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A La Carte

December 20, 2011

Havel & Jong-Il - Joe Carter penned an article for Gospel Coalition reflecting on the deaths of these two men. “The history books, judging by the standards of men, will record that Havel was a noble hero and Jong-il a wretched villain. They will be remembered on earth for the legacies they left behind. But both men now stand before the supreme magistrate who will measure them against the only truly righteous standard: Jesus Christ.”

Worship Music Criticism - “I am coming to the understanding that nit-picking at music and especially music that encourages us to offer praise and thanksgiving to God and reflect on his greatness can actually discourage the praise we are commended to offer. This motivates me to ask a few questions with regard to why we find it necessary to be over-critical of worship music, to the extent that it can appear to have no redeeming value.”

The Year in Pictures - Here is the year in pictures from The Big Picture. It was quite a year.

Trends that Will Impact Your Ministry - Drew Goodmanson has an interesting list of 3.0 trends that will impact your ministry in the near future.

Put no confidence in the mere fact that you hold to an orthodox faith, for a dead orthodoxy soon corrupts. —C.H. Spurgeon

December 19, 2011

Podcast Pastor - “When I am talking to young evangelicals, often who are in ministry, and I say, “Who has been really influential upon you in ministry and on learning to preach and to do the things of ministry?” ten years ago, most people would have given me the name of a local pastor who had mentored them and worked with them. Now they are mentioning a disembodied voice that they have heard on a podcast. That’s a very dangerous thing…”

Questioning Your Pastor - Mark Altrogge: “Help your pastor. Help him preach more accurately. Help him see how to lead and care for people better. Encourage him.  And if you have questions, feel free to ask.”

Denise Sproul - Pray for the Sproul family today. R.C. Sproul Jr’s wife Denise went to be with the Lord on Sunday. Grieving her death are R.C. Jr and their 8 children (age 2 up to age 18).

Accomplish More by Doing Less - Tony Schwartz offers some good and practical advice on accomplishing more by doing less.

White Christmas - Here is a gallery of some beautiful, snowy scenery.

He’s Here - From The Jesus Storybook Bible.

Knowing God is your single greatest privilege as a Christian. —Sinclair Ferguson

December 17, 2011

Tattoo Regrets - This is a really interesting article about the tattoo fad that has taken off in the past few years. “According to the Pew Research Center, more than 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 26 and 40 have at least one tattoo. Getting a tattoo, once the province of sailors rather than suburbanites, is so mainstream that tats are inked at the mall and seen on everyone from Middle American mothers to H Street hipsters to Hollywood starlets.” Not surprisingly, a lot of those people now have regrets.

50 Best Photos - The Big Picture’s 50 best photos from the natural world (taken in 2011, that is).

Getting Back in the Race - Christian Book Notes has a glowing review of Joel Beeke’s new book. “You can never go wrong with a resource by Joel Beeke even if you disagree with him on a specific doctrine. Getting Back in the Race is a book most Christians need to read but do not know it. Get a copy and see for yourself. I am grateful (as will you be) for Cruciform Press taking this next step as a publishing company and to do so with this particular title is excellent. I unreservedly recommend this book to all Christians.”

My Favorite Atheist - R.W. Glenn writes about Christopher Hitchens—his favorite atheist. 

Dribbble - This Dribbble account shows off some of Chris Koelle’s amazing art from the Revelation graphic novel he’s been working on.

Your Pastoral Life - Carl Trueman goes after Ed Young in this blog post.

Jesus, Joy of Highest Heaven - The Getty’s doing what they do.

Love is the queen of all the Christian graces.A.W. Pink

December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens Has Died - Douglas Wilson has a must-read obituary. “Christopher knew that faithful Christians believe that it is appointed to man once to die, and after that the Judgment. He knew that we believe what Jesus taught about the reality of damnation. He also knew that we believe—for I told him—that in this life, the door of repentance is always open. A wise Puritan once noted what we learn from the last-minute conversion of the thief on the cross—one, that no one might despair, but only one, that no one might presume.”

R.C. Sproul on John - Ligonier has the hardcover edition of R.C. Sproul’s commentary on John at just $5, today only (beginning at 8 AM). I do believe you can use the coupon code STORE15 to save another 15%.

5 Lessons I Learned Along the Way - “Years ago my wife surprised me with a direct question about my use of pornography. What followed that question is known in our marriage as ‘The Confession.’ The brutal truth of my long addiction came to light and a long, painful journey of healing began. As God has brought healing into my life, there are five key lessons I have learned, and each one has been crucial to my freedom.”

NeuYear - Yesterday we drew the winners of the NewYear calendar. For those who didn’t win, here is a coupon code that will save you 20% if you’d like to order one. Just use CHALLIES.

Homelessness - This is a really moving photo essay of homelessness around the world.

How We Googled - Google has their annual Zeitgeist, telling us what we googled in 2011. It’s a fascinating reflection of us. All of us.

In the order of creation, pleasures are meant to serve as pointers to God. —J.I. Packer

December 15, 2011

First up, I’ve got some more Kindle deals for you. This is pretty much the rest of the Shepherd Press catalog, all marked down to $1.99. There are some really good books in the list. Red Like Blood by Joe Coffee and Bob Bevington, Christ Formed in You by Brian Hedges, When Sinners Say ‘I Do’ by Dave Harvey, Get Outta My Face by Rick Horne, Herein Is Love: Genesis by Nancy Ganz, A Proverbs Driven Life by Anthony Selvaggio, Everyday Talk by John Younts, Lost in the Middle by Paul David Tripp, Get Wisdom by Ruth Younts. (All these other deals remain as well)

Encourage Your Husband - Jared Wilson has a helpful little blog post in which he shares 5 ways that women can encourage their husbands.

