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A La Carte

June 29, 2009
World Reaction to Jackson’s Death
When a celebrity dies I’m often amazed to see how many people had, in a sense, lived vicariously through him. This is easy to see in this photo essay of people remembering Michael Jackson.
Piper vs. Wright on Justification
Trevin Wax has an article in Christianity Today that serves as a primer on the justification debate between Piper and Wright. It is a good way of getting oriented in the debate.
See it to Believe it
This car makes quite the statement.
Counting the Cost of Sexual Immorality
Randy Alcorn: “About twenty-five years ago, while pastors at Good Shepherd Community Church, my friend Alan Hlavka and I both developed lists of all the specific consequences we could think of that would result from our immorality as pastors. The lists were devastating, and to us they spoke more powerfully than any sermon or article on the subject.”
The Buzz Around the SBC Meetings
Denny Burk explains why there’s a bit of a buzz around this year’s SBC meetings (at least if you read certain blogs!).
Post Reformation Reformed Dogmatics
Just owning this set of four volumes adds about 3 points to your I.Q. and is guaranteed to impress your friends. Monergism Books is offering it $79 or a 61% discount.
June 26, 2009
Windows 7
As of today, Amazon is selling offering pre-orders of Windows 7. If you’re using a Windows PC, this is said to be a must-upgrade. If you order through Amazon, they’ll make sure it’s delivered on the software’s release date.
Hitler’s Stealth Fighter
An article at National Geographic looks at a stealth fighter that was under development during World War II but which never went into production.
Piper on TV and Movies
John Piper explains why he does not have a television and why he only rarely goes to movies. He also explains what boundaries he sets in terms of content. (HT:Everyone else in the Christian blogosphere).
The Descent into Credit Card Debt
Mint.com shows how you can so easily slip into serious credit card debt.
The Cap and Tax Fiction
“Despite House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman’s many payoffs to Members, rural and Blue Dog Democrats remain wary of voting for a bill that will impose crushing costs on their home-district businesses and consumers. The leadership’s solution to this problem is to simply claim the bill defies the laws of economics.”
Driving While Texting
Car and Driver Magazine tested how long it takes to hit the brakes “when sober, when legally drunk at .08, when reading and e-mail, and when sending a text.” Here are the results: Unimpaired: .54 seconds to brake; Legally drunk: add 4 feet; Reading e-mail: add 36 feet; Sending a text: add 70 feet.”
Deal of the Day: In the Hands of God
In the Hands of God, the new album from Newsboys, is on sale at Amazon for a limited time at just $3.99.
June 25, 2009
Gossip Affects Your Spiritual Waistline
Chris Brauns: “Bits of gossip are like chocolate nuggets: smooth and creamy, they melt in your mouth: it tastes good to be in the loop; it is sweet to hear someone else notice the same weaknesses in another that have frustrated you; it feels spiritual to ask for prayer - - gossip and grumbling and complaining are a tempting treat.”
A More Powerful Fed
Just what America needs: “During the debate over financial regulation, the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, has been surprisingly quiet. But behind the scenes, he has been a forceful proponent of giving the Fed more power, both defending his management of the economic crisis and arguing that more authority would help the agency act more decisively to reduce the chances of a recurrence, according to interviews with lawmakers and officials from the Fed, the Treasury and the White House.”
How to Live Well Financially
Randy Alcorn offers wise counsel about making wise financial decisions.
A Wedding Story
Ali shares a great little wedding story from the other side of the world. “Bright and early on Saturday morning, we got our whole group down to the dock to find that, in typical West African fashion, the drivers we had chartered were ready to go, but refused to leave until we paid them an extra ten thousand cefa (about twenty US dollars). It was seven fifteen in the morning, the wedding was scheduled to begin at two thirty, and we were off to a promising start.”
No Country for Burly Men
I found this rather interesting: “A ‘man-cession.’ That’s what some economists are starting to call it. Of the 5.7 million jobs Americans lost between December 2007 and May 2009, nearly 80 percent had been held by men. Mark Perry, an economist at the University of Michigan, characterizes the recession as a ‘downturn’ for women but a ‘catastrophe’ for men.”
Deal of the Day: Does Grace Grow Best in Winter?
RHB has Ligon Duncan’s new book on sale, today only.
June 23, 2009
To Be Like Jesus
Bob Kauflin has announced the release of the new CD from Sovereign Grace Music. It is titled To Be Like Jesus and “contains twelve worship songs that teach the fruit of the Spirit in a creative and memorable way. Through these songs kids will learn that Jesus is our perfect example of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. More than that, they’ll discover that we can’t be like Jesus unless we trust in the power of his cross to forgive us and the power of his Spirit to change us.”’
