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A La Carte

January 31, 2014

Here is are just a couple of month-end Kindle deals: Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper ($2.99); Evangelical Press’ Bite-Size Biographies are a good deal at $3.99 or so each. You can find John Knox here and scroll down to see many of the others in the series. They are good, short biographies of important Christians.

Superbowl Fact-Checker - “Super Bowl myths. You’ve heard them all before. You’ve probably even passed them along to friends and family (I know I have). While Scripture forbids us from spreading a false report. (Exodus 23:1), sometimes, because of lack of information, we unintentionally pass along false reports in the form of myths and urban legends.” Joe Carter looks into them.

Exhaustion - I like the sound of this: Take back Sunday!

Without Love I Am Nothing - In light of 1 Corinthians 13, here is a word to Bible students, seminarians, and disciple-makers.

What Are We Missing In Our Worship? - I completely agree with this: “I often miss an element of the service when visiting other churches that I have come to love more and more. It is an element that has a long history in the worship of the church. It is pastorally sensitive, encourages the believer, exhorts the unbeliever, and is entirely biblical.”

Three Reasons to Get Some Sleep - “The fact is humans need sleep, between 7–8 hours a day. But most of us aren’t getting it. According to studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sleep deprivation is epidemic. In the last week articles and infographs have been circulating the web with convincing evidence that this is the real deal. In addition to that content, here are three reasons why you should get some sleep.”

The voices of childhood echo throughout life. The first learned is generally the last forgotten. —C.H. Spurgeon 


January 30, 2014

How To Keep Your “I Do” In The Present Tense - This is a powerful one. “Don Henley of Eagles fame once sang, ‘I had a good life, before you came.’ And so it was with me. I was single. I pastored the little white Church on the corner…” And then he met her.

Brothers, We Are Not Professionals - John Piper’s Brothers, We Are Not Professionals is $2.99 for Kindle.

A Catechism on the Heart - In this article from Tabletalk, Sinclair Ferguson provides a short catechism on the heart.

The Stealth Prosperity Gospel - Jared Wilson: “The real devil in the details of the prosperity-type teaching permeating so much of evangelicalism is not really that it skips over the stuff about sin. Sure, it does that too, but the pernicious paradox of this stuff is that it champions “’victorious Christian living’ yet does not equip believers for sustainable discipleship.”

The Priority that Isn’t - Tony Payne has a word for church leaders: “So which items are you going to prioritize? And which areas will (sadly but perhaps inevitably) have less effort put into them, and just potter along for another year?” He has a good suggestion.

Winter Storm Havoc - Here’s a photo gallery of that winter storm that swept through the American south. I’m grateful to the Christian family who kindly took in my sister and niece after they were stranded on the freeway for 12+ hours.

Your Grammys’ Church - Dr. Peter Jones reviews this year’s Grammy’s. Meanwhile, Tripp Lee has 5 Questions for Beyonce who was, I guess, the “star” of the show.

When we are weak, then are we strong. When most empty of self, we are most full of God. —Charles Hodge


January 29, 2014

Here are today’s Kindle deals: When Your Husband Is Addicted to Pornography by Vicki Tiede ($2.99); True Friendship by Vaughan Roberts ($2.99); When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search by Chris Brauns ($5.77); Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas ($2.99); What Angels Wish They Knew by Alistair Begg ($5.77); Can We Know the Truth? by Richard Phillips ($1.99).

Authenticity, Honesty, and the Stay-At-Home-Mother - Here’s a challenge: “The mommy wars have made great advances in battling the false fronts of picture-perfect blog posts, where dinners always look fabulous, children are always beautifully dressed, and husbands always come home with roses. But we’ve replaced those filtered versions of our lives with other versions…”

Church Size - “If you are a pastor, church planter, or key leader, you need a healthy and theologically sound attitude for dealing with church growth, size, and numbers.” Here are 5 important things to remember when it comes to church size. 

