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A La Carte

March 04, 2011

I apologize for skipping out on A La Carte yesterday. I came down with an ugly variation of the 24-hour flu and pretty much spent all day in bed. I probably could have wrestled together a post, but I was having an odd problem with my eyes—I was seeing double for a few hours. That was a new one to me. It made reading and writing pretty much impossible.

Intercourse with God? - Everyday Mommy writes about Ann Voskamp’s new book—one that has made it to the lists of bestsellers. I thought Christians had gotten over this idea of making love to God. Apparently not.

The Book Surgeon - This is some amazing art. I bet I couldn’t afford to buy any of it. But I want it.

Redeemed Reader - Here’s a new blog I’m excited about. “Our goal at Redeemedreader.com is to shine a gospel light on children’s literature so that Christian parents, educators, and the children they nurture may read in a more redeemed and redeeming way.”

$5 Friday - It’s always worth checking out the $5 Friday deals from Ligonier Ministries.

I Act the Miracle - John Piper: “Acting a miracle is different from working a miracle. If Jesus tells a paralyzed man to get up, and he gets up, Jesus works a miracle. But if I am the paralyzed man and Jesus tells me to get up, and I obey and get up, I act the miracle. If I am dead Lazarus and Jesus commands me to get up, and I obey, Jesus works the miracle, I act the miracle.”

Not Lords, Stewards - Burk Parsons has penned a good article about our celebrity culture. “A “bad steward” is oxymoronic. A bad steward is no steward at all.”

Facebook Obsession - This video gives some context to our current Facebook obsession.

Contextualization is not giving people what they want. It is giving God’s answers (which they probably do not want) to the questions they are asking and in forms they can comprehend. —Tim Keller

March 02, 2011

Thanks to all those who downloaded wallpaper yesterday, and to all those who made others aware of it through social media. It’s much appreciated. I’ll be sending along a few gift certificates as a means of expressing gratitude.

An Interview on Productivity - Matt Perman recently interviewed me on the subject of productivity. It’s at his blog if you’re interested.

Sheen vs Gaddafi - This is fun. It’s a quiz that asks you to figure out who said some pretty crazy lines. “The US actor and the Libyan leader have produced some choice lines recently. Can you distinguish between them?”

The Holiness of God - R.C. Sproul’s The Holiness of God is this month’s free book at ChristianAudio.com.

Porn Addiction in America - Here’s an infographic (prepared by a non-Christian company) that looks at addiction to pornography.

Bible Memory for Young Children - Andy Naselli has put together a list of ways you can help your young children begin to memorize Scripture.

When Baptists Become Paedobaptists - I appreciated this article from the 9Marks blog. “If we as baptists are going to baptise 2,3,4,5 and 6 year olds, I truly believe that it would do less pastoral damage to become paedobaptists.”

Justification is through faith, not on account of faith. —Benjamin B. Warfield

March 01, 2011

One month from today my book will release. That’s pretty exciting. Kind of. It’s also a little bit intimidating; I don’t always do well under the weight of expectations. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to finally holding a copy of it in my hands. It’s been a long time coming.

Sex Is Cheap - Here’s an interesting article from Slate with a look at today’s sexual economics. “Despite the fact that women are holding the sexual purse strings, they aren’t asking for much in return these days—the market ‘price’ of sex is currently very low.”

Kenya’s Mentally Ill - A sad article from CNN, focusing on the fate of the mentally ill in Kenya.

Black Swan - Mary Kassian comments on the Oscar-winning film Black Swan and the false messages it contains about sexuality. “It’s Oscar week — the time of year when we have to endure Hollywood’s painful, unending fascination with itself. I didn’t watch the Oscars, nor did I see most of the movies that were nominated. But reading this morning’s paper, I did take note that Natalie Portman won an Oscar for best actress for her role in Black Swan. To me, this is a telling sign of current ideas surrounding female sexuality.”

