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October 08, 2016

It is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, with the official holiday coming up on Monday. We have escaped the city with some friends and are nicely settled here in the quiet beauty of Eastern Ontario. We are thankful and anticipating a quiet, restful weekend.

Today’s Kindle deals include just a few—a good end to what has been a bit of a slow week!: Confronted by Grace by John Webster, Where Only God Could Lead by Cary Schmidt, The Cross in the Experience of Our Lord by R.A. Finlayson, Old Wives Tales by Clare Heath-Whyte, and War in the Wasteland by Douglas Bond.

Good Manners and Good Sales

Chick-fil-A massively outsells its competitors even though “all Chick-fil-A restaurants are closed on Sundays, due to a national corporate policy—whereas most of their competitors are open seven days a week.”

InterVarsity Responds to Pro-LGBT Outcry

WORLD: “InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA, an evangelical ministry serving more than 41,000 U.S. college students, is taking flak for reaffirming its biblical stance on human sexuality and requiring its employees do likewise.”

The Dogs’ Nose

Apparently dogs may just tell time with their noses. Who knew?

They Are More Than Their Rehab Potential

“I am a pediatric occupational therapist, and I play for the glory of God.” This is a sweet article.

Ten Tips from Ten Years

Stephen McAlpine shares ten tips from ten years of involvement in the missional church planting scene.

This Day in 1971. 45 years ago today Russell Moore was born. Happy birthday, Russell!

A Church Weekend Away - Don’t Forget the Beer

Here’s a unique situation that arises in a unique ministry context. And I post this older article because apparently the man in question died yesterday.

The Holiness of God & Chosen by God

“You can stream all of the messages in Dr. R.C. Sproul’s classic series’ Chosen by God and The Holiness of God for free. You can also stream these series for free on YouTube.” If you’ve never seen these, get thee to YouTube!

Flashback: Songs We Sing (That You Probably Don’t)

Here are a few songs we sing at Grace Fellowship Church that you may not be familiar with.

3 Ways To Be Ready for the Best Evangelistic Opportunity this Year

My thanks goes to The Good Book Company for sponsoring the blog this week with “3 Ways To Be Ready for the Best Evangelistic Opportunity this Year.”

To become slow to anger is to become like God. —David Powlison

October 07, 2016

I wasn’t able to dig up any new Kindle deals today. However, Logos has a roundup of their best deals for October while Westminster Books has some deals on books related to counseling one another.

Findings from the New Atlantis Report on Sexuality and Gender

Al Mohler breaks down an important new report and focuses on the most important findings.

How William Tyndale Changed the World

Here’s an article and video on a man who changed the world.

City Gate Destroyed by Hezekiah

WORLD reports: “archeologists have uncovered a city gate-shrine they believe Hezekiah’s men demolished at the city of Lachish in the eighth century B.C.”

Six Disturbing Assumptions Uncovered in A World Without Downs

Here, based on a new documentary, are “six chilling assumptions informing a culture that would enable the elimination of a subgroup.”

Boys Online

This is neither fun nor easy to read, but it is helpful in understanding what it’s like to be a teenaged boy navigating a digital world.

This Day in 1832. 184 years ago today Charles Converse, American lawyer and composer of the hymn tune for “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” was born. *

6 Ways the Psalms Sing to Our Fears

George Guthrie: “When I am struggling with fear, I find meditating on the Psalms a great help and comfort. Here are 6 ways in which that wonderful ‘song book’ for life helps me to process my fears, bringing them to the Lord.”

A Few Tips on Raising Boys

David Murray comes through with some good ones.

Lying About Hitler

Justin Taylor has an interesting interview with historian Richard Evans.

Flashback: Take a Test on the Trinity

A year ago I created this 33-question test on the Trinity. Why don’t you take 5 minutes to go through it and see how you do?

If you add anything to Christ, you lose Christ. Salvation is in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone. —John Stott

October 06, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: 60 People Who Shaped the Church by Alton Gansky, Each for the Other by Byran Chapell, Pastors Are People Too and Survive or Thrive by Jimmy Dodd, and Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Get them here.

Turning 40 While Single and Childless

Bethany Jenkins penned a really good article for TGC. “Four weeks shy of turning 40, I’m still single and childless. ‘Barren’—a description that was laughable to my 28-year-old self—may turn out to be true.”

