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A La Carte (April 13)

tuesday

Good morning! The Lord be with you today.

On sale at Westminster Books this week is a prayer guide from Nancy Guthrie.

It’s an “odds and ends” day for Kindle deals.

(Yesterday on the blog: Don’t Reclaim Your Life)

Post-Pandemic, Will China’s Church Be Changed Forever?

It seems it may well be, based on this report. “The new restrictions require Chinese Communist Party oversight for every measure of religious life—staffing, fund management, gatherings. China’s unofficial churches, known as house churches, have operated in recent decades in an ambiguous space: they have rented public space, welcomed visitors, and been open about some of their activities, all without official government sanction. The February restrictions effectively close that era of semi-openness.”

Shock News: Judas Walks Away From Faith

Stephen McAlpine: “I would suggest in our own generation, apart from wealth though including it, the primary narrative among the Christian celebs who turn away is less to do with money and more to do with the lure of finding “their true selves” – which in our own secular culture of authenticity receives its own rewards in the form of praise from the world.”

God’s Résumé of Faithfulness

“Certain parts of the Bible tend to be seldom visited — more than others, that is.” Brad Gray says that Joshua is one of these—at least, chapters 11-22—and explains why we ought to read them anyway.

What We Miss When We Skip the Book of Numbers

And backing up a couple of books, Ryan Higginbottom says that Numbers is much the same. “Sure, Numbers has some difficult, slower passages. But the book as a whole is far from a slog. And since all of God’s word is valuable, we systematically neglect a portion of it to our harm.”

The Institutions Americans No Longer Believe In

Gene Veith reflects on some of the institutions that Americans no longer believe in. (And I’d say Canadians are in a similar situation.) “Society is made up of institutions. If the members of a society repudiate their institutions, the social fabric threatens to come apart. Dimon sees the current anti-institutionalism as a herald of national decline. On the other hand, it’s a fair question to ask, to what extent should we trust our institutions?”

The Perseverance of the Father’s Heart

“Christians will continue to debate the issue [of whether or not people can lose their faith], but I came to my personal opinion after pondering two questions about the father heart of God. First, does God love his children? Second, would he ever disown them? Perseverance has little to do with us. It’s all about God and what he has done and will continue to do.”

Do Not Despise the Day of Small Things

Most of life is small things, isn’t it? “Christians worship a big God with a big mission that will one day reach this whole big world. Yet for all of his bigness, our God has a remarkable love for the small.”

Flashback: Rule #6: Redeem Your Time (8 Rules for Growing in Godliness)

Godliness requires training, and training takes time. So in an age in which we always carry convenient distractions in our pockets, our growth in godliness will require us to reject the trivial and redeem every minute.

Every day for all eternity—without pause or end—the riches of the glory of God’s grace in Christ will become increasingly great and beautiful in our perception of them…There will always be more. Gloriously more. Forever.

—John Piper

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    Can I confess something to you? There’s one thing Aileen does that really bugs me. We will be talking together and enjoying one another’s company. But then, as we chat, I’ll hear the telltale buzz of her phone. And I can tell that I’ve lost her. I can see it in the look on her…

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    The experience of preaching is very different from the front than from the back, when facing the congregation than when facing the preacher. The congregation faces one man who is doing his utmost to be engaging, to hold their attention, and to apply truths that will impact their hearts and transform their lives.

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    It is something we have all observed at one time or another and something we have all wondered about. Why is it that those who seem most likely to come to Christ so often reject him? Why is it that those hear the boldest invitations and who have the greatest opportunities so commonly turn away?…