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A La Carte

January 13, 2014

Here are some new Kindle deals: Forever by Paul Tripp ($1.99); The Poverty of Nations by Wayne Grudem & Barry Asmus ($5.99); When God Weeps by Joni Eareckson Tada ($1.99); A Theology of Christian Counseling by Jay Adams ($3.99); Power Through Prayer by E.M. Bounds ($1.95).

Life in a Dark Place - “[D]oubt is something we evangelical Christians need to get talking about. I often think doubt is like the topic of pornography was 15 years ago—a lot of people were struggling with it, but we hardly ever spoke of it. We have come at least part of the way on the pornography issue, but I’m not sure we are doing so well with doubt.”

8 Characteristics of Sanctification - “Gospel-centered sanctification tethers becoming (growing) to being (identity) by making Christ’s accomplishments and provision for us the catalyst of our lives. Here are eight characteristics of gospel-centered sanctification that frame our theology of the doctrine while also steering our practice.”

Were the Magi’s Gifts Symbolic? - Tradition ascribes significance to the gifts the Magi brought to Jesus. In Matthew 2:11 they present him “gold and frankincense and myrrh.” What symbolism should we find there?

Animals in the Womb - God is awesome.

Why Good Works Are Necessary - Anthony Burgess argued that while good works should never be construed as meritorious for our justification, they were still necessary as our duty on the way to final salvation. Here are 13 reasons why…

Since we have a Father in heaven, let us look up to heaven often. —Thomas Manton


January 11, 2014

Here are a few Kindle deals: The Digital Invasion by Archibald Hart & Sylvia Frejd ($3.99); How the Bible Came to Be by Daniel Hays & Scott Duvall (free); The Real Face of Atheism by Ravi Zacharias ($3.99); my book The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment is $2.99 for just another couple of days.

What Are We Really Watching? - Al Mohler on Downton Abbey: “[M]ost viewers are likely unaware of what they are actually seeing. They are not merely watching an historical drama, they are witnessing the passing of a world. And that larger story, inadequately portrayed within Downton Abbey, is a story that should not be missed. That story is part of our own story as well.”

Words Every Child Longs to Hear - “There’s something within us that craves the affirmation of those we adore. We want to know that what we’ve done is good enough. Deeper still, we long to believe that who we are is good enough.” This is a sweet one.

God Called Them to Adopt - This is an amazing adoption story from the NY Times (HT:Owen).

Get to Know Your Bible Translations - Here’s a lighthearted look at some popular Bible translations.

As Long as It’s Healthy - I appreciate this article: “And so, I want to flesh out with you something that’s bugged me for years.  But mostly, it’s made me cringe and made my heart sting even more so lately.” It all has to do with rubbing the pregnant belly and saying, “as long as it’s healthy…”

Pray for Your Pastor - Here are 5 ways to pray for your pastor in 2014.

When the preferences of the church members are greater than their passion for the Gospel, the church is dying. —Thom Rainer


January 10, 2014

Amazon is offering $30 off any of their Kindle tablets (use coupon code MAYDAY30). And here are some Kindle book deals: Jesus, the Only Way to God by John Piper ($1.99); Grounded in the Gospel by J.I. Packer ($3.99). Stephen Altrogge has just published a new book called Untamable God and has set it at $0.99. Finally, Amazon is having a one-day sale on educational books and many are 80% off; there’s lots of history, biography and other good stuff there.

Do You Know What Your Missionaries Actually Teach?! - “Stop sending prosperity-preaching missionaries to the jungles of Peru. They’re killing the villages here. Your missionaries are spending tens of thousands of dollars, traveling across land and sea, invading and settling into new cultures, and it’s all for nothing. They’re doing more harm than good.”

Sleep Deprivation - As an apparently incurable insomniac, this concerns me!

Pro-Life Convictions - “For Owen Strachan, convictions come with a cost. Strachan, an assistant professor of Christian theology and church history at Boyce College, has been pro-life for many years. It wasn’t until recently, however, that he decided to act on his conviction.”

How Much Do You Earn? - David Murray talks about an interesting way of teaching his kids about money.

Spurgeon’s Standards - Jeremy Walker shares some interesting facts from Spurgeon’s life and ministry.

When Women Lust - “We all know that men struggle with lust. But what about women? While it’s becoming more common to hear of women’s struggles with pornography use, many women still perceive that they have the moral high ground over men. Such comparisons don’t help because men and women often struggle in different ways.”

Be extravagant for God or the devil, but for God’s sake don’t be tepid. —C.T. Studd


January 09, 2014

Here is your daily dose of new Kindle deals: Divorce and Remarriage by Andrew Cornes ($4.99); Reformation:Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow by Carl Trueman ($3.99); Singing the Songs of Jesus by Michael Lefebvre ($2.99).

Westminster Books - Westminster Books is having a sale on many of their bestselling books of 2013. Now’s the time to stock up!

The Universe Had a Beginning - Stephen Meyer tells the story of how Hubble showed Einstein that the universe was not eternal but must have had a beginning.

