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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

June 09, 2011

I have been posting links to some free or heavily-discounted ebooks and today I’ve got a few more links for you to check out. Puritan Library has loads of free classics for you to download in various ebook formats. Matthias Media has the ebook version of The Essential Jesus available for free. This site has the church fathers and many other classics. And back to Kindle-only, Sam Storms’ To the One Who Conquers has been discounted to $1.99.

Pentecost Songs - Cardiphonia has put together a collection of newly-recorded songs that celebrate the work of the Holy Spirit. And it’s all free for the taking.

How a Calvinist Fights - Ray Ortlund shares some wisdom from John Newton.

The Noun Project - This is rather interesting: a project that “collects, organizes and adds to the highly recognizable symbols that form the world’s visual language, so we may share them in a fun and meaningful way.”

Men Are Dogs - Owen Strachan comments on a piece written by Maureen Dowd. Dowd looks at the Anthony Weiner scandal with some disgust.

Celebrity Pastors - Kevin DeYoung has some useful things to say about celebrity pastors in this article. “Over the past months there has been a good deal of back and forth on the blogs (good blogs from people I respect) about the dangers of ‘celebrity pastors.’ As is often the case with these matters, there are many legitimate concerns to be made and many overreactions to avoid.”

Solar Eruption - Here is some video of the recent solar eruption. It’s amazing to think of the sheer power of what happened there…

Our repentance needs to be repented of, and our tears washed in the blood of Christ. —George Whitefield

June 08, 2011

Advice for Writers - “I have always been annoyed by the tendency some writers have to make writing a book sound like hard labor in Siberia.” Me too, even though I’ve probably been one (I’ll ask my wife).

Go to Sleep! - Jay Younts writes a review of a book that is currently selling like crazy. “This book is a best seller because it touches on several universal themes of parenting: the impossibility of controlling the behavior of toddlers; more specifically, dealing with toddlers who will not go to sleep; and, of course, the behavior of parents who can’t control their children. It has something with which every parent can connect. And, oh yes, it has one more modern universal – it is boldly and unashamedly profane.”

Drunk Ladies, Sober Players - Stephen Altrogge: “Philly fans have a hard earned reputation as being the most obnoxious fans in sports, and there were definitely some annoying Philly fans at this game. But the ladies in front of me weren’t obnoxious. At least not at first. However, as the game wore on and the alcohol kicked in, the ladies started to do something that I found very humorous: They started judging the performance of the Pirate players.”

All Sins Are Not Equal - This is a good quote from R.C. Sproul.

1 Timothy 2:15 - Mary Kassian offers up an interesting take on 1 Timothy 2:15 (which I wrote about yesterday).

Amazon and Sales Tax - These laws are bound to change soon. “California visitors to Wal-Mart Stores’ (WMT) website must pay $214 to buy a Philips Electronics (PHG) 22-inch LCD HDTV, one of the hottest-selling flat-panel televisions on the Web. Customers of Amazon.com (AMZN) in that state see a price of $194 for the same product. The discrepancy stems largely from something that dates back to Julius Caesar: sales tax. Wal-Mart, with about 100 stores in California, has to collect it. Amazon, with no stores in California—or anywhere else, for that matter—does not.”

The Reality of the Resurrection - I enjoyed this spoken word piece from Odd Thomas (HT:IC):

A man may have the tongue of an angel and the heart of a devil. —John Flavel

June 07, 2011

It seems like readers have been enjoying the Kindle specials I’ve posted the past couple of days. So here are a couple more I noticed yesterday: Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman is available at $2.99; Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand is at $1.00; Same Kind of Different As Me is at $4.74.

Father’s Day Special - Cruciform Press has a Father’s Day special going on. “Get your dad (or really, anyone) a one-year print book subscription and you gain a special opportunity —Buy yourself (or your church, your small group, your reading club, your neighbor…) any number of books from the Cruciform Press catalog AT THE $6.49 SUBSCRIPTION PRICE.”

Tablets in Bed - Using that iPad in bed may not be good for your health.

Top Ten Fights in Marriage - “Toronto author Emma Waverman, who writes for the Canadian MSN Lifestyle Internet Portal, has come up with an unscientific list of the Top 10 Fights in Marriage. She’s ranked them in order of importance–ranging from a common squabble to an all out brawl.” Mary Kassian puts them to the vote.

