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A La Carte

January 07, 2009
On Our Watch
Ray Ortlund has six valuable suggestions on how to combat the shocking biblical illiteracy that exists in the church today.
God’s Problem
This is a thoroughly enjoyable review of Bart Ehrman’s book God’s Problem written by William Willimon.
Updates @ DR
Yesterday we added quite a few new reviews to Discerning Reader (as we do most Tuesdays). Why not check in to see if there is something there that interests you?
Atheists Play Their Hand: Probability
Dr. Mohler covers the bizarre and completely non-threatening advertising campaign by British atheists—placing billboards on buses saying “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” Mohler: “I must admit that I find the British campaign nearly humorous. In any event, it is certainly not threatening to the Christian message. No one is really likely to be converted to atheism by seeing a sign on a bus — and almost certainly not by a sign that declared that “there’s probably no God.” Probably?”
The Best of Boundless Webzine
Boundless gives a roundup of their most popular articles in 2008. There are some good ones there if you care to take the time to look through them.
Deal of the Day: Sponsor a Child, Get a Gift Certificate
I almost feel bad linking to this as the deal somehow just seems wrong. But here it is. “If you sponsor a child online today and make your first month’s payment by credit or debit card, you’ll receive a $25 gift card for Christianbook.com.” So if you’ve been considering sponsoring a child through Compassion, this is as good a time as any to begin!
January 06, 2009
Why Are there Never Enough Parking Spaces at the Prostate Clinic?
Carl Trueman offers more than a great (and original) title in this article about the Christian obsession with culture. “Plenty of talk about Christian approaches to art, music, literature, sex, even international politics. All very interesting subjects, I’m sure, and the topics of many a chardonnay-fuelled discussion after a hearty dinner party. But what about subjects that aren’t quite so interesting? Take street sweepers, for example; or hotel lavatory attendants; or workers on an umbrella manufacturing line. Why no conference on the Christian philosophy underlying these vital callings and trades?”
Mohler on Carson
Some valuable advice from Dr. Mohler: “Here is a simple rule to keep in mind: When D. A. Carson writes a book, buy it.”
Calvin on Knowing the Truth
Kevin Boling’s “Knowing the Truth” radio program will be featuring many Calvin experts in the coming days. Check the site for a schedule.
Calvin Audio Links
Martin Downes is collecting calvin-related audio links for those interested in hearing instead of reading about him.
Blake Hicks
Blake Hicks has an album (available on Noisetrade) called Songs of a Pious Heart. It is a tribute to Augustine’s confessions. You can read a review of it here.
January 05, 2009
Orphan 32: A Story of Providence
The Ottawa Citizen has the amazing story of “Nguyen Ngoc Minh Thanh was one of 57 children airlifted to Canada from Saigon in 1975. Embraced by a loving family, he wanted for nothing. Well, almost nothing: The story of his life — hardly a fairy tale — was missing its first few chapters.”
How to Pray for your Pastor
Ligon Duncan gives 17 different ways that you can pray for your pastor.
Playboy’s in Trouble…and it’s not Good News
Carl Trueman writes about the fact that Playboy magazine is in financial difficulties but also tells why this isn’t quite a good reason to crack open the champagne.
One-to-One Bible Reading and Prayer
An article from Matthias Media looks at one-to-one Bible reading and prayer, its benefits and why we don’t invest more time in it.
Free Audio: Abandoned to God
This month’s free download for Christian Audio is David McCasland’s Abandoned to God, a biography of Oswald Chambers. I’ve read the book and definitely recommend it.
The Worst Climate Predictions of 2008
Here are a few of the funniest, most irrational predictions about the climate in 2008. For example, Tim Flannery was named Australia’s Man of the Year in 2007 after predicting this: “Australia’s Cities Will Run Out of Drinking Water Due to Global Warming.”
Interview with Justin Reimer
Alex Chediak interviews Justin Reimer of The Elisha Foundation, an excellent organization that exists to serve the families of children with special needs.
October 31, 2008
Deal of the Day: Amazon’s Kindle
Just in case you missed it last weekend, you’ve got until tomorrow to get $50 off Amazon’s Kindle e-reader. Click for the details.
Give your Pastor the WORLD
WORLD magazine is offering a special to pastors. “To help your work in ministry, thoughtful donors have made it possible for us to offer you 6 full months of WORLD Magazine absolutely free.”
Richard Dawkins and Harry Potter
“Harry Potter has become the latest target for Professor Richard Dawkins who is planning to find out whether tales of witchdraft and wizardy have a negative effect on children. ”
Christian Science Monitor goes Online-Only
“In 2009, the Monitor will become the first nationally circulated newspaper to replace its daily print edition with its website.”
