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A La Carte

January 26, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include Preaching the Whole Counsel of God by Julius Kim ($5.99); Everyday Grace by Jessica Thompson ($1.99); PROOF by Daniel Montgomery & Timothy Paul Jones ($3.99); Your New Money Mindset by Brad Hewitt & James Moline ($2.99); A Place for Weakness ($3.99) and Introducing Covenant Theology ($2.99) by Michael Horton; Reclaiming Love by Ajith Fernando ($3.99). Also, Amazon has a one-day sale on books for students.

Sex Abuse in the Church

Catherine Parks writes about the ugly reality of sexual abuse in the church. “In recent months, I have thought frequently about abuse allegations in the church. I have read story after story about abuse victims who went to church leaders and either were not believed or were blamed in part for what happened.”

Grand Jury Indicts Filmmakers

Joe Carter does one of his FAQs about yesterday’s outrageous news: “A grand jury in Harris County, Texas (the county where Houston is located) has indicted two of the undercover videographers associated with the Center for Medical Progress.”

7 Ways to Fight Distraction During Prayer

“Distraction can be a huge hindrance in our prayer life, but I am also discovering that it provides an opportunity for growth. Here are seven strategies for fighting distraction, and harnessing it to deepen and direct our prayers.”

48 Scattered Thoughts about Pastoral Ministry and Being a Pastor

This is great stuff. I especially appreciate #21!

Prayer Societies

This article contains some interesting ideas for prayer. And this is definitely true: “Every Christian knows he should pray. Simply urging the church to pray more usually results in condemnation about our prayer life rather than consecration in this holy duty.”

This Day in 1987. 29 years ago today, John Piper received the first copy of his book, Desiring God. *

How Should We Then Defend?

I’m linking to this article primarily because of the joy of reading this paragraph: “In 2015 in the United States, the process for picking a new president began in earnest. Not only is the process obnoxiously overblown, it provides a never-ending selection of sulfurous soundbites to a salaciously saccharine and spongy constituency. Rallies for would-be presidents show throngs cheering for one whose lies have been exposed and who is under investigation by the FBI, and for yet another whose brainless bigotry, bombast and buffoonery know no limits. And these are only the (as I write) “popular” candidates.”

In Praise of the Lowly McMuffin

Let’s face it: McDonald’s breakfast is a remarkable feat of food engineering. (Related: How on earth do you get a whole industry to transition to cage-free eggs?)

Why Monorails Aren’t the Future

Basically, because they’re awful at what they do.

Ryle

Unity without the gospel is a worthless unity, it is the very unity of hell. —J.C. Ryle

January 25, 2016

Buckle up because there are lots of great Kindle deals today. Here is a selection from Zondervan priced at $3.99: The Gagging of God, Worship by the Book, and Telling the Truth by D.A. Carson; A God-Sized Vision by Collin Hansen; The Pastor Theologian by Gerald Hiestand; The Next Story (revised and expanded) by me; The Pastor’s Family by Brian Croft; Preaching and Preachers by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Crossway also has a selection about women’s ministry at $4.99 each: Women’s Ministry in the Local Church by Ligon Duncan & Susan Hunt; Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin; Word-Filled Women’s Ministry edited by Gloria Furman and Kathleen Nielson.

Scruffy Hospitality

This is good: “Scruffy hospitality means you’re not waiting for everything in your house to be in order before you host and serve friends in your home. Scruffy hospitality means you hunger more for good conversation and serving a simple meal of what you have, not what you don’t have.”

The Most Important Ingredient to Improve Your Marriage

Tim Lane: “What fuels a strong, resilient, enjoyable marriage? Most people would immediately answer with suggestions like better communication and the ability to resolve conflicts. As important as those skills are, it is actually much more simple than that.”

What really happened at Target Canada

This is a fascinating article about what really went wrong with Target’s failed attempt to move into Canada.

Desiring Knowledge and Maturity

Kevin DeYoung says, “All else being equal, I’d rather have a mature Christian with simple theological knowledge than an extremely knowledgeable, well-read Christian without a lot of maturity. But, of course, neither situation is desirable. Let me explain.”

Why Snow Shoveling is Deadly

Take care of yourself out there.

This Day in 1534. 482 years ago today, Martin Luther preached, “To be converted to God means to believe in Christ, to believe that He is our Mediator and that we have eternal life through Him.” *

Why Are Airplane Windows Round?

So you don’t die, of course. Here’s a slightly longer video explanation.

Start a Company Before College

This is a neat idea.

Fee

Show me a church’s songs and I’ll show you their theology. —Gordon Fee

January 23, 2016

I have returned home safe and sound after speaking at the G3 Conference (which continues on livestream this morning). It was a joy to meet so many readers of this site and, unexpectedly, to meet one more on the way home—the Air Canada gate agent in Atlanta (Hi, Cindy!).

Freedom in Grief, Not Freedom From Grief

This is an important distinction for those who are grieving (and those who are grieving alongside them).

