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A La Carte (March 19)

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The God of peace be with you today.

There is a substantial collection of Kindle deals to browse through today.

(Yesterday on the blog: Always Look for the Light)

How to Know if You’re Using God

Casey asks some important questions in his article. It begins like this: “It was the first and only time I’ve ever been called to perform an exorcism. It wasn’t a person that was possessed, the frantic lady on the phone informed me, it was her house. It had not one but two spirits. She had already tried a medium, a Catholic priest, and the strategic placement of crosses. You know you’re desperate when your last best hope is a Baptist pastor.”

The Soul-Poison of the Little Word ‘Should’

This article considers the way the little word “should” can become such a poison.

We Won’t Understand All, but We’ll Trust More

I tend to agree with Barbara that in heaven we will understand more than we do now about God’s acts of providence, but not necessarily everything we’d like to know. “I don’t know if we’ll understand everything that God did and allowed while we were on earth. Because He will still be God and we still won’t be. He is omniscient, and we will never be.”

Unless the Seed Dies

What a sweet bit of writing. “We come from unique backgrounds and paths of life as diverse as the potluck table: chile rellenos and chow mein sidled next to green bean casserole. We are white and colored, Asian and other, a mottled crew from nursery to our nineties. We vote on different ballots and think in different ways. Surely strangers who engage in such an intimate act of worship have no business with one another this side of glory as we learn again to be the church.”

True, False, or Heresy?

This excellent article looks carefully at what’s true and what’s false, what’s orthodox and what’s heretical.

Truthful Thinking Is Greater Than Positive Thinking

That’s a good line that counters something so common in society (and even in the church): truthful thinking is greater than positive thinking. “I regularly meet people who promote a worldview of positive thinking. In fact, there are religions and schools of thought that major in it. Such belief systems claim, to a greater or lesser degree, that positive thinking saves people from sin, grief, pain, brokenness, and even eternal damnation in hell. They’re attractive because they give us a sense of control. And in an age of chaos, a little control feels comforting.”

Flashback: It Takes a Church To Raise Your Child

This “village” is not there just to keep them in line when they get unruly, but to experience the joy of seeing them grow up in God and grow up for God.

Faith does not pretend that a situation is not painful or scary. What faith does do is take our problem to the One who really cares and can do something about it.

—Matthew Mitchell

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    A La Carte (April 23)

    A La Carte: Climate anxiety paralyzes, gospel hope propels / Living what God has written / How should I engage my rebellious child? / Satan hates your pastor / How to navigate our spiritual highs / The art of extemporaneous preaching / and more.

  • The Path to Contentment

    The Path to Contentment

    I wonder if you have ever considered that the solution to discontentment almost always seems to be more. If I only had more money I would be content. If I only had more followers, more possessions, more beauty, then at last I would consider myself successful. If only my house was bigger, my influence wider,…

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    A La Carte (April 22)

    A La Carte: Why my shepherd carries a rod / When Mandisa forgave Simon Cowell / An open mind is like an open mouth / Marriage: the half-time report / The church should mind its spiritual business / Kindle deals / and more.

  • It Begins and Ends with Speaking

    It Begins and Ends with Speaking

    Part of the joy of reading biography is having the opportunity to learn about a person who lived before us. An exceptional biography makes us feel as if we have actually come to know its subject, so that we rejoice in that person’s triumphs, grieve over his failures, and weep at his death.

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    Weekend A La Carte (April 20)

    A La Carte: Living counterculturally during election season / Borrowing a death / The many ministries of godly women / When we lose loved ones and have regrets / Ethnicity and race and the colorblindness question / The case for children’s worship services / and more.

  • The Anxious Generation

    The Great Rewiring of Childhood

    I know I’m getting old and all that, and I’m aware this means that I’ll be tempted to look unfavorably at people who are younger than myself. I know I’ll be tempted to consider what people were like when I was young and to stand in judgment of what people are like today. Yet even…