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A La Carte

May 03, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include The Story of Everything by Jared Wilson ($2.99) along with The Insanity of God and The Insanity of Obedience by Nik Ripken ($0.99 each). Also, yesterday I incorrectly linked to Christian Audio and their free audiobook, so here’s a correct link to download Tozer’s Delighting in God.

Stop Saying “I Feel Like”

This is fascinating and well-reasoned: “Here is the paradox: ‘I feel like’ masquerades as a humble conversational offering, an invitation to share your feelings, too — but the phrase is an absolutist trump card. It halts argument in its tracks.” 

Puritans on the Potomac

Timothy George has penned a great profile of Capitol Hill Baptist Church. “To reverse the fortunes of a flagging downtown congregation required skill, pluck, and some sanctified grit. [Mark] Dever had all of these, but he also put in place a strategy that most church growth gurus would have deplored.”

A Q&A with the Apostle Paul

Justin Taylor somehow convinced the Apostle Paul to take time out of his busy schedule to do a bit of Q&A.

The Preacher and Personal Productivity

I was a guest on a new episode of Jason Allen’s podcast Preaching and Preachers. We discussed pastors and personal productivity. Speaking personally, I really enjoyed the conversation since it was obvious that Allen has thought deeply about these issues.

You Are What You Eat

“The nation’s most popular recipe site reveals the enormous gap between foodie culture and what people actually cook.” The article has some stellar lines in it like this: “The casserole tasted exactly as you’d imagine: an alchemy of salt and lipids designed to flow to the pleasure centers of your brain before, shortly afterward, migrating to the shame centers and then hardening in the arteries.”

Aimee Semple McPherson and Early Pentecostalism

Robert Godfrey tells the bizarre story of Aimee Semple McPherson’s disapperance and offers his guess as to what really happened.

7 Troubling Questions About Transgender Theories

Trevin Wax: “These newfound controversies are complicated, at least in part because of transgender theory itself. The unmooring of ‘gender identity’ from ‘biological sex’ leads to a number of unresolved questions, as well as troubling inconsistencies among advocates of transgender rights.”

This Day in 1738. 278 years ago today, preacher and evangelist, George Whitefield, arrived in the United States for his first of seven ministry tours. *

Why American Passenger Trains Are So Bad

“Amtrak turns 45 today, leaving many people wondering how is it that a rich and powerful country that was a pioneer in railroad adoption in the 19th century has such terrible passenger trains today.” It’s not like the Canadian equivalent is any better.

Owls’ Silent Flight

This is an amazing little video from the BBC.

Flashback: Little Jumps in Studios

President Obama slow-jammed with Fallon and danced with Ellen. Prime Minister Thatcher refused to make a little jump. Here’s why it matters and why I admire her for it. (Note: Readers have requested that I link to my daily “Flashback” in A La Carte. I’m going to try it…)

Carey

I’m not afraid of failure; I’m afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter. —William Carey

May 02, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full and Glimpses of Grace by Gloria Furman ($3.99); Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney ($2.99); The Christian Mom’s Idea Book by Ellen Elwell ($2.99). Also consider John by John MacArthur ($0.99) and Lincoln’s Battle with God by Stephen Mansfield ($1.99). You’ll also find a new list of general market monthly deals for $3.99 or less.

This month’s free book from Logos is Alister McGrath’s Why God Won’t Go Away. Free from Christian Audio is A.W. Tozer’s Delighting in God.

The Lost Art of Christian Polemics

Conrad Mbewe: “The tragedy on today’s ecclesiastical landscape is the number of heretics who are thriving inside evangelicalism. They are having a field day and hardly anyone is raising a voice against them.”

The Modern Man’s Fantasy World

“Is there any wonder why there is such a decline in biblical masculinity in the church? It is a shame that many men are far too busy conquering fake lands, looking at fake women, and winning fake championships to follow Christ’s path of self-denying, cross-bearing, service.”

Steph Curry’s Joy in Adversity

I enjoyed this article from Bethany Jenkins: “On Wednesday, as Curry sat the bench, he wasn’t morose or sullen. He didn’t appear jealous of his teammates or hesitant to celebrate their successes. In fact, he seemed like the happiest person in the arena.”

Is This For Real?

I love posts like this one. “Our lives here in Cameroon are becoming our ‘new normal’ but every once and a while we look at one another and say, ‘Is this for real?’ Here are some funny examples…”

Preaching for the ‘Home Run’

Perhaps this will serve as Monday morning encouragement for pastors (both as they think about yesterday’s sermon and as they begin to think about next Sunday’s).

This Day in 373. 1,643 years ago today, church father, Athanasius, died. He was known for fighting against the heresy, Arianism (and winning), and for being the first to list the New Testament canonical books as we know them today. *

How To Remember Someone’s Name

I’m a chronic name-forgetter. For that reason I try to do all three of these things.

