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A La Carte

July 29, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include 3 books I highly recommend: The Gospel by Ray Ortlund; Core Christianity by Michael Horton; and Church History 101 by Sinclair Ferguson, Joel Beeke, and Michael Haykin. You can find the deals right here.

On the print book side, Westminster Books has a great sale on the venerable NICNT commentary series. You can build yourself a commentary collection in a hurry with these volumes. (For specific commentary recommendations, you can visit my Best Commentaries page.

Godly Compassion for Hurting People

John MacArthur describes “a wonderful, practical, real-life illustration of God’s compassion.”

The Word of God and the Academy

Tim Grant: “I have noticed that those from the academy give the impression that the Bible belongs to them—that they have a special claim on it and that they have a special claim to understand it, due to their great learning, general smartness, or a PhD they completed at some point in the past. They are, at this point, deeply mistaken.”

The Camera Adds 10 Pounds

You’ve heard it said before that the camera adds 10 pounds. This quite gif shows how that’s the case. It’s all about the lens!

Touched by Biblical Beauty

George Guthrie: “The world may be ‘death impregnated,’ as one of my mentors used to say, and most of us know the bite of suffering in one form or another, but it also is brim-full of beauty because it everywhere bears the mark of his thumbprint, his “It was very good” (Gen. 1:31). The common graces of tastes, sights, touch, sounds, enduring friendship, love, joy, community. And much, much beauty has been squeezed into the world through the funnel of God’s good Word, the Bible.”

This Day in 1775. 241 years ago today, the U.S. Army Chaplaincy was founded, making it the second oldest branch of that service after the Infantry. *

The Attractional Church’s Growing Irrelevance

Jared Wilson does what he does so well: “I find it incredibly interesting, sort of amusing, and more than a bit sad that the attractional church—what we used to call the “seeker church”—hasn’t seemed to grow up at all. Yes, it’s grown big. But growing big and growing up aren’t the same thing.”

The Rearview Mirror

“We see Providence in the rearview mirror. In my experience, it is usually far less clear looking over the dashboard. It’s when we look back that we can see how God was working all things together for his glory and our good.”

Trumped

Despite the title, this is not really an article about Trump. It is, in fact, about the church and a role the church ought to play.

Flashback: Why We Fail at Family Devotions

Here are some common reasons that we fail in our good desire to have family devotions.

Carson

If we harbor bitterness and resentment, praying is little more than wasted time and effort.D.A. Carson

July 28, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: Andrew Murray: Christ’s Anointed Minister to South Africa by Vance Christie; Patrick of Ireland: The Boy Who Forgave by Karen Murdarasi;Foundations by Peter Mead; As It Is Written by Kenneth Gentry; An All-Round Ministry by Charles Spurgeon. Find them all (and others!) here.

A Little Gem in Job

James Faris says and shows that “One of the beautiful but subtle gems of Scripture is found in the book of Job.”

Missionaries are Supposed to Suffer

Amy Medina: “I’m going to let you in on one of missionaries’ biggest secrets: They are terrified to tell you about their vacations.” In other words, missionaries are supposed to suffer…so are they allowed to eat lobster?

5 Reasons to Host a Q&A After Your Worship Service

Tim Keller explains why he used to host a Q&A after his services and why you may wish to consider one as well. At Grace Fellowship Church we have a brief, moderated Q&A related to the morning service at the very beginning of our evening service. We find it very helpful.

The Oppressive Gospel of ‘Minimalism’

This article from the New York Times has some good insights as it looks at the new gospel of minimalism. “It has become an ostentatious ritual of consumerist self-sacrifice; people who have it all now seem to prefer having nothing at all. And, as with watching birds or going Paleo, talking about the material purge is just as important as actually doing it.”

Prophetic from the Center by Don Carson

Here’s a new, free ebook from TGC. “Prophetic from the Center is a short e-book adapted from D.A. Carson’s plenary address at The Gospel Coalition’s inaugural public conference in 2007. It is an extended exposition of I Corinthians 15:1-19, and embodies TGC’s mission to make the gospel central to the Christian life. It is a powerful and bracing call to renew the contemporary church in the ancient gospel of Jesus Christ.”

