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A La Carte

October 01, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include Jesus, Continued by J.D. Greear, Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace, Shame Interrupted by Ed Welch, Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel, Preaching with Passion by James Draper. You may also enjoy sorting through Amazon’s $3.99 or less monthly deals. There are lots of titles there and they cross all categories.

This month’s free book from Logos is Craig Keener’s New Covenant Commentary on Romans. You can get another commentary (Fee on Revelation) for $1.99.

Free from Christian Audio this month is The Poverty of Nations by Wayne Grudem & Barry Asmus. Several other Grudem titles are discounted to $4.98.

How To Pray a Psalm

Justin Taylor quotes Donald Whitney to show how the Psalms can be a great starting point for your prayers.

More Than Fun: 5 Intrinsic Values of Videogames

Drew Dixon read my article on video games and says, “While Challies’ article represents a step forward in the church’s awkward relationship with videogames, he made a significant misstep in the process that needs to be corrected.”

The Not-Quite Incorruptible St. Bernadette of Lourdes

Atlas Obscura visits the Chapel of Saint Gidard at the Sisters of Charity in Nevers where you’ll find the not-quite incorruptible remains of St. Bernadette of Lourdes.

God’s Good and Dangerous Gift

There is a new edition of the 9Marks journal for you to download or read online. This month’s subject is the good and dangerous gift of authority.

This Day in 1529. 487 years ago today the Colloquy of Marburg, which attempted to unify followers of Luther and Zwingli, began and ended in disagreement over the doctrine of the Eucharist. Switzerland remained Reformed and Germany stayed Lutheran. *

God’s Little Mercies

Trillia Newbell asks “Did you know October is Spina Bifida awareness month?” She introduces some friends who tell of their experience with it.

God Would Never Ask Me to Sacrifice My Kids….Right?

It’s a valid question, and a very pointed one for some believers: “When do we hit the point where we love our children more than Jesus? Where we tell him, You can have anything, Lord, just not my kids?”

The State of Theology

Earlier in the week I linked to a new study sponsored by Ligonier Ministries. Here’s an interview that helps explain the study and its findings.

The 10 Questions Anyone Considering a Call to Ministry Must Answer

I’m thankful to MBTS for sponsoring the blog this week… 

When God intends to do a great work He stirs up His people to pray for the thing He intends to do. —Michael Haykin

September 30, 2016

I’m writing today from Heathrow Airport in London, as I stop over briefly while journeying up to Edinburgh, Scotland. I am looking forward to visiting my friends at 20schemes and attending their upcoming weekender. I’ll also be preaching this Sunday at Duncan Street Baptist Church.

Today’s Kindle deals include: Beating the College Debt Trap by Alex Chediak, The Envy of Eve by Melissa Kruger, The Search for God and Guinness by Stephen Mansfield, and Crossing the Divide by Jake Hanson.

Westminster Books has a sale on one of my favorite commentary series: The Focus on the Bible commentaries. All the ones I’ve read are good, but Dale Ralph Davis’s Old Testament are especially invaluable, usually considered among the top for those books of the Bible (Joshua, Judges, 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings).

How Christianity Flourishes

Jared Wilson: “I once heard Steve Brown relate this story on the radio: ‘A Muslim scholar once said to a Christian, I cannot find anywhere in the Quran that it teaches Muslims how to be a minority presence in the world. And I cannot find anywhere in the New Testament where it teaches Christians how to be a majority presence in the world.’” Hmm…

The OT Prophets and the Presidential Election

What might the Old Testament prophets have to say about the presidential election? George Guthrie answers.

Old Hollywood’s Abortion Secret

It probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise that behind all the glamor was a lot of pain and abuse. “Much like today, in Old Hollywood, the decisions being made about women’s bodies were made in the interests of men—the powerful heads of motion pictures studios MGM, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., and RKO.”

Remembering the Reformation but Celebrating What?

Carl Trueman offers a rather pessimistic take on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. But it’s a point well taken. “While evangelicals will be remembering the Reformation, what will they actually be celebrating? I suspect the answer is this: They will be celebrating the ability of American evangelicalism to recreate the past in its own image and thereby domesticate any figures whom it wishes to appropriate into its own pantheon of heroes.”

Today. September 30 marks the release of several new books from Crossway including Parenting by Paul Tripp and Why the Reformation Still Matters by Michael Reeves & Tim Chester.

You Know You’re Really Preaching the Gospel When…

“God doesn’t operate like a professional baseball team. He doesn’t call the best and the brightest to the big stage. Rather, he calls the weak and lowly to salvation and then deploys them into ministry. If you’ve been called to ministry, it’s not because God needed you on his team. It’s because he delights in you and wanted you in his family.”

