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December 31, 2011

This may be one of those articles that is far more interesting to me than to anyone else, so you may need to bear with me. But at the end of the year it is always interesting to me to see which articles gained the most attention in the year that was. There are always a couple of surprises. Here, then, are the top 10 articles from 2011.

The Driscolls and Real Marriage - This article was a late-comer, being published in December, but it quickly gained enough attention that it made it to the #10 spot. This was not a review of the Driscoll’s book Real Marriage, but an assessment of the grid they use to evaluate the “Can We _______?” questions that may arise in the marriage bed. A review of the book will be the first real article I publish in 2012.

Divided The Movie - This documentary, pushing the Family Integrated Church movement, made a lot of waves in 2011 and I decided to go ahead and review it. I found it offensive and unbiblical on many levels and this ignited some controversy. But I stand by what I said: If you think Family Integration is best for your church, by all means, do it. But it’s impossible to sustain a sound biblical argument that this is the way a church has to be in order to be faithful to Scripture.

Why John Piper Should Not Have Invited Rick Warren - I wrote this article in 2010 after hearing that John Piper had invited Rick Warren to speak at the annual Desiring God conference. This follow-up reflected on what had happened there and what it meant.

The Secret - This is a book review for a book that came out a long time ago. The Secret was published in 2007 but continues to sell, which is remarkable for a book that is just so utterly ridiculous. This is a classic example of a book that strikes right at the depraved human heart, making us believe that we are godlike and that we can have all the things we want (since that will always make us happy, right?).

Facebook Makes Us Miserable - This article simply looked at the way that Facebook makes us compare ourselves to others. In doing that it exposes a deep-seated discontentment or envy. When we look at other people on Facebook, we naturally assume that their lives are better than ours and we then feel miserable about ourselves. 

December 27, 2011

Last week I asked if some of you would like to take The 3650 Challenge with me (reading 3650 chapters of the Bible in 2012). I expected that 50 or 100 of you might like to join me. I was more than a little surprised to see well over 800 join up, with more joining every day. This is going to be fun!

If you’d like to join us, the best place to go is the Facebook group.

To do these readings we will follow Professor Horner’s Bible Reading Plan. Lots of people have been asking for some guidance or direction, so here goes. Professor Horner’s Bible Reading Plan has you reading ten chapters of the Bible every day. You will read one chapter per day from ten different lists. On January 1, you will read Matthew 1, Genesis 1, Romans 1, and so forth. On January 2, you will read Matthew 2, Genesis 2, etc. On day twenty-nine, you will have just finished Matthew, so you will go to Mark 1 on the Gospel list; you’ll also be almost to the end of 2nd Corinthians and Proverbs, you’ll be reading Psalm 29 and Genesis 29, and so forth. When you reach the last chapter of the last book in a list, you start over again. It’s that simple. 

What you will need to do is download this document that explains the plan in more detail and tells you which books of the Bible each of the ten lists contains. So go ahead and download it and print yourself a copy. It will tell you the lists and will also give you some handy bookmarks to mark off your progress.

Before I get to specific resources, I want to say this: One key to the program is to stick with it for at least 30 days. You will need to make that commitment right from the beginning or you may find yourself quickly running out of steam. Ten chapters per day is demanding, but once you commit to it and do it for a while, you will begin to find it more of a joy than a burden.

In the meantime, as you plan for a January 1 start, here are some useful resources.


If you are doing the reading plan using your Bible, you will probably want to use a series of bookmarks to mark off your daily readings. You can download the document I linked to above and get bookmarks there. There are also four color variations available here.


YouVersion is a web site and mobile app that combines a couple of great features: many translations of the Bible and many reading plans. You can go to YouVersion and create an account; once you have done that, you can sign up to do a reading plan. I have been using their version of Professor Horner’s plan for several months now and intend to begin fresh on January 1. Why? Because they make it easy for me to listen to the 10 chapters per day on my iPhone while I am out for a walk or commuting to the church office. At least for the time being I enjoy listening to the Bible, so intend to do the plan that way.

