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A La Carte

August 13, 2016

Even though I’m on vacation this week, the Kindle Deals for Christians page is being updated as new deals come along. You can check it out right here.

Don’t Say God Is Silent With Your Bible Closed

“I don’t know who said or shared it first, but it’s clear this simple statement resonates with many, at least it has with me. These ten words rebuke our fear that God might be inactive or uncaring in the brokenness and messiness of our lives, and reminds us that he cares, he sees, and he speaks. But too often, we’re just not listening.”

Livestreaming Violence

This article points out some of the ways that livestreaming has forever changed the way we view violence.

Take a Quiz Explaining Your Faith to a Muslim

My gratitude goes to Zondervan for sponsoring the blog this week with “Take a Quiz on Explaining Your Faith to a Muslim.” I know some tried to take the quiz earlier in the week and were unable to. The quiz service is now working properly!

10 Things You Should Know About the Immutability of God

“Some see the concept of immutability as a threat to the biblical portrait of God who appears in some sense to change. Others are equally concerned that a careless tampering with this attribute of God will reduce him to a fickle, unfaithful, and ultimately unworthy object of our affection and worship. It is imperative, therefore, that we proceed cautiously, and yet with conviction, in articulating these ten truths about divine immutability.”

Southern Baptists and the Quest for Theological Identity

Al Mohler: “Our commitment to regenerate church membership, the baptism of believers only, and our understanding of the nature of the church gives Baptists a unique voice in the face of disappearing cultural Christianity. I honestly believe that in coming years evangelicals will increasingly look to Southern Baptists due to the ecclesiological crises created by the collapse of cultural Christianity. The coming generation will urgently need the wisdom and biblical conviction of Baptists on these issues.”

This Day in 1845. 171 years ago today, devotional writer Sarah Flower Adams died at age 43. She published The Flock at the Fountain, containing children’s hymns including “Nearer, My God, To Thee.” *

Bird Brains

If you want to know how to reduce concussions, why not study the woodpecker. “If someone could figure out how woodpeckers do it—they slam their beaks into trees thousands of times per day, generating forces far beyond what most people experience in car wrecks—then maybe we could better protect soldiers.”

Flashback: Why We Love to Read

Sometimes you need to do a lot of reading to come away with one really good idea. Some books yield nothing but nonsense; some yield nothing but ideas you have come across a thousands times before. But then, at last, you find that one that delivers. There is such joy in it. Such reward.

Spurgeon

The louder Satan roars, the more proof you shall have of Christ’s love. —C.H. Spurgeon

August 12, 2016

If you are into Kindle books, be sure to check in with the Kindle Deals for Christians page. I generally update the page on a daily basis.

The Miraculous in the Mundane

“It is not enough merely to say that Christians’ daily toil, whether it is sacred or secular, is good and important. To get off this see-saw, we must come to believe that our work is, in fact, miraculous.”

6 Surprising Ideas the KJV Translators Had

“The KJV translators themselves had particular ideas about translations other than their own, and they lay out their views clearly and forcefully in the published Preface of the original edition of their eloquent translation. Ironically, their views are very different from those who champion their translation today. So here are 6 ideas the KJV translators had about other translations of the Bible.”

Tour the London of Yore

So neat: “Think of the map as Google Street View for vintage London. You can click on the map to view historical images of particular buildings, streets or areas, or search the collection by topic to reveal everything from historic coffee houses to buildings associated with different authors or time periods.”

The Surprising Truth About False Teachers

“The question is not whether you ever hear the voice of false teachers. You do — probably every day. The question is whether you can discern which messages are false.”

FX Conference

Frontline Missions International has developed a training and orientation program that will 1) help men and women begin to explore ways in which they can serve Christ in restricted-access countries and 2) serve local churches that are serious about addressing the Unfinished Task of taking the Gospel to people who have yet to hear. This year’s event happens on October 13-15 in Minneapolis. Use code fx_challies to get a discount when you register.