How McNuggets Are Made

This is McDonald’s propaganda, I’m sure. But I still love eating there… 

God Wants You To Find Your Happy Place

Here’s an interview with Randy Alcorn in which he explains why God is so concerned with your happiness.

Flashback: Two Surefire Ways to Avoid Persecution

As Christians we know to expect some measure of suffering, yet we learn there are ways to avoid it. Here are two of them… 

Our capacity for faithfulness makes marriage possible, but our capacity for unfaithfulness makes marriage necessary. —Christopher Ash

September 29, 2016

I think we’ve come to that part of the month—the end of the month, usually—when the Kindle deals tend to dry up. But in a day or two we will coast into October and there should be a fresh batch. Until then, here are some articles that may interest you.

Deserted Island Top 5

I was recently on the 5 Minutes in Church History podcast and was asked for my desert island top 5 books. Here’s the audio and transcript if you’d like to know what I’d take.

Crossway Statement on the ESV Bible Text

Last month Crossway announced they had made the ESV text permanent. According to a new statement, “We have become convinced that this decision was a mistake.” Christianity Today also reports.

Five Benefits of Regular Family Worship

Tom Ascol lists them. “Regular family worship is valuable and brings many blessings to parents and children alike. Here are five benefits that I have observed.”

It’s Possible to Enjoy Watching Others Win

Randy Alcorn with some common sense: “The degree to which we can be happy for other people without envying or resenting them determines how happy we’ll truly be. Why? Because if we can only rejoice when positive things happen to us, the number of things that can make us happy is greatly reduced.”

When Interpretation Runs Counter to Intention

Bill Mounce finds an example from Sunday morning to show how a Bible can take translation too far—far enough that translation counters intention.

This Day in 1770. 246 years ago today English revivalist George Whitfield prayed, “Lord Jesus, I am weary in thy work, but not of it.” He died the next day at age 56. *

​‘Topping Out’ the Museum of the Bible

Daniel Wallace talks about attending the “topping out” ceremony at the Museum of the Bible. There’s no museum in the world I want to see more than this one! It opens in 2017.

Breaking the Black Box

This looks like a very interesting series of videos and articles on the digital world. In the first entry we learn just some of what Facebook knows about us.

The Creeds

This site does a great job of indenting the lines of the Christian creeds to help trace their flow. It’s surprisingly helpful!

Flashback: All Those Things I Will Leave Undone

If there are 168 hours in a week, I know that God has not given me 169 hours of responsibility. If there are 24 hours in a day, God has not given me 25 hours of work.

If you are not a student of the word, you are not called to be a teacher of the word.D.A. Carson

September 28, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include just 3: All of Grace by Charles Spurgeon, A History of Israel by Walter Kaiser, Learn to Read New Testament Greek by David Croteau. 

Westminster Books has ESVs on sale this week, with the compact versions taking the leading role. 

Distinguishing Among the Three Persons of the Trinity within the Reformed Tradition

Kevin DeYoung offers his take on the recent controversy about the Trinity. “Twitter demands to ‘say something!’ mean little to me. Honest theological questions from my church family mean a lot.”

You Are What You Sing

Marcos Ortega asks, “If the content of the songs we sing in worship matters, shouldn’t we expect more from the songwriters serving the church?” (Speaking of music, wouldn’t you love to be there to witness this worship in Malawi?)

The History of Bible Software (Infographic)

Here’s a neat little graphic tracing the history of Bible software.

The State of Theology

“What do Americans believe about God, salvation, ethics, and the Bible? Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research partnered to find out. These are the fundamental convictions that shape our society.” Great information beautifully presented.

Portraits of Superstition

Jess Pickowicz is writing an interesting series on superstitions we may just import into our lives and even into our faith.

The Soldier Who Wouldn’t Surrender

Here’s the abbreviated story of a Japanese soldier who kept fighting the Second World War until 1974.

This Day in 1833. 183 years ago today Lemuel Haynes, the first African-American to pastor a Caucasian church and to be awarded an advanced degree, died. *

The Church Needs the Bible

“Note the words: equipping, building up, mature, maturity, unity, grow, and so on. The means by which the church does this is the Bible. If the church is not working together to see people grow in Christ, then they are leaving off a fundamental aspect of what it means to be a church. In other words, without the ministry of the Word the church is not being a church.”

How God Used a Hailstorm (in September)

You’ll be encouraged by reading this one!

Flashback: How an Affair Really Begins

One of the great misconceptions about affairs is that they begin with sex. Affairs do not begin with sex. Falling into bed with a man who is not your husband or a woman who is not your wife is never a sudden, unplanned event.

