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A La Carte

January 10, 2012

Amazon is having a big one-day sale for Kindle. You can get the complete listing here. Click on the Religious Studies category and you’ll find some good things like Excellence by Andreas Kostenberger, Commentary on 1 & 2 Peter by R.C. Sproul, Commentary on Romans by Kent Hughes, Commentary on Isaiah by John Calvin, 

We’re All Witnesses - This columnist is hardly a Tebow fanboy. And yet… “We’re watching a new reality unfold, right before our eyes, and what we saw Sunday strained credibility. It was incredible. It was fantastical.”

Jesus vs Movies - John Piper asks a good question: “What should you do if you know someone who seems to be more excited about movies than Jesus? Many professing Christians give little evidence of valuing Jesus more than the latest movie they have seen. Or the latest clothing they bought. Or the latest app they downloaded. Or the latest game they watched. Something is amiss.”

Critics, Criticism and Character - Aaron Armstrong has a good article here dealing with being a critic and responding to criticism. 

Evangelical Exhibitionists - One of the consequences of Mark Driscoll’s new book is that a lot of people are thinking about “how much is too much” when it comes to discussing sex and sexuality. Phil Johnson’s critique of Real Marriage is, in a word, devastating.

CNN on Passion - CNN covered the recent Passion conference and its efforts to end modern-day slavery.

Time Is Nothing - This is an amazing timelapse based on a trip around the world.

Your state is not at all to be measured by the opposition that sin makes to you, but by the opposition you make to it. —John Owen

January 09, 2012

Here are some great Kindle deals to get your week started: Commentary on Ephesians by Robert Gundry is free, today only. Great Doctrines of the Bible by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, 928 pages of it, is available for $6. John MacArthur’s Daily Readings from the Life of Christ is on at $2.99. If you really want to load up, you can get 22 volumes of John Owen for $2.99. Finally, Amazon has 100 books at $3.99 or less and the include Disciplines of a Godly Man by Kent Hughes; there’s a lot of junk in the list, but there are still quite a few interesting titles.

Parents, Cuddle Your Children - This is my takeaway from a rather interesting article: “No matter how obvious the observation, how eternal the topic, how great the works of literature that have tackled any given theme, or how insightful the philosophers who have studied a matter, the modern mind cannot fathom reaching a conclusion without relying on scientific studies.”

Be in the Film - David Murray: “At HeadHeartHand Media, we’re convinced that depression in the church is an issue that demands our attention, and in light of the warm reception Christians Get Depressed Too has received, we’re excited to be developing a video curriculum on that very topic!” They are looking for people who would like to be in the film.

Digital Music Sales - The only real surprise in this article is that it hasn’t happened already. “The times they are a-changin’. For the first time in history, digital music sales topped the physical sale of music. According to a Nielsen and Billboard report, digital music purchases accounted for 50.3% of music sales in 2011. Digital sales were up 8.4% from the previous year, while physical album sales declined 5%.”

Man Who Said ‘Yes’ to Life - Occasionally The Onion comes up with a gem. Here’s one of them. “Authorities announced Tuesday that the body of 27-year-old screen printer Tom Finnery, a person friends confirmed always said yes to life and no to the idea of limits, had been found lying 20 feet from his mountain bike at the bottom of a gorge…”

God & Sinner Reconcile - I’ve been enjoying Stephen Miller’s new album God & Sinner Reconcile. You can listen to one of its songs in this video (the video begins after he introduces the album).

A sermon wept over is more acceptable with God than one gloried over. —C.H. Spurgeon

January 07, 2012

The Bible in Norway - “The UK’s 2011 bestseller lists might have been dominated by cookery, courtesy of Jamie Oliver, and romance, courtesy of David Nicholls, but Norwegian readers were plumping for another sort of book last year: the Bible. The first Norwegian translation of the Bible for 30 years topped the country’s book charts almost every week between its publication in October and the end of the year”

Partisan Politicis vs Vicious Assaults - I know nothing about Rick Santorum but I was saddened to hear of how certain members of the media have been mocking him for decisions made at his lowest point.

Fast Food Ads vs Reality - I’ve seen a few web sites that point out the difference between fast food ads and reality. I always enjoy them!

