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A La Carte

September 05, 2011

Justine’s Story - I think it is good for us to read stories like this every now and again, lest we forget the horror and devastation of abortion. “On the 23rd anniversary of her abortion, Justine Kyker warns others of side effects and regrets.”

Loving Christ…Practically - Erik Kowalker looks to J.C. Ryle to find some practical implications of loving Christ.

The Sermon, One Hour Later - Here is a question I asked Brian Croft, and he was kind enough to answer it at his Practical Shepherding blog: “How does a pastor evaluate his sermon one hour after preaching it?” In other words, if someone comes to me shortly after preaching and says, “How did your sermon go?,” how do I answer?

Electronic Self-Projection - Dane Ortlund asks some good questions about social media and its tendency to make us into self-promoters. “And the amount of self-foregrounding that takes place on these media—by Christians—by pastors—is troubling. Promotion of our own books, letting everyone know where we’ve been and whom we’ve met, drawing attention to what others are saying of us—how easily we Corinthianize and employ the world’s mindset for ostensibly kingdom purposes.”

9/11’s Spiritual Impact - Just about everyone is looking back to 9/11 and trying to understand its impact, 10 years later. Here is one of many attempts to guage its spiritual impact.

Astronomy Picture of the Day - This is a fascinating picture if, for no other reason, simply because there is so much going on at once. 

What fools are they who, for a drop of pleasure, drink a sea of wrath. —Thomas Watson

September 03, 2011

Pull the Plug! - Randy Alcorn: “Here is a sad and bewildering commentary that captures in one example the utter inefficiency and sometimes craziness of a government that talks about controlling spending, but never seems to actually do it even when it would appear so easy—as in JUST PULL THE PLUG!”

Sola Scriptura - Canadians (or Americans who live close to the border) may want to take a look at this year’s Sola Scriptura conferences. They will be held in London, Toronto and Vancouver.

The O.T. on One Page - Here is David Murray’s attempt to sum up the contents of the Old Testament books on one page.

The Book of Revelation - John Dyer’s article on the writing of Revelation is well worth the read: “John didn’t just look up passages that supported his point. And he didn’t memorize a few powerful proof texts to argue and impress. He knew the Scriptures. He lived the Scriptures. The words of God were a part of him that couldn’t help but flow from his pen.”

There Never Was Such Another - Kevin DeYoung was was moved by this touching description of Charles Hodge with his fifty-one year-old dying wife Sarah. You probably will be too.

The Speed of Information - Funny and pretty much true.

Christ is so in love with holiness, that at the price of his blood he will buy it for us. —John Flavel

September 02, 2011

The Gospel at Ground Zero - Here is Russell Moore’s cover story for the September issue of Christianity Today.  As you might expect, it deals with 9/11. Speaking of which, the September issue of Ligonier’s Tabletalk magazine deals with the very same topic.

$5 Fridays - Don’t forget to check in every week with Ligonier’s $5 Fridays. This week they’ve got 2 excellent books that you’ll want to add to your collection.

Destroy a Culture - Joe Carter writes about how to destroy a culture in 5 easy steps.

The Sinful Tragedy of Boredom - Nathan Bingham writes about boredom, saying, “To be bored is to fail to see the many and varied good gifts God has given us, not the least of which is in creation.”

Book Notes - David Mays pretty much boils The Next Story down to its essence in this summary. So if you’ve been wondering what the book is all about, you won’t do a whole lot better than this.

