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A La Carte

January 23, 2012

It’s been a week or two since we saw a lot of great Kindle deals; I guess they are most common at the beginning of a month, but here’s a recap of titles you may want to nab before the month is through: Shepherd Press has all their titles on sale at $3.99; Pilgrim’s Progress is on at $3.99; Disciplines of a Godly Man by Kent Hughes is at $3.99; No Other Gospel by Josh Moody is at $3.03; Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce Ware is $1.79; Piper’s Sex and the Supremacy of Christ is at $2.99.

History Lives - Here’s a late addition to A La Carte: The excellent five-volume series of church history books for kids is marked down to $2 each (Kindle edition). This is a limited-time deal so jump on it!

Trailblazer Biographies - Here’s one new Kindle deal: the Trailblazer Biographies for kids series is on at $2.99 each. You’ll find biographies of quite a few Christian heroes. They are targeted at ages 8-12.

Your Child and Porn - “Let’s say a dad came to see you for advice about his teenage son. He tells you his son has been sneaking out of bed late at night looking at porn on the computer. He’s put filters in place but his son seems to be able to get around them. How might you start advising this father?”

Abortion eBook - Desiring God has released a short, free ebook from John Piper called Exposing the Dark Work of Abortion. Also, here’s an article giving eight ways to live as pro-life Christians under a pro-choice President.

Alcorn and Guinness - Randy Alcorn has just wrapped up a three-part interview with Os Guinness. You can start here if you’d like to read it through. Guinness talks about living for the Audience of One, and the relationship between calling, markets, and morality.

Jesus Isn’t Safe - I like this! Matt Papa, who writes some great and weighty music, is going after Christian radio. “Mainstream christian radio is altogether banal and shallow in both a musical sense and a spiritual sense.  The songs are man-centered and the DJ’s and radio programmers are man-pleasers…..they play the songs that will attract the most listeners to their station, period.  Christian radio is like Joel Osteen in musical form….safe, happy, and untruthful.  It is the TBN of music…a large-scale, embarrassing presentation of Christianity to the world.” (here’s part two)

Not ignorance, but the ignorance of ignorance, is the death of knowledge. —Alfred Whitehead

January 20, 2012

The Stalking of the President - Smithsonian has an interesting account of the stalking and assassination of President Garfield (and, perhaps worst of all, the medical treatments he received).

Apple’s Education Tools - Apple just unveiled a whole new set of education tools. It looks like interactive learning through tablets and digital textbooks are on the way in.

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God - Here’s a video worth watching.

Items Tech Will Kill - Here’s a video that shows the items that technology will replace in the years to come. Many of them won’t be missed; a few will.

Gospel in an Abortion Culture - “As the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision approaches, most Christians recognize, and rightly so, the loss of millions of unborn human lives. What we often forget is the second casualty of an abortion culture: the consciences of countless men and women.”

It’s a Girl - These are the three deadliest words in the world.

Self-examination is not the same as self-pity, which can be addictive as alcohol, and just as deadly. —Nigel McCullough

January 19, 2012

Mrs. Blackburn - After writing about preaching ordinary sermons, I received a link to this article which carries on the theme quite nicely. It is a tribute to a very ordinary Sunday school teacher who left an indelible mark.

The Chicken of the Sea - Dr. Mohler has written a wonderful article about the sinking of the cruise ship Costa Concordia and the actions of its cowardly captain. Mohler compares this captain to the captain of another vessel that sank years ago. While we are on the subject, The Big Picture has a photo gallery of the ship and the efforts to rescue its passengers.

Mercy Teams - I really appreciated Ali’s perspective on the value of short-term missions teams. “And you know what? It wouldn’t matter if these guys and girls never even talk to a single Togolese person while they’re here. They’ve blessed and encouraged and strengthened those of us who will be here for the long haul. We’ll go into this Field Service energized by their energy, more ready than ever to pour out our lives for the people here in West Africa.”

Of Straw Men and Shameful Speech - I think this is a conversation the church needs to have and I am looking forward to seeing how it progresses. “Here are the main arguments I continue to hear played over and over for why the church ought to regularly engage in sexually explicit dialogue with Christian married couples…”

Making Necessary Distinctions - Michael Horton has put together an important article on discernment and the necessity of making theological distinctions.