On the plus side, their app makes it easy to engage with Scripture while in the car or out walking. On the downside you need a data plan to do this. Also in the negatives column is the fact that the app can be a little bit flaky, especially with the newest version; often the readings do not get properly “checked off” and a week later you’ll receive a reminder telling you that you haven’t done it. But overall, it’s a solid app and serves its purpose well.


There are lots of apps that can help you on your way.

YouVersion - I’ve already mentioned YouVersion. It is an all-in-one solution that will allow you to listen to or read the program day-by-day.

The Ten Lists - This site can help you day-by-day.

Bible Bookmarks - Bible Bookmarks is an easy-to-use iOS application that will allow you to keep track of where you are at in Bible reading systems.

Olive Tree - Here is a tutorial on using Olive Tree for your readings.

In the end, though, whether you listen or read, whether you use a printed Bible or electronic Bible, the most important thing is just to do it. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted from the main thing, which is to meet God in his Word. 

September 02, 2011

Every now and again I like to remind people of one of the programs I offer at this site. It is called Friends of the Blog. Friends of the Blog is primarily a means of supporting this site, but it offers a unique incentive to do so. Friends receive all kinds of great things—books, gift certificates, music, magazines and so on.

So here is some of what Friends of the Blog receive:

  • A gift certificate for Westminster Books
  • A gift certificate for The Good Book Company
  • Books from Randy Alcorn, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and others
  • ebooks
  • Downloadable music albums
  • Free video teaching series from R.C. Sproul and David Murray
  • A gift certificate for Reformation Art
  • Deals, specials, coupons, etc

I think you’ll see right away that there is a lot of value there—$160 at least. This is a year-long effort and more will be added over the course of the year. When you sign up, you get everything there plus whatever else comes in over the year. And all the while, you’ll be supporting the costs associated with hosting, maintaining and overseeing the site.

The cost  is just $39.

This is the second year I’ve run this program. If you joined Friends of the Blog in the past year, your account will be automatically renewed on the anniversary of the date you signed up. And if you didn’t join last year, well, why don’t you consider it this year? It will prove well worth it, I’m sure.

You can get all the details at Friends of the Blog. Check it out and join the club!

April 19, 2011

In April of 2010 I announced a program called Friends of the Blog. With the costs of maintaining this blog on the rise, Friends of the Blog allowed readers to support the site while receiving tangible benefits. The program worked out very well and for that reason I have renewed it for 2011. And that leads me to announce Friends of the Blog 2.

This year is the same but different. It is the same in that Friends of the Blog will receive all kinds of great things—books, gift certificates, music, magazines and so on. It is different in that more of those things will be spread out across the calendar year. And I think, in the end, there will be even more of it.

So here is some of what Friends of the Blog will receive:

  • A gift certificate for Westminster Books (increased from $10 to $15 this year!)
  • A gift certificate for The Good Book Company
  • Free books
  • Free ebooks
  • Free music
  • Free video teaching series from R.C. Sproul and David Murray
  • A gift certificate for Reformation Art
  • Deals, specials, coupons, etc
  • Other things to be announced over the course of the year

I think you’ll see right away that there is a lot of value there—$160 at least. And we’re just getting started. This is a year-long effort and more will be added over the course of the year. When you sign up, you get everything there plus whatever else comes in over the year. And all the while, you’ll be supporting the costs associated with hosting, maintaining and overseeing the site.

The cost remains the same as last year—just $39.

If you joined Friends of the Blog in the past year, your account should be automatically renewed on the anniversary of the date you signed up. And if you didn’t join last year, well, why don’t you consider it this year? It will prove well worth it, I’m sure.

You can get all the details at Friends of the Blog. Check it out and join the club!

December 30, 2010

One day away from the end of 2010, I went looking through the statistics software that runs behind-the-scenes at my web site to see which articles were the most popular. And just for your amusement I thought I’d share them with you.

