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A La Carte

February 15, 2011

It’s an early start today, so let’s get right to those links…

Nation Somehow Shocked - The Onion has the occasional good one. Yesterday was one of them. “As more details emerged of Friday’s horrible but relatively commonplace manifestation of human nature in Brandon, SD, citizens nationwide somehow managed to enter a state of shock, apparently struggling to comprehend an act that, throughout history, has happened thousands upon thousands of times.”

Lectures with Richard Bauckham - From SBTS: “Professor Richard Bauckham will deliver the Spring 2011 Julius Brown Gay Lectures on February 15-16. Professor Bauckham is Professor Emeritus at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and is a renowned New Testament scholar.” You can watch them live online at sbts.edu.

Pre-Order - Just a reminder that my book The Next Story is now available for pre-order. I’m not above begging. Don’t make me beg!

World Press Photo Winners - Boston.com has a roundup of some of the best shots from the 54th World Press Photo Contest.

Wiki Leaks and Judgment - Douglas Groothuis shares a guest post written by Ajith Fernando, author and minister in Sri Lanka. Fernando looks at Wiki Leaks and says it “is an instructive foretaste of a terrifying disclosure which will take place some day! Whoever thought that money stashed in secret accounts Swiss banks would be made public? The Bible says, “For God will bring every deed into judgment, withe very secret thing, whether good or evil” (Eccl. 12:1).”

What’s a Strong Tower? - Mounce looks at Proverbs 18:10 and asks “What’s a strong tower”? A tower that possess the quality of strength? What does that mean? A tower that is built with a strong door? Strong straps?”

Tears of Hope - A while back I mentioned Zac Smith. Here is an update from his wife one year after his death.

I think the devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, crowds … Satan is quite aware of the power of silence. —Jim Elliot

February 14, 2011

Today is the day that the Blue Jays’ pitchers and catchers report for their first day of training. The 2011 season is coming up fast. And I just can’t wait.

What Lincoln Meant to the Slaves - There has been near-endless research and speculation about this. An op-ed in the New York Times is worth the read.

Adultery Incorporated - Albert Mohler looks at the adultery industry and offers some useful analysis of it. Yes, there actually is such an industry.

Answers for Pastors - 9Marks has a useful feature at their web site—a section of questions and answers for pastors.

Conan 2.0 - You don’t have to like Conan O’Brien to find this article interesting (disclosure: I’ve never seen his show and know little about him beyond what I’ve been reading in the media). It tells “how a late-night Luddite accidentally fought his way back into bedrooms (and computers, smartphones, and tablets) across America.”

How does the Gospel Conquer Pornography? - Tim Keller and D.A. Carson answer.

To search for wisdom apart from Christ means not simply foolhardiness but utter insanity. —John Calvin

February 13, 2011

It has been an interesting weekend and along the way the weekend edition of A La Carte has been bumped from Saturday to Sunday. I guess that happens.

Justin Bieber @ Church - Groan. “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never hits theaters this weekend, and, God willing, could be the topic of many conversations come Sunday — at least that’s what Paramount, the studio behind the 3-D documentary’s release, is hoping. Paramount has held 20 screenings in 20 markets at the end of January for Christian leaders, some of whom then offered written endorsements, arranged group ticket sales for their fellowship, or requested a copy of the study guide produced for the movie titled Never Say Never: For Nothing Is Impossible With God.”

Despite Us, God Works - Michael Oh: “If it had been one year earlier I would have been at Daytona Beach to join in the partying. As it was, God had intervened mercifully in my life before going to college, and I was there for a beach evangelism project. Christians sure know how to almost have fun.”

Sexualization of Young Girls - Red Book reports on the increased sexualization of young girls.

Lady Gaga & “Born This Way” - This is an interesting analysis (with commentary) on Lady Gaga’s new song “Born This Way.” “I believe that issues related to sexuality, particularly same-sex attraction and same-sex experimentation, are the most pressing issues we must address in youth ministry over the course of the next 12 to 24 months. It’s crucial. Lady Gaga’s new song reminds us of just how important this is.” (HT:Z)

Solar Death Ray - Didn’t we all dream of creating something like this when we were younger?