Every Click Counts

This is a good reminder from David Mathis: “You’re never alone when you’re online. Not only is God watching — which should be significant enough! — but others are watching too. Every click counts, and is counted.”

What Andy Stanley Has Forgotten

The big point of this article by Richard Phillips is short but so important: “The Bible conveys not only information but power.” We need to believe this and not forget this!

Single Men, Consider the Single Mothers in Your Church

There is lots to chew on in this meaty article from Sam Parkison. Here’s the charge to young men: “as you look for a future wife, don’t write off the single moms in your church.”

The Dizzying Grandeur of 21st-Century Agriculture

The New York Times has an interesting photo essay showing the grandeur—the sheer size—of food-growing and food-production facilities today.

This Day in 1536. 480 years ago today reformer William Tyndale, who translated and published the first mechanically-printed New Testament in English, was strangled to death before being burned at the stake. *

When the American Church Fails Its Missionaries

This is very convicting. “I have been praying fervently for these friends, and many others like them.  I have seen firsthand how committed, driven, and strategic they are.  They need to be here.  They need to stay here.  But that can only happen with enough financial support.”

Faithful Preachers are Forgetful Preachers

Here’s a good reminder from H.B. Charles Jr.

Where Did Satan Come From?

It’s a good question, isn’t it? If God created the world good and very good, how did Satan suddenly show up?

Flashback: 6 Great Reasons To Study Doctrine

I guess I’m one of those geekly people who loves to learn a new word and the big idea behind it. But I hope I do not love doctrine for doctrine’s sake. Rather, I strive to be a person who loves doctrine for God’s sake. Today I want to give you 6 great reasons to study doctrine.

Authentic sadness is better than artificial happiness. —David Murray

October 05, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: Under Our Skin by Benjamin Watson (an excellent book!), Praying Backwards by Bryan Chapell (another great one), Tried by Fire by William Bennett, and more. New from GLH Publishing is The Mission of Sorrow by Gardiner Springs.

Westminster Books has a deal on that new ESV Reader’s Bible six-volume set. They are also giving away a few sets (scroll down).

Why I Love Being a Pastor

John MacArthur explains why he loves doing what he does.

Faults To Avoid in Public Prayer

Samuel Miller was the second professor at the Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church in Princeton and in one of his old work he set out 18 faults to avoid when praying in public.

Tabletalk Magazine

Every month Tabletalk magazine puts a number of their articles online. Here’s the selection for October.

The Goal of Spiritual Maturity

“What about spiritual goals? Have you set goals regarding spiritual maturity? Have you thought about ways to accurately chart your progress? Have you considered the fact that your pastors have set goals for your spiritual life?”

This Day in 1744. 272 years ago today David Brainerd, 26, began three years of missionary labour among the Indians in New Jersey. He died 3 years later of tuberculosis in the home of Jonathan Edwards. *

What Are Church Indulgences?

Ryan Reeves explains in this short video.

Rural Churches Matter

Lots of attention is given to churches in cities, but this article shows why rural churches matter too.

Does Porn Use Disqualify a Pastor?

John Piper gives his take on whether or not porn use disqualifies a pastor from ministry.

Flashback: The Ten Commandments For Using Modern Media

Short, to the point, and geared to the family: commandments for modern media.

Worry, like a rocking chair, will give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere. —Vance Havner

October 04, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include just a couple of interesting titles: The Printer and the Preacher by Randy Peterson, and Everyday Church by Tim Chester & Steve Timmis.

Adoption: God’s Glorious “Plan A”

“We fell in love with these children; I cried over these children. My heart breaks for these children. I have secret wishes for these children. Wishes I know I can’t change for them, but I begin to wonder if I can change it for others.”

Tent-Making Is Not Second-Class

This is so important! “Through the Thessalonians, the transforming gospel message of faith in Christ had greatly spread. And this came about through their daily work. The Thessalonian believers didn’t become a monastic community, nor did they pull up stakes and head out en masse as overseas missionaries. These first-century believers saw their gospel stewardship through the lens of their vocations and stations in life.”

The ESV Reader’s Bible, Six-Volume Set

I wrote a short, simple review of the new ESV Reader’s Bible. Now J. Mark Bertrand has a much more thorough one. “This is a beautiful concept executed beautifully. It’s one of the best editions I have ever covered at Bible Design Blog.”