4 Myths about the Crusades - “Many on the cultural Left use the crusades as an argument for secularism, or at least the muffling of (conservative) religious voices in the public square. They strongly imply that America in particular and Western Culture in general are to blame for most of the ills around us. Some even insinuate that we deserve the scorn of Islamic terrorists, though to be clear, the Left believes that the terrorists take their scorn too far in resorting to violence. “

Thomas Brooks, a Brain and Me - This blogger has been reading the works of the Puritan Thomas Brooks. He also read The Next Story and in this blog post he kind of pulls the two together in trying to understand distraction and silence. It’s kind of hard to explain without actually reading it…

While all men seek after happiness, scarcely one in a hundred looks for it from God. —John Calvin

September 01, 2011

A Wife’s Testing Ground - “Some of my most scary moments as a wife have been when my husband has struggled. Some of my most intimate encounters with Jesus have been when my husband has struggled.  As a wife, each of us has faced or will encounter one of these scenarios…”

Church Size - “I was recently asked this question by a pastor greatly troubled that he felt he was not being faithful in this command in Hebrews 13:17 for pastors to ‘watch over souls as one who will give an account.’  Knowing the rest of us charged to watch over souls should all possess a bit of uneasiness on this matter, here was my response…”

Clouds - “For his project ‘Cloud Collection’, photographer Rüdiger Nehmzow went about four miles off the ground and photographed clouds through the open door of the plane. With no glass between Nehmzow and the sky to muddy up the shots, the resulting photographs are absolutely stunning.”

10 Commandments of Steve Jobs - There are some good (and some not so good) leadership principles here.

Parenting and Prayer - I enjoyed Grace’s thoughts on the importance of prayer in parenting (Grace happens to be my youngest sister which makes that naughty little Cora my niece).

Irene NYC - Two young filmmakers went out during Hurricane Irene to document their Manhattan neighborhood. 

To say “Never mind doctrine, let’s get on with evangelism,” is as ridiculous as a football team saying, “Never mind about a ball, let’s get on with the game.” —Peter Lewis

August 31, 2011

Things I Learned from Irene - This is a fantastic blog article that was composed with pen and ink on Monday afternoon, August 29. It had to be composed with pen and ink because it was written by someone who was in the path of Hurricane Irene. Read it!

Adam & Eve - Dr. Mohler clarifies what is at stake in the ongoing discussion about the historic Adam and Eve. “The denial of a historical Adam means not only the rejection of a clear biblical teaching, but the denial of the biblical doctrine of the Fall as well, leading to a very different way of telling the story of the Bible and the meaning of the Gospel.”

Better than Chick Lit - Carl Trueman: “Last month, I devoted this column to reflecting on some of the areas of Catholicism with which Protestants can not only sympathise but from which they can learn much to their profit. This month, I want to spend my time looking at areas where principled disagreements exist.”

Confess Your Sins - Michael Krahn gives you 4 reasons that you ought to confess your sins to someone.

Was Paul Married? - I really appreciate the job Denny Burk does here of looking at the evidence and trying to figure out if the Apostle Paul was ever married.

Good Book Blog - The Good Book blog is sharing some ways that you could use Christianity Explored in creative ways. They are also sharing stories from some who have done just that.

Text, Don’t Talk - “When it comes to communication, our new motto may well be: text me—don’t tell me. According to new data from J.D. Power, a consumer research and marketing company, Americans are now talking on their cellphones over an hour less per month than in 2009.”

If your knowledge of doctrine does not make you a great man of prayer, you had better examine yourself again. —Martyn Lloyd-Jones

August 30, 2011

The Bible in 2 Weeks - Dane Ortlund: “If a freshman in college or stay-at-home mom or aspiring deacon or friend from work or anyone else asked me how they might get a rough grasp of the macro-storyline of the Bible in a few weeks, I’d send them not to any secondary resource but to the Bible itself for a reading plan that might look something like this.”

Keep Reforming - John MacArthur shares the final part of his series to the Young, Restless, Reformed crowd. “The great leaders you admire from past generations—the architects of the Reformation theology you say you love—do not occupy that heroic stance in our thinking because of their wardrobe, cultural savvy, musical style, or ability to identify with the behavior and tastes of the unconverted.”

Hurricane Irene - The Big Picture has a photo gallery of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. Wasn’t it interesting to note how disappointed the media seemed that the destruction was relatively minor?

Accountability on the Student Side - “Here’s a distressing trend for college teachers to face. According to The American Freshman Survey, the percentage of high-school seniors who study six or more hours per week has dropped significantly in the last 20 years. In the late-80s, the rate stood in the upper 40-percent range. By late-00s, we had fallen to the low 30-percent range.”