Northampton Press Titles for Cheap
Don Kistler’s Northampton Press is offering it’s five titles at a steep discount if purchased together. Click on Catalog and then look for the holiday package.
October 30, 2008
Deal of the Day: Reformation Heroes
Reformation Heroes Here’s a new feature for A La Carte—the deal of the day. I’ll be working with a variety of retailers to try to work out some special deals for the readers of this site. Today Reformation Heritage Books is offering the excellent illustrated children’s book Reformation Heroes for a mere $15.17.
Fireproof vs. Religulous
This blog compares the numbers for Fireproof and Religulous. “On their respective opening weekends (one week apart), the barely advertised Fireproof earned $6.8 million while the highly advertised Religulous earned only $3.4 million. As of the date of this post the numbers are $23.6MM vs $10.6MM. And let’s not even get into the profit margin side of things. Fireproof had an ROI of $46 for every dollar spent while Religulous earned $4 for every dollar (probably less, if marketing is considered).”
Pray for Liam
Our friends Kim and Jason have been a model of faith in the days leading up to their young son’s brain surgery. I’d encourage you to read through some of Kim’s blog posts and to pray for Liam next week.
Apple, Google, Gay Marriage
A strange article to find in a mainstream magazine: “Ever since the T-Mobile G1 launch, Apple and Google have gotten into bed together to bring more Google features to the iPhone. The tech titans are also collaborating on pushing for equality of same-sex marriages.”
Pastor Appreciation
Matthias Media would like to offer your pastor a free 6-month subscription to their magazine The Briefing. Click for details!
John Piper on Justification
Here is an interview with John Piper on the subject of justification.
Worldliness for Free
You can get a free copy of C.J. Mahaney’s Worldliness for your pastor.
October 29, 2008
Living on Less
Canada’s McLeans magazine looks at frugality for a new generation. “But even beyond a deep economic recession, there are signs that meaningful social change is brewing. As environmental fears push us from Hummers to hybrids, and a younger, tech-savvy generation rebels against the “Bigger is Better” boomer mantra, a long-overdue cultural shift could be in the works, say observers.”
Reformation Study Bible for Any Amount
Celebrate Reformation Week with a genuine leather Reformation Study Bible (ESV) for a donation of any amount.
Principles for Voting
Ligonier offers both audio and text of R.C. Sproul discussing principles for voting.
Fireproof Shouldn’t Be Critic-Proof
I thought this article from WORLD, even if it slightly overstates the issue, offers a fair warning. “We do the Kendrick brothers no favors when we grant them a “pass” based on good intentions. I learned this lesson as a writer many years ago. I am not the greatest writer in the world, but (I assure you) I am much better than I was last year, and I am much, much better than I was a decade ago. I improved because of tough feedback from teachers, mentors, and—sometimes—critics.”
Americans and Climate Change
This article offers some interesting facts on what Americans believe about climate change. “Only 18 percent of survey respondents strongly believe that climate change is real, human-caused and harmful.” “73 percent of Americans believe that global warming is happening. But when you look at this finding by political party affiliation, only one-half (54 percent) of Republicans believe it is happening, versus 90 percent of Democrats.”
Jesus Christ is Stronger
James MacDonald offers some gospel encouragements.
October 28, 2008
William P. Young Responds
In an interview with the Christian Post, the author of The Shack responds to critics of his book. “ ‘These men do not know me at all,’ he said of critics such as Mohler, Challies, and Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle who Young said had not even read the book before criticizing it. ‘[B]ut in the process,’ he continued, “what they have written have actually told us much more about them than about the book.’”
Fireproof
Rick Pearcey writes an excellent article on Fireproof. “No one is confusing Fireproof with Hamlet. But the creative rebels in that church in Georgia are crafting a humane entertainment alternative that has Hollywood scratching its head. There’s no telling where they will end up, but they’re heading in the right direction. Should they pass by C.S. Lewis, he’ll no doubt wave. We look forward to their next stop.”
Kaleidescope
I think some of the most interesting and poignant blog posts come from overseas. In this case it comes from Ali who is “a pediatric nurse with Mercy Ships on board the world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship, the M/V Africa Mercy.”
Dangerous Time to Be a Black Baby
This is tragic. “Currently, white women’s rates of abortion have declined to 10.5 abortions per 1,000 women while black women’s rates are an alarming 50 abortions per 1,000 black women. Put in terms of actual pregnancies, the figures are shocking: Nearly half of all African American pregnancies end in abortion. Since 1973, the number of abortions by African American women has totaled more than twelve million. ”
Jerry Bridges on The Beatitudes
Jerry Bridges recently preached four messages on “The Beatitudes: Humility in Action.” They are available here for free download.