Two observations: first, it was a little surprising to me how many of them were written prior to 2010—so some of the most popular articles were ones I wrote as far back as 2006. And second, it’s notable how many of the most popular articles are book reviews—fully half of them.

So here they are, the top ten articles from 2010.

10. A New Kind of Christianity - This was my review of Brian McLaren’s latest book. Quite needless to say, I wasn’t a big fan of it.

9. Black Friday & Cyber Monday - Rather on a whim I decided to create a post that would offer a round-up of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals that might interest my readers. It was popular enough that I think I’ll turn it into an annual feature.

8. Crazy Love - Francis Chan’s book seems to be picking up steam as time goes on, which meant that more and more people were looking for a review of it.

7. Joel Osteen or Fortune Cookie - I had some fun in this post, comparing the wisdom of fortune cookies with the wisdom of Joel Osteen.

6. 90 Minutes in Heaven - This book review has made the top-ten list since 2006. It’s an awful book but one that people just keep buying and believing.

5. The Secret - This book review has been in the top-ten posts of the year since 2007. I believe it remains strong in part, at least, because the author brought out her latest piece of junk book in 2010.

4. I Looked for Love in Your Eyes - This is a poem anonymously shared by a reader of this site and it went viral very quickly. Considering it was posted just a couple of weeks ago, it’s remarkable how many times it was read.

3. Sexual Detox: The E-Book - Sexual Detox

2. Why John Piper Should Not Have Invited Rick Warren - When John Piper asked Rick Warren to be a speaker at Desiring God’s national conference I wrote an article expressing my concern.

1. A Review of The Shack - There are actually several pages related to The Shack that rate among the top pages of the year. Combine them all and they are many multiples higher than any other page on the site. They were also the top pages from 2009. While The Shack’s popularity has crested, it still remains a popular and controversial book.

November 15, 2010

Friends ChristmasWe are all looking for the perfect Christmas gift for our loved ones, right? Well let me suggest a unique one that I’m sure they’ll love. Why don’t you consider giving them a gift subscription to Friends of the Blog? Check out this list of great items they would receive with that gift subscription:

  • 5 Books or DVDs from Zondervan and Reformation Heritage Books (DVDs or real, printed books of their choice, sent to their home)
  • 10 Downloadable albums (real albums by really good artists)
  • 6-month subscription to Christianity Today
  • $10 gift certificate to Westminster Books
  • $15 gift certificate to The Good Book Company
  • Access to coupons, deals and giveaways
  • See a more complete list here.

How much would you have to spend to give that kind of a gift to someone? Just $39! Or, if you are already a Friend of the Blog, how about just $34? Seriously, you aren’t going to do any better than that! And all the while you’ll be helping support this site. Best…Christmas gift…ever!

If you purchase a gift subscription, I will provide you with a printable card or certificate you can give to your loved one at Christmas. That card will tell him what the subscription provides and give instructions on how to access all of it. Easy as pie!

Interested? Just start here.

October 12, 2010

I want to remind you about rather a unique program I offer here at the blog (one that hundreds of you have already taken advantage of and seem to be enjoying). It is called Friends of the Blog.

This is a program I established in order to give people an opportunity to support this blog and, at the same time, to find a creative way of thanking them for doing so. The idea was to ask people to help support the site while returning far more value to them. And by and large I think the program has done very well in that way. Some benefits have come and gone while others have arisen. But through it all, I think the value has remained oustanding.

Let me tell you what’s in it for you if you become a Friend of the Blog.

There are deals and gift certificates for when you shop:

  • $10 gift certificate for Westminster Books
  • $15 gift certificate for The Good Book Company
  • Discounts on all purchases at Vision Video and on a subscription to Modern Reformation magazine

You’ll also get free books:

  • 4 new a-list books or DVDs of your choice from Zondervan (you can choose 2 today, 1 in a couple of weeks, and 1 in a couple of months)
  • 1 new book from Reformation Heritage Books (later this week)
  • a free 6-month subscription to Christianity Today

And there is lots to listen to:

  • 10 full-length albums, available for immediate download in mp3 format including albums by Sovereign Grace Music, Indelible Grace, Christa Wells, Shai Linne, Sojourn, and more.