God’s wrath is the hope of his children and the despair of his enemies. —David Powlison

September 27, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: A new one from GLH Publishing, Essentials of Prayer by E.M. Bounds (50% off for the first week). Also consider Living in God’s Two Kingdoms by David VanDrunen, Reading God’s Story by George Guthrie, Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air by Greg Koukl, The Absurdity of Unbelief by Jeffrey Johnson as well as the many volumes of the Christ-Centered Commentary series that are on sale. Get it all here.

What Is Shakespeare’s Most Popular Play?

Go ahead and guess. You’ll probably be wrong.

Cross Ways

A Pastor in Corpus Christi has determined he’ll build the tallest cross in the US. Here’s the story from Texas Monthly.

Yes, You Should Say Something

Nancy Guthrie talks about overcoming the awkwardness with grieving people. “When someone you love has died, it’s as if a hurdle has been placed between you and every person you know, and that hurdle stays in place until your loss has been acknowledged in some way.”

Toward a Better Reading

I’m interesting to read this series from Wendy Alsup and Hannah Anderson. They’ll be discussing the ESV’s decision to modify Genesis 3:16 and 4:7.

You Cannot Vote Your Conscience

Bryce Young talks about the role of the conscience and why it’s not quite right to say “Vote your conscience.”

This Day in 1805. 211 years ago today George Mueller was born. Best known for his orphan ministry, Mueller built five orphan houses and cared for 10,024 orphans during his lifetime while pastoring a church. *

Only Our God Speaks

“Because Christians worship a speaking God, we approach worship differently than any religious sect or worshiping community.”

Love Lives On

Don’t we all love these stories? “When the minister said, ‘For better or for worse, or rich or for poor, in sickness and in health,’ I meant it. And she meant it,” he said.

How To Be a Writer

There are some good tips in this list from Rebecca Solnit. “If you’re not passionate about writing and about the world and the things in it you’re writing about, then why are you writing? It starts with passion even before it starts with words.”

Flashback: The Days I Need the Gospel Least

I have heard many people say that there is value in preaching the gospel to myself every day, whether or not I find myself carrying the guilt and shame of sin. I’ve always thought of preaching the gospel to myself as a reactive thing, but Jerry Bridges has helped me to see it as proactive. Here’s why…

If prayer actually changed God’s mind, I would stop praying. —Burk Parsons

September 26, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include several from Crossway on the Trinity: The Deep Things of God by Fred Sanders (a personal favorite), Communion with the Triune God by John Owen (edited by Justin Taylor & Kelly Kapic), Experiencing the Trinity by Joe Thorn, and more. Matthis Media also has several: God’s Good Design by Claire Smith, Born This Way by Steve Morrison, and Women, Sermons, and the Bible by Tony Payne. Then consider One Perfect Life by John MacArthur and The World-Tilting Gospel by Dan Phillips. Get them here.

Also, on the subject of Amazon, their deal of the day includes DVDs of many great BBC natural science series: Planet Earth, Life, etc.

Appreciate Your Spouse

This is a good read courtesy of Melissa. “The truth is that there are a million different things about Chad that I fail to appreciate on a daily basis. I get in terrible ruts where I focus only on what he isn’t doing that I wish he would do. Or I wish that he would say no to a few things. Or that he would quit answering his phone. Or that he would write me daily love letters.”

Singing Man: Behind the Viral Video

“The students and faculty poured out of the buses and onto his lawn, and sang worship songs. With his window open, Ben leaned forward into view and sang along.” The video went viral. Russ Ramsey tells the story.

What Is God Doing in My Pain?

J.D. Greear uses the stories of Naaman and a little girl to illustrate some of what God may be doing in times of pain.

Trello Inspiration

Trello is really neat software that’s good for planning and organization. I use it for my blog’s editorial calendar. Here’s a great list of sample uses for it.

The Political Magic of C.S. Lewis

This column in the New York Times takes a look at some of what C.S. Lewis had to say about politics.

Accusations of Sexual Abuse

Randy Alcorn offers some important cautionary words for when we hear accusations of sexual abuse.

This Day in 1861. 155 years ago today Abraham Lincoln issued a national day of prayer and fasting “in sorrowful remembrance of our own faults and crimes as a nation and as individuals to humble ourselves before Him and to pray for his mercy” *

The Less Than Romantic Realities of Village Life

Dave Hare writes from his home in a village in Cameroon to dispel some of the romantic notions about village life.

3 Questions to Ask Before Long-Term Missions

David Sills writing for SBTS: “An old saying goes, ‘Marry in haste, repent in leisure,’ which assumes that the unhappy married person will not divorce but will quietly regret his or her decision for life. That same dynamic is true in missions…”

Flashback: The Excitement and the Anticipation

Why do we anticipate great things when we go to a conference but anticipate small things when we go to church?