I’m Not a Bigot

It’s encouraging to see the occasional flash of common sense. This week, University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson released a video online criticizing political correctness on campus. He also said he doesn’t recognize a person’s right to be addressed using genderless pronouns like “they” instead of “he” or “she.” If I was a betting man, I’d bet he won’t be a professor there for long.

This Day in 1669. 347 years ago today Dutch painter Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, known as the ‘painter of the soul’ for his Christian art (including The Return of the Prodigal Son), died. *

Where Are the Gentlemen Theologians?

Even apart from recent trinitarian controversies, there’s a sound call here to engage in discussion in a civil manner—with convictional kindness. “Where are the Gentlemen Theologians who will lead us with care, civility, and kindness amid the chaos?”

Let Me Repeat Myself?

Jamie Brown is writing a couple of articles on that area of regular critique in evangelicalism: Repetition within worship. (I always want to ask those people about Psalm 136!)

10 Things about that 10 Percent

Sam Storms talks about tithing and whether or not Christians are obligated to give their 10%.

Flashback: The Commitment of the Christian Life

As we commit to the disciplines of the Christian life, our first commitment is to pursue a life that is pleasing to God, which is to say, a life of obedience. 

He that will play with Satan’s bait will quickly be taken with Satan’s hook. —Thomas Brooks

October 03, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include a collection of book by Elyse Fitzpatrick (Found in Him, Give Them Grace, Counsel from the Cross, and Because He Loves Me), the “Little Black Book” series from Matthias Media, and a selection of other titles.

In case you didn’t check in over the weekend, this month’s free book from Logos is Craig Keener’s New Covenant Commentary on Romans. You can get another commentary (Fee on Revelation) for $1.99.

Free from Christian Audio this month is The Poverty of Nations by Wayne Grudem & Barry Asmus. Several other Grudem titles are discounted to $4.98.

Gospel-Driven Humility

What does humility look like? Maybe something like this little anecdote. “Spiritual pride is a destructive force within the church.  This force is most devastating when it finds it’s way into the heart and actions of the spiritual leaders in a church.”

Is Politeness Killing Your Prayer Life?

This is probably true: “Christians in North America are generally polite pray-ers. We tend to pray correct, respectful words that we think God wants to hear. But let’s be honest, many of our prayers are tentative, repetitive, and somewhat boring.”

The Instagram Bible

Jen Wilkin: “Beware the Instagram Bible, my daughters – those filtered frames festooned with feathered verses, adorned in all manner of loops and tails, bedecked with blossoms, saturated with sunsets, culled and curated just for you.”

Remembering the Reformation Less Like Luther, More Like Calvin

Derek Rishmawy picks up on some of Carl Trueman’s recent comments on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

You Shall Not Belittle

How many of us, asked to explain the purpose of the sixth commandment (“you shall not murder”), would begin by saying, “I am not to belittle my neighbour”?

This Day in 1531. 485 years ago today Zwingli and Luther parted ways at Marburg. Zwingli offered his hand, but Luther rejected it. The two agreed on every issue except the theology of the Lord’s supper. *

An Ancient Toilet

An ancient toilet has turned out to be an interesting discovery…


Ten years ago Terri Roberts’ son shot and killed Amish schoolgirls. This story tells of how she has been befriended by the Amish community.

Flashback: Flawed Heroes and Virtuous Villains

It would be a lot easier if there were only good guys and bad guys, the fully orthodox and the outright heretic, with no overlap, no shades of gray, nothing in between.

I’m so glad we live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it? —Lucy Maud Montgomery

October 01, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include Jesus, Continued by J.D. Greear, Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace, Shame Interrupted by Ed Welch, Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel, Preaching with Passion by James Draper. You may also enjoy sorting through Amazon’s $3.99 or less monthly deals. There are lots of titles there and they cross all categories.

This month’s free book from Logos is Craig Keener’s New Covenant Commentary on Romans. You can get another commentary (Fee on Revelation) for $1.99.

Free from Christian Audio this month is The Poverty of Nations by Wayne Grudem & Barry Asmus. Several other Grudem titles are discounted to $4.98.

How To Pray a Psalm

Justin Taylor quotes Donald Whitney to show how the Psalms can be a great starting point for your prayers.

More Than Fun: 5 Intrinsic Values of Videogames

Drew Dixon read my article on video games and says, “While Challies’ article represents a step forward in the church’s awkward relationship with videogames, he made a significant misstep in the process that needs to be corrected.”

