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A La Carte

October 21, 2015

Today’s Kindle deals include Kindle devices: The base model is down to $59.99 and several others are discounted as well (including the Paperwhite). As for books, try Faith Speaking Understanding by Kevin Vanhoozer ($2.99), Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards ($2.99), or Eight Twenty Eight by Ian & Larissa Murphy ($0.99).

The Ology

The Ology is a neat new resource for kids from Marty Machowski. It is on sale this week at Westminster Books. It is also available at Amazon.

Single You Will Be the Married You

“Joining a gym won’t instantly transform your physique. Starting a blog won’t immediately make you a good writer. Purchasing a piano won’t make you a musician. The same principle is true for marriage. Getting married will not make you a good spouse or a better person.” Indeed.

Her Heart So Kind and So Weary

Barry York wrote a sweet tribute to his mother.

Five Attractions of Passive Sanctification

“Passive sanctification is an error that has stalked and hurt the Christian church and many Christian lives through the years. The basic idea is that personal holiness is achieved without any personal activity, without any physical effort.” David Murray shows why this is attractive.

This Day in 1885. The martyrdom of two Christians in Africa inspired James Hannington to offer himself as a missionary 130 years ago today. *

The Reformation & the Rediscovery of Christian Assurance

Assurance is such a powerful and important doctrine.

How Confidence Makes Us Kind

“How do we engage the culture with convictional kindness? How do we remain compassionate and loving, even in the face of intense opposition and hostility? If we’re going to be obedient in this, we must have confidence.”


Unless you point to the good news of God’s grace people will not be able to bear the bad news of God’s judgement. —Timothy Keller

October 20, 2015

I’ve got just a couple of Kindle deals for you today: Mere Apologetics by Alister McGrath ($3.99); Help My Unbelief by Barnabas Piper ($3.99); I’m not familar with this one, but it looks like it may be worth at least a look: The Quick-Reference Guide to Counseling on Money, Finances & Relationships by Tim Clinton ($3.03).

Sexual Orientation Doesn’t Mean Anything

“Laws backed by substantial fines and penalties, not to mention the potential for publicly shaming violators, require some form of objective clarity.” But there is no clarity as to what sexual orientation actually means.

6 Marks of Healthy Sexuality

This is a really good article from Gary Thomas. He asks, “What are the markers of a wholesome sexual experience that is accomplishing God’s relational intent?”

Did Jesus Have a “Gospel-Centered” Ministry?

Rick Phillips went looking through the gospel of Mark to see if Jesus had a gospel-centered ministry (according to at least one conception of the term “gospel-centered”).

Overcoming Discouragement in Ministry

Here are some takeaways from a meeting of pastors as they discussed discouragement in ministry.

This Day in 1949. The Inklings—which included the likes of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams—met for their final time 66 years ago today. *

Why Doesn’t Mark Say Anything About Jesus’ Birth?

J. Warner Wallace: “If the virgin conception was an historical event that was well known to the earliest Christians, why wasn’t it mentioned by Mark?”

The Earliest List of the NT Canon

Michael Kruger: “It is often claimed that the New Testament was a late phenomenon. We didn’t have a New Testament, according to Athanasius, until the end of the fourth century.” But that isn’t quite the case.


Confession of sin shuts the mouth of hell and opens the gates of paradise. —Thomas Watson

October 19, 2015

Here are a few Kindle deals for those who are in library-building mode: Ashamed of the Gospel by John MacArthur ($2.99); Expositional Preaching by David Helm ($3.99); Preaching for God’s Glory by Alister Begg ($1.99); Preach the Word by Leland Ryken & Todd Wilson ($3.99); Take Words With You by Tim Kerr ($2.99).

My thanks to all who prayed for safe travels to Germany. I arrived Sunday morning right on schedule and was able to preach a few hours later at Munich International Community Church. Today I head to Teisendorf for the ICC Ministries pastors’ retreat.

The Lonely Death of George Bell

This sad article from the New York Times looks at what happens when an unknown and forgotten person passes away.

Are There Degrees of Sin?

R.C. Sproul: “Many Evangelical Protestants have rejected the idea of degrees of sin because they know that the Protestant Reformation rejected the Roman Catholic distinction between mortal and venial sins. As a result, they’ve jumped to the conclusion that there are no distinctions between sins in Protestantism.”

The Five Fruits of Calvinism

David Murray continues his look at what you might call “true Calvinism” by a look at its five fruits. If your Calvinism isn’t bearing this kind of fruit, you might want to consider what he says.

A Call for Translators

The Gospel Coalition is looking for volunteers who can translate material into Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Chinese.

This Day in 1959. Al Mohler was born fifty-six years ago today. You can wish him a happy birthday at @AlbertMohler.

The Sad Truth about Airfares

The sad truth is that the industry has become so complicated that there’s no longer any visible logic to it. Which is to say, you almost always lose.

Run Hard, Rest Well in the Gospel

This is a helpful article. “The intention for every Christian is to run hard and to rest well.” That pretty much summarizes it, doesn’t it?

Putting the Mini in Ministry

Your ministry does not need to be grand and visible in order to be significant. GoThereFor shows how a mini ministry can serve others and bring glory to God.


