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A La Carte

May 06, 2011

It’s been a cool and rainy spring—enough so that my son’s baseball season has already been delayed twice. The fields are just too wet to play on. However, we are hoping to finally get the first practice in tomorrow, with a game to follow early next week. It’s back to the diamond at last.

U-S-A - Here is a brief history of the U-S-A! chant that America loves and the rest of the world doesn’t.

High Art - I guess you have to be a bit of a geek to enjoy this one. It talks about the iconic beauty of the Boeing 747 and compares it to the bland nature of the Airbus A380.

Truth in Love - I appreciated Michael Haykin’s reflections in a new article which begins like this: “In one of his books, Francis Schaeffer depicts the two problems that can afflict those desiring to be true to the Christian Faith in days when biblical truth is under attack. On the one hand, some become hard and brittle in their response to errorists and develop low tolerance levels.”

Where Is the Steeple? - Veith shares an article from USA Today about the decline of the steeple (and with it traditional church architecture) and asks a few questions: “Architecture, like other art forms, expresses meaning.  Do you know why older churches built steeples?  Why they had bells?  What does it mean that today’s churches tend to use cheap materials?”

Three Things Obama Got Right - This is an interesting take on President Obama and the aftermath of killing Osama Bin Laden. John Mark Reynolds believes “President Obama made the right call to take out bin Laden, the right call to end torture of prisoners, and was right not to release the bin Laden photograph.”

Twain’s Autobiography - If you’ve got a few minutes to spare, you may enjoy reading this review of Mark Twain’s recently-published autobiography.

A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling ‘darkness’ on the wall of his cellC.S. Lewis

May 05, 2011

The Slippery Story - It’s been very interesting to see how the story of Bin Laden’s death has changed over the past few days. The Atlantic tries to make some sense of it. I wonder how much of the changes are based on misinformation that came through today’s way-too-fast news cycle.

Victory Over or Struggling With? - That’s an important distinction. “In Evangelical circles, in pastoral care, and in the biblical counseling world, it seems to me that we spend much more time preaching, teaching, and counseling about ‘victory over,’ and much less time journeying with and pondering ‘struggling with,’ ‘fighting with,’ or even ‘victory in.’ Do we perhaps sometimes mistakenly convey the impression that applying biblical principles eliminates the battle, the struggle?”

You Might Be An Idolator If… - Here’s a short list from Stephen Altrogge’s new book.

The Kids With George W. Bush - Denny Burk: “TIME magazine has a fascinating story on the children who were with President Bush on 9-11 when he received the news that America was under attack. They are all very appreciative of his calm response and that he didn’t immediately storm out of the room.”

E-Readers Fail at Education - I’m not too surprised that e-readers aren’t make big inroads into the classroom. It’s the reasons that I find interesting (and understandable).

Ten Years of Innovation - Here’s a good reminder of how much the way we communicate has changed in the just the past 10 years. “As I woke this morning I was struck by that fact. In less than 10 years the world and the technology we use to experience it has changed so completely. On September 11, 2001 there was no iPhone, there was no Twitter, there was no YouTube. But there was a basic human desire to connect, to share experiences and to have our experiences shared and understood by others.”

What are the heavens, the earth, the sea, but a sheet of royal paper, written all over with the wisdom and power of God? —Thomas Brooks

May 04, 2011

Anatomy of a Fake Quotation - This is interesting: “Yesterday, I saw a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. fly across my Twitter feed:  ‘I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.’ - Martin Luther King, J’.  I was about to retweet it, but I hesitated.  It didn’t sound right.  After some Googling, I determined that it was probably fake, which I blogged about last night.”

Tornado Before and After - Amazing satellite photos of before and after the tornado.

Long Work vs. Hard Work - A quick but important distinction courtesy Seth Godin.

Praying For … Me - Paula Hendricks: “I thought you’d be interested in reading several prayers Nancy Leigh DeMoss has prayed for herself over and over again through the years. Then, I’d love to hear what prayer(s) you regularly pray for yourself.”

Here We Go Again - “I heard some really discouraging and sobering news the other day, and I wanted to take a break from Greek instruction to share it with you.” This is an important article from Bill Mounce.

Fed Up With the Fed - I enjoyed Sowell’s look at some of the evasive phrases used by politicians. Because “when people in Washington start creating fancy new phrases instead of using plain English, you know they are doing something they don’t want us to understand.”

Dead Authors on Twitter - Results vary a lot, but some of these Twitter accounts from long-deceased authors are pretty funny (or clever or…).

There are times when God asks nothing of his children except silence, patience and tears. —Charles Seymour Robinson

May 03, 2011

It is a double birthday in the Challies home today, with my wife turning [something] and my youngest daughter turning 5. Question is, when there are two birthdays, do you do one cake and put both names on it? Or do you do a cake each? I’m going with the one cake this year…

You Have Multiple Blood Clots - David Murray writes about a medical crisis he faced last week. (This is also the reason that David and I have not recorded a podcast in a couple of weeks)

eBook Sale - At Cruciform Press we are having a Mother’s Day sale on a couple of books that mom might like.

A Praying Life - Speaking of ebooks, Paul Miller’s A Praying Life, a really good book on prayer, is available for free for the Kindle. Get it soon because it won’t be free forever.

Reformed Rap - Christianity Today puts the spotlight on Reformed rap.

Now - My little sister, who lives in Ringgold, Georgia, writes about life after the tornado that flattened so much of her town. “We have our power back, we have our water back…we can surf the net.  It’s amazing what these crews have done in just a couple of days.  We sit here and we feel guilty…just a block over there are people who have no homes…everything is gone.  Again, we thank God for what we do not deserve.”

