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A La Carte (July 25)

thursday

We happen to have arrived in Amsterdam in the middle of a heat wave. It’s beautiful here but, wow, is it ever scorching hot!

Westminster Books has deals on books by R. Kent Hughes, including a new edition of his classic Disciplines of a Godly Man.

(Yesterday on the blog: An Interview with Keith Getty)

The FAQs: What You Should Know About Purity Culture

With purity culture back in the news (following news of Josh Harris’s separation), Joe Carter has one of his FAQs.

I’m So Glad Our Vows Kept Us

This is a tremendous bit of writing. “My husband’s hand moves to mine as the minister begins to speak of vows. Many years ago, we were the young couple making promises, and by now I’ve come to know his hand as well as my own. The arc of each knuckle, the round of each fingertip—these are as Braille to me, chapters in the book I’ve learned by heart.”

Communication with Missionaries: Striking a Healthy Balance

“All believers are called to die to themselves, take up their cross, and follow Christ. For missionaries this may mean getting off Facebook and stepping out of the comfort of one’s home culture, that God might receive all praise.”

Stop Pastoral Self-Appointments

While this pertains primarily to Africa, it has relevance elsewhere as well. “It is a well-known fact that state governments in Africa are deciding that enough is enough and are moving in to arrest the rot taking place, largely in Charismatic churches. The stench cannot be ignored any more. This has already begun to happen in Kenya under President Uhuru Kenyatta. South Africa and Zambia are also preparing legislation. It will not be long before other African nations join in.”

The Case for Wine in Communion

I’m interested in seeing how different churches think through using wine or an alternative in the Lord’s Supper.

What is the Aim of Christian Writing?

Cody Cunningham: “How do I evaluate whether or not I’m writing for God’s glory, regardless if it’s a blog article, a sermon, or song lyrics? As we read, as we edit, and as we share on social media, it comes down to this question…”

They Tried to Start a Church Without God. For a While, It Worked.

The Atlantic reports on the not-so-shocking lack of success of churches for Atheists. “For religious communes, the more sacrifices demanded, the longer they lasted; however, this connection didn’t hold for secular communes. The implication, Norenzayan said, was that challenging rituals and taxing rules work only when they’re part of something sacred; once the veil of sacrality is removed, people no longer care to commit to things that demand their time and dedication.”

Flashback: How an Emerging Church Pastor Inadvertently Changed My Life

He pointed to a series of ten hardcover volumes, said he wouldn’t be needing them anymore, and asked if I’d like them. I took them as well. They were ten volumes of sermons by Charles Spurgeon.

When the Word is hidden in the heart the life shall be hidden from sin.

—Charles Spurgeon

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    A La Carte (February 20)

    A La Carte: How hell motivates holiness / The bond of love / How to love our friends in truth, even when it stings / The distorting power of the prosperity gospel / Thinking about plagues / and more.

  • A Difference Making Ministry for Any Christian

    A Difference-Making Ministry for Any Christian

    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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    A La Carte (February 19)

    A La Carte: Courageous pastors or overbearing leaders? / Jesus didn’t diss the poor / 8 qualities of true revival / Why don’t you talk about the sermon? / The idol of competence / The danger of inhospitality / and more.

  • Why Those Who Seem Most Likely to Come, Never Come At All

    Why Those Who Seem Most Likely to Come, Never Come At All

    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?…

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    Weekend A La Carte (February 17)

    A La Carte: Think you’re immune to adultery? / One of the most hopeful reminders about sanctification / What do we do with dreams and visions? / Have you ever asked your church elders to visit and pray for you? / The neurodivergent believer / Preaching advice for busy pastors / and more.

  • Free Stuff Fridays (Open the Bible)

    This week’s Free Stuff Friday is sponsored by Open the Bible. They encourage you to enter to win a series of books from Open the Bible and Pastor Colin Smith! Included in the giveaway are: For All Who Grieve by Pastor Colin Smith. Written with compassion and understanding, yet honestly facing the difficult questions that…