School Wasn’t Canceled for Bad Weather in 1882 - According to The Atlantic, “a story from one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s ‘Little House’ books proves we’ve all gone soft.” Obviously there’s more to the story than that, but it is interesting to note the contrast.

Google Hangout - I’ll be doing a Google Hangout with Ligonier Ministries on January 17. Feel free to drop by. (Check the link for details.)

What Would Polygamy Do? - What would the acceptance of polygamy do for society? It’s worth thinking about because it may not be too far off.

Reading the Bible Like Jesus - Thabiti: “Reading the Bible is difficult work. Or at least it can be if we intend to do more than simply read it for enjoyment or duty. There are many things we have to overcome in order to read effectively: the flesh, fatigue, distractions, time pressures from various sources, cold hearts, clogged ears and so on.”

There are no crown-wearers in heaven who were not cross-bearers here below. —C.H. Spurgeon


January 08, 2014

There are a few new Kindle deals to consider: Fruit at Work by Chris Evans ($0.99); The Disciplines of the Christian Life by Eric Liddell ($0.99); GLH Publishing has two new classic titles: Early Piety and The City: Its Sin and Sorrow ($0.99 each).

6 Ways to Look Godly While Not Growing - Here are six ways you might maintain an appearance of godliness even though you’re not growing in your faith.

Is Recreational Marijuana Use a Sin? - Here is Joe Carter doing what he does so well: “Although many Christians consider the answer to the question to be rather straightforward, it can be helpful to examine the reasoning process that allows us to determine how biblical principles can be applied to this issue.”

Planning Your Ideal Week - Mike Anderson has a short but helpful post on planning your ideal week.

The Pastor as Theologian - Here’s a free ebook from Al Mohler. “Every pastor is called to be a theologian. This may come as a surprise to some pastors, who see theology as an academic discipline taken during seminary rather than as an ongoing and central part of the pastoral calling. Nevertheless, the health of the church depends upon its pastors functioning as faithful theologians — teaching, preaching, defending and applying the great doctrines of the faith.”

The Ten Commandments of Twitter - Kevin DeYoung helps you navigate Twitter.

To be a follower of Jesus, you must renounce comfort as the ultimate value of your life. —Mike Ayers


January 07, 2014

Here are some new Kindle deals to consider: The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment by me ($2.99); Joseph and the Gospel of Many Colors by Voddie Baucham ($4.99); Acting the Miracle edited by John Piper & David Mathis ($4.99); Found in Him by Elyse Fitzpatrick ($5.99); Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever ($4.99); God in the Whirlwind by Tim Ellsworth ($2.99); Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal by Michael Kelley ($2.99).

Loving Him by Loving It - “To love someone means that you also love the things about someone. This is most true of our love for God. We love Him, and that leads us to love everything about Him. One of those things is His Word. To love God is to love his Word.”

Remembering Jesus - What does it mean to remember Jesus in the Lord’s Supper? This article explains.

PrayerMate - PrayerMate, my favorite prayer app, is now available for Android. It’s a bit stripped down compared to iOS, but it will be developing fast.

Finding God in Maximum Security - It was simple curiosity that guided photographer Serge J-F. Levy to New York’s Green Haven Correctional Facility in 2002. “Without having any personal predisposition to any religious activity but having a fascination with how people can work on their spirituality and healing their souls, I was interested in how this was happening in an environment that seemed to be everything but conducive to that,” Levy said.

Pastors Today - This new blog looks like it will be a helpful resource for pastors.

Mark Dever and Authority - I enjoyed reading about the ways Mark Dever passes out authority at his church.

If the gospel is regularly being preached in your church, you will eventually become a magnet for the messiest kinds of sinners. —Jared Wilson


January 06, 2014

Here are a few new Kindle deals: N.D. Wilson’s Death By Living, widely regarded as one of the best books of 2013, is $3.99; Shame Interrupted by Ed Welch (free); To the Glory of God by James Boice ($2.99).

Marrying a Man Who Looks at Porn - Heath Lambert provides a sound answer to an urgent question: Should I marry a man who has a problem with pornography?

Snow-Diving Foxes - “I’m a fox. It’s January. I’m hungry. I want a meal. My food, however, is buried 3 feet down, deep in the snow, hiding. It’s alive, in motion, and very small, being a mouse. So how does an above-ground fox catch an underground mouse? Well, the answer is nothing short of astonishing.”

Evangelicals and Hollywood Muck - I appreciate Trevin Wax’s thoughts on the subject of movies and whether Christians really need to go looking for redemptive themes in all of them.

Actively Engaged - Matt Chandler provides a “plea to not sit on the sidelines and hope this horrific genocide of the unborn works itself out.”

Rescued - Maggie Paulus’ touching article at True Woman begins like this: “When I was just a little girl, like a wee little thing, I had a different mom and dad. And they were kind to me, but they had hurts and they had addictions and they didn’t know how to take care of themselves, much less a wee girl and her little brother.”

