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A La Carte

September 02, 2016

I’ve dug up just 3 new Kindle deals today: Tulip by Duane Edward Spencer, Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges, and Pleasing God by R.C. Sproul. You can always find new deals at the Kindle Deals for Christians page.

I sorted through the monthly Logos deals and found a few noteworthy ones: The excellent Focus on the Bible Commentaries are $110 off; You can save 28% on the David Platt sermon archive; The Oxford History of the Christian Church series is $140 off; you can save 27% on Theologians on the Christian Life volumes.

Can Capitalist Pigs be Pious Christians?

I quite agree: “The world of business has a bad name because most people—including those running businesses—don’t know why they exist.”

Church Libraries as an Antidote to “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind”

This is a really neat article and interview about church libraries. 

Crab + Anemone

This is so interesting. This crab changes shells…then carefully moves the anemones that have been clinging to it.

The Sin of Talking Too Much

Paul Tautges outlines some of the dangers that can come from talking too much.

When the President Comes to Town

A photojournalist tells what happens when he receives White House press credentials and is invited to cover a presidential visit.

This Day in 1973. 43 years ago today J.R.R. Tolkien, writer of the famed Lord of the Rings Trilogy, died at the age of 82. *

Pastoral Prayer as Worship

I appreciate what Josh here says about the pastoral prayer—a crucial element of a worship service!

Guam Explained

Guam is one of those interesting nations that doesn’t fit any clear category. This short video explains it.

Flashback: God, You’ve Got the Wrong Guy

I’m not able to lead this family, I’m not able to make decisions on behalf of this church, I’m not able to speak truth into this situation, I’m not able to stand up there and speak. I am quite certain that you have found yourself battling similar fears.

Not all “God-sized” visions are from God. Many are from a god-sized ego, and have no claims on God’s provision.J.R. Vassar 

September 01, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: We Cannot Be Silent by Al Mohler, True Friendship by Vaughan Roberts, Building Blocks in Earth Science by Gary Parker, Transforming Homosexuality by Denny Burk & Heath Lambert, and Beginning at Moses by Michael Barrett. You may also be interested in looking through their monthly general market deals for $3.99 or less.

Logos users will want to pick up this month’s free book: Thabiti Anyabwile’s What Is a Healthy Church Member? You can get a second book in the 9Marks series for $1.99 and enter a draw to win the whole thing.

Christian Audio is giving away a book I’m not familiar with: The Boy Born Dead.

Why Chairs Are Cheap and EpiPens Are Expensive

Joe Carter: “Why are EpiPens so expensive? Because Mylar has a government controlled monopoly that prevents anyone else from making similar products. And yet, ironically, many economically uninformed people are blaming the rapid price increase on the free market.”

Sex Negative

Carl Trueman has some brilliant lines in this article. “Sex is no longer the consummation of an exclusive bond. Now it is just a form of recreation. A bit like golf, but usually cheaper and generally without the plaid pants.”

The Simple Solution to Traffic

Basically it’s your fault and my fault and to fix it we need to turn over the keys…

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

R.C. Sproul explains what we pray for when we say, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Atheism Is Not Endearing

Atheism just can’t escape its natural consequences. “Atheism is the undisputed ruler of the internet, but it reigns alongside the most twisted forms of pornography and human degradation imaginable. There is a reason that Reddit and 4Chan are bastions of sophomore skepticism on one wing, and factories of sexual nihilism and abuse in the other.”

The Invisible Mother

This is a powerful article on mothers whose children are stillborn. “I am a mother with no living children. As a result, I am often forced to defend my motherhood, especially when others — whether through unthinking neglect or through an unwillingness to identify with me — strip it from me for having empty arms.”

This Day in 1803. 214 years ago today the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge was established. This was the first tract society in North America. *

God Has a Name, and He’s Given It To Jesus

Here’s something to chew on: “Jesus Christ now bears the name Yahweh. And rather than detract from God’s glory, confessing Jesus as Yahweh magnifies it.” 

The Mammoth Pirates

Here’s a fascinating story and photo essay about a whole new kind of gold rush in Russia’s Arctic north.

Flashback: Writing Tips

Here are writing tips that focus on the tools and context of writing.

