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A La Carte

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

January 01, 2014

Happy new year and welcome to 2014. I continue to take it easy through the holidays, but did put together an edition of A La Carte this morning. 

There are always lots of deals to begin a new month. Here are the ones I’ve tracked down: Union with Christ by Todd Billings ($3.99); Introducing Covenant Theology by Michael Horton ($3.99). 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.

This month’s free audiobook from ChristianAudio is the Hear the Word ESV Bible! Logos users will want to download their free book of the month (a real page-turner!), Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges: Hebrew by Frederic W. Farrar.

God With Us - I enjoyed this adaptation of a Charles Spurgeon sermon on the birth of Christ. 

Don’t Waste Your Weakness - Piper: “Since 2007, millions of people have read books and taken inventories designed to find our strengths. These are useful for positioning people in places of maximum effectiveness. But I am calling you to give attention and effort in finding your weaknesses and maximizing their God-given purpose.”

The Most Important Leadership Trait You Shun - “Imagine two lists: One contains the qualities that a business person should have, and another includes the attributes that most business people would say they wouldn’t want to have. There’s only one term I can think of that might top both lists: vulnerability.”

8 Kinds of Blog Commenter - Yup, this looks just about right.

The character of a life is not set in two or three dramatic moments, but in 10,000 little moments. —Paul Tripp

December 31, 2013

Before the year ends, let me round up a few of the best Kindle deals you’ll find right now: Running Scared by Ed Welch (free); Jesus On Every Page by David Murray ($2.99); Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung ($3.99); Creature of the Word by Matt Chandler ($3.99); Simple Church by Thom Rainer ($3.71); Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart by J.D. Greear ($3.99); The End of the Law by Jason Meyer ($4.99); Saving Leonardo by Nancy Pearcey ($3.99); That You May Know by Christopher Bass ($4.99); Everyday Prayers by Scotty Smith (free); A Guide to Biblical Manhood by Randy Stinson & Dan Dumas ($3.49).

A Year-End Editorial - Read this one! “We should look beyond ourselves at the end of the year. After all, our lives are bound up with the Story of God’s redemptive plan being accomplished in history. So, as Christians, our year-end remembrances are never to be selfish exercises of navel gazing self-condemnation or self-congratulation, but a reminder that Christ is at work in history.”

Is the Enemy of My Enemy My Friend?“That maxim has survived as a modern principle of foreign policy. It explains why states that have been at war against one another can, in a very short period of time, become allies against a common enemy.” But does it work for our cultural challenges?

Evangelizing Prosperity Gospel Adherents - From the 9Marks journal: “Sharing the gospel with people who have bought into the unbiblical message that Jesus died to make us healthy, wealthy, and successful is challenging for many reasons, but I believe two are primary…”

55 Canadianisms - Here are 55 Canadianisms you may not know or are using differently.

Our Year with the Bible - I’m very grateful for LifeChurch’s Bible app. Here’s an infographic showing a few statistics they collected this year.

40 Resolutions to Consider Making - If you’re the kind who makes resolutions, here’s a list of 40 you might consider.

What God intends, he decrees; what God permits, he has foreseen. —Arthur Custance

December 30, 2013

5 Ways to Bomb a Sermon - There is some very helpful counsel in this article. While it’s directed specifically at those who preach to young people, it’s applicable to anyone who preaches or speaks before others.

Centered On One or the Other - “What does it mean for a church to be gospel-centered? That’s a popular concept these days. Good. What if we were scrambling to be law-centered? But the difference is not so easy in real terms.”

Absurd Creature of the Week - Wired highlights an absurd creature of the week. “With such a conspicuously flat body, it deftly slices through the water, wide-eyed and mouth agape like a perpetually surprised saw blade.”

One Dramatic Resolution or 10,000 Little Ones - Paul Tripp discusses the value of New Years’ resolutions and the unlikelihood that one major resolution will bear fruit.

4 Godly Disciplines - Here are four godly disciplines that are unique to this decade.

Coolest Science GIFs of 2013 - This one is just for fun: the coolest science GIFs of 2013.

Between us and heaven or hell there is only life, which is the frailest thing in the world. —Blaise Pascal

December 28, 2013

The Most Courageous Resolution - Jon Bloom on resolutions: “Resolves are intentions with strategies attached to them. You don’t just hope something is going to happen; you are planning to make it happen. To be resolved is to be determined.” He proposes a resolution for you.

Duck Dynasty Wins - WORLD: “The gay lobby’s power is limited. The A&E television network late Friday afternoon, facing a backlash and threatened boycott, reversed its decision to suspend Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson. The Robertson family offered no immediate comment.”

