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July 04, 2016

 

True Worship Displays, Not Distracts

“As a worship pastor, I’ve heard the concern voiced many times: ‘I don’t want to raise my hands in worship because I don’t want to draw attention to myself.’” Here’s a helpful way of thinking it through.

9 Traits of Truly Curious People

Barnabas Piper: “Curiosity pointed in any direction is marked by the same traits. Whether we are investing in a marriage, a co-worker, a project, a sermon, a mission trip, a friendship, or a crisis a truly curious person shares these.”

An Unsung Evangelistic Hero

“There is an unsung hero when it comes to evangelism. Well, an almost unsung hero. It greatly assists the sharing of the gospel, but is not often found in talks, texts or training courses on the topic. What is this unsung hero?” Read to find out…

Don’t Waste Your Vacation

This is important and, at least for me, a temptation when I’m on vacation: “You never take a vacation from your Christianity, so why would our modern concepts of vacation sway us away from attending worship on the Sunday of our vacation?”

This Day in 1533. 483 years ago today, John Frith (Fryth), a Protestant, was burned at the stake in Smithfield by King Henry VIII of England. A Protestant and fellow translator with William Tyndale, he had been accused of heresy. *

Is the Declaration of Independence a ‘Christian’ Document?

Joe Carter provides an answer.

Freedom From the Tyranny of Hyper-Spirituality

Hyper-spirituality is one of the worst forms of tyranny.

Flashback: 4 Tips For Dealing With Procrastination

“There was a time in my life where I was awfully good at procrastination. Or awfully bad, depending on your perspective. I still can be if I don’t watch it. But along the way I learned how to (mostly) beat it (most of the time). Today I am going to offer you 2 big-picture tips and follow them with 2 very practical ones.”

Kruger

You cannot be a perfect mom, but you can be a prayerful mom. —Melissa Kruger

July 02, 2016

It is, once again, a rather light day when it comes to notable Kindle deals. We will hope for better things next week! In the meantime, enjoy some reading:

A New Verse-By-Verse Commentary Series

This looks like good news to me! “Lexham Press is proud to announce a New Testament commentary series from respected biblical scholar Grant Osborne. His seminal work, The Hermeneutical Spiral, has become a standard for biblical interpretation. As a culmination of his life’s ministry, Osborne is bringing his theological acumen to an accessible, application-focused commentary. The Osborne New Testament Commentaries interpret Scripture verse by verse, bridging the gap between scholarship and the church.”

Patronizing the Poor?

This article asks what it really means to be poor.

Glow Worms

Fascinating: “The glow worm colonies of New Zealand’s Waitomo Caves imitate stars to confuse flying insects, then trap them in sticky snares and eat them alive.”

True Leaders Are Teachable

Dave Kraft: “I’ve been a Christian for 53 years and in vocational Christian ministry for 45 years. During this time I’ve given a great deal of thought to the content of all the many lists in Scripture. And I’ve come to the measured conclusion that, when it comes to the indispensable qualities for being a leader in the body of Christ and in life in general, there’s one characteristic that perhaps should be placed at the top: teachability.”

Every Pastor Needs Someone to Mentor

There’s a good challenge here for pastors.

This Day in 1721. 295 years ago today, Hans Egede, a Norwegian Lutheran missionary, landed in Greenland with a party of forty-six people. *

Christian Colleges, Religious Liberty, and SB 1146

Nathan Busenitz of The Master’s Seminary writes about that proposed bill in California and what it would mean to an institution like theirs.

Flashback: The Danger of Coasting

“I’ve been thinking about this lately because I see in my own life a tendency to coast—to coast in my relationships, to coast in my pursuit of godliness, to coast in my pursuit of God himself. And here are some things I’ve observed…”

What the World Needs Now, It Needed Then

I’m grateful to Moody Publishers for sponsoring the blog this week with “What the World Needs Now, It Needed Then.”

