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March 29, 2011

I tell you, I just never know what I’m going to find waiting in my RSS reader in the morning. Some of today’s stories are just plain amusing—about how going to church is associated with weight gain and about how PETA is trying to make the Bible more animal friendly. Enjoy!

Going to Church Makes You Fat - If you came to last Sunday’s Fellowship Lunch at Grace Fellowship Church you’d understand why this is!

Don’t Call Animals It - This made my morning. “PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is calling for a more animal-friendly update to the Bible. The group is asking translators of the New International Version (NIV) to remove what it calls ‘speciesist’ language and refer to animals as ‘he’ or ‘she’ instead of ‘it.’”

Fukushima Fifty - “The extraordinary courage of the ‘Fukushima Fifty,’ the skeleton crew risking their own lives to save their country from nuclear disaster, has gripped the world. But the Fifty themselves – or the several hundred, in fact, with shifts and rotations – have been the invisible heroes, the darkness at the centre of the spotlight. Until now.”

Another Review - Ed Stetzer has posted a useful review of Love Wins. “My exhortation (to all of us) from the Bell conversation is that we (re)learn how the scriptural truths of the love of God and the holiness of God are held simultaneously in the scriptures.”

Allah - Here’s another book review of a book that may prove to have a very significant impact: Miroslav Volf’s, Allah: A Christian Response.

Ask This Question - Chris Brauns begins with my review of Heaven Is For Real and suggests one very important question to ask about any book.

Functional Universalism - From David Platt.

The more I learn about God, the more aware I become of what I don’t know about him.R.C. Sproul

March 28, 2011

This is the week I will have to choose the topic of my next book. Odd, isn’t it? One book releases (this Friday!) and at the same time I need to figure out what the next one will be about. The funny thing is that I really have very few ideas at the moment. So if you know the book I need to write next, do tell me!

A War By Any Name - An interesting column from the New York Times. “But by any name or euphemism, the United States has gone to war, and there are questions that the president must answer. Here are the four biggest one…”

What Is Heresy - Heresy is often used but seldom defined. Here Ian Clary provides some of Michael Haykin’s thoughts on the word and its right definition.

Preaching Hangover - Here’s one for preachers. “You may call it something different, but every pastor knows about it.  It is the mental, emotional, and spiritual crash that takes place the next day (Monday) as a result of pouring your heart and soul out in the proclamation of God’s Word to God’s people the day before. Personally, it has affectionately become known as, ‘The Preaching Hangover.’ There is no easy remedy, medication, or quick fix that can prevent it.  There are, however, several practical efforts I make every Monday that are tremendously helpful to fight through the fog.”

The Hobbit Begins - Finally.

RIM - This article gets progressively less interesting, but the early parts are quite useful as the writer discusses why RIM is losing market share against Apple in the smartphone wars.

Blogging Theologically - I’m a relative newcomer to Aaron Armstrong’s blog “Blogging Theologically.” I want to commend it to you. It’s not often that I find a guy willing to put in as much effort as Aaron…or a guy who has so many interesting things to say.

My grand point in preaching is to break the hard heart, and to heal the broken one. —John Newton

March 26, 2011

Here are a few links for a Saturday morning. I’m enjoying the last day of the Ligonier Ministries National Conference and looking forward (mostly) to heading home this evening. But first we get a double-dose of John Piper. You can catch it online if you like.

Japan’s Disaster and Your Wallet - Obviously this is a small concern when looking to the disaster in Japan. CBS writes about some of the international financial impact of the disaster.

The Organized Heart - Becky Pliego has a review of Staci Eastin’s book The Organized Heart. “Be encouraged, my friends, to read this book before the other one that teaches you ‘how to organize your closet in 24 days and live happily ever after’.”

Jerusalem Bomb Victim - “Mary Gardner, the British woman killed in the Jerusalem bus bombing, was an evangelical Christian who had been living in Togo, west Africa, translating the New Testament into the local Ifé language.” The Guardian memorializes her.

New York Times - This article tells why the New York Times pay model is bound to fail. “The New York Times has shot itself in the foot with this paywall. It’s easy to defeat because frankly, that’s the way it was built. I want the Times to succeed. But if there is any chance of success, the company will have to drastically rethink its subscription service.”

