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Resources

September 05, 2014

I am in the unique and enjoyable position of receiving copies of most of the latest and greatest Christian books. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve received and awful lot of them and, in sorting through the pile, here are some that have risen to the top.

ESVESV Women’s Devotional Bible. This is a new edition of the ESV with short devotionals and reflections for women. “The ESV Women’s Devotional Bible is a valuable resource for strengthening women in their walk with God. Applicable for women in any stage of life, the Women’s Devotional Bible is theologically rich in content while remaining accessible and practical. Readers will be encouraged in daily, prayerful Bible study, and equipped to understand and apply the Bible to every aspect of life. The Women’s Devotional Bible features materials designed especially for women. The book introductions, character sketches of key figures, all-new daily devotionals, and all-new articles have been written by both women and men contributors. These contributors include professors, musicians, authors, counselors, homemakers, and conference speakers.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Eight Twenty EightEight Twenty Eight: When Love Didn’t Give Up by Ian & Larissa Murphy. You’ve probably heard of Ian & Larissa Murphy before. If not, this would be a great introduction. “What if that thing you really feared happened? Would the joy you hold pop? Or would you experience love and joy deeper than you can imagine? They met in college and fell in love. They talked about getting married, and he started looking for a ring. They dreamed about life together, a life of beauty and joy, raising babies and laughing with friends and growing old. They did not imagine a car accident. They did not imagine his brain injury. They did not dream about the need for constant care and a wheelchair and fear that food might choke him. And they could not have imagined how persistent love would be. Theirs and God’s.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Gods DesignGod’s Design for Man and Women: A Biblical-Theological Survey by Andreas & Margaret Kostenberger. Here is a fresh treatment of a subject that continues to be disputed and relevant. “This thorough study of the Bible’s teaching on men and women aims to help a new generation of Christians live for Christ in today’s world. Moving beyond other treatments that primarily focus on select passages, this winsome volume traces Scripture’s overarching pattern related to male-female relationships in both the Old and New Testaments. Those interested in careful discussion rather than caustic debate will discover that God’s design is not confining or discriminatory but beautiful, wise, liberating, and good.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon)

JohnJohn: Reformed Expository Commentary by Richard Phillips. I’m always excited to a) see a new commentary in the Reformed Expository Commentary series and b) a new commentary written by Richard Phillips. I’m sure this will prove an excellent volume on the book of John. Here is what Joel Beeke says about it: “Richard Phillips’ exposition of John explains the text clearly, but it also sings, marvels, and gets its hands dirty in real life illustrations. What a great combination of biblical exegesis, doctrine rooted in the Reformation, and practical application! This is a great sermon commentary for pastors, and an extremely helpful book of all Christians desiring to grow in their love for Him who said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

August 27, 2014

As time goes on, I find myself doing more and more of my reading on my Kindle, and taking advantage of its super-simple ability to make notes and highlights. At the same time, I find myself relying on Evernote to help me retain and organize information. Books hold the information I want to know while Evernote holds the information I want to retain. When I put the two of them together, I get a powerful system to record and remember what I have read. Let me share a simple technique to quickly and easily get every one of your Kindle notes and highlights into Evernote.

Install Evernote Web Clipper

Before you do anything else, visit Evernote and install their Web Clipper browser extension, available for all major browsers. 

Visit kindle.amazon.com

Once you have installed the Web Clipper, you are ready to track down your notes and highlights. Visit http://kindle.amazon.com and sign in using your Amazon username and password:

Kindle

Locate Your Book

After logging in, click on “Your Books” to see a list of the books you own in Kindle format:

Your Books

Click the title you would like to export to Evernote:

Kindle

Note: If you have a huge library, see my note below titled “For Big Libraries.”

Find Your Highlights

Click on “You have X highlighted passages:”

Highlights

Use Evernote’s Web Clipper

You will now see a page with a simple listing of all of your notes and highlights, just like this:

August 21, 2014

A little while ago I shared an article titled Abortion: Making the Case. This was a simple way to structure a discussion on abortion while anticipating common responses and objections. Since then I have had the opportunity to teach on abortion and I prepared a slideshow to go with my presentation. I am sharing that slideshow today in case you can benefit from it. It works just fine as a standalone—you can simply click through the slides and read them in order. I have also included the file in Keynote, Powerpoint, and PDF formats if you would like to download it and use it in any other setting.

