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A La Carte

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

December 30, 2011

How Do You Begin Your Day? - Rick Holland reflects on how he begins his day. “So what is the first thing you do when you wake up? Here’s my problem. I find it easy to grab my iPhone and check my email, glace at social media notifications, see if there are any texts awaiting a response, and look at look at the news and sports feed. There is certainly nothing with doing these things. But my problem is that this is much easier and feels more urgent when I awake than addressing the thirst of my soul for God.”

6 New Year Resolution Questions - David found 6 questions you will want to ask about any New Year resolutions you happen to make.

Completely and Unreservedly - Derek Thomas writes about how the Lord saved him on this, the 40th anniversary of that day. “My conversion was Saul-like: sudden, unexpected, and decisive. I was eighteen, a freshman at university studying physics and math at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth…”

Eschatology: The Basics - In January Sam Waldron is teaching a course on eschatology. Though it doesn’t say so at the page I’ve linked to, the course is open to people who would like to take it via the Internet. If interested you can send an email to the address on the page and get further details.

Job - Here’s a Kickstarter project I’m excited about—a movie version of John Piper’s poem of the book of Job. Though as of yesterday it’s fully-funded, you can still pledge an amount and receive the Job movie when it releases in January.

Free Music - CCM has a few free MP3s for you to download.

Audible - Audible has quite a few good deals in their “Holiday Relief Sale.” I think you need to be an Audible subscriber to take advantage (so maybe this is a good time to try their trial offer—you can sign up, get a free book, buy some discounted books, and if you’re not interested, cancel your membership and keep that free book). Deals include The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubner, and Drive by Daniel Pink.

Every sin is an act of cosmic treason, a futile attempt to dethrone God in His sovereign authority. —R.C. Sproul

December 29, 2011

Bible Reading Plans - If you aren’t planning on joining in The 3650 Challenge with me, here are some other Bible reading plans that may help you read the Bible in 2012.

Nuclear Exclusion Zone - A Big Picture photo gallery of Japan’s nuclear exclusion zone. It’s always fascinating to see areas like this where time just stopped. And you wonder how long it will be before it begins again.

The Smartphone of the Soul - “Apple used to use that catchy phrase ‘there’s an app for that.’ Need to send flowers to mom? there’s an app for that. Need to know the name of the constellation of stars in the sky overhead? There’s an app for that. Need supper? There’s an app for that. Well, whatever your circumstance of life, there’s a Psalm for that…”

Double Surgery - David has some good thoughts on medical humiliation, medical glory, and the ever-present pride.

The Book of Books - Marilynne Robinson writes about what literature owes the Bible. “The Bible is the model for and subject of more art and thought than those of us who live within its influence, consciously or unconsciously, will ever know.”

My Song is Love Unknown - A beautiful song.

The chief purpose of prayer is that God may be glorified in the answer. —R.A. Torrey

December 28, 2011

The Year Gone By - I think I’m going to do this before the year is through. “Christmas night after all the day’s festivities were over, I took a few minutes to write down a list of things I could remember from this past year.  Most were obvious blessings.  Some were trials that God turned to blessings.  Some were big things, some small.  Some were joyous, some were hard.”

Church on Christmas Morning - I enjoyed this article. Though written by an unbeliever, it shares an interesting perspective on going to church at Christmas. It’s a strange combination of condescending and encouraging. “I was moved by the sincerity and elegance of the event, and especially by the warm welcome. I could see how churchgoing plays such an important role in American life and realized, as I have often thought, had I married someone who was a practicing Christian how I could easily fit into a family pattern of going to services.”

Christian Focus 4 Kids - The publisher Christian Focus has a new blog meant for kids. They are offering some good deals on some of their kids’ books.

Why Read With a Plan - This is a helpful article from Dan Phillips: “All sorts of blogs are pointing you to reading plans. Let me help by leaning on and applying some why pressure, along with the what.”

The Year in Pictures - This was posted a few days ago, but I forgot to mention it. So here it is: Part 3 of the year in pictures from The Big Picture.

If you haven’t been jarred when you’re reading the Bible, you’re not reading it. —John Piper

December 27, 2011

Waking Up Fragile - John Piper: “There are mornings when I wake up feeling fragile. Vulnerable. It’s often vague. No single threat. No one weakness. Just an amorphous sense that something is going to go wrong and I will be responsible. It’s usually after a lot of criticism. Lots of expectations that have deadlines and that seem too big and too many.”

New Species in 2011 - Here is a roundup of some new species discovered in 2011. They range from the world’s tiniest frog to a kind of orchid that only blooms at night.

Hobbit Hints - WORLD looks at the first trailer for The Hobbit movie (due in December of 2012) and speculates on plot changes.

