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A La Carte

July 05, 2014

We have just finished our first week of summer vacation here in Canada—the kids’ classes went all the way until June 27. But now they are free until after Labor Day! We will be heading out of town before long, with some Aussies taking over our house while we’re gone. Fun!

For those interested, I have updated my speaking itinerary page; it would be great to meet you if I end up in your neck of the woods in the next year.

And now, here are some links that caught my eye over the past few days:

Christians have not always done well with helping people with mental illnesses. Michael Horton’s thoughts on Faith and Mental Illness are well-formed and represent some clear thinking on the issue.

This video attempts to simply explain your immune system and explain why you aren’t dead yet. (Note: You’ll have to overlook a bit of the language of evolution.)

Drew Dyck says (rightly!) that Millennials Need a Bigger God, Not a Hipper Pastor. I find this fascinating: “The number one predictive factor as to whether or not a young Christian will retain his or her faith is whether that person has a meaningful relationship with an older Christian.”

Tony Reinke asks whether feminine modesty is about sex. He takes this as the main premise of most discussions on modesty, and challenges it: “Here’s the main assumption: Feminine modesty is about sexual provocation. If a woman’s skirt is too short or blouse is too low, it will cause her Christian brother to lust.”

The Guardian has an interesting article on assisted dying. While the author does not necessarily object to euthanasia, he does fear the consequences that will come. And he is exactly right in his concerns, I’m sure.

Here’s a video of Our Earth looking absolutely stunning from far above its surface.

We can be sure our prayers are answered precisely in the way we would want them to be answered if we knew everything God knows. —Tim Keller

Keller

July 04, 2014

Here are a handful of new Kindle deals: Magnifying God in Christ by Thomas Schreiner is a steal at $4.99; Seeing the Unseen by Randy Alcorn ($2.99); Understanding Spiritual Warfare: Four Views by Various ($3.99); The Ever-Loving Truth by Voddie Baucham ($2.99).

Zamperini’s Greatest Victory - “Zamperini saw his conversion as the hinge for all that went before it, and all that followed in his long life. He wanted as many other people as possible to hear about salvation through Christ through his own story: ‘That’s the message of the book’.”

I Could Have Sued and Won - Tara Barthel writes about having to put her own teaching into action.

When We Best Learn the Bible - This is good stuff: “Sound Bible study is rooted in a celebration of delayed gratification. Gaining Bible literacy requires allowing our study to have a cumulative effect — across weeks, months, years — so that the interrelation of one part of Scripture to another reveals itself slowly and gracefully, like a dust cloth slipping inch by inch from the face of a masterpiece.”

Burial or Cremation - Here’s an interesting look at the burial vs cremation debate.

The Landlord - Lore Ferguson: “I was called the The Responsible One yesterday. But I haven’t felt responsible in a year or more. I’m backtracking and highlighting and caveating and trying to figure out where I misplaced responsibility.”

He counts the stars and calls them by name, yet he heals the broken in heart and binds up their wounds. —C.H. Spurgeon

Spurgeon

July 03, 2014

Here are a few new Kindle bargains: Long Story Short (free) and Old Story New ($4.99) by Marty Machowski; The Man of Sin by Kim Riddelbarger ($3.99); Recovering Redemption by Matt Chandler ($4.99); new from GLH Publishing: The Duty of Pastors by John Owen ($0.99). If you prefer printed books, but sure to check out the weekly deals from Westminster Books; this week many of them are geared toward women.

10 Reasons God Stops Us In Our Tracks - David Murray: “Basically God has stopped my in my tracks once again and I’ve been asking myself Why? Not at all in a rebellious way, but in a humble and teachable way. Did I miss or forget the lessons of three years ago? I’ve already had two strikes; I desperately don’t want a third.”

This Strange Thing Called Growth - John Johnson thinks through this strange thing we call church growth.

5 Questions and the 5 Solas - Did you know each of the 5 solas answers a question? Here they are.

Real Church - “The strange idea is: church is for displaying the best about us, not revealing the worst about us. The result is: burdened, burned out, suffocating Christians and church leaders.”

Rich Young Ruler Redux - Ed Welch reimagines the Rich Young Ruler for a modern context.

How Do We Know the Bible Is God’s Word - Chris Brauns looks to the Catechism for the short answer.

If our purpose in attending church is to meet with God, then we dare not approach with carelessness. —John Sartelle

Sartelle

July 02, 2014

Here are today’s Kindle deals: Jesus the Evangelist by Richard Phillips (free); Good News for Anxious Christians by Phillip Carey ($1.99); The Genesis Factor by David Helm & Jon Dennis ($0.99); I Am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirby ($1.99); You Don’t Cry Out Loud by Lily Isaacs ($4.49).

Down’s Syndrome - I love this father’s celebration of his daughter who has Down’s Syndrome.

