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A La Carte

June 28, 2011

Yesterday the fire department showed up at my kids’ school during their almost-year-end fun day. They said something about a fire drill and lined all of the kids up. Then they turned the hoses on them. My kids seemed to regard it as the best thing that’s happened to them in a long time.

What Not to Share - I just came across this blog which features a mother-daughter team writing about life as pastors’ wives. This article about what not to share between a pastor and his wife is definitely worth the read.

Fallout Shelter - The Atlantic gives a tour of a 60’s era fallout shelter.

Leisure Reading Racial Gap - This column by Mark Bauerlein is perhaps a bit random, but it’s interesting nonetheless. he talks about the racial reading gap.

Contentment - Amy does it again, this time discussing contentment.

Multi-Site Goes Interstate - From CT: “Pastor Mark Driscoll’s megachurch recently announced plans to expand into Portland, Oregon, and Orange County, California, using multi-site campuses that feature live bands and a sermon piped in from the main campus in Seattle.”

In the Footsteps of Hitler - Conrad Mbewe recently traveled to Germany and was rather shaken by his experience. It’s worth reading about it as he reflects on the nature of evil.

Surviving the Age of Distraction - “Read a book with your laptop thrumming. It can feel like trying to read in the middle of a party where everyone is shouting…” This article on distraction is a good read.

No sin is small. It is against an infinite God and may have consequences immeasurable. No grain of sand is small in the mechanism of a watch. —Jeremy Taylor

June 27, 2011

Evil for Evil - This is a good and important article about prison rape. “[M]ost of the perpetrators were not other prisoners but staff members—corrections officials whose job it is to keep inmates safe. On average, each victim was abused between three and five times over the course of the year. The vast majority were too fearful of reprisals to seek help or file a formal complaint (emphasis mine).”

Ghosts of WW2 - This person has taken modern photographs and blended them with photographs from World War 2 with very interesting results.

Your Social Media Profile - This seems kind of scary, doesn’t it? “The FTC has given thumbs up to a company, Social Intelligence Corp., selling a new kind of employee background check to employers. This one scours the internet for your posts and pictures to social media sites and creates a file of all the dumb stuff you ever uploaded online.” This makes it harder than ever to escape past misdeeds.

You’re Worse Than You Think - Bob Glenn offers a word to pastors: “One of the occupational hazards of pastoral ministry is that you are often the subject of people’s destructive criticism, gossip, slander, misrepresentation, foolish inferences, ignorant speculations, and the like. And any pastor who’s being honest with himself - even a hard-nosed guy like me - will admit that the hurtful things people say are just that - hurtful. They hurt.”

The Tragic, Ironic Consequences - “Abortion has become the primary means of eliminat­ing unwanted females across the globe. More girls than boys are now being killed by abortion. To kill an unborn female is to kill a young woman. There can be no equal rights for all women until there are equal rights for unborn women.”

Surprising His Sister - You’ll probably cry when you see this. My question is, why? What is it in us that turns on the waterworks when we see something like it?

As creatures, we have no right or reason to expect that at every point we shall be able to comprehend the wisdom of our Creator. J.I. Packer

June 25, 2011

Author Interviews - Michael Hyatt has written a good post full of tips for authors who are being interviewed. “If you are a published author—or plan to be one—you will inevitably be asked to appear on a radio, television, or Internet show to talk about your book. It’s critical that you learn to do this well. Assuming you have written a good book, nothing drives sales of it more than publicity.”

Signs Your Sermon Isn’t Going Well - Mike Wittmer offers up a top-13 list of signs that your sermon isn’t going too well.

Dear Photograph - This is an interesting project—to take a picture of a picture from the past in the present. It’s hard to explain, so you may just need to check it out.

What Kind of Theologian Are You? - Because all Christians answer questions like, “Who is God?” and “Who is Jesus?”, we’re all theologians to some degree. So what kind of theologian are you?

Should I Change My Password? - This is a handy little utility. You enter an email address you tend to use to create accounts and it will tell you if you should change your password.

What To Do With the Children? - “Summer offers a unique opportunity to do ministry together as a family. A whole lot of free time offers a whole lot of opportunities to reach out to others and minister side by side. If your kids can get a taste of the value of serving like Jesus did, they’ll be learning an important lesson.”