9Marks - The newest 9Marks newsletter is out and it focuses on issues related to church membership. I tend to read it for the book reviews.

Jesus Wants My Heart - Daniel Renstrom has released an EP of children’s music (iTunes only). Go ahead and buy it and you’ll be helping fund a full-length album for kids. And why not check out his other albums—they are well worth the purchase.

God’s Holiness - A sermon jam featuring Richard Ganz.

If you don’t believe in the devil’s existence, just try resisting him for a while. —Charles Finney (yeah, I know, it’s Finney; but it’s a great quote)

May 02, 2011

It’s Not Poetry - The Sola Panel blog (think Matthias Media) has an interesting article about the early chapters of Genesis. “When it comes to standard Hebrew poetic forms—especially parallelism, ‘non-standard’ vocabulary and ‘unusual’ verb patterning—these are also absent from the text (with the exception of 1:27). As my old Ancient Near East history lecturer once put it, anyone reading the text would fail a first-year Hebrew exam if they called Genesis 1 a type of Hebrew poetry.”

Free @ ChristianAudio - ChristianAudio has released their free audio book for the month of May (free for the download, no strings attached). Personally I just can’t tolerate the author, but he’s my wife’s favorite.

Best Facial Hair of the Civil War - I guess the link says it all (it’s a link to Smithsonian). Those guys sure knew how to rock the facial hair, didn’t they?

Christ Is Praying - Erik has just a couple of powerful quotes on Christ’s intercession for us. “If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.”

Sunday Morning Fight - Though written specifically for pastors, this article is relevant to all of us. Brian Croft answers this question: “What if I have a conflict with my spouse Sunday morning before church?”

Banning Laptops - I posted an article by Douglas Groothuis in Saturday’s A La Carte. Here’s another one on the same topic. This stuff is worth thinking about.

If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisifed if it were doubled.C.H. Spurgeon

April 30, 2011

One more A La Carte to finish up another month. I believe I have done something like 1,300 A La Carte posts over the years. Turns out there is lots of interesting stuff to make note of! Here are a few more examples of this.

An Interview with Newton - This is kind of cool. Tony Reinke has reformatted one of Newton’s letters on spiritual depression into a kind of interview.

What Is a Library? - Be sure to read this brief article from Douglas Groothuis. “My spies tell me that a theological library, with which I am well acquainted, is often found with ‘students’ gazing at their laptops. Are they writing a paper on the New Testament or theology or even philosophy? No they are not. They are watching films.”

People in the Blogosphere - I quite enjoyed this article. “I’ve been blogging eight years, beginning with the launch of the Thinklings. In that time, I have come to identify certain blog community types. Gone is the heyday of scintillating conversation and good ol’ fashioned scrums in blog comment threads, but these folks are still around in some forms and fashions. Here are the people you meet when you’re walking down the street of the Christian blogosphere.”

Why We Love Amish Romance - I don’t love them, but I know a lot of people do.

The Royal Wedding - James MacDonald pretty much let loose on the royal couple and their wedding.

Glory Be To God - Another nice worship song. Why haven’t I ever sung this one before?

April 29, 2011

Ringold, GA - My sister and her family live in Ringgold, GA, a town flattened by a tornado. We’re praising God that he saw fit to keep the family and their home safe. The Big Picture has photos of the destruction in other southern towns. The size and scope of this disaster is just shocking to me.

Potential Solutions - Zach offers up some potential solutions to the critiques offered by Carl Trueman related to pastors being celebrities.

$5 Fridays - Ligonier has a few excellent deals in this week’s $5 Friday, including books and teaching series by R.C. Sproul. It’s a good day to stock up on some of these for your church library.

Commentaries for Sale - RHB has the Reformed Expository Commentaries on sale. They are great commentaries for pastors and laypersons alike.

Urban Legends - Trevin Wax offers up a good list of urban legends that preachers (and the rest of us) need to stop stating as truth.

Expository Preaching - The Crossway blog excerpts a list of tips for expository preachers. The list comes from a book written by Alistair Begg.

The Light of the World - How had I never come across this song before?

When we learn to hold the world with a loose grip we are learning to take hold of the world to come with a firm grip. —Sinclair Ferguson

April 28, 2011

I am strangely drawn to infographics. I’m not sure what it is about them, but I guess it probably has to do with the way a good infographic lays out interesting information in an attractive and effective way. I am generally drawn to words more than pictures, but make an exception for infographics. Let’s start with two of them…

Does Facebook Make You a Better Student? - There are lots of interesting things to ponder in this infographic that looks at Facebook and the student. Does Facebook make you a better student? Probably not.

Publishing in the Digital Era - Here’s another good one that displays some of the new realities about publishing in the digital era.

China Declares War on Christians - Dr. Mohler: “The news out of China grows worse as reports of the arrest, detention, harassment, and beatings of Christians come from across China.”

Vetting Memoirs - Here’s an interesting discussion on publishers vetting memoirs. This discussion comes in the wake of revelations that Greg Mortenson apparently fabricated many parts of his memoir Three Cups of Tea. I

Your Greatest Weakness - You know that old interview question, “What’s your greatest weakness?” Matt Perman talks about the way to understand and answer that. Because you’re not supposed to answer, “Sometimes I like to burn things” or “I just care too much.”

Conference for Pastors - This conference for pastors (in Minnetonka, MN) looks like it may be very beneficial to those who attend.

Hardly Discerned - Kevin DeYoung quotes Jonathan Edwards on humility. Give it a quick read and a long ponder.

Build your nest in no tree here … for the Lord of the forest has condemned the whole woods to be demolished. —Samuel Rutherford