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A La Carte

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

April 27, 2011

Airport Security - “At the Bangkok airport they took my scissors. This was the second time they took my scissors in Bangkok. I should have learned my lesson. They were safety scissors, the kind you’d give to a child, about two-and-a-half inches long with rounded tips.” There’s a lesson in there about airport security.

Pride and Prejudice and Porn - Here’s a fantastic article that looks at today’s pornified, hook-up culture and then compares it to a different age.

Meet Brent - I enjoyed meeting Brent Kassian at The Gospel Coalition conference. Here’s an article about the guy.

Talents for a Season - This article from Boundless is worth the read. “I recently attended the baby shower of a young woman in our church who I don’t know very well. As part of the shower (which was for men and women), the host had guests affirm the soon-to-be (fourth-time) parents. Many of the people present lauded the young woman’s amazing cooking skills and hospitality.”

Never Going to Get to It - A useful tip for actually getting things done—those things that so easily fall off the mental to-do list.

Advocating for the Unborn - “For the past year or so, some friends and I have stood outside Lovejoy Surgicenter praying, holding signs, and seeking to offer alternatives to men and women who choose to abort their babies.  It’s a difficult place to go to and I never look forward to it. But once I’m there, it becomes a powerful time of intercession and opportunities.”

Race and Economics - This looks like a really interesting book and one that should upset many fallacies about race and economics. Thomas Sowell gives it a look.

Stuff We Don’t Need - “What recession? Despite the fact that most Americans are still struggling in the worst economy since the Great Depression, a ‘non-scientific study’ from the Wall Street Journal says that U.S. citizens now spend $1.2 trillion annually on nonessential goods. For context, that’s more than 11 percent of overall consumer spending.”

The Christian faith is not true because it works; it works because it is true. —Os Guinness

April 26, 2011

Quote Mania - Mark Lauterbach reflects on our love of quotes (and I admit that I’m at fault here). “Cit­ing favorite quo­ta­tions has become epi­demic among blog­gers and face­book­ers and tweet­ers.  Per­haps it is the media that deter­mines the size of the mes­sage, but I have some concerns.”

What Jesus Did for You? - Jay Younts asks a valuable question in this blog article: Do your children know what Jesus did for you?

Chernobyl 25 Year Later - “On April 26, 1986, reactor number four at the Chernobyl nuclear power facility in what is now Ukraine exploded. The largest civil nuclear disaster in history led to mass evacuations, and long-term health, agricultural, and economic distress.” Boston.com has a photo essay.

Rabboni - Carolyn McCulley reflects on the faith of Mary Magdalene. “Mary Magdalene must have been a brave woman to not only have witnessed the pain of Jesus’ crucifixion, but also to have endured both an earthquake (as recorded in Matthew 28:2) and angelic visitation at His grave (as reported by all four gospels). She was also a bold woman, as she did not shrink back from her sovereignly-appointed assignment to be the first witness to the resurrection of her Lord and Savior — even in a culture that considered the testimony of women to be worthless.”

The Water and the Blood - Sojourn’s new album The Water and the Blood releases today. They’ve got all the details at the link.

Lock Your WiFi - Because you don’t want this to happen. “Lying on his family room floor with assault weapons trained on him, shouts of ‘pedophile!’ and ‘pornographer!’ stinging like his fresh cuts and bruises, the Buffalo homeowner didn’t need long to figure out the reason for the early morning wake-up call from a swarm of federal agents.”

Christ Alone - Mike Wittmer has released the first book to critique Love Wins. I received an advance copy a couple of weeks ago and didn’t have opportunity to do much more than skim it. But even a skim showed that it is a good first response.

Every time the gospel is preached it is as if God himself came in person solemnly to summon us. —John Calvin

April 25, 2011

On Friday we enjoyed a Good Friday service with 1,000 people from 5 Toronto-area churches. On Saturday I got my city-slicker family out into the countryside to visit some old, dear friends. While there my kids fired off rockets, drove ATVs and did some target practice with rifles (well, only my son did the latter). Then we drove back to the city to celebrate Easter. What a great weekend!

6 Things Christ Accomplished in His Death - Matt Perman outlines 6 things Christ accomplished in his death.

Bird’s Eye - This site offers a bit of visual eye candy in a post sharing photos of the earth taken from a bird’s eye view.

Bull About Bullying - I love Thomas Sowell’s writing. “When politicians want to do nothing and yet look like they are doing something, they appoint a blue-ribbon committee or go to the U.N. or assign some cabinet member to look into the problem and report back to the president — hoping that the issue will be forgotten by the time he reports back.”

PC vs Mac - Here’s an infographic outlining some of the differences between Mac and PC users.

Popular History - “Popular history books are big business. Which means that lots of people must be reading them… Which means they are definitely worth approaching with considerably more care and attention than many give them…” Here is a list of questions to ask of popular history books.

Perverse Sign of Recovery - Josh Harris mentions one of the more perverse and disappointing signs of economic recovery.

Death In His Grave - I’ve posted this once before, but it’s worth doing again around Easter.

Knowing God is your single greatest privilege as a Christian. —Sinclair Ferguson