I have learned that God’s silence to my questions is not a door slammed in my face. I may not have the answers—but I do have him. —Dave Dravecky

February 11, 2011

I find myself working out of 2 offices these days—1 at home and 1 at the church. This is taking some adjustment. And it’s making me realize why a lot of pastors are working toward digital libraries that can travel with them.

Our Own Propaganda - It’s bad form to post a link to Carl Trueman two days in a row, but this is just too good not to mention. “When asked by a student spouse the other week how she kept up with reading all that I read so that she could support me in my work, my wife’s response (worthy of Newman himself) was ‘Read what he’s reading???  Lovey, I don’t even bother to read what he’s writing!’   In fact, she famously claims never to have read anything I have ever written.  Why should she?”

Your Own Miracles - Danielle shares another little moment from the ER.

A Dog Named Life - Greg doesn’t update his blog as often as he once did. But this one was worth the wait.

Gentlemen in a Digital Age - Carolyn McCulley compares history to the present day. “A young man no longer needs to run the gauntlet of a local village’s stern gaze. Everyone he could possibly desire to meet is at the other end of a Facebook account or a Twitter address. In the unblinking blue gaze of his computer screen, he can be anybody he wants to be, connecting to anyone he seeks. And he never even has to dress up.”

Fetal Surgery and Abortion - Denny Burk asks the question. “How does it make any moral or legal sense, therefore, to take heroic measures to do surgery on a 19 week old fetus while at the same time allowing the abortion of a perfectly normal 19 week old fetus? The only difference between the one and the other is that one has a mother that wants him and the other doesn’t. This inconsistency doesn’t even bear the lightest scrutiny, yet it is one that is plain to anyone who has eyes to see.”

Sixty-Six Clouds - This is kind of an interesting project. They’ve made up word clouds of each of the books of the Bible and are selling them in various formats. Check out the video.

Righteous wrath is no less noble than love, since both coexist in God. —John MacArthur

February 10, 2011

Yesterday I got to see the rough cut of the commercial/trailer they are making for my book The Next Story. I was really impressed. I can’t wait for it to be finalized so I can show it to you. Hopefully soon…

To Be Forgotten - Darryl Dash reflects on this: “Daniel, the senior pastor of Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, Kentucky, says his vision statement is, ‘Preach the gospel, die, and be forgotten.’”

Living With Regrets - At the CCEF blog Ed Welch writes about living with regrets. “It feels so right – so spiritual – to live with regrets. It means you feel bad for the wrong things you have done or think you have done, and that sounds like a good thing. If you forget those wrongs, you are acting like they were no big deal.”

Sexual Detox - David writes an encouraging review of Sexual Detox. “Sexual Detox makes a thoroughly biblical theological attack on the poison that is pornography. In doing so, it strikes at the root of the problem: the sinful human heart.” Meanwhile, here is a great review of Don’t Call It a Comeback.

R.C. Sproul’s Position on Creation - In this article R.C. Sproul explains his position on Creation.

How to Provoke Your Children to Anger - Mark Altrogge offers up a list of ways that parents can sin against their children and provoke them to anger.

Questions about the Superbowl - Have I told you lately how much I enjoy what Carl Trueman writes? “As usual, the Superbowl generates more questions for me than answers.  How did a game of one hour develop over time into a game of between three and four hours?  Who ever decided that a bunch of predominantly overweight men who stand around doing little other than posing in spandex should come to be regarded as `elite athletes’ [sic]?  (And, in my opinion, nobody over 200 pounds should even be allowed in a spandex shop, let alone be encouraged to wear the merchandise.”

What Used to Be Normal - A friend posted this video under the caption “Things That Seem Insane That Used To Be ‘Normal.’”

Anxiety is not only a pain which we must ask God to assuage but also a weakness we must ask him to pardon—for he’s told us to take no care for the morrow.C.S. Lewis

February 09, 2011

A La Carte is running a little bit late today because I was recording a podcast. Busy day! Stay tuned a few minutes from now and I’ll also be posting an interview with John MacArthur.

Don’t Call it a Comeback - The Jude 3 Project has the first review I’ve seen of the book I contributed to. “Don’t Call it a Comeback is a uniquely accessible and entertaining theology text. That’s right, it is probably the theology text with the overall coolest title in the history of Christian publishing!”

