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A La Carte

April 12, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include several from Reformation Heritage Books: Planting, Watering, Growing by Daniel Hyde ($2.99); Sing a New Song and Encouragement for Today’s Pastors by Joel Beeke ($2.99 each). Also consider Follow Me by David Platt ($4.99); The Conviction to Lead by Al Mohler ($4.99); Why Believe the Bible? by John MacArthur ($2.99).

7 Suggestions for When You Preach about Homosexuality

It can be done so well and it can be done so poorly. Brad Hambrick wants to help you do it well.

Marriage: So Much More Than a Partnership

Truth: “Marriage isn’t about two lives coming together and compromising where the road splits, it’s about two lives joining and becoming one life, on one road for better or worse.”

Best New Testament Commentaries

I wanted to toss out another mention of this commentary collection from Logos. I worked with them to build a heavily-discounted collection of one great commentary for each book of the New Testament.

Eleven Lessons

I enjoyed this: Eleven lessons Mitch Chase has learned from his professor Jim Hamilton.

Bart Ehrman debates Richard Bauckham

Denny Burk: “Attention, fellow Bible nerds. The audio above features two big-hitters debating the authorship of the Gospels. Bart Ehrman, a well-known skeptic, squares-off against Richard Bauckham.”

This Day in 2015. 1 year ago today, The Gospel Coalition hosted their first Hispanic National Conference. *

Having a Pilgrim Mentality about Money and Possessions

Randy Alcorn: “The more holdings we have on earth, the more likely we are to forget that we’re citizens of another world, not this one, and that our inheritance lies there, not here.”

Is Speaking Your Mind a Christian Virtue?

“We live in an age where ‘speaking your mind’ is considered a virtue and hailed as a sign of good leadership. But is this trait something the Bible commends? Should Christians be known for ‘speaking their mind?’”

Sibbes

Christ looks more at the good in them which he means to cherish than the ill in them which he means to abolish. —Richard Sibbes

April 11, 2016

As predicted, there are a lot of Kindle deals related to Together for the Gospel. Let’s start with 4 biographies from Crossway: John Newton ($2.99), Martyn-Lloyd Jones ($3.99), William Wilberforce ($1.99), and George Whitefield ($3.99). Then some reference works from Zondervan: The Christian Faith ($8.99) and Pilgrim Theology ($5.99) by Michael Horton; Historical Theology by Gregg Allison ($7.99); Church History Volume 1 by Everett Ferguson and Volume 2 by John Woodbridge ($7.99 each); Gospel-Centered Counseling and Gospel Conversations by Bob Kellemen ($6.99 each). Then you’ll find some other books as well: God Is the Gospel by John Piper ($2.99); The Pastor’s Ministry by Brian Croft ($3.99); Gospel Coach by Scott Thomas & Tom Wood ($2.99); Preaching and Preachers by Martyn Lloyd-Jones ($3.99).

Speaking of T4G, I am heading that way today, arriving late this evening. If you are there, I’d love to meet you. I believe there will be an obvious Visual Theology setup in the bookstore and I’ll be there sometimes, at the 20schemes booth sometimes, and other times just wandering. If you see me, say hi!

Tips for T4G

J.A. Medders offers up some important (and a few not-so-important) tips on surviving and thriving at Together for the Gospel.

When NOT Helping Hurts

Here’s a tough situation to navigate: “One major principle is to not do something for someone that they can do for themselves. Good-hearted giving from Westerners sometimes (maybe even most of the time) creates dependency, encourages sinful habits and removes motivation to work hard. That is exactly where I find myself.”

Conversing Diversely

I’m thankful to Jemar and Tyler of the Reformed African American Network for discussing my articles from last week on their latest podcast.

That Smiling Missionary Family

“You see that happy missionary family smiling out of the postcard on your fridge? Their marriage is probably hanging by a thread.” Here’s valuable advice on caring for and praying for missionaries.

9 Ways to Respond after a Less than Spectacular Sermon or Lesson

At some point every preacher or teacher needs to grapple with having delivered a poor, or just very average, sermon or lesson. “For all of us who feel like we missed it yesterday, let these thoughts encourage you as you begin the new work week…”

This Day in 1836. 180 years ago today, George Mueller opened his famous orphanage on Wilson Street in Bristol, England. *

Switching Fields

Gavin Peacock tells about his transition from professional soccer in the UK to pastoral ministry in Canada.