National Geographic Photo Contest - Here are the winners of National Geographic’s 2011 photography contest. Not surprisingly, there are some beautiful photos there.

What Is the Unpardonable Sin? - R.C. Sproul writes about the unpardonable sin. It’s important to read to the end: “As for those who are not sure they are saved and are worried they may have committed the unpardonable sin, I would say that worrying about it is one of the clearest evidences that they have not committed this sin, for those who commit it are so hardened in their hearts they do not care that they commit it. Thanks be to God that the sin that is unpardonable is not a sin He allows His people to commit.”

Unnatural Selection - Canada’s The Globe and Mail writes about “a whole new approach to baby-making, one that gives people an unprecedented power to preview, and pick, the genetic traits of their prospective children.”

The devil is content that people should excel in good works, provided he can but make them proud of them. —William Law

January 06, 2012

The Case of the Missing Mileage - “Contrary to common perception, the major automakers have produced large increases in fuel efficiency through better technology in recent decades. There’s just one catch: All those advances have barely increased the mileage per gallon that autos actually achieve on the road.” Learn why.

Best Sellers of 2011 - Westminster Books has their 18 bestselling books of 2011 all at 50% off for a limited time. Meanwhile Crossway has all of their ebooks at $5.99 or less.

Apps Permissions - This may be a useful thing for you to do if you’re a Facebook or Google or Twitter (or…) user: Go here are see who has permission to access your accounts. Then remove the ones who don’t need access anymore.

The Confession App - This article discusses a Roman Catholic iPhone app. “They never dreamed their Confession app, which provides a step-by-step guide to giving confessions, would turn out to be such a hit, breaking into the iPhone App Store’s top 25 most popular apps shortly after its late January release.”

The Pursuit of Holiness - The January edition of Tabletalk magazine has an excellent interview with Jerry Bridges.

Mouse Tales - Here are reviews of 3 books for kids, all of which involve mice. “What is it about these little creatures that makes them such a staple of fantasy fiction? From Mrs. Frisby to Reepicheep to Matthias to the immortal Mickey, mice have aspired to greatness, even heroism.”

Boost Your Reading Comprehension - “With all of the things out there to read on the internet—all of the blogs we want to keep up with and all of the news funneled to us every day—how can you make sure you read each item in a way that really enriches your life?”

To bring our minds under Christ’s yoke is not to deny our rationality but to submit to his revelation. —John Stott

January 05, 2012

Here are a few more Kindle deals. Do you want me to keep posting these? I know they are interesting to me and a few more, but maybe I’m just annoying everyone else! No Other Gospel by Josh Moody is $3.03, Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce Ware is $1.99, Saving Leonardo by Nancy Pearcey is $2.69, and How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth is down to $4.99. You sure can build a solid library on the cheap with Kindle.

On to some links:

Perils of Digital Technology - Mike Wittmer on some of the perils of living as high-tech people in a high-tech world.

Teen Mom Kills Intruder - Denny Burk: “There are some stories that you hear that you know you’ll never forget. This is one of them.” It is the story of a teenaged mom who was forced to defend herself and her baby.

Journalling Tips - “So you decided to start journalling as your new year resolution and don’t know where to start?  The following tips are things I’ve learned from several years of journalling, and while they are aimed at Christians journalling for the benefit of their spiritual walk, many of the points will apply to journalling in general.”

Child Born of Rape - “For most of her 100 years, Minka Disbrow tried to find out what became of the precious baby girl she gave up for adoption after being raped as a teen. She hoped, but never imagined, she’d see her Betty Jane again.” Quite an amazing story, this one.

Slavery-Affirming Heroes - Trevin Wax asks how we are to regard our heroes of church history who affirmed slavery. There are no easy answers for this one.

Winners of souls must first be weepers for souls. —C.H. Spurgeon

January 04, 2012

A Forgotten Text - Carl Trueman has an important reflection on Ephesians 5:12. “I wonder if there is a more neglected text in the New Testament in the current revival of interest in reformed theology than Eph. 5:12?  In the reaction to the taboos of old-style fundamentalism, there is surely a danger that we have lost all sense of what is biblically appropriate when it comes to engaging the wider world.”