The Not-Quite Incorruptible St. Bernadette of Lourdes

Atlas Obscura visits the Chapel of Saint Gidard at the Sisters of Charity in Nevers where you’ll find the not-quite incorruptible remains of St. Bernadette of Lourdes.

God’s Good and Dangerous Gift

There is a new edition of the 9Marks journal for you to download or read online. This month’s subject is the good and dangerous gift of authority.

This Day in 1529. 487 years ago today the Colloquy of Marburg, which attempted to unify followers of Luther and Zwingli, began and ended in disagreement over the doctrine of the Eucharist. Switzerland remained Reformed and Germany stayed Lutheran. *

God’s Little Mercies

Trillia Newbell asks “Did you know October is Spina Bifida awareness month?” She introduces some friends who tell of their experience with it.

God Would Never Ask Me to Sacrifice My Kids….Right?

It’s a valid question, and a very pointed one for some believers: “When do we hit the point where we love our children more than Jesus? Where we tell him, You can have anything, Lord, just not my kids?”

The State of Theology

Earlier in the week I linked to a new study sponsored by Ligonier Ministries. Here’s an interview that helps explain the study and its findings.

The 10 Questions Anyone Considering a Call to Ministry Must Answer

I’m thankful to MBTS for sponsoring the blog this week… 

When God intends to do a great work He stirs up His people to pray for the thing He intends to do. —Michael Haykin

September 30, 2016

I’m writing today from Heathrow Airport in London, as I stop over briefly while journeying up to Edinburgh, Scotland. I am looking forward to visiting my friends at 20schemes and attending their upcoming weekender. I’ll also be preaching this Sunday at Duncan Street Baptist Church.

Today’s Kindle deals include: Beating the College Debt Trap by Alex Chediak, The Envy of Eve by Melissa Kruger, The Search for God and Guinness by Stephen Mansfield, and Crossing the Divide by Jake Hanson.

Westminster Books has a sale on one of my favorite commentary series: The Focus on the Bible commentaries. All the ones I’ve read are good, but Dale Ralph Davis’s Old Testament are especially invaluable, usually considered among the top for those books of the Bible (Joshua, Judges, 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings).

How Christianity Flourishes

Jared Wilson: “I once heard Steve Brown relate this story on the radio: ‘A Muslim scholar once said to a Christian, I cannot find anywhere in the Quran that it teaches Muslims how to be a minority presence in the world. And I cannot find anywhere in the New Testament where it teaches Christians how to be a majority presence in the world.’” Hmm…

The OT Prophets and the Presidential Election

What might the Old Testament prophets have to say about the presidential election? George Guthrie answers.

Old Hollywood’s Abortion Secret

It probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise that behind all the glamor was a lot of pain and abuse. “Much like today, in Old Hollywood, the decisions being made about women’s bodies were made in the interests of men—the powerful heads of motion pictures studios MGM, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., and RKO.”

Remembering the Reformation but Celebrating What?

Carl Trueman offers a rather pessimistic take on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. But it’s a point well taken. “While evangelicals will be remembering the Reformation, what will they actually be celebrating? I suspect the answer is this: They will be celebrating the ability of American evangelicalism to recreate the past in its own image and thereby domesticate any figures whom it wishes to appropriate into its own pantheon of heroes.”

Today. September 30 marks the release of several new books from Crossway including Parenting by Paul Tripp and Why the Reformation Still Matters by Michael Reeves & Tim Chester.

You Know You’re Really Preaching the Gospel When…

“God doesn’t operate like a professional baseball team. He doesn’t call the best and the brightest to the big stage. Rather, he calls the weak and lowly to salvation and then deploys them into ministry. If you’ve been called to ministry, it’s not because God needed you on his team. It’s because he delights in you and wanted you in his family.”

How McNuggets Are Made

This is McDonald’s propaganda, I’m sure. But I still love eating there… 

God Wants You To Find Your Happy Place

Here’s an interview with Randy Alcorn in which he explains why God is so concerned with your happiness.

Flashback: Two Surefire Ways to Avoid Persecution

As Christians we know to expect some measure of suffering, yet we learn there are ways to avoid it. Here are two of them… 

Our capacity for faithfulness makes marriage possible, but our capacity for unfaithfulness makes marriage necessary. —Christopher Ash