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A La Carte

August 02, 2011

Aileen and the kids have gone away for a couple of days, getting out of the city in favor of a neighbor’s cottage. Right before they left my five-year-old daughter looked at me and said, “Daddy, it would be nice if you could clean the house while we’re gone. It’s good to come back to a nice, clean home.” Duly noted. I guess I’d better get scrubbing.

Last week I announced that the next classic Christian book we will be reading together is John Stott’s The Cross of Christ. ChristianAudio was kind enough to make the audio book available to us for just $2.98. Visit this Reading Classics Together post to get the details. You do not need to read (or listen) along with us to take advantage of the deal (but you might as well).

Hannah Coulter - Speaking of ChristianAudio, this month’s free book is Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry. I know absolutely nothing about it except that it’s free and that Russell Moore considers it one of his 2 favorite Berry novels.

Fascinating Facts About Phone Numbers - A bit hyperbolic perhaps (I can’t imagine there is any such thing as a truly “fascinating” fact about phone numbers) but this post is at least interesting. (HT:TW)

Missing Maps - I enjoyed Tim O’Reilly’s article that shows the fragility of some of our systems. “It was a beautiful late spring day towards the end of May, hot even, so the last thing I was thinking about was the possibility that Sierra passes might still be closed. So I was quite surprised to find a sign that the road ahead was closed in 5 miles. I’d have to turn around and retrace my path for over 80 miles.”

Books on Sale - Monergism Books has some deals worth checking out: Works of John Owen for just $238 (great deal!), Trusting God by Jerry Bridges (50% off), Essential Truths by R.C. Sproul (50%), Chosen By God by R.C. Sproul (50%), etc. You can find more here.

Ministers of Grace in Need of Grace - It takes a humble man to admit he has said this: “ ‘Ninety-five percent of the women in our church would love to be married to a man like me.’ (Luella very quickly informed me that she was part of the 5 percent!) I was convinced that no one had a more accurate picture of me than I did. And in my blindness I also failed to see and fear the disaster that I was heading toward.”

Ray of Hope - I don’t know much of anything about International Justice Mission, so don’t take this as an endorsement of the organization. But this video is awfully powerful.

If our circumstances find us in God, we shall find God in our circumstances. —George Muller

August 01, 2011

Happy August. It’s a holiday up here in Canada, something we call the Civic holiday. It’s one of those weird holidays where most people get the day off, but some don’t. I’m not sure yet which camp I’m in. I need to add up my week and see if I can afford a day away from the office.

Listen Like a Man - The folks at Grace to You respond to some criticism of John MacArthur’s approach in his letters to the Young, Restless, Reformed. 

A Trying Month - My friend Trevin Wax writes about what has been a trying month in the life of his family. Pray for this family!

Mandy’s Story - The Resurgence shares a tough-to-read excerpt from Justin and Lindsey Holcomb’s book Rid of My Disgrace, a book about sexual assault.

NIV Review - Dan Wallace has an extensive review of the new NIV and it’s quite a good read. Andy Naselli’s got a table of contents if you’d like to give it a go.

Vacation Stress Levels - This rings true.

Images of Auschwitz - This is a haunting photo gallery of images taken at Auschwitz.

Jesus was never guarding himself, but always invading the lives of others with his holiness. —Phillips Brooks

July 30, 2011

It is a long weekend here in Canada and it seems like pretty much the whole population of Toronto has fled north to cottage country. We’ve got no cottage to go to, so instead we are meeting up with a cousin of mine and heading out onto Lake Ontario in his boat. Should be fun. Here’s hoping there’s some wind today.

A Two-Day Sale at Ligonier - Ligonier is having a big two-day sale during which everything at their store is 30% off. Use the code SHOP30 to get that discount. It’s only good today (and tomorow, I think; better use it today!).

Why Youth Stay in Church - I like this. “Youth pastors, pray with all your might for true conversion; that is God’s work. Equip the saints for the work of the ministry; that is your work. Parents, preach the gospel and live the gospel for your children; our work depends on you.”

War Posters - It is kind of fun to look at the war posters that were on constant display during the two world wars. 

Norway and Fundamentalism - Ed Stetzer: “When new information (the police officer’s solitary comment) reinforces how we already see the world (Christian fundamentalists are dangerous). 

I think there are three reasons that many in the media were so quick to assume and report this unsubstantiated label.
”

John Stott - The Telegraph ran an obituary of John Stott.

Life on This Planet - I’m no fan of Mark Steyn, but I did quite enjoy this article. He sounds mad. “It’s always good to have things explained in terms we simpletons can understand. After a while, all the stuff about debt-to-GDP ratio and CBO alternative baseline scenarios starts to give you a bit of a headache, so we should be grateful to the House Minority Leader for putting it in layman’s terms: What’s at stake is ‘life on this planet as we know it today.’ So, if right now you’re living anywhere in the general vicinity of this planet, it’s good to know Nancy’s in there pitching for you.”