This Day in 1947. 69 years ago today, A group of Ayoré Indians in Bolivia laid down their weapons in response to friendly overtures by New Tribes missionaries. The Ayoré had martyred 5 of their missionaries 4 years earlier. *

Get Ready to Be Identified By Your Ear

This is just weird: “Last year, the United States Customs and Border Protection rolled out a recognition pilot program that uses biometric recognition tools like face and iris scanners. The program will snag ‘imposters’ using a fake passport at airports, and what’s more, reduce wait times at security checkpoints. But what might identify individuals even more conclusively and speed travelers on their way more swiftly is another kind of biometrics, based on the ear.”

Flashback: My Own Personal Bollywood

As I watched Singham commit another great feat of strength, I saw a bit of a parallel between Bollywood and its big brother Hollywood. Hollywood allows its own version of unrealism in the movies we enjoy. We just take our fantasy on a different level.

Milne

Christian leaders must practice what they preach if they are to see what they preach practiced. —Douglas Milne

August 11, 2016

Even while I’m not as active on the blog this week as I usually am, the Kindle Deals for Christians page continues to be updated. You can check it out here.

All of Us Sinners, None of Us Freaks

“It is a wonderful and mysterious thing to be a creature made by Another. Yet being a creature is also frightening and dangerous. Because we cannot mute the Creator’s pattern for gender, gender becomes a battleground in the war between the Creator’s will and his creature’s rebellious desires.”

Holding Out for the Good News

This is the time of year that many Bible plans bring readers to the prophetic books. So perhaps this encouragement is in order.

What Is a Superfood?

Basically there’s no such thing and it’s all a marketing gimmick to get you to buy things you otherwise wouldn’t eat.

Ben-Hur

“What’s called the ‘most influential book of the nineteenth century’ is the result of a debate between two military leaders. It happened on a train ride to Indianapolis on a late summer day in 1876. Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll, whose nickname was ‘The Great Agnostic,’ bumped into author General Lew Wallace. The two spent the trip debating religion.”

This Day in 1778. 228 years ago today, clergyman and hymn-writer, Augustus Montague Toplady, died at age 37. He wrote the beloved hymn “Rock of Ages.” *

Amish Children Are Immune to Asthma

Strange but true: “After a barrage of blood tests, air samples and genetic surveys to find out why Amish children are strangely immune to asthma, an international team of medical researchers has finally hit upon the solution: The Amish are all fortified by cow dust.”

Flashback: An Introverted Christian

I have no right to crave introverted solitude. Rather, the gospel compels me to deny even that trait and all its desires in order to serve other people. I am introverted, but this does not give me a different calling in life than the gregarious Christian.

Mahaffey

Kings do not make history. Kings serve history. —John Mahaffey

August 10, 2016

Yesterday morning my family climbed aboard a plane and jetted off to Vancouver, B.C. (Shout-out to Air Canada and their air miles program!) We are here to explore, relax, and have fun as a family. What you read on the blog this week has been largely queued up in advance and includes a couple of guest articles I think you’ll enjoy. I’ll be back to business as usual next week. Kindle deals will be updated through the week.

Ten Things Pastors Love to Hear

Thom Rainer: “It is a simple question. What do you hear from your church members that gives you the greatest encouragement? The responses from the pastors were amazingly similar.”

The Tyranny of Pop Music

You may enjoy this little video about the utter tyranny of pop music. Even if you don’t agree with all of it, you’ll admire some of the one-liners.

Older Women, Teach Us to Pray

“Reluctance to pray publicly can arise for several reasons—fear of public speaking, awareness of spiritual weakness, lack of interest, ignorance of how to pray aloud—but it is always worth overcoming.”

Do I Have to Pray for Politicians I Oppose?

“With today’s ever-changing political environment, it is very easy to complain and not pray for our leaders. And, yes, many are deserving, sadly, of the comments they receive. Yet, the Bible tells us to pray for our leaders…”

Themelios

Committed readers will want to grab (and read) the new issue of Themelios.

This Day in 1897. 119 years ago today, William Walsham How, known as “the poor man’s bishop” died in England. An Anglican clergyman, he authored the outstanding hymn “For All the Saints.” *

U.S.S. Enterprise

This fun little video shows the restoration of the U.S.S. Enterprise that was used in all 79 episodes of the original Star Trek television series.