The Apparent Paradox of Sanctification - John MacArthur writes about the apparent paradox of sanctification. “How do you overcome sin and live the Christian life?  Is defeating sin something God does in you, or do you defeat it by obeying the commands of Scripture? In other words, is the Christian life an exercise in passive trust or active obedience?”

Hobby Lobby Hysteria - Gene Veith writes about the ridiculous hysteria (and outright lies) about the Hobby Lobby ruling.

Astro-Matic Baseball - If you are interested in baseball, you may enjoy this long look at the Astros and their plan to rebuild their team.

Leading a Worship Team Well - Jamie Brown reflects on a decade of leading a worship team.

Praying for Our Children’s Salvation - Joel Beeke writes very helpfully about praying for the salvation of our kids (Note: Baptists will have to do a bit of adaptation since Beeke writes from a paedo-baptist background.) 

Don’t allow the Internet to become your congregation. YouTube is a horrible place to go to church. —Albert Mohler

Mohler

July 01, 2014

New month, new Kindle deals: The Ever-Loving Truth by Voddie Baucham ($2.99); Radical Womanhood by Carolyn McCulley ($2.99); A Woman’s Wisdom by Lydia Brownback ($0.99); Gospel Wakefulness by Jared Wilson ($1.99); Retro Christianity by Michael Svigel ($1.99);   In God We Trust by Steve Ham ($2.99); Simple Church by Thom Rainer ($4.99); Recovering Redemption by Matt Chandler ($4.99); When Missions Shapes the Mission by David Horner ($2.99). Every month Amazon has a collection of Kindle books at $3.99; this month there are several good novels and historical books.

Free from ChristianAudio this month is Lion of Bablyon by Davis Bunn, while Logos’ free book of the month is The Righteousness of Faith According to Luther by Hans J. Iwand. Also, I just happened to notice that Amazon has a whole lot of summer-fun-themed toys and games on sale today.

7 Ways to Love Your Pastor - Here’s a good list of ways to love your pastor.

Why Hobby Lobby Matters - Here’s Russell Moore on what yesterday’s Hobby Lobby ruling matters. Al Mohler has written about it as well.

Ghostwriting - Ghostwriting is in the news again in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s new book.

Desktop Wallpaper - Here is this month’s free desktop wallpaper and calendars. There’s also a $50 Amazon gift card to be won…

No Greater Gospel - Tabletalk interviews Dave Furman who has planted a church in Dubai (and an excellent too, from what I could see the one day I worshipped there!).

Push Through the Awkward - Yes, just push through the awkward and do the right thing.

Small numbers make no difference to God. There is nothing small that God is in. —D.L. Moody

Moody

June 30, 2014

Here are a few new Kindle deals: One Perfect Life by John MacArthur ($2.99); All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes by Ken Myers ($2.99); Life’s Biggest Questions by Erik Thoennes ($1.99); Heaven by Randy Alcorn ($0.99);

God Made Me This Way - The article isn’t the easiest read, but it’s a worthwhile one. Phillip Jensen writes on the nature/nurture debate.

Asking for Too Little - Do you sometimes feel like you’re asking too much from God? Maybe you’re actually asking too little.

Happy 18th to Us - Jared Wilson has some helpful reflections on marriage in this article celebrating his 18th anniversary.

Small Differences - This article highlights some of the similarities and differences between Canada and the United States.

Biblical Theology and the Sexuality Crisis - Read this piece from Al Mohler for the big point and for the thought-provoking lines (like this: “That which was once condemned is now celebrated, and the refusal to celebrate is now condemned.”).

5 Reasons to Rejoice, Not Worry - Randy Alcorn: “Worry is a kill-joy. It specializes in worst case scenarios when God promises us best case scenarios…”

The Gospel never has a better name than when it goes forth in a manner beyond reproach. —Kevin Belmonte

Belmonte

June 28, 2014

Aileen and I are doing a bit of a role-reversal this weekend—she is off attending The Gospel Coalition conference in Orlando and I’m staying at home with the kids. And so far we’re having a pretty good time of it. If you’re interested in the conference you can watch it live online.

Kindle deals seem to be coasting to a close before the start of a new month, but here are a couple of noteworthy ones: Grounded in the Gospel by J.I. Packer ($2.51), Paul Meets Muhammad by Michael Licona ($2.51), and When God Weeps by Joni Eareckson Tada ($5.99). There is also a collection of $2.99 or less daily deals, a few of which are worth looking at. If you haven’t done so yet, check out Zondervan’s sale on some great theological works: Historical Theology by Gregg Allison ($5.99); Pilgrim Theology by Michael Horton ($5.99); The Christian Faith by Michael Horton ($7.69); Evangelical Theology by Michael Bird ($7.99);

Sometimes I start to think I’ve figured out this blogging thing, and then something happens like this: The article I wrote yesterday on why we don’t allow our kids to do sleepovers was read more than 120,000 times yesterday, easily the highest first-day total of any article I’ve ever written. I find that baffling. Why would that article generate such a buzz? If I had known it was such a hot topic, I would have gone over it a couple more times before sharing it!