The Day the Internet Went Dark - It was interesting to see the SOPA protests in action yesterday. This page gives you some information about what happened and who participated.

God writes with a pen that never blots, speaks with a tongue that never slips, acts with a hand that never fails. —C.H. Spurgeon

January 18, 2012

The Big Day - Michael Horton writes about the Superbowl and churches that have a Superbowl party: “Typically, in the reports I scanned, pastors were justifying their decision by appealing to the mission opportunity. Somehow, having the building full with people who want to be there for a game, but not for God’s saving service to sinners, is ‘missional.’”

Full Circle - I was recently a guest on “Full Circle,” a show that airs on CTS (Canada’s Christian TV channel). You can see it here, if you’re interested. I think I show up around 6 or 7 minutes in.

How to Be a Miserable Comforter - Paul Tautges goes to Job to find some “wisdom” on how to be a miserable comforter or counsellor.

Four Stages of New Tech - This is an interesting and easy-to-read article about how technology gets introduced and eventually accepted in society.

Explore - The Good Book Company has released a new app called “Explore” (available for iOS or Android). It contains daily Bible readings with questions to help you engage with the Bible.

Raising Readers - Reedemed Reader has an interview with Alan Jacobs who recently wrote the excellent little book The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction. They ask him about children, distraction, homeschooling, and more.

Blood Test at 5 Weeks - This is another medical innovation that will inevitably be used for evil: “A non-invasive method of detecting a fetus’s sex as early as five weeks into pregnancy has been developed.” Speaking of which, also check out this pro-life conversation from Sam Crabtree.

Stories of Change - Here are stories of change set to the song “May Your Power Rest On Me.”

Only in obedience can we discover the great joy of the will of God. —Sinclair Ferguson

January 17, 2012

I checked in with Twitter this morning and saw a few mentions of the fact that today is my 3,000th consecutive day of blogging. What’s funny to me is that I had no idea. But that little counter at the bottom right of the page just kept incrementing and I guess a few people noticed. I’ll have to wear a party hat all day today, I suppose.

A No-Win Scenario - Mounce talks about some of those verses that simply cannot be translated well (at least not if you care about trying to make things sound less than awkward).

The Worst Passwords - Forbes has a list of the 25 worst passwords of 2011. Take a look at the list and if you use any of those passwords, change them right away!

On Media and Messages - Carl Trueman brings out some good thoughts about reductionism here. I’m not sure that I agree with him all the way, though. I find that there is a lot of value in trying to take a complex idea and compress it down to 140 characters. That certainly isn’t then sufficient, but it helps you sharpen your own understanding (similar to the way teaching a concept to a child forces you to understand it better).

CT and Spanking - Denny Burk writes about the editors of Christianity Today and their new stance on spanking. Regardless of what you believe about spanking, this is an important issue because of the hermenuetical implications. “The CT editorial relies almost entirely on William Webb’s trajectory hermeneutic—a way of interpreting the Bible that says modern readers sometimes need to move beyond the ethical instruction of scripture to an ethic that supercedes it.”

Empty Praise - Well here’s a shocker: “For decades, the prevailing wisdom in education was that high self-esteem would lead to high achievement. The theory led to an avalanche of daily affirmations, awards ceremonies and attendance certificates — but few, if any, academic gains.”

The Phone Stack - I love this idea! “We usually take a pretty hard line against phones at dinner, but a new trick just popped up that gives us hope for the future. It’s called a phone stack, and it’s a buzzing, flashing reminder of every phone-etiquette rule the world seems to have forgotten.” (HT)

Christianity is no more a bondage to men than wings are to birds. —O. Palmer Robertson

January 16, 2012

A couple of ebook deals: In case you missed it on Saturday, Crossway’s illustrated version of The Pilgrim’s Progress is down to $0.95; Robert Gundry’s commentary on James is free, today only. Meanwhile, John Piper’s book Bloodlines is now free in PDF form if you’re interested (no registration, no checkout—just free).

Pastors and Conducting Weddings - Brian Croft: “I am consistently asked about the circumstances surrounding weddings.  What makes it permissible or not to conduct a wedding in ”this or that” situation?  I am very aware that there are strong opinions and lively disagreements about whether an evangelical pastor should marry Christians, non-Christians, and everything in between.”