Speed Kills - John Dyer has a similar but better-articulated article on the Rob Bell situation (compared to the one I wrote). In today’s world, when something important happens there is no searching for a notepad, no finding a pen that works, no saying, “Aw shucks, the mailman already came today. I guess I’ll have to sleep on it.” Instead, we are surrounded by dozens of shiny buttons enticing us to “publish,” “post,” “comment,” and “send.”

The Extra Trillion - AOL tries to figure out what that extra trillion dollars in the US budget is going to. This is a natural follow-up to an article I linked to yesterday.

Robertson McQuilken - Here’s a stirring testimony of a husband’s love for his wife. “Although thoroughly enjoying his role as president at Columbia, McQuilkin resigned from his post in 1990 to care for his wife who had been battling Alzheimer’s Disease since the early 1980′s.” (HT:TB)

The shortest road to an understanding of the Bible is the acceptance of the fact that God is speaking in every line. —Donald Grey Barnhouse

February 28, 2011

It’s the last day of the worst month of the year. And fittingly, it’s several degrees above the freezing mark with a steady rain starting to obliterate the snow. Spring is nigh. Tomorrow I’ll have a collection of desktop wallpapers to bring some spring cheer to your desktop.

5 Things I Can’t Find - R.C. Sproul Jr writes about 5 things he’s surprised that he can’t find in the Bible.

Discovery - One of the space shuttle Discovery astronauts is taking photos of Discovery’s last mission and putting them on Flickr. There are some really amazing ones there.

USA 2010 Income Statement - This isn’t good.

Commentary Sale - Today only Monergism Books has several volumes of the (excellent) Reformed Expository Commentary series on sale. Each one is 50% off: Hebrews, Jonah & Micah, Zechariah, The Incarnation in the Gospels.

American Idol - This blogger writes about his near-tragic experience with the other American Idol: gluttony.

Manslater - I caught this on Josh Harris’ blog and got a laugh out of it. Or a chuckle, anyway.

Hope can see heaven through the thickest clouds. —Thomas Brooks

February 26, 2011

After a busy week and just prior to what is bound to be a busy Sunday, we are looking forward to a nice, quiet day at home. Tim Keller’s King’s Cross showed up in the mail yesterday and it looks like just the kind of thing I’d love to kick back and read on a Saturday afternoon. Beautiful.

Talk to Kids About Sermons - Joe Holland has a list of 8 tips for talking to your children about the sermon.

A Disturbing Trend - Unfettered Bloke (interesting blog name) writes about pastors and their ministry saying “Behind our responsibility to God, our responsibility to our family is our #1 priority above all else. If our family fails, everything else fails with it.”

Ask R.C. Live - Ligonier Ministries recently hosted another episode of “Ask R.C.” You can watch the video here.

Dead Island - This video gamer writes about a rather ugly trend in game design—more and more games involve destroying children.

How to Encourage Your Pastor - Thom Rainer has a good list of ways you can encourage your pastor.

Said Musa - Said Musa has been released (as you have probably heard by now). Praise God! And now let’s pray that he doesn’t immediately get thrown onto an international Christian stage because you know there are book offers already being sent his way!

Parenting Through Snow Days - Here’s some biblical advice on dealing with snow days.

A Sequence of Lines - On one hand this is about the most boring video you’ll ever see. But on the other hand, it is strangely fascinating to see how things change over time—how each of us can think we are faithfully copying something when, in reality, there has been massive though unintentional deviation.

No man can give at once the impressions that he himself is clever and that Jesus Christ is mighty to save. —James Denny

February 25, 2011

Standing at the gas pump this morning watching the numbers add up I decided to try a little math. If you factor in the metric to imperial conversion and then factor in the Canadian dollar to US dollar conversion, I am now paying almost $5 per gallon of gas. That just isn’t right.

Signs You Are Growing in Grace - Timmy Brister provides a round-up of tweets from Scott Smith. Who says Twitter can’t carry significant content?

The Day I Became Catholic - Rick Thomas speaks of the moment he (functionally) converted to Roman Catholicism. It’s worth reading.