5 Years of Pastoring - Tim Raymond: “On April 9, 2011, I celebrated five years as Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Muncie, Indiana.  As I reflect back on these past years there are five main lessons that come to mind…”

How Much to Tip - Here’s an infographic that tells you how much to tip depending on what country you are in.

Passion does not compensate for ignorance. —Samuel Chadwick

June 24, 2011

Tell Me What to Write - A little while ago I added a component to my site that allows you to a) suggest topics for me to write about and b) vote other people’s suggestions up or down. So far this has proven a really interesting thing and it’s given me some good direction for future writing. Feel free to chime in!

N SKY C - Here is the average color of the New York sky, updated every 5 minutes. Weird but kind of cool.

Here Comes the Sun - Speaking of the sky (how’s that for a forced segue) here’s a photo essay that “offers some glimpses of the power, beauty, and transforming presence of the sun, taken since the beginning of June.”

Unblocking Writer’s Block - Here are some ways of unblocking writer’s block.

Unexpected Jobless Claims - Joe Carter pretty much sticks it to the media with this article. “There are two things the media never expects: (1) The Spanish Inquisition and (2) increases in jobless claims. In 19 of the past 24 months, the media has considered it ‘unexpected’ when jobless claims increase.”

Leaders Who Last - Here’s something for Toronto-area leaders to consider.

Sleep On It - It’s rarely a bad idea to sleep on it. Apparently it also makes a lot of sense scientifically.

10 Brands That Will Disappear - “24/7 Wall St. has created a new list of brands that will disappear, which includes Sears, Sony Pictures, American Apparel, Nokia, Saab, A&W All-American Foods Restaurants, Soap Opera Digest, Sony Ericsson, MySpace, and Kellog’s Corn Pops.” (HT)

Do not work so hard for Christ that you have no strength to pray, for prayer requires strength. —Hudson Taylor

June 23, 2011

Yesterday I was reading through the warranty manual for my van (not just for fun) and enjoyed reading about the hidden data recorders within the car: “Data may be stored if a crash event occurs. For example, vehicle speed, brake application, steering angle, air bag readiness, air bag performance, and seat belt use by the driver or passenger may be recorded. These types of systems are sometimes called Event Data Recorders.” It goes on to explain that these may be provided to law enforcement or insurance companies. Fun.

The New Catch - Playing video games is the twenty-first century version of playing catch. “The Nintendo generation wants to bond with their children on their old digital stomping grounds. ‘On the menu of things to do with your kid, it’s not the best choice,’ says MIT Professor and Alone Together author Sherry Turkle.”

Abandoned Six Flags - This is pretty cool. “Like little kids, we all experience a happy rush, a delighted thrill, when going to play at an amusement park. Yet when an amusement park is abandoned and an eerie silence settles over the rusty and crusty decay, the setting seems to twist the atmosphere of enthusiastic excitement into a suffocating blanket of dread.”

Remembering These Moments - The dad in me just loved this article. Is it possible that a part of the joy of heaven will be remembering and reliving treasured moments like these?

He Spanks His Kids - Denny Burk writes about spanking in the aftermath of that judge who was convicted of a felony for spanking her child.

Determined - This dog is determined to get the man to throw a stick. It isn’t going to work. Speaking of dogs, there’s got to be a sermon illustration for this one—a sheepdog who is terrified of sheep.

Muslim-Christian Dialogue - Over the past few years Thabiti Anyabwile has been able to particpate in a series of Muslim-Christian dialogues. You can learn more about them and watch video at the link. This may prove an important evangelistic site!

What have we time and strength for, but to lay out both for God? What is a candle made for, but to burn? —Richard Baxter

June 22, 2011

Most Expensive Schools - I’m proud that a school from my town of Oakville placed 3rd on this list of the most expensive private schools in the world. Quite needless to say, my kids do not go there. Nor will they. Ever.

Amazon’s Gold Box - Amazon’s gold box deal of the day is a good one: AA or AAA Energizer batteries in large quantities for low cost. I’m always amazed at how many batteries we go through around here.

Animal Magic - This is a great photo collection from TIME. Meanwhile, The Big Picture asks if weather is becoming more extreme (in the form of a photo essay).

This 8-Year Old - Be sure to read the news story John Knight links to in this blog post. “I loved how an eight-year-old boy helped his mother see the truth in the midst of her grief about the news that her unborn child had Down syndrome.”

Ex-Gay Friend - This is a really interesting article from the New York Times. In it, a writer goes to visit an old friend of his who used to be homosexual but then became a Christian.

