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A La Carte

August 11, 2015

I am trying out a slightly revised format for A La Carte. If you receive this via RSS or email, the formatting ought to improve over the next few days, so bear with me.

Reformation Heritage Books has some good biographies on sale in Kindle formats: An All-Surpassing Fellowship: Learning from Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s Communion with God ($2.99); The Life and Times of Arthur Hildersham ($4.99); Calvin, Theologian and Reformer ($3.50); A Life of Gospel Peace: A Biography of Jeremiah Burroughs ($4.50); Living Blessedly Forever ($3.50); Anne Steele and Her Spiritual Vision ($3.99); Heart to Heart: Octavius Winslow’s Experimental Preaching ($4.99).

An Abortion Testimony: It Matters to This One

This powerful and moving account was written by Latayne Scott, author of The Mormon Mirage.

How America’s Lost Colony Vanished

Artifacts suggest that some members of the ill-fated English settlement on Roanoke Island survived and assimilated with Native Americans.


Here’s a fascinating visualization of nuclear detonations from 1945 to present.

This day in 1778: Pastor and hymnwriter Augustus Toplady died from tuberculosis. The day he died he was crying out “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!” His best-known hymn remains a favorite today: “Rock of Ages.” (read more)

9Marks Mailbag

The 9Marks mailbag is always worth reading. This time around Jonathan Leeman comments on: Why “Disowning” Family Members Isn’t an Option; Term Limits for Elders; Expedited Church Discipline; and Can I Leave My Family’s Church?

Missing the Target

“Over the weekend, Target became the next corporate power, after Amazon, to rid themselves of all gender designations and labels for children’s toys and bedding.” Grant Castleberry comments for CBMW.

Hope for the Unhappily Single

“There is a new and widespread epidemic in our nation and even in our churches. It’s called the not-yet-married life.”


It is better to preach five words of God’s Word than five million words of man’s wisdom. — C.H. Spurgeon

August 10, 2015

Here are today’s Kindle deals: On Guard by Deepak Reju ($4.99)—at least one person in every church ought to read this book! Also consider Show Them Jesus by Jack Klumpenhower ($1.99); Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin ($4.99); The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur ($5.99); Biblical Exegesis by John Hays ($2.99); Mindscape by Timothy Witmer ($0.99); Picture Perfect by Amy Baker ($0.99).

The One Role for a Woman in Church

Melissa writes to herself and other women in this excellent article: “What if, instead of obsessing over our place in the church, we simply set out to humble ourselves as much as possible? What if, dear sisters in our Lord Jesus, we opened clenched fists and opened our arms to those who need us, ministering in the beautiful, glorious ways that God has gifted us to minister?”

A Death in Yellowstone

This is a long and interesting look at what happens after a grizzly bear attacks a human in Yellowstone National Park.

More Than Sovereign

Adam McClendon writes about the difference between believing only in God’s sovereignty and believing in both his sovereignty and his goodness. It’s all the difference in the world.

This day in 1886: Joseph M. Scriven, author of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” died by drowning. Because of his history of grief and depression, many of his friends suspect he took his own life. (I especially enjoy Alan Jackson’s rendition of the hymn.)

Why You Get Carsick

Why do some people get carsick while others don’t? This article goes looking for answers. “Some people seemingly start to feel sick the instant they sit down in the passenger seat. If you’re one of them, a winding road, a fast-accelerating driver, or being in the back seat is enough to make you utterly nauseated.”

Where Do We Go From Ferguson?

It has been one year since Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown. Writing for the Reformed African American Network, Jarvis Williams says “ it is good and right to ponder again the current state of race relations a year after the shooting and death of Brown.”

Don’t Know What a Fetus Is?

Justin Taylor quotes philosopher Peter Kreeft who argues that “either we do or do not know what a fetus is.” There really are not too many valid options.


Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones. —Phillips Brooks

August 08, 2015

I’ve got just a handful of new Kindle deals for you: How We Got the Bible by Neil Lightfoot ($1.99); Radical Integrity by Michael Van Dyke ($0.99). Those interested in history may enjoy The Liberator by Alex Kershaw.

I think you will enjoy reading A Vintage Kindness by Bryan Loritts. I especially appreciate his distinction between niceness and kindness.

Jake Weidmann is one of just 12 master penmen in the world. His work is incredible.

Have you ever wondered what a MLB beat reporter does? The Blue Jays’ reporter gives the inside scoop. They keep those guys really busy!