Why Faith? - The main point of this article is quite helpful: “The people of the world will bring up every bad act the Christian has committed not so much to discredit the Christian with others, but to discredit the Christian with himself so he shuts up and gives up.”

It is a hard matter to enjoy the world without being entangled with the cares and pleasures of it. —Thomas Manton


January 04, 2014

There are 3 Kindle deals to take note of today: The God Who Is There by D.A. Carson ($3.99); How to Stay Christian in Seminary by David Mathis & Jonathan Parnell (pre-order $4.99); Preaching and Teaching the Last Things by Walter Kaiser ($3.99).

A Calvinist Revival - The NY Times (of all places) has written an article on the Reformed resurgence. (I guarantee you’ve never seen Mark Dever looking cooler than he does here.)

From 1994 - Well, though it doesn’t quite align with biblical theology, this short film still highlights the joy of life and the grief of parting.

An Oh-So-Subtle Twist - “I’ve been mulling over one phenomenon I couldn’t help but notice throughout the [Duck Dynasty] controversy, something that has been slightly bothering me.” Brian Mattson points out something well worth pondering.

Working Like Ants - I’ve been enjoying these films. “Ants! Their efforts sometimes seem insignificant in the face of tremendous challenges. But step back, look at what they accomplish, and you will discover the very handiwork of God. Working Like Ants is a series of short films telling inspiring stories of how God is using career missionaries to build His church in Uruguay.”

Church Vision Statement Generator - Silly, but fun.

Don’t Teach the Bible - Here’s a small, but important, distinction. “There is an important difference between teaching the Bible and teaching people the Bible. It is easy to be so engaged in what we teach that we forget whom we are teaching. We can even be oblivious to the fact that we are not teaching anybody.”

Indulgences for sin may come from Rome, but they never come from Zion. —C.H. Spurgeon

January 03, 2014

Let me catch you up on Kindle deals in case you haven’t been paying attention through the holidays: Union with Christ by Todd Billings ($3.49); God’s Will by J.I Packer ($3.99); Shame Interrupted by Ed Welch ($2.99). B&H has put their New American Commentary Studies on sale for $4.99 each: Believer’s Baptism by Thomas Schreiner; Future Israel by Barry Horner; Enthroned on Our Praise by Timothy Pierce; Sermon on the Mount by Charles Quarles; Lukan Authorship of Hebrews by David Allen; God’s Indwelling Presence by James Hamilton; The Messianic Hope by Michael Rydelnik; The Ten Commandments by Mark Rooker; The Lord’s Supper by Thomas Schreiner; The End of the Law by Jason Meyer; That You May Know by Christopher Bass.

Worship Leader Resolutions - This is some brilliant and hilarious writing from Jamie Brown. “In this new year, I think all worship leaders can agree on a few resolutions that, if adopted, would dramatically improve the corporate/sung worship in our churches.” My favorite: “Octave jumps are so 2013. It’s time to take it to the next level in 2014 with the octave MONSTER jump. The octave MONSTER jump isn’t just one lame octave up. It’s two octaves up.”

Some Thoughts on the Reading of Books - Al Mohler shares some thoughts on reading. Here’s a favorite line: “I took books to high school athletic events when I played in the band. (Heap coals of scorn and nerdliness here). I remember the books; do you remember the games?”

Milestones in Ministry - Here, from Jared Wilson, are some milestones in ministry seminary can’t prepare you for.

14 Resolutions for Writers - “Okay, it’s a new year, and aspiring writers world-wide are mentally gearing up for finally taking the plunge into Wonderland – being published. Here are some motivational ideas to jot down before you move ahead…”

Strange but True in 2013 - Here some strange but true baseball feats from the 2013 season.

I Resolve to Mature Manhood - “Yet another resolution post?  Not at all.  This is a plea—an urgent call, of sorts—to my fellow brothers to chase something this year that is much more substantial than a gym membership, self-help technique, hobby, or hygiene etiquette—I seriously resolve to floss more every-single-year.”

Sin is not a splash of mud upon man’s exterior, it is a filth generated within himself. —C.H. Spurgeon

January 02, 2014

Cross Conference - Justin Taylor rounds up the recent Cross conference saying, “Only time will tell, but it seems that the first annual Cross student missions conference was a historic event, perhaps a key moment in mobilizing God’s people to help the nations be glad in him.”

John - R.C. Sproul’s commentary on John is free for Kindle!

C.S. Lewis at War - Andy Naselli introduces C.S. Lewis at War, a new audio drama from Focus on the Family.

The Most Important Skill - “In 2014, in our hyper-overwhelmed, affluent, media-saturated culture, the scarce resource is attention. So we need to learn a new skill. The most important skill for 2014 is deciding what you will pay attention to.”

Where Did the Verse Go? - Bill Mounce looks at another Bible translation conundrum.

Be Productive in 2014 - Matt Perman shares some ideas on how to be productive in the year ahead.

I am called to worship a God I cannot see, but not submit to a God I cannot know and prove. —David Shepherd