This Day in 1540. 476 years ago today, Thomas Cromwell, who served King Henry VIII as chief advisor, was executed after refusing to support Henry’s divorce against Anne of Cleves. *

10 Ways To Create More Margin in Your Time

Here are a few useful tips to address a common problem.

14 Lions, 1 Elephant

Who would you pick as the winner? (I was able to see but not hear the video, so forgive me if anything is said that is inappropriate.)

Flashback: What Gives God Pleasure

What makes you happy? What pleasures do you pursue? That might be one of the most important things about you. And let’s ask a related question: What makes God happy? What pleasures does God pursue? That might be one of the most important things about God.

Welch

The cross is the quickest and best summary of what God says to unworthy people. —Ed Welch

July 27, 2016

There are a couple of new Kindle deals today: Introducing Covenant Theology by Michael Horton and the NIV Lifehacks Bible by Joe Carter. Or if you are into printed books…

9Marks’ Building Healthy Churches is a great series meant to, well, build healthy churches. Westminster Books has discounted the whole series and the discounts increase as you buy more of them. A lot of other 9Marks books are also on sale. Buy them for yourself, for your pastor, or for your church.

Marriage Manifesto for Men

Ed Welch’s article is pretty short as manifestos go, but a good read. He talks about responsibility in marriage and, despite the title, it applies to both husbands and wives.

The Bug With the Great Big Eyes

It has been a long time since I’ve linked to a collection of photos. Here are some quality ones from the BBC. “From the macro to the massive, deserts to underwater worlds, here is a selection of our favourite photographs from the Earth Capture community this week.”

14 Rules for Being a Godly Employee

Jordan Standridge: “Not too long ago I found a little article a professor shared with us that was written by an old pastor. He offered 14 rules that he tried to live by in order to be the best pastor possible. As I looked through his ‘rules’ it was obvious that this didn’t just apply to pastors, but rather it could be applied to any job anywhere.”

Accountability Software Roundup

Steven Kryger: “Accountability software is a powerful tool in the pursuit of purity online. Here’s a comparison of 5 of the best tools on the market today.”

Ask Pastor John

Andy Naselli just finished listening to all 900+ episodes of Ask Pastor John and shares what he considers a few of the strongest episodes. If you’re new to the podcast, you might like to begin with these ones.

This Day in 1945.71 years ago today, Deitrich Bonhoeffer’s parents learned of his execution through a broadcast emanating from London. Bonhoeffer was a German pastor and theologian, active in the resistance to Hitler and Nazism.*

Dutch Men and Latvian Women

This interested me primarily because I grew up among tall Dutch folk. “Dutch men and Latvian women are now the tallest in the world, height study reveals. Where do you stand on the global height chart?”

How My Special-Needs Sister Teaches Me to Trust God’s Heart

I enjoyed this article by Allyson Todd. “It seems like part of growing up is finally realizing how much your childhood affected your adulthood. You start to realize that you have habits and presuppositions because of your family, and you also have interests and values that are shaped by your experiences as a kid. One of the most formidable things that shaped who I am today is my sister, Amanda. She is now 21 years old, reads more books than I do, just graduated high-school, and has Down’s Syndrome.”

Flashback: No Platform High Enough

“No matter your goal, no matter your god, it will not and cannot bring lasting satisfaction. In this world, God’s world, these kinds of desires were never meant to bring ultimate satisfaction…”

Tripp

We will never be so holy as to meet God’s standard and we are never too wicked as to be beyond his rescue. —Paul Tripp

July 26, 2016

As mentioned yesterday, Amazon is updating the ways sites like mine may or may not link to their Kindle deals and remain in compliance with their affiliate program. For that reason I am trying some new options. I apologize for the inconvenience as I try to navigate this.

