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A La Carte

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

March 19, 2011

There has been quite a lot of weighty stuff in A La Carte over the past couple of weeks. So I saved up some humorous links that may just let you begin your weekend with a laugh. Enjoy!

Innocent Abroad - John Mark Reynolds took a trip to Canada and his reflections are all kinds of hilarious. “Canada is very big. It is much bigger than Connecticut and Rhode Island combined! Canadians claim to be bigger than Texas and Alaska combined, but friend from Texas claim that this is an illusion caused by distortion in flat maps.”

Guilty - This video will make your morning.

A Scary Nose - If the dog didn’t make you laugh, maybe the baby will.

Hip Hop Polka - My sister is convinced that this is the funniest thing on YouTube. I don’t see it (though the comment (#2) about this being the official anthem of the UN is pretty funny). What do you think? Is this as outrageously hilarious as she says it is?

A Little Old - From the New Yorker:

A Little Old

There ain’t much fun in medicine, but there’s a good deal of medicine in fun. —Josh Billings

March 18, 2011

Yesterday we went to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum and stood before an Avro Lancaster bomber—one of only 2 in the world that remains operational. It was huge, it was imposing and it was strangely moving. Around 7500 of them were built during the war. 2 remain. It’s a near-priceless bit of history.

Songs & Hymns - My buddy Julian has written a couple of blog posts about music. The first is Why Singing Music from Sovereign Grace Is Better than Singing Hymns and the second is Why Singing Hymns Is Better Than Singing Contemporary Worship Songs.

Martin Bashir - I haven’t been able to listen to it yet, but I’ve heard good things about Paul Edwards’ interview with Martin Bashir.

Nuclear Concerns - CNN has a helpful article, complete with animations, to explain what’s going on with those reactors. While we’re on the subject, don’t start popping potassium iodide.

St. Patrick and Human Trafficking - From Canada’s National Post: “Green beer sales mark the globalized celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and for many who are only Irish once a year little more is thought of.   But it may be time for St. Patrick’s Day to become an occasion of global awareness for something more than the taste of Guinness, namely the problem of human trafficking.”

Hell - Randy Alcorn has posted a complete chapter from his book If God Is Good. It teaches about hell in Alcorn’s trademark Q&A style.

Come People of the Risen King - A video from Keith and Kristyn Getty.

Since God has a Son of his own, and such a Son, how wonderful God’s love in adopting us! We needed a Father, but he did not need sons. —Thomas Watson

March 17, 2011

Yesterday afternoon I was catching a quick nap. My four-year-old daughter came in and jumped on me and, when I groaned, yelled “Ownage!” Yes, this is the same one who told me two days ago, “I’m sorry daddy, but mommy’s in love with someone else. She’s in love with Hitler.”

How to Help Japan - John Starke at Gospel Coalition offers some counsel on how to help Japan. The Big Picture has another gallery of photos. Randy Alcorn points to one heart-warming story. Slate says that Japan doesn’t need your money.

Kids’ Books - Redeeemed Reader had me on their podcast to talk about kids and reading.

Fistula and Faith - Carolyn McCulley: “Over the past year, I’ve spoken to hundreds of women about the issues that other women face in the developing world. One of the most common problems these women face is fistula — but few American women seem to be familiar with it. That’s because we have relatively good maternal health care.”

Your Brain on Music - Michael Krahn: “A fascinating interview with former rock musician, now Cognitive Psychologist with a Ph.D. Daniel Levitin.” It’s a bit evolution-heavy, but interesting nonetheless.

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da - Denny Burk: “The band “Mercy Me” has a running gag on their YouTube channel called ‘The Cover Tune Grab Bag,’ in which they do fun covers of popular songs. Many of the videos look like they are shot backstage with the guys just goofing around. In any case, it’s pretty entertaining to see the band let their proverbial hair down.” This week they released “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.”

No verse of Scripture yields its meaning to lazy people.A.W. Pink

March 16, 2011

Questions about Evangelism - J.D. Payne (whose new book on evangelism just turned up in my mailbox yesterday) answers some questions about evangelism.

Fukushima Nuclear Accident - Once more I’d direct your attention to this site for information about what’s going on at the nuclear power plants in Japan. The author has a very different perspective from the mainstream media. He believes the situation is quickly stabilizing.

I Heard the Voice of God - John Piper tweeted this yesterday and it reminded me of what I think is one of his better blog posts.

Speaking About Hell - Lots was written about Rob Bell and Hell yesterday, but I think Ligon Duncan’s article is probably the one most worth reading. He offers counsel on how we (and preachers especially) should speak of hell. Al Mohler writes about the re-emergence of liberal theology while MSNBC’s host Martin Bashir takes Bell to task live and on the air.

Everyone’s Problem - From the Stand to Reason blog: “The Japan tsunami inevitably raises profound questions about God and evil.  But in this discussion, it is important to realize every worldview, not just Christianity, must explain evil.  Christians are often on the defense with regards to this objection, yet the tables can be turned on the atheist, with his naturalistic worldview in tow.  Given naturalism, what is evil and how does the atheist make sense of it?”

Why The Daily Is Doomed - David Murray on why The Daily, the first daily newspaper for the iPad, is doomed to fail.

Riches and contentedness are like two buckets; while one comes up full the other goes down empty. —Thomas Adams

March 15, 2011

I decided I wouldn’t watch Rob Bell’s big interview last night. Then I decided I would. But shortly after I logged in my Internet service choked so I only watched about 2 minutes. I think it worked out well.

Tsunami - This is an amazing and shocking video of the tsunami. Carolyn McCulley offers comment on it. The Big Picture has another horrifying round-up of photographs. And here’s Earthquakes 101 from National Geographic.

Simple Explanation - Speaking of all that has happened in Japan, this web site offers a measured look at what is going on with the nuclear reactors. From today’s update: “We have damage that probably could have been avoided, and reporting of almost stunning inaccuracy and ignorance. Still, the odds are that no one will be hurt from radioactivity — a few workers from falling or in the hydrogen explosions, but tiny on the scale of the damage and killing around it.” This article from the Nuclear Energy Institute is worth reading.

Made-Up Words - Mounce writes about how we can have confidence in knowing what the Bible’s made-up words mean.

Cleaning Toilets - I enjoyed this article by Brian Croft. I’m new to pastoral ministry, but already I’m surprised at how much it involves doing things just like this.

Rid of My Disgrace - Aaron Armstrong has a review of Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault. He says “Authors Justin and Lindsey Holcomb provide a compelling, thoughtful and hopeful answer…as they apply the gospel to this horrendous crime.”

Christian Web Conference - I greatly enjoyed last year’s Christian Web Conference. You may be interested in checking out this year’s version.

Of all bad men religious bad men are the worst.C.S. Lewis