 

The wheels of justice may seem to turn slowly, but they turn surely. —Randy Alcorn

August 31, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson; The Christian’s Work of Daily Dying by John Owen (New from GLH Publishing); Preaching to a Shifting Culture by Scott Gibson; and The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel.

Westminster Books has the excellent NICOT commentary series on sale. These are some of the best commentaries available on many books of the Old Testament, including Genesis (volume 1 and volume 2), Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Proverbs (volume 1 and volume 2), Isaiah (volume 1 and volume 2), and I’d better stop there. Consult my Best Commentaries series for more.

J. Alec Motyer: A Personal Remembrance

This is one of the best things I’ve read all week.

10 Public Speaking Tips from Charles Spurgeon

“What was Spurgeon’s secret? How did the ‘Prince of Preachers’ master the art of public speaking? Here are ten tips from Spurgeon’s lecture ‘On the Voice.’”

Judging Parents for an Unreal Risk

This one from NPR is quite interesting. “In the United States today, leaving children unsupervised is grounds for moral outrage and can lead to criminal charges. What’s changed?” Not the actual risks!

Your Marriage is Either Growing or It Isn’t

Melissa says “I think after seventeen years I have finally begun to learn that no marriage will grow deep and strong unless we are both firmly planted in God’s word, letting the words of life sustain us as individuals and as a couple.”

Praying in Public Without Performing

John Piper’s recent funeral prayer (prayed at a funeral for a family of 5) has been listened to 700,000 times. Here he discusses praying in public without performing.

Being ThereBeing There. New today is “Being There” by Dave Furman. “Dave Furman offers insight into the support, encouragement, and wisdom that people need when helping others. He draws on his own life experiences, examples from the Bible, and wisdom from Christians throughout history to address the heart and ministry of those who are called to serve others.” Learn more or buy it at Amazon.

Pray for Nabeel Qureshi

Apologist Nabeel Qureshi is asking for prayer after learning that he has advanced cancer.

The Deadliest Garden in the World

“Locked behind black steel doors in Northumberland, England, the Poison Garden at Alnwick Castle grows around 100 infamous killers.” And they are all plants… 

Flashback: A Living Example at Columbine High

This little scene takes place in the immediate aftermath of the shootings at Columbine High, just hours after they erupted. The last survivors have been brought to their parents and a few families remain, grappling with the reality that their children will never return… 

Byrd

Failure to see our sin as primarily against God is, I believe, the reason we experience so little heartfelt grief over it. —Jerry Bridges

August 30, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: Reading God’s Story by George Guthrie; Delighting in the Law of the Lord by Jerram Barrs; Embracing Obscurity by Anonymous; The Gospel Commission by Michael Horton; A Model of Christian Maturity by D.A. Carson; Managing Your Family’s High Tech Habits by Arnie Cole. You know where to find them.

10 Things You Should Know About Male Headship

Sam Storms rounds ‘em up.

Don’t Waste Your Basal Ganglia

Timmy Brister: “Have you ever heard of your basal ganglia? Yeah, me neither. But I’m telling you now, and I beg you, please do not waste your basal ganglia. Let me explain why.”

The Muslim Who Walked from Somalia to Attend My Christian Son’s Funeral

I was glad to see this article from Nik Ripken posted to Fox News. “I have never been quite so humbled, and I have never seen such a demonstration of friendship.  I couldn’t help but wonder if most Christians I knew would make such an effort to mourn with a Muslim family whose heart was as broken as ours?”

Take a Course with R.C. and Me

I wanted to remind you about this course that R.C. Sproul is teaching and I am moderating. We’d love to have you join!

The World’s Strangest Borders

I really enjoy this videos about the strange realities of our world.

How Reliable Is Your Conscience?

Conscience is an area of theology that has received too little attention! 

This Day in 1900. 116 years ago today Boxer rebels in China executed missionaries Willie and Helen Peat, their children and associates. *

A Back to School Prayer

Melissa Kruger: “As my children spend less time in my presence, I am thankful that I can bring all my concerns and cares before the Lord in prayer.”

Don’t Drive Slowly in the Left Lane

This video illustrates why it’s a bad (and dangerous, even) idea to drive slowly in the left lane.

Flashback: Why You Should Not Wear a Crucifix

Crucifixes have long been a fixture in Roman Catholic worship. But in the past few years I have begun to see more and more Protestants wearing them as well, exchanging their empty cross for one that contains an image of the suffering Savior.