Behind the Wheel - Andree Seu: “My son who lives in the heart of Philly says it’s no good now with everybody packing a cell phone and moving their lips as they walk down the street alone: ‘You can’t tell who the crazies are anymore.’”

Custom Domain Suffixes - This article deals with a new development on the Web and one that actually has very far-reaching implications. “The pillar of the basic Web address - the trusty .com domain - is about to face vast new competition that will dramatically transform the Web as we know it. New Web sites, with more subject-specific, sometimes controversial suffixes, will soon populate the online galaxy, such as .eco, .love, .god, .sport, .gay or .kurd.”

A New Kind of False Intimacy - This blogger suggests that Facebook offers us a new kind of false intimacy.

Please Don’t Use Google! - Andy Unedited wants writers to stop using Google. “Why should writers and speakers stop using Google as a supposed source of statistical authority? Much like using dictionary definitions…” You’ll have to click the link to read his reasons.

The seven ages of man: spills, drills, thrills, bills, ills, pills, wills. —Richard J. Needham

February 08, 2011

I’m at the church office today and am looking at an old book I found hanging around here. It’s titled Thrills and Chills of a Locomotive Engineer. The back of the book says, “Each day, while running the big powerful engines, I saw new ways in which the rules and principles of railroading paralleled those of living the Christian life.” Huh.

The Size and Scale of Earth - I posted something like this once before, but I think this one does an even better job of showing the size and scope of our world. Things like this compel me to worship.

How Does Worship Transform Us? - Mark Driscoll says that true worship demands that you must smash your idol, not modify your behavior.

Forgeries - Bestselling author Bart Ehrman is ramping up his accusations against the Bible, now claiming not just that the Bible is full of errors, but that many of the New Testament books were written as deliberate forgeries.

Fighter Verses for your iPhone - Children Desiring God has made an iPhone app available that helps you memorize weekly Fighter Verses.

Politics and Catholicism - Denny Burk pointed out that Michael Gerson has a thoughtful column in The Washington Post about Roman Catholicism’s impact on American politics.

Mila’s Daydreams - A friend sent this along. What a cool idea.

Boasting is an evidence that we are pleased with self; belittling, that we are disappointed in it. Either way, we reveal that we have a high opinion of ourselves.A.W. Tozer

February 07, 2011

Super Bowl this, Super Bowl that. It’s tough to get too excited about the Super Bowl when your church has an evening service that overlaps kickoff. And when you don’t have cable. And when you don’t have a favorite team. And I’m okay with this (especially after catching some video of that unspeakably awful half-time performance).

Can a Computer Win Jeopardy? - We’re about to find out in what should be a rather interesting (and probably anti-climactic) contest.

Poured Concrete for the Soul - The American Spectator reviews Nancy Pearcey’s latest book: “In Saving Leonardo, Nancy Pearcey illumines the answers to those questions and much more besides. Although a great portion of the book discusses the arts, in one sense that is not her real subject at all. Her subject is the intellectual underpinnings of Western society over the past 250 years, how those underpinnings have radically shifted, and how those shifts affect — well, everything, including not just the arts, but culture, morals, and even our concepts of truth and reality.”

Where Have all the Presbyterians Gone? - Russell Moore pens an op-ed for the WSJ. “Are we witnessing the death of America’s Christian denominations? Studies conducted by secular and Christian organizations indicate that we are. Fewer and fewer American Christians, especially Protestants, strongly identify with a particular religious communion—Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, etc. According to the Baylor Survey on Religion, nondenominational churches now represent the second largest group of Protestant churches in America, and they are also the fastest growing.”

Me Tarzan, You Jane? - Girls Gone Wise: “t’s all over twitter. It’s discussed in detail in all the recent dating and relationship books. It screamed at us from reality television. Every  successful TV matchmaker positively demands it. Men are hunters. Women are responders.”

Hitting the Mark - This is pretty amazing. According to Wired, this guy has made 800 jumps and has never missed the mark.

The faintest whisper of support and encouragement uttered by a Christian in the ears of his fellow believer is heard in heaven. —John J. Murray