A Letter from Ray Ortlund to his Family
Josh Harris: “I came across a letter that the late Ray Ortlund wrote for his family before he went to be with the Lord. His son, Ray Ortlund, Jr., found it in his father’s desk and I’m grateful that he and his mother chose to share it with others. I know very little about this man, but I’d like to end my life like him, trusting God and encouraging my family to love and serve Jesus Christ. Read the letter.”
Everybody Needs a Little Love
Here’s another entry in “Mondays with Mounce.” This week he looks at the well-worn Greek words for love.
What Scott asked Kurt
Scott Anderson: “Today, at the Marketplace One Leadership Institute, our class had the interesting opportunity to do about 40 minutes of Q&A with Kurt Warner, quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals.” Scott asked a good question and got a great answer.
Something to think about while shopping: “More than 98% of supposedly natural and environmentally friendly products on US supermarket shelves are making potentially false or misleading claims, Congress has been told. And 22% of products making green claims bear an environmental badge that has no inherent meaning, said Scot Case, of the environmental consulting firm TerraChoice.”
June 22, 2009
Chinese Calvinism
The Guardian has a rather strange article about the growing popularity of Calvinism in China. “Although Calvinism is shrinking in western Europe and North America, it is experiencing an extraordinary success in China. I spent some time on Monday talking to the Rev May Tan, from Singapore, where the overseas Chinese community has close links with mainland China. The story she told of the spread of Calvinist religion as an elite religion in China was quite extraordinary. There may be some parallels with the growth of Calvinism in South Korea, where the biggest presbyterian churches in the world are to be found, but it’s absolutely unlike the pattern in Africa and Latin America. There, the fastest growing forms of Christianity are pentecostal, and they are spreading among the poor. ”
Losing the Millennial Generation
This is a short but good article from True Woman. “Really, should it surprise us that we are losing our teens when we’ve spent so many hours away from them through the week? Has church robbed us, many times, from family meal-times, family devotion-times, family game nights, or family camping trips? Is this what the church should be doing?”
Some Benefits of Life Without Television
Jim and Amy Spiegel reflect on life without television and offer a list of five benefits they’ve experienced by not having TV in their home.
My Dad
This is a great Father’s Day reflection from pastor Ken Davis: “The father of the author of these devotionals was born in Clown’s Cove, Freshwater, Carbonear, Newfoundland. His parents had been brought to faith in Jesus in a ripple effect of the Welsh revival of 1904. The village of Freshwater was a fishing community of Welsh immigrants and when the revival hit in Wales, a preacher from there came to the village to preach the Gospel. I am a third generation spiritual descendant of the Welsh revival and all four of my children are the fourth. Some have said that revival didn’t produce any long term effects. My family is living proof that that is not true.”
Give Bankruptcy a Chance
From David Skeel: “What if regulators hadn’t bailed out Bear Stearns? If we conduct this simple thought experiment, it raises serious questions about both the conventional wisdom and the Obama administration’s new proposals for regulating investment banks and bank and insurance holding companies. Bankruptcy starts to look much better, although it could use several market-correcting tweaks.”
Deal of the Day: What Would Jesus Say About Your Church?
At Monergism Books you can get 50% off the retail price of What Would Jesus Say About Your Church by Richard Mayhue. Registered customers enter the code yourchurch during check out in the coupon box and your book will automatically be 50% off retail at checkout. One per customer. Offer ends Wednesday June 24th or while supplies last.
June 19, 2009
Got $100? Buy a Home in Detroit!
“If an e-mail popped up in your inbox promising a house for $100, you’d expect to see it sent from a guy in Nigeria asking you to wire him several thousand dollars first. But this depressed housing market dream is real. And Detroit, Michigan, artist Jon Brumit and his wife, Sarah, are living it.” This is amazing: in Detroit “the average home price dipped to $11,533 in April…”
Outside the Lines: Evangelicals and Sports Celebrities
This is an interesting article from ESPN which covers Randy and Paula White and their “ministry” to sports stars.”In the early to mid-1990s, White said, he frequently placed the professional athletes in his church on a pedestal, parading them for the benefit of starstruck members. Athletes were given the option of preferential parking, preferred front-row seating and private time with the Whites, something that became increasingly rare for regular church members as the Whites’ collective star rose in the world of Christian televangelism. ”
Prints for Adoption
As a means to raise funds to adopt a child from Uganda, Jason Kovacs is selling some great prints featuring some of his best photography.
Calvin the Charismatic
The Bayly Blog dispels the myth that Calvinists cannot be expressive in worship, kneeling in prayer or raising hands. They turn to Calvin himself to prove this.