The wisest counsel is worthless if it goes disregarded. —Jeremy Walker

August 29, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include 4 from Crossway: Finishing Our Course With Joy and Weakness Is the Way by J.I. Packer, Disability and the Gospel by Michael Beates, and Why, O God? by Larry Waters.

Why Man and Woman Are Not Equal

This is so good: “Women create, shape, and maintain human culture. Manners exist because women exist. Worthy men adjust their behavior when a woman enters the room. They become better creatures. Civilization arises and endures because women have expectations of themselves and of those around them. This is not just a conservative or traditionalist idea.”

The Beautiful Gift of Gospel Community

“Here’s reality: life is hard! Yet, God has so gifted us with a means to remind each other of the gospel in Christian community.”

Meet the Greater Honeyguide

This is fascinating: “On the African savanna, a fascinating and unprecedented partnership between people and wild birds gets started with a simple ‘brrr-hm’.”

A Reflection of Aching Joy

I was touched by this video—a poem combined with a video as a father expresses his love for his son.

Bring Back the Church Prayer Meeting

Yes and amen! The loss of the prayer meeting has been a sad loss to many churches.

This Day in 1632. 384 years ago today John Locke, English philosopher and author of The Reasonableness of Christianity, was born. *

You Could’ve Been Something

Wow. “Somewhere in all of the hype and go-get-em pep rallies for God, I started believing that I needed to become something. When the Gospel is left out and you tell a room of 16 year olds that the world is their oyster, Jesus starts to look like a patsy who missed his calling. He could’ve been something.”

Welcome to the Big Time

This is a longform article from ESPN that examines the troubling history of the daily fantasy sports industry. In short, “The implosion of the daily fantasy industry is a bro-classic tale of hubris, recklessness, political naïveté and a kill-or-be-killed culture.”

Flashback: The Lost Virtue of Self-Control

There are two different lives I lead. Two different kinds of life. There is the life I love, but that is so difficult to maintain, and there is the life I hate, but am so often tempted toward. The first is a life of discipline and self-control, while the second is a life of disorganization and instability. I love the first life, but am constantly sliding toward the second.

God has linked together holiness and happiness; and what God has joined together we must not think to put asunder .J.C. Ryle

August 27, 2016

I was not able to scrounge up any new Kindle deals today, though I know there will be some good ones coming next week (with the start of a new week and the start of a new month). Stay tuned to the Kindle Deals for Christians page.

J. Alec Motyer (1924-2016)

Yesterday brought the news that Alec Motyer, a prominent Old Testament scholar and commentator, had died. Justin Taylor provides an obituary.

A Reasonable Case Against Same-Sex Marriage

Michael Bird makes a very reasonable case against same-sex marriage. You may need to do a bit of translation from his Australian context, but it still holds up well on this side of the Pacific.

Can Mother Ever Relax?

“When my children were little, it seemed so much more straightforward. I prayed for wisdom to know what to say; now, I pray for wisdom to know if I should say anything. That is one of the hardest things I have learned as my kids have grown up: knowing when to speak.”

The Budapest Escape Room That Started the Worldwide Craze

Escape rooms have suddenly become all the rage. This article tells where and how they began (and why that’s not a surprise).

On David Gushee’s Dishonesty

I’ve read quite a few responses to David Gushee’s recent column at Religion News Service. I do believe this is the best.

This Day in 1960. 56 years ago today Mark Dever was born. Happy birthday, Mark! 

Can We Be Saved Without the Church?

Yes, even Protestants can and should ask this question.

The Men’s Dress Shoe Hierarchy

Here’s all you need to know about dress shoes for men. File it away because you’ll want to refer to it at some point!

Why Most Chinese American Christians Are Conservative Evangelicals

“Chinese American sociologists, historians, and theologians, and even the Pew Research Center all confirm the fact that Asian American Christians are predominantly conservative evangelicals, as opposed to liberal Protestants, Roman Catholics, or Eastern Orthodox.” Why?

Flashback: Downstream in the Moral Sewage

Drawing some lessons about the moral sewage flowing downstream.

The Pastor as Renaissance Man

I’m thankful to MBTS for sponsoring the blog this week with “The Pastor as Renaissance Man.”