That’s not all; there will be other things coming your way over the life of your subscription. But that’s still hush-hush.

But best of all, you’ll get a warm, fuzzy feeling for supporting this blog (and its author). Win-win.

Friends of the Blog

October 04, 2010

Sexual Detox: A Guide for Guys Who Are Sick of PornI announced last week that Cruciform Press, the publishing company I have co-founded is now officially in business. Our first two books are available right now.

The first of these books is my own: Sexual Detox: A Guide for Guys Who Are Sick of Porn. If you have been following this site over the past year you know that Detox first made its appearance as a series of blog posts and, subsequent to that, as a free e-book. And now, at long last, it’s a real book.

This new book is much improved from the free version I gave away. It has been professionally edited, it has been expanded and it has been reorganized. It is, in every way, a better book.

Here is a brief introduction to it:

Sick of porn? Time to detox. A huge percentage of men need a porn detox, a moral and psychological reset. Do you? If so, whether you know it or not, pornography has corrupted your thinking, weakened your conscience, warped your sense of right and wrong, and twisted your understanding and expectations of sexuality. You need a reset by the One who created sex.

In this book, I hope to help you reorient your understanding of sex, both in the big picture and in the act itself, according to God’s plan for this great gift. I want to help you detox from all the junk you’ve seen, all the lies you’ve believed. This is not an easy process. It is rarely a quick process. It involves a letting go of old realities and an embrace of a new normal. To be willing to go through it you need to see how bad your current situation really is, and how the path you are on leads no place good. You need to see that the path of porn leads only to more isolation, guilt, alienation, and pain. Whether single or married, such a reset to normal is the only thing that can ever equip you to become a pure, loving, attentive, sacrificial husband. But you already know you need to change.

Few Christian men indulge in porn without realizing they need to quit. Every Christian guy who looks at porn wants to stop, but many of us want to stop just a little bit less than we want to keep going. The problem isn’t knowledge-it’s desire and ability. So sin prevails. Here’s a promise. You’ll never stop until you begin to see the monstrous nature of the sin you’re committing. You’ll never stop until the sin is more horrifying to you than the commission of the sin is enjoyable. You’ll need to hate that sin before you can find freedom from it. That means you need more grace. You need to cry out to be changed and to see the monstrous nature of this sin. And then you need to behave in faith that God will meet you with grace as you act to cut off the porn and begin the reset.

This is a book specifically geared to young men, though older guys have been benefitting from it as well.

Here are a few of the endorsements:

In an age when sex is worshiped as a god, a little book like this can go a long way to helping men overcome sexual addiction.” (Mark Driscoll)

Tim Challies strikes just the right balance in this brief but necessary work. His assessment of the sexual epidemic in our culture is sober but not without hope. His advice is practical but avoids a checklist mentality. His discussion of sexual sin is frank without being inappropriate. In a day when it can almost be assumed that every young male struggles with pornography, lust, and masturbation, this book will be a valuable resource. I’m grateful for Tim’s wisdom, candor, and grace.” (Kevin DeYoung)

In an era in which every man is online, pornography is not just a problem for Christian men; it is THE problem. All men face the temptation of this mind polluting, heart-hardening, soul-deadening sin. Many men, young and old, in our churches need Sexual Detox. This is a welcomed book. In a short, compressed format Challies identifies the toxic nature of this sin and offers practical, doable and, above all, gospel-centered hope for men. I want every man I serve and all the guys on our staff to read this book.” (Tedd Tripp)

I believe this is the kind of book that you can buy to keep on-hand and give away. I plan on keeping a few copies around to give out to young men because, trust me, just about all of them need some manner of detox. So why don’t you consider doing that?

The best place to buy it is directly from Cruciform Press. There you can buy it in Print or PDF with ePub available very soon. You can visit ChristianAudio to purchase the Audio book if you prefer to listen.