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A La Carte (March 5)


Good morning! Grace to you today.

Today’s Kindle deals include a few interesting titles.

The Powerlessness of Positive Thinking

“Positive thinking says if you just dig deep enough in yourself, you will find strength to conquer anything. The gospel says when you have no strength left, God will sustain you. Positive thinking looks to goodness in creation to solve immediate problems. The gospel looks to the Creator to solve eternal problems. Positive thinking holds up in everyday struggles, but in the deepest and darkest times offers very little. The gospel, however, shines brighter than ever in the deep darkness.”

Why Do You Want to Go to Heaven?

Jon Bloom: “In one sense, the Bible tells us relatively little about the specifics of heaven. Descriptions of heaven are often analogical or symbolic, framed in archaic images we might find strange. In another sense, however, the Bible speaks of heaven all over the place, and in ways very relevant to us. The Bible, on almost every page, speaks not so much of the mansions and Maseratis that may come, but of the great Satisfaction for which our souls deeply long.”

Render to God

“Something has to change. It’s time to make a shift. Blending into the world around us is no longer an option for the church. The culture rejects the Christian worldview and won’t be appeased by anything short of total ideological surrender, so it’s time for us to get counter-cultural.”

Largest U.S. Evangelical Adoption Agency Waves the Rainbow Flag

Joe Carter explains how and why the largest evangelical adoption agency in the US began to wave the rainbow flag.

Hello? Is Anybody Listening?

You may need this reminder that God is not a distracted parent who is constantly fixated on his iPhone.

Book Banning in an Age of Amazon

Abigail Shrier’s newsletter on Amazon’s decision to ban Ryan T. Anderson’s book on transgenderism is an important one. “In a time marked by so much suppression of speech by Big Tech, the muggings can begin to run together. We are already growing accustomed to cancellation. But of all the violence to free inquiry we’ve witnessed in the last year, the deliberate disappearance of a mainstream conservative book is among the very worst.”

Don’t Despise Transfer Growth

Pastors tend to disparage transfer growth but, as Stephen Kneale shows here, perhaps they shouldn’t. “There is a legitimate discussion to be had about hoarding resources. We should be talking more strategically about where people go, why they go there and how we can get them to move to the areas of greatest need. There are legitimate questions to be asked about whether a church of 500 or 600 people needs more people to transfer in or whether the kingdom is better served by encouraging those people to go to a smaller church in need of help. All of these things are legitimate to ask and there is a right discussion to be had about them. But…”

Flashback: 3 Tips for Responding to Criticism

In his little book True Friendship, Vaughan Roberts offers three tips for responding to criticism, and especially this kind of criticism—the kind that comes in the context of friendship, of iron sharpening iron.

I don’t need to look good so Jesus can look good; I need to be honest about my colossal spiritual need so he can look all-sufficient.

—Sam Allberry

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    A La Carte (February 22)

    A La Carte: Ice, wind, and unanswered prayers / Was it all a waste? / Prepping for the impending apocalypse / The best analogy for the Trinity / Getting to stop by woods on a snowy evening / Bible translation and AI / and more.

  • Like an iPhone

    Like an iPhone, Only Much More So

    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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    A La Carte (February 21)

    A La Carte: When cultural tailwinds become cultural headwinds / Talking with kids about gender issues / Try to be more awkward / Life is more than mountaintop experiences / Tinder / Unpacking “separation of church and state” / and more.

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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.