Ray Ortlund writes briefly of the struggle of Performance in Music City USA. “Nashville is a city of truly amazing people.  But under the surface are also stories of unspoken disappointment, insecurity, heartache, failure, loneliness, fear, regret, injury, loss, even as the show must go on.”

Amy explains why she is Pro-Life and not just anti-abortion.

I guess this is no surprise, given the cultural context: Men’s Fashion Is Headed for a Gender-Bending Moment Unseen Since the ’70s.

Thanks to smallgroup.com for sponsoring the blog this week with Three Things Jesus Never Told to Make Disciples.


The reason we come away so cold from reading the Word is because we do not warm ourselves at the fire of meditation. —Thomas Watson

August 07, 2015

Today’s Kindle deals include 2 volumes in the Exegetical Guide to the New Testament series: James and 1 Peter ($2.99 each). They also include Harmony of the Gospels by Cox & Easley ($2.99); Illustrated Life of Jesus by Herschel Hobbs ($2.99); Holman Concise Bible Dictionary ($2.99); By God’s Design by Judith Hartzell ($1.99); and The Closer by Mariano Rivera ($3.99). If your kids are into The Quest for Truth series, you’ll want to get volume 4, Tangle, at just $2.99.

Video Killed the Pulpit Star - Here’s an interesting outsider’s perspective on the multi-campus model of church. It includes some solid insights.

How to Repent Without Really Repenting - I thnk we are all pretty good at this, aren’t we?

8 Things You Won’t Find in Heaven - David Murray tells about 8 things you won’t find in heaven.

3 Reasons the Campaign on Planned Parenthood is Winnable - Doug Wilson: “Here are three basic reasons why we should see this campaign as one that is preeminently winnable. Planned Parenthood can go down the same way that ACORN did.”

A Pastor’s Greatest Regret - I know that far too many pastors live with this same regret. Pastor, protect yourself. Church, protect your pastor.

What Does Sola Scriptura mean? - John MacArthur has a brief refresher for you.


Modern church worship is characterized by an exaltation of the self, but authentic worship is marked by an emptying of ourselves. —Jared Wilson

August 06, 2015

Here are today’s Kindle deals: The Gospels and Acts by various authors is a great value at $2.99; Love into Light by Peter Hubbard is a very helpful book about homosexuality ($2.99); Why Jesus? by Ravi Zacharias ($2.99); KnowOrphans by Rick Morton ($2.99); The Little Style Guide to Great Christian Writing and Publishing by Leonard Gross ($0.99).

Learning to Think for Yourself - “There is one characteristic (common to all great theologians and pastors throughout church history) that young ministers, especially those in seminary, must learn to cultivate–namely, the ability to think for themselves.”

There is No Pro-Life Case For Planned Parenthood - I love to see this in the New York Times. “Tell the allegedly ‘pro-life’ institution you support to set down the forceps, put away the vacuum, and then we’ll talk about what kind of family planning programs deserve funding. But don’t bring your worldview’s bloody hands to me and demand my dollars to pay for soap enough to maybe wash a few flecks off.”

Books on Sale This Week - Westminster Books has some great deals this week, including Rosaria Butterfield’s new one. There are 5 or 6 other good books on sale along with it.

In Zimbabwe, We Don’t Cry for Lions - Here is some missing perspective on killing lions.

Breathtaking Photos - The U.S. Department of the Interior manages the most breathtaking lands in America and they have the photos to prove it. This site has highlights from their Instagram account.

What Is Fire? - Now there’s an interesting question. PBS has an answer. (And speaking of fire, here’s an interesting video of firefighters doing what they do.)

Mad Dash - Whats the difference between a hyphen, an en dash, and an em dash? This video explains.


The Church is perishing today through the lack of thinking, not through an excess of it. —J. Gresham Machen

August 05, 2015

There are a few new Kindle deals for you today: Get Real by John Leonard ($1.99); Hide or Seek by John Freeman ($2.99); Grief Undone by Elizabeth Groves ($1.99); A Model of Christian Maturity by D.A. Carson ($3.99).