What’s Your Worldview? - What’s Your Worldview is an interesting new book. It uses a “Choose Your Own Adventure” style to answer life’s biggest questions. Westminster Books has it on sale in paperback. Amazon has the Kindle edition for $7.19.

A Lukewarm Interpretation of Hot and Cold - “ ‘Because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.’ Here’s an interpretation of this often-misused verse.

An Interview with Ben Zobrist - I enjoyed this interview with Ben Zobrist. And I appreciated his token shout-out to the Blue Jays.

Good Piper Quotes - For years now this blogger has been mining funny and quirky quotes from John Piper’s sermons. This is the last batch.

The Historical Reality of Adam - Guy Prentiss Waters gives the lay of the land in the battle over the historical Adam.

Sin is what you do when your heart is not satisfied with God. —John Piper

Piper Sin

January 28, 2014

Here are some new Kindle deals: Christian Worldview: A Student’s Guide by Philip Ryken ($3.99); unPlanned by Abby Johnson ($2.99); John A Broadus by David Dockery ($0.99); Gospel Commission by Michael Horton ($3.99).

Why Doesn’t God Answer My Prayers? - “Many people have wondered why our all-powerful and loving God doesn’t answer the prayers of His people.” We have all wondered it at one time or another. This article provides a helpful take on it.

How Can It Be - You’re treading on sacred ground when you add to or take away from a hymn as well-loved as “And Can It Be.” But this version from The Falls Anglican is pretty good. It’s also a free download.

Grace Sharjah - Just over a year ago I was in Dubai visiting a couple of churches in Dubai and heard about their desire to plant new churches. Grace Sharjah is their new church plant in Sharjah and it launches on Friday. Any time a new church begins in the Middle East, it’s worth praising God for and worth praying for.

Don’t Give My Husband Romance Lessons - I got a chuckle out of this: “I am not an overly romantic person, and that’s good, because my husband isn’t the type, either. And that’s okay with us. If he was to sit down, at candlelight, look into my eyes, and recite poetry, we’d both end up laughing. We love candlelight, but we have never been what I would call romance lovers.”

Credo Magazine - The newest issue of Credo magazine looks deep into the great doctrine of justification. Contributors include Thomas Schreiner, Michael Allen, Michael Horton, Philip Ryken and others.

Babies Are Murdered Here - This new documentary on abortion is worth watching (though I am not crazy about the too-close link between Old Testament Israel and contemporary America). About You is another reflective look at abortion.

This Beautiful World - These photos highlight just a little bit of the beauty of this earth.

True Christian prayer is the faith and reliance of the soul breathed forth in words. —Jonathan Edwards

Edwards on Prayer

January 27, 2014

Here are a few Kindle deals worth checking out: Wesley on the Christian Life by Fred Sanders ($4.99); Covenantal Apologetics by Scott Oliphant ($4.99); An Infinite Journey by Andrew Davis ($4.99); One With Christ by Marcus Peter Johnson ($4.99); A Concise New Testament Theology by I. Howard Marshall ($5.68); Fallen edited by Christopher Morgan & Robert Peterson ($4.99); The Finished Work of Christ by Francis Schaeffer ($4.99).

Those Dragons Underneath Our Beds - Matthew Westerholm shows that how we approach a situation reveals what we expect to find and then applies that to our approach to our worship services.

Music and Alzheimer’s Patients - This is a fascinating video which displays some of the power of music. A non-responsive Alzheimer’s patient listens to the music of his youth and is transformed.

Has Authenticity Trumped Holiness? - This is well worth considering: “Often, what passes for authenticity in evangelical Christianity is actually a safe, faux-openness that establishes an environment where vulnerability is embraced, only up to a point.”

Origins of Common Words - If you’re into words you’ll probably be interested in this collection of maps that shows the origins of common words.

The Shortest Commentary on the Bible - Here is the shortest commentary on the Bible: Each book of the Bible summarized in a single tweet. Some of them are very well done. Example: “Philippians: Even in chains, Paul is freer than wild horses. Even in prison, his joy is boundless as the skies.”

