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A La Carte

June 20, 2011

Canada Post has been on strike for a week or so now. So far the big takeaway has been how little I really use the mail anymore. And just to spite the postal workers and to register my vote against their demands, I am changing all my bills to e-bills. The only difficulty is that the flow of books to my door has pretty much stopped. Then again, this may allow me to catch up. Here’s hoping.

I managed to accumulate a ridiculous number of links and articles this weekend. Here are some of the highlights:

Heaven Is Real - I thoroughly enjoyed this snarky review of the mega-selling Heaven Is For Real. “When my boy claims that he is actually Superman I wrestle with an identical dilemma: Do I just smile and play along til he grows out of it, or do I write a book sharing the claim with the world? What to do, what to do?”

A Father’s Day Plea - The writer of this powerful op-ed in the New York Times makes “A Father’s Day Plea to Sperm Donors.”

The Man Who Was My Father - While we’re on the subject of Father’s Day, here’s a great bit of writing from Greg Lucas.

A Sibling with a Disability - Here’s a great guest post at Rage Against the Minivan. “The thing I think people don’t understand is that as a sibling, we mourn over and over. Through out my life I have mourned over the lose of something; a relationship that I see others having, a ‘normalcy’.”

God Wins - Randy Alcorn discusses Mark Galli’s God Wins, one of several book-length responses to Rob Bell’s Love Wins. “I pray people will read and heed this book with the knowledge that our evangelical churches are at a doctrinal and leadership crossroads, and much is at stake. “

State of the Blog - Aaron has some good reflections and bits of advice for the prospective blogger.

TGC in Canada - Here’s one for my fellow Canadians. The Gospel Coalition is holding a regional event here in Ontario (Cambridge) next May. That’s still a really long time away.

LeBron Broke the Rule - This video will make you feel dumb about caring for one sports team over another. (HT:Thabiti)

My people’s greatest need is for my own holiness —Robert Murray M’Cheyne

June 17, 2011

Matthias Media has a surplus of their rather excellent Two Ways to Live booklets. You can help them clear their warehouse by buying a box or two. They are selling the boxes, which include 720 copies of the booklet, for $180 which is half the usual cost. Plus you get free shipping. The deal won’t last long, so stock up and give them away!

$5 Friday - Ligonier Ministries has The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment and a lot of other books and resources for sale at just $5, today only. Use the coupon code CHALLIES10 and you’ll get 10% off your order. That makes it $4.50 Fridays which is a pretty amazing deal.

Motherhood as a Mission Field - Some good thoughts from the Desiring God blog. “The closer you get to home, the less intriguing the work of sacrifice seems. As someone once said, ‘Everyone wants to save the world, but no one wants to help Mom with the dishes.’”

Rise O Buried Lord - I’ve been enjoying this new album full of old hymns (and some newer takes on old hymns). “This albums tells the story of the last week of Jesus’ earthly life, known as Holy Week, through a collection of re-imagined hymns.”

Morality for the Internet Age - “ ‘Yes, there is a lack of dignity in what has happened to [Congressman Anthony] Weiner—but only because what was meant to be private became public.’ That’s from Andrew Sullivan, the Daily Dish, who is attempting to curb our reaction against online activity that many of us, not only Christians, would call sin. Sullivan wants to us to believe such behavior is actually ‘a vital part of the human experience that we call ‘play.””

Ghost Ships - I think I can link to these photos of a ship graveyard without endorsing the shadowy activities that allowed the photos to be taken…

Drinking Too Much Coffee - I’d better be careful now that I’ve developed a taste for coffee.

Bizarre Beards - This has no redeeming value, other than the value of laughing at some pretty zany facial hair.

Did God not sometimes withhold in mercy what we ask, we should be ruined at our own request. —Hannah More

June 16, 2011

The Greatness of God - Brian Croft on sharing the greatness of God with children: “Point to those things in creation that children see, notice, and conclude as massive and larger than life. Then, use that as the measuring device to teach how great and glorious God is compared to it.”

Sentence Hijacker - This is funny: “My issue is that I regularly finish other people’s sentences. If you pause…then I march in and finish your thoughts. It’s kind of like I am playing conversational Wheel-of-Fortune and I am trying to solve the puzzle. I shout out the answers, even when it’s not my turn. Somebody needs a buzzer.”

