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A La Carte

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

January 12, 2012

Tebow Time - I appreciate Nathan Busenitz’s thoughts about Tim Tebow and all the fuss surrounding him these days. “But as believers, what are we supposed to think about the cultural phenomenon that centers around this young quarterback? At the risk of offending someone (and possibly everyone), here are ten thoughts in answer to that question.”

Disagreeing Online Without Being a Jerk - This is a worthwhile read for any of us who spend time interacting with others online.

Your Kids Think You’re No Fun - Douglas Wilson offers 10 reasons that your kids might think that you’re no fun.

Chapel at Harvard - Gene Veith found an interesting article that discusses what chapel is like at Harvard these days. “A few years ago, what was once the multi-denominational and then became the multi-faith worship service would mush all of the different religions in a worship service that would be recognizable to none of them.  Now, though, the distinct worship services of the distinct religions are carried out, but everyone participates in them and honors them all equally.”

Free Book of the Month - Logos has begun a new feature: A free book of the month. This month’s freebie is Sin and Temptation by John Owen.

Haiti Slow to Recover - The Big Picture has a photo gallery showing the slow, slow progress in rebuilding Haiti after the quake from two years ago.

Guilt is to danger what fire is to gunpowder. —John Flavel

January 11, 2012

Since you people are all over the Kindle deals, let me tell you about a couple more. Shepherd Press has marked all their Kindle titles at $3.99 (that link will produce most of their books but some junk as well). Many of the books were on sale last month, so you may have already stocked up. But three titles that were not on sale last month are now marked down: Polishing God’s Monuments by Jim Andrews is a wonderful book (you can read my review by clicking on the link and scrolling down); you can also get Time for the Talk by Steve Zollos (a brand new title) and Broken-Down House by Paul David Tripp.

Judging the Morality of God - James White has a strong article over at Patheos: “When Roger Olson announced he was releasing a book, part of a two-book counter-point effort along with Michael Horton, titled Against Calvinism, there was hope for something that might engage the real strength of Reformed theology—the clear and consistent exegesis of the biblical text that the “young, restless and Reformed” have found so compelling. But even before its release, Dr. Olson gave clear indication that its focus was not going to be exegetical.”

Credo Magazine - The January edition of the new Credo magazine is available and free to read. Highlights include a couple of good articles on Love Wins and a really good review of Real Marriage (that adds a couple of new elements to the discussion).

Your Mediocre Sermons - This was comforting to read, especially since I read it while taking a break from sermon preparation.

A Moving Tribute - Pastor Martin Holdt went home to be with the Lord last week after a sudden and short illness. This is a beautiful tribute written by his son.

Learing from Christopher Hitchens - Al Mohler draws five important lessons from the life of Christopher Hitchens.

Narnia 4 - It looks like it will be a few years at best before we see another Narnia movie. I still need to catch up and see the last one.

The Joy of Books - Try and do this with a Kindle!

Today, let us rise and go to our work. Tomorrow, we shall rise and go to our reward. —Richard Fuller

January 10, 2012

Amazon is having a big one-day sale for Kindle. You can get the complete listing here. Click on the Religious Studies category and you’ll find some good things like Excellence by Andreas Kostenberger, Commentary on 1 & 2 Peter by R.C. Sproul, Commentary on Romans by Kent Hughes, Commentary on Isaiah by John Calvin, 

We’re All Witnesses - This columnist is hardly a Tebow fanboy. And yet… “We’re watching a new reality unfold, right before our eyes, and what we saw Sunday strained credibility. It was incredible. It was fantastical.”

Jesus vs Movies - John Piper asks a good question: “What should you do if you know someone who seems to be more excited about movies than Jesus? Many professing Christians give little evidence of valuing Jesus more than the latest movie they have seen. Or the latest clothing they bought. Or the latest app they downloaded. Or the latest game they watched. Something is amiss.”

Critics, Criticism and Character - Aaron Armstrong has a good article here dealing with being a critic and responding to criticism. 

