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A La Carte

May 14, 2011

I woke up early this morning to take my daughter to breakfast at Denny’s—pretty much her all-time favorite daddy date. We walked outside and there, lying on the ground in the middle of the road, was a coupon for 20% off any order at Denny’s. We took it as a sign.

Publishers Win - Christian Retailing rounds up a few of the Love Wins responses that are already in the works.

Bulletin Bloopers - Thom Rainer collects bulletin bloopers and in this blog post he shares a few of his all-time favorites. Example: “The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.”

Bagels and Donuts - I feel like I can only get away with posting links to this kind of thing on a Saturday. I found this one rather amusing.

Gospel Seeds in Uganda - Matt Schmucker reports on an amazing experience he had in Uganda.

The Creation-Evolution Debate - C. Michael Patton has a brief but helpful round-up of the different views of the origins of the world.

Space Pictures - National Geographic has a gallery of some new and amazing pictures from space.

Grace finds us beggars but leaves us debtors. —Augustus Toplady

May 13, 2011

Real-World Church - White Horse Inn has a review of the book SimChurch and by looking at the book they say some useful things about the importance of separating the virtual from the real.

How to Leave Comments - I enjoyed this comic. Writing is so therapeutic. So is making a sandwich.

Amish Technology - This is a really good article if you can make it all the way through (it’s a longer one). The author takes the time to explain why the Amish draw the seemingly-strange lines they do when it comes to technology.

The Busers on Biem - I really enjoyed watching this video of a family that has set out to build a ministry in Papua New Guinea. This article offers some interesting background.

The 15 Best Things - Here are the 15 best things Warren Buffet has said about investing.

The Responsibility of Wealth - Craig Groeschel writes about generosity, wealth and why the two are necessarily related.

With Every Blow - Be sure to check out this powerful video which explores persecution in Romania during the time of Ceausescu. T-Wax rounds up some of the best quotes.

Persecution is no novelty … the offence of the cross will never cease till all flesh shall see the salvation of God. —William S. Plumer

May 12, 2011

If you haven’t yet, and if you’re interested in reading a classic book together, be sure to check out the poll I posted yesterday. There are 2 to choose from, voting will close very soon, and it’s neck-in-neck. Click here to vote.

Transforming Neighborhoods by Transforming Schools - I really appreciate a lot of what this article says about the role of Christians in the public schools. Hey, even if you don’t send your children to public school, how about volunteering at one to keep the gospel there?

Hospitality and Small Children - Abigail offers up some great thoughts on being hospitable despite having small children. A lot of people give up hospitality because of their little ones; Abigail tells you why you shouldn’t do that.

Best Winter Moves - It’s been a while since I posted a baseball-related link. So I don’t feel guilty about this one, which describes the best moves of the off-season. The Blue Jays did well for themselves.

African Weddings - This article from Conrad Mbewe offers an interesting glimpse into the peculiarities of another culture.

Spiritual Depression - Granted Ministries (think Paul Washer) has just released a nice new version of Martyn-Lloyd Jones’ classic Spiritual Depression. As a special bonus it includes a CD that contains the original sermons the book was based upon.

Rock of Ages - A free MP3 of a folky version of “Rock of Ages.” I like it.

Shallow Small Group - I’ve been to small groups like this one. (HT:Everyone)

Whoever brings an affliction, it is God who sends it. —Thomas Watson

May 11, 2011

I was doing a phone interview last night and had a rather awkward moment. I was in the basement and as I was answering a question, I spotted a hamster in the window well, trying to get into our house (or get out of the window well). I hadn’t expected that. When the interview wrapped up, I managed to track down its grateful and relieved owner (who lives 2 doors down). End of story.

More Friends Online - This seems rather significant. “There really is something in that lingering suspicion that most users of social networking sites have more friends in cyberspace than reality.The average person has in fact double the amount of online friends than physical ones.”

Underage Facebook Users - I am often asked in interviews how we should train our children to use social media responsibly. Here’s a good place to start: don’t cheat the system and get them a Facebook account before they are old enough to legitimately have one. And yet there are currently 7.5 million Facebook users who are underage (who have lied or whose parents have lied to get them an account).

Starbucks, Vocation and the Mundane - Here are some interesting thoughts from Matt Perman about vocation.

Unspoken Truths - As cancer ravages his body, Christopher Hitchens is finding his voice leaving him. You can’t help but pity the man; you can’t help but pray for him.

The ‘Education’ Mantra - “One of the sad and dangerous signs of our times is how many people are enthralled by words, without bothering to look at the realities behind those words.” Ain’t that the truth! Thomas Sowell writes about “education” and how it is one of those words.

Thriving at College - Speaking of education, my friend Alex Chediak wants you (or your kids or your grand kids) to thrive at college. And that just happens to be the title of his new book. Here is a very positive review of it.

The King’s English - Now this is pretty clever. This video ties into a unique blog effort. In honor of the 400th anniversary of the King James Version, this blogger “will blog on a phrase each day that has passed into common parlance: popular phrases like ‘labour of love’, ‘beast of burden’, ‘wits’ end’ and ‘scapegoat’; but also phrases that should be more popular, like ‘filthy lucre’ and ‘gird up thy loins’.” (see http://kingsenglish.info/)

We spend our years with sighing; it is a valley of tears; but death is the funeral of all our sorrows.  —Thomas Watson

May 10, 2011

Why Won’t God Just Tell Me What To Do? - “That would certainly make things simpler in life, wouldn’t it? Like if there was a blank page at the back of every Bible, and every morning you woke up and there was a personal, hand-tailored message for you from God. Telling you where to eat lunch. Letting you know how to get another job and when it’s going to happen. Informing you of the right choice to make about your relationship.” (HT:Z)

Roasted Peanuts - One of my favorite all-time Peanuts strips. As the commenter says, “There is spite, and there is this.”

