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A La Carte

December 09, 2011

O Night Divine - You may enjoy reading the backstory to the world’s worst rendition of “O Holy Night.” You may also enjoy listening to it. Or not.

Better Christmas Music - For some better Christmas music, you may want to keep an eye on Nate Fancher’s site as he is going to be releasing some free Christmas songs over the next few days.

A Complementarian Junia - Denny Burk looks at Scot McKnight’s little book Junia Is Not Alone, a defense of egalitarianism.

An Interview - Women Alive recently interviewed me about living in a high-tech world. If you’re interested, that interview has now been posted online (in written format).

Quiet Time in a Mother’s Life - This is a helpful article from The Briefing. “There are two things you can be sure of with motherhood (or life, really). The first is that God won’t change. The second is that everything else will. Just when you think you’ve found the one, true solution – the cure for sleepless nights, or disorganization, or prayerlessness – circumstances shift sideways.”

The People Who Hate Tebow - Columnist Chuck Klosterman has written a really interesting article trying to figure out Tim Tebow. I agree with Denny Burk who writes, “I don’t think that Tebow’s defiance of the odds in football games is what’s the most remarkable thing about him. What’s remarkable is that he behaves like a regenerate person in the midst of a professional culture that revels in debauchery. Having said that, it is wrong to interpret Tebow’s victories on the field as the reward for his behavior. That could all change at any moment.”

The sinner, apart from grace, is unable to be willing and unwilling to be able. —W.E. Best

December 08, 2011

Because this was a late addition to yesterday’s A La Carte, I wanted to mention it again. Shepherd Press has several of their books on sale in Kindle format; they are just $1.79 each. Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Instructing a Child’s Heart, Don’t Make Me Count to Three have all been marked down for a limited time. I think we’ll see some other deals from Shepherd Press in the near future, so stay tuned.

While on the subject of Amazon, they’ve got a lot of their Melissa & Doug products marked down by 50% today only. In a day when most toys are pretty much built to last a week, their toys are the happy exception; my girls have always loved them.

Debates - Though I haven’t been able to listen to them yet, I’ve heard that these debates are interesting. In the first Edgar Andrews debates atheist Robert Stovold on the question ‘What created the universe?’ while in the second he tangles with Lewis Wolpert, Emeritus Professor of Biology at University College London and Vice President of the British Humanist Association.

What I’ve Learned from Cancer - This needs to come with a language warning. It’s a pensive and sad and still-rebellious article from Christopher Hitchens as he battles cancer.

Pearl Harbour - These are some moving photos from the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbour.

Defusing an Argument - Paul Tautges shares “some transition sentences that may help you when you’re attempting to resolve conflicts with your wife. The list may be personalized according to the need of the moment (Eph 4:29).” They should print these on a wallet-sized card!

A Tale of Two Grandfathers - I admit to bias, but I really enjoyed this article about 2 of my great grandfathers and the differences between them (not to mention the ultimate spiritual impact on my own life).

Adoption gives us the privilege of sons, regeneration the nature of sons. —Stephen Charnock

December 07, 2011

Shepherd Press eBooks - Shepherd Press has many of their books on sale in Kindle format; they are just $1.79 each. Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Instructing a Child’s Heart, Don’t Make Me Count to Three have all been marked down for a limited time.

The Size of the Universe - WIRED takes a shot at helping us picture the size of the observable universe. Turns out it’s really, really big. “To try imagining how big, place a penny down in front of you. If our sun were the size of that penny, the nearest star, Alpha Centauri, would be 350 miles away. Depending on where you live, that’s very likely in the next state (or possibly country) over.”

Does Tech Feed Self-Centered Control? - One of the true joys of writing a book is seeing how other people interact with it and improve upon it. Paul Tautges has been doing just that. He looks at a particular bit of the book and says, “Let’s counsel ourselves by asking 8 idol-shattering questions about the love of control…”

Google: Behind the Numbers - Infographic du jour. Turns out that Google is big, too (but not quite as big as the universe).

Darwinism and the Next Generation - I enjoyed this article from Sean McDowell. I don’t advocate Intelligent Design, but what he says about Darwinism and materialism is really good.

Malcolm Gladwell: Collected - How did I not know about this set of books? Gladwell is an amazing author and these books are beautifully designed and illustrated.

Don’t Strive to Be Great - This is some great advice for preachers: don’t strive to be great. “What I am arguing against is the actual attempt to develop into a preacher with a reputation for being so unusually wonderful that people flock to you. There is a fine line here, to be sure: typically, gifted men attract larger audiences. Nothing wrong with that per se.”

Faithfulness is our business; fruitfulness is an issue that we must be content to leave with God. —J.I. Packer

December 06, 2011

Why We Need Jesus - Michael Horton has an article in the December issue of Christianity Today. He says that reason and morality cannot show us a good and gracious God. For that, we need the Incarnation.

Lovers on the Edges of the Twilight - My friend Michael Krahn has just released a great little EP titled Lovers on the Edges of the Twilight. It’s nothing to do with the Twilight books, in case you’re concerned. It really reminds me of the music of Jim Cuddy (you may need to be Canadian to know who that is).

Xmas - Every year I link to this article to encourage everyone to just calm down about xmas.

Stop Submitting to Men - Russell Moore: “Those of us who hold to so-called “traditional gender roles” are often assumed to believe that women should submit to men. This isn’t true. Indeed, a primary problem in our culture and in our churches isn’t that women aren’t submissive enough to men, but instead that they are far too submissive.”