How the Federal Government Is Transforming Public Education

This seems inevitable: “Parents cannot be caught flat-footed. Action taken by the courts will inexorably work their way down to every local district and school.”

Davis

Your help is in the name of the Lord, not in the name of your favorite Christian hero. —Dale Ralph Davis

April 30, 2016

This weekend’s Kindle deals include Think It Not Strange by John Piper ($2.99) and Read the Bible for Life by George Guthrie ($0.99). You will also find a couple of the Kindle devices on sale today, discounted around $20 each. Finally, this is the final day to get a bunch of deals from Crossway that includes one of my books.

When Did Each of the Biblical Patriarchs Live and Die?

Justin Taylor did the work and has mapped it all out for us.

What Is the Most Expensive Object on Earth?

Now there’s a difficult question to answer. But that didn’t keep the BBC from trying.

9 Things You Should Know About Jehovah’s Witnesses

Joe Carter: “When he died last week at the age of 57, pop singer Prince was arguably the most famous Jehovah’s Witness in the world. Here are nine things you should know about the obscure religious group that emerged from the Bible Student movement in the late 1870s…”

Sydney Opera House 360°

Google gives you an amazing 360° experience capturing one of the world’s busiest performing arts centres between the acts — waking up, in rehearsal and at rest.

On Target

Mike Wittmer: “As our culture steams toward what may be its tipping point, let’s remember that sin doesn’t work. Sin never has worked. Sin cannot work. Those determined to deny God’s natural law and go their own way will inevitably fall into fifty shades of trouble.”

5 Awkward Conversations for Teens to Have With Parents

“As a teenage Christ-follower, I want to share with you five awkward and sanctifying conversations I believe every teenager and parent should have.”

Self-Promoting Wolves or Selfless Shepherds?

David Murray continues to think about spiritual abuse within the Reformed church and identifies four marks of faithful leaders.

Tomorrow in 1873. 143 years ago tomorrow (May 1), missionary and explorer David Livingstone died. *

9 Marks of a Christian Family

“What makes a Christian family distinct from a non-Christian one? Is it the number of times those in it attend church each week, or are there many more fundamental differences?” Paul Tautges answers.

4 Ways to Help your Teenagers Discover Their Identity In a Confused World

I’m grateful to Family Life for sponsoring the blog this week with “4 Ways to Help your Teenagers Discover Their Identity In a Confused World.”

Anyabwile

The best preachers are plagiarists. All they do is tell people what God has said. —Thabiti Anyabwile

April 29, 2016

Sorting through all of the possibilities, I came to just a few noteworthy Kindle deals: Seeing Christ In All of Scripture by Westminster Seminary ($2.99); Baptist Foundations by Mark Dever & Jonathan Leeman ($2.99); A History of Christianity by Joseph Early ($2.99). 

Logos users may want to poke through these 7 pages of deals since they will be ending tomorrow. And you’ve got just one day left to download Taking God at His Word by Kevin DeYoung for free from Christian Audio.

Parchments

You’ve probably never thought about this before: How much did it cost Paul to write an epistle? The answer may surprise you.

Governed by Bad News or Good News?

There is lots of bad news all around us. “But we must resist the temptation to be governed by the bad news around us. We must not act as though this is a terrible time to be alive as a Christian in America because the opposite is true.”

Big Mac Economics

Here’s why economists keep track of the prices of Big Macs.

Satan’s Strategies

“In a world of shysters and cons, you are wise to be alert to their strategies. When at the train station in Rome, pickpockets are everywhere so keep money and important documents secure. When you receive internet requests for money, ignore them. When you are promised a 10% return on your investment, don’t give up a penny. And when you have an enemy who is always out to get you, stay current with his schemes.”

Success Is Dangerous

Jared Wilson: “It is perfectly normal for humans to prefer success to failure. You’d be a weirdo if you didn’t. And yet it is perfectly normal for humans to taint all their successes with the swelling of their big fat heads. You’d be a weirdo if you didn’t.”

7 Questions About Transgender People, Answered

From The Federalist: “What social science research we have on transgender people and gender dysphoria is limited, but it does not support the agenda of trans activists.”

Angel Falls

This is some incredible drone footage of the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall.

This Day in 1607. 409 years ago today, the first Anglican (Episcopal) church in the American colonies was established at Cape Henry, Virginia. *

Family Worship for Stability

While this article is written specifically for minorities, its principles apply to any and every family. “As a black Christian man with a multi-ethnic heritage and a multi-racial and multi-cultural family, it is my conviction that a means by which God can keep black, brown, and other Christian minority families close to Jesus, close to each other, and structurally intact is by the Christian men in these families committing themselves to lead their families in regular family worship in accordance with the scriptures.”

