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A La Carte (January 19)

Today’s Kindle deals include a few titles that may be of interest, though there’s no discernible pattern to them.

The Myth of Influence

This is a great article by Robert Godfrey on the myth of influence. “For a long time, I have felt that the cause of biblical Christianity has been undermined in our time by sincere people who engage in unbiblical activities for the sake of ‘being an influence.’ The sad and ironic result of those actions has been harm to the cause of Christ and little or no positive influence has actually occurred.”

20 Pieces of Advice for Establishing a Church Bookstall

I began writing this article yesterday, then saw that 9Marks had just done it. So here it is: advice on establishing a bookstall for your church.

Love & Irritability

“Life is never lived in the sterile confines of a sinless, utopian laboratory well-removed from the Curse’s numerous provocations. This side of heaven, we are either about to be provoked, being provoked, just having been provoked, or some combination of the three. Everything inside and outside of us has the potential to provoke in one way or another.”

Fear of the Working Class

Gene Veith: “All this fear talk about Trump has me confused. I can see a generalized fear about the future of the country, but this is far more visceral. Gay people say how afraid they are–but Trump is all for gay marriage, transgender rights, and the LGBT cause! Jews are afraid–but Trump’s son-in-law and main advisor is an Orthodox Jew, he has appointed a hard-core Zionist to be ambassador to Israel, and his foreign policy is going to be far more pro-Israel than Obama’s.” He offers an explanation.

Church, This is a Call for Familial Friendship

Be sure to read Christine Hoover’s call to the church. “We certainly can’t lay out the benefits without the costs for the unconverted, but perhaps even more so we must be careful about this within the church. We must talk about the cost of following Christ with one another.”

This Day in 1922. 95 years ago today the Hymn Society of America was founded for the purpose of improving the music and poetry of Protestant hymns and creating new hymns. *

When the Beloved of God Are Hated By the World

Sam Storms offers a good treatment of why people hate Christians. “This question cannot be answered sociologically. It must be answered theologically. It ultimately doesn’t matter what you and I may do. It ultimately doesn’t matter how much we may give or how sacrificially we may serve or how compassionately we may love.”

But First Let Me _______

“Jesus is putting his finger on the great spiritual scandal of Christianity: Without spiritual life from him, a person is dead. Even a living person. Especially a living person.”

What Should We Think About Holy Laughter?

Randy Alcorn writes for a broad demographic, so has to answer such questions tactfully. He models that here.

Flashback: God’s Tapestry

This is encouraging, I hope: “Just as some day we will see the beautiful tapestry God has been weaving through our suffering, through the events we never would have chosen, in the same way we will see the tapestry this Master Weaver has been creating through those good deeds. We will see how a kind word resonated in a person’s heart even days and weeks later; we will see how that small amount of money was used to accomplish something amazing; we will see how that little shred of the gospel was the pebble in the shoe of the person who had hardened himself against God.”

Whenever God means to use a man for big things, he breaks him into little pieces first.

—C.H. Spurgeon

  • 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…

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    A La Carte (July 12)

    A La Carte: John Piper on repetitive worship songs / Jen Wilkin says not to fear the marks in Revelation / Carl Trueman’s hope beyond politics in Europe / Bruce Ware on angels and free will / Samuel Davies’ tragic children / Book deals / and more.

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    A La Carte (July 11)

    A La Carte: The Disney princess whose heart isn’t worth following / Words of mercy and grace when we disagree / Ten reasons why the Bible is the greatest of great books / Why balance is bad for pastors / The earliest record of Jesus’s childhood / and more.

  • Cognitive Decline and Common Faults

    Cognitive Decline and Common Faults

    When visiting a far-off church, I met a man who, with sadness, told me about his father’s final sermon. A lifelong pastor and preacher, his father had withdrawn from full-time ministry several years prior, but still preached from time to time. On this Sunday he took to the pulpit, read his text, and gave his…

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    A La Carte (July 10)

    A La Carte: How the GOP became pro-choice / Forgive, and be forgiven / 10 non-cringy faith-based movies / The practice of arranged marriages / Do I share the gospel now? / How to show Mormon missionaries that the Bible contradicts their gospel / and more.

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    A La Carte (July 9)

    A La Carte: A prayer for my children’s walk with Christ / What really happened and Nicea / The secular creed / The Bible is not boring / It’s okay to fail / How can I read my Bible correctly? / Kindle deals / and more.