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A La Carte

October 26, 2011

Pastors Who Write Books - Here is some good advice from Barnabas Piper for pastors who want to write books of the sermon series. “When I receive proposals for books or book ideas from pastors I often get something like this as an accompanying comment: “I am the pastor of a X,000-person church, and based on their response to this message I think there is a large demand for this material.” This seems like a reasonable assertion. 80% of the congregation loved the messages, therefore a large percentage of like-minded Christians will also like the message.  Unfortunately there is almost no correlation between what a pastor’s congregation thinks of his sermons and the audience size when that is turned into a book. “

Evangelistic Prayer Meeting - My friend Paul does evangelism on the streets of Toronto and writes about some of his experiences. Yesterday’s post models a way to engage in spiritual conversation.

The All-Digital Library - “Two years ago, Cushing Academy of Ashburnham, MA made a bold move when it got rid of Fisher-Watkins Library’s 40,000 books and replaced them with electronic sources. During the overhaul all resources were converted to digital formats, and the library’s Web site was redesigned to provide students and faculty with online resources and tools on a 24/7 basis.”

Hermeneutical Hall Passes - “Have you ever read the New Testament and wondered if the apostles would have passed a contemporary hermeneutics course? Sure, the apostles quoted and alluded to the Old Testament. But carefully considering the original context wasn’t very high on the apostolic priority list. Or was it?”

There Is No Sin That I Have Done - Here’s a new hymn that speaks of some great truths.

How Sermons Work - This commerical for David Murray’s new book is really, really clever.

The primary test of life is not service but love, both for man and God. —William Still

October 25, 2011

The Things He Wanted to Do - John Piper writes about Steve Jobs. “The wisdom Steve Jobs learned, he said, was this: Do a couple things, and do them well. You don’t have time for much. And most of things are not lasting. So do two or three things, and do them amazingly. Not a bad lesson. In fact, really good—as far as it goes.”

Judgment Houses - Russell Moore offers 7 reasons that judgment houses or hell houses completely miss the mark. I still find it hard to believe that such things exist (I’ve certainly never heard of one up here in Canada!).

Declining Church Health - Thom Rainer has 5 signs of declining church health.

The Original iPod - It is now 10 years since Apple completely revolutionized the music industry with the introduction of the iPod. Ars Technica re-reviews it, a full decade later.

The Future of Punctuation - The rules of punctuation, like most of the rules of language, seem to come and go. Currently, many of the rules are going. “How might punctuation now evolve? The dystopian view is that it will vanish. I find this conceivable, though not likely. But we can see harbingers of such change: editorial austerity with commas, the newsroom preference for the period over all other marks, and the taste for visual crispness.”

Sin always leads us much farther than we intended to go. —James Philip

October 24, 2011

5 Reasons God Calls Us to Wait - Paul David Tripp on some of the reasons that God may call us to wait. “In ministry you will be both called to wait and also find waiting personally and corporately difficult. So it is important to recognize that there are lots of good reasons why waiting is not merely inescapable but necessary and helpful. Here are a few of those reasons.”

Drones and Never-Ending War - “Today, our president said every soldier in Iraq is coming home, leading many to believe The War Is Over. Except it’s not. Getting humans out of there is great, but the fact is war today doesn’t need humans at all.” The implications of this are expansive.

The Holocaust - These photos from The Atlantic are almost too horrifying to take in.

Privatize the CBC - This probably applies only to Canadians. The author makes some great points.

Divas of Discernment - I’ll always be indebted to Phil Johnson for coining the phrase “Divas of Discernment.” Here he speaks to Todd Friel about “wall-building, biblical discernment, bad discernment ministries, shrill-and-sharp-tongued women who fancy themselves called to ministries of full-time criticism—and a few other interesting topics…”

Heart for Adoption - I enjoyed this little film which was played at the Together for Adoption conference.

Some persons on their dying beds just wake up in time to see their danger, but not toescape from it: they are carried right over the cataract of judgment and wrath. —Charles Spurgeon

October 22, 2011

Love Wins Companion - Rob Bell is releasing a companion to Love Wins. Here’s some classic publisher hyperbole: “In The Love Wins Companion, Rob Bell offers commentary on the positive and negative attention his groundbreaking book is receiving, delivering a crucial supplement to one of the most important books since the Bible.”

The Three Musketeers - I’m not sure why, but I enjoy reading reviews of movies I don’t ever intend to see. The Three Musketeers falls into that category. This review made me laugh. “’Evil is just a point of view,’ says the unscrupulous Cardinal Richelieu in the latest film adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ 19th-century novel. But such moral relativism cuts both ways. Bad is also just a point of view. The Three Musketeers, for instance, is a bad film only if you happen to be watching it from a theatre seat.”

Boomtown - An interesting article from CNN on one of America’s boomtowns. 

Sukkot - Here’s a photo gallery from the Jewish celebration of Sukkot. This morning I was out for a walk, listening to 2 Corinthians. This line seems appropriate: “To this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts.”

Sins of Omission - “Ask any group of leaders if humility is important, and almost every one of them will nod their heads and tell you that the world needs more humble leaders in every field, from business to politics to, well, everywhere. Ask that same group if they would like an opportunity to be humbled, and virtually every one of them will decline.”

Insult Like Shakespeare - The man wasn’t ever lacking for words.

