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A La Carte

September 01, 2011

A Wife’s Testing Ground - “Some of my most scary moments as a wife have been when my husband has struggled. Some of my most intimate encounters with Jesus have been when my husband has struggled.  As a wife, each of us has faced or will encounter one of these scenarios…”

Church Size - “I was recently asked this question by a pastor greatly troubled that he felt he was not being faithful in this command in Hebrews 13:17 for pastors to ‘watch over souls as one who will give an account.’  Knowing the rest of us charged to watch over souls should all possess a bit of uneasiness on this matter, here was my response…”

Clouds - “For his project ‘Cloud Collection’, photographer Rüdiger Nehmzow went about four miles off the ground and photographed clouds through the open door of the plane. With no glass between Nehmzow and the sky to muddy up the shots, the resulting photographs are absolutely stunning.”

10 Commandments of Steve Jobs - There are some good (and some not so good) leadership principles here.

Parenting and Prayer - I enjoyed Grace’s thoughts on the importance of prayer in parenting (Grace happens to be my youngest sister which makes that naughty little Cora my niece).

Irene NYC - Two young filmmakers went out during Hurricane Irene to document their Manhattan neighborhood. 

To say “Never mind doctrine, let’s get on with evangelism,” is as ridiculous as a football team saying, “Never mind about a ball, let’s get on with the game.” —Peter Lewis

August 31, 2011

Things I Learned from Irene - This is a fantastic blog article that was composed with pen and ink on Monday afternoon, August 29. It had to be composed with pen and ink because it was written by someone who was in the path of Hurricane Irene. Read it!

Adam & Eve - Dr. Mohler clarifies what is at stake in the ongoing discussion about the historic Adam and Eve. “The denial of a historical Adam means not only the rejection of a clear biblical teaching, but the denial of the biblical doctrine of the Fall as well, leading to a very different way of telling the story of the Bible and the meaning of the Gospel.”

Better than Chick Lit - Carl Trueman: “Last month, I devoted this column to reflecting on some of the areas of Catholicism with which Protestants can not only sympathise but from which they can learn much to their profit. This month, I want to spend my time looking at areas where principled disagreements exist.”

Confess Your Sins - Michael Krahn gives you 4 reasons that you ought to confess your sins to someone.

Was Paul Married? - I really appreciate the job Denny Burk does here of looking at the evidence and trying to figure out if the Apostle Paul was ever married.

Good Book Blog - The Good Book blog is sharing some ways that you could use Christianity Explored in creative ways. They are also sharing stories from some who have done just that.

Text, Don’t Talk - “When it comes to communication, our new motto may well be: text me—don’t tell me. According to new data from J.D. Power, a consumer research and marketing company, Americans are now talking on their cellphones over an hour less per month than in 2009.”

If your knowledge of doctrine does not make you a great man of prayer, you had better examine yourself again. —Martyn Lloyd-Jones

August 30, 2011

The Bible in 2 Weeks - Dane Ortlund: “If a freshman in college or stay-at-home mom or aspiring deacon or friend from work or anyone else asked me how they might get a rough grasp of the macro-storyline of the Bible in a few weeks, I’d send them not to any secondary resource but to the Bible itself for a reading plan that might look something like this.”

Keep Reforming - John MacArthur shares the final part of his series to the Young, Restless, Reformed crowd. “The great leaders you admire from past generations—the architects of the Reformation theology you say you love—do not occupy that heroic stance in our thinking because of their wardrobe, cultural savvy, musical style, or ability to identify with the behavior and tastes of the unconverted.”

Hurricane Irene - The Big Picture has a photo gallery of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. Wasn’t it interesting to note how disappointed the media seemed that the destruction was relatively minor?

Accountability on the Student Side - “Here’s a distressing trend for college teachers to face. According to The American Freshman Survey, the percentage of high-school seniors who study six or more hours per week has dropped significantly in the last 20 years. In the late-80s, the rate stood in the upper 40-percent range. By late-00s, we had fallen to the low 30-percent range.”

The Most Feared Blessing - “I think we can agree on this one: Personal suffering is the thing we fear the most. Think about it for a minute. There are certain things that come to mind that cause or tempt you to fear. Maybe you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about those things and that is probably a good thing.”

Dutch Women - Maclean’s magazine has an interesting article about how Dutch women got to be the happiest in the world. “Few Dutch women work full-time—does this mean they’re powerless, or simply smarter than the rest of us?”

