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A La Carte

August 10, 2011

Beer, Bohemianism and True Christian Liberty - John MacArthur continues his series to the Young, Restless and Reformed crowd: “If everything you know about Christian living came from blogs and websites in the young-and-restless district of the Reformed community, you might have the impression that beer is the principal symbol of Christian liberty.”

Students Love Technology - “Is the idea that students love technology surprising? No, but this infographic sheds a little light on this gadget-addicted generation.”

Enough About Us Already - “ ‘They like you,’ according to Christianity Today‘s latest cover story (August 2011), by Bradley R. E. Wright, a University of Connecticut sociologist. Wright challenges the alarmist rhetoric of some in recent years who have created the impression that our fellow Americans hate us and we need a public relations makeover. Taking issue with George Barna among others, he argues that we have a persecution complex-or at least an almost pathological need to be loved.”

What You Are Against - “I spent a brief portion of my pastoral ministry under an ‘angry prophet.’ You know… ‘that guy.’He’s the preacher-pastor who somehow finds his way to the kindling and accelerant in every sermon, or writing project. The ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’ is on a loop in the background of his life. I loved the gentlemen and still do. He loved Jesus Christ and still does. He was well intended. I learned an awful lot from his ministry and am grateful for almost all of it. But, some things I have had to unlearn.”

The Wrong Body Language - I found this gallery of body language kind of interesting.

Joshua Tree Under the Milky Way - I love these stop motion videos.

The saint most ripe for heaven is the most aware of his own shortcomings. —C.H. Spurgeon

August 09, 2011

Well, we made it down to Chattanooga, where it’s really, really hot. Kentucky threw 3 thunder storms at us, one after the other, with a couple hours of blinding rain, but we drove on and made it through. So here we are, in the South. I intend to catch up on some sleep today, and then go looking for second-hand bookstores tomorrow.

How Long Should Sermons Be? - Brian Croft answers. “The pressure to answer can be self-imposed, or forced by those in your church who complain your sermons are too long. The problem is there does not seem to be one right answer. The answer to this question largely depends on the kind of pastor you are, the quality of preacher you are, and the kind of congregation you serve.”

Where Did Verse 4 Go? - Bill Mounce talks about the case of a missing verse.

Social Media and Temptations to Sin - From my buddy Julian: “Here are just a few of the immediate temptations we need to be aware of that come hand-in-hand with participation in social media…”

Fire Boring Preachers - Carl Trueman: “I was talking to a friend recently who told me of a Sunday school class on providence which he had attended. The presentation, while precise and correct at the level of formulation, left my friend cold. Nothing of the glory or the grace or the mercy or the patience of God had been conveyed in the presentation. There was nothing to call forth a response of praise and adoration.”

Definitions, Not Rights - “One common misconception in the same-sex marriage debate is the idea that the traditional legal definition of marriage is a violation of equal rights. Since this is an extremely emotionally charged accusation, it’s difficult to get past it into a real discussion of the issue.”

I will hold no man responsible for his dreams; but, if there were no sin in us, we should have no sin even in our dreams. —C.H. Spurgeon

August 08, 2011

It was 13 years ago today that Aileen and I were married. We are celebrating by driving the 850 miles from Toronto to Chattanooga to spend a few days with family. Actually, we got a start yesterday and drove as far as Dayton, Ohio, so we’ve got  just half of the drive remaining. We will pay a visit to the National Museum of the United States Air Force (I’m geeky that way) and then we’ll hit the road.

WORLD - World has a couple of things to check out—their iPad edition is now allowing digital subscriptions and they’ve also put together a gallery of their covers from the past 25 years.

Where Children Sleep - This is a really interesting photo gallery. “As much as the project is about the quirkiness of childhood, it is, more strikingly, a commentary on class and on poverty. But the diversity also provides a sense of togetherness.”

Ashtown Burials - Be sure to check out the trailer for N.D. Wilson’s newest book. It’s very, very well-done. My son really wants to read this book now. So do I.

The Glory of God - Fans of Christian rap will want to grab this free single from Shai Linne. It’s from a forthcoming album that will exult in the glories of God.