Spurgeon

While others are congratulating themselves, I have to sit humbly at the foot of the cross and marvel that I’m saved at all. -C.H. Spurgeon

July 01, 2016

Before I do anything else today I want to express gratitude to Al Mohler for another season of The Briefing. The final episode of this season is right here and is an excellent look at some of Pope Francis’ recent statements about marriage, homosexuality, and the end of the Reformation. The Briefing will return with a new season on August 1.

Also, Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians! I trust it will be a day of fun, of rest, of relaxation, and of giving thanks to God for the nation he’s given us.

This month’s free book from Logos strikes me as a bit of an odd choice, but you may still want to add it to your library. Far more exciting are their monthly deals which include The Charles Spurgeon Collection and The Biblical Counseling Collection.

Christian Audio’s free book this month is Matt Chandler’s The Mingling of Souls. It is free for the taking.

Ask Jesus into Your Heart

Thomas Kidd looks into the noble and ignoble history of the phrase “ask Jesus into your heart.” I bet you didn’t know it began with the Puritans… 

Who Needs Creeds When I’ve Got a Bible?

Michael Bird explains why he needs creeds and why we do too.

2016 PCA General Assembly: Moving Forward Together

The PCA General Assembly met recently and Richard Phillips offers up some measured and encouraging reflections. 

How Should Christians Think About Corporate Apologies?

Kevin DeYoung says rightly that it is a busy season for corporate apologies. He offers some thoughts on them.

California’s State Religion

Wow. “In a state ruled by a former Jesuit, perhaps we should not be shocked to find ourselves in the grip of an incipient state religion. Of course, this religion is not actually Christianity, or even anything close to the dogma of Catholicism, but something that increasingly resembles the former Soviet Union, or present-day Iran and Saudi Arabia, than the supposed world center of free, untrammeled expression.”

This Day in 1798. 218 years ago today, Mary Webb was baptized. She had been reluctant to take this public step of faith because of a physical deformity which bound her to a wheelchair. At the age of 21, she would organize the first women’s mission society in the United States. *
Window into Piper’s Writing

In this video you’ll see John Piper tell how, when, and where he does his writing.

Grandparents, We Need You!

I like this one: “Grandparents carry tremendous influence with their grandchildren. Here are three ways I’m praying my kids learn from their grandparents.”

Flashback: You Don’t Really Know Who Your Friends Are Until…

You don’t really know who your friends are until their relationship with you becomes a liability instead of a benefit. Many celebrities, and even Christian celebrities, have learned this lesson the hard way.

Pearcey

Christianity is the key that fits the lock of the universe. —Nancy Pearcey

June 30, 2016

 

Parenting a Difficult Child

Here’s hope and encouragement for those of us parenting a difficult child.

Russia’s Proposed Law

Christianity Today: “Christians in Russia won’t be allowed to email their friends an invitation to church or to evangelize in their own homes if Russia’s newest set of surveillance and anti-terrorism laws are enacted.”

Steve Lawson Discovers William Tyndale

I enjoyed this little video where Steve Lawson recounts discovering William Tyndale. Kind of. (Also, watch/listen/read him tell how fulfilled prophecy demonstrates divine inspiration.)

How to Make Your iPhone or iPad Read Kindle Books to You

“In the evenings, Charles Spurgeon’s wife would sit on a cushion at his feet and read to him. So far, I have been unsuccessful in persuading my wife to do the same for me, but I think I may have found an alternative solution.”

Preacher’s Toolkit: Should I Learn Hebrew and Greek

Do all of the new tools at our disposal mean that preachers no longer need to learn Hebrew and Greek? It’s a great question to ask.

RefNet

Are you aware of RefNet? It’s Ligonier’s 24-hour Christian internet radio featuring biblical preaching and teaching. They curate it for you so you can just listen and enjoy.

This Day in 1973. 43 years ago today, in Korea, the Far Eastern Broadcasting Co. began transmitting the Gospel from HLAZ, its first radio station in this country. FBEC is active today through radio missions outreach, and focuses its work among the islands of Eastern Asia and the Pacific. *

Exercise Isn’t the Best Way to Lose Weight

Exercise isn’t the best way to lose weight, but you probably learned that on your own.