Nature Hacks

I don’t know how helpful these hacks are, but they’re definitely interesting.

Carson

Jesus did not come to impress the crowds, but to die for sinners. —D.A. Carson

April 28, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include just a few: War of the World Views by Ken Ham ($2.99), A Place of Healing by Joni Eareckson Tada ($1.99), and Picture Perfect by Amy Baker ($1.99). Also, today is the last day to get Visual Theology from Westminster Books at $10. It will ship in a week or two—as soon as they receive more.

Thoughts On The Rise And Fall Of Pastors

This is a really good and really urgent article by Scott Sauls.

When Prayer Feels Like a Chore

It is sad but undeniable that sometimes the great privilege of prayer can feel like a chore or burden.

Canonicity: Why These 66 Books?

This is helpful: “We believe in the 39 books of the Old Testament, because the Lord Jesus Christ affirmed the Old Testament. And we believe in the 27 books of the New Testament, because the Lord Jesus Christ authorized His apostles to write the New Testament.” Affirmed and authorized—hold on to those two words!

Is it Biblical for Churches to Require a Tithe?

The answer is pretty obvious but the explanation and pastoral applications are well worth reading.

See No Evil

“If there’s any good reason to distrust the self-awareness of contemporary progressives, it’s the cultural epidemic of pornography.” Quite right! 

This Day in 1948. 68 years ago today, pastor Richard Wurmbrand, founder of Voice of the Martyrs, was captured on his way to church and held hostage as Prisoner Number 1. Over time, he was a prisoner for over 14 years. He tells his story in Tortured for Christ. *

The Problem With Baby Dedications

Andrew Wilson isn’t against baby dedications, but against the terminology. Hear him out! 

Young Men — Is This You?

This lays down the challenge for young men: “ ‘Need’ is a strong word. But I use it intentionally and I use it passionately. Yes, I use it urgently. Our culture desperately needs men. Not boys! We have plenty of boys. The church needs men, real men, godly men, holy men, biblical men. As a minister of the gospel, as a student of Scripture, as a biblical counselor, and as a man after God’s own heart, I will list 8 traits that should characterize men. So — young men: is this you?”

Holiday in Poland

What a beautiful video of Poland!

DeYoung

If you are not concerned about holiness, you are not concerned about the Great Commission. —Kevin DeYoung

April 27, 2016

There are some good Kindle deals today: B&H has put many of their New American Commentary Studies on sale for $0.99 each: Believer’s Baptism by Thomas Schreiner; Enthroned on Our Praise by Timothy Pierce; God’s Indwelling Presence by James Hamilton; The Lord’s Supper by Thomas Schreiner; The End of the Law by Jason Meyer; That You May Know by Christopher Bass. Also, many volumes in the Perspectives series are also $0.99 or $2.99: Perspectives on the Ending of Mark; Perspectives on Your Child’s EducationPerspectives on the Doctrine of God; Perspectives on Election; Perspectives on Church Government; Perspectives on Children’s Spiritual FormationPerspectives on Spirit BaptismPerspectives on Christian WorshipPerspectives on the Extent of the AtonementPerspectives on Our Struggle With Sin.

If You’ve Cheated, Should You Tell Your Spouse?

“Adultery is devastating. In the aftermath of an adulterous affair, the offending spouse must first turn away from sin through repentance before God. But after such repentance takes place, there’s another question that has to be answered: Should you confess the adultery to your spouse?” Russell Moore answers.

Should Christians Cremate Their Loved Ones?

John Piper: “My proposal in this article is that Christian churches be willing to help families financially with simple Christ-exalting funerals and burials, so that no Christian is drawn to cremation because it’s cheaper.”

Edwards and Interpreting Providence

Thomas Kidd writes about Jonathan Edwards and interpreting providence.

Inside the Popular, Controversial Bethel Church

Whatever you think of Bethel Church, I suspect you’ll be interested in this longform article from Christianity Today.

Home Row

Yesterday I was a guest on Home Row, Jeff Medders’ podcast about writing. I really enjoyed the conversation!

Love & Bragging

There are lots of good takeaways in this article. “The last thing that makes sense is for a human—something which can’t go a few days without food and water, gets sick, smells, uses the restroom, sins, can do nothing to get itself to heaven, deserves hell, has to spend ⅓ of its life sleeping, and then be buried in the ground—to brag.”

He Will Hold Me Fast

Southern Seminary’s Norton Hall Band sings a sweet rendition of “He Will Hold Me Fast.”

