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A La Carte

August 24, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include 3 from Christian Focus: A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Loving the Old Testament by Alec Motyer, A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Papacy by Leonardo De Chirico, and A Little Bird Told Me by Timothy Cross. Then there are several from Zondervan as well: How God Became Jesus by Michael Bird, What’s Best Next by Matt Perman, How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth by Gordon Fee, Visit the Sick by Brian Croft, and more. You can find them all here.

Westminster Books has a deal on The Biggest Story, a book (and now DVD) for kids by Kevin DeYoung. They’ve got several other great kids’ books marked down as well.

We Have Been Warned

Rod Dreher comments on “an extraordinarily important column laying out the future for Christians who reject the Sexual Revolution in its latest form.” He links to an article by Denny Burk that is also worth reading.

In Praise of Low-Budget, Non-Professional Music Ministries

Mark Dever describes the music ministry at his church and why they joyfully keep it low-budget and non-professional.

The Difference Between God’s Adoption and Ours

Here’s a brief, sweet article on the vast difference between God’s adoption and our own.

Ministry Is Discouragement

This is an honest and ultimately encouraging article from Guy Richard.

8K New York

Get thee to thy biggest and best screen to watch this phenomenal 8K (is that even a thing?) timelapse of New York City. You’ll want to full-screen and HD it.

This Day in 1456. 560 years ago today volume two of the Gutenberg Bible was bound, making it the first full-length book to be printed using movable type.

Wait to Date Until You Can Marry

We are beginning to have these conversations with our children.

13 Reasons You Are Precious To God

Mark Altrogge briefly rounds them up.

Legroom on Major Airlines

I suspect your interest in this graphic will vary proportionally with your height. It shows how much space you’re paying for when you book that airline ticket.

Flashback: Flipping God the Bird

I think we understand humanity best when we understand that human beings are born with our middle finger extended toward God. We grow up with our middle finger extended toward God. We die with our middle finger extended toward God. At least we do unless God intervenes and lowers it by his grace.

Byrd

We do not love to learn that we can do nothing without Christ.J.C. Ryle

August 23, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: God’s Love by R.C. Sproul; 7 Truths that Changed the World by Kenneth Samples; Preparing Evangelistic Sermons by Ramesh Richard; and In Defense of the Bible by Terry Wilder.

Logos 7

I mentioned yesterday that Logos 7 has released. This article by Morris Proctor (a Logos guru) jumps into one of the 7 major new features. (Also, Andy Naselli shares a brief expression of confidence in the software and the people behind it.)

What Media Get Wrong About Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that they get nearly everything wrong. “A major new report, published today in the journal The New Atlantis, challenges the leading narratives that the media has pushed regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Pastoring People Who Are Smarter Than You

I think most pastors have dealt with this fear before. “I won’t feign humility by falsely degrading my own abilities (though to be honest, in my weaker and more insecure moments I have), but in a comparison of intellectual horsepower, I don’t measure up to the academic achievements of many of my parishioners.”

Thousands Leave Norwegian Church as Online Registration Backfires

Here’s a strange story: “The internet makes everything easier. Sit down at your computer for half an hour, and you can pay your bills, order dinner—and, now, leave the Lutheran Church of Norway, all in just a few clicks.”

Grateful for the Wait

Randy Alcorn: “Barbara Brown Taylor phrased it, ‘What kind of God allows the innocent to suffer while the wicked pop their champagne corks and sing loud songs?’ We may say, ‘Yes, Lord, we accept your wisdom in permitting evil and suffering for a season—but enough is enough. Why do you let it continue?’”

Does Your Pastor Love You?

Here’s a good way to tell.

This Day in 1828. 188 years ago today Carl Gutzlaff and Jacob Tomlin became the first Protestant missionaries to set foot in Thailand. *

Contentment and Providence

“How fragile is your contentment? How much of your life—or how little—would have to change for you to plunge into frustrated, joyless discontent?” John MacArthur offers encouragement.

The Optimal U.S. National Parks Centennial Road Trip

Some day I’ll do this, though I should probably work through the Canadian parks first.

Flashback: 9 Parenting Truths from John Piper

Here are some important parenting truths from John Piper.

In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less. —C.H. Spurgeon

August 22, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include:  Look and Live by Matt Papa (a personal favorite!); Decision Making and the Will of God by Garry Friesen; A Shelter in the Time of  Storm and Whiter than Snow by Paul Tripp; Journey to Joy by Josh Moody; and Seeking the Face of God by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. You can get them at the Kindle Deals for Christians page.