Today’s Kindle deals include: Set Free by Stephen Owens; Evidence for God by William Dembski; Preaching to a Post-Everything World by Zack Eswine. You can learn more and buy them right here.

A Beginner’s Guide to ‘Free Will’

John Piper has put together a short guide to free will.

Died: Tim LaHaye

Christianity Today writes about Tim LaHaye who died yesterday. “The founder and president of Tim LaHaye Ministries and founder of the PreTrib Research Center, LaHaye sold 80 million copies of the series with Jenkins. ‘In terms of its impact on Christianity it’s probably greater than that of any other book in modern times, outside the Bible,’ the late Jerry Falwell, a friend of LaHaye’s, told Time magazine in 2005.” (Alternatively, read WORLD.)

40 Years of Theological Education

D.A. Carson is Jason Allen’s guest on the most recent episode of Preaching and Preachers.

Listen in as Four Theologians Discuss the Trinity Debate

Fred Zaspel interviews four theologians outstanding theologians on the recent Trinity debate. He speaks with Dr. Mike Ovey, Oak Hill College, London, UK; Dr. Fred Sanders, Torey Honors Institute, Biola University, La Marida, CA; Dr. Scott Swain, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, FL; Dr. Steve Wellum. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY.

10 Things You Should Know about Thomas Aquinas

Sam Storms: “We Protestants often fail to take note of the unique and sometimes profitable contributions of Roman Catholic theologians of the past. So today we look at 10 things we should know about Thomas Aquinas.”

This Day in 1833.183 years ago today, Britain’s House of Commons banned slavery. Upon hearing the news, William Wilberforce, who gave his life to abolish the slave trade said, “Thank God I have lived to witness [this] Day .” He died three days later. *

Money Bags

Bill Mounce asks for help translating a word that doesn’t have a clear modern-day English equivalent. It’s in Luke 10 and a few other places: “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out.”

Is God Always Pleased with You?

Michael Kruger has shared the third entry in his series “Taking Back Christianese.” We often hear Christians say things like “Don’t feel bad about this sin. If you are a believer, then God is always pleased with you. He can never be more pleased with you than he is right now.” Is that accurate?

Flashback: John MacArthur Wants Us to Grow Up

A few years ago John MacArthur penned some articles meant for the Young, Restless, Reformed crowd. Here I reflected on them.

Brooks

If the whole world were changed into a globe of gold it could not fill thy heart. —Thomas Brooks

July 25, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include Sex and the Supremacy of Christ by John Piper, What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? by Kevin DeYoung; Rid of My Disgrace by Justin & Lindsey Holcomb; Designed for Joy edited by Jonathan Parnell & Owen Strachan; A Grief Sanctified by J.I. Packer; The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis Volume 1 and Volume 2. Because of new Amazon policies, I can no longer link to the deals directly. For now I will direct you to this spreadsheet as I look for a better option: Kindle deals for Christians.

3 Things Sin Can’t Do To the Christian

Cody Barnhart offers “three things to remember about sin to remind yourself that it has ultimately lost its power in your life. These reminders help us eliminate the shame we feel after disobedience and push us to repent of our sin even when we’re tempted to wallow in it.”

The Likelihood of Increased Persecution in America

Randy Alcorn writes about what seems to be the unavoidable conclusion that there will be increased persecution of Christians in the near future.

How ‘Free Grace’ Theology Diminishes the Gospel

You may enjoy this review of a new book by Wayne Grudem. “How does saving faith relate to repentance? Does it always produce good works? Should we ever doubt our faith is genuine? And what does it mean to say we’re justified by faith alone? These are the sorts of vital questions Grudem tackles in this book.”

How Do Hummingbirds Fly Without Crashing?

“A new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that Anna’s Hummingbirds connect different visual cues to keep from crashing into things duiring their high-speed journeys to collect pollen.”

You Have Enough Time to Study the Bible

Ryan Higginbottom allows for extraordinary circumstances but says “Among Christians, I suspect busyness is the top excuse for not studying the Bible. It seems we don’t have enough time for God’s word. I’ve made this excuse many times myself.”