Pope Francis and the Footnote that Could Split the Church

Trevin Wax: “Here’s what I’m going to do in this lengthy post. I’m going to summarize and quote from some of the most important parts of the document. At the end, I’m going to get to the most controversial aspect (including that footnote)…” 

Benton

We cannot infer from prosperity that God is pleased with us, nor can we infer from adversity that he is displeased with us. —Wilson Benton

April 09, 2016

I trust you are enjoying your weekend as it begins to get underway. Aileen is off at a conference today so I’m pulling double-duty here at home. Then we swap for next week as I head down to T4G. These are busy days, but good ones. Here are a few links for your weekend reading.

Here are two quick Kindle deals: The Deliberate Church by Mark Dever ($2.99) and 1 Peter for You by Juan Sanchez ($2.99).

Common Misconceptions About Calvinism

Cole Brown is beginning a series on some of the most common misconceptions about Calvinism. He begins, of course, with the word itself: Calvinism.

What Is Love?

What is love? This, for sure. What a sweet video.

Why Hospitality Beats Entertaining

Jen Wilkin circles back to her most regrettable social media mistake. “On November 6, 2010 I tweeted the most regrettable tweet of my mediocre social media career. In anticipation of the holiday season, I decided to weigh in on hospitality. The tweet was a flawless blend of selective memory and self-righteousness, designed to heap condemnation on the heads of my followers under the guise of offering wise counsel. It was a verbal “selfie” snapped from my best angle, positioned to make me look very, very good. Let’s have a look at it, shall we?”

The Church’s Law-Grace Throwdown

“A group of 18th-century Scottish churchmen fought bitterly over the right teaching. How we can we avoid veering toward their extremes?” Andrew Wilson reviews Sinclair Ferguson’s book in Christianity Today.

Six Reasons North Carolina Got It Right

Frank Turek tells why North Carolina got it right. Things like this are not at all surprising: “On Monday Lt. Governor Dan Forest, who helped call the special session to pass HB2, called the executive in charge at one large protesting company and simply asked him if he or anyone there had actually read the bill.” Of course, they hadn’t.

3 Reasons Why Religious Liberty Laws Don’t Discriminate

“One of the most ubiquitous phrases is that such bills are a ‘license to discriminate.’ According to this line of thinking, it is invidiously discriminatory if a baker, florist, or photographer declines to use his or her creative talents in service of a same-sex wedding ceremony. This is decidedly not invidious discrimination. Here are three reasons why religious liberty legislation does not protect or allow for invidious discrimination.”

Proof of Evolution That You [Can’t] Find on Your Body

“Anatomist, biologist, and creation scientist Dr. David Menton responds to popular YouTube video ‘Proof of Evolution That You Can Find on Your Body’ (posted by VOX) from a biblical and scientific worldview. Are certain features like goosebumps, of the human body really just left over from our ancestors?”

This Day in 1945. 71 years ago today, the Gestapo killed Dietrich Bonhoeffer by hanging him in Flossenbürg, Germany. *

The Great Battle of 2016 for Dar es Salaam

This is a thoroughly enjoyable bit of writing from Amy Medina.

Q&A with Nabeel Qureshi, author of Answering Jihad

Thanks to Zondervan for sponsoring the blog this week with their Q&A with Nabeel Qureshi.

Sibbes

God can pick sense out of a confused prayer. —Richard Sibbes

April 08, 2016

My guess is that the next few days bring us a ton of deals related to Together for the Gopsel. Here is Christian Focus: Five Points by John Piper ($1.99); John Knox by Steven Lawson ($2.99); John Calvin by William Walker ($3.99); Theodore Beza by Shwan Wright ($3.99); A Christian’s Pocket Guide to the Papacy ($0.99); Rebels Rescued by Brian Cosby ($1.99); Presbytopia by Ken Golden ($3.99). There are also 3 in the Trailblazers series: Mary of Orange, John Knox, and John Calvin ($1.99 each).

