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A La Carte

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

April 23, 2016

It was a joy to meet so many of you at the Sex, Sin, & Salvation conference here in Pittsburgh. I’m heading back to Toronto this morning and looking forward to leading a quick breakout session at the Thinking? conference later in the day.

It has been a bit of a slow week for Kindle deals, but I hear there should be some good options next week, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, here is some weekend reading for you.

Advice for Better Bible Memory

“Many of us know how valuable it is to memorize God’s word. But we often don’t know where to start. We get discouraged. We burn out quickly and move on to something less taxing. I’ve wrestled with these frustrations for years now. As a performer and worship leader, I’ve had to develop techniques so that I don’t drop the ball when I take the stage. I want to share a few of the methods I use regularly when memorizing God’s Word.”

10 Guidelines for Christian Voters

There’s wisdom in these guidelines for Christian voters.

Silencing God’s Megaphone

“If we are honest, virtually all of us desire to grow our influence and expand our platform, even if we don’t think about it in those terms. It may have a healthy motivation or it may be one consumed with pride. That is a determination that can only be made by God and the individual. But if your goal is to make Christ famous, instead of yourselves, have we ever wondered if achieving personal fame is the best way to go?”

Where Movie Sounds Are Born

Here’s a brief video showing how movie sounds are made.

Reformed “Spotlight”: What is Spiritual Abuse?

David Murray provides a helpful definition of spiritual abuse. “Spiritual abuse is a sinful use of spiritual authority by Christian leaders to promote, protect, or enrich a person or a Christian institution regardless of the spiritual damage done to innocent parties and the cause of Christ.”

This Day in 1982. 34 years ago today, missionary linguist and founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators Cameron Townsend died. *

Praying Together as Mentoring and Discipleship

Sometimes the most effective forms of mentoring and discipleship are the simplest ones.

On Sola Scriptura & Solus Christus

“We have derived a rich heritage from the Reformation—things for which the Reformers were ready to die, and many of them did die. Why is Christ’s death sufficient for the sins of all who trust in him? Why is God’s word greater than any of man’s tradition? In this video, James Montgomery Boice answers these questions and others.”

Does God Talk to Us? A Post by Michael Horton.

I’m grateful to Zondervan for sponsoring the blog this week. Sponsors play a crucial role in keeping this site going!

Walker

Expect Satan to tempt you most viciously at those moments and periods when you are seeking God most vigorously. —Jeremy Walker

April 22, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include The Purpose of Man by A.W. Tozer ($2.99); True For You But Not For Me by Paul Copan ($1.99); and Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart by J.D. Greear ($0.99).

VT @ WTS

Westminster Books launched a sale yesterday that has Visual Theology marked down to just $10.

$5 Fridays

This week’s $5 Friday from Ligonier is a good one. “If you spend at least $20 on this week’s discounted resources, you will receive a $10 gift certificate for a future purchase in our store. Spend $50 or more and we will instead provide you with a $25 gift certificate.”

Reviewing a Classic

I love this review of a classic Christian work. If you haven’t read this one, you really should.

Why N.D. Wilson Writes Scary Stories for Children

“The goal isn’t to steer kids into stories of darkness because those are the stories that grip readers. The goal is to put the darkness in its place.”

Gladys Aylward – Touching with God’s Love

I’m really enjoying these mini-biographies Vance Christie has been writing. 

T4G Talks

Most of the Together for the Gospel talks are now available to watch.

How the Hillsong Cool Factor Changed Worship

This is quite an interesting article about Hillsong and how the cool factor changed worship for good and for ill.

Evangelicals and Toxic Masculinity

This is a good word. “Before confessional Christians can speak prophetically to toxic masculinity out there, we must first be honest about it in here.”

This Day in 1864. 152 years ago today, American coinage first displays the motto “In God We Trust.” *

Ultra High Definition (4K) View of Planet Earth

Beautiful.

Ministering to the Sick

Paul shared some helpful bullet points on ministering to the sick, and especially to those who are in the hospital.

Finn

If the message you preach isn’t good news for every person from every tribe, tongue, & nation, then it isn’t the real gospel. —Nathan Finn

April 21, 2016


Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman will soon be on the American $20 bill, so perhaps you should read this quick refresher from Christianity Today. (And, of course, there is Joe Carter’s 9 Things You Should Know about her.)

10 Reasons Pastors Must Be Prayer Warriors

Pastors, please make prayer a crucial part of your ministry. Congregations, please free your pastor from other responsibilities so he can dedicate time to prayer.

Book Tribalism

I think you’ll appreciate the challenge Jim Elliff brings in this little parable.

Drinking Deeply of the Tenderness of Christ

This video is a powerful testimony to the faithfulness of God.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Your Conscience

“Your conscience can function like a moral version of your nervous system. The guilt that your conscience makes you feel when you sin should lead you to turn from your sin to Jesus. That sense of guilt is for your good. And it is some­thing that God—not your mother or father or anyone else—gave you.” (Excerpted from the new book Conscience)

Should You Use Illustrations from Movies?

Here’s one for preachers to consider.