This Day in 1899. 117 years ago today, Stuart Hine was born. While an English missionary to the Ukraine, he penned the English words to the Swedish hymn we know today as “How Great Thou Art.” *

Why We Don’t Punish Our Kids

Sara Wallace distinguishes between two words: “We want to be parents who discipline rather than punish. While we don’t necessarily know if our children are Christians, this is one of the most tangible ways we can point them to the hope of a Savior.”

Word Study Missteps

George Guthrie continues his series on doing word studies the right way (or, if you prefer, not doing them the wrong way).

Flashback: We Are All Virgins Now

Virginity matters because sexual purity matters because God says it matters. But it is not the highest of virtues. It is not the measure of a godly young man or young woman. It is not the goal and the measure of Christian living.

MacArthur

Example is the most powerful rhetoric. —John MacArthur

July 23, 2016

Once again it has been rather a slow week for Kindle deals. I’ll keep my ear to the ground next week and hope for better things! Until then, here are some links I think you’ll enjoy.

The Perfect Spouse Will Not Complete You

So true: “If you asked most people, they would affirm that there is no such thing as a perfect spouse. However, I’m betting that most of those same people would probably also affirm the ‘perfect-for-me’ theory of spousal selection. That is the idea that there is some perfect person somewhere on the planet, and if they could just find them, the two would be perfectly happy together. Their interests, strengths, and shortcomings would all blend in perfect relational harmony.”

Pastoral Burnout: Its Causes and Its Cure

“What is a pastor to do when feeling ‘exhausted and depleted’? Should pastors entering the ministry do so on the assumption that they will one day burn out and throw in the towel? Where can such tired ministers turn? Where can discouraged shepherds go for the shepherding of their own souls?”

World-Building in The Lord of the Rings

This video explores and explains Peter Jackson’s successful world-building in The Lord of the Rings. (Note: I just noticed there’s a dumb, off-color little phrase in the final second of the video, following the credits.)

New Studies in Biblical Theology

Logos users will want to check out this sale on the NSBT series, edited by D.A. Carson. “Each volume in NSBT explores an important biblical theme, tracing its development across a biblical book, biblical writer’s work, or the entire canon of Scripture.”

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

It is still baffling that a modern airliner could just completely disappear. Popular Mechanics says, “We’ve gone through two years of clues and conspiracy theories and false starts. But to understand how we’ve come to this point, it’s necessary to review the clues that search officials possessed, and how they interpreted them.”

This Day in 1846.170 years ago today, Canadian hymn-writer William R. Featherstone was born. He composed “My Jesus, I Love Thee” before turning 16. *

Stop Trying to Make the Bible Relevant to Teenagers

Eric McKiddie says, “In my years in youth ministry I’ve seen unhelpful and even harmful methods of trying to make Scripture relevant.”

Should Your Church Build a Bigger Building?

Jonathan Leeman answers a question from someone concerned that his church is expanding its building.

Flashback: Jesus Repulses, Jesus Draws

When we preach Jesus today, we preach for a response. And there is always a response. Jesus repulses and Jesus draws. But an encounter with Jesus never accomplishes nothing.

God’s Mysterious Ways

My gratitude goes to P&R for sponsoring the blog this week with “God’s Mysterious Ways.”

Newton

How unspeakably wonderful to know that all our concerns are held in hands that bled for us. —John Newton

July 22, 2016

Westminster Books is offering a great discount on Behold Your God, a video series that features some excellent teachers and preachers. You may also want to check out their most recent list of book deals.

On the Kindle front I couldn’t see much beyond Choosing To See by Mary Beth Chapman which may interest some. Those who enjoy historical fiction may appreciate Douglas Bond’s new book The Revolt. Click here to see the deals.

Divine Simplicity and the Trinitarian Controversy

“Given the confusion that has surrounded the recent trinitarian debate, I thought it would be useful to find someone who could write a relatively straight forward post explaining the different terms being tossed around in this debate so far.”

