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A La Carte

September 02, 2015

Here are some Kindle deals that may be worth a look: The Apologetics Study Bible ($2.99); God’s Not Dead by Rice Broocks ($2.99); On Guard by William Lane Craig ($0.99); A Handbook for Minister’s Wives by Dorothy Patterson ($0.99); Visions of Vocation by Steven Garber ($2.99).

Youth-Driven Culture

Stephen Nichols has an important article about the way we perceive age and youth. “There is something about being young that makes the young think they are immune to the mistakes or missteps of those who have gone before. We all think too highly of ourselves and our capacities. Simply put, we need the wisdom of the past and of the elderly.”

My Goal in Every Conversation with Mormons

Here is some helpful counsel for the next time you interact with Mormon missionaries. The point: Don’t expect that one brief conversation will immediately convert them, and don’t let that fact cause you to give up.

A Dangerous Posting

I am quite inclined to agree with Mark Jones here. He finds himself concerned by Paul Tripp’s public statement about Tullian Tchvidijian and the necessity of making such information public.

Word Biblical Commentary Sale

Logos users will want to check out this outstanding sale on the Word Biblical Commentary series which are down to just $9.99 each. Genesis, Psalms, Colossians, the Pastorals, Hebrews—they all come highly recommended by the commentators on the commentaries.

God Made All of MePre-Order Worthy: God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb is available for pre-order and ships next week. It is written for young children to help them recognize and respond to sexual abuse. (Amazon, Westminster Books)

Once In a Blue Moon

Enjoy this incredible footage of a moon rise over Australia. 

Should We Go Down the Ashley Madison Rabbit Hole?

Erin Straza wrestles with an important question: When information is made public, as in the Ashley Madison dump, does that give us the right or responsibility to search through it? What are the consequences if we do?


The true measure of spiritual growth is not how much knowledge you’ve gained in the past year, but how much you’ve grown in holiness. —Mike Bullmore

September 01, 2015

There are lots of new Kindle deals today: Jesus, Continued by J.D. Greear ($1.99); Teach Us to Want by Jen Pollock Michel ($2.99); Wired for Intimacy by William Struthers ($2.99); Preaching to a Shifting Culture by Various ($1.99); The Gospel of John by William Barclay ($2.99). You may also like to sort through Amazon’s new batch of monthly deals. Free for Logos users this month is a solid commentary on Amos. (You can get a second commentary for $1.99, but the deal doesn’t seem to work yet.)

Ligonier Suspends R. C. Sproul Jr. over Ashley Madison Visit

I was sickened and so sorrowful to hear this news. Christianity Today reports “Ligonier Ministries has suspended R. C. Sproul Jr. until July 2016 due to his admission that he visited the adultery matchmaking website Ashley Madison.”

The Weakness of Ruth Is Greater than the Strength of Samson

I really enjoyed reading this one. “If the book of Judges were all we had to capture this time in Israel’s history, it would be a dismal piece of history indeed. But there’s another story, a hidden sub-plot, to what’s going on in Judges. It’s the tiny companion volume known as Ruth.”

The Word Study Fallacy

William Barrick writes about a common fallacy. “Word studies are also subject to radical extrapolations and erroneous applications. It is not always possible to strike exegetical gold by extracting a word from the text for close examination. Word studies alone will not suffice.”

This Day in 1957: Billy Graham’s New York Crusade came to an end. For sixteen weeks he had preached six nights a week, drawing capacity crowds to Madison Square Gardens. By the time it was over, some two million people had attended.

Growing in Christ, Serving in Ministry

This month’s Tabletalk interview features Sinclair Ferguson, who invariably has insightful things to say.

The Most Popular Bible of the Year

It sounds strange to hear about “the most popular Bible of the year,” doesn’t it? Nevertheless, the Washington Post writes about the enduring popularity of God’s Word and a brand new study Bible.

Protect Your Children, Protect Mine

Melissa makes a very important point: “When you protect your child from the porn industry, you also protect mine.”