Inflation as a Solution - This is an interesting proposal. It doesn’t seem fair, of course, but someone is going to have to bear the brunt if this debt problem is ever to be resolved.

Jesus’s teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day. However, in the main, our churches today do not have this effect. —Tim Keller

August 29, 2011

Alternative Medicine - Ed Welch doing what he does so well: “Have you noticed that alternative medicine is becoming more popular? (This will have something to do with biblical counseling, just give me a minute.) Acupuncturists are busier than ever. Wretched tasting herbal drinks are the new coffee. Food is no longer just for bodily maintenance—it can now be a treatment.”

A Preacher’s Decalogue - Sinclair Ferguson doing what he does so well: “What Ten Commandments, what rule of preaching-life, do I wish someone had written for me to provide direction, shape, ground rules, that might have helped me keep going in the right direction and gaining momentum in ministry along the way?”

It Was Nice While it Lasted - R.C. Sproul Jr. on the New Calvinism: “It is a sure sign that sin messes things up that we keep watching the same boxing match over and over again, between truth and unity.  Both sides, of course, insist that they have a deep and abiding love for the other. They shake hands in the center of the ring, go back to their corners, wait for the bell and come out ready to destroy the one they love. In the stands we stand, screaming ourselves hoarse in defense of our favorite.”

Visiting the Sick - Paul Tautges has a valuable article on how pastors can train the people in their church to do the work of visiting the sick.

Why McDonald’s Wins - This article explains how and why McDonald’s always wins, even during tough economic times.

Handheld Affections - I recently did a short interview for WORLD magazine and they’ve just posted it online.

Price Gouging - “If the usual pattern holds, opportunistic politicians will soon be out denouncing price-gouging connected with Hurricane Irene, while opportunistic free-market economists will soon be out placing op-ed pieces defending prices as the best way to allocate scarce resources and to assure their delivery when and where they are needed….”

If you want a religion to make you feel comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity. —C.S. Lewis

August 27, 2011

How Did the Animals Know? - “Shortly before the earthquake hit Washington, D.C., the animals in the National Zoo started freaking out. So did lots of people’s housepets, with sleepy cats suddenly jumping up and heading for the hills just prior to the quake. Scientists can’t figure out how they knew…”

Welcome Home - Here’s a blog that exists just to document surprise military homecomings. It will probably make you cry.

Free Sproul Series - Ligonier is offering 3 of R.C. Sproul’s most popular teaching series free online: Chosen by GodThe Holiness of God and What Is Reformed Theology?

Sign of the Times - I noticed yesterday that the New York Times list of bestsellers now features combined print and e-book fiction and non-fiction rather than listing only hardcover and softcover. It’s about time. I wish Heaven Is For Real wasn’t at the top of the new list…

The Twitter Effect - I was wondering the other day how many people first learned of the D.C. earthquake via social media. “Just as CNN created the 24-hours news cycle for television, Twitter has accelerated that news cycle to the point where news breaks every minute of every hour, and a tweet is almost as good as a page-one scoop. Not only that, but anyone can do it.”

Recommended Books on Leadership - From Gospel Coalition: “The Bible isn’t exhaustive when it comes leadership, but good leadership principles will resonate with it. We asked Matt Perman to suggest books to help us think through theological and practical issues that every leader faces.”

Toronto’s Storm - Yesterday I wrote about the storm that came through Toronto. Here’s a video.

Grace comes not to take away a man’s affections, but to take them up. —William Fenner

August 26, 2011

Parenting by Prayer - On parenting and prayer: “My kids are 15, 13, 11 and 3, and one of the main lessons that the Lord has been teaching me especially with the older three is the need to parent them first by prayer, and then by persuasion. As they have gotten older, I’ve come to believe that I spent too much time talking to them about them and too little time talking to God about them.”

Motherhood Is Application - On parenting and transformation: “If I had to pick one word to describe motherhood, I think that word would be ‘transforming.’ The days of a busy mother are made up of millions of transformations. Dirty children become clean, the hungry child fed, the tired child sleeping.”

Teaching the Trinity to Kids - One parenting and teaching: “Years of teaching 4 to 6 year old kids in SS has convinced my wife and me that music is a great means of helping children memorize Bible verses and doctrines.   I know nothing about the psychology of this, I have simply observed that words put to music stick in young minds more easily than words on their own.”

The Old Guys - This blog s a good one. Just about every day it shares a single great quote from an old, dead pastor or theologian. I guarantee you’ll benefit if you make it a regular visit.