Rehab Nation - This is a good op-ed from the Washington Post. “The arc of modern scandal is depressingly familiar. Transgression followed by exposure, perhaps accompanied by a fleeting detour into denial. Then tearful confession and, finally, the inevitable journey to rehab. Didn’t you know, from the moment the story broke, that New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner would end up checking himself in somewhere?”

The Next Story - Daniel Darling, writing for Covenant Eyes, has a kind and encouraging review of The Next Story.

The Money Hole - John Stossel has found something the US ought to learn from Canada.

Baptists and the NIV - Scroll down to 5:14pm and there is an interesting resolution from the Southern Baptists not to use, buy or sell the new NIV translation.

After the Quake - Photos of Japan 3 months after the quake.

Slander is a vice that strikes a double blow, wounding both him that commits and him against whom it is committed. —Jacques Sauin

June 15, 2011

Bethlehem’s Antioch Moment - Desiring God reports on John Piper’s proposed succession plan at Bethlehem. “My proposal to the elders—and it comes from Noël and me, not just me (we have talked  a lot about this, as you can imagine)—is that I transition from pastor for preaching and vision to a fulltime writing and BCS teaching and mentoring and wider speaking role on June 30, 2014—three years from now.”

Clarifying Congregationalism - 9Marks has more to say in relation to James MacDonald and his comments about church government.

Studies in Biblical Theology - Westminster Books has great prices on the New Studies in Biblical Theology series which is edited by D.A. Carson.

Bringing Missions Home - Trevin Wax interviews Tim Kessee who you may have seen in the Dispatches from the Front DVDs.

Greek NT for Kindle - If you’ve ever wanted the Greek New Testament for your Kindle, it’s now available for free.

Kindle Tips, Tricks and Resources - Nathan Bingham has put together a really good list of tips, tricks and resources for your Kindle.

Q&A with Owl City - Christianity Today has an interview with Adam Young (aka Owl City) on his new album (which I’m quite enjoying).

Hugh Hefner Will Die Alone - Byron Yawn on the lure of pornography: “It’s all a lie. We know it’s not real. We know it will never deliver. We know too well how it destroys people and marriages. Yet we believe what it says. Every time we do it mocks us for our stupidity.”

Early Innings - This is a great little movie for the baseball fan.

God is more concerned with the state of people’s hearts than with the state of their feelings.A.W. Tozer

June 14, 2011

Heaven Is a Real Place, But… - I appreciated this perspective on the book Heaven is for Real: “What disturbs me are the reports I am hearing anecdotally from people about how Heaven Is For Real is regarded as ‘powerful evidence’ for biblical Christianity.”

If I Were John MacArthur - “If I were John MacArthur, for one thing, I’d be able to throw a football further than anyone reading this post. But I would also be faced with a conundrum of existential proportions: What’s next?” What do you do after preaching the entire New Testament verse-by-verse?

Gospel Meditations for Men - This book comes well recommended: “Authored by Chris Anderson and Joe Tyrpak, the booklet includes 31 devotional articles that explain the gospel and apply it to the everyday lives of singles, husbands, and fathers.”

Top 5 Deathbed Regrets - David has a listing of the top 5 deathbed regrets. I wonder if anyone truly dies without regret…

The Internet Is My Religion - A reader sent along this rather sad video. It shows that people will replace God with something, anything. This speaker revoked his Christian faith to place his faith in the Internet.

What Keeps Us from Mission - The Resurgence is beginning a series that ought to be interesting: Ten Things That Keep Us from Mission. Over 10 articles they’ll examine the following reasons: Too busy; Inadequate community support; Uncertainty of beliefs; Negative view of conversion; Loss of free time; Lack of common interests; Fear of condemnation; Fear of corruption; Fear about what to say; Loss of relationship.

To Satan no sight is beautiful but deformity itself, and no smell is sweet but filth and nastiness. —John Calvin

June 13, 2011

Last week James MacDonald went off on congregationalism, stating that congregational government is from Satan. This has prompted a couple of useful, measured responses. Denny Burk draws a line between a form of government always being used by Satan and sometimes being used by Satan. He also shows that MacDonald’s argument is driven more by pragmatics than by Scripture. 9Marks goes with a similar line of reasoning, showing that this form of government can be used by Satan, but won’t always be.

Anointing with Oil - Brian Croft asks whether pastors should still anoint with oil when praying for those who are sick.

A Visual Prayer - Last week I mentioned the film The Tree of Life. Here is an article from WORLD magazine which interacts with it. “The nonlinear nature feels uncomfortable at times. But as the credits roll, you feel full, satisfied, as after a symphony, a visit to a particularly good museum, or after listening to a pipe organ while gazing at the light streaming through stained glass windows.”