More Power to Ya - I somehow came across this—Tim McGraw singing a classic Petra song. I kind of like the country spin on it.

In the last analysis, we sin not because we have to but because we want to. —Henry Jacobsen

October 21, 2011

Hating Tebow - Denny Burk writes about why so many people hate Tim Tebow, the young, Christian quarterback for the Denver Broncos. “There are a lot of people out there pulling against Tebow, and I am not talking about football or the big game on Sunday. What I am talking about are the cynics out there who want Tebow not only to fail at football but also to fail at being a Christian.”

Smalltown Poets - The Smalltown Poets were one of my favorite bands until they took a hiatus. However, they are back with a new Christmas album that you can get for just $5. One of the songs is “In the First Light” which, unless I’m mistaken, was penned by Bob Kauflin (back in the GLAD days).

In the Danger Zone - Dr. Mohler looks at children in a digital age. Here’s a shocking statistic: by age 3 almost a third of children have a television in their bedroom.

Congregations Submitting - This is a good and important article, especially in light of a bit of controversy about congregationalism. “Do you see the dilemma? If the Bible located church authority exclusively in the elders, the idea of submission would be simple: the elders would make the decisions, and the congregation would submit to those decisions. But what does it mean for a congregation to submit to its elders when the congregation itself holds final authority?”

Mother Refuses Chemo - “Stacie Crimm didn’t get to share much time with her infant daughter, Dottie Mae — she’d made the ultimate sacrifice to give the little girl life.” Greater love has no mom than this…

TSA on the Highway - Wow, does this ever make me uncomfortable. “You’re probably used to seeing TSA’s signature blue uniforms at the airport, but now agents are hitting the interstates to fight terrorism with Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR).”

Invisible Drum Kit - I came across this classic Rowan Atkinson skit yesterday and enjoyed it again. It’s just amazing physical comedy.

Wisdom teaches us to wink at many of the injuries that are done to us, and act as if we did not see them. —Matthew Henry

October 20, 2011

Open Doors - Here’s an update from Frontline Missions. “This is the calm before the whirlwind. A time to prepare to step through the long passage that will lead to eight countries in the next few weeks.  In Ethiopia and along the banks of the White Nile, we will shoot the fifth episode of Dispatches from the Front.”

Holding Hands - “An Iowa couple who was married for 72 years died one hour apart last week in the hospital as they held hands.”

Amazonia - Some spectacular photos of the Amazon rainforest.

Lord, I Believe - A Free MP3. “Zac Hicks + Cherry Creek Worship has taken that old and largely forgotten hymn and given it new life on their album Without Our Aid.”

Airlines - This is exasperating. You kind of wish they’d just cut all the extra fees and instead just raise fares.

When the law of God is written on our hearts, our duty will be our delight. —Matthew Henry

October 19, 2011

Joy Has Dawned - The Getty’s have a new Christmas album out and they are giving away one of the tracks as a free download. The song is a nice, Irish smash-up of “Joy Has Dawned” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.” The whole album is well worth the purchase.

Celebrity Pastors - I appreciated reading of some of the ways that James MacDonald deals with the celebrityism that follows him. Let me attest that it’s much easier in the abstract than in the moment to know what you’d do when someone comes up to you at church and asks to have their picture taken with you (or when someone says, “Will you sign my Bible?”). I appreciate that he has thought these things through and that he tries to react well.

When Fighting Temptation - Dane Ortlund quotes C.S. Lewis on fighting temptation.

Crybabies - This is an interesting take on all of the “occupy” protests going on these days. “North America and Europe, geographic epicentres of the Occupy Wall Street movement, are the fattest of fat cats, globally speaking. For any North American, least of all a Canadian, to claim economic kinship with the globally disadvantaged is silly. Mention that to an Indian. Mention it to a Chinese. Cry me a river, will be the likely response. Followed by a wry chuckle, or perhaps an expletive.”

Succession Law - Also from the National Post, an article on the English monarchy and its succession laws. It seems increasingly likely that the Reformation-era law forbidding a monarch from marrying a Roman Catholic will soon be abolished.

Ulrich Zwingli - Speaking of the Reformation, Steven Lawson is continuing his series of blog posts looking at the Reformers with today’s entry on Ulrich Zwingli.

I fear that what will surprise us most, when we see our Lord, will be the extent of our own ingratitude. —E.B. Pusey

October 18, 2011

Monday with Mounce - Wouldn’t it be great to have mastered Greek? “One of the beauties of knowing Greek is that you get to see nuances of meaning that are often lost in translation. It’s not that the translators don’t see the meaning; it’s that they simply cannot bring it over smoothly into English.”

Top 10 Preaching Mistakes - David Murray counts down the top ten mistakes preachers make (and especially if they are new).

Are Evangelicals Dangerous? - Dr. Mohler wrote an article for CNN and it attracted a ridiculous amount of attention (not too surprisingly). “By mid-Monday, there were 75 pages of comments at the site. That tells us something about the volatility of the question.”

Surrender - I’ve been enjoying this new EP by Nate Fancher. Several of the songs offer a unique sound that I quite like.

The Debate - Trevin Wax shares how he wishes the debate on sexuality could go, just once, when a Christian pastor ends up to television discussing the issue.

Alas, if our children lose the crown of life, it will be but a small consolation that they have won the laurels of literature or art. —Charles Spurgeon