Logos 7

There is big news for Logos users: Logos 7 launches today! There is going to be a special live event from 8 to noon PST that will include product demos and interviews with experts.

Christian Judge Fights to Keep Job

This will be a case to watch as it may prove yet another bellwether: “The Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics has asked the high court to remove Judge Ruth Neely, the Pinedale municipal judge and part-time circuit court magistrate, from office, ban her for life from the Wyoming judiciary, and fine her $40,000. Her offense? In response to a reporter’s question, Neely stated her Christian perspective on marriage precluded her from officiating a same-sex wedding.”

The Next 500 Years

Ligonier Ministries 2017 National Conference promises to be a good one. It also features a very interesting group of speakers that includes Michael Reeves, Augustus Lopes, Sinclair Ferguson, Al Mohler, John MacArthur, Stephen Tong, Alistair Begg, and Michael Horton. (There are also a number of breakout sessions, one of which I’ll be hosting.)

A Carnival Attraction That Saved Thousands of Premature Babies

The Smithsonian has a strange, fascinating tale of a man who ran a carnival attraction that was actually designed to save lives.

With Love, Your Single Daughter

The blogosphere has generated a lot of discussion about singleness. But of all I’ve read, this is one of my absolute favorites.

The Dark Side of Going for Gold

The Atlantic writes about the huge letdown that can come after the Olympics, even for those who have the greatest success. “More than 11,000 Olympic athletes will leave Rio, some carrying medals, others lugging the weight of falling short of expectations. Despite their varying degrees of success, many will have the same surprise waiting for them back home: a feeling that life suddenly seems ordinary.” (How much better is it to have the faith of David Boudia and Steele Johnson who gladly tell of their identity in Christ.)

This Day in 1670. 346 years ago today John Eliot founded an Indian church at Martha’s Vineyard with Indians Hiacoomes and Tackanash appointed as pastor and teacher. *

Keep Teenagers Weird

Samuel James keeps writing some very interesting think pieces, like this one. “The loudness and busyness of most evangelical student ministry programming might actually be reinforcing the very worldly liturgies it’s trying to contest.”

Iceland and the Trials of 21st Century Tourism

This is a very, very interesting deep-dive into Iceland’s ascendency as a tourist destination. As with so many other people, Iceland is definitely on my bucket list. Read the article and you’ll have the joy of encountering some people with pretty impressive names like Guðrún Þórisdóttir and Ólöf Ýrr Atladóttir.

Flashback: Remembering the Christian Bookstore

Bookstores have fallen on hard times. Christian bookstores have fallen on especially hard times. Of all the industries utterly savaged by the rise of the Internet, e-commerce and digital distribution, books and music, the mainstays of Christian bookstores, are right near the top of that list. The consumer’s win has been the bookstore’s loss.

There is no way back to innocence. In the Bible, there is only a way forwardto the cross. —D.A. Carson

August 20, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: God Against the Gods by Brian Godawa; One New Man by Jarvis Williams; A Dream so Big by Steve Peifer; Truth Matters by Andreas Kostenberger; and Old Testament Exegesis by Douglas Stuart. You can find them all here.

Top 10 Things I Wish Worship Leaders Would Stop Saying

Jared Wilson lists the things he really wants worship leaders to stop saying—things like “Lord, we invite you to be here” and “Let’s give God a hand.” He follows it with Top 10 Things I Love That Worship Leaders Do.

Can the Devil Read My Mind?

R.C. Sproul takes a shot at an answer.

Ministerial Magpies

Jeremy Walker writes about pastors and plagiarism, but he does so very realistically. “We must never simply run through another man’s sermons as if they were our own. Simple honesty forbids that. But, when opportunity permits and as duty requires, let us make our way into the vineyards of our bookshelves and e-resources, and glean the best of the fruit; spend time around those vines that have produced the sweetest and juiciest fruit of past years. Press down the grapes and soak prayerfully in the best of the past, and let it seep into us.”

Praying in the Wake of Zika

Kathryn Butler, an MD, writes about Zika. “As Christians, how do we understand the outbreak, and how do we respond to the fears, both in our communities and in our own hearts?”

Dumb Moments in Church History

I wish I had thought of this idea for a series! This should be good.

This Day in 1913. 103 years ago today, Robert McDonald, an Anglican missionary and gifted linguist, died in Winnipeg. He evangelized to the First Nation peoples of Canada. *

Where Did the Footprints Poem Come From?