Time to Immigrate - You probably caught this headline yesterday: Apple Now Has More Cash Than The U.S. Government.

Interview - I’m not sure if it’s humilty or pride (probably pride) but I can’t bear to watch myself on video. So I’m posting this interview sight unseen!

The spiritual battle, the loss of victory, is always in the thought-world. —Francis Schaeffer

July 29, 2011

The Friends with Benefits Epidemic - Here’s the best couple of lines from this article: “Your desire for sex is proof that God loves you. Your physical draw to another human being is proof that God created you to want to experience unparalleled intimacy in a way that reflects His desire for intimacy with us. God designed sex and the acts and attitudes preceding it to access aspects of your heart, soul, body and mind that could not be accessed any other way.”

Playhouses - This is every child’s dream. “Even in a troubled economy, it seems, some parents of means are willing to spend significant (if not eye-popping) sums on playhouses for their children that also function as a kind of backyard installation art.”

A Disciple’s Tomb? - Most of these things never pan out, of course. But still… “An Italian professor has announced the apparent discovery of the tomb of St. Philip, one of Jesus Christ’s apostles, at the ancient city of Hierapolis in the Aegean province of Denizli.”

Norway - I don’t agree with all of this, but it makes an interesting read. “It’s something of a stretch to compare Norway’s reaction to Friday’s appalling attacks to the Anglosphere’s reaction to 9/11. If Norway decided to freak out, it would look a lot different — most notably, there would be no other countries to invade, rightly or wrongly. Still, Oslo could do a lot of the same types of things Washington, Ottawa and London did, if it so chose.”

Happy, Holy, Beautiful Mess - “Ever hear the old adage: ‘Marriage isn’t primarily intended for your happiness, but for your holiness?’ Well, it’s true and it’s a glorious thing.The growing in holiness part doesn’t always seem blissful. But it means that God isn’t finished with you yet, either. The purpose and hope in marriage isn’t defined by you or your spouse, but by God.”

Brian Regan on Aging - This guy pretty much always makes me laugh.

As the profane take the liberty to force their irreligion upon you, so you take the liberty to force your religion upon them. —C.H. Spurgeon

July 28, 2011

John Stott’s death has already generated a lot of memorials. Here are a few that I found particularly interesting: Sandy Grant, Mark Meynell, Andy Le Peau and Timmy Brister. Many more will follow in the days to come.

When Tumor Markers Rise - This is a powerful article from Mike Pohlman. “My wife Julia impresses me more every day. For over two years now she has valiantly and gracefully endured stage four breast cancer. When I look at Julia I am reminded of the words Abraham Lincoln said of Ulysses S. Grant in a rising tide of criticism against him: ‘I can’t spare this man; he fights.’”

You Just Don’t Get Me - I appreciated Julian’s comments on John MacArthur’s letters to the Young, Restless and Reformed crowd. 

Pornification - Ed Stetzer is posting what looks to be a promising series on the subject of pornography. On a similar note, Paul Tautges is asking father’s to consider listening to “Sex & the Single Man,” by Mark Dever from the 2004 Desiring God Conference.

The Norway Attacks - The Big Picture has a photo gallery dealing with the aftermath of the shootings in Norway. 

And here are a few deals you may wish to take advantage of. Westminster Books is offering the SOUL series (Christianity Explored for young people) at a deep discount. Reformation Heritage Books is having an inventory reduction sale and offering some good deals. Shepherd Press is selling off “scratch and dent” books at just $2.99 each.

It is better to get wisdom than gold. Gold is another’s, wisdom is our own; gold is for the body and time, wisdom for the soul and eternity. —Matthew Henry

July 27, 2011

The New Asceticism - I think Byron Yawn has a good word of warning to offer in this article. He looks at today’s many calls for radical living and points out where, if we are not careful, we could lose sight of the gospel. Remember that it tends to be good things that take our eyes off the gospel more than bad things!

What [What Not] to Say - Crossway has a helpful little excerpt from Justin and Lindsey Holcomb’s book on sexual assault. It simply shares some wisdom on what to say and what not to say to someone who reveals that they’ve been a victim of sexual assault.

A Conversation - Jesse Gardner recently did an interview with me about the books I’ve written, blogging, and so on. It’s in transcript form if you’re interested.

Here Is Our God - In 2012 The Gospel Coalition will have a conference for women. All the details are available at their site.