Does Antiporn = Anti-sex? - Does antiporn = anti-sex? That’s the question asked by this article at the Covenant Eyes blog. 

Shopping Prank - I bet this video makes you LOL.

Heaven will not fully be heaven to Christ till he has his redeemed with himself. —A.W. Pink

December 05, 2011

The Holiness of God - R.C. Sproul’s The Holiness of God is free on Kindle for a limited time. This is yet another reason to buy a Kindle. And really, with the Kindle entry point down to $79, you will more than pay for it with the money you’ll save on books like this one.

Branch Out! - Aaron Armstrong gives you 3 good reasons to vary your reading diet in 2012.

Historical Inaccuracies - This article points out “5 Inaccurate ‘Historical’ Stories That Ended Up In History Books.”

Francis Schaeffer and Gospel-Centered - Trevin Wax has done a good job here of suggesting what Francis Schaeffer might say to the gospel-centered movement within today’s church.

Loving the 1% - Here is an interesting perspective on the “1%.” Despite a massive missionary movement that has penetrated every nation on earth, the upper class remains enormously unreached, even in countries that now boast large evangelical populations.

Free eBooks - Monergism has a list of 32 free ebooks. They are there for the taking. Be sure to right-click on them and save them to your computer (don’t use the left-click).

Finishing Well - This is love. (HT)

I preach as though Christ was crucified yesterday, rose from the dead today and was coming back tomorrow. —Martin Luther

December 02, 2011

How to Shrink Your Church - Some good thoughts on church from the Huffington Post, of all places. “Pastors and churches spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year attending conferences, buying books, hiring consultants, advertisers and marketers, all to try and accomplish one thing: to increase attendance — to be a bigger church. I’m absolutely convinced this is the wrong tack.”

What Did You Expect? - Paul Tripp’s excellent book What Did You Expect? is on sale (Kindle version) for just $2.99.

Free Audio - ChristianAudio has 2 books available for free this month: From Pearl Harbor to Calvary and A Christmas Carol

What Tebow Can’t Do - An enjoyable article on the Tebow phenomenon.

Hallelujah Chorus Trainwrecks - Truly horrifying Messiah moments.

Stupid and Graceless - “Bob Costas carves the selfish idiots who make a spectacle of themselves after they do something good on the football field.”

Old age is a blessed time. It gives us leisure to put off our earthly garments one by one and dress ourselves for heaven. —Ray Palmer

December 01, 2011

Celebrity Pastors - This article from TGC has some good things to say about celebrityism and celebrity pastors. “But celebrity comes for a variety of reasons. It’s worth differentiating between the kinds of celebrities generally, and between celebrity pastors in particular.”

What the Tolerant Must Tolerate - “To be a serious Christian in modern Western culture is to be the favoured easy target of every progressive thinker and every half-witted comedian. It is to have your sensibilities and your deepest beliefs on perpetual call for taunts, mockery and desecration. At a time when all progressives preach full volume for inclusivity and sensitivity, for the utmost care in speech when speaking of others with differing views or hues, Christians, as Christians, are under a constant hail of abuse and disregard. There is nothing too low or too vulgar.”

Watch the Film, Save a Life - On world AIDS day, Carolyn McCulley asks you to watch a film and save a life.

Six Helps for Sufferers - Ray Ortlund says “Elisabeth Elliot disclosed six ways she has found help in the midst of loss and sorrow.” Naturally, he goes on to share those six ways.

Women and Scripture Reading - In my post from yesterday I mentioned that the Scripture readers in our church are all men (because we regard this as a teaching ministry). Jesse Johnson considers that a little bit.

Character Doesn’t End at the Bedroom Door - Dr. Mohler looks at Herman Cain and says, “We live in a morally confused age, but there is little confusion about the fact that sexual behavior and personal character are inseparable.”

The best morality in the world will not prove a man to be a Christian, but if a man has not morality, it proves that he is not a child of God. —C.H. Spurgeon

November 30, 2011

Songs for the Supper - Free music. Need me to say more than that? Cardiphonia: “Songs for the Supper is the 3rd in a collaboration of songs dedicated to serving under-emphasized themes in our worship music. … Some of these songs are quiet meditations, others look to the great rejoicing of the Lamb’s Feast. All of them reflect the incredible diversity of postures and approaches to our Lord’s table. “

Joel Osteen and Reality TV - Oh boy. “More than 10 million people watch Joel Osteen’s television broadcast each week, and soon viewers will be able to see how the pastor of America’s largest church lives outside of Lakewood. A new reality show will follow the Osteens’ ministry as they serve and inspire people across the U.S., Lakewood confirmed.”

Utopia Is Creepy - Nicholas Carr: “I’ve noticed the arrival recently of a new genre of futuristic YouTube videos. They’re created by tech companies for marketing or brand-burnishing purposes. With the flawless production values that only a cash-engorged balance sheet can buy you, they portray a not-too-distant future populated by exceedingly well-groomed people who spend their hyperproductive days going from one screen to the next. (As seems always to be the case with utopias, the atmosphere is very post-sexual.)”

In Your Arms - This is pretty cool. “22 months, 1,357 hours, 30 people, 2 ladders, 1 still camera, 288,000 jelly beans.” All that for one music video.

The Great Tech War of 2012 - So true: “There was a time, not long ago, when you could sum up each company quite neatly: Apple made consumer electronics, Google ran a search engine, Amazon was a web store, and Facebook was a social network. How quaint that assessment seems today.”

The essence of sin is arrogance; the essence of salvation is submission. —Alan Redpath