5 Ways to Make Your Kids Hate Church - Here they are, courtesy of Thomas Weaver.

You can’t open your eyes in this universe without seeing a theater of divine revelation.R.C. Sproul

March 25, 2011

It’s looking like another great day in Orlando. It’s quite a conference Ligonier puts on and I’m enjoying it thoroughly. I’ve also enjoyed meeting quite a number of readers of this blog as well. And I suppose I’ll meet a few more when I do a book signing a bit later in the day. If you’re down here at the conference, drop by and say hi, won’t you?

Ligonier Conference - The Ligonier Ministries National Conference will be live streaming all day today. Speakers today include R.C. Sproul, Steve Lawson and John Piper. Tonight’s discussion between Piper and Sproul looks like it will be particularly interesting.

Must a Pastor Be Married? - The New York Times recently had an article accusting Christian churches of discriminating against non-married pastors. Here Al Mohler responds to the article and to his comments that were quoted in it.

Christian Book Awards - The ECPA has released its list of finalists for the 2011 Christian Book Awards.

Flash Mobs - Ed Stetzer’s blog has an interesting article about flash mobs (an Internet phenomenon).

Matrix - This is purely entertainment but is strangely intriguing.

A Surveillance Society - Computer World writes about all the data we leave behind us today and what companies are doing with it. “By looking at data over a period of years, corporations can know how you spend your time, where you work, and who you typically spend time with.” And that’s just the start.

We don’t really begin to love God until we love God for who he is.R.C. Sproul

March 24, 2011

God is good. Despite my trip to Orlando (for the Ligonier Ministries National Conference) coinciding with what is surely the worst late-March snowstorm we’ve seen for many years, Aileen and I made it safely and only a little bit late. The question now is whether we can adjust to an 80 or 90 degree temperature swing between there and here.

Here are a few links before we head to the conference.

Two Cents and Not a Penny More - Greg Gilbert waited a lot time to write about the Rob Bell situation, but his few comments are well worth the read. Meanwhile, Albert Mohler responds to an article in which Brian McLaren defends Bell and his book.

From Hymns to Hip Hop - Anthony Bradley: “If you are looking for theologically saturated Christian music that has the greatest potential for widespread appeal, your best option may be Christian hip-hop. Because of its form—a high volume of words with little repetition—hip-hop may provide one of the best modes of music to convey propositional truths and doctrinal content that at the same time connects to a younger generation.”

Nominal Christians - Gene Edward Veith writes about an interesting study regarding nominal Christians.

Christian Parallel Universe - “I think there are parallel universes.  At least, it seems that way to my eyes. What I mean is that Christians in the USA seem to have created a universe parallel to the secular one. There are more obvious versions of this — the Christian Yellow Pages being foremost in my mind — but there are subtle versions too.”

Talking Tech with Trevin - Trevin and I recently had a conversation about technology and about my new book. It may prove somewhat interesting to you.

Beautiful Minds - This is a fascinating video about a man with a disability and a gift.

March 23, 2011

My parents made the drive up from Tennessee yesterday and arrived just minutes ahead of a big snow storm. So here we are on March 23 with the schools closed and the kids at home. Tonight Aileen and I hop a plane and head for Orlando (for the Ligonier conference). From snow storms to sun and humidity. Sounds nice.

Challenges Facing the Gospel Coalition - Darryl Dash offers some interesting thoughts on challenges that will face The Gospel Coalition and the New Calvinism.

The Canary - Michael Wittmer: “Sexual sin is the canary in the coal mine, the first sign that something has gone haywire in our walk with Christ. Don’t laugh at lust. Repent before you do something really dumb.”

The Rapper in Rehab - Christianity Today has a good interview with rapper Lecrae. “Theology and rap are hardly kissing cousins. One is the purview of academics laboring in seminaries, the other was born in the South Bronx in the 70s. Turns out they were made for one another. Rising rap star Lecrae seamlessly blends gospel-saturated lyrics with the hooks of southern style hip-hop, and the result is something you have to hear to believe.”

Video Broadcasting on a Budget - My friend Jesse has written an article about how to get your church’s services out via the Internet without spending a lot of money. He’s clever like that. “This may come as a surprise, but getting our church’s services broadcast on the Internet was neither difficult nor expensive. Our church didn’t have a budget for video broadcasting, but it was something I really wanted to see happen; we’ve got several people in church who can’t come to the services because of their failing health, and I imagined the joy it would bring them to be able to watch the services live from their own home.”