I’m Going Free (Jailbreak)

Lately I’ve really been enjoying the song “I’m Going Free” by Vertical Worship. (Occasionally I just need to listen to some loud modern worship music!) I especially appreciate that tiny little line, “The judge is my defense.” What a great salvation.


Praying without ceasing isn’t meant to burden us but to liberate us from all our burdens. —Burk Parsons

August 31, 2015

If you have ever wanted to get oriented in Biblical Theology, you will appreciate these two books from Crossway: What Is Biblical Theology? by James Hamilton ($3.99) and Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church by Michael Lawrence ($3.99). Both are reader-friendly introductions. Other Kindle deals include Going Beyond the Five Points edited by Rob Ventura ($1.99), The Bookends of the Christian Life by Jerry Bridges ($2.99), and The Bible Answer Book (Volume 2) by Hank Hanegraaff ($1.99). Also, Amazon has several hundred Kindle books on sale today. The sale is targetted at students, but open to anyone.

One Strategy to Rule Them All

Nancy Pearcey shows how to answer skeptics from Romans 1. The article is a brief overview of the heart of her book Finding Truth which I have reviewed here.

How Katrina Changed New Orleans

TIME has an interesting infographic that displays how Hurricane Katrina changed New Orleans.

This Day in 1688: John Bunyan died at the age of 59. Bunyan is remembered in history as author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, one of the most-read books of all-time. The book has been translated into more than 200 languages and, to this point, has never gone out of print.

Lazy Writing, Cheap Restoration

Whether or not you agree with every part of this review of War Room, I think you will find that much of it resonates. “This is precisely where War Room, like so many Christian films, stumbles. The characters and situation are so thinly drawn that even those of us who believe in the film’s ultimate message have a hard time with the package wrapped around it.”

Tragedy and Transforming Truth

It sounds like The Purpose Driven Life may be back in the headlines soon. The Grace To You blog is beginning a short series to remind us what the book is about and why many parts of it are concerning.

Leading Your Leaders Retreat

Kevin DeYoung has some good things to say about leading (and enjoying) a church leaders’ retreat.

Preaching, by Tim Keller

9Marks reviews Tim Keller’s newest book Preaching. They offer a handful of measured critiques but in the end “highly recommend this volume for its clear and convincing exhortations to be more culturally literate in our preaching and teaching ministries.”


We’re to love our children for who they are, not for what we want them to become. —Alistair Begg

August 29, 2015

We are cruising to the end of a week and the end of a month. I do not have any new Kindle deals to share today, but I do anticipate having some interesting ones on both Monday and Tuesday. In the meantime, here is some weekend reading for you.

Looking for Abortion Truth in Big Media

This is a solid and important article. “Sometimes we are confronted with such naked, aggressively obvious journalistic mischief that to not call it out would be to bury our heads and consciences in the sand.”

15 Religion Treasures at Yale

You probably weren’t aware of all these books and objects of religious significance housed at Yale. It’s quite a collection!

How to Survive World Religions 101

“Michael Kruger entered his freshman year at the University of North Carolina as a committed Christian. He thought he was ready for the intellectual challenges college would mount against his faith—that is, until he found himself sitting in a New Testament introduction class with Bart Ehrman as his professor. It left him shell-shocked.” He tells how to survive World Religions 101.

This Day in 1792: Charles Finney was born. Finney would become a preacher and revivalist in the years following the Second Great Awakening. Though many continue to regard him as a hero of the faith, his legacy includes destructive, unbiblical, man-centered theology. *

New Words

The Oxford English Dictionary has added some new words to their dictionary including awesomesauce, hangry, butt-dial, pocket-dial, and many more.

Letters to a New Believer

Aaron Armstrong has written an interesting and very personal letter to a new believer. It may be helpful to those who have just come to Christ and are trying to understand how to live as Christians.

Why Are Anti-Judgmental People So Judgmental?

Randy Alcorn: “There’s a growing trend I’ve noticed and have become concerned about: namely, that people who are anti-judgmental are SO judgmental of anyone else they perceive to be passing judgment.”