Walmart vs Amazon - It’s the 21st century retail showdown in this infographic.

Ethics - An interesting article from Wired on how the big digital businesses make no mention of ethics in any of their business plans.

The Best Fears - Russell Moore’s column from Touchstone is worth a read. “Somebody please help me. I’m really, really depressed, and I don’t know what to do. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even know I was depressed until a new study came out, and I’m at high, high risk. An article by Vanderbilt and Florida State sociology professors, based on data from the National Survey of Families and Households, has concluded that parents are more susceptible to depression than non-parents.”

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. —Abraham Lincoln

June 21, 2011

Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl - Check out this new DVD version of N.D. Wilson’s Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl. Westminster Books has it at 60% off for just a short time. I’ve have a review ready to go if Canada Post hadn’t shut down with my copy of the DVD still in the mail…

Transformed by God’s Grace - Grace Greene is the founder and owner of Peru Paper, a company that employs Peruvian women to hand-make greeting cards sold in the United States and other countries. As a result of Greene’s vision, women in impoverished neighborhoods in Trujillo, Peru, have found new lives as respected artisans, and their work is winning hearts for Christ worldwide.

Books of the Year - Marvin Olasky writes about WORLD’s books of the year. “Two new books are important responses to the rapidly growing promotion of theistic- or, more properly, deistic-evolution…”

Forged Not Found - Jennifer Smidt says that an excellent wife is forged, not found. “My task-oriented, performance-driven heart attempts to fix itself by making a list: An excellent wife cooks with organic food (not Velveeta), sews her own clothing (or at least irons her husbands shirts!), speaks only words dripping with grace (and not sarcasm) and reads her Bible for hours on end (okay, minutes?!)).”

Date Night - I got a laugh out of this. “We all like surprises. We all like to laugh. When you combine these two together under the banner of some of life’s most basic questions, you have something special. This is what my wife and I experienced on Saturday night…”

The Tree of Life - Michael Horton reviews the new film The Tree of Life. A brief quote: “I’m going to go out on a limb here, but it’s provoked by the film itself. Intentional or not, the movie exhibits some of the deep ontological flaws in Roman Catholic theology.”

The Beauty of My Wife - Julian writes about an important theme: how he and I can both declare our wife to be the most beautiful woman in the world…and how we can both be right.

The Cello Song - This is really well done.

Jesus produced mainly three effects: hatred, terror, adoration. There was no trace of people expressing mild approval.C.S. Lewis

June 20, 2011

Canada Post has been on strike for a week or so now. So far the big takeaway has been how little I really use the mail anymore. And just to spite the postal workers and to register my vote against their demands, I am changing all my bills to e-bills. The only difficulty is that the flow of books to my door has pretty much stopped. Then again, this may allow me to catch up. Here’s hoping.

I managed to accumulate a ridiculous number of links and articles this weekend. Here are some of the highlights:

Heaven Is Real - I thoroughly enjoyed this snarky review of the mega-selling Heaven Is For Real. “When my boy claims that he is actually Superman I wrestle with an identical dilemma: Do I just smile and play along til he grows out of it, or do I write a book sharing the claim with the world? What to do, what to do?”

A Father’s Day Plea - The writer of this powerful op-ed in the New York Times makes “A Father’s Day Plea to Sperm Donors.”

The Man Who Was My Father - While we’re on the subject of Father’s Day, here’s a great bit of writing from Greg Lucas.

A Sibling with a Disability - Here’s a great guest post at Rage Against the Minivan. “The thing I think people don’t understand is that as a sibling, we mourn over and over. Through out my life I have mourned over the lose of something; a relationship that I see others having, a ‘normalcy’.”

God Wins - Randy Alcorn discusses Mark Galli’s God Wins, one of several book-length responses to Rob Bell’s Love Wins. “I pray people will read and heed this book with the knowledge that our evangelical churches are at a doctrinal and leadership crossroads, and much is at stake. “

State of the Blog - Aaron has some good reflections and bits of advice for the prospective blogger.

TGC in Canada - Here’s one for my fellow Canadians. The Gospel Coalition is holding a regional event here in Ontario (Cambridge) next May. That’s still a really long time away.

LeBron Broke the Rule - This video will make you feel dumb about caring for one sports team over another. (HT:Thabiti)

My people’s greatest need is for my own holiness —Robert Murray M’Cheyne