Christian Beliefs - Clear Cut Media has done a DVD of Wayne Grudem’s Christian Beliefs. Piper says “Wayne Grudem is one of those very rare pastor-theologians who speaks and writes with equal clarity and faithfulness. That’s why listening is often even more satisfying than reading. I am glad his voice (and heart) is now available in this way.”

Chimby and Church - Ali and her African Adventures find themselves in a church service in the jungles of Peru.

VW Factory - This is pretty much amazing.

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. —Corrie ten Boom

March 22, 2011

I promised that if you kept buying The Next Story in the Kindle version, the price would keep falling. Well, it’s now down to $7.99. Remember, for every 200 people who buy it, the price falls by $1. I’m pretty sure it will fall at least a dollar more. So keep buying it! (Note: those who bought at a higher price will be charged the lower price)

An MLB Contract - This one’s for baseball geeks only. If you’ve ever wondered what an actual baseball contract looks like, well, here you go. You can now see how many uniforms a team has to provide, what sports a player is forbidden to play, etc.

Why Is Hell Forever? - Russell Moore answers the question. “The sinner in hell does not become morally neutral upon his sentence to hell. We must not imagine the damned displaying gospel repentance and longing for the presence of Christ. They do indeed, as in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, seek for an escape from punishment, but they are not new creations. They do not in hell love the Lord their God with heart, mind, soul, and strength.”

Google vs Content Farms - You may have heard about Google tweaking their algorithm to eliminate some of the worst search results. This infographic tells you how it worked out.

Always the Last to Know - Ed Welch: “The problem with anger is that those who don’t have the problem take it to heart; those who are angry are confident in their right-ness and over time can become massively, utterly, completely deluded, blind and (this is no exaggeration) can feel quite good about themselves after bludgeoning someone close them, as if they have set the world aright. Arrgghh. I hate anger.”

Forgiveness - Mounce doing what he does. For a guy who knows very little Greek, I sure do enjoy this weekly blog.

Successful Teachers - “In order to be a good teacher, you don’t have to be a Christian. But you must model Christian principles. For Christianity is not just a religion, or some compartmentalized facet of existence. Rather, it testifies to reality itself, the true nature of all that exists. So when we teach according to Christ’s example, we teach more effectively.”

Thoughts are the parents of words and deeds.J.C. Ryle

March 21, 2011

March Break is over (that’s Spring Break in the US of A) which means that we’re kind of into the final push here through to the end of the school year. Seeing as the school year doesn’t come to a close until June 30 this year, that’s a long push.

Japan One Week Later - Another photo gallery from The Big Picture. Here are some amazing before and after satellite shots. And this is an incredible video of a car being engulfed by the tsunami.

3 Hymns - The Gettys have three free hymns for you to download and enjoy.

Loving the Pastor’s Wife - Mark Driscoll has an article on how to care for a pastor’s wife. “One of the most important and most overlooked people in a church is the pastor’s wife. She is usually not on the organizational chart, does not have a formal job title or job description, and is an unpaid volunteer. But her ministry can make or break her family and church.”

Flip HD - Amazon has the FlipHD on sale today (and today only); it’s always a popular item.

NY Times: Unfree at Last - This article tries to make sense of the NY Times’ new subscription plans. “See the NYT’s Publisher’s nearly impenetrable calculus in his letter to readers, dip into the lengthy FAQ, and finish with this buggy article in the paper’s otherwise excellent Media & Advertising. You may also want to peruse the 2141 reader comments. By itself, the number gives a temperature reading.”

The Places and Purposes of My Work - I enjoyed Timmy Brister’s article on the places he works in a week and the reasons that he works in each of those places.

Bridges Books on Sale - Monergism is offering several Jerry Bridges books at a pretty good discount. They’ve also got Kelly Kapic’s new book (which I’ve heard great things about) and a few other things on sale.

Could You Land a 747? - You know you’ve always wondered. “Possibly, but only with a lot of luck and some autopilot assistance. Amateurs have landed smaller private planes after the pilot became incapacitated, but outside of 1970s disaster movies, it has never happened with a commercial passenger aircraft.”

Of all the awkward people in your house or job there is only one whom you can improve very much.C.S. Lewis