Dying Well - You should watch this video of Nick Magnotti who battled cancer for two years and whose faith was strong throughout. He went to be with the Lord earlier this month.

To accept Christ’s righteousness alone, his blood alone for salvation, is the sum of the gospel. —Thomas Wilcox


January 25, 2014

Caught on Email - You’d think people would catch on eventually, but as this article proves, people continue to get trapped by their own emails.

How to Jesus Juke a Justin Bieber Story - Joe Carter means to be thought-provoking here.

Dodging Haymakers Outside the Abortion Clinic - Owen Strachan: “My welcome-to-ministry moment at the abortion clinic began with a haymaker. It was fitting. Louisville is the city of Ali. Up to this moment, I had connected with the area’s boxing culture only by gazing at billboards along the way featuring the dashing young Mr. Clay. Now, I found myself in my own personal boxing ring.”

Going to the Doctor for Depression Meds - David Murray responds to someone who “told me that he had finally and reluctantly decided to go to the doctor about his painful and debilitating depression and ask about going on meds. I knew this person had tried every other spiritual and commonsense remedy but was simply not getting better.” He shares his response.

Church Planter Podcast - I was recently a guest on the Church Planter Podcast. Scroll down a bit to episode 41.

Stand for Life 2014 - Here’s a conversation on abortion between John Piper, Francis Chan and John Ensor.

Holiness in angels and saints is but a quality, but in God it is His essence. —Thomas Brooks

Thomas Brooks

January 24, 2014

Here are a few new Kindle deals: New from GLH Publishing is The Essential Works of Jonathan Edwards ($1.99); Promises of Grace by Bryan Chapell ($2.99); Balanced Christianity by John Stott ($5.38); Pastors in the Classics by Philip & Leland Ryken ($2.99); Church Zero by Peyton Jones (free).

Why I Am a Cessationist - Thomas Schreiner has written an article explaining why he is a cessationist (who believes the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit are no longer operative). Sam Storms has written his defense of the opposite perspective.

55.8 Million - Here’s just one way of understanding what it means that 55.8 million babies have been aborted since Roe v. Wade.

Let Your Husband Love You - I suspect a lot of husbands appreciate this article. “I get it. The kids have been climbing on you all day. One or both of your boobs have been exposed 87% of the day and you’re sick of being clawed at, sucked on, licked, punched, kicked, pulled, snotted on, cried on, spit up on, pooped on, and peed on…”

The Science Is Clear - The science is clear: It’s a bad idea to text while walking.

Helping Someone Through a Salvation Experience - This is helpful stuff from David Platt. “Prayer is a right and biblical response to the gospel. When you share the gospel, it’s good to invite people to call out for God to save them. At the same time, it’s unnecessary (and in some ways unhelpful) to tell people what they must say in order to be saved.”

Oh, Oh, Ooh, Ooh, La, La, Whoa - Bob Kauflin has been thinking about the use of generic syllables in congregational singing and shares those thoughts with us.

Christian living moves from what God has freely done for us in Christ to what we should freely do for others. —John Piper


January 23, 2014

As usual, we’ve got a couple of Kindle deals to start things off: Today only, The Poverty of Nations by Wayne Grudem is $4.99; Gospel-Centered Teaching by Trevin Wax ($2.99); What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care? by Ed Welch ($2.51); the Penguin Classics edition of Augustine’s Confessions is down to $3.99; Manhood Restored by Eric Mason ($2.99); Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart by J.D. Greear ($2.99).

Hurry! - Yup. “Busyness is talked about a lot. We take on too much. We don’t say no to anything, because being busy makes us feel important. Look how much I’m doing! But for me? I rush because I’m lazy.”

The Prideful Pursuit of Humility - “Pride and self-doubt are really two sides of the same coin. One believes that we know better than God does, the other believes that he isn’t good or powerful enough to change us. Neither makes much of God, effectively bringing him down below us. The prideful and the self-doubters both believe they’re better than God, they just show it in different ways.”