All death can do to Christians is make their lives infinitely better. —Tim Keller 

September 24, 2016

It’s hard to believe that we’ve come to Autumn at last. It was a hot, beautiful, brilliant summer but I’m glad to see it finally give way to fall. I get to spend my day today in a church baseball tournament, but will leave you with a collection of interesting reading:

Glasgow University archivists find John Knox’s Bible

This is neat: “Experts believe a unidentified bible held by Glasgow University may have belonged to John Knox - a founding father of the Protestant Reformation.” 

In His Own Words

I enjoyed reading Grant Osborne on the thrill of learning and teaching God’s Word: “Even after fifty years of studying and sharing I still get thrilled as I uncover the deep treasures of meaning about Galatians or Romans, and then I have the privilege of writing them down to thrill countless others who will read them…” 

The Bible Project Reading Plan

This looks like it could be an interesting way to read the Bible beginning in January.

Which Parts Of The Brain Do What?

This short video explains how researchers figured out which parts of the brain perform different functions.

Breakfast Leftovers

James Faris has a strangely interesting one here: “My students seemed to find history more palatable when they see that they are already familiar with it. So, let’s check out your breakfast menu…”

This Day in 1986. 30 years ago today five Muslim professors in Pakistan demanded Daniel Scot to convert to Islam, resulting in Scot becoming the first Christian charged under Pakistan’s blasphemy law. *

The Hidden Hours of Ministry

Peter Tong provides a strong encouragement for pastors to take sin seriously. “I want to discuss how struggles with sin, even if they are hidden from others, can undermine your ability to serve God more broadly.”

What Type of Steward Are You?

Pastors (and others) will want to check out Mike Leake’s excellent article on two kinds of stewardship.

When Toronto Was Eerily Empty

Torontotonians will find this photo essay interesting. It shows a time when the city had huge pieces of empty land downtown, something that’s almost impossible to imagine today.

Sand Bubbler Crabs

God created some strange and remarkable creatures. Like these Sand Bubbler Crabs.

The Lord is a friend who never changes. There is no fickleness about Him: those whom He loves, He loves unto the end.J.C. Ryle

September 23, 2016

If you’re into Kindle deals, you may want to grab This Is Awkward by Sammy Rhodes, Table Grace by Douglas Webster, and/or The Social Church by Justin Wise. I believe this is the first time This Is Awkward has ever been on sale. Get the deals here.

If you’re into audiobooks, perhaps consider starting a free trial with Christian Audio. I’ve selected 4 great books you’ll get for free and to keep if you begin your trial.

If printed books are more your think, Westminster Books has a deal on some accessible Puritan works. Their deals on parenting books are still in effect as well.

Leviticus Scroll Discovery Shows Scripture’s Inerrancy

WORLD reports on a neat discovery. “When archeologists in the 1970s found a charred scroll in the Holy Ark in the Synagogue of Ein Gedi, an ancient Hebrew town burned in AD 600, they never imagined they might be able to read it.” But then they found a way. (See also Joe Carter’s FAQ.)

Older, Restful, and Reforming

Jared Wilson reflects on the ten-year anniversary of Collin Hansen’s “Young, Restless, and Reformed” article in Christianity Today.

Why America Burned Spurgeon’s Sermons

Why would people in America have burned Spurgeon’s sermons? Christian George (who, by the way, is doing some top-notch blogging these days) explains.

Practical Guidelines for Reading the Old Testament Laws

If there’s any part of Scripture that’s especially hard to read and understand, it’s the OT laws. Here’s some guidance.

Why Are There So Many Varieties of Apples?

It’s apple season in Ontario. This video explains how we came to have so many different varieties (and, in theory, how you could create your own).

If We Are Really So Burdened…

Here’s a great question: “If we believe that God is good, sovereign, and holy and that he has told us to cast our burdens on him in prayer then, where are the public prayer meetings by God’s people? If we are so exercised by injustice and depravity, why don’t Christians flood to church prayer meetings to gather with their brothers and sisters and plead with God in prayer? Why aren’t prayer meetings overflowing with burdened and broken people who want God to intervene and act?”

This Day in 1950. 66 years ago today Tim Keller was born. Happy birthday, Tim! 

Delight in the Good

I enjoyed a lot about this essay by Karen Swallow Prior, though I’ll need to think more about some of her conclusions. (I believe she references the show I mentioned here.)

The Immense Value of Missionary Biographies

Yes! Missionary biographies can be a joy and a challenge to read. This article tells of their value and offers some recommendations.

Flashback: The Depth of My Depravity

My depravity was better displayed in my rejection of God and his grace than in my sins and unrighteous deeds. I proved my rebellion more in denying God, rejecting him, and shunning his grace than in any of the sinful acts I committed or could have committed. 

The fear of the Lord tends to take away all other fears. —Sinclair Ferguson