The essence of God’s action in wrath is to give people what they choose, in all its implications. —J.I. Packer

October 17, 2015

For the second day in a row, I was unable to dig up any noteworthy Kindle deals. I am sure there will be some new ones to share early next week. Until then, enjoy some other reading (or browse the A La Carte archives to see what you missed earlier in the week):

International Space Station

This video shows what went into building the International Space Station. It really is a marvel.

3 Diagnostic Questions to Detect Sports Idolatry

Here’s a timely article, since it comes at the time of the year when just about all the major sports are in action all at once.

12 Pillars of Faith for Parents of Children with Disabilities

“Believers need a theology of disability that both glorifies the Creator and honors the incredible value of every human life. As a father who lives in the world of special needs, there are 12 biblical truths that have become important for me to continually meditate upon. These form theological pillars that uphold our faith.”

If Moms Talked to Each Other The Way They Talk to Their Kids

You might enjoy this amusing look at what would happen if moms spoke to each other the way they speak to their kids.

A Reflection on Rick Riordan

Just the other day, one of my children asked if they could read Rick Riordan. Once again I find myself thankful for Redeemed Reader which has grown into an excellent resource for parents.

Tomorrow in 1662. Matthew Henry, whose whole-Bible commentary is still widely read, was born 353 years ago tomorrow. *

Why I Believe the Bible

Erik Raymond has 5 quick and simple explanations for why he believes the Bible.

17 Kinds of Fonts

Here’s a quick and helpful overview of the different kinds of fonts you encounter just about every day. Have I ever mentioned how much I love fonts and typography?

How Bad Will It Get for American Express?

I found this quite an interesting look at the woes of American Express, especially after the surprising loss of their exclusive deal with Costco.

Christians and the New Sexual Orthodoxy

I give my thanks to Ligonier Ministries for sponsoring the blog this week with their article “Christians and the New Sexual Orthodoxy.” Sponsors are an integral part of keeping this blog running, so I am thankful for each one of them.


The root cause of anxiety is a failure to trust all that God has promised to be for us in Jesus. —John Piper

October 16, 2015

I would appreciate prayer as I head overseas on Saturday. I will be spending next week in Germany, preaching at a church on Sunday, and then speaking every day at a pastors’ conference. I have been praying specifically that I would be able to sleep on the way over (it’s an overnight flight) and that I would be an encouragement to the pastors who attend.

Remembering the Little Ones Who Go Before

Jessalyn Hutto has a touching post for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day—a special day set aside for the purpose of drawing attention to the many babies who’ve been tragically lost in miscarriages and stillbirths. 

An Introduction to Romans (1-4)

You may enjoy this interesting illustrated 7-minute video overview of the book of Romans (or chapters 1-4 at least). I am really enjoying these videos from The Bible Project.

CCEF Conference Livestream

Beginning today at 9 AM EST and continuing through the weekend, you can watch the CCEF National Conference livestream for free online. This year’s topic is Side by Side: How God Helps Us Help Each Other.

If You’re Not Paranoid, You’re Crazy

Here’s a very interesting article about surveillance and paranoia. “Once you know how very little you know about those who wish to know everything about you, daily experience starts to lose its innocence and little things begin to feel like the tentacles of big things.”

Flipping Out

This is one of the most entertaining articles I have ever read on baseball, or any sport, for that. And not only because it’s about the Blue Jays’ ridiculous victory over the Rangers. It also has great lines like this: “It’s like finding some scroll in the Dead Sea Scroll, opening it up and finding in Aramaic the lyrics of ‘Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)’.”

Meet David Daleiden

The Washington Post introduces you to David Daleiden, the man behind the Planned Parenthood videos.

This Day in 1812. Henry Martyn died 203 years ago today. He was the first modern missionary to Muslims. *

If I Deny Christ, Can I Still Go to Heaven?

Jesse Johnson replies to a question he was asked while leading AWANA: “In light of the shooting in Oregon, where the gunman asked students if they were Christian, and if they said ‘yes’ the gunman shot the student in the head, what would happen if a Christian lied? What if it would have been me, and I would have said ‘no’? Would I still go to heaven when I die?”

What’s In a Pumpkin Spice Latte?

In this video, that simple question leads to a long exploration of artificial and natural flavoring. In short, there is no pumpkin and no pumpkin spice in your pumpkin spice latte.


I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians in England. —John Wesley

October 15, 2015

Today’s Kindle deals include Is It My Fault? by Lindsey & Justin Holcomb ($3.99); Pujols by Scott Lamb & Tim Ellsworth ($0.99); and A Path Through Suffering by Elisabeth Elliott ($1.99). New from GLH Publishing is The Gospel of the Kingdom: An Exposition of the Gospel of Matthew by Charles Spurgeon ($1.50).

Nobody Cares How Hard You Work

Ouch! “We chronically confuse the feeling of effort with the reality of results—and for anyone working in a creative field, that means the constant risk of frittering time and energy on busywork, instead of the work that counts.”