August 20, 2014

It is a question I have received a number of times lately: Can you suggest some blogs written specifically for women? As it happens, I follow quite a few blogs written by (and often for) women. I am going to share a list of them today, knowing that I have undoubtedly forgotten some very good ones and owe a few apologies! So please accept this as an incomplete list.

Aimee Byrd. Aimee goes by Housewife Theologian and writes both here and at Reformation21. I enjoy her writing for its depth and its emphasis on spiritual discernment.

Charlene Nelson. Charlene writes articles and poetry and often focuses on theological topics.

The Christian Pundit - This blog includes contributions from William and Rebecca VanDoodewaard. Rebecca posts occasionally, but always with insight.

Elisha Galotti. Unlike most of the other bloggers on my list, Elisha was a friend in the real world before she was a friend online—we’ve known each other since we were kids! I appreciate Elisha’s honesty and her ability to draw lessons out of real life.

Everyone Needs a Little Grace in Their Lives. Amy writes from the mission field, and writes mostly about the realities of life in East Africa.

Gloria Furman. Gloria, who currently lives in Dubai, is well-known as an author and as a contributor to quite a few different sites. Through it all she continues to blog once or twice a week at gloriafurman.com.

Jen Thorn. Jen, husband of Joe (who also has a great blog), is a very good writer.

Jen Wilkin. Jen is author of Women of the Word and blogs occasionally at her own blog (and regularly at other sites). Her favorite subject is knowing and studying the Bible.

Maryanne Challies Helms. She’s my little sister (and she’s on a blog break).

Practical Theology for Women. Wendy’s blog is primarily a lecture to herself (aren’t most blogs?) but you’re welcome to read along. She covers a lot of difficult subjects.

Rebecca Writes. I have been following Rebecca’s blog for the better part of a decade; I love her emphasis on theology and sound doctrine.

Sayable. Lore Ferguson provides gut-honest and theologically-rich insights on all kinds of important issues.

Worship Rejoices. Lindsey has scaled back quite a lot in the past few months, but there is lots to read in the archives, and I hope she will return with more in the future.

Your Mom Has a Blog. I am a relative newcomer to “Your Mom Has a Blog” which is written by Melissa Edgington. She writes well, and always from the perspective of real life.

Group Blogs

Here are a few blogs where you will find content by a variety of people.

Boundless. Boundless (associated with Focus on the Family) focuses on issues related to young adults and has a mix of male and female writers.

CBMW. The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood has various “channels,” one of which is dedicated to women. They involve quite a number of writers, many of whom blog elsewhere as well.

Desiring God. The Desiring God blog often welcomes female guest writers.

The Gospel Coalition. The Gospel Coalition offers several new articles each day, and they include many female writers.

Out of the Ordinary. This group blog includes contributions from half a dozen authors who are ”bound by a common love for sound theology and a desire to live out that sound theology in our ordinary lives as we serve our extraordinary God.”

True Woman. The True Woman blog shares new content every day, sourced from a variety of writers (including the occasional article by Susanna Rose, another of my little sisters!).

Let me close with an observation. I was struck, as I went through all the blogs I follow, how many have gone cold. It may be that there has always been this much attrition in the blogosphere, or it may be that blogging is in decline, having given way to other forms of social media. It is hard to know. But I found a lot of blogs—former favorites—that had not been updated in months. Many of them ended with notes from the author saying that she would return at an undefined point in the future. I wonder how many will.

August 08, 2014

I like to keep an eye out for good deals on Kindle books. As an avid reader, and one who is slowly transitioning to electronic books, I find it hard to resist a great deal. These deals tend to come up day-by-day and last anywhere from a few days to a week. I usually track them in my daily A La Carte posts, but there have been so many deals in the past week, I thought I’d group them all together for you. So here, for the Christian reader, is a long list of some excellent deals. Happy reading!