Revolutionizing Education - This infographic shows some ways in which the Internet is revolutionizing education.

Misused Words - Top ten misused English words.

eBook Anthologies - Monergism has some ebook anthologies worth looking at. They take a particular biblical/theological topic and aggregate a bunch of resources on that topic, selling the resulting ebook at a great price.

The Palin Feeding Frenzy - Gene Veith writes about the Palin emails and points out “here is the irony. What has emerged so far from the e-mails is that Palin comes off as a pretty good governor.” Even some mainstream media outlets are agreeing. So far I’ve read exactly 0 of them.

Feeding Frenzy - Speaking of Sarah Palin and her emails, here is a visual representation of the media waiting for the release of those emails.

The Christian’s life should put his minister’s sermon in print. —William Gurnall

June 11, 2011

Today is one of those Saturdays—one of those ones where it’s going to be go-go-go. The good news is that everything we are going to do today (Lord willing) is a great thing: spending time with friends, watching my son play baseball, celebrating a birthday, etc. So here’s to a great Saturday! And in the meantime, enjoy these articles:

Man-Centered Missions - Here’s an exceptionally important article from Frontline Missions. “When missions becomes man-centered, a deviation has occurred from its Christ-centered and Gospel-focused purpose. This deviation often stems from an outdated biographical ideal from the 1800s coupled with the masterfully prepared updates of “Mr. Missionary.” The pictures and stories may present a warped view of reality on the field, but who needs facts when people are spellbound? Close the deal and sign the contract while people wipe tears from their eyes and feel guilty for living in America.”

Thanks a lot, Ken Burns - I know there are lots of Civil War buffs around here. I’d love to get your take on this article about the fallacies of Ken Burns’ documentary. “Because of you, my Civil War lecture is always packed—with students raised on your sentimental, romantic, deeply misleading portrait of the conflict.”

The Tree of Life - This sounds like quite an interesting movie. Probably rather boring and artsy too. But it seems to have a lot to say about (and probably against) the Christian faith.

Hearing from God - “Virtually everyone seems to be ‘hearing from God’ in some fashion these days—pastors, writers, worship leaders, even the regular folks at our weekly Bible studies—so the basic idea must be right.” Greg Koukl interacts with this idea in the recent Solid Ground newsletter.

Stringer Suckers - A word to those who are combing through the 24,000 pages of Sarah Palin’s emails looking for gold (or dirt—it’s the same thing in this case, I suppose).

29 Ways to Stay Creative - This video shares a few good ideas on being and remaining creative.

Character is what we are when nobody sees us except God. —John Blanchard

June 10, 2011

One of the genuine joys that has followed the release of The Next Story is the opportunities it has given me to talk to others about the ideas it contains. Last week I sat down with Bruxy Cavey who is a pastor of a local multisite megachurch in the Brethren in Christ tradition. I really enjoyed our time together. Later in the fall we’ll have another podcast where we discuss Calvinism and Arminianism. But for now, you may enjoy this episode of the Meeting House Roundtable.

How My Wife Prays for Me - This is beautiful.

Collapsing Under the Weight of Books - “A Canadian woman’s house is collapsing under the weight of the 350,000 books she rescued from a neighbour who was planning to burn them after her bibliophile husband died.”

Praise to the Lord - Here’s another free song from Redemption Hill Music. Be sure to download “Rock of Ages” as well.

Consistency - My friend Julian is reflecting on life as he hits his 30th birthday. I enjoyed his reflections on the importance and difficulty of consistency.

Horror in Sudan - EPM makes a plea for prayer for Sudan. Some of the things that are going on there are so evil, so horrific, they are almost impossible to believe.

Concubines - Veith draws attention to an interesting article about modern day concubines.

About Your Ugly Wife - David writes a post that is not about whether it’s okay to wear makeup. 

5 Biggest Exercise Myths - “Truth is, today’s most sacred exercise guidelines originated in the ’40s and ’50s, a time when castration was a cutting-edge treatment for prostate cancer, and endurance exercise was thought to be harmful to women. Worse, so-called fitness experts across the country are still spewing these same old conventional wisdoms, despite plenty of research indicating that they (the experts and the wisdoms) aren’t wise at all.” (HT:Z)

Do not try to imagine God, or you will have an imaginary God. —A.W. Tozer