June 18, 2009
Rare Prenatal Testing Court Case
This is awful on several different levels. “In the months before their daughter was born in 2007, Deborah and Ariel Levy worried the baby might have Down syndrome. … A doctor at the Legacy Center for Maternal-Fetal Medicine assured them that a sample of tissue taken from the placenta early in the pregnancy ruled out the developmental disability. … But within days of the birth of their daughter, the Southwest Portland couple learned the baby did have Down syndrome. Had they known, they say, they would have terminated the pregnancy. Now they’re suing in Multnomah County Circuit Court, seeking more than $14 million…”
Solo Sex
The most recent CCEF podcast features Winston Smith discussing solo sex (masturbation) and what’s sinful (if anything) about these supposedly “victimless” indulgences.
Should Christian Creatives Work for Free?
This article opens a worthwhile can of worms, asking whether Christian creatives, those who work for churches designing brochures, working on websites, and so on, should be paid or do their work on a volunteer basis.
Deal of the Day: The True Story of Noah’s Ark
RHB has this title on sale today only. “This stunning account of the flood and Noah’s ark is true to the biblical record and its timeline of events with added insight as to what it might have been like to be in Noah’s shoes. The artwork is fantastic and gives a feeling of awe to realize what a tremendous undertaking the ark actually was. This is great reading for the entire family.”
June 17, 2009
Ref.ly Makes Sharing the Bible Easier
Logos Bible Software just launched a new website called ref.ly (think bit.ly). It allows you to share Bible verses as links via Twitter and other places where you have a limited number of characters and want to keep the URL as short as possible.
Megachurch Survey
“The report - “Not Who You Think They Are: The Real Story of People Who Attend America’s Megachurches” - is based on data from a national survey that drew 24,900 responses from 12 carefully selected megachurches across the country. It is claimed to be the largest national representative study of megachurch attendees conducted by any researchers to date.” There are quite a few interesting facts to glean from this study.
Calvin Birthday Countdown Clock
Just for fun, here is a clock that counts down the minutes until John Calvin’s birthday.
Deal of the Day: CCEF Resources
Because CCEF recently updated their series of biblical counseling books, Peacemaker Ministries is selling off the older versions at a steep discount. These are great little books and great to give away.
June 16, 2009
Christian Audio Twice Yearly Sale
My friends at Christian Audio have begun their twice yearly sale on digital downloads. Most books are now available for download at just $7.49.
Wendy Shalit Reviews Dirt
Wendy Shalit reviews a book about housekeeping, of all things. “Frenzied and oppressed though grandma may have been, she managed to survive without a nanny, Martha Stewart’s recipes or a professional organizer to “declutter” her home. Nor did she feel the need to line up at the Container Store to purchase cedar sock organizers and $69 linen-covered boxes. Who has really won this particular generational struggle? “Dirt” inadvertently suggests an answer.”
The Summer Brain Drain
“A teenager I happen to know quite well (seeing that he lives in my house) announced last week that summer is time off for his brain. Well, nothing fires up the parental learning plans like a teenager who announces his plans to learn as little as possible over the summer. Suffice it to say that the young man has a wonderfully enriching summer on his way. And — I promise you this — he will enjoy it. Like I say, I know the kid.”
Denny Burk on Headship at Home and at Church
Scot McKnight has invited readers to respond to a letter that he received concerning women in leadership. Denny Burk does so in this brief article.
Deal of the Day: Ephesians
Evangelical Press is offering more than 50% off Harry Uprichard’s commentary on Ephesians.
June 15, 2009
O Pulpit, Where Art Thou?
Erik Kowalker visited over thirty churches in the Portland area and noticed a conspicuous absence of pulpits. He combines this observation with the traditional centrality of the pulpit in Reformed churches and it leads to some interesting food for thought.
The Rise of Child Abuse as a Result of Abortion
Randy Alcorn: “My belief is that when people believe it’s okay to kill a child before he’s born, because an adult has rights over his life, then inevitably it will become more acceptable to beat him up once he’s born.”
Classical Music with Shining Eyes
A talk from TED: “Benjamin Zander has two infectious passions: classical music, and helping us all realize our untapped love for it — and by extension, our untapped love for all new possibilities, new experiences, new connections. ”
Where Do All the Colors Go at Night?
Al Mohler: “One of the most lamentable aspects of modern life is the disappearance of silence. Throughout most of human history, silence has been a part of life. Many individuals lived a significant portion of their lives in silence, working in solitude and untroubled by the intrusion of constant noise.”
Chuckle du Jour
This may be the first time I’ve posted a joke in a la carte. In this case, it’s worth it. (HT: Amy)
Deal of the Day: A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards
“50% off A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards by George M. Marsden. At checkout insert the coupon code - edwards - and $3 will be removed from the price of the book. One copy per customer. Coupon lasts until June 17th or while supplies last.”