When Abortion Suddenly Stopped Making Sense

“We thought, back then, that few abortions would ever be done. It’s a grim experience, going through an abortion, and we assumed a woman would choose one only as a last resort. We were fighting for that ‘last resort.’ We had no idea how common the procedure would become; today, one in every five pregnancies ends in abortion.”

Group Prayer Participants You Don’t Want to Be

“I have learned through my mistakes and the conduct of others that there are certain types of group prayer participants none of us should want to be…”

Tim Challies and Going All in with Ebooks

There was a lot (a lot!) of response to my article about migrating to ebooks. Here is one from Logos.

The Road Not Taken

JT shows how just about everyone explains this one in the wrong way.

Notable Authors. If you’ve never checked out any books by author Os Guinness, I highly recommend you do so! I especially recommend Fool’s Talk and The Call

The Biblical Call and Plan for Productivity

I was recently interviewed for the radio program The Christian Worldview. That interview is playing today.

Equipped for Christlikeness

I’m grateful to The Master’s College for sponsoring the blog this week with “Equipped for Christlikeness.”

Spurgeon

No matter what good truths you have to teach, no one will thank you if you do not speak kindly. —C.H. Spurgeon

January 22, 2016

The only Kindle deals I found today are The Apostle and William Wilberforce by John Pollock which may be worth looking at for $0.99 each. And that’s it. It has been a slow, slow month. I’ll talk to some publishers and see if we can do something about this!

The Lady Bible Hunters

Here’s a great tale: “Scottish twins Agnes and Margaret Smith were the last people you’d expect to discover one of the earliest known copies of the gospels, but in a dusty closet in an Egyptian monastery in 1859–without a university education or formal language training between them–the God-fearing twins uncovered the Syriac Sinaiticus.”

The 5 Solas

We have added a new Visual Theology print to our growing collection: the 5 solas.

Sproul on Abortion

“Tomorrow will mark the 43rd anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. In light of this, Ligonier Connect has just released R.C. Sproul’s important series on the difficult subject of abortion and made it permanently free for anyone to enroll and study.”

18 Reasons the Abortion Industry is Losing Its Support

George Grant: “Why does it seem that the abortion industry’s grassroots support is slipping at the very moment when its power and resources have reached their zenith?”

The Wheaton College Controversy

The controversy at Wheaton College continues to heat up. “Wheaton College’s faculty council has unanimously asked the Illinois school’s administration to withdraw its recommendation that Larycia Hawkins have her tenure and employment terminated.”

This Day in 1876. 140 years ago today, hymn writer John Dykes died. He wrote the much beloved hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” *

Porn Stats

Covenant Eyes tells you where you can find up-to-date statistics on the porn plague.

ESV Sale

Westminster Books has some deals on Bibles priced cheap so you can give them away.

You Are Not a Number

“It’s 2016, so we can track and measure almost anything. These numbers we generate are simple, stark, and memorable. They stick with us for days, relentlessly patting us on the back or poking us in the ribs. Numbers are brainworms.”

Ryle

A single day in hell will be worse than a whole life spent in carrying the cross. —J. C. Ryle

January 21, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include Making a Difference in Preaching by Haddon Robinson ($1.99); From the Library of Charles Spurgeon ($1.99); and The Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler ($2.99). New from GLH Publishing is Saved by Grace by John Bunyan ($0.99).

Down’s Syndrome Extinction

While this article is still pro-choice, it expresses great concern about the coming extinction of people with Down’s Syndrome.

The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy

Al Mohler: “We will not believe more than we know, and we will not live higher than our beliefs.”

Husbands, It’s Time to Start Leading Family Worship

Don Whitney: “The worthiness of God to receive your family’s worship each day is reason enough to start practicing family worship today. But in addition to that, consider these other good motivations…” 

For the Success of Others

What a great legacy. “Dave was deeply and genuinely delighted when he believed one of his disciples surpassed him in some way or another.”

Why Your Church Should Support Fewer Missionaries

I think there is a lot of value in this approach.

This Day in 1672. 344 years ago today, a church in Bedford, England appointed John Bunyan as their pastor—while he was in prison for preaching the gospel. *

Capitalizing Personal Pronouns

“I think these modern translations are disrespectful of God by not capitalizing the personal pronoun.” But do they, really?

The Rules of Kabaddi

This video explains the rules of a unique sport and one that is incredibly confusing.

January 20, 2016

I am heading south today to speak at this year’s G3 Conference. G3 is almost always my first conference of the year and it is one I always look forward to. I hope to see many of you there!

Elderly Missionary Couple Kidnapped

It’s quite a religion that kidnaps medical missionaries in the name of its god.

Frozen Soap Bubbles

What an amazing little video. How can there be so much beauty in something so simple and so ordinary?

