare themselves for their sacred vows.”

A Historic Moment - Here is video of John MacArthur finishing up preaching the entire New Testament. The clapping is a little bit awkward, but how else do you express joy and gratitude at such an occasion? It is quite an accomplishment.

Letters to the Suffering - “Pastors, Here’s a Scenario. You’re a pastor and ‘the call’ comes. One of your families have welcomed a child into the world – and that child is significantly disabled. They are crushed. What do you do?”

Clarence’s Speech - Impressionist Jim Meskimen does Clarence’s speech from Richard III. Shakespeare in Arnold’s voice is too good to be true.

We fear men so much, because we fear God so little. One fear cures another. When man’s terror scares you, turn your thoughts to the wrath of God. —William Gurnall

July 23, 2011

Whole Hearts - Matt Hammitt is looking for your help in establishing the Whole Hearts Foundation to support the families of children with congenital heart defects. Pepsi is tallying votes and will make a donation to the organization that gets the most votes. You can visit the link to read more and to cast your vote. (Check out my interview with Matt right here)

What to Say - What to say when you are about to die for Christ. (HT)

Who Dieth Thus - Worth thinking about (and singing about): “Our generation doesn’t like to think about death. The church has largely handed over death to doctors and funeral directors and cemeteries. There once was a time when death was an integral part of church life and worship, hence the cemeteries on church property.”

Paul’s Downward Trajectory - This is a good little post from Justin Holcomb.

A Lost Son - A father pursues a lost son.

The Most Beautiful Waves - Here is a photo gallery worth checking out.

Ignorance of the Scriptures is the root of all error. —J.C. Ryle

July 22, 2011

Banning Weird Names - “In the past two years, the country [New Zealand] has banned 102 names deemed to be too out there. The list includes Baron, Bishop, Duke, General, Judge, Justice, King, Knight and Mr. Those names were banned because they were deemed to be too similar to titles. The name Messiah has also been turned down, as have requests to name kids 89, C, D, I and T. As well, the agency has refused to give a pass to full stops, asterisks, virgules and other punctuation marks.”

Revelation App - I’m quite enjoying this graphic novel version of the book of Revelation. You can get it for your iPad or iPhone.

Not for Men Only - Carolyn McCulley talks about lust and women—a topic that few are really willing to grapple with.

Student Study Bible - Westminster Books has a good deal going on now. Any order that contains a copy of the new ESV Student Study Bible will get free shipping within the US. Ligonier also has some good deals in this week’s edition of $5 Friday.

John MacArthur - Reformation21 has an excellent review of the new biography of John MacArthur.

Portable Churches - USA Today has a feature on portable churches and those who are trying to get churches to stop using public schools.

Let’s Ban Books - I enjoyed this tongue-in-cheek suggestion that we all stop writing books for a while—or at least that the stuff of the NY Times stop.

The resurrection of Christ is the Amen of all his promises. —John Boys

July 21, 2011

Last night I had the privilege of speaking to a big group of teens who traveled up from Tulsa, Oklahoma to do some missions work here in Toronto. What a great encouragement it is to see those teens serving hard and sharing the gospel. (Hi, Emily’s mom!)

There are lots of fantastic Kindle e-book deals available this week. My book The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment is available for $2.99, as are The Jesus Storybook Bible, Jerry Bridges’ must-read The Pursuit of Holiness, and Ravi Zacharias’ Has Jesus Failed You?.

The Most Dangerous Countries for Women - The Big Picture has a heartbreaking photo gallery of the most dangerous countries for women.

Grow Up. Settle Down. - John MacArthur is penning a series of blog posts meant to speak to the Young, Restless, Reformed crowd. I’m really looking forward to this! “I have some words of encouragement and counsel for YRRs, and I want to take a few days here at the blog to write to them about their movement, its influences, some hazards that lie ahead, some tendencies to avoid, and some qualities to cultivate.”

Surprised by Suffering - At the Ligonier blog I’ve got a roundup of some great quotes from R.C. Sproul’s book Surprised by Suffering.

Shame - This was an interesting article to read as the author harshly skewers Calvin College for even considering that Adam and Eve could have been real people. Once again we see evidence that the historicity of Adam is one of the major battles facing the church in the twenty-first century.

Cru - Campus Crusade is changing its name to Cru. Yup, Cru. Of course it’s already become Power to Change here in Canada.

If there is to be in our celestial garment but one stitch of our own making we are all of us lost. —C.H. Spurgeon

July 20, 2011

Father & Son - “Chris Bray and his father, Kenneth, attended the launch of STS-135, the final space shuttle mission, on July 8. Thirty years earlier, they saw the launch of STS-1, the very first one. Possessing nearly identical photos of himself and his father at the two launches, Bray uploaded a composite image of them to Flickr and posted a link to the image on Reddit. It quickly shot up the ranks.”

Dramatic Swings - WORLD writes about Christian ballplayer Josh Hamilton who was recently involved in a terrible tragedy.

Modern Poverty - This is definitely worth reading: “When Americans think of poverty, we tend to picture people who can’t adequately shelter, clothe, and feed themselves or their families. When the Census Bureau defines “poverty,” though, it winds up painting more than 40 million Americans — one in seven — as ‘poor.’”

Book Hoarding - Here is a little parable courtesy of Jim Elliff. It begins like this: “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance of books does his life consist of his library.”

Lego LOTR - This is spectacular.

Understanding Homosexuality - In this series R.C. Sproul looks to Scripture to help us understand some of the confusion surrounding the issue of homosexuality and provides us with simple biblical responses to them. It’s a free download from Ligonier.

Dilbert - Dilbert still makes me laugh occasionally.


Sin is but hell in embryo; hell is but sin in fulfilment. —Thomas V. Moore

July 19, 2011

How to Evaluate Your Sermons - Here’s one for the preachers: “We must regularly evaluate our preaching to know if we are growing as preachers. Charles Spurgeon (1834–1892) said to his ministerial students, ‘I give you the motto, ‘Go forward.’ Go forward in personal attainments, forward in gifts and in grace, forward in fitness for the work, and forward in conformity to the image of Jesus.’

Shepherding a 106-Year Old - I enjoyed this article from Brian Croft. He reflects on lessons he has learned from pastoring a 106-year old woman.

Content and Generous - Z has some good things to say about money: “I’m afraid the framing of this discussion leads us to ask the wrong questions. Like the junior high boy who wonders how ‘far is too far’ with his girlfriend, we are quickly caught up in questions about how rich is too rich, how poor is too poor, and the like. Where is the line? Do I feel guilty for having too much? Do the kids have enough? What does ‘enough’ even mean?”

4 Steps to Kill Sin - Courtesy of Sinclair Ferguson.

Reparative Therapy - Al Mohler discusses a hot political issue.

Childrens’ Book Sale - Reformation Heritage Book has several kids’ books on sale (and one about raising them). Gospel-Powered Parenting for $5 is a great bargain!

Amazon’s Tablet - The e-book and e-reader market continues to evolve in interesting directions. Amazon looks set to announce 2 new versions of the Kindle and a tablet which will compete with the iPad.

We are more sure to arise out of our graves than out of our beds. —Thomas Watson