Death—What a Mystery - Conrad Mbewe mourns the death of his sister and writes about the great mystery that is death.

Evolution Refuted - From Answers in Genesis.

The law may express sin but it cannot suppress sin. —Thomas Adams

August 05, 2011

It’s Friday already! That’s crazy. I plan on spending most of the day preparing Sunday’s sermon (one of my favorite things to do). So let’s get to the links. The first 3 are deals you may want to consider taking advantage of; after that there’s some reading or watching to do.

$5 Friday - Ligonier Ministries has a few amazing deals in their $5 Friday today. You can get R.C. Sproul’s commentary on John for just $5 (ebook), along with The Holiness of God video series (a must-see!) and the What Is Reformed Theology? video series. That would be $15 really well spent.

Amazing Grace - Due to popular demand, Monergism Books is once again offering the Amazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism DVD for just $5. 

Two Ways to Live - Westminster Books is having a special on the Two Ways to Live training DVD. There are a couple of other deals also worth checking out.

Praying in the Whirlwind - A good word from Reformation21: “Reading through some old notes on Calvin’s Institutes made me realize what always gets dropped when life feels like one giant game of whirlyball: prayer. Calvin says that if we do not pray, we are like a man who ‘neglect[s] a treasure, buried and hidden in the earth, after it had been pointed out to him.’”

Global Evangelism - Ed Stetzer links to some interesting studies on global evangelism. 

The One You Need - As Z says, this is cheesy if you don’t have a daughter, but you’ll probably start blubbering if you do. Though as I mentioned on Twitter yesterday, I think part of the reason you cry more after you’ve got kids is that you’re just so mind-numbingly tired all the time.

The Culture of Death - “First in Baltimore, and then in New York City, municipal governments passed laws intended to shut down or curtail the work of crisis pregnancy centers in their cities. The crisis pregnancy centers have been among the most important platforms for saving unborn human lives and reasserting human dignity. This is especially true in more recent years, as many of these centers have begun using sophisticated ultrasound imaging technologies in order to show pregnant women the unborn babies within them.”

Tears of the Saints - This is a powerful little video.

Blessed be God, our calamities are matters of time, but our safety is a matter of eternity. —C.H. Spurgeon

August 04, 2011

If you live in or around Chattanooga, Tennessee, I have a question I’d like to ask you. If that’s you, would you mind sending me an email? My email address is tim@challies.com. Thanks! And now let’s get on to some links…

Phantom Vibration Syndrome - Guilty as charged. “That’s right—when you reach for your cell phone, though you are unprovoked by a beep or a hum, you are a slave of biology. And of our modern-day dependency on gadgets.”

Romance Novels - I’ve linked to Russell Moore on this topic, so I think it’s only fair to link to his detractors. Personally, though, I think he brings the better arguments.

The Book List - Here’s a helpful site; it offers study guides for quite a long list of Christian books from some of your favorite authors (or some of mine, at least).

Good Book Guides - The Good Book Company has put their Good Book Guides (Bible study series) on sale at 5 for $5. Some are topical, some go through a book of the Bible.

Wrong Book, Right Time - Trevin Wax writes about Francis Chan’s Erasing Hell and wonders if it’s the wrong book at the right time.

Ramadan Begins - Here is a Ramadan photo gallery as the celebration gets underway. We should be praying that God works mightily in the Muslim world through this season, drawing people away from Islam.

If conscience is to be directed by the Spirit of God it must be governed by the Word of God. —Mary S. Wood

August 03, 2011

Wallis vs. Mohler - This ought to be an interesting debate: Jim Wallis vs. Al Mohler on “Is Social Justice an Essential Part of the Mission of the Church?”

The Road to a Downgrade - This article offers a short history of the entitlement state. It’s worth a read.

Misleading Words - While we’re talking money and politics, Thomas Sowell shows how rhetoric favoring blacks has no relationship to economic reality.

Pray for Your Pastor - Bob Glenn shares items you can pray for your pastor. “As leaders in the church we have unique and often more intense temptations (‘Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter’). So will you consider praying for your pastor the way I ask my people to pray for me?”