July 25, 2014

I am in the unique and enjoyable position of receiving copies of most of the latest and greatest Christian books. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve received boxes of them and, in sorting through the pile, some have risen to the top.

Spiritual Disciplines WhitneySpiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Second Edition) by Donald Whitney. Whitney’s book was the first I read on the spiritual disciplines and one that was very helpful in my life. I’m very glad to see it (finally!) in a second edition. The publisher says, “Drawn from a rich heritage, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life will guide you through a carefully selected array of disciplines. By illustrating why the disciplines are important, showing how each one will help you grow in godliness, and offering practical suggestions for cultivating them, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life will provide you with a refreshing opportunity to become more like Christ and grow in character and maturity. Now updated and revised to equip a new generation of readers, this anniversary edition features in-depth discussions on each of the key disciplines.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon)

Why God Created the WorldWhy God Created the World: A Jonathan Edwards Adaptation by Ben Stevens. I really like the look of this one. Stevens has taken one of Edwards’ least-known and hardest-to-read books and adapted it to modern readers. Stevens writes, “For most of my life, I never thought to ask myself why God created the world. I had asked myself the question, ‘why did God create me specifically,’ which seemed like a more practical thing to wonder. But the answers I found to that question always struck me as shallow. I think that’s because it’s impossible to understand what part we play in a story if we have never grasped what the story is about in the first place. As far as I know, there has only ever been one book written on this subject by a Christian. It was a monumental treatise by the former president of Princeton University, the 18th century theologian Jonathan Edwards, called A Dissertation Concerning the End for Which the World Was Created (1765). Edwards gives a great answer to the question, but his tone and grammatical acrobatics make the original text nearly impossible to read.” So he modernizes it. (Learn more or buy it at Amazon)

Holding the RopeHolding the Rope: Short Term Missions, Long Term Impact by Clint Archer. This looks like a very helpful book as well: “Holding the Rope gives an insightful look into the preparation, philosophy, and application of short term cross-cultural ministry. Archer addresses the issues with candor, humor, and most importantly, grace. He provides viable solutions to common problems, and encourages churches, pastors, and volunteers to adopt a biblical and practical approach for engaging in short term missions. ‘Holding the rope’ is more than a catchphrase. It articulates an entire philosophy of ministry. Christian missions is too daunting an enterprise to attempt alone, but the synergy of combined efforts can accomplish untold advancement for the kingdom of God. This book is a tool for those serving the servants, a guide and celebration of those who hold the ropes.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon)

July 03, 2014

I am in the unique and enjoyable position of receiving copies of most of the latest and greatest Christian books. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve received boxes of them and, in sorting through the pile, some have risen to the top.

LifelinesLifelines for Tough Times by Mike Fabarez. Here is how the publisher describes this one: “When tough times hit, we often find ourselves vulnerable—to doubt, fear, worry, even depression. We ask, ‘Does God care? Has He forgotten me?’ So why does God allow suffering? Author Mike Fabarez—who is well acquainted with deep pain himself as the father of a special-needs child and as a pastor who has counseled many through life’s hurts—looks to the truths of Scripture for answers. Along the way, he shares how complete trust in God alone can restore your confidence and hope; the power of focusing on God’s eternal goals for you in life’s temporary setbacks; God’s promises to love and protect you no matter what happens. This book will not only help you understand why God allows suffering—it will provide you with the resources to stand strong, rest in God’s care, and endure!” It comes with endorsements from John MacArthur, Joni Eareckson Tada, Jay Adams, and others. (Learn more or buy it at Amazon)

60 People60 People Who Shaped the Church by Alton Gansky. “The Church exists today in its current form because of the people who have come before us. From a consummate storyteller comes this collection of inspiring biographical sketches of people who played pivotal roles in advancing the Kingdom of God on earth. In rich prose and spanning twenty centuries of church history, these engaging narratives range from the well-known to the obscure, highlighting personalities such as Josephus, Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, Galileo, John Calvin, Blaise Pascal, Jonathan Edwards, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, William Wilberforce, G. K. Chesterton, and many others. Readers will feel the past come alive and mingle in their minds with the present state of the Church, encouraging and galvanizing them to live their own faith courageously in our time—and shape the Church of the future.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