Beautiful in its Time - R.C. Sproul Jr reflects on what he remembers and what he forgets. “I don’t remember everything I read. I don’t remember the great names and dates of history. I do, however, remember the layout of the basement of a family’s house we visited once, when I was nine.”

Communicating With People Who Have Dementia - Communicating with people who have dementia can be a real challenge. Here is some counsel.

Are You Faking or Trying? - “Plenty of people fake it in their spiritual lives. They want to look like healthy Christians or to make it through church without anyone looking askance at them or asking a personal question. That comes from a heart of pride and deceit. Trying until it pays off is different.”

Pray For Your Daughter - Mike Leake is beginning a 31-day pray for your daughter challenge. It kicks off January 1.

December 27, 2013

‘Tis the season to discuss Bible-reading plans for the year to come. Justin Taylor offers a long list of options; Ligonier does as well and includes downloadable guides; Peter Krol has some suggestions as well as a list of benefits.

CROSS - The CROSS conference kicks off this afternoon (schedule); you can watch it all via live-streaming.

Someone For Some People - Check out this little bit of verse taken from the book From Heaven He Came and Sought Her. (Note: Rebecca formatted it as verse.)

This Video Will Hurt - This video takes a fascinating look at the nocebo effect which illustrates both the power and the weakness of our minds.

Fourteen Generations - Have you ever wondered why the genealogy of Matthew 1 contains 3 groupings of 14 generations? Mitchell Chase takes a look and offers an explanation.

Clearing Things Up - Todd Pruitt offers a helpful clarification regarding the Duck Dynasty/Phil Robertson debacle. He suggests that much of the discussion has blurred the distinction between two categories.

The People Who Challenged My Atheism - Here’s an interesting article from The Guardian: The people who challenged my atheism most were drug addicts and prostitutes. I’ve been reminded that life is not as rational as Richard Dawkins sees it. Perhaps atheism is an intellectual luxury for the wealthy…”

Restoration as Gospel Priority - Ray Ortlund looks to 2 Corinthians and shows that for Paul  “aim for restoration was ideal as an all-encompassing intention.  For any gospel-defined church, then or now, restoration is an obvious priority.”

December 26, 2013

Here are a few Kindle deals you may want to check out: The Quiet Place by Nancy Leigh DeMoss ($2.99); A Life Observed by Devin Brown ($2.99); 50 People Every Christian Should Know by Warren Wiersbe ($3.99); The Scriptures Testify About Me edited by D.A. Carson ($3.99); Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung ($3.99). Also be sure to check out this list and this list for more great deals.

Dude, Where’s Your Gravitas? - “Our culture wants men to be featherweights when it comes to conviction, seriousness, responsibility, discipline, courage, and truth. The Creator of these men does not. He wants gravitas.” Obviously we can overcorrect here, but it’s well worth thinking about this article.

Earthrise - Here’s a video about the iconic photo of earthrise taken by the crew of Apollo 8.

Teaching Doctrine to the Poor - Mez McConnell has been asked whether the poor really need doctrine or if they just need to be told that Jesus loves them. He responds here.

The Files - Here’s a video interpretation of Josh Harris’ dream/story “The Room.” It’s quite well done.

I’ve Already Won - Edward Snowden says he’s already won and I’m inclined to agree. “As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated,” Snowden told the Post. “Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.”

We Need Gospel Patrons - Yes to this! We need gospel patrons.

Daily inspirational quotes will return next week. —Tim Challies

December 24, 2013

There are some new Kindle deals today: Resisting Gossip by Matthew Mitchell (one of my favorite reads of 2013) is $3.99; Does God Desire All To Be Saved? by John Piper ($1.99); Effective Bible Teaching by James Wilhoit & Leland Ryken ($3.99); A Better Way by Michael Horton ($3.99); 9 Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever ($3.99); 

The Violence of Christmas - “Do yourself a favor before Christmas. Read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ birth. Then read Genesis 1-3. Then read Revelation 12. Then throw in Romans 16:20 for good measure. That’s the whole Christmas story. It’s not simply the poetic and sweet story of a child’s birth, welcomed by stars and angels. It’s a violent war story.”

Losses at Christmas - Carolyn McCulley reflects on losses at Christmas. “Even though we daily receive new mercies from Him, Jesus is not going to patch up this broken world. He is going to give us something much better: a new heavens and a new earth where there are no more tears and no more death.”

Whatever It Takes - Here’s a story of a father’s love for his son.

14 Things Not To Say To Your Pastor - Here’s a lighthearted look at some things not to say to your pastor.

And He Dwelt Among Us - Logos users will want to grab this free Christmas gift from Logos. Use coupon code 12DAYS2013.

The Hobbit 2 - I plan to see The Hobbit 2. For now, though, I enjoyed Gene Veith’s take on it.

Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayers and worn with thanks. —Thomas Goodwin