Is Steve Jobs Dying for Us All? - Michael Horton asks the question. “Steve Jobs can’t really die for us. In fact, he is, like us all, a prisoner of sin and death. We may have better machines, but we will never emancipate ourselves from sin—and its penalty of death. By affirming death, Jobs proves himself not to be a very orthodox Buddhist. Now, we hope and pray, he will embrace the only solution. This gospel not only saves us from our sins; it saves us from the feverish and ineffectual striving to make something of ourselves, to be something, to become immortal at least in our legacy.”

Christ’s Omnipresence - Phil Johnson takes on a tough doctrine here. “So what about Jesus’ omnipresence? Did He not have to divest Himself of that attribute in order to be incarnated in a real human body? Didn’t he need to cease being everywhere present so that He could enter this world as a Man? Wasn’t His omnipresence necessarily suspended when He was placed in a manger?”

God is a sure paymaster, though he does not always pay at the end of every week. —C.H. Spurgeon

August 25, 2011

Steve Jobs - I guess you’ve heard by now that Steve Jobs has had to retire as CEO of Apple. This article offers a look at his impact of his career. “Most people are lucky if they can change the world in one important way, but Jobs, in multiple stages of his business career, changed global technology, media and lifestyles in multiple ways on multiple occasions.”

The Oncology Waiting Room - In this month’s issue of Tabletalk, Mike Pohlman writes about the gospel and the oncology waiting room.

Insect Portraits - This is amazing stuff. “The ‘portraits’, taken with a scanning electron microsope (SEM) by Steve Gschmeissner, reveal the tiny world that surounds us, yet still evades our view.”

Who’s Your Daddy? - I must be getting old. “The freshmen class entering college this Fall has no remembrance of what life was like before the Internet, what this whole Communist Party fuss was about in Russia, and that Amazon was once just known as a river in South America. Ferris Bueller is old enough to be their dad, and they probably don’t know the name of the bar where everybody knows your name.”

Don’t Eat the Placentas! - It’s not the article I am linking to here as much as one of the paragraphs; it struck me as being near-brilliant. “Most of the time I regard magazines as a treat. I read them when I’m taking a bath, when I’m traveling, or when I’m having a meal alone. They’re the potato chips of my reading life: I can grab a handful, feel a twinge of self-indulgence, and yet feel good about not destroying my appetite for more serious stuff.”

Consecutive Expository Preaching - David Murray writes about the pros and cons of consecutive expository preaching (i.e. preaching through books of the Bible in a verse-by-verse fashion).

Dominionists - Douglas Groothuis: “In the August 15 issue of The New Yorker, Ryan Lizza asserts that Bachmann has been ideologically shaped by ‘exotic’ thinkers of the dominionist stripe who pose a threat to our secular political institutions. The piece—and the much of the subsequent reaction to it the media—is a calamity of confusion, conflation, and obfuscation.”

If you would have God hear you when you pray, you must hear him when he speaks. —Thomas Brooks

August 24, 2011

Gospel-Centered Family - Westminster Books has Tim Chester’s Gospel-Centered Family on sale for just $3.99. “Many books aim to raise up competent, balanced parents and well-trained, well-rounded children. But Tim Chester and Ed Moll focus on families growing God-knowing, Christ-confessing, grace-receiving, servant-hearted, mission-minded believers-adults and children together.”

9 Core Principles of Writing - Matt Perman offers up 9 core principles that will be useful to any writer.

Settle Down - John MacArthur has another article for the Young, Restless and Reformed crowd. I suspect that this one will ruffle fewer feathers than the last two.

Earthquake Tweets - Here is a round-up of the top politically-themed earthquake tweets from yesterday. A favorite: “Breaking: Obama administration points out they ‘inherited’ fault lines from previous administrations.”

Reading “Pinocchio” on Paper - Scott Simon, writing for WSJ, tells about the joy of reading a book to his daughters. As in a real, printed-on-paper kind of book.

4-Year Old Preacher - This is awful on so many different levels. “He’s only a pre-schooler, but Kanon Tipton has become a YouTube sensation with his pentecostal preaching. … Damon Tipton, who has been pastor of The Pentecostals of Grenada since 2008, believes it’s a little of both mimicking and a calling.”

Table Manners - Russell Moore’s article on the importance of fencing the Lord’s Table makes for a thought-provoking read.

Worry over poverty is as fatal to spiritual fruitfulness as is gloating over wealth. —A.W. Pink