This Day in 1667. 349 years ago today, at age 58, English poet John Milton sold the copyright to his religious epic “Paradise Lost” for ten English pounds (less than $30). *

The Spirituality of Snoopy

I enjoyed this article on the spirituality of Charles Schulz. 

Themelios 41.1

There’s a new edition of Themelios available. You can read it on the site or download it to read later.

Ferguson

By definition we cannot “qualify” for grace in any way, by any means, or through any action. —Sinclair Ferguson

April 26, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include Preaching the Old Testament by Scott Gibson ($2.99) and NIV Zondervan Study Bible edited by D.A. Carson ($4.99). Beyond that, you may be interested in the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary which are $4.99 each.

Some people have been asking about purchasing Visual Theology. As far as I can tell, it is sold out everywhere (though I hear rumor it may be available at some local Lifeway stores). You can backorder it at Amazon, Westminster Books, and other retailers. I suspect Amazon is the way to get it soonest. (If you’re in Canada, Indigo has 3 left in stock.)

When Character Matters Less Than Talent

This is so important: “If you look at some of the celebrity pastors who have recently fallen you can see a pattern. They had obvious talents and gifts and passion, but there were a few questions about character. But we let some of those character issues slide in the hopes that character would eventually catch up with the talents.”

Remembering Marshall Harrison Brown

I don’t know Jamie Brown or his father Marshall Harrison Brown, but I sure did enjoy reading this sweet, gospel-drenched remembrance.

The Least Attended Church Gathering

You can probably guess what the least attended church gathering is. Nick explains and diagnoses. It strikes me that all 4 of the reasons he offers can apply to individuals as much as their churches.

A Song in Malawi

I really enjoyed this video of a little Presbyterian church in Malawi singing praise last Sunday. (This church is associated with my friend Fletcher and Joy to the World Ministries.)

Facebook Isn’t the Social Network Anymore

“Now there are signs that it may have peaked. Not as a media platform, or as a place where people simply spend time on the web, and certainly not as a business. But as a social network per se—a place where people go to connect with friends and acquaintances—Facebook may be just beginning to wane.” But don’t think that its losing purpose or influence.

Ten Cravings of the Sinful Nature

Just how sinful and obnoxious is the sinful nature? This article gives some glimpses.

This Day in 2006. 10 years ago today, Together for the Gospel hosted their first conference—and I liveblogged it! *

A Virtual Reality Check

Is virtual reality the next big thing? If so, this article offers valuable thoughts on its potential blessings and costs.

Six Major Theses

This summary from Eerdmans gives a preview of Richard Longenecker’s massive new commentary on Romans

Platt

The martyrs did not die because they believed the gospel, they died because they proclaimed the gospel. —David Platt

April 25, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include 5 from Crossway: Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper ($2.99); Note to Self by Joe Thorn ($2.99); Jesus or Nothing by Dan DeWitt ($3.99); Growing in Christ by J.I. Packer ($3.99); The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment by me ($3.99). Also consider The Hope of Glory by Sam Storms ($2.99); Show Them Jesus by Jack Klumpenhower ($1.99); Running Scared by Ed Welch ($2.99); The Grand Weaver by Ravi Zacharias ($0.99).

Board Game Sale

A couple of times a year Amazon puts strategy board games on sale. Today is one of those days. How did I not know there’s a game called “1812: The Invasion of Canada”?

Beautifully True

How can we know the Bible is true? John Piper responds in this artistic video.

How Facebook Plans to Take Over the World

According to The Guardian, Facebook “went from digital directory for college kids to communications behemoth – and it’s planning for prosperity with its global takeover.”

Give Us Eyes for the Lonely

“Can you see them? Do you know who they are? They sit among us in the congregation, sometimes at the heart of the body, sometimes on the fringes. They worship on Sundays and gather for Bible studies. Some come to events and activities, hoping that maybe if they come enough and do enough, they will start to belong.”

Word Matters

Podcast listeners may want to check out this new one from Trevin Wax and Brandon Smith. “Each episode takes a contested or puzzling passage of the Bible, walks through the most common interpretations, and then recommends how to preach or teach the passage effectively.”

This Day in 1800. 216 years ago today, English poet William Cowper died. Cowper (along with John Newton) wrote many Olney Hymns, such as “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood” and “God Moves in a Mysterious Way.” *

The Extraordinary Pastor

“Quite a number, if not the majority, of pastors, ministers, evangelists and preachers, for part of the time at least, are tempted to, or actually do, preach from unworthy motives, to make life harder for others, or increase their own success.”

Which Countries Are the Most/Least Overrun by Tourists?

“If you want to visit a place not overrun by tourists, where should you go? In other words, which are the least ‘touristy’ countries in the world?”

Mohler

Christ will hold us fast. But we need gospel friends to hold us close. —Albert Mohler