We are not the reason the gospel works; the gospel is the reason the gospel works. —Ligon Duncan

August 28, 2015

I have a handful of new Kindle deals for you today. Next week will bring more. Today’s include Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand’s great account of Louis Zamperini’s life ($1.99); Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites…and Other Lies You’ve Been Told by Bradley Wright ($0.99); Managing God’s Money by Randy Alcorn ($4.61); When the Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper ($4.61).

A Note to Christian Men

The title could probably be stronger, but the article is rock-solid. Matthew Holst writes about “the look”—the way men look at women when they allow their eyes to roam.

Fasting for Beginners

“Chances are you are among the massive majority of Christians who rarely or never fast. It’s not because we haven’t read our Bibles or sat under faithful preaching or heard about the power of fasting, or even that we don’t genuinely want to do it. We just never actually get around to putting down the fork.”

The Gospels

Westminster Books is both selling and giving away a neat new edition of the ESV that includes only the gospels in an ultra-readable format.

This Day in 1960: Mark Dever was born. Today he serves as pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, president of 9Marks, and co-founder of Together for the Gospel. You can wish him a happy birthday at @MarkDever.

Five Ways to Deepen Your Preaching

Each one of Gavin Ortlund’s preaching tips is very good.

What We Do in Secret

Derek Thomas: “It is altogether possible to practice an outward display of piety—to ‘talk the talk’—without demonstrating any inner reality of godliness. This is true of every professing Christian, and it is especially true of those engaged in Christian ministry.”

10 Ways to Overcome Spiritual Weariness

 Mark Altrogge assures us than “When we’re weary we can find fresh strength, joy and motivation in Christ. Here are 10 ways to do that…”

Southern Baptists Will Cut 600 to 800 Missionaries and Staff

Here is a concerning bit of news from Christianity Today: “Two months after promoting plans to send out ‘limitless’ numbers of missionaries, the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) faces a financial crisis.”


A church without the broken is a broken church. —Ed Stetzer

August 27, 2015

I found no new Kindle deals today but did want to answer a question I have often been asked. What I post day-by-day is a list of curated deals. They are almost all books I can vouch for one way or another—I have read them, they come from a solid publisher, or they have trusted endorsers. There are many more deals to be had, but I focus on deals for good books. And hopefully there will be more tomorrow.

Congregationalism Doesn’t Stop at 8 PM

This is a very strong article on congregationalism and the responsibilities of each church member to all the others. Don’t let the word “congregationalism” intimidate you—read the article!

Should We Watch Murders on Social Media?

I agree with Russell Moore—we’ve got no business watching people get murdered. Wasn’t it Postman who warned that if we watch news we can do nothing about, we are probably actually just entertaining ourselves to death?

Banning Child Labor

It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? We should ban child labor and refuse to support companies that use it. But this article at The Guardian says, “A categorical ban on child labour is a well-intended but poorly thought out measure, because it ignores the direct and indirect effects of such a ban. It is a policy with its head in the sand, one that will overshoot the intended goal of improving the lives of children workers.”

War RoomNew in Theaters: Tomorrow marks the release of War Room, a new film by the Kendrick brothers (Fireproof, Courageous.) Plugged In has an early review. “Even if there’s a degree of cinematic idealization regarding the instant outcome of prayer … the message that the Kendricks deliver here is no less valid or profitable: Prayer is where God reshapes and remolds our souls into the image of His son, Jesus Christ.”

Want Faster Wifi?

Here are some simple, user-friendly tips just about any of us can implement to help the strength of our wifi signal.

Ashley Madison’s Users

This is fascinating, pathetic, and somehow not at all surprising: Almost 100% of the female accounts registered at Ashley Madison were fake. “Ashley Madison is a site where tens of millions of men write mail, chat, and spend money for women who aren’t there.”

Invent a Ministry

As a pastor, I absolutely love to see this in action. “While most churches need workers in the existing ministries, the inability to fit well in one of them may be God’s prompting to start a new one. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a formally recognized ministry.”