The Osteens as Spiritual Midgets
Newsweek’s Lisa Miller has a reflection on the Osteens based on “Love Your Life,” the new book by Victoria.
Palin Deserves Respect
I thought this was an interesting article. It is written by the director of Women’s Watch Inc., a nonprofit women’s advocacy group based in Cape May. She laments the sexism that has been so evident in the Sarah Palin saga. “Instead of engaging Palin on the issues, critics attacked attributes that are specifically female. It is Hillary’s pantsuit drama to the power of 10. Palin’s hair, her voice, her motherhood, and her personal hygiene were substituted for substance. That’s when it was nice.”
October 27, 2008
Free Spurgeon
This month’s free download for ChristianAudio is All of Grace by C.H. Spurgeon. It is yours for the taking.
Visualizing Uncle Sam’s Debt
Mint.com tries to make sense of it. “Below are the top seven foreign lenders, visualized as credit cards, while the image at the top shows the total of foreign lending. All numbers have been brought down to the U.S. median household scale. Just imagine your household with these balances and you will have a better perspective on just how large these debts really are.”
Schuller vs. Schuller
“Crystal Cathedral founder Reverend Robert H. Schuller has removed his son as preacher on the church’s weekly “Hour of Power” syndicated TV broadcast. Schuller said in a statement read to some 450 congregants Saturday by church president Jim Coleman that he and his son, Robert A. Schuller, ‘have different ideas as to the direction and the vision for this ministry.’”
Bar Stool Economics
Some lessons on economics courtesy of Douglas Wilson.
Three Ways to Spoil the Gospel
Andy Naselli quotes Graham Cole who shares three ways that we can spoil the gospel.
October 24, 2008
New Piper Book
You probably don’t know that Piper has a new book called This Momentary Marriage. I don’t quite know what’s going on, but it seems that it’s available now on the Desiring God site (to buy or to download in full for free) and that another edition will be published by Crossway in the spring (judging by the 2009 Crossway copyright).
Get Chosen by God
R.C. Sproul’s classic can be yours for free if you sign the Ligonier guest book.
Amazon News
Amazon is not unaffected by the economic downturn, it seems. And this article has a bit of news about the next version of the Kindle (mostly that we shouldn’t expect it too soon).
I’m Not Voting for a Man
From Randy Alcorn: “On Tuesday November 4, don’t think you are merely expressing a preference between two men, choosing who you like, who you’d enjoy hanging out with. You’re not voting for a friend, a dinner companion, a dance partner, someone to sit next to at a ball game or to be seen with at a party. Don’t allow yourself to vote as if this were American Idol. In the arena of an unborn child’s right to live, these candidates stand for things far bigger than themselves. And when it comes to the right to life of coming generations of unborn children, they stand for two polar opposites.”
A Happy Wife is a Happy Life
Ligon Duncan points to an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. “The general consensus of sociologists is that, whereas a woman’s marital satisfaction is dependent on a combination of economic, emotional and psychological realities, a man’s marital satisfaction is most determined by one factor: how happy his wife is. When she is happy, he is. Working within this framework, most husbands are unwilling to dig in their heels on any issue unless they have a tremendous incentive to do so.”
October 23, 2008
Climate Revolt
I found this story very interesting. “To prevent a financial crisis from turning into an economic calamity, the European Union has pulled the emergency brake on green policies.” So just how important are green policies if they are the first thing to go in times of crisis?
Why Women Are Weaker Than Men
Gerald Hiestand: “Too often the complementarian/egalitarian debate gets lost in a discussion about what should be, rather than embracing what is. Peter is not saying that women should be vulnerable before men; he is saying that they are. There is nothing that we can do to change this reality.”
Civics 101
“Every four years, the world looks with bafflement at the United States as the country goes through its curious process of electing its President. Truth be told, the system is far from obvious, and remains misunderstood and controversial even within the U.S.A. A brief primer on how it all works.”
Financial Armageddon
I should have seen this coming. John Hagee takes on the financial and global economic downturn in his new book Financial Armageddon. Hagee claims to have written it in less than three weeks. He also offers advice about how people can protect their personal finances and claims many of the current events were “spelled out in stunning detail by prophetic writings penned more than two thousand years ago.”
Vocation Plans
“A hundred years ago young adults did not have anywhere near the mind-boggling and almost debilitating number of options available today. In general, sons took on the line of work of their fathers, and girls adopted whatever domestic, social, and vocational roles their mothers held. It wasn’t so much about “finding your calling” as it was about your calling finding you.”
The Prodigal God
Tim Keller writes about his new book (due next week—I should have a review shortly).

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