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A La Carte

November 03, 2011

Idealized Domesticity - I really enjoyed this article, largely because of the way it cuts to the heart of a matter. “In trying to help women feel better about doing laundry instead of office work, though, these authors have set up an unbiblical alternate ideal. Their musings about sacramentalism, euphoric experiences during mundane chores, or the holiness of changing diapers sound more like descriptions of a Roman Catholic nun running an orphanage, than a Protestant wife biblically parenting.”

Rescuing Ambition - Dave Harvey’s book Rescuing Ambition is on sale in the Kindle store for just $2.99. It’s totally worth that price.

Angry Birds - What a strange phenomenon: the game Angry Birds has just passed a half billion downloads. “Angry Birds Fans around the world have so far played a total of 200,000 years of Angry Birds, with 300 million minutes of playing time daily. Moreover, more than 266 billion levels of Angry Birds have been played, with 400 billion birds launched into action, and over 44 billion Stars collected in the process.” What a weird world we live in.

Harper + Nelson - I appreciated this bookstore owner’s thoughts on HarperCollins’ acquisition of Thomas Nelson. He draws out some of the implications.

Child Sacrifice - This is sick and shocking. “The ritual, which some believe brings wealth and good health, was almost unheard of in the country until about three years ago, but it has re-emerged, seemingly alongside a boom in the country’s economy. The mutilated bodies of children have been discovered at roadsides, the victims of an apparently growing belief in the power of human sacrifice.”

Getting Grace - Though this article from WORLD is targetted at home schoolers, any parent will benefit from reading it. “They noted that some parents think a move to the country and a lifestyle based on Little House on the Prairie ‘will transform our children’s hearts.’ The problem: ‘It doesn’t.’”

The man who does not set himself under the law of God sets himself above it. —John Blanchard

November 02, 2011

World Population Grows (Older) - “On this crowded, hot, trampled planet, one of the most vexing trends is something countless numbers of us see when we look in the mirror: We’re going gray. The United Nations has declared that the human population will hit 7 billion Monday, and an expanding percentage of those people are in the market for reading glasses.”

2 Books on Marriage - Westminster Books is offering great discounts on 2 new books on marriage, one by Tim Keller and the other by Tim Chester.

Patience and Providence - WORLD writes about one man’s battle against Planned Parenthood. “It soon became obvious what Kline was after: He had discovered that Planned Parenthood and Tiller were regularly performing abortions on girls under age 15 (166 over 18 months), but during that time they reported only one of those cases each to the state as child rape.”

May I Go in There? - This is a powerful quote from John Phillips’ Exploring Hebrews commentary.

What to Look for in a Church - Bob Glenn gives you 7 things to look for in a new church.

6 Tips for Memorizing Scripture - Here are 6 practical tips (and 1 convicting challenge).

The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodlyhas become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions. —A.W. Tozer

November 01, 2011

Harper + Nelson - “The publishing world, and particularly the Christian publishing world, is abuzz because of the announcement today that HarperCollins (the third largest trade publisher in the United States) has purchased Thomas Nelson (which claims to be the seventh largest trade publisher). With Zondervan and HarperOne already under the umbrella of HarperCollins (which itself is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.), half of all Christian trade publishing will be in the hands of a single entity.”

Democracy Versus Mob Rule - “In various cities across the country, mobs of mostly young, mostly incoherent, often noisy, and sometimes violent demonstrators are making themselves a major nuisance. … But if these loudmouths’ inability to put together a coherent line of thought is any indication of their education, the taxpayers should demand the money back that was wasted on them for years in the public schools.”

The Sex Talk - “Sometimes rather than speaking to the issues of sex with clarity, wisdom, grace, and maturity, many believers seem to cow-down to the challenge or respond with silly wisecracks. It is like we come into the discussion with a nervous apology rather than bold wisdom. The end result is that our kids are left to figure out what sex means through other mediums, rather than in their homes. The parents are left behind as the children find other avenues to learn about sex.”

Don’t Sleep With Your Phone - “A fellow named Daniel Sieberg was telling me his hard-and-fast rule for getting through the night. He takes all of his digital devices — laptops, tablets, cellphones, anything portable that has a screen — to another room before he turns off the light. He has come to terms with the fact that the technological gadgets that have so thoroughly insinuated themselves into our lives can become addictive.”

Shedding Racism - “Bryon Widner was one of America’s most violent and well known white supremacists, and his heavily-tattooed face displayed it proudly. But after shunning his racist beliefs, he was still unable to get work because of his facial scarring, and went through a long and complicated journey to have the tattoos removed, in the hope of starting his life anew.”

He has fixed the hour of our entrance into rest, and it can neither be postponed by skill of physician nor hastened by malice of foe. —C.H. Spurgeon

October 31, 2011

3 Ways to Make the Reformers Proud - This is a good and clever article from The Cripplegate blog. “Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Melanchthon, Bucer, Farel, and countless others lived and died to leave a legacy of passion and proclamation. They showed that when you love Jesus and his word, you would rather die than keep quiet. If they inspire you, here are 3 ways to make the Reformers proud today…”

Camping Repents - “With his speech sounding somewhat slurred and labored, Family Radio Stations Inc. founder and chairman Harold Camping sought to address in a recent message why Christ failed to return on Oct. 21 as the Bible teacher had predicted. Camping confessed, after decades of falsely misleading his followers, that he was wrong and regrets his misdeeds.”

Why I Hate Halloween - I’m on board with this. “But besides the candy, I spend most of Halloween cringing in fear. The scary part is, of course, the costumes. Because it is in our costuming on Halloween that all of our cultural angst gets played out.”