Teaching and Preaching the OT - David Murray offers 7 tips for teaching and preaching the Old Testament.

Welcome to Seminary — Now What? - Dr. Mohler welcomes new seminary students. “To enter this seminary is to enter into a stewardship, and I know that every one of you will want to make the most of that stewardship. Theological education is a stewardship of truth.”

The Death of Witnessing - Leon Brown reflects on the ways in which our technologies may inhibit sharing the gospel with others. 

Up for a Trade? - This is worth thinking about: “In our modern world, tradesmen are admired only when someone is in need of their expertise. … Society wants to relegate the trades to the unfortunate few that can’t stand working the checkout at Wal-Mart. In a way that is good for me because I have little competition. I don’t know a single reputable plumber who is not buried in work.”

If we choose a false way of worship we shall, ere long, choose to worship a false god. —C.H. Spurgeon


January 22, 2014

A few Kindle deals: Managing God’s Money by Randy Alcorn, a really important book in my own life ($4.61); The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken ($0.99); Holy Ground by Chris Costaldo ($5.98).

Do’s and Don’ts of Welcoming Guests - “Have you been in your church for so long that you’ve forgotten what it’s like to enter the building for the first time? Do you want to make guests feel welcome, but need help seeing your congregation through new eyes?” Here are some good tips.

By Thy Mercy - Indelible Grace’s album By Thy Mercy is free for a week at NoiseTrade. That’s quite the bargain!

Book Sale - Westminster Books has some good sales this week, including Resisting Gossip, a book I greatly enjoyed.

The World Needs Pastors - Owen Strachan points to a piece David Brooks wrote for the New York Times while also offering some commentary.

Encouragement for Revitalizers - One local pastor whom I respect has interviewed another local pastor I respect on the subject of church revitalization. It’s a good interview!

Sacred Marriage: Not the Last Word on Marriage - The central point of Gary Thomas’ Sacred Marriage is a good one, but this article shows why there is more to the story than, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”

An Autistic Man’s Gift - I enjoyed reading this article from the Toronto Star: “An Edmonton father starts a business with his 24-year-old son, who can’t read or talk but can figure out how to put together complex furniture.”

We must not give a look or squint at anything that may hinder this fair and lovely sight of Jesus. —Isaac Ambrose


January 21, 2014

Here are today’s Kindle deals: An Infinite Journey by Andrew Davis, a book I really enjoyed (my review) is $3.99!; What Is the Meaning of Sex? by Denny Burk ($4.99); Bonhoeffer Speaks Today by Mark Devine ($1.99); Delighting in the Law of the Lord by Jerram Barrs ($4.99); Pocket Dictionary of the Reformed Tradition by Kelly Kapic ($1.99); Signature in the Cell by Stephen Meyer ($3.99); Telling the Truth by D.A. Carson ($5.98).

A Softer Prosperity Gospel - David Schrock outlines five trademarks of a soft version of the prosperity gospel, particularly as they show up in sermons and books.

Ask R.C. Live - Tonight at 7:30pm EST, R.C. Sproul will be live online via video answering your theological questions. Click the link to find out how you can ask a question and how you can listen in.

Speaking in Atlanta - If you are in or near Atlanta, you might be interested in this session I’m leading on Thursday night.

A Good Lesson From A 95-Year Old Warrior - Mark Altrogge learns a good lesson from a 95-year old warrior.

Brothers, We Are Not Amateurs - There is some food for thought here: “Yet, never before in the history of the church has theological education been so accessible, and never before has it been so needed. Advanced technology, innovative delivery systems, and proliferating resources all make being a ministerial amateur—as a permanent state—inexcusable.”

Prepare to Share - There are lots of good ideas to encounter and consider in this article from Tony Payne.

If we desire to be holy, we must seek to be happy in the Savior’s love. —John Berridge