Fairytale Castles

Here’s some amazing drone footage of some of Europe’s most beautiful castles.

Flashback: Television’s Rape Epidemic

If Christians won’t allow explicit scenes of sexual violence to keep them from watching television shows, what will? If scenes of rape are not over the edge, what is? If we won’t draw the line there, will we draw it anywhere?

Mohler

Our spiritual maturity will never exceed our knowledge of the Bible. —Albert Mohler

June 29, 2016

 

Fear Not, the Universe Is Wildly Out Of Your Control

Here’s comfort: “Things are wildly out of my control but they are not out of control. These things are set in place. Designed. Ordered. Governed.”

When a Christian Feels Dry

And we all do from time to time, don’t we?

Canada Day

To celebrate Canada (July 1), access to all national parks and national historic sites managed by Parks Canada will be free.

50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die

This is a neat account of how John Piper’s book 50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die has impacted the world.

The False Heaven of a Successful Ministry

“Don’t settle for the false heaven of a ‘successful ministry.’ Because real success is faithfulness. Big church or small church, growing church or declining church, well-known church or obscure church—all churches are epic successes full of the eternal, invincible quality of the kingdom of God when they treasure Jesus’ gospel and follow him.”

Generosity – More Than Money Can Buy

“There’s nothing wrong with donating to churches and charitable organizations, but to define generosity so narrowly—as giving money alone—is a mistake. Every person has something of value to give, and we always have the opportunity to be generous to others, regardless of financial resources.”

This Day in 1900. 116 years ago today, Meng Ch’ang-ch’un, a prominent Chinese pastor during the Boxer Rebellion, was martyred for his faithfulness to the gospel and his devotion to the missionaries serving in Pao-ting Fu: “Our missionaries have remained with us; we will stand by them, and live or die together.” *

Heresy and Humility

Al Mohler offers some thoughts on the current Trinity controversy. He mentions his own position but focuses on concerns related to the tone of the conversation. (And Carl Trueman replies.)

A Theological Add-On

Here’s a theological add-on to my 2016 reading challenge if you’re interested in forcing your reading to be a bit more theological. 

Flashback: When God Flips That Switch

I love what this text displays: When we take action, we find only destruction. When God begins to move, we are given grace.

Furman

The gospel keeps me relating to God on the basis of Jesus’s perfections, not on the illusions of my religious achievements. -Gloria Furman

June 28, 2016

 

Supreme Court Rules on Texas Abortion Case

Joe Carter has a FAQ about yesterday’s troubling ruling from the Supreme Court.

Abortion Forever

On the same subject, Rod Dreher says this: “The bottom line, it seems to me, is that the Supreme Court will never let any state restriction stand meaningfully in the way of the Sexual Revolution. Ever. No federalism, no democracy, not when it comes to defending the Sexual Revolution.”

7 Lies We Tell Our Children

“We all lie to our kids. Sometimes it’s on purpose and for what we deem a good purpose. Sometimes it’s because we so want them to believe something, to feel better, to overcome a challenge, or to work through pain that we will say anything to try to help. Sometimes it’s because we’re idiots and just don’t realize what we’re doing. Here are seven of the most common lies parents tell kids.”

The Trinitarian Debate: Some Reflections and Cautions

This is a great word from Iain Hamilton. “In no sense am I denigrating passionate debate or seeking to downgrade the importance of doctrinal accuracy. I am, however, pleading for theological debate between brothers that is courteous without being anodyne, passionate without being derogatory, Catholic spirited without being partisan.”

Past the End of My Rope

Charlene Nelson shares a blog and poem that come from past the end of her rope.

Calvinist Batman

I recently recorded a podcast with Calvinist Batman. Yes, Calvinist Batman. You can listen in here.

This Day in 1851. 165 years ago today, Eliza E Hewitt, American Presbyterian church worker and devotional author was born. Four of her hymns still endure. Had she never been bed-ridden, she might not have written them. Among the best known are: “Give Me Thy Heart, Says the Father Above,” “Sunshine in My Soul,” and “Will there be any Stars in My Crown?” *

Mary Willson on Domestic Violence

Here’s a brief clip from TGC.