Benny Hinn - Benny Hinn is in trouble. “Televangelist Benny Hinn is being sued by Strang Communications, a publishing company that alleges that Hinn violated a morality clause in their contract when he began an ‘inappropriate relationship’ with Without Walls pastor Paula White.” May his money perish with him.

Technology and Values - Some interesting thoughts on the morality of technology (a topic I happened to discuss in an interview yesterday): “It’s important to remind ourselves that technology is not such a villainous force. It’s not a force at all. No technology – good or evil, exceptional or mundane – is built in a vacuum. No technology is built without human intervention.”

Who Owns the Job? - Douglas Wilson offers a few comments on collective bargaining, placing it within a biblical context.

I don’t want to live in this body for the rest of eternity. I can’t see. My wife thinks I can’t hear. I can hear, but my wife thinks I can’t. It’s the fan! It’s the fan! —John Piper

February 24, 2011

Christchurch Earthquake - The Big Picture shows the devastation in Christchurch.

The Face of the Moon - Here you can see and download one of the highest-resolution photos anyone has ever taken of the moon.

Five New Feelings - Here are five new feelings our digital technologies bring us. “There are some pretty specific feelings that can only happen in the Internet age, as a consequence of it. Or, at least, as a consequence of our angst about it, in the shadow of the self-obsession it facilitates, even encourages.”

Positive Impacts - Of course the impact of social media and digital technology is not all bad, is it? This article shares some of its benefits. “The Internet doesn’t steal our humanity, it reflects it. The Internet doesn’t get inside us, it shows what’s inside us. And social media isn’t cold, it’s just complex and hard to define.”

Wretched - In a couple of weeks I am going to be speaking at one of Todd Friel’s Wretched conferences in Lexington, SC. You know, just in case you’re looking for a conference to attend on March 11 or 12. I’ll be speaking on how to be discerning without becoming a complete jerk.

Disappearing Languages - National Geographic seeks to document disappearing languages. “Every 14 days a language dies. By 2100, more than half of the more than 7,000 languages spoken on Earth—many of them not yet recorded—may disappear, taking with them a wealth of knowledge about history, culture, the natural environment, and the human brain.”

Organizing the Bookcase - This is brilliant. (HT)

Man fell by a desire to be independent of God, and now man wishes to be equally independent of God in returning to him.T.C. Hammond

February 23, 2011

In case you missed it yesterday (because I posted it a little later in the day), be sure to check out the special giveaway I wrote about. You could win a manuscript of a sermon preached by Charles Spurgeon. It’s a great little collector’s item.

Where Have the Good Men Gone? - This is an interesting article from the WSJ. “But for all its familiarity, pre-adulthood represents a momentous sociological development. It’s no exaggeration to say that having large numbers of single young men and women living independently, while also having enough disposable income to avoid ever messing up their kitchens, is something entirely new in human experience.”

The Feeling of Reading - I enjoyed this article about the feeling of reading a book. “As I held books that were thirty years old yesterday, flipping the dusty pages, reading autographs and inscriptions, and admiring cover art, I realized I’m missing something. There’s something, something I can’t explain, about the way a book feels to hold and read that no digital version can match. Yesterday I felt like I was holding a story, an entire world ready for me to explore—I’ve never felt that way on my iPad.”

Vatican Files - Reformation21 is beginning what looks to be an interesting series. The series, titled “Vatican Files,” will look at Catholicism in the 21st century.

8th Grade - Gene Veith looks at a test for eighth graders from 1895. I wouldn’t do so well on it.

Update on Said Musa - Denny Burk offers an update on Said Musa, the man imprisoned in Afghanistan. “Smeitana says that Said’s wife and children have already fled the country, that Said has been moved to a safer prison, and that the Afghan authorities are feeling the pressure from American officials to release Said himself.”

Piper on Technological Distraction - John Piper speaks on the growing problem of technological distraction and its relation to prayer.

We must never talk about the failure of Christianity. It is impossible for Christianity to fail. What fails is the shabby counterfeit to the real thing that we are willing to put up with. —Geoffrey King