Why International Adoptions by Americans Have Hit a 35-Year Low

“In 2004, Americans adopted 22,884 children from foreign countries—an all-time high. Twelve years later, that number has dropped to 5,648 children—the lowest level in 35 years, according to recently released statistics from the US State Department on fiscal year 2015 (Oct. 1, 2014 to Sept. 30, 2015). The sharp decline isn’t limited to the United States; global adoptions to the top 24 receiving countries dropped by 75 percent during the same 12 years.”

Faithful Preachers are Forgetful Preachers

H.B. Charles has some wisdom for preachers (and everyone else) about the value of a certain kind of forgetfulness.

Keeping the Faith in A Faithless Age

Al Mohler: “The church has no right to follow the secular siren call toward moral revisionism and politically correct positions on the issues of the day.”

How Many Heartbeats Do You Have Left?

Have you ever considered how many heart beats you have in your lifetime? BBC Earth’s Maddie Moate explains.

Safe Schools, Gender Non-Conformity, and Common Sense

Kevin DeYoung shares a letter he wrote to The Michigan Department of Education.

This Day in 1939. 77 years ago today, John Frame was born. You can wish Dr. Frame a Happy Birthday on Twitter!

When an Unbeliever Dies

This is good counsel on offering genuine comfort when an unbeliever dies.

Do You Really Need Email on Your Phone?

It’s worth considering.

Brooks

Heavenly doctrines should always be adorned with a heavenly life. —Thomas Brooks

April 07, 2016

It has been a slow week for Kindle deals, but I did dig up a couple of new ones: The Absurdity of Unbelief by Jeffrey Johnson and Dinosaurs for Kids by Ken Ham are both $2.99. Preaching and Teaching from the Old Testament by Walter Kaiser is $4.99.

Forgetting the Past

Ed Welch: “Scripture does help us with our painful pasts, but it does more than that. It tells us to forget things we want to remember, and remember things we are likely to forget.”

I.O.U.

Darryl Dash looks at evangelism as a debt we owe to others. “Paul says that he’s under obligation to pretty much everyone. The word he uses implies debt. Interesting. How does Paul owe a debt that brings him under obligation to others?”

From Peddling Dope to Pleasing Jesus

In WORLD magazine a “drug-dealer-turned-pastor reflects on a life of miracles bestowed to bring God glory.”

Is Your Church a Safe Place

“If you want your church to be a safe place for those with same sex attraction (SSA), then step one is to realize that we already have church members who experience it. Just like those who are dealing with any other struggle, we should thank God for bringing them to our churches, and ask God to help us serve them well.”

Preach the Word

A new issue of Credo is available. You can read it for free online or download it in PDF format. “In this issue of Credo Magazine we aim to help pastors and churchgoers alike recover a love for Bible-preaching.”

The Exaggerated Influence of ISIS

This video shows that, while ISIS is scary, their influence tends to be exaggerated.

This Day in 1884. 132 years ago today, English clergyman and Bible scholar C. H. Dodd was born. *

Elders and Deacons

This week’s deals at Westminster Books are related to church leadership and led by Bob Thune’s new book which has received many accolades.

Fighting Lust With Lust

Those earnestly fighting against sexual sin (or wanting to fight against sexual sin) may find help in this article.

Spurgeon

When we have to do a severe thing, let us choose the tenderest manner. —C.H. Spurgeon

April 06, 2016

Followed By The God of Grace

Be sure to read Garrett Kell’s story of being followed by God: “It was early in my junior year at Virginia Tech—and I felt like everywhere I turned, God was following me around.”

Is WebMD Trustworthy?

Can you trust WebMD? Kind of. But not really.

Fulfilling God’s Call to Christian Service

Vance Christie shares a mini-biography of Gladys Aylward, focusing on the early days of her ministry.

Sheep Tragi-Comedy #1,317

This is good: “Amusing sheep stories abound. Some of my moments of more rigorous chortling have been in response to real-life sheep tragi-comedies. One of the more recent involves what is called the ‘Draad Kruiper,’ which I heard from my good friend, Pastor Anton Van Straaten. ‘Draad Kruiper’ is Afrikaans for, ‘fence crawler’.”

5 Leadership Questions

I was recently a guest on the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast with Todd Adkins and Barnabas Piper.

The Universe Had a Beginning

“In this excerpt from his message at [Ligonier Ministries’] 2012 National Conference, Dr. Stephen Meyer tells the story of how Hubble showed Einstein that the universe was not eternal but must have had a beginning.”