Too Close to the Lesson - In the contexts of new books by Tim Keller and Mark Driscoll, Paul has something valuable to say about the value of letting days or years pass between the time you learn a lesson and the time you apply it to others. Also, Aaron Armstrong takes a look at what I said about the gospel in Real Marriage and asks whether I was fair.

Buzzwords - Here are the top ten buzzwords of 2011. Stop using them.

The Questions They Are Asking - David has some helpful reflections on new research into the spiritual questions that unbelievers are asking.

The Joy of Quiet - “In barely one generation we’ve moved from exulting in the time-saving devices that have so expanded our lives to trying to get away from them — often in order to make more time. The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug. Like teenagers, we appear to have gone from knowing nothing about the world to knowing too much all but overnight.”

911 Call - This video is a couple of years old, but I just saw it yesterday. It’s a precocious little 5-year old girl talking to a 911 operator.

People tell me ‘Judge not lest ye be judged.’ I always tell them, ‘Twist not scripture lest ye be like Satan.’ —Paul Washer

January 03, 2012

Here are a few ebook deals you may want to take advantage of. Sex and the Supremacy of Christ by John Piper is available for $2.99; Disciplines of a Godly Man by Kent Hughes is available for $3.99. Monergism has a free ebook from Steve Hays that answers common questions from skeptics.

Real Marriage - Denny Burk has just published an excellent (and lengthy) review of Real Marriage. He goes into more detail than I did in both specific praises and criticisms. His pastoral concerns are particularly worth noting, I think.

The Book of Mary - Aimee Byrd: “Okay. So, Cruciform Press just did something pretty radical. They have an eBook that you can download from their website for just 99 cents through January 3rd. First book I ever read without paper. But I really wanted to read it. Anthony Zurlo found a box from an estate auction filled with some journals…”

Prompted by His Word - Josh Harris has a great little quote from Calvin.

Sexual Confusion and the Gospel - In a few weeks I will be speaking at a conference in Indiana. The conference title is “Sexual Confusion and the Gospel.” If you’re in the area, I’d love to see you there!

Technology and the KJV - Here is one take on the impact of technology on the Bible. “Now, as English-speaking Christians mark the 400th anniversary of the KJV’s birth in 1611, technology is once again dramatically changing the way the Bible is read and interacted with, changing the very way Christians interpret their faith.”

The Blog Format - Bloggers may be interested in this article which talks about the new version of HTML changing the whole blogging paradigm.

Of all commentaries upon the Scriptures, good examples are the best and the liveliest. —John Donne

January 01, 2012

Enjoying the View - Here’s a worthwhile resolution: “In 2012, I plan to spend at least 30 minutes a day without my iPhone. Without Internet, Twitter, Facebook and my iPad. Spending a half-hour a day without electronics might sound easy for most, but for me, 30 unconnected minutes produces the same anxious feelings of a child left accidentally at the mall.”

Knowing God - This month’s free audiobook from ChristianAudio is J.I. Packer’s classic, Knowing God. It is free for the taking, so you know what to do…

Global Debt Hangover - What a mess we’re in!

What Now? - R.C. Sproul Jr. asks and answers the “what now?” questions after the recent passing of his wife. “What we wanted for her she has received, and more. We, His children, all together asked for bread for her. He didn’t give her a stone. He didn’t give her bread. He gave her Jesus. She who awoke pity in the hearts of thousands now has awakened with Him, with more health, more comfort, more joy than all of us combined.”

Culture Shakers - Plugged In looks back at the culture shakers of 2011. I’m really glad that there’s someone else to keep an eye on pop culture, because it’s not a job I’d want!

Young Seminarian - This is a fantastic little article from Mike Milton. “Recently, I was asked by a young wife and mother to write some thoughts on ministry reflections for her husband, a seminarian. Specifically, this godly young woman wanted me to answer the question, ‘As you look back on life and ministry, and where he is in life as a seminarian, what wisdom would you offer him as a husband, father, a man of God preparing for ministry? What would you do differently? What went well? What counsel would you give him? This will be my gift to him.’”

Behind the Scenes - Ever wondered what happens at the airport after you watch your bag disappear through those black rubber flaps? This video shows you (though it leaves out the part where the TSA rifles through it and steals your camera).

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