Luther, Sproul and a Free Download - Ligonier Ministries: “In honor of Reformation Day, we are making Dr. Sproul’s newest children’s audiobook, The Barber Who Wanted to Pray, available as a free download through Reformation Day (Oct. 31).”

Reformation Day Deals - CBD Reformed has some Reformation Day deals that are worth checking out (including Carson’s The Cross and Christian Ministry at a deep discount).

It is tragic to go through our days making Christ the subject of our study but not the sustenance of our souls. —Vance Havner

October 28, 2011

Guidance - Paul Tautges has been posting a series of articles on the subject of guidance. He goes into subjective and non-subjective means of guidance. If you went through my recent series, you’ll know that my emphasis is a bit different, but I think the series are largely complementary.

Church and Technology - “Tyndale University College & Seminary conducted a survey in the summer of 2011 to see how Ontario churches are interacting with technology, and how they see it changing the church. Three hundred and sixty-eight churches replied to the survey ranging from rural to urban, from 20 member congregations to 5,000+, and from multiple denominations and ethnicities.” There are some interesting findings there.

$5 Friday - Ligonier has a few Reformation-themed deals for their $5 Friday. 

Bathing in Toilet Water - I think we’re supposed to laugh along with my youngest sister in her bizarre misadventures. Yesterday’s involved a very pregnant woman and a very broken toilet.

Young, Hip and Mormon - The Times writes about a new wave of Mormons who are a little bit different from the guys who come knocking on our doors.

A Mighty Fortress - Just in time for Reformation Day, Redemption Hill music is offering a free download of a new version of “A Mighty Fortress.”

Halloween on Mission - David Mathis has a great blog post about Halloween on Mission. “What if spreading a passion for God’s supremacy in all things included Halloween—that amalgamation of wickedness now the second-largest commercial holiday in the West?”

A drop of praise is an unsuitable acknowledgment for an ocean of mercy. —William Secker

October 27, 2011

The Rules of Publishing - “Amazon.com has taught readers that they do not need bookstores. Now it is encouraging writers to cast aside their publishers. Amazon will publish 122 books this fall in an array of genres, in both physical and e-book form. It is a striking acceleration of the retailer’s fledging publishing program that will place Amazon squarely in competition with the New York houses that are also its most prominent suppliers.”

Wolf Hunt - This is pretty amazing.

I Can Do All Things - Nathan Busenitz: “In today’s post, I would like to briefly consider one of the most well-known and often-quoted verses in the New Testament. In fact, it is one of the most popular verses in American evangelical culture today.”

The Apotheosis of Steve Jobs - Gene Veith: “CNN’s religion blog asked several experts if they thought that the recently departed Steve Jobs has been turned into a secular saint.  I liked what Gary Laderman of Emory University had to say…”

Selah - Jim Hamilton doesn’t like the word “selah” being removed from the biblical text. I’d tend to agree (not that I speak with any authority!).

Faith brings a man empty to God, that he may be filled with the blessings of God. —John Calvin

October 26, 2011

Pastors Who Write Books - Here is some good advice from Barnabas Piper for pastors who want to write books of the sermon series. “When I receive proposals for books or book ideas from pastors I often get something like this as an accompanying comment: “I am the pastor of a X,000-person church, and based on their response to this message I think there is a large demand for this material.” This seems like a reasonable assertion. 80% of the congregation loved the messages, therefore a large percentage of like-minded Christians will also like the message.  Unfortunately there is almost no correlation between what a pastor’s congregation thinks of his sermons and the audience size when that is turned into a book. “

Evangelistic Prayer Meeting - My friend Paul does evangelism on the streets of Toronto and writes about some of his experiences. Yesterday’s post models a way to engage in spiritual conversation.

The All-Digital Library - “Two years ago, Cushing Academy of Ashburnham, MA made a bold move when it got rid of Fisher-Watkins Library’s 40,000 books and replaced them with electronic sources. During the overhaul all resources were converted to digital formats, and the library’s Web site was redesigned to provide students and faculty with online resources and tools on a 24/7 basis.”

Hermeneutical Hall Passes - “Have you ever read the New Testament and wondered if the apostles would have passed a contemporary hermeneutics course? Sure, the apostles quoted and alluded to the Old Testament. But carefully considering the original context wasn’t very high on the apostolic priority list. Or was it?”

There Is No Sin That I Have Done - Here’s a new hymn that speaks of some great truths.

How Sermons Work - This commerical for David Murray’s new book is really, really clever.

The primary test of life is not service but love, both for man and God. —William Still

October 25, 2011

The Things He Wanted to Do - John Piper writes about Steve Jobs. “The wisdom Steve Jobs learned, he said, was this: Do a couple things, and do them well. You don’t have time for much. And most of things are not lasting. So do two or three things, and do them amazingly. Not a bad lesson. In fact, really good—as far as it goes.”

Judgment Houses - Russell Moore offers 7 reasons that judgment houses or hell houses completely miss the mark. I still find it hard to believe that such things exist (I’ve certainly never heard of one up here in Canada!).

Declining Church Health - Thom Rainer has 5 signs of declining church health.

The Original iPod - It is now 10 years since Apple completely revolutionized the music industry with the introduction of the iPod. Ars Technica re-reviews it, a full decade later.

The Future of Punctuation - The rules of punctuation, like most of the rules of language, seem to come and go. Currently, many of the rules are going. “How might punctuation now evolve? The dystopian view is that it will vanish. I find this conceivable, though not likely. But we can see harbingers of such change: editorial austerity with commas, the newsroom preference for the period over all other marks, and the taste for visual crispness.”

Sin always leads us much farther than we intended to go. —James Philip