This Day in 1932. 84 years ago today, Olympic runner Eric Liddell made his evangelistic debut by sharing his testimony to a group of men in Armadale, Scotland. *

Foundry Bible Immersion

This looks like a pretty amazing program for college-aged students.

New JBMW

A new edition of the Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is now available. It’s a free download.

Watson

The more outrageous the wicked are against the truth, the more courageous the godly are for it. —Thomas Watson

April 05, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include The NIV Zondervan Study Bible edited by D.A. Carson ($3.99); The Grace of Repentance by Sinclair Ferguson ($2.99); Discovering the God Who Is by R.C. Sproul ($2.99); To the Glory of God by James Boice ($1.99); Each for the Other by Bryan Chapell ($1.99); The MacArthur Bible Handbook by John MacArthur ($2.99).

9 Things You Need to Know about Backpage.com and Sex Trafficking

This is awful but important. “Many assume sex trafficking is restricted to the darkest corners of the Internet. The online classified ad company ‘Backpage,’ however, has become the Walmart of sex trafficking and prostitution. For a modest fee, traffickers can post sex ads of women and children they control with force or fraud.”

Why Porn Kills Sex

On a similar note, Russell Moore looks at the recent edition of TIME, which has a cover story on porn, and talks about why pornography is so destructive to healthy sexuality.

My Pastor Uses Pre-Made Sermons

This is surprisingly common today. John Piper tells why it’s a bad idea.

Methuselah’s Age and the Patience of God

I enjoyed Nathan Busenitz’s reflection on the man who lived the longest.

5 Ways To Wound Immature Believers

“Making fun of immature Christians has turned into quite the lucrative market. The more mature Christians among us seem to have discovered this, as more and more spoof sites are cropping up.” Hmm… 

This Day in 1524. 492 years ago today, “Swiss reformer Ulrich Zwingli marries Anna Reinhart for the second time—this time in public.” *

The Institute for Expository Preaching

Steve Lawson is leading one of his institutes for expository preaching here in Toronto. You can get details at the link.

Facing A Task Unfinished

“On February 21st, 2016, Getty Music in partnership with OMF International led an estimated 1.1 million believers together across 100 countries for an unparalleled ‘Global Hymn Sing’ featuring the hymn ‘Facing a Task Unfinished.’” Between you and me, I think the hymn was oversold a bit as “the greatest missions hymn ever,” but it is still really amazing to see how many people sang it!

Explainer: The Lexi Page Case

Joe Carter explains the Lexi Page case which you may have heard of via social media.

Barrett

An evangelicalism with no boundaries will inevitably result in an evangelicalism with no orthodoxy. —Matthew Barrett

April 04, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: One True God by Paul Washer ($2.99); Pujols: More than the Game by Scott Lamb & Tim Ellsworth ($0.99); Glory Hunger by J.R. Vassar ($2.99); What’s In the Bible by R.C. Sproul & Robert Wolgemuth ($1.99); The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper ($4.99); Taking the Bible at its Word by Paul Wells ($3.99); The Beauty of Intolerance by Josh McDowell ($2.99).

Beneath The Evangelical Earthquake

Paul Carter writes about the word “evangelical” and our increasing reticence to be described that way.

The Intelligent Life of the City Raccoon

Well isn’t this fascinating: city raccoons are smarter than country raccoons because they have to reason their way through more complex challenges.

18 Things to Pray for Your Church

Jonathan Leeman provides 18 different things you can pray for your church.

Love Ain’t Easy

I’m looking forward to this series from Melissa Edgington as she discusses some of the difficult parts of marriage. The first part gets the series off to a good start.

Writing Advice

David Qaoud has collected writing tips from 5 of today’s most influential Christian writers.

This Day in 1968. 48 years ago today, civil rights leader and Baptist minister Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. *

The First 12 Hours

This is an interesting timeline and article from the New York Times as they tell how they responded in the first 12 hours after the recent bombings in Brussels.

The Omni-Directional Blessing of Bible Reading

Jemar Tisby shows that the simple discipline of reading and knowing your Bible works itself out in your life in many different ways.

Brooks

A preacher’s life should be a commentary of his doctrine; his practice should be a counterpart of his sermons. —Thomas Brooks