Pretty well the whole Holman Commentary set is on sale at $2.99 each in Kindle format. This is a pretty good, Evangelical, entry-level set. The volume on 1 Corinthians is considered especially good; also note that Steve Lawson wrote the volumes on Psalms. Here they are, in order: GenesisExodus, Leviticus, Numbers; Deuteronomy; Joshua; Judges & Ruth1 & 2 KingsEzra, Nehemiah, Esther; Job; Psalms 1-75; Psalm 76-150; Proverbs; Ecclesiastes & Song of Songs; Isaiah; Jeremiah & Lamentations; Ezekiel; Daniel; Minor Prophets; Nahum-Malachi; Matthew; Mark; Luke; John; Acts; Romans; 1 & 2 Corinthians; Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians & Colossians; 1-2 Thessalonians, 1-2 Timothy, Titus, & Philemon; 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John & Jude; Hebrews & James.

The Anatomy of Sexual Sin - When you think about the sheer prevalence of sexual sin both inside and outside of the church, you realize how important it is to know the anatomy of such sin.

Confessions of a Bibliophile - I enjoyed Keith Mathison’s reflections on a life spent reading.

Gentle Selfishness - “The kind of behavior we usually think of as selfish is obvious: lying, cheating, stealing, hurting, etc., to get what we want. Everyone recognizes it for what it is. But a gentle selfishness, because of its very gentleness, is subtle, deceptive, and far more difficult to detect than the blatant kind.”

The Gates of Gaza - “A recent excavation in Israel has uncovered the historic fortifications and monumental gate of a Biblical-era city called Gath.” You’ll recognize it as home to the infamous Goliath.

The Tricky Ethics of the Lucrative Disaster Rescue Business - You may be interested in this longform article that focuses on the aftermath of the recent earthquake in Nepal.

The 5 Types of Work That Fill Your Day - This is a helpful breakdown of the different kinds of work that can fill each workday.

Patagonia 8K - This video offers an eye-popping trip through Patagonia. Do it full-screen and HD if you can.


Be obedient even when you do not know where obedience may lead you. —Sinclair Ferguson

August 04, 2015

Several of the Holman Old Testament and New Testament commentaries are on sale for Kindle at $2.99 each: Ecclesiastes & Song of SongsDaniel, Nahum-MalachiRomans. Also consider Old Testament Survey by Eric Mitchell & Archie England ($2.99); Exemplary Life by Andy Chambers ($0.99); Helps for Counselors by Jay Adams ($1.99); Enjoy Your Prayer Life by Michael Reeves ($2.99); Recovering the Real Lost Gospel by Darrell Bock ($2.99).

Reflections on Mark Driscoll and the Mars Hill Implosion - John Piper reflects a bit on the rise and fall of Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll. “[God] didn’t drop the ball, he’s not sweating, he’s not anxious. He is totally in charge of this war. He permitted a tactical defeat for the gospel. He has done it.”

Planting Churches in Japan - This is a fascinating article with missionary and church planter Dan Iverson. (Also, you can download the new issue of Tabletalk magazine free for your digital device.)

Why Are Weddings So Expensive? - This video offers some answers (and a couple of solutions).

Should I Leave an Inheritance to my Children? - In general I agree with much of what Randy Alcorn says in this video. There may be better things to do with your money than leaving it to your children.

California Wildfires - The Big Picture has a collection of amazing photos from the California wildfires.

After One Year - I’ve said before that missionary blogs are some of my favorites. Here Stacey reflects on her family’s first year in Cameroon.

The Epidemic of Male Body Hatred - These are some helpful thoughts on men and their bodies. “Health is not the issue here. There is a huge gap between being healthy and meeting our culture’s ideal of ‘hot.’ And in that space lies any and every resource for a man to hate his body.”


Your faith will not fail while God sustains it; you are not strong enough to fall away while God is resolved to hold you. —J.I. Packer

August 03, 2015

Crossways excellent “Theologians on the Christian Life” series is on sale this week at $5.99 per volume: Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards, John Newton, John Wesley, J.I. Packer, John Calvin, Francis Schaeffer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and B.B. Warfield. Here are a few more deals: Counseling the Hard Cases by Stuart Scott & Heath Lambert ($2.99); HCSB Study Bible ($2.99); God Is Red by Liao Yiwu ($1.99); The Money Answer Book by Dave Ramsey ($1.99); The Bible Answer BookThe Bible Answer Book Volume 2, and The Creation Answer Book by Hank Hanegraaf ($1.99 each).

Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert - Be sure to grab this month’s free book from Christian Audio: Rosaria Butterfield’s Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.

The Briefing is Back - Dr. Mohler’s The Briefing makes its return today after a month off. I missed it, and am glad to see its return.