ExaltingExalting Jesus in Ezra-Nehemiah by James Hamilton. This is the publisher’s description of the series: “Edited by David Platt, Daniel L. Akin, and Tony Merida, this new commentary series, projected to be 48 volumes, takes a Christ-centered approach to expositing each book of the Bible. Rather than a verse-by-verse approach, the authors have crafted chapters that explain and apply key passages in their assigned Bible books. Readers will learn to see Christ in all aspects of Scripture, and they will be encouraged by the devotional nature of each exposition. Exalting Jesus in Ezra-Nehemiah is written by Jim Hamilton.” This series is sound, readable, and affordable. (Learn more or buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

June 30, 2014

CPM
July is nearly upon us, and to get the new month started right, here are some wallpapers calendars that will dress up your computer, tablet or cell phone. This month's wallpaper is provided in partnership with Church Plant Media and was designed by Kate Allen, a designer from designer from Birmingham, Alabama who also designs my daily quote graphics that you see in A La Carte.

A few notes: Your desktop or laptop may take any of the sizes, depending on your monitor size and a host of other considerations. You can click here to see what your resolution is. Generally you set one of these are your wallpaper by clicking on the link to the image, then right-clicking on the image (once it’s open) and selecting “Set as Background,” “Set as Desktop Background,” or something similar. If you aren’t sure, post a comment and we’ll try to help you figure it out.

Note: We're giving away a $50 Amazon gift card (no strings attached); just scroll down for a chance to win...

July 2014

Without Calendar: Facebook Cover, iPhone 4, iPhone 5, iPad, 1024x768, 1280x1024, 1366x768, 1440x900, 1680x1050, 1920x1200, 2560x1440

With Calendar: 1024x768, 1280x1024, 1366x768, 1440x900, 1680x1050, 1920x1200, 2560x1440

Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card

Just to sweeten the deal a little bit, we're giving away a $50 Amazon gift card, no strings attached. Just sign up here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And here is another great wallpaper from last year:

June 20, 2014

I am in the unique and enjoyable position of receiving copies of most of the latest and greatest Christian books. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve received boxes of them and, in sorting through the pile, some have risen to the top.

Growing Up Gods WayGrowing Up God’s Way for Girls and Growing Up God’s Way for Boys by Cris Richards and Liz Jones. “Growing up God’s way is a colourful, fully illustrated book available as separate versions for boys and girls. It is intended for children approaching or experiencing puberty, typically represented by the 10-14 years old age range. The artwork haas been specially produced for the book and includes accurate biological drawings as well as cartoon illustrations to keep the young reader interested. Most importantly of all, the Bible is the constant reference point, so that what the Bible has to say about the matters dealt with is always front and center. The result is that this book conveys essential biblical ethical teaching as well as the facts about puberty.” (Amazon: For Boys, For Girls)

Christopher Ash JobJob by Christopher Ash. “Life can be hard, and sometimes it seems like God doesn’t even care. When faced with difficult trials, many people have resonated with the book of Job—the story of a man who lost nearly everything, seemingly abandoned by God. In this thorough and accessible commentary, Christopher Ash helps us glean encouragement from God’s Word by directing our attention to the final explanation and ultimate resolution of Job’s story: the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Intended to equip pastors to preach Job’s important message, this commentary highlights God’s grace and wisdom in the midst of redemptive suffering. Taking a staggeringly honest look at our broken world and the trials that we often face, Ash helps us see God’s sovereign purposes for adversity and the wonderful hope that Christians have in Christ.” (Amazon, Westminster Books)

