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A La Carte

August 31, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson; The Christian’s Work of Daily Dying by John Owen (New from GLH Publishing); Preaching to a Shifting Culture by Scott Gibson; and The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel.

Westminster Books has the excellent NICOT commentary series on sale. These are some of the best commentaries available on many books of the Old Testament, including Genesis (volume 1 and volume 2), Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Proverbs (volume 1 and volume 2), Isaiah (volume 1 and volume 2), and I’d better stop there. Consult my Best Commentaries series for more.

J. Alec Motyer: A Personal Remembrance

This is one of the best things I’ve read all week.

10 Public Speaking Tips from Charles Spurgeon

“What was Spurgeon’s secret? How did the ‘Prince of Preachers’ master the art of public speaking? Here are ten tips from Spurgeon’s lecture ‘On the Voice.’”

Judging Parents for an Unreal Risk

This one from NPR is quite interesting. “In the United States today, leaving children unsupervised is grounds for moral outrage and can lead to criminal charges. What’s changed?” Not the actual risks!

Your Marriage is Either Growing or It Isn’t

Melissa says “I think after seventeen years I have finally begun to learn that no marriage will grow deep and strong unless we are both firmly planted in God’s word, letting the words of life sustain us as individuals and as a couple.”

Praying in Public Without Performing

John Piper’s recent funeral prayer (prayed at a funeral for a family of 5) has been listened to 700,000 times. Here he discusses praying in public without performing.

Being ThereBeing There. New today is “Being There” by Dave Furman. “Dave Furman offers insight into the support, encouragement, and wisdom that people need when helping others. He draws on his own life experiences, examples from the Bible, and wisdom from Christians throughout history to address the heart and ministry of those who are called to serve others.” Learn more or buy it at Amazon.

Pray for Nabeel Qureshi

Apologist Nabeel Qureshi is asking for prayer after learning that he has advanced cancer.

The Deadliest Garden in the World

“Locked behind black steel doors in Northumberland, England, the Poison Garden at Alnwick Castle grows around 100 infamous killers.” And they are all plants… 

Flashback: A Living Example at Columbine High

This little scene takes place in the immediate aftermath of the shootings at Columbine High, just hours after they erupted. The last survivors have been brought to their parents and a few families remain, grappling with the reality that their children will never return… 


Failure to see our sin as primarily against God is, I believe, the reason we experience so little heartfelt grief over it. —Jerry Bridges

August 30, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: Reading God’s Story by George Guthrie; Delighting in the Law of the Lord by Jerram Barrs; Embracing Obscurity by Anonymous; The Gospel Commission by Michael Horton; A Model of Christian Maturity by D.A. Carson; Managing Your Family’s High Tech Habits by Arnie Cole. You know where to find them.

10 Things You Should Know About Male Headship

Sam Storms rounds ‘em up.

Don’t Waste Your Basal Ganglia

Timmy Brister: “Have you ever heard of your basal ganglia? Yeah, me neither. But I’m telling you now, and I beg you, please do not waste your basal ganglia. Let me explain why.”

The Muslim Who Walked from Somalia to Attend My Christian Son’s Funeral

I was glad to see this article from Nik Ripken posted to Fox News. “I have never been quite so humbled, and I have never seen such a demonstration of friendship.  I couldn’t help but wonder if most Christians I knew would make such an effort to mourn with a Muslim family whose heart was as broken as ours?”

Take a Course with R.C. and Me

I wanted to remind you about this course that R.C. Sproul is teaching and I am moderating. We’d love to have you join!

The World’s Strangest Borders

I really enjoy this videos about the strange realities of our world.

How Reliable Is Your Conscience?

Conscience is an area of theology that has received too little attention! 

This Day in 1900. 116 years ago today Boxer rebels in China executed missionaries Willie and Helen Peat, their children and associates. *

A Back to School Prayer

Melissa Kruger: “As my children spend less time in my presence, I am thankful that I can bring all my concerns and cares before the Lord in prayer.”

Don’t Drive Slowly in the Left Lane

This video illustrates why it’s a bad (and dangerous, even) idea to drive slowly in the left lane.

Flashback: Why You Should Not Wear a Crucifix

Crucifixes have long been a fixture in Roman Catholic worship. But in the past few years I have begun to see more and more Protestants wearing them as well, exchanging their empty cross for one that contains an image of the suffering Savior.