This Day in 1897. 119 years ago today, A.W. Tozer was born. Tozer was an influential pastor in the Christian & Missionary Alliance and author of The Pursuit of God. *

Timeshares and Manipulation

Ed Welch: “They promise what I want, which is a reasonable vacation, in a nice place, where we can take our daughters and their families. Sometimes I merely want that. At those times I am in my right mind. Other times I really need it, well I almost need it. At those times I go into a hypnotic trance, induced by the voice of one who tells me everything I want to hear.”

Something Rotten in the Local Church

Lore Ferguson says, “As humans we can be tempted to respond in a few different ways to conflict within the local church. Philippians 4:1-9 has a clear pathway for how Christians walk through conflict.”

Piper

This is a very serious act of treason: when you love other things more than you love God. —John Piper

April 20, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include Same-Sex Attraction by Ed Shaw ($2.99); The Measure of a Man by Gene Getz ($1.99); Jesus Behaving Badly by Mark Strauss ($2.99); The Gospel-Driven Life by Michael Horton ($2.99). Crossway will send you the ebook of James Hamilton’s What Is Biblical Theology? if you fill out a short survey.

This week’s deals from Westminster Books are all books authored by women, headlined by Jen Wilkin’s new book None Like Him. Also, check out Seeing Christ in All of Scripture, a new book from the Westminster faculty that’s available for purchase or free download.

Reviews for Visual Theology are beginning to come in. Here’s one from David Steele.

Why We Need Anonymous, Plodding Church Planters

This is so good and so important. “Unfortunately, for us to plant the kinds of churches we need to plant the men who feel called to planting must change their expectations and their definition of ‘success.’ We cannot bear another generation of church planters who want to be the next big thing. Men hungry for acclaim will do nothing to make a dent in the number of people in our culture who do not know Jesus.” (Jared Wilson’s article Listen to the Little Guy Too is complementary.)

When Her House Was Scheduled for Demolition

I love to hear of the lives and faith of Christian brothers and sisters from far across the world.

Making Manuscripts

This video from Getty Museum shows what went into making a medieval mansucript. It is incredibly labor intensive!

Reformed Theology is Indigenous to African American Christianity

“No matter how you define it, the core tenets of Reformed theology are woven into the fabric of African American Christianity. The sovereignty of God over all of life, his special prerogative in issues of salvation, and the authority of the Bible are endemic to the black church tradition.”

Isolation from the Church Is Dangerous

I can’t tell how many times I’ve seen the pattern: First people isolate themselves from the church, then they begin to distance themselves from Christ.

This Day in 1718. 298 years ago today, David Brainerd, missionary to New England’s Native Americans, was born in Connecticut. *

Theological Primer: The Holy Spirit

Kevin DeYoung put together a 1,000-word primer on the Holy Spirit.

Secret Shame Of The Middle Class

Rod Dreher on the way we spend our money: “I think this must be an extraordinary thing, in terms of history: people who spend recklessly to give themselves the lives they think they deserve. If you think about it, though, our culture, which valorizes Authenticity, encourages this.”

A Response to Swaim’s “Stott Bowdlerized”

Since I linked to the original article it’s only fair that I link to the response from Eerdmans.

DeYoung

Make no mistake: to be at peace with your sin is to be at war with God. —Kevin DeYoung

April 19, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include Designed for Joy edited by Jonathan Parnell & Owen Strachan ($2.99); Passport Through Darkness by Kimberley Smith (free); Ready for Reformation? by Tom Nettles ($2.99); The Measure of Success by Carolyn McCulley ($2.99); Beat God To the Punch by Eric Mason ($0.99); What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James White ($2.99).

Darryl Dash has posted the first review of Visual Theology (the book) which releases today! I’ll have more to say about the book in my next post.

Living an Others-Oriented Life

Here’s Mark Dever on living a life oriented away from self and toward others. (It’s an excerpt from his new book Discipling.)

Aurora Borealis from Space in Ultra-High Definition

Wow. Here’s the Aurora Borealis shown from Space in ultra-high definition.

Preaching and Preachers

If you are into podcasts, you may want to add Jason Allen’s new podcast Preaching and Preachers to your list.

Ten Principles for Personal Productivity

John Piper shares some helpful tips. “Give 10% of your focus in life to avoiding obstacles to productivity and 90% of your focus to fastening on to great goals and pursuing them with all your might.”

Why a Short White Man Isn’t a Tall Asian Woman

It shouldn’t be difficult to explain why a short white man isn’t a tall asian woman. But today’s students just can’t tell you.

5 Reasons Why We Need to Rest

I find that I need to remind myself of truths like this each and every week. Rest is just so easy to neglect!

Toronto Workshop on Biblical Exposition

If you’re in or near Toronto and if you teach or preach God’s Word, be sure to check out these workshops. 

This Day in 1529. 487 years ago today, German Lutheran Reformers were first called “Protestants” at the Diet of Speyer in Germany. *

The Local Church Isn’t Going Anywhere

No, the local church isn’t going anywhere no matter way the doomsdayers and naysayers tell us.

Real-Time Titanic

Here’s an interesting animation that shows the sinking of the Titanic in real-time.

McGowan

People may not agree with our theology but they shouldn’t be able to argue with our lives. —John McGowan