Evangelical Exhibitionists - One of the consequences of Mark Driscoll’s new book is that a lot of people are thinking about “how much is too much” when it comes to discussing sex and sexuality. Phil Johnson’s critique of Real Marriage is, in a word, devastating.

CNN on Passion - CNN covered the recent Passion conference and its efforts to end modern-day slavery.

Time Is Nothing - This is an amazing timelapse based on a trip around the world.

Your state is not at all to be measured by the opposition that sin makes to you, but by the opposition you make to it. —John Owen

January 09, 2012

Here are some great Kindle deals to get your week started: Commentary on Ephesians by Robert Gundry is free, today only. Great Doctrines of the Bible by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, 928 pages of it, is available for $6. John MacArthur’s Daily Readings from the Life of Christ is on at $2.99. If you really want to load up, you can get 22 volumes of John Owen for $2.99. Finally, Amazon has 100 books at $3.99 or less and the include Disciplines of a Godly Man by Kent Hughes; there’s a lot of junk in the list, but there are still quite a few interesting titles.

Parents, Cuddle Your Children - This is my takeaway from a rather interesting article: “No matter how obvious the observation, how eternal the topic, how great the works of literature that have tackled any given theme, or how insightful the philosophers who have studied a matter, the modern mind cannot fathom reaching a conclusion without relying on scientific studies.”

Be in the Film - David Murray: “At HeadHeartHand Media, we’re convinced that depression in the church is an issue that demands our attention, and in light of the warm reception Christians Get Depressed Too has received, we’re excited to be developing a video curriculum on that very topic!” They are looking for people who would like to be in the film.

Digital Music Sales - The only real surprise in this article is that it hasn’t happened already. “The times they are a-changin’. For the first time in history, digital music sales topped the physical sale of music. According to a Nielsen and Billboard report, digital music purchases accounted for 50.3% of music sales in 2011. Digital sales were up 8.4% from the previous year, while physical album sales declined 5%.”

Man Who Said ‘Yes’ to Life - Occasionally The Onion comes up with a gem. Here’s one of them. “Authorities announced Tuesday that the body of 27-year-old screen printer Tom Finnery, a person friends confirmed always said yes to life and no to the idea of limits, had been found lying 20 feet from his mountain bike at the bottom of a gorge…”

God & Sinner Reconcile - I’ve been enjoying Stephen Miller’s new album God & Sinner Reconcile. You can listen to one of its songs in this video (the video begins after he introduces the album).

A sermon wept over is more acceptable with God than one gloried over. —C.H. Spurgeon

January 07, 2012

The Bible in Norway - “The UK’s 2011 bestseller lists might have been dominated by cookery, courtesy of Jamie Oliver, and romance, courtesy of David Nicholls, but Norwegian readers were plumping for another sort of book last year: the Bible. The first Norwegian translation of the Bible for 30 years topped the country’s book charts almost every week between its publication in October and the end of the year”

Partisan Politicis vs Vicious Assaults - I know nothing about Rick Santorum but I was saddened to hear of how certain members of the media have been mocking him for decisions made at his lowest point.

Fast Food Ads vs Reality - I’ve seen a few web sites that point out the difference between fast food ads and reality. I always enjoy them!

National Geographic Photo Contest - Here are the winners of National Geographic’s 2011 photography contest. Not surprisingly, there are some beautiful photos there.

What Is the Unpardonable Sin? - R.C. Sproul writes about the unpardonable sin. It’s important to read to the end: “As for those who are not sure they are saved and are worried they may have committed the unpardonable sin, I would say that worrying about it is one of the clearest evidences that they have not committed this sin, for those who commit it are so hardened in their hearts they do not care that they commit it. Thanks be to God that the sin that is unpardonable is not a sin He allows His people to commit.”

Unnatural Selection - Canada’s The Globe and Mail writes about “a whole new approach to baby-making, one that gives people an unprecedented power to preview, and pick, the genetic traits of their prospective children.”

The devil is content that people should excel in good works, provided he can but make them proud of them. —William Law