The wisest counsel is worthless if it goes disregarded. —Jeremy Walker

August 29, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include 4 from Crossway: Finishing Our Course With Joy and Weakness Is the Way by J.I. Packer, Disability and the Gospel by Michael Beates, and Why, O God? by Larry Waters.

Why Man and Woman Are Not Equal

This is so good: “Women create, shape, and maintain human culture. Manners exist because women exist. Worthy men adjust their behavior when a woman enters the room. They become better creatures. Civilization arises and endures because women have expectations of themselves and of those around them. This is not just a conservative or traditionalist idea.”

The Beautiful Gift of Gospel Community

“Here’s reality: life is hard! Yet, God has so gifted us with a means to remind each other of the gospel in Christian community.”

Meet the Greater Honeyguide

This is fascinating: “On the African savanna, a fascinating and unprecedented partnership between people and wild birds gets started with a simple ‘brrr-hm’.”

A Reflection of Aching Joy

I was touched by this video—a poem combined with a video as a father expresses his love for his son.

Bring Back the Church Prayer Meeting

Yes and amen! The loss of the prayer meeting has been a sad loss to many churches.

This Day in 1632. 384 years ago today John Locke, English philosopher and author of The Reasonableness of Christianity, was born. *

You Could’ve Been Something

Wow. “Somewhere in all of the hype and go-get-em pep rallies for God, I started believing that I needed to become something. When the Gospel is left out and you tell a room of 16 year olds that the world is their oyster, Jesus starts to look like a patsy who missed his calling. He could’ve been something.”

Welcome to the Big Time

This is a longform article from ESPN that examines the troubling history of the daily fantasy sports industry. In short, “The implosion of the daily fantasy industry is a bro-classic tale of hubris, recklessness, political naïveté and a kill-or-be-killed culture.”

Flashback: The Lost Virtue of Self-Control

There are two different lives I lead. Two different kinds of life. There is the life I love, but that is so difficult to maintain, and there is the life I hate, but am so often tempted toward. The first is a life of discipline and self-control, while the second is a life of disorganization and instability. I love the first life, but am constantly sliding toward the second.

God has linked together holiness and happiness; and what God has joined together we must not think to put asunder .J.C. Ryle

August 27, 2016

I was not able to scrounge up any new Kindle deals today, though I know there will be some good ones coming next week (with the start of a new week and the start of a new month). Stay tuned to the Kindle Deals for Christians page.

J. Alec Motyer (1924-2016)

Yesterday brought the news that Alec Motyer, a prominent Old Testament scholar and commentator, had died. Justin Taylor provides an obituary.

A Reasonable Case Against Same-Sex Marriage

Michael Bird makes a very reasonable case against same-sex marriage. You may need to do a bit of translation from his Australian context, but it still holds up well on this side of the Pacific.

Can Mother Ever Relax?

“When my children were little, it seemed so much more straightforward. I prayed for wisdom to know what to say; now, I pray for wisdom to know if I should say anything. That is one of the hardest things I have learned as my kids have grown up: knowing when to speak.”

The Budapest Escape Room That Started the Worldwide Craze

Escape rooms have suddenly become all the rage. This article tells where and how they began (and why that’s not a surprise).

On David Gushee’s Dishonesty

I’ve read quite a few responses to David Gushee’s recent column at Religion News Service. I do believe this is the best.

This Day in 1960. 56 years ago today Mark Dever was born. Happy birthday, Mark! 

Can We Be Saved Without the Church?

Yes, even Protestants can and should ask this question.

The Men’s Dress Shoe Hierarchy

Here’s all you need to know about dress shoes for men. File it away because you’ll want to refer to it at some point!

Why Most Chinese American Christians Are Conservative Evangelicals

“Chinese American sociologists, historians, and theologians, and even the Pew Research Center all confirm the fact that Asian American Christians are predominantly conservative evangelicals, as opposed to liberal Protestants, Roman Catholics, or Eastern Orthodox.” Why?

Flashback: Downstream in the Moral Sewage

Drawing some lessons about the moral sewage flowing downstream.

The Pastor as Renaissance Man

I’m thankful to MBTS for sponsoring the blog this week with “The Pastor as Renaissance Man.”