Are You Smarter than Anthony Weiner? - Russell Moore asks an important question. “Crazy. Irrational. I don’t know the full story behind any of these, but, in every one of these situations, the behavior seems self-evidently self-destructive. So why do they do it? Why do people risk their families, their careers, their reputations, in such reckless ways?”

In the Hospital in Joplin - “You never know that it will be the most important day of your life until the day is over. The day started like any other day for me: waking up, eating, going to the gym, showering, and going to my 4 pm ED shift. As I drove to the hospital, I mentally prepared for my shift as I always do, but nothing could ever have prepared me for what was going to happen on this shift.”

Free eBooks - Monergism Books has a list of free e-books for you to download.

Results Matter - Thomas Sowell deals out spankings to the schools and to the government. I love reading his columns.

NEXT - I’m hearing good things about the messages delivered at the recent NEXT conference. They are free for the taking at the NEXT site.

Fixing Our Eyes on the Cross - Art Azurdia speaks on “Fixing Our Eyes On The Cross.”

The Christian life is not a playground; it is a battle ground. —Warren Wiersbe

June 06, 2011

In case you missed it on Saturday, I put together quite a list of deals for Kindle owners. Amazon currently has a lot of good books that are being sold for just a dollor or two. You may like to check out the list as I’m sure the deals will not last for long.

And here are some links for today:

Encourage Your Husband - Brian Croft: “I am grateful that my previous post for husbands has brought with it the same request from the wives. Since I feel much more qualified to write the questions that wives can ask their husbands to encourage us…here are 10 questions for you:”

Bureaucratic Stupidity - Whether this happens in your country or mine, I think we can all identify with this kind of bureaucratic stupidity. “There are some things so far exiled from all the known limits of common sense and rational practice, so inhospitable to logic and fairness, that only — only — governments can be responsible for them.”

Taboo Then and Now - LIFE has an interesting little gallery of what was taboo then and how we now regard it as completely normal and unremarkable.

The Church of Sports - Slate: “Sports make up a religious strand of American life, and their church is the Entertainment Sports Programming Network. In its 32 years of existence, ESPN has expanded from a cheesy tent-show evangelizing Australian-rules football and girls softball to being ‘the worldwide leader in sports’—a media empire with a presence in television, books, magazines, and the Web.”

Disproving God - Tony Payne offers a useful rebuttal to a line of reasoning we’ve all heard: “An all-powerful God could eliminate all evil and suffering. An all-good, all-loving God would want to eliminate all evil and suffering. Given that evil and suffering are everywhere in our world, the all-powerful, all-good, all-loving God does not exist.”

E-Books Aren’t There Yet - Wired offers 5 reasons that e-books just aren’t there quite yet.

The Milky Way - This is an amazing time-lapse video.

By perseverance the snail reached the ark.C.H. Spurgeon

June 04, 2011

Let me get things started with some Kindle book deals. These deals have been coming in fast and furious over the past few days; I’ve been tweeting them but also wanted to publish them here. Publishers really seem to be pushing the Kindle and we are all happy beneficiaries of their experiments. Here are a few exceptional deals:

Sold to a Brothel - Tragic. “M. is an ebullient girl, age 10, who ranks near the top of her fourth-grade class and dreams of being a doctor. Yet she, like all of India, is at a turning point, and it looks as if her family may instead sell her to a brothel.”

The Great Cloud of Witnesses - J.C. Ryle and Andrew Peterson make an appearance together in this blog post.

Free Audio - This month’s free audio book from ChristianAudio is Joni Eareckson Tada’s A Place of Healing.

Oprah’s 10 Moments - This article outlines Oprah’s 10 most important moments on television.

The Office, Day 1 - Mark Altrogge seems to be enjoying his new office. “I enter my office.  Boxes strewn everywhere.  One of the secretaries started to arrange my commentaries but quit because she didn’t know my ‘system.’  My system’s so complex the Dewey decimal pales in comparison.  Mine relies heavily on the book cover color and placing the most impressive books (with titles like The Death of Death in the Death of Christ by John Owen or The Grinch Who Stole Christmas) at eye level to make a good first impression.”

Moving Pictures - Here is a gallery of strangely fascinating photographs—but photographs that each have at least one moving element.

All you really need to know about guidance can be summed up in this one sentence: God is faithful, so obey him. Whether or not that seems likely to work is not your business. Being faithful to God’s revealed will is your business. —Iain Duguid (HT)