5 Kinds of Books to Read - “There are a few reasons you may be wondering what sort of book you should invest your time into over the next week. Perhaps you have received a gift card or some cash for books. Maybe you have the rest of the week off work and you want to spend it well. It might be that you are feeling the post-Christmas blahs and realize you need to fight for joy. Here are a few recommendations in case you fall into any or all of these categories.”

Book Carvings - I think I’ve linked to these before. This is exceptional art work. If I were a rich man… (HT)

Re-Claiming the Bible - This is an interesting review of a new book by John Shelby Spong. It’s a positive review of what sounds like a wretched book, but I found it interesting to see how Spong, even near the end of his life and career, continues to express his hatred toward God by denying the Bible’s claims.

The most tremendous judgment of God in this world is the hardening of the hearts of men. —John Owen

December 26, 2011

Thomas Jefferson’s Bible - Smithsonian magazine: “Thanks to an extensive restoration and conservation process, the public can now see how Jefferson cut and pasted his own version of the Scripture.”

TGC Ontario - There is a local Gospel Coalition event coming to Ontario. You’ll find some details at the Facebook page.

When I Don’t Desire God - You can get the audio book version of John Piper’s When I Don’t Desire God free until the end of the month. Also, you can get the Kindle version of Jerry Bridges’ Holiness Day by Day for free.

Matt Hammitt - Matt Hammitt was the subject of a story in a recent issue of USA Today. “Told that his unborn son had only half a heart and little chance to survive, the lead singer of the Christian rock band Sanctus Real began pouring his fears and doubts into music.”

How Luther Went Viral - This is an interesting look at the viral nature of the Reformation. “Five centuries before Facebook and the Arab spring, social media helped bring about the Reformation.”

The Lord’s Day - Michael Horton writes about the Lord’s Day. “The key to a Christian use of the Lord’s Day is not drawing up a list of what can and cannot be done, but to give the whole day to basking in God’s Word, loading ourselves up with the treasures of Christ. Churches themselves are making this more difficult, as they trim down the public worship to a single service of an hour or so.”

The usual rule is that the more we really know the more conscious we are of the littleness of our knowledge. —C.H. Spurgeon

December 23, 2011

House sitters are in place. The dog has been taken to a kennel. The van is all gassed up. And we are on our way to Chattanooga, Tennessee to spend Christmas with my family. We made half the drive last night, getting as far as Dayton, Ohio. We’ve got 412 miles to go.

Here is an all-video A La Carte for you (just to be different):

Advancing the Gospel - I really appreciate the work done by Frontline Missions. Be sure to watch their new video introduction.

Australia - A friend sent me this—a little song telling you why you may want to visit Australia.

The Incarnation - Here is Odd Thomas with an excellent little spoken word piece all about the Incarnation.

Hallelujah Chorus - Here’s a fun version of the Hallelujah Chorus, done by Kuinerrarmiut Elitnaurviat 5th Grade class in Quinhagak, Alaska. I bet you can’t pronounce most of that…

Christmas in a Nutshell - This is a good video.

Let us never forget that the message of the Bible is addressed primarily to the mind, to the understanding. —D. Martyn Lloyd Jones

December 22, 2011

I’ve got a couple more Kindle deals to mention. I apologize to those who do not have a Kindle; I know I keep mentioning deals like this. But I know people who have Kindles are finding these posts helpful. Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill is a very good book dealing with homosexuality ($1.99) and The Jesus Storybook Bible is a wonderful Bible storybook for children ($3.99). Finally, Michael Horton’s For Calvinism, a brand new book, is down to $4.99.

Song of Solomon - Carl Trueman writes about pastors who preach explicitly about sex from the pulpit. Where this article shines most, I think, is where it discusses the poetic nature of Song of Solomon. “The Bible’s refusal to reduce sex to physical acts is surely one of the reasons why it uses poetry to describe it.   Poetry communicates meaning and significance which cannot be reduced simply to the reference; and the turning of the Song of Songs primarily into a sex manual is arguably a greater act of reductionism than jumping straight from the text to Christ and the church.”

The Sacrament of Feminism - Frederica Mathewes-Green explains why abortion remains the sacrament of feminism. As a former feminist herself, her perspective really rings true. She argues that feminists sought to be equal to men with respect to having a career and having a promiscuous sex-life.

We Proclaim - Here is an album you can listen to for free online (or purchase). “The common theme among all the lyrics is the preeminence of Christ and His salvation. There’s a purposeful flow to the album that’s intended to take the listener on a ‘Christological journey’ of sorts, as one gazes at the profound and moving realities of all that their Redeemer is and has done.”

The Year in Pictures - Here is part 2 of The Big Picture’s roundup of the year in pictures.

The Local Bookstore - My friend Ian gives a different perspective on the local Christian bookstore.

Surprise Adoption - This is really sweet. You’ll probably cry when you see it. Back story is here.

Eternity will be too short to exhaust our learning of God or to end our enjoyment of him. —Peter Green