Everyone knows the poem. But who wrote it? “The short answer, it seems, is that there are many claimants to authorship (no surprise given the potential financial windwall if authorship can be demonstrated!), but no consensus as to who wrote it originally.”

Flashback: Sanctification Is a Community Project

The measure of the Christian life is growth in holiness. We grow in holiness, at least in part, by putting sin to death. We put sin to death by exposing it to the light.

The Reformation at 500

Thanks to the G3 Conference for sponsoring the blog this week. The conference takes place in Atlanta this January.

Baxter

There are too many men who are ministers before they know how to be Christians. —Richard Baxter

August 19, 2016


Aging with Grace

This article is fantastic! “Proverbs says Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised and Gray hair is a crown of glory. After all, isn’t my age part of God’s sovereign plan for my life? He decided the year of my birth. Not a decade before. Not a decade after. And if every hair is numbered, that includes the ones that are no longer black.”

Is It Ever Okay for a Christian To Lie?

Here’s a simple question that requires a long answer.

Parents Cry ‘Foul’ as Doctors and Educators Ignore Them

David French on transgenderism: “Human experience simply doesn’t conform to ideological models, and the far worse damage is done when we try to impose radical ideology onto the complexities of individual, troubled lives. In reality, people are far more vulnerable to suggestion and fashion than the Left lets on. Rather than affirming an immutable identity, our culture is ratifying and rendering permanent what often amounts to little more than a troubled youthful phase — one that is subject to all the whims of fashion that mark any other cultural trend.”

3 Pieces of Marriage Advice from Spurgeon’s Mother-In-Law

“Charles Spurgeon abandoned his fiancée on a Sunday afternoon. After lunch, a carriage took the betrothed couple from Susannah’s house in St. Ann’s Terrace to Kennington where Charles would preach.” That led to her receiving some invaluable advice.

The Two Things Killing Your Ability to Focus

There are some solid suggestions here. (As usual, replace “meditation” with “devotions.”)

This Day in 1662. 354 years ago today, Blaise Pascal, French scientist, polemicist, and Christian apologist, died at age 39. *

Lost in Light

This video shows how much of the night sky we lose through light pollution.

God Remembers You

There is real comfort here: “The King of kings, whose deeds are worthy of being proclaimed among the nations, remembers the weak. He never forgets. His mind is a veritable steel-trap. He knows the conditions and concerns of his people. How encouraging is this?”

4 Interesting Facts about the Production of the KJV

George Guthrie offers 4 things you may not know about this most revered of translations.

Flashback: What Will Be the Cost to the Church?

What will be the cost to the church if young men continue to give themselves to pornography? What do we, as Christians, stand to lose if so many of our young men continue to spend their teens and twenties in the pursuit of pornographic pleasure?

Yuan

Unconditional love does not equal unconditional approval of my behavior. —Christopher Yuan

August 18, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper; How Do We Know the Bible Is True? by Ken Ham; What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care? by Ed Welch; and Ben-Hur (a modernized adaptation). You can find them here.

Logos users may want to check out these August deals.

How God Saved Me from the Prosperity Gospel

This is a neat account of how a Kenyan pastor found freedom from the prosperity gospel.

Land of Luther Study Tour

Next year is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and Ligonier Ministries is hosting a “Land of Luther Study Tour.” I’m excited to be going along and would love for you to join me. This tour was created with affordability in mind and with some great teachers to lead the way.

What Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Miss about Simone Biles

I had intended to write this very article. “As Simone Biles was clinching yet another gold medal in Rio, people on both sides of the abortion debate were pointing to her achievements and background as a justification for their position. But both miss out on a very important fact: Simone Biles has value not because she is a young woman inspiring the world or because she is a world champion gymnast who was adopted as a child. Simone has value simply because she is Simone.”

Is the Pope Catholic?

This article looks at what the Roman Catholic church means by “unity.” “The Catholic Church sees itself as a sacrament of unity for the world. By this, they mean that they are a visible and effective sign of unity—visible because they are seen to be at the centre of unity and effective in that they unite various religions and philosophies with God.”

Spending on Leisure and Entertainment

Randy Alcorn and Wayne Grudem discuss whether Christians can confidently spend money on leisure and enjoyment.

Ecclesiastes

The Bible Project moves on to Ecclessiastes with one of their unique videos.