Flashback: The Man Who Is Most Free

True freedom is not found in pursuing sin but in rejecting sin. The man who is most free is the one who is freed from the power of sin.

Thompson

Surround yourself with people who feed your soul, not your ego. —B.J. Thompson

August 09, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: All 3 available gospel commentaries in the excellent ZECNT series: Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Also consider Romans by R.C. Sproul, Beating the College Debt by Alex Chediak. Check them out here.

Southern Seminary’s Skeleton In The Closet

Here’s an article about a mummy that “arrived on the doorstep of Louisville’s Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where it was — for the better part of 120 years — a literal skeleton in the closet.”

Awkward People

“There was this one time during my freshman year when I invited my friend Rebecca and her non-Christian friend to have lunch with me. When she and her friend sat down, I panicked, fearing they might think I was coming on to them. I decided to clear things up.” Awkward!

I Am Not…

“I feel like if I were to again label myself as “gay”, I would be embracing the idea that my [broken] sexuality is a defining mark of who I am as a person. And I don’t want to operate in a mentality in which my sexual desires have identity-shaping power in my life.”

Video Games As Scapegoat

Ouch. “Is it sad when a Millennial man finds his life’s purpose in video games? Sure. But let’s stop pretending that’s more pathetic than a 50-year-old man who finds life’s purpose in his work.”

Why We Project Our Scripture Readings

I like the way Jamie Brown thinks through this issue.

Memorial Service

How do you conduct a memorial service for an entire family? Bethlehem Baptist released the video of the service for Jamison & Kathryne, Ezra, Violet, and Calvin Pals.

This Day in 1788. 228 years ago today, Adoniram Judson was born. He spent 38 years as a missionary in Burma and translated the Bible in Burmese by 1834. *

A Badminton Rant

You’ve got to watch this one a little bit to see it transform into a pretty good bit of comedy.

Flashback: Why Satan Is So Skilled at Tempting Us

Satan is a formidable foe. He opposes all those who are created in the image of God and is bent on their complete and utter destruction. What makes Satan so skillful at tempting us to sin?

Spurgeon

The man who only repents of this and that glaring offence, has not repented of sin at all. —C.H. Spurgeon

August 08, 2016

There are some noteworthy Kindle deals today. They include NIV Application Commentary on each of the gospels; The Spirit of Revival by R.C. Sproul; God’s Grand Design by Sean Michael Lucas; Heaven on Earth by Stephen Nichols; A God Entranced Vision of All Things by John Piper; The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink * and a few others. Get them here.

Should Christians Save for Retirement?

Randy Alcorn asks some good questions: “Is this reasonable planning, exercising foresight as Proverbs commends? Or is it an alternative to trusting God, a backup in case God doesn’t come through? How is maintaining a generous retirement plan fundamentally different from the rich fool storing up for his later years to live out his life in comfort and security?”

Emotions Are a Language

Writing specifically for counselors, Ed Welch says to “Think of emotions as a language. They say something—something very important—and part of our job is to figure out what they are saying.”

John Piper’s Prayer

“Last Sunday morning, at around 11:30, an entire family entered heaven together. Jamison and Kathryne Pals and their small children were driving from Minneapolis to Colorado for final preparations as missionaries to Japan. … Tragically, the entire family died at the scene, including Jamison and Kathryne, both 29, and their three young children, 3-year-old Ezra, 23-month-old Violet, and 2-month-old Calvin. … John Piper was asked to deliver the pastoral prayer. Here’s what he said.”

Pedophilia as a Sexual Orientation

Denny Burk writes about a new book that seems to be part of a new movement to normalize pedophilia. It does this by considering it a sexual orientation.

Are We Reaching the End of World Records?

This question is asked around the time of every…single…Olympics. And somehow records continue to fall.

Throwing Sheep Into a Pit

Yes! An Egyptian visitor was expressing something like this to me at church yesterday: “We don’t rest to maximize our productivity later. We rest to remember that our worth does not hinge on our productivity.”

The Bible Is Not Boring

Ryan Higginbottom: “If God’s word seems boring, there’s either a problem with the reading or the reader.”