And now here are some links that caught my eye over the past couple of days:

Elisha Galotti on slow-to-anger parenting.

Shaped by Time is an amazing timelapse video that explores landscapes shaped by erosion over a long period of time. It’s beautiful and haunting.

Westminster Books is offering the new ESV Reader’s Bible at a big discount and also giving away 12 copies.

Ray Ortlund goes to the gospels to find what it’s like to be a demon. “Left to its own potentialities, a demon’s existence is external barrenness and internal restlessness.  Gnawing drivenness, never stopping to rest, rejoice, give thanks.”

Finally, the quote du jour. If you enjoy these, you can find them all over at Pinterest.

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. —C.S. Lewis

Lewis

June 27, 2014

Cosmic Treason - R.C. Sproul: “Every sin, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is an act of rebellion against the sovereign God who reigns and rules over us and as such is an act of treason against the cosmic King.”

How Frozen Took Over the World - Frozen has quickly and unexpectedly become one of the biggest movies of all time.

History Could Happen Again - History could happen again, so let’s pray that it does!

What Gives a Dollar Bill Its Value? - This short video explains why one piece of paper is worth something while another piece of paper is worth nothing.

The Apostle’s Creed - Here’s a roundup of sung versions of The Apostle’s Creed. I think there is still a great opportunity for someone to write a quality melody suitable for congregational singing.

The Lofty Status of Peons - A missionary thrown out of his country reflects on his smallness.

God gets more out of your salvation than you ever will. —David Shepherd

Shepherd

June 26, 2014

In Kindle news, Replant by Darrin Patrick is $4.39, Church Zero by Peyton Jones is $4.39, Simple Student Ministry by Eric Geiger is $2.99, Believer’s Baptism by Thomas Schreiner is $2.99, and Make, Mature, Multiply by Brandon Smith is $3.99. If printed books are more your thing, Westminster Books is offering What Is the Gospel? at a great discount. It’s a good one to stock up on and give away.

Wise Words from a Father - Be sure to read this one! “This past week, my friend Josh Etter and his wife Kate just had a little girl. I thought that I would send write a few thoughts to Josh just to encourage him in this often daunting task of being a dad raising a daughter. I hope it is encouraging. It is pretty simple but here are a few pieces of advice from a guy whose girls are now grown up.”

Kenzie Dancing - Speaking of dads and girls, this video is really sweet.

The Pointlessness of Unplugging - A cheap shot at the Puritans aside, this is quite a good article on unplugging from digital devices.

Offside Confusion - If you’re watching the World Cup and are trying to figure out what offside is all about, this will help.

Marital Advice - Mark Altrogge shares 4 of the best pieces of marital advice he has ever heard.

Photo Contest - The 26th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest is under way, and entries will be accepted for just one more week. Here are some of the best photos so far.

A Gender-Confused World - Here’s some sound counsel on speaking to your children about modern conceptions of gender.

Any theology that does not lead to song is, at a fundamental level, a flawed theology. —J.I. Packer

Packer

June 25, 2014

June has been a banner month for Kindle deals, and they just keep going: To Live Is Christ To Die Is Gain by Matt Chandler ($3.49); CrossTalk by Michael Emlet ($2.99); Entrusted with the Gospel by Andreas Kostenberger ($2.99); Glorious Ruin by Tullian Tchividjian ($3.49); Perspectives on Family Ministry by Timothy Paul Jones ($2.99); God’s Indwelling Presence by James Hamilton ($2.99); The MacArthur Daily Bible ($4.99); The End of the Law by Jason Meyer ($2.99). New from GLH Publishing is Justification Vindicated by Robert Traill ($0.99).

Called to Be Uncool Christians - N.D. Wilson: “Cows like to turn their backs to the wind. At least, all the cows I know do. Slowly, awkwardly, eventually, all that beef will run parallel to the breeze. People aren’t too different. We align ourselves safely into herds, comforted by the hot breath of others breaking on the backs of our necks and ears. Then we huff and we puff and we blow at the fools turned in the wrong direction.”

A Plea to Come Forward - Paul Levy takes on one of those issues that every churches faces: Getting people to move to the front.

Potshots Are Not a Spiritual Gift - “This sounds like a no-brainer, but in our social media age, it’s not a given…” Indeed.

Naming the New Calvinism - Timothy Paul Jones takes a shot at coming up with a better name than “New Calvinism” or “Young, Restless, Reformed.”

The First 10 Minutes of Your Day - How do you spend the first ten minutes of your workday? Here’s some sound counsel on spending it well.

Cool at 13, Adrift at 23 - “At 13, they were viewed by classmates with envy, admiration and not a little awe. … They were cool. They were good-looking. They were so not you.” But it looks like they didn’t turn out so well in the end.

Passion is not a substitute for clarity. Volume is not a substitute for content. Emotion is not a substitute for conviction. —H.B. Charles Jr

Charles

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