Cursive Will Never Die - I found this a rather interesting article. “Cursive writing is in decline, says the New York Times. Should we panic?”

God’s Bankers - A reader forwarded me this article, from The Independent. It discusses how evangelical Christianity is taking a hold of the City of London’s financial institutions.

The Danger of Sitting - Apparently a job that keeps you as static as mine does isn’t a good thing. I’ve been thinking of making a standing desk. This may fast-track me. Probably not.

Zombie Consumers - “Economy watchers looking for a spark of life in the exhausted, debt-ridden American consumer are quick to latch on to any signs of a pulse.” What grabbed me in this article was the point that the economy is coming back to life when personal debt begins to rise again. Haven’t we learned anything?

A Parody - This is a good parody of our cultural obsession with video games. (HT:KD)

As the wicked are hurt by the best things, so the godly are bettered by the worst. —William Jenkyn

May 09, 2011

I spent a lot of time reading this weekend. Reading on the Internet, that is. And now when it comes to A La Carte I find that I’ve got about 100 articles bookmarked. Well, 20 or 30 anyway. So let me see if I can make up an interesting mix that reflects the eclectic nature of what I was reading.

Books About Heaven and Hell - Randy Alcorn has written an article on 90 Minutes in Heaven, Heaven Is Real and other books in that “been to heaven (or hell)” genre.

A Surprising Way to Love Your Wife - Here’s a must-read article for the husbands out there. Wives, if you want your husband to read it, just print it off and tell him that I said he’d enjoy it.

Shakespeare, Aesop or KJV? - A quiz that is more difficult than you might think.

My Husband’s Other Wife - I found this a moving article. “Shortly after my husband John and I were married, on a day he was at work and I was home moving my things into his house, I opened a cardboard box in the attic. It was filled with photos of his other married life, the one he’d had with his first wife, Robin Goldstein. She was 28 when they got married, and six months later she was diagnosed with breast cancer. My husband was nursing her at home when she died just after her 34th birthday. The box contained wedding photos, honeymoon photos, and random snapshots of parties and birthdays.”

7 Thoughts - Douglas Wilson offers 7 thoughts on the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. This is very good and helpful stuff.

Lessons from the Coverage - Speaking of Bin Laden, this site looks at the way the news exploded into the world and shows the kind of challenge this presents to old media.

Creepy and Cool - Z says this is the creepiest and coolest thing he’s seen in a long time. I’d tend to agree. It makes me think we’ve been wasting our kids’ kindergarten years.

The Lord knows I go up this ladder [to be hung as a martyr] with less fear, confusion or perturbation of mind than ever I entered a pulpit to preach. —Donald Cargill

May 07, 2011

It’s funny what happens to Saturdays when the family grows. Already I’ve taken my son to baseball practice, my daughter to ballet and worked over tomorrow’s sermon in the meantime. Next up is a list of chores (passport photos, baseball helmets, groceries). I remember when weekends were relaxing. But I think it’s a fair trade.

Blood on the Carpet - I thoroughly enjoyed this blog post, which includes the longest run-on sentence you’re ever likely to read.

Your First Name and Your Age - “What’s in a name? Your age, for one thing. Names, like clothing and music, go in and out of fashion, and each generation chooses different ones than the last, until, like a giant Jeopardy wheel, the same ones come around again. Note that as the years progress the list becomes more multi-cultural; many names from the mid-20th century were of English origin or Biblical. Popular entertainers and cultural figures (such as Prince William) also impact the list.”

Moms, Former Moms, Wannabe Moms - “Mother’s Day is a tricky holiday. Like any holiday, it is sweet for some and bitter for others. For some, it’s both. I remember feeling on the outside looking in on Mother’s Day, first as a single woman and then after I miscarried our first. Our church had an entrance near the nursery called the Family Entrance. Could I use it? Were we a family?”

Give Her a Chance - This may make sense only to Canadians. I enjoyed the subtle sarcasm in this article. While you’re at it, read this one (again, I think only Canadians will care).

VW Tests - This is strangely satisfying to watch.

May 06, 2011

It’s been a cool and rainy spring—enough so that my son’s baseball season has already been delayed twice. The fields are just too wet to play on. However, we are hoping to finally get the first practice in tomorrow, with a game to follow early next week. It’s back to the diamond at last.

U-S-A - Here is a brief history of the U-S-A! chant that America loves and the rest of the world doesn’t.

High Art - I guess you have to be a bit of a geek to enjoy this one. It talks about the iconic beauty of the Boeing 747 and compares it to the bland nature of the Airbus A380.

Truth in Love - I appreciated Michael Haykin’s reflections in a new article which begins like this: “In one of his books, Francis Schaeffer depicts the two problems that can afflict those desiring to be true to the Christian Faith in days when biblical truth is under attack. On the one hand, some become hard and brittle in their response to errorists and develop low tolerance levels.”

Where Is the Steeple? - Veith shares an article from USA Today about the decline of the steeple (and with it traditional church architecture) and asks a few questions: “Architecture, like other art forms, expresses meaning.  Do you know why older churches built steeples?  Why they had bells?  What does it mean that today’s churches tend to use cheap materials?”

Three Things Obama Got Right - This is an interesting take on President Obama and the aftermath of killing Osama Bin Laden. John Mark Reynolds believes “President Obama made the right call to take out bin Laden, the right call to end torture of prisoners, and was right not to release the bin Laden photograph.”

Twain’s Autobiography - If you’ve got a few minutes to spare, you may enjoy reading this review of Mark Twain’s recently-published autobiography.

A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling ‘darkness’ on the wall of his cellC.S. Lewis