Porn Addiction - Michelle VanLoon talks about her father’s porn addiction and shows that such addiction goes far beyond the individual and effects the entire family. “When we consider relationships negatively impacted by a pornography addiction, most of us first consider the addict’s spouse or girl/boyfriend. It is not just the adult partner who is affected by a porn habit. Even if the addict believes he or she has the habit under wraps, porn’s toxicity leaks into other relationships in an addict’s life.”

A Different God? - David Murray answers this question: Why does God seem so different in the Old Testament than He does in the New Testament?

Nothing gives believers more joy than to see God glorified. —R.C. Sproul

July 26, 2011

One thing I love about John Piper is the passion he brings to, well, pretty much everything he does. A couple of years ago he and I went out for a quick bite to eat after a conference and he asked a bunch of questions about Twitter; he was considering getting an account (or, actually, making public his existing account) and was wondering how Twitter could be used for ministry. He brought passion to Twitter and, not surprisingly, his feed has become a must-follow. In this blog post he offers some explanation of what Twitter has meant to him.

Oslo Killer’s Religious Views - Michael Horton: “At least 76 people are dead after Anders Behring Breivik massacred campers on an island off the coast of Oslo, Norway. Finally, the media has a face and a name for making its heretofor unjustified claim of moral equivalency between conservative Christianity and Islam. Religion may be fine as long as it’s private, and you don’t really believe the key teachings of any one in particular.”

Listen to Them or Lose Them - My mother has written an article over at the True Woman blog. If you’ve got daughters, you should definitely give it a read. “Daughters. How we long for them and love them. But what exhausting little creatures they are! Ask almost any parent and I think you will hear the same thing. They love to talk … and talk … and talk.”

Heaven Is For Real - This book continues to sell in the millions. It has even hit the top of the charts here in Canada.

Polygamy - Further proof that the same kind of logic that allows marriage to extend to homosexuals must also work itself out in polygamy. 

Prayer Transforms Sermon Prep - One for the preachers: “I know you pray for your sermon at least once a week. As you’re walking toward the front on Sunday morning, prayers are flying thick and fast: Help! You know people need to hear something more than an inspiring thought or tip. They need to hear from God. And if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen through you. So you pray! But beyond that moment of truth each week, and beyond asking God to give you understanding and a heart for your people, does prayer play a role in your sermon preparation?”

Romantic Pornography - This is an issue a lot of people are discussing today. It’s a good one to talk through. “As a Christian mom to four school-age children, I find myself often challenging the culture. Many times this means helping my children learn to engage wisely with it. As a single mom, helping my kids to think rightly about the God-given, necessary, and wonderful differences between the genders is a subject matter I pay special attention to. So maybe it’s for my children’s sake most of all I use the term ‘romantic pornography’ to describe most romantic comedies.”

Salsa and Submission - Thabiti (and Mrs. Thabiti) find lessons in an unexpected place.

The nature and end of judgment must be corrective, not vindictive; for healing, not destruction. —John Owen

July 25, 2011

There are lots of good deals on Kindle books these days. Here are a few of them: My book The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment is available for $2.99. Lots of others are available for around the same price: A Place of Healing by Joni Eareckson Tada, The Jesus Storybook Bible, Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ, Jerry Bridges’ must-read The Pursuit of Holiness, Jon Acuff’s Stuff Christians Like and Ravi Zacharias’ Has Jesus Failed You?. You’ll also want to check out Randy Alcorn’s Managing God’s Money, Nancy Pearcey’s Saving Leonardo and The Rage Against God by Peter Hitchens.

Amazon - Speaking of Kindle, here are some interesting, random facts about Amazon.

A Soldier’s Letter - You have probably read this letter before, but it’s definitely worth reading again. “It shows a man highly devoted to his different and sometimes conflicting vocations as husband, father, soldier, citizen, and Christian.”

Too Young to Wed - National Geographic writes about child brides. “Because the wedding was illegal and a secret, except to the invited guests, and because marriage rites in Rajasthan are often conducted late at night, it was well into the afternoon before the three girl brides in this dry farm settlement in the north of India began to prepare themselves for their sacred vows.”

A Historic Moment - Here is video of John MacArthur finishing up preaching the entire New Testament. The clapping is a little bit awkward, but how else do you express joy and gratitude at such an occasion? It is quite an accomplishment.

Letters to the Suffering - “Pastors, Here’s a Scenario. You’re a pastor and ‘the call’ comes. One of your families have welcomed a child into the world – and that child is significantly disabled. They are crushed. What do you do?”

Clarence’s Speech - Impressionist Jim Meskimen does Clarence’s speech from Richard III. Shakespeare in Arnold’s voice is too good to be true.

We fear men so much, because we fear God so little. One fear cures another. When man’s terror scares you, turn your thoughts to the wrath of God. —William Gurnall