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July 19, 2011

How to Evaluate Your Sermons - Here’s one for the preachers: “We must regularly evaluate our preaching to know if we are growing as preachers. Charles Spurgeon (1834–1892) said to his ministerial students, ‘I give you the motto, ‘Go forward.’ Go forward in personal attainments, forward in gifts and in grace, forward in fitness for the work, and forward in conformity to the image of Jesus.’

Shepherding a 106-Year Old - I enjoyed this article from Brian Croft. He reflects on lessons he has learned from pastoring a 106-year old woman.

Content and Generous - Z has some good things to say about money: “I’m afraid the framing of this discussion leads us to ask the wrong questions. Like the junior high boy who wonders how ‘far is too far’ with his girlfriend, we are quickly caught up in questions about how rich is too rich, how poor is too poor, and the like. Where is the line? Do I feel guilty for having too much? Do the kids have enough? What does ‘enough’ even mean?”

4 Steps to Kill Sin - Courtesy of Sinclair Ferguson.

Reparative Therapy - Al Mohler discusses a hot political issue.

Childrens’ Book Sale - Reformation Heritage Book has several kids’ books on sale (and one about raising them). Gospel-Powered Parenting for $5 is a great bargain!

Amazon’s Tablet - The e-book and e-reader market continues to evolve in interesting directions. Amazon looks set to announce 2 new versions of the Kindle and a tablet which will compete with the iPad.

We are more sure to arise out of our graves than out of our beds. —Thomas Watson

July 18, 2011

My apologies to those who were looking for the final post in Reading Classics Together. I was on vacation last week and just plain forgot to write up the Reading Classics article. I’ll catch up this Thursday! Meanwhile, here are some links that may be of interest…

Setting Their Hope in God - Andrew Case’s book, which helps parents (or others) pray for children, is on sale at Amazon (in the Kindle edition) for just $0.99. Meanwhile, Monergism Books has Van Til’s Defending the Faith (ebook) for free. You might also be interested in this free CD of lectures on Christ and Salvation.

9 Lessons Concerning Sickeness - Here are 9 lessons from God concerning sickness (care of J.C. Ryle).

Google and Memory - Another interesting article on what the Internet is doing to memory.

Something’s Missing - Something is missing from your giving, according to this writer. And I think he raises a point that is worth considering—how do you decide what (and how) to give?

Cook with Coke - You know you want to try it…

The Internet of Things - This is quite an interesting infographic that deals with all the things that are connected to the Internet. Things you might not expect (like cows).

The only thing that a man can contribute to his own redemption is the sin from which he needs to be redeemed. —William Temple

July 16, 2011

We are finishing up a week’s vacation today and heading home from a great little cottage we’ve been parked at for the past week. It’s been a wonderful vacation—the kind that was quiet and relaxing and lasted just long enough (but not too long). Good times.

The Most Risky Profession - Writing for CT, Mark Galli explains why you need to pray desperately for your pastor.

The Streets of Lusaka - It is great to read of what the Lord is doing through a rather unique ministry on the streets of Lusaka. “That week, God touched one of the women in the church—Prisca Phiri. She asked her husband to drive her in the middle of the night to a spot where she usually saw prostitutes lined up to be picked up by men. Upon getting there, her husband remained in the car while she started speaking to these women. She was shocked to discover that most of them were not opposed to hearing the gospel from her.”

Casey Anthony - R.C. Sproul Jr asks (and answers) what we are to make of the Casey Anthony decision.

Dependence Check - Here’s a good word: “Whenever I am prayerless it betrays an underlying belief that I can do life and ministry on my own, which according to Scripture, is certifiably insane.”

Tour de France - This is an eye-catching photo essay from the Tour de France.

Letter to a Teenager - John Piper shares a letter he wrote to an incomplete and insecure teenager. “Four years ago a teenager in our church wrote to me for advice about life in general, and identity in particular. Here is what I wrote, with a big dose of autobiography for illustration.”

One marvels at the little things over which an assembly will waste hours of precious time, contending as if the destiny of the whole world and the fate of the starry heavens depended upon the debate. —C.H. Spurgeon

July 15, 2011

Outsourcing Memory - “Research suggests that we no longer remember facts, because we know the Web will do it for us. … A study published in today’s Science suggests that the Internet has changed how we remember facts. The study shows that the Web has become a sort of external hard drive for factual information. So instead of remembering specific details, such as who directed the film Casablanca (Michael Curtiz), we remember the name of the website where we can look up that information (IMDb).”

Erasing Hell - Thomas Kidd offers some perspective on what Francis Chan does well and perhaps not so well in his response to Love Wins.

Motherhood Is a Calling - This is worth reading whether you are a mother or not: “Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.”

Extraordinary Church Buildings - Here is a photo essay of some of the world’s most extraordinary church buildings. (HT:KD)

Legalizing Polygamy - We knew this would come on the heels of the battle over gay marriage. I see almost no way for polygamy not to be made legal before too long. All the walls are falling.

Evangelical - Randy Alcorn asks a pertinent question: Does the word evangelical even mean anything anymore? “Is the extent of the need to hear the gospel and respond to it in Christ-centered repentance really so unclear in Scripture? Are matters of salvation, judgment and eternal destiny really gray areas or secondary issues subject to in-house evangelical disputes?”