A life of humility is not an option for a believer to choose or reject. It is a command of God. —Jerry Bridges 

August 26, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include 4 titles: Romans (The Story of God Bible Commentary) by Michael Bird; The Life of God in the Soul of the Church by Thabiti Anyabwile; Heaven: Your Real Home by Joni Eareckson Tada; and How To Read the Bible Book by Book by Gordon Fee.

Westminster Books has a great deal on a new book that looks really helpful: Faith that Lasts: Raising Kids That Don’t Leave the Church by Jon Nielson.

How Celibacy Can Fulfill Your Sexuality

This is a good and important word from Sam Allberry. “Marriage is not ultimate, but it points to the thing that is. Marriage itself is not meant to fulfill us, but to point to the thing that does.”

Critic or Disciple?

Here’s a great little anecdote from the life of John Stott.

The Hidden World of the National Parks

Google has put together an impressive site to celebrate 100 years of National Parks. With it you can tour through some of the most amazing parks.

The Lie of Sinning Without Suffering

“We’re all getting catfishes. … But this isn’t a modern phenomenon at all. In fact, it’s centuries old, so old in fact that the author of Proverbs exposes one of the oldest catfishing schemes in the book…”

Preacher, Don’t Trust Yourself in Your Preaching

This is a great article from Thabiti Anyabwile. “I suspect that most preachers regularly fight to put their trust in the correct place when it comes to their preaching. Maybe that’s just me, but I’m probably not alone. It seems to me it’s easy for the preacher to trust himself even when he doesn’t intend to.” He explains what that can look like.

This Day in 1901. 115 years ago today the New Testament of the American Standard Version Bible was published. This was the first major American Bible translation since the King James Version of 1611. *

Words That Seem Like They’re Related, But Aren’t

This video will surprise you with a list of words that seem like they are related, but aren’t. Did you know, for example, that “male” and “female” are not related in their origins?

3 Ways “The Blind Men and the Elephant” Story Backfires

It occurs that I’ve only ever heard this story told by Christians who then refute it. But there must be some unbelievers out there telling it as well!

How Do Animals See in the Dark?

You say “evolved,” I say “created.” But anyway, it’s still interesting.

Flashback: Not In Part But the Whole

To be partly forgiven is to be wholly damned. Partial forgiveness is complete condemnation. The Christian and the Christian alone knows the pure delight of God’s full and final forgiveness.

One generation believes something. The next assumes it. And the third will forget and deny it.D.A. Carson

August 25, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: Christians in an Age of Wealth by Craig Blomberg, Shaped by the Gospel by Tim Keller, God and the Nations by Henry Morris, and Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Tim Lane.

Purity Culture

Samuel James offers his take on a new article about Joshua Harris and his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. “It is often difficult for me to read a blog post that excoriates evangelical purity culture, and discern where the criticism of legalism ends and the criticism of the Bible’s teachings on sex begin.” That’s just so true.

One Empty Desk

I hope for the sake of your church and its health that you’ve had this painful experience! (And, as it happens, I remember seeing this author’s desk empty once upon a time.)

Remember Their Names

Here are a couple of quick tips about names.

7 Dangers of Embracing Mere Therapeutic Forgiveness

I consider this an important and often-misunderstood topic. “I’ve held the position, for a while now, that there is a difference between the posture of forgiveness and actually living in reconciliation with someone.”

Sincerity Over Intensity

“Relax and be yourself, worship leader. Use your gifts, sing with your voice, and join together with your people, to glorify God together. You don’t need to worry and you don’t need to wear yourself out. Thank God!”

This Day in 1560. 456 years ago today Protestantism was formally adopted by the Church of Scotland. Scottish Parliament had earlier accepted a Calvinist confession of faith. *

…And Called It Macaroni

“Generations of American kids forced to sing ‘Yankee Doodle’ have grown up justifiably puzzled by its lyrics.” Here’s an explanation for that whole macaroni thing.

You Are Not the Bride of Christ

Ryan takes a look at the “bride of Christ” references in the Bible and points out an important fact about them.

Pastoral Ministry Does Not Have To Be Sedentary

You’ll benefit from this article if you’ve got one of those jobs that requires a lot of sitting.

Flashback: The 10 Greatest Hymns of All Time

I know you won’t agree with the entire list, but here are my picks for the ten greatest hymns of all-time.

Repentance: is a characteristic of the whole life, not the action of a single moment. —Sinclair Ferguson