A life of humility is not an option for a believer to choose or reject. It is a command of God. —Jerry Bridges 

August 26, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include 4 titles: Romans (The Story of God Bible Commentary) by Michael Bird; The Life of God in the Soul of the Church by Thabiti Anyabwile; Heaven: Your Real Home by Joni Eareckson Tada; and How To Read the Bible Book by Book by Gordon Fee.

Westminster Books has a great deal on a new book that looks really helpful: Faith that Lasts: Raising Kids That Don’t Leave the Church by Jon Nielson.

How Celibacy Can Fulfill Your Sexuality

This is a good and important word from Sam Allberry. “Marriage is not ultimate, but it points to the thing that is. Marriage itself is not meant to fulfill us, but to point to the thing that does.”

Critic or Disciple?

Here’s a great little anecdote from the life of John Stott.

The Hidden World of the National Parks

Google has put together an impressive site to celebrate 100 years of National Parks. With it you can tour through some of the most amazing parks.

The Lie of Sinning Without Suffering

“We’re all getting catfishes. … But this isn’t a modern phenomenon at all. In fact, it’s centuries old, so old in fact that the author of Proverbs exposes one of the oldest catfishing schemes in the book…”

Preacher, Don’t Trust Yourself in Your Preaching

This is a great article from Thabiti Anyabwile. “I suspect that most preachers regularly fight to put their trust in the correct place when it comes to their preaching. Maybe that’s just me, but I’m probably not alone. It seems to me it’s easy for the preacher to trust himself even when he doesn’t intend to.” He explains what that can look like.

This Day in 1901. 115 years ago today the New Testament of the American Standard Version Bible was published. This was the first major American Bible translation since the King James Version of 1611. *

Words That Seem Like They’re Related, But Aren’t

This video will surprise you with a list of words that seem like they are related, but aren’t. Did you know, for example, that “male” and “female” are not related in their origins?

3 Ways “The Blind Men and the Elephant” Story Backfires

It occurs that I’ve only ever heard this story told by Christians who then refute it. But there must be some unbelievers out there telling it as well!

How Do Animals See in the Dark?

You say “evolved,” I say “created.” But anyway, it’s still interesting.

Flashback: Not In Part But the Whole

To be partly forgiven is to be wholly damned. Partial forgiveness is complete condemnation. The Christian and the Christian alone knows the pure delight of God’s full and final forgiveness.

One generation believes something. The next assumes it. And the third will forget and deny it.D.A. Carson

August 25, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: Christians in an Age of Wealth by Craig Blomberg, Shaped by the Gospel by Tim Keller, God and the Nations by Henry Morris, and Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Tim Lane.

Purity Culture

Samuel James offers his take on a new article about Joshua Harris and his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. “It is often difficult for me to read a blog post that excoriates evangelical purity culture, and discern where the criticism of legalism ends and the criticism of the Bible’s teachings on sex begin.” That’s just so true.

One Empty Desk

I hope for the sake of your church and its health that you’ve had this painful experience! (And, as it happens, I remember seeing this author’s desk empty once upon a time.)

Remember Their Names

Here are a couple of quick tips about names.

7 Dangers of Embracing Mere Therapeutic Forgiveness

I consider this an important and often-misunderstood topic. “I’ve held the position, for a while now, that there is a difference between the posture of forgiveness and actually living in reconciliation with someone.”

Sincerity Over Intensity

“Relax and be yourself, worship leader. Use your gifts, sing with your voice, and join together with your people, to glorify God together. You don’t need to worry and you don’t need to wear yourself out. Thank God!”

This Day in 1560. 456 years ago today Protestantism was formally adopted by the Church of Scotland. Scottish Parliament had earlier accepted a Calvinist confession of faith. *

…And Called It Macaroni

“Generations of American kids forced to sing ‘Yankee Doodle’ have grown up justifiably puzzled by its lyrics.” Here’s an explanation for that whole macaroni thing.

You Are Not the Bride of Christ

Ryan takes a look at the “bride of Christ” references in the Bible and points out an important fact about them.

Pastoral Ministry Does Not Have To Be Sedentary

You’ll benefit from this article if you’ve got one of those jobs that requires a lot of sitting.

Flashback: The 10 Greatest Hymns of All Time

I know you won’t agree with the entire list, but here are my picks for the ten greatest hymns of all-time.

Repentance: is a characteristic of the whole life, not the action of a single moment. —Sinclair Ferguson

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.


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