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January 04, 2012

A Forgotten Text - Carl Trueman has an important reflection on Ephesians 5:12. “I wonder if there is a more neglected text in the New Testament in the current revival of interest in reformed theology than Eph. 5:12?  In the reaction to the taboos of old-style fundamentalism, there is surely a danger that we have lost all sense of what is biblically appropriate when it comes to engaging the wider world.”

Too Close to the Lesson - In the contexts of new books by Tim Keller and Mark Driscoll, Paul has something valuable to say about the value of letting days or years pass between the time you learn a lesson and the time you apply it to others. Also, Aaron Armstrong takes a look at what I said about the gospel in Real Marriage and asks whether I was fair.

Buzzwords - Here are the top ten buzzwords of 2011. Stop using them.

The Questions They Are Asking - David has some helpful reflections on new research into the spiritual questions that unbelievers are asking.

The Joy of Quiet - “In barely one generation we’ve moved from exulting in the time-saving devices that have so expanded our lives to trying to get away from them — often in order to make more time. The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug. Like teenagers, we appear to have gone from knowing nothing about the world to knowing too much all but overnight.”

911 Call - This video is a couple of years old, but I just saw it yesterday. It’s a precocious little 5-year old girl talking to a 911 operator.

People tell me ‘Judge not lest ye be judged.’ I always tell them, ‘Twist not scripture lest ye be like Satan.’ —Paul Washer

January 03, 2012

 

Real Marriage - Denny Burk has just published an excellent (and lengthy) review of Real Marriage. He goes into more detail than I did in both specific praises and criticisms. His pastoral concerns are particularly worth noting, I think.

Prompted by His Word - Josh Harris has a great little quote from Calvin.

Sexual Confusion and the Gospel - In a few weeks I will be speaking at a conference in Indiana. The conference title is “Sexual Confusion and the Gospel.” If you’re in the area, I’d love to see you there!

Technology and the KJV - Here is one take on the impact of technology on the Bible. “Now, as English-speaking Christians mark the 400th anniversary of the KJV’s birth in 1611, technology is once again dramatically changing the way the Bible is read and interacted with, changing the very way Christians interpret their faith.”

The Blog Format - Bloggers may be interested in this article which talks about the new version of HTML changing the whole blogging paradigm.

Of all commentaries upon the Scriptures, good examples are the best and the liveliest. —John Donne

January 01, 2012

Enjoying the View - Here’s a worthwhile resolution: “In 2012, I plan to spend at least 30 minutes a day without my iPhone. Without Internet, Twitter, Facebook and my iPad. Spending a half-hour a day without electronics might sound easy for most, but for me, 30 unconnected minutes produces the same anxious feelings of a child left accidentally at the mall.”

Knowing God - This month’s free audiobook from ChristianAudio is J.I. Packer’s classic, Knowing God. It is free for the taking, so you know what to do…

Global Debt Hangover - What a mess we’re in!

What Now? - R.C. Sproul Jr. asks and answers the “what now?” questions after the recent passing of his wife. “What we wanted for her she has received, and more. We, His children, all together asked for bread for her. He didn’t give her a stone. He didn’t give her bread. He gave her Jesus. She who awoke pity in the hearts of thousands now has awakened with Him, with more health, more comfort, more joy than all of us combined.”

Culture Shakers - Plugged In looks back at the culture shakers of 2011. I’m really glad that there’s someone else to keep an eye on pop culture, because it’s not a job I’d want!

Young Seminarian - This is a fantastic little article from Mike Milton. “Recently, I was asked by a young wife and mother to write some thoughts on ministry reflections for her husband, a seminarian. Specifically, this godly young woman wanted me to answer the question, ‘As you look back on life and ministry, and where he is in life as a seminarian, what wisdom would you offer him as a husband, father, a man of God preparing for ministry? What would you do differently? What went well? What counsel would you give him? This will be my gift to him.’”

Behind the Scenes - Ever wondered what happens at the airport after you watch your bag disappear through those black rubber flaps? This video shows you (though it leaves out the part where the TSA rifles through it and steals your camera).

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

December 30, 2011

How Do You Begin Your Day? - Rick Holland reflects on how he begins his day. “So what is the first thing you do when you wake up? Here’s my problem. I find it easy to grab my iPhone and check my email, glace at social media notifications, see if there are any texts awaiting a response, and look at look at the news and sports feed. There is certainly nothing with doing these things. But my problem is that this is much easier and feels more urgent when I awake than addressing the thirst of my soul for God.”

6 New Year Resolution Questions - David found 6 questions you will want to ask about any New Year resolutions you happen to make.

Completely and Unreservedly - Derek Thomas writes about how the Lord saved him on this, the 40th anniversary of that day. “My conversion was Saul-like: sudden, unexpected, and decisive. I was eighteen, a freshman at university studying physics and math at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth…”

Eschatology: The Basics - In January Sam Waldron is teaching a course on eschatology. Though it doesn’t say so at the page I’ve linked to, the course is open to people who would like to take it via the Internet. If interested you can send an email to the address on the page and get further details.

Job - Here’s a Kickstarter project I’m excited about—a movie version of John Piper’s poem of the book of Job. Though as of yesterday it’s fully-funded, you can still pledge an amount and receive the Job movie when it releases in January.

Free Music - CCM has a few free MP3s for you to download.

