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A La Carte

April 15, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites by Bradley Wright ($0.99); Reformation by Carl Trueman ($2.99); The Band That Played On by Steve Turner ($1.99); How To Talk So People Will Listen by Steve Brown ($0.99). New from GLH Publishing is The Spirit of Prayer by Nathaniel Vincent ($0.99).

Where Are They?

I appreciated this short, sweet, comforting reflection from Ed Welch.

Three Things Pastors Can’t Do Too Much

Jared Wilson: “I’m not a big fan of overdoing it. Not a huge proponent of overcooking your sermons, overproducing your worship service. But there are a few things I think pastors probably could do more of than they already do, no matter how much they already do.”

He Shall Reign

You may be interested in downloading this free study on Daniel from Alistair Begg. (Or this one on Ruth.)

6 Reasons Why the Church Is Not Singing

Josh Buice suggests 6 reasons why the church is not singing—or at least not singing like she used to.

When Tests Detect Birth Defects

This is not the least bit surprising, is it? “New research suggests women who terminate their pregnancies because of an abnormal prenatal test may be aborting perfectly healthy babies.”

This Day in 1892. 124 years ago today, Corrie ten Boom was born. She was known for her devotional writing and for hiding Jewish refugees in her home during World War II. *

Six Questions About Physician-Assisted Death

My friend Ewan Goligher wrote a really good peace for The National Post (a national newspaper) about why he, as a physician, objects to physician-assisted death.

Accused MK Counterfeiter Asks To Be Released to YWAM

Here’s a bizarre story as reported by Christianity Today. “A man on trial for allegedly heading a $2 million international counterfeiting ring has asked to be released into the care of Youth With a Mission (YWAM) while he awaits trial in Pennsylvania.”

Does Grammar Matter?

Me sure hopes so.

Packer

To be right with God the judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father is greater. —J.I. Packer

April 14, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include Starlight & Time by Russell Humphreys ($2.99); Preaching to a Shifting Culture by Various ($2.99); and Depression by Ed Welch ($2.99).

Porch Preaching

I love this! Joe Holland has Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on his door. “They gave me a Watch Tower tract and invited me to an Easter service at the local Kingdom Hall. I responded with a short paragraph I’ve used dozens of times when pairs of evangelists visit my home.”

Pray for R.C. Sproul

Please pray for Dr. Sproul as he faces continued health problems and is once again in the hospital.

When Your Congregation Isn’t Singing

Jamie Brown: “I would suggest that if a worship leader is observing (over a period of months or years) his or her congregation isn’t singing, that some difficult questions need to be honestly asked and answered. In no particular order or importance, here are questions a worship leader (and his or her pastor) should consider…”

Painful Pruning

Kelly Needham: “Each season of dying has felt just like that—dying. The choking out of something I have loved, desired, and clung to for hope, peace, and safety. The choking out of things in me, writhing, gasping for breath and praying, ‘Does it have to be this way? Can’t I follow You and also keep this with me? Does it really need to die?’”

On Reading the First Commentary

I enjoyed reading this post, about one reader’s first experience of reading a commentary (as part of my reading challenge).

Read Scripture: Jonah

The excellent Read Scripture series of videos continues with an overview of Jonah.

This Day in 1988. 28 years ago today, Desiring God hosted their first Conference for Pastors. J.I. Packer was the main keynote speaker. *

Darrin Patrick Removed from Church

I’m never sure whether or not I should share this kind of news. I’ve chosen to this time since I’ve so often mentioned Patrick’s books and what has just come to light is important information to consider.

Men for God

If you are in the Vancouver area (or looking for an excuse to visit), I’d love to see you at this year’s Men for God conference. It takes place June 24-25.

Carson

As the social cost of claiming to be a Christian increases, the percentage of nominal Christians decreases. —D.A. Carson

April 13, 2016


Libraries Struggle to Remain Relevant

WORLD reports on the struggles libraries face as they attempt to stay relevant in a digital world.

Thinking? Conference 2016

If you are in or near Toronto, be sure to think about coming to the Thinking? 2016 conference which takes place next weekend.

Sitting In God’s Lap to Slap Him In The Face

“What’s being described here is that this other person is borrowing something from God in order to then argue against him. They’re borrowing something that only fits in the Christian world view to then argue against that world view, which is actually kind of a circular argument.”

To Every Tribe

I’m so glad there is a new episode of Dispatches from the Front. And I’m so glad that Westminster Books has a sale on it. Don’t miss these DVDs!

Be Grateful Without Comparing

Barnabas Piper discusses gratitude. “While there is a sense in which we should be jarred into gratefulness by the reality that others have it worse than we do, these kinds of statements are a pretty horrid kind of instruction on gratitude.”

Top 10 Most Challenged Library Books

“Last year, the American Library Association (ALA) fielded 275 formal challenges to materials in school libraries—a record low. Making the top 10 list of challenges for the first time: the Bible.”

This Day in 1742. 274 years ago today, Handel’s famous oratorio Messiah premiered in Dublin’s Fishamble Street Musick Hall. *

What’s the Point of Christian Conferences, Anyway?

“If conferences can be messed up and can lead me to idolatry, why should I even consider going?”

Malcolm Gladwell Got it Wrong

“The 10,000 hour rule” – enshrined in Gladwell’s bestselling 2008 book Outliers – holds that mastery in any field can be achieved with 10,000 hours of practice. But Ericsson, a Florida State University researcher who has spent his career breaking down the science of what makes people extraordinary, says Gladwell missed the point.”

Tripp

Worship is designed to remind you that in the center of all things is a glorious and gracious king, and this king is not you. —Paul Tripp

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