Hannah Coulter - Russell Moore on why you should download and listen to Wendell Berry’s Hannah Coulter, free this month from ChristianAudio.

John Piper on Cru - John Piper: “Since Campus Crusade for Christ announced (and explained) that it will change its name to Cru, some donors have withdrawn support from Crusade staff. I am writing to say: That’s not a good reason to withdraw your support.”

Single Living - Paula Hendrick has a few questions she’d like to ask single people.

Most Alive - This is a very sweet video of the late John Stott answering the question: “When do you feel most alive?” His multi-faceted answer is brilliant (it involves worship, friendship and bird-watching).

The ordinary Christian with the Bible in his hand can say that the majority is wrong. —Francis Schaeffer

August 02, 2011

Aileen and the kids have gone away for a couple of days, getting out of the city in favor of a neighbor’s cottage. Right before they left my five-year-old daughter looked at me and said, “Daddy, it would be nice if you could clean the house while we’re gone. It’s good to come back to a nice, clean home.” Duly noted. I guess I’d better get scrubbing.

Last week I announced that the next classic Christian book we will be reading together is John Stott’s The Cross of Christ. ChristianAudio was kind enough to make the audio book available to us for just $2.98. Visit this Reading Classics Together post to get the details. You do not need to read (or listen) along with us to take advantage of the deal (but you might as well).

Hannah Coulter - Speaking of ChristianAudio, this month’s free book is Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry. I know absolutely nothing about it except that it’s free and that Russell Moore considers it one of his 2 favorite Berry novels.

Fascinating Facts About Phone Numbers - A bit hyperbolic perhaps (I can’t imagine there is any such thing as a truly “fascinating” fact about phone numbers) but this post is at least interesting. (HT:TW)

Missing Maps - I enjoyed Tim O’Reilly’s article that shows the fragility of some of our systems. “It was a beautiful late spring day towards the end of May, hot even, so the last thing I was thinking about was the possibility that Sierra passes might still be closed. So I was quite surprised to find a sign that the road ahead was closed in 5 miles. I’d have to turn around and retrace my path for over 80 miles.”

Books on Sale - Monergism Books has some deals worth checking out: Works of John Owen for just $238 (great deal!), Trusting God by Jerry Bridges (50% off), Essential Truths by R.C. Sproul (50%), Chosen By God by R.C. Sproul (50%), etc. You can find more here.

Ministers of Grace in Need of Grace - It takes a humble man to admit he has said this: “ ‘Ninety-five percent of the women in our church would love to be married to a man like me.’ (Luella very quickly informed me that she was part of the 5 percent!) I was convinced that no one had a more accurate picture of me than I did. And in my blindness I also failed to see and fear the disaster that I was heading toward.”

Ray of Hope - I don’t know much of anything about International Justice Mission, so don’t take this as an endorsement of the organization. But this video is awfully powerful.

If our circumstances find us in God, we shall find God in our circumstances. —George Muller

August 01, 2011

Happy August. It’s a holiday up here in Canada, something we call the Civic holiday. It’s one of those weird holidays where most people get the day off, but some don’t. I’m not sure yet which camp I’m in. I need to add up my week and see if I can afford a day away from the office.

Listen Like a Man - The folks at Grace to You respond to some criticism of John MacArthur’s approach in his letters to the Young, Restless, Reformed. 

A Trying Month - My friend Trevin Wax writes about what has been a trying month in the life of his family. Pray for this family!

Mandy’s Story - The Resurgence shares a tough-to-read excerpt from Justin and Lindsey Holcomb’s book Rid of My Disgrace, a book about sexual assault.

NIV Review - Dan Wallace has an extensive review of the new NIV and it’s quite a good read. Andy Naselli’s got a table of contents if you’d like to give it a go.

Vacation Stress Levels - This rings true.

Images of Auschwitz - This is a haunting photo gallery of images taken at Auschwitz.

Jesus was never guarding himself, but always invading the lives of others with his holiness. —Phillips Brooks