Flashback: The Book Glutton

Here is some counsel I offered on libraries, book collections, and book gluttons.

Smith

If God gave you the whole world, but did not give Himself, that would not be enough. He is more than all the world to His people. —Colin Smith

August 06, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: Greater Than Gold: From Olympic Heartbreak to Ultimate Redemption by David Boudia; Grace, Gold, and Glory by Gabrielle Douglas; and Rediscovering Holiness: Know the Fullness of Life with God by J.I. Packer. Get them here.

Family Killed on Way to Missionary Training

Here’s a sad, sad story: “This weekend, members and friends of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis will gather for an event nearly unimaginable a week ago: the funeral service for a family of five killed in a car accident on their way to train for missionary service to Japan.”

6 Christian Athletes to Watch

If you want to cheer for the good guys, here’s a list of a few Christian athletes competing at the Olympics.

How To Pray for God’s Favor

Denny Burk: “What does all of this mean? What would it mean for us to pray a similar prayer? It means that we approach God on the basis of his gracious favor toward us. His drawing near to us precedes and grounds our drawing near to him.”

Apple Campus

Whether you love or hate Apple (and no one is really ambivalent about Apple, are they?) you can’t deny that this is one amazing new campus they are building.

How Do I Know If My Child Has Become a Christian?

“As parents we do have some guidance in knowing if our children are truly in the faith. Everything that would be present in an adult’s conversion will be present in a child’s conversion, but it will show itself in a different manner.”

Directions For Profitable Bible-Reading

Here are a number of wise points about making the most of reading the Bible.

Which Sunscreen Should You Choose?

In my case, all of them.

Three Models for Family Ministry

You may benefit from this video from Timothy Paul Jones where he lays out three different models for family ministry.

This Day in 1801. 215 years ago today, 25,000 attended the revival services at the Presbyterian camp meeting in Kentucky. It was the largest camp meeting of the Second Great Awakening. *

Responsiveness in Marriage

Another study backs up the obvious: There is a connection between sexual intimacy and relational intimacy.

Flashback: Keeping the Spark Alive

On a similar note, here’s a flashback from two years ago protecting and enhancing the sexual relationship within marriage.

DAC

God may not do what we ask, but we must never think it’s because He is not able to do it.—D.A. Carson

August 05, 2016

I did not track down any new Kindle deals today, but you can check out all of the ones from earlier this week on the Kindle deals page. Logos users may want to pick up The Basics of the Faith series at 45% off as well as a 5-volume D.A. Carson series at 30% off.

Holiness Is Not Our Goal

Ed Welch makes an important point here: “Obedience, however—our growth in holiness—is not our goal. It is only a means to an end.”

Is Crowdfunding the New Church?

This is an intriguing question. “For every major religion, giving to the poor is a fundamental pillar. And yet it seems like technology, rather than church, is augmenting charitable giving these days.”

Praying for the Police

Karen Swallow Prior shares an experience and a prayer meeting.

How Not To Grow Weary In Doing Good

We all do at times, don’t we? “You would not think that we who believe in Jesus would grow weary of doing good. He’s been so good to us. When we do good it brings him joy and he rewards us. Yet Paul warned the Galatians not to grow weary in well-doing. Why?”

How To Please People Without Pleasing People

There’s a famous saying by the poet John Lydgate: “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” What the Bible says about pleasing people is less catchy but far more important.

This Day in 1604. 412 years ago today, John Eliot, “Apostle to the American Indians,” was baptized. He would eventually publish the Bay Psalm Book, the first book ever printed in America. *

No Free Passes

WORLD interviews Rosaria Butterfield about what life has been like after the release of her controversial biography.

Religion and the Olympics

This is a very interesting look at the history of religion at the Olympics as well as the Olympics as a religion of its own.

A 7-Circle Roundabout

This is madness: A 7-circle roundabout. It actually exists!

Flashback:The Complacent Christian

Do not underestimate the value of a few zealous Christians. Do not underestimate their power to stir up a great fire.

Derek

Far too much theology operates under the assumption that God is simply a much larger version of ourselves. —Derek Rishmawy