The Lure of Rome - “Last month, Westminster Seminary California’s Office Hours podcast spoke with Ligonier Teaching Fellow, Dr. Robert Godfrey, about why evangelicals and other Protestants become Roman Catholic and how we should respond.” In a similar vein, this article from Gospel Coalition is an interesting read.

5 Signs You’re Borrowing Too Much - TIME: “They’re ba-ack. Like the ghosts in Poltergeist, shoppers have returned this holiday season and they are threatening to stir up a familiar demon—debts they can’t repay.”

Climate Change - I got a laugh from this cleverly sarcastic article: “Canada Officially Withdraws From Unenforceable, Unheeded Climate Change Pact.”

Maybe I Do Want Topical Preaching - Jonathan Leeman calls for relevance and application in expositional preaching in this light-hearted article.

It is more honor to bury an injury than to revenge it. —Thomas Watson

December 14, 2011

Peter’s Denials - “Regarding Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s denial and the ensuing narrative that describes the denial, Matthew, Luke, and John disagree with Mark in such a way that seems like an irreconcilable contradiction: both accounts logically cannot be true. No commentary has provided a satisfying explanation. Can anyone? Should this interfere with our belief that the Scripture is inerrant?”

Listen to the Bible - ChristianAudio is offering their audio Bibles at 50% off. That puts the ESV down to less than $15. There are other translations as well.

Praying Friends - R.C. Sproul Jr’s wife is gravely ill. Please be in prayer for R.C. and his family.

Picking Songs for Church - Mark Altrogge writes about how to pick songs to sing in church. “What criteria should we use?  Should we pick songs simply because they feel good or move us emotionally?  Should we pick them because they give us some kind of ‘worship experience’?”

Standards for President - Randy Alcorn: “On the one hand, we should be acutely aware that every candidate is imperfect. We will be voting for a president, not a pastor, and certainly not a Messiah. We must hold fully to the biblical standards of leadership when it comes to appointing church leaders. Depending on the candidates, when it comes to politicians, it is possible if not likely that not all of the biblical qualifications will be met. That troubles me, but it is a reality we must face.”

Oh, that the Lord would come! He is coming! He is on the road and travelling quickly. The sound of his approach should be as music to our hearts!C.H. Spurgeon

December 13, 2011

Air France 447 - This is an absolutely gripping and terrifying account of the last minutes of Air France flight 447 which disappeared over the Atlantic a couple of years ago. “Two years after the Airbus 330 plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, Air France 447’s flight-data recorders finally turned up. The revelations from the pilot transcript paint a surprising picture of chaos in the cockpit, and confusion between the pilots that led to the crash.”

A Friends Christmas - If you are a Friend of the Blog, there are several new offers for you to take advantage of.

Jacob’s Story - “Jacob’s Story is a mini-documentary about a man that once made his living by trafficking women & children for the purposes of commercial sex. … Jacob is living proof that when the Gospel changes the hearts of men; everything changes.” (You will likely want to treat the film as PG-13)

Goodnight iPad - Here is a classic children’s book re-imagined for a digital age.

Books & Culture - Books & Culture continues the tradition of making their book of the year, a book I’ve never heard of. This one sounds good: God Is Red: The Secret Story of How Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist China.

Yemen - One thing about this short persecution update caught my attention: “Estimates are there are only 100 Yemeni believers in this poverty-stricken country of 22 million.”

There’s plenty to laugh at in the world—but be sure you don’t laugh at something that God takes seriously. —A.W. Tozer

December 12, 2011

There are a lot of notable Kindle deals you’ll want to make a note of. Randy Alcorn’s Money, Possessions and Eternity is free. It’s a book well worth reading. My own Sexual Detox is still at $0.99. Also from Cruciform you can get all of the following for $2.99: Awaiting a Savior by Aaron Armstrong, Grieving, Hope and Solace by Albert Martin, Smooth Stones by Joe Coffey, But God… by Casey Lute, The Organized Heart by Staci Eastin, and Intentional Parenting by Tad Thompson. From Shepherd Press at $1.79 you can get Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Instructing a Child’s Heart, and Don’t Make Me Count to Three. Finally, you can get Piper’s Brothers We Are Not Professionals for $1.99.

Writing a Good Sympathy Card - Here’s one to bookmark for when you need it: “Since my mother’s death, two years ago this past Saturday, I have radically altered the way I write in sympathy cards. I now know more fully the pain that death brings into our lives and, having received so many impacting words of comfort from others, am convinced I will never write in a card the same way I did before.”

The Ardent Sparrow - My friend Becky has opened her jewelry store (by popular demand!) and is offering some great Christmas gift ideas. Guys, be sure to check out the ring of the month or studs of the month clubs. There are several gifts there that don’t require shipping, which means you’re guaranteed to have them by Christmas.

Heaven & Hell - Greg Koukl discusses those who claim to have visited heaven or hell. I appreciate how he goes right to the issue of authority (and does so tactfully).

NYC Churches - “ ‘Don’t Leave Our Church Homeless’ read the signs distributed during Thursday’s press conference outside New York City Hall. More than 60 churches in New York meet in public schools for their Sunday services. When the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear their appeal this week, the churches learned they will need to find a new location before February 12.”

Monergism Books - Monergism Books has a couple of good deals for you. 50 of you can get the audiobook of The Prince’s Poison Cup for free. Well, 49 now. You might also like to browse through their items that are between 50 and 59 percent off and see what bargains are there.

God, in mercy, will never allow children of his to be comfortable in sin. —Will Metzger