This Day in 1688. 328 years ago today, John Bunyan, Puritan clergyman and author of Pilgrim’s Progress, preached his last sermon before dying 13 days later. *

The JFK Shooting That Wasn’t

There is some bad language in this story, but it’s still a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the pandemonium that occurred when someone claimed there was a gunman at JFK.

Flashback: The Spasmodic Hercules

The spasmodic Hercules: this is how many of us behave. We behave as if one moment of great activity can overcome a thousand moments of inactivity, as if one moment of taking hold of opportunity will overcome all those moments wasted. The unglamorous habit of frequency is what makes up so much of life’s progress. Yet we are constantly tempted to put our hope in the brief and the glamorous.

Wilson

The Church needs pastors who’ve had the swagger gospeled out of them. —Jared Wilson

August 17, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: Peacemaking Women by Tara Barthel; Mere Apologetics by Alister McGrath; On Guard and On Guard for Students by William Lane Craig; Then Sings My Soul by Robert Morgan. You can find them right here.

A Terrible Investment

Hosting the Olympics is invariably a terrible investment. And yet cities are lined up for the honor… (Or, as the New York Times says, cities are lined up for the event where the prize is the chance to lose billions.)

Should Children Sit Through “Big Church?”

In general I agree with John Piper here, though I think there is leeway for churches to adapt to their own culture and the people who are part of their community. (At Grace Fellowship Church we offer classes up to age 6.)

MacArthur on Self-Discipline

Here are John MacArthur’s nine tips of self-discipline.

The Wonder of Work

Melissa Kruger: “Our lives here are not only spent building sandcastles that will fade with the passing of time. We have the opportunity to build for all eternity, if we build on the right foundation and with the right materials.”

A Key to Understanding the Development of the NT Canon

From Melissa to Michael: “Unfortunately, the high level of interest in the New Testament canon is often combined with a high number of misconceptions about the canon. For anyone willing to search for it, the internet is packed with myths, mistakes, and misunderstandings about how the whole process really worked.”

This Day in 1761. 255 years ago today, William Carey was born in Northamptonshire, England. He would become a tremendously successful Baptist missionary to India. *

Do More Better

It has been a long time since I’ve shared a review of my book Do More Better. In this one Paula Marsteller encouragingly shares how the book has helped her.

Flashback: What Would I Lose If I Lost Worship?

Can you imagine your life without worship? Can you imagine your life without regularly gathering with God’s people to worship him together? Corporate worship is one of the great privileges of the Christian life. And perhaps it is one of those privileges that over time we can take for granted.

CHS

It is easy to bring a man to the river of regret, but you cannot make him drink the water of repentance.C.H. Spurgeon

August 16, 2016

For the past week I’ve been enjoying some time on the West Coast, first in and around Vancouver and then in northern Washington. It has been a great time as a family, but all good things must come to an end and this evening we head for home. In the meantime, here are some deals and links you may enjoy.

Today’s Kindle deals include: Brothers, We Are Not Professionals by John Piper; Read the Bible for Life by George Guthrie; The Insanity of God and The Insanity of Obedience by Nik Ripken; Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History by Francis Schaeffer. You can get the deals at the Kindle Deals for Christians page.

The First 15 Verses

Here are the first 15 verses a Christian should consider memorizing. Check out the Scripture Typer app to help your memorization and retention.

The Omniscient God

Here are ten things to know about God’s omniscience.

One in a Million

What does it look like to have one part per million? This video finds different ways to picture it.

Word Variations

George Guthrie explains why you don’t need to freak out over word variations in modern translations.

Lay Aside the Weight of Moodiness

“Living in a fallen age, in fallen bodies, in which our fallen natures vie with our regenerate natures for control, we unfortunately cannot avoid the plague of bad moods.”

A Bad First Impression

Here’s a study that discusses good and bad first impressions. In other words, it tells how fickle and arrogant we can be.

This Day in 1661. 355 years ago today, Thomas Fuller, a popular preacher in 17th century England, died. Fuller was one of the first men to make a living by writing. *

The Map Is Wrong

This video shows how the world map is actually kind of deceptive.

The Longer Ending of Mark

Josh Buice explains why he chose not to preach the longer ending of Mark as he finished preaching through the book.

Flashback: Risk and Opportunity

Here’s one quick and important lesson when it comes to our use of technology.

Barnhouse

95% of knowing the will of God consists in being prepared to do it before you know what it is. —Donald Barnhouse