My FaultIs It My Fault?: Hope and Healing for Those Suffering Domestic Violence by Justin & Lindsey Holcomb. “Is It My Fault? is a message of hope and healing to victims who know too well the depths of destruction and the overwhelming reality of domestic violence. At least one in every three women have been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in their lifetime. The effects of domestic violence are physical, social, emotional, psychological, and spiritual, and can have long-lasting distressing consequences. It is common for victims of domestic violence to suffer from ongoing depression and recurring nightmares, self-harm, panic attacks, substance abuse, and more. Is It My Fault? addresses the abysmal issue of domestic violence with the powerful and transforming biblical message of grace and redemption. It deals with this devastating problem and sin honestly and directly without hiding its prevalence today.” (Amazon)

June 04, 2014

It’s a question I receive often: Do you know of any good resources for having The Talk with my kids? I don’t think too many parents look forward to having the birds and the bees talk with their kids, yet it is unavoidable. And what’s more, in a pornified world where the average first exposure to Internet pornography is age twelve and falling, it’s a discussion that just can’t be delayed indefinitely. Actually, it’s a talk you almost need to have before they’re ready—to teach them what’s true and good before they can be exposed to what’s base and inappropriate.

Thankfully there are a few helpful resources that have found their way into my mailbox over the past few years.

Growing up God’s Way by Dr. Chris Richards & Dr. Liz Jones

Growing Up Gods WayThere are two editions of this brand new book, one aimed at boys and one at girls (suitably titled Growing Up God’s Way for Boys and Growing Up God’s Way for Girls). The books are very nicely done in both text and design. They are colorful and illustrated, and intended for children who are approaching puberty or just beginning to experience it (so somewhere between ages 10 and 14). The publisher says, “The artwork has been specially produced for the book and includes accurate biological drawings as well as cartoon illustrations to keep the young reader interested. Most importantly of all, the Bible is the constant reference point, so that what the Bible has to say about the matters dealt with is always front and center. The result is that this book conveys essential biblical ethical teaching as well as the facts about puberty.” If you are looking for a book to read with your child, or to have your child read on his or her own, you probably won’t do better than these ones. (Buy it at Amazon: For Girls; For Boys)

Time for The Talk by Steve Zollos

Time for the TalkThis book is geared specifically toward fathers who wish to speak to their sons and broadens the subject from sex and sexuality to wider topics related to manhood. The publisher says, “Time for The Talk will help fathers walk their sons through one of the most important conversations of their lives. ‘The Talk’ is much broader than just a talk about sexuality; it’s a conversation about manhood, about right decisions, about Christ. Time for The Talk will assist you in giving your son what he needs to steer through the moral and spiritual confusion of this world and make wise, godly, character-forming decisions.” In an interview, Zollos explains that his book is “not a script that you can read to your son. After all, this is about your relationship with your son. The Talk ultimately needs to come from you. Instead of a script I have provided perspective, and a framework of important information that needs to be shared with your son, your way, in a way that he can relate to.” You may also want to consider reading Everyday Talk (Amazon, Westminster Books) by Jay Younts, from the same publisher. Note that both books are only $1.99 for the Kindle editions. (Buy Time for The Talk at Amazon, Westminster Books)

Passport2Purity

Passport2PurityThis product from FamilyLife is more of a program than a single resource. It is designed to help parents speak to their teens or preteens about love, sex, and relationships, and is meant to form the foundation for a father-son or mother-daughter weekend getaway. The publisher’s description says, “FamilyLife has developed Passport2Purity (P2P) to assist you in building heart-to-heart communication with your preteen while laying a foundation of purity that will prepare them for the turbulent years ahead. Through the shared listening experience, object lessons and guided conversations of a P2P weekend getaway, you can set your son or daughter on a journey of moral integrity-and strengthen the bond between you.” First released in 2006 (I believe) it has now been updated to a third edition that accounts for modern realities like Internet pornography and sexting. You can download a sample here. (Buy it at Amazon)

(Note: James Dobson’s Preparing for Adolescence is a popular option and one my parents handed me many years ago; I have only glanced through it since then and did so while I wrote my book Sexual Detox to confirm what I remember—that Dobson takes a “everyone does it so don’t worry too much about it” approach to masturbation that I can’t sanction. It looks like it was last revised in 2006, so it may have changed since then.)

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