When To Stop Having Children - Deepak Reju offers 15 wisdom principles on when to stop having children.

The Timmy Brothers - The Timmy Brothers and their artisanal water—this video is a near-perfect parody of all the videos out there pitching artisanal products.

Evidence for the Historical Jesus - Here’s a free, updated PDF of Gary Habermas’ book Evidence for the Historical Jesus.

Satan and Sodomy - John Piper: “The supernatural monster who orchestrates the kidnapping, enslaving, and thousand-fold drugging, selling, raping, and killing of girls around the globe, is the same one who has masterminded the murderous cultural delusion — from the highest court to the lowest porn-flick — that the practice of sodomy is delightful, not deadly.” (On a related note but by a different author, you may want to read The Darker, Dangerous Side of Homosexuality.)

While You’re Waiting on God - What do you do while you’re waiting on God? This article offers some biblical answers.

The Gospel in India - The Gospel Coalition continues their look at Christian advance around the world by speaking to a few pastors in India. This is a helpful series.


It is usually considered good practice to examine a thing for one’s self before echoing the vulgar ridicule of it. —J. Gresham Machen

August 01, 2015

Here are some deals to start your month: The Unquenchable Flame by Michael Reeves ($2.99); Double Play by Ben Zobrist ($0.99); The Ultimate Proof of Creation by Jason Lisle ($2.99). You’ll also find a new list of books spanning all genres in their list of monthly deals.

Free from Christian Audio this month is Rosaria Butterfield’s excellent Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.

It’s Board Game Day at Amazon and they’ve got lots of good ones on sale. We love Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, Smallworld, Dominion, and others. 

I rather enjoyed this article titled A Company Copes With Backlash Against the Raise That Roared. It is all about a company owner who decided to offer every one of his employees at least $70,000 per year. Who would have thought that move would make people mad?

This TED talk (which has quite a lot of rough language, especially in the tweets it displays on the screen) shows How One Tweet Can Ruin Your Life. The Internet outrage machine can destroy people’s lives.

Logos users will be interested in this New Source for Free Logos Training. I think most of us only barely scratch the surface of Logos’ power.

Jamie Brown has a massively sarcastic article about nonsensical worship music: Flammable Sound And Its Implications.

The Art of the Interchange shows the unexpected beauty in highway interchanges. Yes, I said highway interchanges.

Mark Altrogge offers some pastoral words: There Are No Accidents With God. “Wherever we find ourselves and whatever we have to deal with we can know that God in his infinite wisdom has designed it for our good and to make us like Christ and bring him glory.”

Thanks to The Good Book Company for sponsoring the blog this week with Raising Real Kids, Not Fakers.

What Should We Do When They Stray? Nick Batzig says, “There are many difficult and painful experiences that ministers face, but the spiritual rebellion of a child of a believer weighs heavily on the heart of any true minister of the Gospel.”


The church is not a career path. It’s a place you go to give your life away. —Dave Harvey

July 31, 2015

New from GLH Publishing is one of my all-time favorite Puritan works: Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks. It’s at just $0.99. Also consider Truth in a Culture of Doubt by Andreas Kostenberger ($2.99); The Essential Bible Companion by John Walton ($5.99); Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal by Michael Kelley ($0.99).

Exceptionally Ordinary - We need to be reminded of this often. “The assumption is that God will be really pleased if we do something massive (on a human scale) for him. Really? Do you really think God needs you or I to do anything in order to accomplish what he wills?”

The Children of Strangers - The New Yorker has a long, interesting, and sad article about a couple that adopted twenty children.

10 Quick, Important Developments On The Planned Parenthood Scandal - And still the major news outlets are quiet about it.

Our Wilberforce Moment - The comparison to Wilberforce is a strong one. Josh Howerton says that this is our culture’s Wilberforce moment, and I am inclined to agree.

When Success Outgrows Character - This is a very helpful article from Eric Geiger. “When skills surpass the process of sanctification, the trajectory is downward though everything looks great on the outside.” (I have previously written about this here.)

We’ve Got Spirit, Yes We Do - “My fear is that we can fall down that slippery slope that an awesome worship experience equals the Holy Spirit.”

New York City Transit - Did you know that much of the technology driving the New York City subway system is nearly 100 years old? Here’s a look at the past, present, and future.


Peace is such a precious jewel that I would give anything for it but truth. —Matthew Henry