Exhortation to Students of Theology

Danny Hyde: “Since theological seminaries have recently held graduations and a new class of students will soon enter, I thought it would be a fun exercise to write a post on ‘the learned Doctor’ William Ames’ advice to theological students.”

Flashback: Death Is No Escape

Seven years ago today I was reflecting on attrocities and assuring myself and others that death is no escape from justice.

Spurgeon

If we never have headaches through rebuking our children, we shall have plenty of heartaches when they grow up. -C.H. Spurgeon

June 27, 2016

 

Our Impatience Is Worth Billions

The New Yorker uses games like Clash of Clans to display how people are willing to pay billions of dollars to relieve their impatience. Personally, I have a deep loathing for any games built around that financial model!

Read Scripture: Esther

The Read Scripture series of videos advances to Esther, definitely one of the most unexpected books of the Bible.

Identity Theft

Jim Elliff considers the important matter of the Christian’s identity: “Certainly what we are is entirely based upon God’s presence in us and His power bequeathed to us. We are nothing on our own. But in Christ, we are something beyond imagination.”

The Calvinist’s Ultimate Concern

Joel Beeke attempts to reduce Calvinism to one core concept.

California’s Religious Liberty Moment

Ed Stetzer writes about how California’s religion liberty moment could soon be coming to a state near you.

This Day in 1736. 280 years ago today, George Whitefield preached his first sermon. In his lifetime, Whitefield preached at least 18,000 times. He addressed perhaps 10,000,000 hearers. *
How to Handle Difficult People

Mike Ayers shares some wisdom.

Independence Day

You’ve got to have some history with 90’s-era Christian music to enjoy this one, but here’s John Schlitt of Petra singing the Whiteheart hit “Independence Day” (with Billy Smiley of Whiteheart on guitar).

Flashback: Why My Family Doesn’t Do Sleepovers

It was two years ago that I posted this article which quickly became the most popular in the site’s history (with over 7 million reads now).

Horton

If we are interested in God, we should be interested in theology. —Michael Horton

June 25, 2016

I am enjoying my time out here on the west coast though, as usual, these trips are just a bit too short. Still, it’s always a joy to be with brothers in Christ and I’m looking forward to speaking today at Men for God. Of course I will also be glad to be home very late tonight… 

When Your Spiritual Gift Isn’t Changing Diapers

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to use our gifts to serve our church family. But then again, who would say they have the spiritual gift of changing diapers? Holding doors open? Setting up chairs?”

Seven Lessons from Europe

John Piper returns from several weeks in Europe having learned seven interesting lessons.

Caterpillar to Butterfly

Here, in 3 minutes, is a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. It never gets any less impressive, does it?

A Short History of Bible Clutter

Tony Reinke speaks with Glenn Paauw, the Executive Director of the Biblica Institute for Bible Reading, to discuss how our modern Bibles ended up being so cluttered.

Protecting Our Children

Randy Alcorn: “I wonder how many dads have failed to protect their daughters and sons because they craved their approval.” Too many parents make that very mistake.

This Day in 1865. 151 years ago today, English missionary J. Hudson Taylor formed the China Inland Mission (later known as OMF, Overseas Missionary Fellowship International). *

Portraits of Jesus: ‘God’s Only Son’

Andy Naselli walks through one of the best-known passages in the Bible to model proper interpretation.

Sexuality, Identity, Sin, and Denying Ourselves

Amy links to and summarizes an important talk by Sam Allberry. “He has much to say that is relevant to everyone (not just those with same-sex attractions) and relevant to all temptations and sin (not just those related to sexuality).”

Flashback: 7 Good Reasons to Stop Looking at Porn Right Now

My goal for today is simple: I want to give you 7 good reasons you need to stop looking at porn right now.

The Bible You Have in Your Hand

My thanks goes to 10ofThose for sponsoring the blog this week.

Thomas

There must be a radical destruction of sin. Kill it; strangle it; starve it of oxygen until it cannot breathe again. There is no other way. —Derek Thomas