The Future of Retail

“Amazon Books is now open for business in Seattle. The floor is hardwood and the shelves and displays are weighed down by beautiful, physical books. It looks and smells like any ordinary bookstore. But make no mistake. It’s anything but.” Could it represent the future of retail?

A Simple Way

Mark Altrogge offers up a simple way to spend time with the Lord every day. He structures it for 45 minutes, but that can easily be scaled down (or up).

How You Will Die

Here’s how you will die. Maybe.

Hillary Clinton’s Email

Joe Carter has a Facebook post that explains why recent revelations about Hillary Clinton’s emails are a very, very big deal.

This Day in 250. 1,766 years ago today, Fabian, bishop of Rome, was martyred. He was the first person martyred under Emperor Decius. *

Pastor, Mind Your RBM or Risk Burnout

Here’s wise counsel for pastors (and everyone else).

Google Maps Goes Mini

Google Maps decided to go miniature by setting Street View loose on a miniature world.

Newton

What will it profit a man if he silences his adversary and loses that humble spirit in which the Lord delights? —John Newton

January 19, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include God’s Will by J.I. Packer ($1.99); Gaining by Losing by J.D. Greear ($1.99); Teach Us to Want by Jen Pollock Michelle ($2.99); God Loves Sex by Dan Allender & Tremper Longman ($2.99); Divine Design by John MacArthur ($2.99); The Real Face of Atheism by Ravi Zacharias ($2.99); Peacemaking Women by Tara Barthel ($2.99).

Is God Sovereign Over My Free Will?

John Piper ventures into difficult territory with an answer to these questions: “Will God use His sovereignty to overwrite our free will at times to exemplify His perfect will? And if so, do we truly have free will?”

How Diverse Was Early Christianity?

I’ve really been enjoying Michael Kruger’s blog and the way he has been taking on some common charges against Christianity. “The more the label ‘Christianity’ can be tossed around indiscriminately, then the more it appears that Christians could believe just about anything (and did). It strips the word of all its meaning.”

Your Driverless Car

I guess this isn’t too surprising: “As with all utopian schemes, [the driverless car] will come bearing big-government policy interventions and control that require major economic policy justifications and macro-economic analysis to justify action.”

Living Intentionally Together as a Married Couple

There are a few suggestions here for living together intentionally as a married couple.

The FAQs: Pastor Saeed Abedini

Joe Carter does a FAQ on the long-awaited freeing of pastor Saeed.

This Day in 1563. 453 years ago today, the Heidelberg Catechism was first published in Germany. *

Great Books Selections

Jim Hamilton offers two short lists that may be helpful to those who want to explore some great books.

0.0% of Icelanders 25 Years or Younger Believe God Created the World

There is work to be done in Iceland! Do I have any Icelandic readers? I’d love to know about the church situation there. You can contact me here.

Bad Dugout Decisions

This article shows what (formerly) common baseball decisions have been proven faulty through sabermetrics. (A thought: The pitchout has been proven ineffective. But doesn’t the mere threat or possibility of the pitchout have an intangible way of slowing down runners?)

Sibbes

It would be a good contest among Christians, one to labor to give no offense, and the other to labor to take none. —Richard Sibbes

January 18, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include several volumes in the excellent Preaching the Word commentary series at $7.99 each: NumbersDeuteronomy, Judges & Ruth, JobProverbs. They are ideal for sermon preparation or devotional reading. Also consider The Law of Kindness by Mary Beeke ($1.99), Innocent Blood by John Ensor ($1.99), and The NIV Zondervan Study Bible ($4.99).

Why Daughters Need Their Dads

I needed to read this. “I have watched daughters talk to fathers. When you come in the room, they change. Everything about them changes: their eyes, their mouths, their gestures, their body language. Daughters are never lukewarm in the presence of their fathers. They might take their mothers for granted, but not you.”

The Youth Group Lessons I’ve Had to Unlearn

I don’t agree with everything in this article, but I do resonate with the three big points.

Iran Frees Pastor Saeed Abedini 

I’m guessing you caught this news already. At long last, Pastor Saeed has been freed.

A Comforting Word in the Hotel Nightstand

I thank God for the Gideons and for their passion to share God’s Word.

3 Keys to Listening During Sermons

Just think of the immense privilege that is yours to listen to a sermon every Sunday, week after week after week. Here’s some guidance on listening well.

This Day in 1951. 65 years ago today, missionary to India Amy Carmichael died. *

The Secret of Spurgeon’s Success

Charles Spurgeon was a towering figure, and this article explains the not-so-secret secret of his success.

American Missionary Killed in Burkina Faso Attack

“An American missionary and orphanage director was among the dozens killed by Al Qaeda-linked militants in the West African nation of Burkina Faso Friday night.”

Stay Messy, My Friends

Jared Wilson: “Here are three areas we can stay in the thick of the messy ministry that is fertile soil for gospel joy…”

Taylor

Do not have your concert first, and tune your instruments afterward. Begin the day with God. —Hudson Taylor