Grace is given to trade with; it is given to lay out, not lay up. —Thomas Brooks

July 14, 2011

Rest - A Four-Letter Word? - This is worth reflecting on. “Eleven years ago, I wrote about an observed hurry, in which we have lost our bearings, our sense of proportion. ‘Unavailable’ seems a word from the past, going the way of cursive writing. But of course, with the aid of technology, it is more severe. We have the capacity to always be on, and if we let technology and social networks continue to influence our lives, we might forget how to shut down.” (HT:TW)

The Language of Heaven - “Gratitude awakens the soul to the sweetness of being tethered to God and humanity. A refusal to be ‘beholden’ breaks all ties whereby the soul drifts into isolation with the ever-intensifying sense of entitlement and rancorous pride. Ungrateful people will not be bound by such a debt. They care infinitely more what is owed them.”

Illuminating Texts - “When books and readers were rare, the words were spoken and savored. Now millions can curl up silently and scan quickly, with as much lost as gained.” This is an interesting series about the past, present and future of reading.

Great Quotes - At the Ligonier blog I am compiling lists of great quotes from some of R.C. Sproul’s books. In the first, I turn to Chosen By God.

I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous. —Thomas Lye

July 13, 2011

When Piper Touched My Chin - I thoroughly enjoyed this article from Clint Archer. “My question was a thinly veiled attempt to tease out some Piper-esque wisdom on this potentially spicy topic. He leaped over my trap with a single bound. His underwhelming answer was decaffeinated of all controversy. No passionate gesticulating, no mention of potty-mouth preaching, in short nothing to Tweet. So I did what every seminoid who can’t take a hint would do: I got in line after the session and asked him to elaborate.

Can We Be Good Without God? - Here are some questions that the new athiests cannot answer. At least, they cannot answer them honestly and logically from within their position.

Why I Am/Not a Charismatic - This looks like it will be an interesting exchange (not debate) between Michael Patton and Sam Storms. Each will explain his position on charismatic theology and interact with the other person’s position.

Medal of Honor - “At a White House ceremony this afternoon, Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry, an Army Ranger, became only the second living recipient of the Medal of Honor for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Petry lost his right hand while throwing a live grenade away from his fellow soldiers.”

Puritan Treasures - Westminster Books has the Puritan Treasures books deeply discounted for the next few days. They’ve got several other deals that are worth checking out as well.

Let me finish up with a longer quote than I tend to publish here. But it’s a quote that seems quite relevant after yesterday’s review of Jesus Calling.

I tend to find the doctrinal books often more helpful in devotion than the devotional books, and I rather suspect that the same experience may await many others. I believe that many who find that “nothing happens” when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand. C.S. Lewis

July 12, 2011

We have planned a day at the beach today which means that it will largely involve a beach chair, a Kindle and a selection of cold beverages. And, of course, I’ll spend some time making sand castles with the kids. Sounds like the makings of a good day…

The Lure of the LED - This article discusses texting and how we now like to text whenever and wherever we are. It also looks at the psychology of it. Interesting stuff.

Hating Hell - Kevin DeYoung wonders whether it is okay for Christians to acknowledge the existence of hell, but to not like the doctrine. That’s a good question and he answers it well.

A New Nation Rises - A collection of photos from South Sudan. “The world has a new nation. The Republic of South Sudan officially seceded from Sudan on July 9, ending a 50-year struggle marked by decades of civil war.”

O For a Thousand Tongues - A new, free hymn from Redemption Hill music. Be sure to download the other 2 hymns they have made freely available.

Family Games that Avoid the Screen - Here is a roundup of some family board games, including information on how difficult and how fun they are.

Shannon Stone - Denny Burk writes a short tribute to the man who fell to his death at a recent baseball game.

Failure Is Not an Option - Collin Hansen discusses the value of failure and shows how our society is unwilling to let children fail. “Your kids will fail. This is both inevitable and also necessary. Apparently not many parents today want to hear this uncomfortable fact. And they certainly don’t want to implement it in how they discipline their children.”

He who prays as he ought will endeavour to live as he prays. —John Owen

July 11, 2011

Bell’s Hell - This is rather an interesting blog post from the editor of Rob Bell’s book Love Wins. It’s another case of someone marveling that Christians were quick and vocal in defending a core doctrine of the faith. How is that surprising?

A Testimony - I enjoyed reading Phil Johnson’s testimony of how the Lord saved him.

Iranian Pastor to be Executed - “Christians in Iran have challenged news reports that the death penalty for pastor Yousef Nadarkhani has been annulled, saying that in reality the country’s supreme court appears to have added a precondition requiring him to renounce his faith or face execution.”

Get Socialized - This is an interesting article about the inevitability of social media. “A sign of the times is that Vernon Loeb, Post Local editor, has begun mandatory social media training for the reporters and editors on the Metro staff. This means that most editors and reporters, if they haven’t already, will be setting up Twitter and Facebook accounts and using other social media tools to monitor, report and convey the news from around the Beltway.” (HT)

India’s Grassroots Revival - From CT: “With its people turning to Christ in waves, India hosts more believers now than at any time in its 4,000-year history.”

Singing Psalms - This blog has quite a good series on reclaiming Psalms in the church’s worship. “The issue of Psalm-singing serves as a crucible in which our belief in the authority, power, and sufficiency of scripture is tested.  How can those involved in leading the worship of the church reject Psalm-singing if they believe in the profitability of scripture and if they see the command, significance, and benefit to singing the Psalms?”

If you are to have peace with God there must be war with Satan. —C.H. Spurgeon