There is no such thing as a great man of God, only weak, pitiful, faithless men of a great and merciful God. —Paul Washer

August 26, 2015

Here are today’s Kindle deals: Old-Earth Creationism On Trial by Chaffey & Lisle ($2.99); Mary—Another Redeemer? by James White ($1.99); Read the Bible for Life by George Guthrie ($2.99); Faith and Learning by David Dockery ($2.99).

Another 50 Livers a Week

The Center for Medical Progress has released their eighth video, which shows a meeting with StemExpress CEO Cate Dyer. WORLD has the video and the story along with some analysis.

Pro-Life? There’s An App For That

I think most people on the pro-life side have already understood this. But it is still interesting to consider the vast chasm between the way we speak of an unborn child if we want that child versus if we do not.

When Culture Feels Scary

In the midst of all kinds of bad and scary news in the world, Tim Lane has some genuine encouragement. It came to me like a breath of fresh air.

Which Major Has the Most Expensive Textbooks?

Maybe you want to keep this in mind as you nudge your kids toward college.

This Day in 1708: Ebenezer Erskine was converted. He would soon create, and live by, this covenant: “I offer myself up, soul and body, unto God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I flee for shelter to the blood of Jesus. I will live to Him; I will die to Him. I take heaven and earth to witness that all I am and all I have are His.” *

Should Women Wear Head Coverings?

Writing for The Gospel Coalition, Benjamin L. Merkle offers a helpful answer to the question of head coverings. He argues that there are both cultural and transcultural issues at play, and carefully separates them.

4 Simple Ways Fred Elliot Discipled His Children

Fred was the father of Jim, of course. And this article describes 4 simple but effective ways that Fred discipled his children. “Because the saying is true that disciples aren’t born they’re made, it is difficult to understate the influence Fred had on Jim’s spiritual formation.”


God is so boundlessly pleased with Jesus that in him he is altogether well pleased with us. —C.H. Spurgeon

August 25, 2015

There are lots of good Kindle deals today. Begin with this refreshed two-part Puritan work called “Building a Godly Home”: A Holy Vision for Family Life and A Holy Vision For Raising Children ($2.99 each). Then consider some of B&H’s “Perspectives” series: On the Extent of the Atonement (new and just $0.99); On Family Ministry ($2.99); On Your Child’s Education ($0.99); On Christian Worship ($2.99); On Election ($2.99); On the Sabbath ($2.99). And a few others that are worth checking out: Uneclipsing the Son by Rick Holland ($2.99); In My Father’s House and Conversation Peace by Mary Kassian ($2.99 each); Divine Design by John MacArthur ($2.51).

9 Things You Should Know About Margaret Sanger

For a variety of reasons, Margaret Sanger’s name is back in the news. Joe Carter gives you 9 things you ought to know about her. (Be sure to read points 7 and 8 since we do not further our cause by passing along incomplete or incorrect information about her views on race.)

Friends of a Certain Age

Perhaps this has been your experience: “In your 30s and 40s, plenty of new people enter your life, through work, children’s play dates and, of course, Facebook. But actual close friends — the kind you make in college, the kind you call in a crisis — those are in shorter supply.”

Teaching Our Children the Raw Parts of Scripture

Nick has some counsel on teaching our children the raw parts of Scripture—the parts we may find ourselves eager to skip over.

NIV Zondervan Study BibleNew Book Release: Today marks the release of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible, edited by D.A. Carson (and not to be confused with the venerable NIV Study Bible). You can learn more about it at NIVZondervanStudyBible.com and buy it at Amazon.

Convictions and Cultural Change

This afternoon at 3 PM EST Ligonier Ministries will be hosting a Google hangout featuring Dr. John MacArthur and Stephen Nichols. You can find information at the link.

Making Ocean Water Drinkable

California’s Carlsbad Desalination Project, which will start operating later this year, will process more than 104 million gallons of seawater daily, turning about half that into drinking water. Here’s how they do it.