The Most Feared Blessing - “I think we can agree on this one: Personal suffering is the thing we fear the most. Think about it for a minute. There are certain things that come to mind that cause or tempt you to fear. Maybe you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about those things and that is probably a good thing.”

Dutch Women - Maclean’s magazine has an interesting article about how Dutch women got to be the happiest in the world. “Few Dutch women work full-time—does this mean they’re powerless, or simply smarter than the rest of us?”

Inflation as a Solution - This is an interesting proposal. It doesn’t seem fair, of course, but someone is going to have to bear the brunt if this debt problem is ever to be resolved.

Jesus’s teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day. However, in the main, our churches today do not have this effect. —Tim Keller

August 29, 2011

Alternative Medicine - Ed Welch doing what he does so well: “Have you noticed that alternative medicine is becoming more popular? (This will have something to do with biblical counseling, just give me a minute.) Acupuncturists are busier than ever. Wretched tasting herbal drinks are the new coffee. Food is no longer just for bodily maintenance—it can now be a treatment.”

A Preacher’s Decalogue - Sinclair Ferguson doing what he does so well: “What Ten Commandments, what rule of preaching-life, do I wish someone had written for me to provide direction, shape, ground rules, that might have helped me keep going in the right direction and gaining momentum in ministry along the way?”

It Was Nice While it Lasted - R.C. Sproul Jr. on the New Calvinism: “It is a sure sign that sin messes things up that we keep watching the same boxing match over and over again, between truth and unity.  Both sides, of course, insist that they have a deep and abiding love for the other. They shake hands in the center of the ring, go back to their corners, wait for the bell and come out ready to destroy the one they love. In the stands we stand, screaming ourselves hoarse in defense of our favorite.”

Visiting the Sick - Paul Tautges has a valuable article on how pastors can train the people in their church to do the work of visiting the sick.

Why McDonald’s Wins - This article explains how and why McDonald’s always wins, even during tough economic times.

Handheld Affections - I recently did a short interview for WORLD magazine and they’ve just posted it online.

Price Gouging - “If the usual pattern holds, opportunistic politicians will soon be out denouncing price-gouging connected with Hurricane Irene, while opportunistic free-market economists will soon be out placing op-ed pieces defending prices as the best way to allocate scarce resources and to assure their delivery when and where they are needed….”

If you want a religion to make you feel comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity. —C.S. Lewis

August 27, 2011

How Did the Animals Know? - “Shortly before the earthquake hit Washington, D.C., the animals in the National Zoo started freaking out. So did lots of people’s housepets, with sleepy cats suddenly jumping up and heading for the hills just prior to the quake. Scientists can’t figure out how they knew…”

Welcome Home - Here’s a blog that exists just to document surprise military homecomings. It will probably make you cry.

Free Sproul Series - Ligonier is offering 3 of R.C. Sproul’s most popular teaching series free online: Chosen by GodThe Holiness of God and What Is Reformed Theology?

Sign of the Times - I noticed yesterday that the New York Times list of bestsellers now features combined print and e-book fiction and non-fiction rather than listing only hardcover and softcover. It’s about time. I wish Heaven Is For Real wasn’t at the top of the new list…

The Twitter Effect - I was wondering the other day how many people first learned of the D.C. earthquake via social media. “Just as CNN created the 24-hours news cycle for television, Twitter has accelerated that news cycle to the point where news breaks every minute of every hour, and a tweet is almost as good as a page-one scoop. Not only that, but anyone can do it.”

Recommended Books on Leadership - From Gospel Coalition: “The Bible isn’t exhaustive when it comes leadership, but good leadership principles will resonate with it. We asked Matt Perman to suggest books to help us think through theological and practical issues that every leader faces.”

Toronto’s Storm - Yesterday I wrote about the storm that came through Toronto. Here’s a video.

Grace comes not to take away a man’s affections, but to take them up. —William Fenner