Pastors Oppose Evolution - “Pastors overwhelmingly believe that God did not use evolution to create humans and think Adam and Eve were literal people, according to a recent survey by LifeWay Research.”

The Man with the Golden Voice - Here is an update on Ted Williams, the (formerly) homeless man with the golden voice.

High-Speed Animals - “With good lighting and a little luck, amateur videographers can use inexpensive digital cameras to transform blurred flight into breathtaking glimpses of animal behavior.” WIRED showcases some examples.

Ordo Salutis - That infographic of the ordo salutis has been translated into Portuguese and is free for the download.

Your Brain on Technology - Mike Wittmer read a bunch of books on technology (including my own) and provides 5 big takeaways. 

The snow covers many a dunghill; so doth prosperity many a rotten heart. —Thomas Brooks

January 14, 2012

I like to keep an eye on Amazon’s gold box deal. Today’s looks good: $250 off the Canon Rebel XS 10.1 digital SLR camera (Then again, what do I know about cameras…). Kindle folk may want to get this modernized and illustrated version of Pilgrim’s Progress. Crossway has marked it down to $0.95.

A Song to the Coming King - David Murray is beginning what should be an interesting series on the Song of Solomon as a song to the coming king of love. “Many Western interpreters have got so lost in analyzing the minute details of every pomegranate and every tree that many have been turned off reading the Song in a Christ-centered way.” In a similar vein, Cripplegate has an article about Old Testament interpretation that’s worth considering. Meanwhile, Peter Leithart is also writing about the poetry of sex.

Delivered from Death - “Belief does not necessarily imply faith. According to Dustin Morrison of New Market, Iowa, believers merely assent to God’s existence while followers devote their lives to discipleship. For Morrison, it took walking through the valley of the shadow of death to understand the difference.”

Civil War Submarine - Here’s an interesting story: “Confederate Civil War vessel H.L. Hunley, the world’s first successful combat submarine, was unveiled in full and unobstructed for the first time on Thursday, capping a decade of careful preservation.”

The Church in New York - “Police Thursday arrested 43 New York City pastors and lay people who were protesting the city’s ban on church use of public schools for worship services. The ban is scheduled to go into effect Feb. 12.”

Open Up the Bible - I like this new campaign by The Good Book Company. “Wherever you are, whenever you can, we want to encourage you to open up the Bible.” They have lots of resources to help get you started.

Top Ten of 2011 - Reformation Heritage Books has their top 10 books of 2011 on sale at 50% off. The sale lasts for just a few more days.

The Page Turner - I need one of these.

God’s works are never above right, though often above reason. —Thomas Fuller

January 13, 2012

Rogue Ringtone - “The final movement of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony is a slow rumination on mortality, with quiet sections played by strings alone. During the New York Philharmonic’s performance Tuesday night, it was interrupted by an iPhone.” Ouch.

$5 Friday - Ligonier has a few notable deals in their $5 Friday sale. In particular, R.C. Sproul’s The Prayer of the Lord and The Priest With the Dirty Clothes (audiobook) are great value at $5. Also, if you’re a Kindle user, you may enjoy Carolyn Weber’s Surprised by Oxford which has been marked down to $3.44. (my review)

The Post-Program Church - This is a good article from 9Marks: “If churches shouldn’t rely wholly on programs to do the work of ministry, this raises some questions: First, should churches ditch all their programs? Second, if not, how should churches decide which programs to keep or cut?”

Bad Attituding - This is some helpful parenting advice from Rick Holland: “When is that last time someone confronted you in anger and your immediate response was something like, ‘Oh thank you, I am so motivated now to do better and try harder.’ Correction packaged in a bad attitude is not motivating, stimulating, or helpful.”

Something We Do Badly - Carl Trueman writes about pulpit prayer. “[P]ulpit prayer should be a vital part of the worship service.  It is at those moments that the pastor has the task of leading the people into the very presence of God.  This is an awe inspiring task, not to be undertaken lightly.”

Infamous TV Firsts - Reading this article, and looking back on a long list of infamous TV firsts, is kind of an interesting study in society’s declining morality.

First Light - This is quite an interesting timelapse video shot in HDR.

Blessed is the man who having nothing to say abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact. —George Eliot