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A La Carte (December 18)

tuesday

Today’s Kindle deals include just a couple of titles, but they are pretty good ones.

(Yesterday on the blog: The Collected Best Christian Books of 2018)

Shelter in the Shame Storm

Samuel James: “At some point people like me who grew up with the internet are going to have to reckon with the spiritual powers that are embedded into the technology we put in our pocket. We’re going to have to determine to understand (a dangerous resolution!) how and why it is that the avatar-ization of our thoughts and names creates on-ramps in our hearts for delighting in the suffering of people whose only crime is disagreeing with us, or being friends with somebody who does. “

Should Married Couples Separate?

In this one Steve Cornell navigates some real complexities. “The complexities and pain of troubled marriages can be overwhelming. A significant part of the problem is that most couples don’t look for help until things become seemingly unbearable. When a marriage is holding by thin threads, it’s unwise to wait too long before seeking help. The longer a couple a waits, the more challenging it becomes to restore a relationship.”

Do the Gospels Borrow from Pagan Myths?

Here’s a myth that needs to be dispelled. “When these claims are compared carefully with the New Testament Gospels, the distinction between Jesus and the supposed pagan parallels becomes quite distinct, for at least two reasons: (1) the pagan parallels aren’t as parallel as the proponents claims, and (2) many of the supposed parallels confuse later Christian practices with the actual affirmations in the New Testament Gospels.”

The Christmas Miracle of the Extra Calvinisticum

“When we put our minds long to the idea of Jesus being one hundred percent God and simultaneously one hundred percent man, they naturally feel overwhelmed. The orthodox doctrine of the Incarnation is compelling, beautiful, biblically sensible, and salvifically necessary, but it is nevertheless utterly inscrutable. And that’s okay. In the end, the Incarnation is not for analysis but for worship.”

Dying Well This Christmas

We need to think about dying from time to time. “It was John Wesley who said, “Our people die well.” It is a privilege to be able to see the truth of that. Being with saints who are dying well is to see how true are the words of 1 Thessalonians 4:13. When those who are about to fall asleep confidently and joyfully recount the goodness of God throughout their lives and confidently and joyfully anticipate what is to come, those of us who are left behind are encouraged to be confident and joyful too. We do not grieve as others do, for we have hope!”

Two Reasons to Consider Video Preaching

“To wit: I, a Presbyterian—a pastor who subscribes to a Confession written in the 1600’s, whose favourite store is a fountain pen shop, whose church still uses bulletins to convey worship lyrics, and whose congregation only raises their hands once a year to approve a budget—would use video services. Here are two reasons why.” This is a good and balanced perspective from someone who wouldn’t come to the position naturally.

The Rise of 20 Hour-Long Flights (Video)

I spent a lot of time on planes this year and am glad that didn’t include any 20-hour monsters.

Flashback: The Gossip Rag of the Reformed World

As I have considered when I can or should speak, I have gone searching for help and have discovered five godly desires I should have when it comes to speaking about other people.

Christianity preaches the infinite worth of that which is seemingly worthless and the infinite worthlessness of that which is seemingly so valued.

—Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • My Most Common Pastoral Counsel

    My Most Common Pastoral Counsel

    Among my responsibilities as an elder/pastor within a local church is meeting with people to offer counsel and guidance. I have never lost the wonder of being given so sobering a privilege—to listen to people as they share their deep sorrows or ask their big questions and to then attempt to bring the Word of…

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    A La Carte (July 15)

    A La Carte: The desires of your heart / Contentment isn’t only for hard times / On the hosting of mission teams / Be careful of your strengths / Yes, we’re almost there / Kindle deals / and more.

  • Every Road and Every Sea

    Sunday Devotional: Every Road and Every Sea

    The Bible has proven its value as weaponry in the battle against spiritual foes, as a laboratory researching cures for spiritual maladies, and as a rich source of treasure in the accumulating of wisdom. It has proven itself a guide to the pathways of life and a chart to navigate the stormy seas of trial…

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    Weekend A La Carte (July 13)

    A La Carte: Folly has a strategic plan to get you / The power of a health warning / Sex is not a solution to marital tension / What do you do when your suffering is your fault? / We can’t think or live Christianly / Good news for African girls / and more.

  • Free Stuff Fridays (TMAI)

    This week’s Free Stuff Fridays is sponsored by The Master’s Academy International (TMAI). They are giving away the 42-volume Essential MacArthur Library set. The Master’s Academy International (TMAI) is a worldwide network of pastoral training centers that equip indigenous church leaders to preach the word and shepherd their people. They have 19 Training Centers around…

  • The Danger and Necessity of a Passion for Church Growth

    The Danger and Necessity of a Passion for Church Growth

    Quite a long time has passed since we witnessed the unexpected rise of a new kind of Calvinism. Few had anticipated that in the twenty-first century, so many millions of people spanning a host of nations and traditions would find themselves affirming such old and controversial doctrines. Yet many did so because they were wary…