Organic Food, Essential Oils, and the Gospel of Grace

Quite right: “While eating organic foods and using non-traditional medicine certainly can be valuable, the danger comes when we develop a sense of superiority to go along with it.”

Encouraging Parents of Prodigals

“What could be more grievous to Christian parents than to have their adult child reject the Gospel?” This article offers encouragement to those parents.


I would rather fail in the weakness of the Spirit than succeed in the power of the flesh. —Ray Ortlund

August 24, 2015

This week Crossway is offering John Piper’s “The Swans Are Not Silent” series at just $3.99 each. These are excellent short biographies of key Christian figures. The Legacy of Sovereign Joy; The Hidden Smile of God; The Roots of Endurance; Contending for Our All; Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ. You will also find Heaven by Christopher Morgan & Robert Peterson for $3.99, and Matt Chandler’s To Live Is Christ to Die Is Gain for free.

You Really Don’t Need To Work So Much

“The past fifty years have seen massive gains in productivity, the invention of countless labor-saving devices, and the mass entry of women into the formal workforce.” So why do we all work so many hours?

Reflections on a Planned Parenthood Protest

John Piper reflects on Saturday’s Planned Parenthood protests. You may also want to read this article from a different source but dealing with the same subject: Now We Know Why Reporters Won’t Cover The Planned Parenthood Videos.

Hurricane Katrina Photos

This is very interesting. “10 years on, Getty Images photographer Mario Tama has been back to New Orleans to revisit the scenes of his iconic images to see how the once obliterated areas have changed.” He has done so through some during and after photos.

A New Song: “We Are Not Overcome” by Bifrost Arts is a song you may enjoy. We have adapted (simplified) it for use in our worship services and it is quickly becoming a favorite.

Keep on Welcoming

There’s some wisdom here on welcoming people to your church. This is the one I most needed to hear: “Weeks three, four, and beyond are also key.”

Ashley Madison: Faithfulness

There are some important takeaways in Mark Jones’ article on the Ashley Madison fiasco. “Basically, Paul describes ‘Ashley Madison’ long before computer hackers made many of us aware that such a website existed.” Also read Scotty Smith’s meditative prayer based on Proverbs 7.

Go, and Be

This little tribute to the Scottish highlands may be a little bit overdone but, oh my, is the scenery ever beautiful!


The true convert does not receive the gospel as an addition to his previous life, but in exchange for it. —Paul Washer

August 22, 2015

Today we will see protests against Planned Parenthood all across America. If you have time this morning, why don’t you consider attending. They will run from 9am to 11am, and you can find location information at ProtestPP.com.

What Causes Cage-Stage Calvinism?

We’ve all seen it, I think. Most of us have probably fallen into it at one time or another. R.C. Sproul Jr. explains why and how.

The Danger of Comparison

I am one of those people who is prone to the comparison trap, so I enjoyed this article. “Jealousy dethrones God’s sovereignty by feeling entitled to another person’s blessings in life. Jealousy makes everyone a thief of what you should have.”

How Big Is a Blue Whale’s Heart?

This video will show you. The answer, not surprisingly, is “very big.”

3 Things to Remember Before You Criticize Someone’s Theology

Justin Taylor offers 3 important reminders. “Critique done poorly—whether through overstatement, misunderstanding, caricature—is a losing proposition for all. It undermines the credibility of the critic and deprives the one being criticized from the opportunity to improve his or her position.”

Meditation and Sermon Preparation

“The difference between a message that is a ‘Bible study’ and a message that is a ‘sermon’ is the additional meditative substance in the latter, by which God speaks through His word, and through the preacher.”

Mastering the Giant Comma

One of my weaknesses in writing is properly using semicolons. So I needed to watch this.

Why You Need a Fighting Faith

Thanks to P&R for sponsoring the blog this week. Sponsors are integral to the ongoing operation of this site, so I am grateful for each one.


I believe the holier a man becomes, the more he mourns over the unholiness which remains in him. —C.H. Spurgeon