The 9Marks Mailbag

I really enjoy the 9Marks mailbag feature. The latest version comes with this interesting headline: “Renting Out Church Facilities; Too Busy to Elder; Transitioning to Closed Communion; Problems with Secret Societies.”

Playboy Is Too Boring to Succeed

That’s the reality, isn’t it? And it’s a powerful illustration of the nature of sin. What at first is shocking and alluring eventually and inevitably becomes bland and boring.

Earliest Known Draft of King James Bible

This is an amazing discovery. “An American scholar has found what he says is an important new clue to the earthly processes behind that masterpiece: the earliest known draft, and the only one definitively written in the hand of one of the roughly four dozen translators who worked on it.”

Five Distortions of Calvinism

David Murray lists five ways that we may distort Calvinist theology through our words and actions.

This Day in 1949. Joni Earickson Tada was born. A very happy sixty-sixth birthday to you, Joni!

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

There are some top-notch photos from this year’s London’s Natural History Museum photography contest.

How to Diffuse the Accusation of Intolerance

This isn’t foolproof, I’m sure, but it’s at least a start.


Our prayers are heard, not because we are in earnest, not because we suffer, but because Jesus suffered. —Oswald Chambers

October 14, 2015

Today’s Kindle deals include just a few titles: Trusting the Shepherd by Haddon Robinson ($5.83); True For You, But Not For Me by Paul Copan ($2.99); A Journey Through the Life of William Wilberforce by Kevin Belmonte ($2.99); Truth Matters ($0.99) and Truth in a Culture of Doubt ($3.50) by Andreas Kostenberger; An Introduction to Biblical Ethics by David Jones ($2.99); Perspectives on Children’s Spiritual Formation by Various ($2.99).

Patrol Your Borders

Erik Raymond discusses an important principle of time management: patroling your borders.

Parenting Persons, Not Projects

This is good: “I want to be the best mother I can be, but perhaps the most efficient way to go about this is to remove my child from the center of my universe. Perhaps then I will allow myself to be a holistic human being; and perhaps then I can grant my son that same freedom.”

Bad News, Indeed

You may have heard the rather surprising news that Playboy will no longer publish nude pictures in their magazine. Al Mohler explains why this is truly noteworthy (and not necessarily good news). “Playboy has outlived its ability to transgress and to push the moral boundaries. As a matter of fact, it was a victim of its own sad success.”

A Grief Like No Other

This article offers wisdom and counsel for comforting a friend who has lost a child. “So many of my friends have gone through the unspeakable agony of losing a child—whether in vitro, in infancy, or adolescence—but this is a lonely, solitary agony that even those closest to the parent cannot really shoulder.”

Planned Parenthood Drops Fetal Tissue Fees

This is a very small step forward, but a step forward nonetheless since it forces Planned Parenthood to admit wrongdoing.

This Day in 1735. John and Charles Wesley first set sail for Georgia to preach the gospel to the Americans. *

Book Deals

This week’s deals from Westminster Books include a few I recommend: Transforming Homosexuality, The Imperfect Pastor, and The New Pastor’s Handbook.

Warfield’s “The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity” Annotated

Fred Sanders has shared what looks like a very helpful resource—an annotated version of B.B. Warfield’s article “The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity.” It is a 20-page PDF and is free for the taking.


If your heart doesn’t ache for people who don’t know Christ, you may not know Christ yourself. —Burk Parsons

October 13, 2015

Today’s Kindle deals include Discovering the God Who Is by R.C. Sproul ($2.99); The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer ($1.99); A Portrait of Paul by Rob Ventura & Jeremy Walker ($3.99); Planting, Watering, Growing by Daniel Hyde ($2.99); What Is a Reformed Church? by Malcolm Watts ($1.99); Jesus in Trinitarian Perspective by Fred Sanders ($2.99); The 11 Secrets of Getting Published by Mary DeMuth ($2.99).

Five Strategies for Daily Bible Reading

It always surprises me that something so simple can be so difficult. Yet, in my experience, it really is. Here are some strategies to help with your daily Bible reading.

Accessing Maturity

Collin Marshall explains an important link: the link between spiritual maturity and spiritual discernment.

Idolatry: A Fatal Attraction

We all struggle with idolatry in one form or another. In this article, Brad Andrews helps you take the first step in diagnosing your idolatry.

Crisis for Pope Francis

The Spectator: “A group of cardinals – including some of the most powerful figures in the Catholic Church – have written to Pope Francis telling him that his Synod on the Family, now meeting in Rome, has gone badly off the rails and could cause the church to collapse.”

This Day in 1605. Theodore Beza died. Beza was a French-born theologian, who had been widely recognized as John Calvin’s successor. *

Using Technology Wisely

Facts and Trends asked me to write an article about using technology wisely. I wrote about the importance of technology in fulfilling God’s calling on our lives.

South Korea’s Rock Star Teachers

Why do South Korea’s teachers get treated like rock stars? WORLD looks at a new documentary and explains.

Evernote, the First Dead Unicorn

I’m a big fan of Evernote, so hope this article proves false. But it’s a good read nonetheless.


Sin forsaken is one of the best evidences of sin forgiven. —J.C. Ryle