7 Ways to Deal with Doubt

Michael Patton offers seven principles to consider when dealing with doubt.

14 Tools to Help You Avoid Distractions

“As hard as it might be to avoid every kind of distraction, though, at least we have tools that can give us a boost when our willpower starts to waver. Try one of these distraction-busting tools to get back to doing what matters most.”

Daily Slogging in the Power of the Spirit

Ray Ortlund: “I am not impressed by young pastors who seem too eager to publish books and speak at big events and build ‘a platform.’ They are doing the work of the Lord, which is good. But I’m not impressed. What impresses me is my dad’s daily slogging, year after year, in the power of the Spirit, with no big-deal-ness as the goal or the payoff.”

Rome Burned But Nero Never Fiddled

Timothy Paul Jones corrects a little piece of history.

This Day in 1926. 90 years ago today, J.I. Packer was born. What a blessing he has been to the church… 

Am I a Noisy Gong?

“Ministry would be fine if it weren’t for all the people.” That line always gets a laugh but it also reveals something concerning. Aaron Menikoff has a good article about it.

Gender, Marriage, Hell’s Gates, and Your Church Documents

Churches need to take note: “Churches presently enjoy a number of significant protections, but there is reason to believe that churches will be vulnerable to a variety of legal challenges in the years ahead, as anti-discrimination laws are updated following Obergefell. Thankfully, there are some simple things we can do to protect our gospel work against some charges of discrimination.”

Flashback: Theological Heroes and Villains

I want my heroes to be good, only good, and my villains to be bad, only bad. I can deal with this. The trouble comes when I see vices in my heroes and virtues in my villains. That is where it all gets complicated.

Thomas

Sin tastes sweet but turns bitter in our stomachs. Holiness often tastes bitter but turns sweet in our stomachs. —Gary Thomas

July 21, 2016

I have returned home from my week-long writer’s workshop in England. It was a very interesting time and at some point, perhaps on the other side of this jet lag, I’ll let you know about it. But for now, enjoy these articles:

Christian Audio $4.99 Sale

Christian Audio has a whole load of books at just $4.99 each and quite a few of them are even new releases. (Also, don’t forget about the bundle I created with them to get you started on a free trial membership).

CBMW’s New President

Yesterday CBMW announced that Denny Burk has become the new president. Here he talks about his vision for the organization.

Which Countries Have the Most Immigrants?

There’s lots of politicizing in this article, but also lots of interesting facts. Naturally, I found the comments about Canada especially interesting.

The Busy Mom’s Guide to Prayer

Melissa offers a few common sense tips on prioritizing prayer even as a busy mom.

As Seemed Best to Them…

And, on the subject of parenting, Nick Batzig offers some helpful thoughts as well. “Most of us would admit, if we were honest, that we often wish that the Scriptures were a detailed handbook for what to do in each and every interaction with our children. While the Bible speaks both directly and indirectly to every aspect of parenting, it does not give us a detailed checklist that–if husbands and wives would simply consult in each and every interaction with their children–would guarantee a favorable outcome.”

Back to the Early Church?

“While there were some great things happening then, I’m not so sure that I am eager to get back to the early church days. They, too, had their problems. Here are a few reasons why we might put the brakes on the glamorization of the early church.”

When We Say, “I Forgive You”

“What do we mean we say, ‘I forgive you’? More importantly, do we mean what the Bible means? When we really dig into Scripture’s teaching on forgiveness, we find that it stretches and challenges us, forcing us into the uncomfortable territory of being more like Jesus.”

This Day in 1936. 80 years ago today, American missionary to the Congo, Bill Chesney, was born. He would be martyred by rebel groups at the age of 28. *

Why Red Light Cameras Don’t Work

Or, at least, why they aren’t an awfully good solution overall.

Flashback: 7 Different Ways to Read a Book

Just like the title says: Here are 7 different ways to approach a book.

MacArthur

The single greatest support of truth in your preaching is the power of an exemplary life. —John MacArthur