Audible - Audible has quite a few good deals in their “Holiday Relief Sale.” I think you need to be an Audible subscriber to take advantage (so maybe this is a good time to try their trial offer—you can sign up, get a free book, buy some discounted books, and if you’re not interested, cancel your membership and keep that free book). Deals include The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubner, and Drive by Daniel Pink.

Every sin is an act of cosmic treason, a futile attempt to dethrone God in His sovereign authority. —R.C. Sproul

December 29, 2011

Bible Reading Plans - If you aren’t planning on joining in The 3650 Challenge with me, here are some other Bible reading plans that may help you read the Bible in 2012.

Nuclear Exclusion Zone - A Big Picture photo gallery of Japan’s nuclear exclusion zone. It’s always fascinating to see areas like this where time just stopped. And you wonder how long it will be before it begins again.

The Smartphone of the Soul - “Apple used to use that catchy phrase ‘there’s an app for that.’ Need to send flowers to mom? there’s an app for that. Need to know the name of the constellation of stars in the sky overhead? There’s an app for that. Need supper? There’s an app for that. Well, whatever your circumstance of life, there’s a Psalm for that…”

Double Surgery - David has some good thoughts on medical humiliation, medical glory, and the ever-present pride.

The Book of Books - Marilynne Robinson writes about what literature owes the Bible. “The Bible is the model for and subject of more art and thought than those of us who live within its influence, consciously or unconsciously, will ever know.”

My Song is Love Unknown - A beautiful song.

The chief purpose of prayer is that God may be glorified in the answer. —R.A. Torrey

December 28, 2011

The Year Gone By - I think I’m going to do this before the year is through. “Christmas night after all the day’s festivities were over, I took a few minutes to write down a list of things I could remember from this past year.  Most were obvious blessings.  Some were trials that God turned to blessings.  Some were big things, some small.  Some were joyous, some were hard.”

Church on Christmas Morning - I enjoyed this article. Though written by an unbeliever, it shares an interesting perspective on going to church at Christmas. It’s a strange combination of condescending and encouraging. “I was moved by the sincerity and elegance of the event, and especially by the warm welcome. I could see how churchgoing plays such an important role in American life and realized, as I have often thought, had I married someone who was a practicing Christian how I could easily fit into a family pattern of going to services.”

Christian Focus 4 Kids - The publisher Christian Focus has a new blog meant for kids. They are offering some good deals on some of their kids’ books.

Why Read With a Plan - This is a helpful article from Dan Phillips: “All sorts of blogs are pointing you to reading plans. Let me help by leaning on and applying some why pressure, along with the what.”

The Year in Pictures - This was posted a few days ago, but I forgot to mention it. So here it is: Part 3 of the year in pictures from The Big Picture.

If you haven’t been jarred when you’re reading the Bible, you’re not reading it. —John Piper

December 27, 2011

Waking Up Fragile - John Piper: “There are mornings when I wake up feeling fragile. Vulnerable. It’s often vague. No single threat. No one weakness. Just an amorphous sense that something is going to go wrong and I will be responsible. It’s usually after a lot of criticism. Lots of expectations that have deadlines and that seem too big and too many.”

New Species in 2011 - Here is a roundup of some new species discovered in 2011. They range from the world’s tiniest frog to a kind of orchid that only blooms at night.

Hobbit Hints - WORLD looks at the first trailer for The Hobbit movie (due in December of 2012) and speculates on plot changes.

5 Kinds of Books to Read - “There are a few reasons you may be wondering what sort of book you should invest your time into over the next week. Perhaps you have received a gift card or some cash for books. Maybe you have the rest of the week off work and you want to spend it well. It might be that you are feeling the post-Christmas blahs and realize you need to fight for joy. Here are a few recommendations in case you fall into any or all of these categories.”

Book Carvings - I think I’ve linked to these before. This is exceptional art work. If I were a rich man… (HT)

Re-Claiming the Bible - This is an interesting review of a new book by John Shelby Spong. It’s a positive review of what sounds like a wretched book, but I found it interesting to see how Spong, even near the end of his life and career, continues to express his hatred toward God by denying the Bible’s claims.

The most tremendous judgment of God in this world is the hardening of the hearts of men. —John Owen

December 26, 2011

Thomas Jefferson’s Bible - Smithsonian magazine: “Thanks to an extensive restoration and conservation process, the public can now see how Jefferson cut and pasted his own version of the Scripture.”

TGC Ontario - There is a local Gospel Coalition event coming to Ontario. You’ll find some details at the Facebook page.

Matt Hammitt - Matt Hammitt was the subject of a story in a recent issue of USA Today. “Told that his unborn son had only half a heart and little chance to survive, the lead singer of the Christian rock band Sanctus Real began pouring his fears and doubts into music.”

How Luther Went Viral - This is an interesting look at the viral nature of the Reformation. “Five centuries before Facebook and the Arab spring, social media helped bring about the Reformation.”

The Lord’s Day - Michael Horton writes about the Lord’s Day. “The key to a Christian use of the Lord’s Day is not drawing up a list of what can and cannot be done, but to give the whole day to basking in God’s Word, loading ourselves up with the treasures of Christ. Churches themselves are making this more difficult, as they trim down the public worship to a single service of an hour or so.”

The usual rule is that the more we really know the more conscious we are of the littleness of our knowledge. —C.H. Spurgeon